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Obama: ‘I Won’

President Obama urged bipartisan cooperation in putting together a stimulus package — so long as it’s bipartisan in his direction.  Charles Hurt for the NY Post:

“You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.

One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts.  “There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats,” the official said. “We shouldn’t let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done.”

That wasn’t Obama’s only jab at Republicans today. In an exchange with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) about the proposal, the president shot back: “I won,” according to aides briefed on the meeting.   “I will trump you on that.”

Jonathan Martin and Carol Lee confirm the comment for Politico.

President Obama listened to Republican gripes about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning – but he also left no doubt about who’s in charge of these negotiations. “I won,” Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation.

Now, of course, he did win.  Not only did he handily beat John McCain for the presidency but he increased his party’s margins in both the House and the Senate.   And one can easily argue that he has a “mandate” on a major stimulus package given that this was one of the key issues — if not the key issue — by the time the presidential debates rolled around.

That said, he was elected president, not king — or even prime minister.  He’s easily the most powerful figure in American politics but he’s just the head of one branch of government.

He doesn’t need Cantor’s help very much and is unlikely to get it.   The House operates very much along party lines and Cantor is a fiscal conservative who’s not going to get sweet talked into a giant boondoggle whose main purpose is to “do something.” But, given that he desperately wants broad support for his stimulus package so as to spread the blame if things don’t go well, he’ll need to compromise and give Republicans some concessions.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Rick DeMent says:

    Odd though that some of the things in Obama’s plan are things these “fiscal conservatives” were more then enthusiastic about when Bush proposed the same damn thing.

    Even odder still is that this gang seemed to be nowhere insight when Bush was spending hand over fist. My grip about Obama’s proposal is that he has tried to craft a proposal that the GOP could get behind and the result is bad policy (the tax returned based welfare) and the fact that the GOP won’t get behind it.

    and one more thing as an aside. Any :tax cut, like the ones that the dead-enders are proposing is pure unadulterated deficit spending, and deficit spending is what they are all, to a person, criticizing as counter productive. I guess all you have to do in order to get the paleo-GOP behind deficit spending is tart it up like it’s a tax cut. They are too stupid to figure out it’s nothing more then tax return based welfare.

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  2. James Joyner says:

    Rick,

    Certainly, Cantor and his crowd were fiscal conservatives even during Bush. And there was a major rebellion within the GOP after the 2006 wake-up call.

    And tax cuts, especially those that let people on the lower end of the ladder keep more of their money (say, suspending FICA collection for six months) would have far more short-term stimulus than funding long range infrastructure projects.

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  3. Isn’t the operative word on the Limbaugh remark, JUST? As in you can’t only listen to Limbaugh? Of course, I didn’t hear the voice inflection, but that’s the way I interpreted it reading it in print.

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  4. Leisureguy says:

    There seems to be a general consensus among economists that infrastructure spending provides MUCH more stimulus than tax cuts, although tax cuts appeal greatly to the GOP. My impression is that the Obama plan currently has too much tax cuts and not enough infrastructure spending in order to make the plan more appealing to the GOP. I don’t think it’s working, and I think it weakens the plan.

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  5. Leisureguy says:

    So far as Cantor is concerned, I think this story illustrates that he is going to oppose everything Obama does, using lies freely.

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  6. just me says:

    you can’t lump all conservatives and the GOP together. Cantor and his argument aren’t newly found-at least for him a few others.

    And the reality is that, yes, the GOP spent like drunken sailors during the Bush administration. Bt it is now the Obama administration, and frankly I wold rather see sound fiscal policy argued now than pla this “you can’t ever argue it because you blew it in the Bush ears.” At some point the democrats have to own it, and I don’t think the GOP should go out of its way to give Obama cover. A bad bill is a bad bill, and this one is pretty darn bad and doesn’t even seem like it will do what it is supposed to. I think it is more of a feel good, we are doing something, bill than anything that will actually work. If Obama doesn’t want to listen to GOP concerns, then fine go with the “I won” argument and let the dems pass the bill-let them own it, good or bad.

    But Obama paying lip service to bipartisanship, but not listening to actual concerns is nothing more than a president looking for the other part to give him cover if things don’t work out.

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  7. Drew says:

    “We shouldn’t let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done.”

    I’ve heard Limbaugh snort “the Democrats definition of bipartisanship is ‘do what we want’”
    Case in point.

    Rick, you will need to let the Bush era go. It is now over. Any objective observor realizes Republicans lost their spending disciplines over the last decade. I mean, really, they became almost as reckless as Democrats.

    However, I’d like to think fiscal conservatives are hearing a call to arms, hopefully not just because they realize their own spending binge in large part caused their political losses, but because they actually see the policy error of their ways. If that is so, comparisons to Bush era habits is just grousing.

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  8. Drew says:

    “There seems to be a general consensus among economists that infrastructure spending provides MUCH more stimulus than tax cuts, although tax cuts appeal greatly to the GOP.”

    Before permanently incorporating that into your worldview you might want to look at some interesting commentary recently on this site (Verdon) and at DS’s Glittering Eye.

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  9. MT says:

    “I hope he fails”.

    If the goal is to ensure he fails that could be all that republicans achieve.

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  10. James Joyner says:

    There seems to be a general consensus among economists that infrastructure spending provides MUCH more stimulus than tax cuts

    Not in the short term, though. It takes forever to spend infrastructure money — you can’t just go buy a road at the Wal-Mart. Conversely, letting Joe Six Pack keep $150 every paycheck translates into $150 more money being spent right away.

    The problem with GOP-style tax cuts is that they go to those paying the most taxes — i.e., those at the top of the ladder — and they’re people without a lot of pent up demand for low cost items.

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  11. Leisureguy says:

    Aha. Good point—that “shovel-ready” projects are scarce and cannot be rolled out in just a month or so. So tax cuts at the low-end will (one hopes) tide us over until the modern-day WPA and CCC can get to work, though I guess today’s government will have to work through private companies, unsuccessful as that seems to have been in Iraq.

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  12. Steve Plunk says:

    Nice to see our new president is open minded about policy. Accepting input and allowing free debate was something he promised wasn’t it? I guess his real ambition of being supreme ruler is showing itself.

    I would have to disagree with a previous commenter on the effectiveness of infrastructure spending. Tax cuts have a proven record of stimulus and programs like the investment tax credit of the 80′s could really help. Public infrastructure spending goes through the inefficiency machine we call government to yield few benefits.

    Tax cuts stimulate through increased consumer and business confidence as well. Confidence we are losing every day under this new administration.

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  13. Leisureguy says:

    Three days worth of confidence lost already? :)

    I have to point to the inefficiencies of the private companies (KBR, Halliburton, Blackwater, et al.) in Iraq: lots of money spent on infrastructure there, not much to show for it.

    Obama has done MUCH more meeting with and talking with the GOP than Bush ever did with the Democrats. If he occasionally has to close down a pointless discussion, so be it. Remember, he is trying to talk with people like Sen. Kyl, not exactly open to new ideas. As I understand it, Kyl was objecting to tax cuts for low-income people who pay no Federal income taxes, saying it was a government handout. As every schoolchild knows, low-income people pay taxes beyond Federal income taxes: payroll taxes, property taxes if they own their own home, sales tax, and so on. Obama was just reminding Kyl of the direction the election took.

    “Supreme ruler”: with phrases like this, meaningful discussion ceases.

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  14. Grewgills says:

    Missing from both accounts and very important when judging Obama’a quip is what exactly Cantor said immediately prior. Had Cantor just made a my way or the highway comment. If so Obama’s comment was entirely reasonable. If Cantor was bargaining in good faith it was less reasonable.
    It seems that many hear are automatically assuming that Cantor was the reasonable one in this discussion. History will not let me make that assumption.

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  15. Scott Swank says:

    Cantor was pushing a proposal of McCain’s from the campaign trail. Eventually Obama responded “I won”, meaning that the electorate seemed to have preferred Obama’s proposal’s to McCains. Of course giving the comment context detracts from its “shocking news” quality, and sadly the media is largely concerned with finding or manufacturing shocking news.

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  16. Mandy says:

    Considering that Republican self-styled “conservatives” have believed bipartisanship to be My-way-or-the-highway, it is just too rich to read this whining after the GOP has been repudiated. Of course, conservatives do not beloieve in democracy, so maybe the results of the election do not matter?

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  17. HJFudge says:

    The fact that he had this meeting specifically to hear the Opposition side on this matter I think tells far more than one comment quoted entirely without context.

    Its too early to tell either way wether or not he truly will be Bi-partisan. But simply judging from this meeting, it seems to be pointing slightly in the “Bringing Together” direction.

    Bipartisan does not mean ‘Democrats automatically vote for Republican values’ or vica versa. It means less ideological stonewalling and more willingness to listen, compromise, and try new ideas.

    Tax cuts are not necessarily “only for the rich and wont work” just because a republican proposes it. Nor does public infrastructure/programs automatically become “Socialist and unworkable” because a democrat proposes it. Lets separate Ideas from Ideologies.

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  18. tom p says:

    It seems that many hear are automatically assuming that Cantor was the reasonable one in this discussion. History will not let me make that assumption.

    gg: on point.

    Any objective observor realizes Republicans lost their spending disciplines over the last decade. I mean, really, they became almost as reckless as Democrats.

    I have to say Drew, that in the last 8 yrs, the GOP didn’t just “lose” their spending discipline, they re-wrote the book, bringing about deficits never before seen.
    As to the stimulus, as Rick said:

    Any tax cut, like the ones that the dead-enders are proposing is pure unadulterated deficit spending,

    No matter what we do stimulus wise, it is going to involve deficits.

    Not in the short term, though. It takes forever to spend infrastructure money — you can’t just go buy a road at the Wal-Mart. Conversely, letting Joe Six Pack keep $150 every paycheck translates into $150 more money being spent right away.

    Forever is a long time James… Here is my problem with the “taxcut” meme… As recent history has shown time and again, once you give a taxcut, to let it lapse is demagouged as a tax “increase”. The only way to deal with the short fall in tax revenue is to cut the budget, and we’ve all seen how well that works. Also, just exactly where is Joe going to spend that $150 a month? Wal-Mart? Great for WMs bottom line, and China’s.
    Infrastructure spending actually puts Americans to work (who then spend their earnings across the board), and pays long term dividends for the economy in increased efficiencies for bussiness (there is a reason most bussinesses locate in urban areas and not places like Newton Co, AR)

    As a deficit hawk, I realize their will be deficit spending (and I ain’t happy about it), but my preference would be towards infrastucture for 2 reasons: A one time expenditure will not add to deficits years down the road (yes there will be interest but you won’t be building the same bridge twice) and the dividends such investment brings to the economy in the long term can pay for itself.

    Lastly, for almost 30 yrs I have seen tax-cut after tax-cut after tax-cut… and a deficit that only grows ever more ominously every time. Time to get off the merry-go-round.

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  19. DavidL says:

    If Barack Obama honesty believe “I won”, why isn’t he acting like it? It is not Obama’s stimulus package working it way through the House, it is Mrs. Pelosi’s. It is the stimulus pacakge reflecting thie wishs of Mrs. Pelosi, David Obey and Charlies Rangel and not those of Obama.

    Obama may think, or may pretend, that he won, but Mrs. Pelosi never got the memo. With the blue dogs and republicans Obama has enough support to get a stimulus package throught the House. However, as it stands, Mrs. Pelosi has no intentions of paassing any stimulus package. All Mrs. Pelosi wants is a trillion dollar pork package. So if Obama believes he won, he had better tell Mrs. Pelosi. Don’t hold your breath.

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  20. Dave H says:

    Re: “I won.” So did Cantor or he wouldn’t have been there. His constituents preferred him to a Democrat. It’s his job to stand up for them, not roll over for some egomaniacal rookie.

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  21. Leisureguy says:

    @Dave H: Any source for “egomaniacal”? Or are you just wanting to insult? FYI, I think that most politicians are egotistic to some degree. And it’s not Cantor’s job to misrepresent legislation, which he has done quite overtly in this case.

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  22. TRH says:

    The problem with Obama’s stimulus package is that it includes very little stimulus. Less than $30 billion is for actual infrastructure (like roads and bridges) which is actually something worth while. $200B for various tax cuts and refunds that will make none if any difference at all. $15-$30 per paycheck is not going to suddenly increase the economy at all. Even the previous stimulus (which was roughly the same amount but all at once) made very little difference to the economy.

    The rest of the stimulus package (over $500B) is to fund various democratic platforms that they have been pushing for years, and will only serve to make government larger and cause problems down the line.

    Apparently, most of the posters here fail to realize that the biggest stimulus which could be immediately realized would be a severe cut in capital gains taxes. This would cause the stock markets to rebound and increase the flow of capital back into the economy. Unfortunately, most will not support this because it will also benefit rich people, but those people are severely short sided, and as long as they have a us (poor and middle) vs them (rich) we are doomed to failure. A solution will only involve everyone, especially when thus far proposed solutions are simply to take from the rich and give to the poor.

    So cut the capital gains taxes, and invest $150b in roads and bridges, these two steps would make a huge difference. Most everything else in O’s plan simply addresses a symptom of the problem without addressing the problem.

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  23. Joe R. says:

    Didn’t every Republican in the room win, too?

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  24. Joe R. says:

    @Dave H: Any source for “egomaniacal”? Or are you just wanting to insult?

    The guy flew from Washington to Philadelphia, so he could ride a train from Philadelphia to Washington and have himself sworn in on the same Bible that Abraham Lincoln used. Yes, he has a gigantic ego. The “maniacal” bit is debatable. I personally fall into the persuadable camp on it. You are correct that most politicians fall into the same category.

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  25. steve s says:

    Rick, you will need to let the Bush era go. It is now over. Any objective observor realizes Republicans lost their spending disciplines over the last decade. I mean, really, they became almost as reckless as Democrats.

    Posted by Drew | January 24, 2009 | 10:34 am | Permalink

    I don’t know why this illusion persists. Republicans are much more reckless with spending than Democrats. All you have to do is compare how the deficit went down under Clinton vs how it exploded under Reagan and Bush. Fiscal restraint is always a GOP talking point, never a GOP reality. I would think their followers would notice that after a few decades, but so far, nope.

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  26. [...] Brilliant at Breakfast, Pam’s House Blend, The Mahablog, Political Punch, NewsBusters.org, Outside The Beltway, Fausta’s Blog, Think Progress, Open Left, Sweetness & Light, Flopping Aces, Gothamist, [...]

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  27. Brian says:

    I diasgree that the election provided any kind of mandate on the stimulus package specifically. Obama, who was tremendously successful at either embracing every one of multiple options or avoiding policy particulars altogether during the campaign, can hardly claim now that the election was an endorsement of any specific initiative. And I don’t think that was the point he was trying to make, although, as a previous commenter noted, it is difficult to tell without visual and audible cues and more of the dialog.

    He is correct in that the election certainly bestowed on he and his party an advantage and put Republicans in a position where they’ll have to choose carefully when to dig in and hold the line.

    More to the point, aren’t we long past the point where we interpret a politician’s call for bi-partisanship as anything other than “you are welcome to work with me on my agenda”? Of course McCain would have been the exception. His “bi-partisanship” involves working on the other guy’s agenda so long as there is no effort to return the favor.

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  28. Leisureguy says:

    Yeah, I was thinking of Bush’s using an aircraft carrier for a prop. The train ride was a good idea, I think: people who could never get to DC for the Inauguration liked seeing the train.

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  29. just me says:

    It means less ideological stonewalling and more willingness to listen, compromise, and try new ideas.

    I don’t think “I won” meets this standard.

    And I think as everyone else has pointed out, just because Obama won, that doesn’t mean the GOP senators and representatives didn’t win their district and also have constituents to represent. They too are winners and are there to advocate their agendas as much as Obama wants to advocate his.

    In the end-Obama did win, but like i said, what Obama wants is cover in case this blows up in his face, and if he doesn’t want to actually work with the GOP, then the GOP should withhold its cover and let Obama and the Dems pass the bill and take the blame if it fails-because they sure as heck won’t be thanking or recognizing the GOP if it succeeds.

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  30. just me says:

    Yeah, I was thinking of Bush’s using an aircraft carrier for a prop. The train ride was a good idea, I think: people who could never get to DC for the Inauguration liked seeing the train.

    Bush was CiC when he made that speech, and the sailors on that aircraft carrier were returning from a deployment into a war zone where they worked their tails off. Complain all you want about the speech under that banner, but I am pretty darn sure a visit from the president was something those guys doing their jobs and working their tails off appreciated. Probably more than some theatrical train ride. At least Bush was recognizing some of our military members for a job they did well, Obama was thanking his fans.

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  31. Drew says:

    “Lastly, for almost 30 yrs I have seen tax-cut after tax-cut after tax-cut… and a deficit that only grows ever more ominously every time. Time to get off the merry-go-round.”

    That was a shocker, Tom p.

    Here are some items for you to consider (all data easily available for you to review or verify in various budget, census etc tables)

    1) In inflation adjusted dollars, total Federal tax revenue has tripled since 1965; On a per household basis it is up 67%.

    2) Again in inflation adjusted numbers, Federal spending is 2.6x higher than in 1965; on a per household basis it is up 77%.

    The government is hardly starved for taxes. We have a government spending problem, not a taxing problem.

    Where is our spending problem?? We allocate less of our resources today on defense than at any time since 1965. The mid 60′s – about 7-8% of GDP. Carter took it down to 4.5%. Ronald Reagan? Up to about 6%. Clinton: All the way down to about 2.8%, if I recall correctly. Today? I think its right at 3, and we are in a war. That’s a lot of spending power freed up.

    So where is the money going?? Entitlements, of course. The so-called “mandatory spending programs.”

    This has been going on for all the 30 years you cite. Spending, spending, spending spending, all while the tax burden is up dramatically. And I haven’t even touched state and local taxes !! A recent debate on this site took on the case (with data) of who pays the taxes. Despite all the moaning about payroll taxes, the fact of the matter is that the minority of upper income earners pay the majority of the taxes, and the system has grown steadily more progressive for the 30 years you cite.

    Said another way, fewer and fewer workers are increasingly paying for the government’s largess.

    I often hear “Republicans (or conservatives) don’t want to pay taxes.” The facts are that the tax burden is growing steadily larger, on fewer people…….all so politicians can spend on goodies for votes.

    That’s the real merry-go-round.

    If you are a deficit hawk, I’d take a look at spending.

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  32. Drew says:

    “I don’t know why this illusion persists. Republicans are much more reckless with spending than Democrats. All you have to do is compare how the deficit went down under Clinton vs how it exploded under Reagan and Bush.”

    Wrong, steve s.

    From the same set of tables I just commented to tom p, spending has been on a steady climb for 8 administrations. More importantly, because they have the purse strings, if you lay out spending by year against who was in control of Congress,
    you find the Democrats in control 60% since 1965, the Republicans 22% and 18% divided…….and spending has been marching right up the whole way.

    Further, you fail to acknowledge that both Carter and Clinton did what you say only by reducing defense spending. Non-defense spending kept rising at dizzying rates. So your claim is made on the backs of the Armed Forces. The ensuing Presidents, Reagan and Bush II were left with the defense backfill.

    As I said at the start of this, the Republicans really lost their way (as part of this “earmark phenomenon”) in the last decade. Almost as bad as a democrat.

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  33. Rick DeMent says:

    James,

    I understand what you are saying, and there is a ton that I don’t like in BO’s plan, but at the end of the day both sides are engaging in deficit spending all they are arguing about is how to distribute the money.

    Drew’s post should become a master class in sophistry and hoe to use stats to deceive. Useing household income in 65 vs now is not an apple to apples comparison, the number of 2 full time workers is up by a factor of 300%. And if your going to use GDP to analyze spending levels then why not compare federal tax revenues as a % of GDP? If you did then you would find revenues way down compared to ’65.

    Also right now SS entitlements are in the black and the rest of them are not in any serious deficit, so if you want to do away with entitlements fine. But hold on to your ass when people say ok fine but you can’t collect the payroll tax any more and that will put you even further in the hole. (and some of us will ant the money we paid in back seeing as we are not getting ay benefit which puts the budget in serious dutch.

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  34. tom p says:

    If you are a deficit hawk, I’d take a look at spending.

    Drew, I am a real deficit hawk… Go back and reread where I said:

    Here is my problem with the “taxcut” meme… As recent history has shown time and again, once you give a taxcut, to let it lapse is demagouged as a tax “increase”. The only way to deal with the short fall in tax revenue is to cut the budget, and we’ve all seen how well that works.

    Maybe I should have added,”We have shown a complete inability to cut spending commensurate with our tax cuts.” but then I thought that would have been obvious (take note: this is not a Dem or GOP thing, it is a governance thing. ie “bringing home the bacon”

    That was a shocker, Tom p.

    With all due respect Drew, if you are shocked, you have not been paying attention the last 30 yrs.

    All you have to do is compare how the deficit went down under Clinton vs how it exploded under Reagan and Bush.”

    To all, I feel the need to point out that Clinton did not do it alone. He had the help of a GOP Congress.

    Look, some people have this idea that gov’t should get out of everything possible. I have no problem with that and we can argue back and forth over any # of things along those lines. I would probably even agree with you enuf to surprise you, but that is quite besides the point.

    My point here is that tax-cuts w/o commensurate budget cuts are detrimental to our country’s long term fiscal health. We have proven time after time that we are incapable of doing this. So…

    If we are going to have deficit spending, let us spend it on things which in years to come will pay us back(no “bridges to nowhere”), NOT on things which will haunt us for years to come(tax cuts which the pols can not afford to rescind).

    I want to get off the merry-go-round. I do not want my children to pay for a short term stimulus (and that is all a tax cut is, soon enuf it becomes the status quo) without a long term gain.

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  35. just me says:

    So tom-just how do you think any of the spending in this bill helps? Is it all good spending? Because for the most part it looks like a lot of pork to me.

    And at the moment I can’t see cutting taxes (although I think there is a good argument for cutting capital games with regards to stimulus), but I am also not so sure raising taxes is the answer. I agree with you-the real problem we have is the spending, and the reality is that Obama and congress want to spend a lot of it, but they don’t seem too keen on cutting any of it.

    I think the federal government has taken on way more than it should. Some things I think are good things for government to pay for, I am just not convinced they are something the federal government should pay for. I also think a huge part of the problem is that we have a very large bureaucracy that wastes a lot of money before it ever gets anywhere close to the point of delivery.

    You may be all for federal dollars going to support useful infrastructure, but I live close enough to the boondoggle known as The Big Dig where tons and tons and tons of federal and state tax dollars were wasted and there still isn’t anything to really show for it. I know people who still won’t drive in those tunnels and willingly choose to drive around Boston instead. That’s your tax dollars at work-pork and all.

    I think there might be less of a temptation to engage in all that waste, if the taxes weren’t coming from DC-I am fine with public works, I just think part of the problem is that it is really easy to get the money from constitutents who have no power to remove you from office.

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  36. Franklin says:

    While I’m not a big fan of the “I won” comment, even in context, I have no problem with ignoring Rush Limbaugh. Rush’s only concern is keeping ratings up by feeding hate. Anybody who thinks he actually believes what he says is not much of a critical thinker.

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  37. St Clair says:

    Dear Mr. President
    You only won the office of President. Read what the constitution says. You do not make the laws you execute the laws of the land. You are Commander and Chief, keep us safe. Your predecessor did. You can issue executive orders but if I don’t like them I tell you and I will ask my representative to take action for or against it. The legislators write the bills such as the stimulus package approve it full of pork and lose my support. My representative in the House of Representatives gets my vote not yours remember that. You only won the right to be President not write the legislation or dictate it. You have a veto use it or not. Understand? You can try and intimidate my representative but I vote for him not you and I will remind him of that. You have not been honest to date and that had better change. You have not been bipartisan so don’t say you have. You have not been open and transparent so don’t say you have. You may think you are on honeymoon but not with me. I wish you success but I will be holding you responsible starting now.

    Respectfully,
    A voter who will listen to anyone he pleases

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  38. tom p says:

    just how do you think any of the spending in this bill helps? Is it all good spending? Because for the most part it looks like a lot of pork to me.

    jm, again, go back and reread what I said… spending on infrastucture pays dividends in the future. OF COURSE the devil is in the details…

    (although I think there is a good argument for cutting capital games with regards to stimulus),

    HA! HAhaha heeheehee… think about it for a second… right now, no matter what you sell in the present economy, it is at a loss… WHY IN GOD’S NAME WOULD YOU GIVE A CAPITAL GAINS TAX BREAK WHEN THERE ARE NO CAPITAL GAINS????!!!!!????
    Where is the benefit? I ask again, please, think… This particular “stimulus” has nothing to do with the here and now. So why push for it here and now? You are a thinking human being, I think you can figure it out.

    but I am also not so sure raising taxes is the answer

    I have never argued for raising taxes just now… only for fiscal responsibility…

    I agree with you-the real problem we have is the spending, and the reality is that Obama and congress want to spend a lot of it, but they don’t seem too keen on cutting any of it.

    How many times do I have to say this: It has nothing to do with any particular individual (or party), it has to do with the system… and until we hold their feet to the fire it will not change.

    I think the federal government has taken on way more than it should. Some things I think are good things for government to pay for, I am just not convinced they are something the federal government should pay for.

    And these are things that reasonable people can reasonably disagree on… But I for one would like all of us to reasonably agree that from this point on, we will pay for it, whatever it is.

    To re-iterate: The CG tax cut is a joke. In the present economy, nobody has any cap gains. If they do, why in the hell would they get out of this secure and safe investment at this point in time? To reinvest in garbage? As I said before:

    As recent history has shown time and again, once you give a taxcut, to let it lapse is demagouged as a tax “increase”.

    They push this line only for when things are better for them in the future. Not now, (it sucks all over now) I am sick of the baloney. As Warren Buffet once said, “Yes, there is class warfare, and we’re winning.” And no, he was not talking about you and me.

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  39. Andre Kenji says:

    1-) Japan tried this same formula in the 90´s(Heavy spending on infrastructure, artificially low interest rates). It didn´t work.

    2-) Tax cuts with huge deficits means tax increases in the future. Infrastructure projects CAN provide aditional stimulus, but not because you are spending money. It´s generally because you improve productivity.

    Spending money on unnecessary infrastructure projects will do nothing. Another problem is that without good planning infrastructure projects becomes a drain for money(There is the Big Dig in Boston, but Mexicans and Brazilians can point out plent of these projects that went terribly wrong).

    When you are building infrastructure projects *because you want to spend money* the odds are that you are not going to plan it as it should be.

    3-) I know that you Americans can print dollars bills but I don´t know where you are going to find money to pay for these things….

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  40. Franklin says:

    Defense and entitlements can both be cut; there is a huge amount of waste in both. Yeah, you can cut out earmarks, too, but they represent only a very, very small amount of the budget.

    I have no problem with infrastructure spending, which we sorely need. Yeah, there will be some waste when you’re looking to spend money. But look at the actual amount – again, quite a small portion of the current stimulus proposal, less than 4%, IIRC.

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  41. Kate says:

    “I Won” How sophomoric. How arrogant. Hubris already??? As the fog of campaigning ends we see a community organizer in way over over his head. And getting pretty petulant too.

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  42. steve s says:

    Dear Franklin. ´ is not the apostrophe. ‘ is the apostrophe. You can tell because ´ doesn’t kern correctly. For instance

    Ben´s dog
    Ben’s dog

    See the abnormally large space in the first example? It didn’t kern correctly because that’s not the apostrophe.

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  43. steve s says:

    Dear Mr. President
    You only won the office of President. Read what the constitution says. You do not make the laws you execute the laws of the land. You are Commander and Chief, keep us safe. Your predecessor did.

    Right. Assuming you don’t count the biggest terrorist attack in American history. Overlook that, and he did a great job keeping us safe.

    And Buchanan was astounding at keeping the country unified and peaceful. As long as you don’t count the Civil War.

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  44. DL says:

    All this marvelous economic debate is for naught. Those things are for educated experienced people who desire to keep America running well. The fact is the average American voter doesn’t understand it nor really care about it, other than their job and the price of a Big Mac.
    Economic illiteracy is rampant in our school systems and particularly among those teaching, which explains why the NEA keeps them voting for the most disastrous things.

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  45. G.A.Phillips says:

    The only thing that really matters is the magnificent Obama within 3 days of taking office spread more genocide around the world with our tax dollars to murder more unborn human beings, ya he is just like Lincoln, what a great man, what a dear leader!

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  46. Drew says:

    Nice try, Rick DeMent. But your assertion fails miserably on several points:

    You want to use GDP ratios?

    1) First, it has increased. In 1965 Fed spending/GDP was 17.2%. The 2007 figure was 19.9, basically a 3 point increase. Second, federal taxing has gone from 17% to 19% of GDP. The reason for the spending / taxing mismatch is borrowing.

    2) But that stat alone misses a crucial perspective. Why should Federal spending/GDP remain the same over time? Defense spending has shown the desirable (and expected) characteristic of scaling, in round numbers falling as a percentage of GDP from 8% to 3% since 1965. Add that to the overall 3% increase and you have an 8% increase in non-defense spending/GDP since 1965.

    So social spending/GDP has gone from 17%-8%=9% of GDP in 1965 to 20%-3% = 17% today. That’s enormous. About a 90% increase. Said another way, almost doubling.

    How’s that percent of GDP thingy workin’ for ya?? As I said, The Fed govt is not starved; we have a runaway social spending problem.

    3) Further, although social spending in absolute dollars might necessarily increase as population grows, for it to grow forever in lock step (or in excess of) GDP tells us that the spending is not terribly effective; For example, we never solve the poverty issue, we just keep ratcheting up the expenditures.

    4) Your point about two income households makes no sense, either. Unless the number of persons per household increases, (and I think it is actually the opposite since 1965) then if Fed spending per household increased, and it has, dramatically, then spending per person increases even more. The only way this cannot be true is if spending is outside the household definition.

    Further, your citation about a 300% increase in two income households is off point. Per household income, which is what would be taxed, is up only about 27%.

    4) Lastly, when we consider the necessary temporal changes in federal expenditures, the house of cards really comes down. One CBO estimate shows the SS, Medicaid, Medicare debacle increasing expenditures from current – as a % of GDP to keep you happy – by 10% of GDP by 2050. That’s enormous.

    So as I said, by any measure, we do not have a tax starved government, we have, and have had for 40 years, a huge spending problem. And I never even got to the increases in state and local government.

    Now I wonder Rick DeMent, are your analytical skills that poor, or who is really the sophist?

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  47. Drew says:

    tom p _

    The notion of a capital gains tax cut as stimulus is relevant to PROSPECTIVE investments and their after tax return.

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  48. [...] Joyner at Outside the Beltway explains about the haughty Obama: ….he (Obama) was elected president, not king — or even [...]

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  49. [...] needs public hearings, anyway? You heard Obama: “I won“. That gives him and the Democrats all the leash they need to implement their previously [...]

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  50. [...] needs public hearings, anyway? You heard Obama: “I won“. That gives him and the Democrats all the leash they need to implement their previously [...]

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  51. [...] in point: If your rebuttal to a point in a debate is “I won” maybe you aren’t the one who should be calling – and then moderating – said [...]

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