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The Debt Ceiling is a Housekeeping Procedure

I’ve been privately seething for months now as I’ve watched the House Republicans use the debt ceiling as a negotiating chip in their ideological agenda. It should be a no-brainer to raise it since it’s merely a housekeeping procedure. They obviously care nothing for the consequences of a default, and the fact that they are willing to risk this country’s spotless credit rating shows me that they are functionally insane. Whether they are actually insane is of no importance; they are behaving as if they are:

As the stalemate over debt talks dragged on Wednesday, Congress and the White House may have passed the point of no return in avoiding a U.S. government debt downgrade.

If Uncle Sam loses his coveted AAA rating, the cost of borrowing goes up, the economy slows further and jobs get even tougher to find.

[...]

The immediate impact of such a downgrade would be a jump in interest rates. Just as a consumer with a lower credit score has to pay higher interest rates on their credit card, a downgrade of the Treasury’s debt rating would raise the cost of borrowing. That would increase the nation’s interest payments on fresh debt, driving the government even deeper into deficit.

The prospect of higher interest rates isn’t just speculation. After Congress delayed raising the debt limit in 1979 and the Treasury then had technical problems, the U.S. missed interest payments on about $120 million of debt. Though the glitch caused only a brief delay, that technical default raised interest rates by more than half a percentage point.

A half point rise in interest rates may not sound like a lot. But in April, economists at JPMorgan estimated that would be enough to knock a full percentage point off gross domestic product, which has already slowed to a growth rate of less than 2 percent. With job growth already below the pace needed to create work for new entrants to the labor force, unemployment would begin rising again.

The loss of Uncle Sam’s AAA rating would hurt more than just the Treasury. Some state and local governments, already enduring their own painful budget cuts, would see borrowing costs rise. All three ratings agencies have warned that top ratings on billions of dollars of municipal debt secured by U.S. Treasuries could fall if the federal rating is cut. More than $130 billion in municipal debt is at risk of downgrade from AAA, Moody’s said last week.

Of all the people claiming that we’re borrowing too much — never mind the fact that holding fast on the debt ceiling and creating a default does nothing to reduce spending or increase revenues — none can explain why long term interest rates and yields are near lows of around 3%. If government borrowing is crowding out private investment, why aren’t the rates higher? I’m convinced that the Tea Party types know nothing of economics. They are advocating contractionary policies at every turn: they want spending cuts and are opposed to quantitative easing, even though inflation remains low. I don’t think these guys can even spell “liquidity trap”.

In addition to that a default will raise interest rates, but not in a good way. If rates went up due to economic growth, that would be one thing. It would mean in increase in the demand for loanable funds and that would indicate that the liquidity trap is over. What’s going to happen instead is that they are going to increase due to risk and in the process increase the deficit, not decrease it. Any cuts that are achieved might very well be dwarfed by increased borrowing costs.

I’ve been moving to the left for a few years now, but these idiots are radicalizing me. I’ve never voted for a Democrat in my life (full disclosure: I didn’t vote the last two elections due to moving), but I doubt I’ll ever vote for a Republican again. They’re either stupid or evil, but either way they’re dangerous and bad for the country.

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About Robert Prather
Robert Prather formerly blogged at the now defunct Insults Unpunished and, unlike his co-blogger Dodd, can not kill a mime using only his thumb. Follow him on Twitter.

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    “I’ve been privately seething for months now” That can’t be healthy ;-).

    You know, if there is one “personal best” for me in this whole thing, it was that I called “I am not a witch” as the shark jumping moment. It was downhill from there.

    I suppose if this repeats as a typical cycle, you’ll have a GOP you can like in a half-decade or so. Parties have to go nuts and fail before they can self-repair. It’s sad in a sense that the recession gave the GOP a bounce-back too soon, in 2010, and they didn’t get the woodshed time they need … for their own reinvention.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  2. @john personna: I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. I also can’t help but think that the Teatards arose as the result of us having a black president. I’m sure that part of it was his ambitious agenda, but I think race is playing a role here.

    I can’t imagine ever voting for people involved in this incarnation of the Republican Party. They’re evolution deniers, global warming deniers and anti-intellectual to boot. It’s going to be a painful couple of years.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 58 Thumb down 7

  3. Hey Norm says:

    Housekeeping is a good term…it’s been raised 89 times…18 under Reagan alone…and Republicans lead for those keeping score.
    It’s stupid. We, as a nation, are stupid. Government by the people is scary when you actually stop to consider the people. The founders, elites among their contemporaries, left us a government that would inevitably be dominated by the lowest common denominator.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  4. Matt Parker says:

    I’ll grant Andrew Sullivan this: there’s nothing conservative about today’s GOP. There’s nothing conservative about trying to shape reality to an ideology.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  5. @Hey Norm: I’m hoping that won’t always be the case, but you’re right; at present, we have the morons of one our major parties pulling the strings of one of our Houses of Congress.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  6. @Matt Parker: They certainly aren’t conservative in a Burkean sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  7. john personna says:

    @Robert Prather:

    I can’t imagine ever voting for people involved in this incarnation of the Republican Party. They’re evolution deniers, global warming deniers and anti-intellectual to boot. It’s going to be a painful couple of years.

    Well that’s the element that captured the party in the 2000′s. And as I sometimes note, they called themselves the “real Americans” while doing it. I think what we see in the turning point is that they don’t make that claim anymore. They now recognize their minority position, and try to dictate policy from there.

    Can that really work? I’d think not, that it is just precursor to them losing the House.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  8. john personna says:

    (I mean, couldn’t we say that when you’ve lost Robert Prather you’ve lost 2012?)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  9. @john personna: I hope you’re right on them losing the House. I hope they are punished severely for their misdeeds. Time and time again since last December, when I think this first came up, I’ve been thinking that nobody could be so obtuse as to risk this country’s credit rating. Yet, here we are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  10. @john personna: I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’ve lost 2012, but they’ve definitely lost me for the foreseeable future. God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be voting in 2012. Just got to avoid those moves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  11. PJ says:

    Question is how much damage they will wreck on the US, and also on the world economy, by not raising the debt ceiling.
    And I can’t see anything happening to them in 2012 that will be able to in any way offset the effects of their actions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  12. @PJ: PJ, it definitely won’t offset the damage they will do, but the Republican Party needs to be much smaller and for a significant amount of time. It’s the only way they will learn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  13. @john personna:

    You know, if there is one “personal best” for me in this whole thing, it was that I called “I am not a witch” as the shark jumping moment. It was downhill from there.

    Congressional interventrion in the Terry Schiavo case. Perhaps the most offensive political act I’ve ever seen in my life. But to be honest I had lived on the fringes of the GOP for years. The last time I worked on a campaign was 1992 when one of my law professors ran, unsuccessfully for Congress. And my voting habits from 1994 onward have been candidate based rather than party based.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  14. @Doug Mataconis:

    Congressional interventrion in the Terry Schiavo case. Perhaps the most offensive political act I’ve ever seen in my life.

    I was ambivalent about it at the time, mainly because the parents were willing to care for her. Still, I couldn’t believe that Congress got involved in it and, when the federal courts rejected the arguments, conservatives were angry and said she didn’t get a complete re-review of her case (I’m not a lawyer and don’t know the right term for this).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  15. @john personna:

    You know, if there is one “personal best” for me in this whole thing, it was that I called “I am not a witch” as the shark jumping moment.

    Refresh my memory. What is “I am not a witch” referring to? Is it the Christine masturbation chick from Delaware?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  16. Christopher says:

    Robert Prather, you haven’t even voted in the last 2 elections? Besides being a moron for not voting (moving? seriously, that’s your excuse?), you have absolutely NO say in the matter!

    But anyway, how is it republicans fault? They are finally taking responsibility for the budget, regardless of what they did in the past. And they are not saying they are against the debt ceiling, they are saying they are against the insane increasing of the debt under Obama and are trying to save the country by establishing some cuts. (ooooh oh my gosh I guess I’m a racist now! Because anyone that goes up against “the One” is a racist, right?). It is OBAMA who will be driving the country to ruin if he does not accept the republicans plan. He has the ability to accept or reject. It will be on HIM if we don’t raise it. Pen in hand and he doesn’t sign? Insane.

    Do you even remember earlier this year? Obama’s INSANE budget of MASSIVE more debt did not receive one vote. Not from republicans, not from democrats, not from independents. Not ONE. Yet now he wants to be the voice of reason? Talk about insane!

    Go ahead and be a radical liberal. No one cares. And besides, radical liberals I at least repect. Its the ones who pretend they are independent (code for idiocy) that have zero clue about things. What will happen if the debt ceiling does not get raised is what will happen in the next couple of years anyway, so republicans are doing their part. Democrats? Those in congress haven’t even passed a budget in 2 years!

    One other thing: Obama says his tax increases don’t even take effect for 2 years, when things will be, he predicts, better. What happened to his campaign promises of a better economy? What happened to his predictions of lower unemployment with his massive stimulous debt program? What happened to his “shovel ready” debt spending programs that weren’t, by Obama’s own admission, quite shovel ready? The guy predict about as well as the weatherman here in Portland, Oregon. He sucks at it.

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  17. lunaticllama says:

    There’s been a long simmering debate on liberal blogs about whether current Republicans were a combination of stupid/crazy or just recklessly focused on negotiating leverage for holding the debt ceiling hostage.

    After the breakdown of the Obama/Boehner grand bargain, it’s clear that the national party as a whole is controlled by people on the stupid/crazy side of the line. They walked away from $4 trillion dollars in cuts and a Dem President cutting into the core social safety net that liberals rally around, because Democrats insisted on revenue increases equal to what Republicans this past winter suggested should be the deal’s outline. I just don’t know how you’d imagine ever getting a better deal.

    It’s just bizarre, while at the same time being really scary. I’m going to be looking for a job this fall by necessity and it’s terrifying seeing Republicans intentionally flirt with financial panic.

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  18. lunaticllama says:

    @Christopher: Do you believe that you should be able to stop paying your mortgage/car payment/credit car bills, because your spending is “INSANE,” or I suppose out of control?

    And you do realize that the Dems failure to pass a budget before the 2010 elections was due to the threat of Republican filibuster in the Senate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  19. Drew says:

    Couldn’t agree more. We have to “negotiate” like sensible people, and be “reasonable” and tax and spend just like the last 50 years. Sparklingly brilliant.

    Its a philosophy thats put us in a fine spot right now, eh?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 27

  20. lunaticllama says:

    @Drew: I suppose the truly reasonable thing to do is to intentionally create a financial panic and resulting recession, while increasing our deficit?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  21. @Christopher:

    What will happen if the debt ceiling does not get raised is what will happen in the next couple of years anyway, so republicans are doing their part. Democrats?

    If this is the case, why are interest rates so low? We are in no danger of having too much debt. If we were, we would see it in interest rates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  22. @Christopher:

    you have absolutely NO say in the matter!

    And yet, here I am, speaking on the matter. You are far too full of yourself and have no right to make such decisions. I can either vote, or not, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m a citizen of this country and have a stake in its future. Hence, I speak.

    I would address your points about Obama driving the country in the ground, but I addressed them in the post. You’re apparently one of those people who can’t spell “liquidity trap” and also don’t realize you are advocating contractionary policies which will make the economy worse, not better, even if we get a deal on the debt ceiling.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  23. Christopher says:

    @lunaticllama: Do you believe that you should be able to stop paying your mortgage/car payment/credit car bills?

    No, Robert I don’t. Hopefully ‘the One’ doesn’t either, and will go along w the R’s. You might not believe in the method, but his balls are in a vice. It’s up to him to decide to let America pay its bills or not. And what in the world is the verrrry bad things the R’s are proposing? Less debt. OMG! How radical! How irresponsible! How racist! See how you sound? That’s right, like a typical liberal. Leaning right? Dude, you have pushed over the wall! Be a man, and admit you are a liberal. I dare you.

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  24. ponce says:

    If decent Americans can’t defeat the Tea Party…well, maybe America isn’t so great anymore.

    I have faith Obama will prevail against them.

    That’s why I voted for him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  25. Kylopod says:

    >I’m convinced that the Tea Party types know nothing of economics.

    That’s something I first began to notice when I read an online question-and-answer session with Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips for the Washington Post in 2010. One particular answer of his struck me. Pay particular attention to the wording of the question, and how he answers it:

    Q: If cutting taxes did so much to raise revenues, why did we always find the federal deficits ballooning immediately after they were implemented. Think Ronald Reagan, GW Bush. Tax increases under Clinton also raised revenue and actually brought the budget into balance.

    Judson Phillips: Kennedy cut taxes and the economy boomed in the 60′s

    Reagan cut taxes in the 80s and the economy boomed.

    Bush cut taxes in the early 2000s and the economy boomed.

    The Clinton balanced budget came mostly after the GOP took over the house in 2004 and he could not spend all the money he wanted to.

    There are numerous problems with this answer from a historical and economic perspective, but the single most revealing thing to me was that if you examine what the question was and how he answers it, you realize he seems to be under the impression that “revenue” is just another word for economic growth and “deficits” just another word for a lagging economy.

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  26. john personna says:

    @Drew:

    We have to “negotiate” like sensible people, and be “reasonable” and tax and spend just like the last 50 years.

    Some of those were actually pretty good years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  27. Terrye says:

    I don’t think these people are either stupid or evil. I don’t agree with them, but then again it should be noted if the Democrats were so good or so smart, we would not be where we are today. They helped create this situation and that has a lot to do with the reactions of the Tea Party people.

    After all, if not for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the efforts of government to increase home ownership in this country, we might not have had a meltdown. I am not saying their intentions were all bad, but in the long run it hurt the economy. And that created more debt and then here comes Obama with the big fat stimulus and Obamacare, both of which meant more debt and more intrusion by government. A lot of this is just a reaction to all that. If Obama had been a better leader, a less partisan president we might not be looking at all this mistrust.

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  28. Linda says:

    @Terrye:

    What we are looking at in the housing crisis was NOT Fannie or Freddie–both of those institutions took on subprime loans much later and in small amounts than private institutions. Most of the subprimes did not involve the federal government, or low-income home purchasing efforts by the federal government (which dates back to the 1970s, with NO housing crisis). Furthermore, if Freddie and Fannie caused the housing crisis, how do you account for the same developments in Spain and Ireland? Sorry, but the private sector has to own this one.

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  29. Magic Panda says:

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  30. TR says:

    “If Obama had been a better leader, a less partisan president we might not be looking at all this mistrust.”

    What do you mean? If anything, Obama’s been the least partisan president in my lifetime. He’s bent over backward looking for compromise on every negotiation. Just look at the debt ceiling debates — Republicans proposed an 85-15 spending cuts-tax hike split as their starting position back in March, and Obama wound up offering them an 83-17 split. That’s more than meeting them halfway, that’s meeting them 95% of the way on their side.

    I just don’t understand how some people see Obama as anything than what he is, which we used to classify as a moderate Republican. Look at the policies he’s pushed, and you’ll see that most of them are ones put forth by center-right Republicans from the early 1990s. His health care plan is essentially the Weicker plan from 1993 that was the GOP alternative to Clinton’s health care plan. His energy policy is based on the cap-and-trade plan that was created by Boyden Gray in Bush 41′s White House as a market alternative to regulatory control. His foreign policy is essentially Bush 41 as well — international, multilateral, interventionist.

    Frankly, if you think Obama has been excessively partisan, I’m afraid that says more about your own partisan blinders than his.

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  31. Loviatar says:

    @TR:

    Its funny how partisanship works. Try saying what you said (Obama is a moderate Republican) over at Balloon Juice and being called a naive, democrat hatting hippie would be the least of the insults.

    Its almost getting as bad as the way the Republicans used to be about Bush circa ’01, ’02 and ’03.

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  32. Pete says:

    @Kylopod: Revenues do rise after tax cuts, but if spending rises faster, which it usually does because politicians can’t resist spending other peoples’ money, then naturally deficits will grow. Clinton’s surplus was a result of cutting the capital gains tax and some spending restraint on defense and welfare.

    And Robert Prather, the reason interest rates are low is because the Fed wants them low. They are artificially low. This is a credit contraction we are in and until banks start to lend and consumers start to spend, the Fed can expand the money supply all it wants, but it will sit in banks where it earns some safe returns and not stimulate demand. Consumers have little appetite to spend so attempts to stimulate through aggregate demand are falling on deaf ears.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 19

  33. Jay says:

    I’m a long-time reader of OTB for a reason – the articles offer insightful analysis that I can’t find on other blogs. This article is an angry rant that offers nothing we haven’t read before, and in the comments, the author resorts to name-calling (“Teatards”?). I hope this article is not the start of a trend.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 17

  34. Bob says:

    What a bunch of BS. Good for the House for taking the debt and wild spending seriously. They are the only sane voices in WDC. When it becomes clear that business as usual is over the debt ceiling will get raised but with the required cuts and caps and we will all be better for it.

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  35. Pete says:

    @Linda: I agree they did not cause the housing bubble, bu the fact they guaranteed, implicitly, that risky loans would be backed by the government unleashed all the sharks in the lending business. Naturally, Wall Streets’ Ivy League stars saw an opportunity and took it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 15

  36. Jasper says:

    @Christopher:

    And what in the world is the verrrry bad things the R’s are proposing? Less debt. OMG! How radical! How irresponsible! How racist! See how you sound?

    What they’re fighting for is keeping tax rates at sixty year lows, in a supposed deficit and debt “crisis,” and most especially keeping rates low on the top slivers who have seen their incomes and wealth skyrocket while the middle class have seen decades long stagnant wages. The top 400 taxpayers paid about 17% of their income in taxes in 2010. And the GOP says, that’s either just right, or WAY too high, since the GOP “conservatives” advocate for lower rates and eliminating the capital gains tax entirely, which is about all that those in the top sliver pay.

    And so, since tax increases are off the table, to solve this “crisis” they demand 100% of the sacrifice be “shared” by the middle class and poor while insulating entirely the top 1/1,000 from ANY pain. It’s not “racist” but it is unconscionable and offensive.

    To put this in perspective, the top 1/1,000 (according to the IRS) reported income of a little less than $1 trillion. That is roughly the same income earned by the entire bottom HALF of income tax filers. The GOP plan CUTS tax rates on the 1/1,000 while making deep cuts to Medicare, SS, and Medicaid, along with every other program whose benefits flow mainly to that bottom half. Make sense to you? Not to me. That’s not how a country resolves a “crisis” – it’s how they become a banana republic, a plutocracy.

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  37. John says:

    @Robert Prather: You could always vote early. Then you don’t have to worry about what is going on on election day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  38. horatius says:

    @Pete: There is so much stupid in this statement, I don’t even know where to begin.

    I guess I’ll just call you an idiot and leave it at that. I am tired.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  39. Argon says:

    @Robert Prather: If you never saw anything like this before then you must be pretty young. The anti-intellectuals, aka “moral majority” types, were ushered into the GOP around the time of Reagan (“trees cause more pollution than automobiles do”). Granted, that group surprisingly acheived disproportionate power in the last election, but they’ve been there, wagging the dog for several decades. “Santorum” is an apt description that pretty much describes the reactionary derangement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  40. @Jay: This article is not the start of a trend; it’s simply me venting, and it’s not typical of my style. How anyone can look at what’s going on and not be angry about it is beyond me. I’ve been following politics for 25 years and I’ve never seen this kind of foolishness before. Also, I used Teatards in the comments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  41. sam says:

    Robert Prather says:
    Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 22:03

    @Matt Parker: They certainly aren’t conservative in a Burkean sense.

    You mean Edmund Burke, the notorious RINO, that Edmund Burke?

    I once described a Tea Party rally as a South Park episode masquerading as a political movement. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to South Park. I still think the Tea Party in the House is Marat-Sade on the Potomac, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  42. sam says:

    [Can we get rid of the like/dislke thingy? Please.]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 9

  43. @Argon: I’m not that young and I remember the thing about trees causing pollution. The difference is that saying something stupid like that is wholly different than what is happening now. We have people trying to destroy the economy out of either ignorance or malice. Quite different.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  44. gVOR08 says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You said, “And my voting habits from 1994 onward have been candidate based rather than party based.”

    No points Doug. If George Washington were somehow running for congress as a Republican, it would be a mistake to vote for him because it would aid and abet the rest of them. You are clinging to memory of a different Republican party and fear not of the Democratic party, but of a caricature of the Democratic party created by Carl Rove and his ilk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  45. Barry says:

    @john personna: “I suppose if this repeats as a typical cycle, you’ll have a GOP you can like in a half-decade or so. Parties have to go nuts and fail before they can self-repair. It’s sad in a sense that the recession gave the GOP a bounce-back too soon, in 2010, and they didn’t get the woodshed time they need … for their own reinvention. ”

    No. I thought so in 2008, after the GOP performed a once-in-a-half-century trashing of themselves, but they were back in two years, and are likely to be back more in two more. Even after Nixon, they were really only in exile for a few years, taking the Senate in 1978, and the Presidency in 1980.

    And the current comeback was done by continuing their policy of trash, loot, and throw the mess to the other party. That’s a frighteningly effective strategy, and won’t produce a serious trashing of the GOP until they actually repeat something like the Great Depression. Something harsh enough to burn out a generation on them, for the rest of their lives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  46. Jasper says:

    @Pete:

    @Kylopod: Revenues do rise after tax cuts, but if spending rises faster, which it usually does because politicians can’t resist spending other peoples’ money, then naturally deficits will grow. Clinton’s surplus was a result of cutting the capital gains tax and some spending restraint on defense and welfare.

    That statement is only true if you ignore 1) inflation, and 2) population growth.

    For example, Reagan cut rates dramatically in 1981 and then raised taxes every year between 1982-1987. On an inflation adjusted basis, individual tax receipts grew only 13% between 1981-1989.

    Clinton raised rates, and real receipts increased 66% during his eight years. It’s safe to say that economic growth during the Clinton years was comparable to the Reagan years, and both periods saw huge runups in stock prices.

    The best example is the years of the W. Bush administration. On a real basis, they were highest in 2001. We had two large tax cuts, including cuts to capital gains rates (big revenue raisers you say), and individual receipts declined by 10% over those eight years, and that’s stopping the analysis in 2008, before receipts plunged due to the financial collapse and beginning of the Great Recession. Factor in population growth and the decline is greater, roughly 17%.

    Inflation adjusted Individual receipts for the last year on record, 2010, are 30% below their all time high in 2000, despite population growth, despite normal economic growth that occurs in ANY tax climate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  47. john personna says:

    @Barry:

    And the current comeback was done by continuing their policy of trash, loot, and throw the mess to the other party. That’s a frighteningly effective strategy, and won’t produce a serious trashing of the GOP until they actually repeat something like the Great Depression. Something harsh enough to burn out a generation on them, for the rest of their lives.

    Maybe yes and no. The Republicans have been thinning their ranks, their core, since the religious right took control. It’s just that they carried along as voters, the very people they were rejecting as policymakers. When did the RINO concept really strike it big? I’d say it was in the 2008 election cycle.

    You can’t do that kind of dividing down forever.

    Some may not like Robert’s piece for its heat, but I like it as a bellwether. Actually OTB has been a bit of a bellwether in the last six months or so. The frequency with which these long-time Republicans rise to defend (new) Republican policy has dropped precipitously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  48. Barry says:

    @Loviatar: “Its funny how partisanship works. Try saying what you said (Obama is a moderate Republican) over at Balloon Juice and being called a naive, democrat hatting hippie would be the least of the insults.”

    No, there’ll be a lot of people agreeing with that.

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  49. Rob in CT says:

    Reagan claimed that he became a Republican because the Dems left him, not the other way ’round. I think that’s apt here. That’s certainly how I feel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  50. Argon says:

    @Robert Prather: Rob, they’ve been trying to do things like gut the EPA since it was created and impose heavy handed religious dogma for quite some time (e.g. Why did ERA fail?). It wasn’t just that Reagan said some stupid things but that his administration also acted accordingly. Do you remember James Watt’s stint at the Department of the Interior? Reagan’s inability to confront AIDS? These are all short-sighted and ultimately destructive, dogma-driven positions. Bush I was relatively sane but Bush II saw the crazy redoubled. This is just the natural evolution of that movement. You marry socially reactive religious conservatism with economic conservatism and this is what we get: Conservative dogmatism that looks like big tent revivalism.

    Yes, I agree that this time it’s especially pernicious, but not something I didn’t expect. But then, Reagan and the GOP alliance with the Moral Majority soured the Republican party for me. The Bush II years just drove more nails in that coffin.

    In any case, welcome to the club, Robert. Better late than never.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  51. john personna says:

    @Pete:

    I agree they did not cause the housing bubble, bu the fact they guaranteed, implicitly, that risky loans would be backed by the government unleashed all the sharks in the lending business. Naturally, Wall Streets’ Ivy League stars saw an opportunity and took it.

    As others have indicated, this is not accurate.

    I think it’s best to think of it as a timeline. Freddy and Fannie bought loans before and after the bubble, but not at the critical period where NINJA loans were packaged as AAA securities and sold on Wall Street.

    Freddy and Fannie always kept higher lending requirements for their own loans, and before the crash for the security bundles they bought.

    Now, after the crash congress did something pretty sick. After we all knew what “toxic assets” were, and when no one sane would buy them, congress sent Freddie and Fannie in to buy them off the troubled banks. Maybe this was necessary to the bankruptcy of Bank of America, or whatever, but it sunk Freddy and Fannie after the fact. But it saved your Ivy Leagues, yay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  52. Rob in CT says:

    @Barry:

    I had the same thought. I don’t read Ballon Juice, but I do read other liberal blogs and the commentariat generally pegs Obama as center-right (and some are really, really angry about it). Go to a liberal blog and claim Obama is a progressive and you will likely be dogpiled by people laughing or yelling at you. Call him a strong defender of liberalism and you’ll get much the same reaction, with perhaps a minority sticking up for the idea that he’s a pragmatic liberal doing the best he can in the current political environment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  53. Argon says:

    @john personna:

    Maybe yes and no. The Republicans have been thinning their ranks, their core, since the religious right took control.

    Yes, I’ve seen that too. In many ways it mirrors the dynamics played out by the Southern Baptists. Actually, time-wise, it’s a close parallel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  54. john personna says:

    @Robert Prather:

    Refresh my memory. What is “I am not a witch” referring to?

    Priceless video

    Was it a Democrat operative who put the scary fog in the background?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  55. Brian R. says:

    If you need a clear example of how clueless and reckless House Republicans are, just check out this bit from Cantor:

    http://articles.boston.com/2011-07-20/bostonglobe/29795238_1_tax-cuts-deep-deficits-spending-problem

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  56. Rob in CT says:

    By the way, I think Fanny and Freddie should be phased out/fully privatized (with a clear promise not to back them). I do not think they caused the crisis, though it’s possible they were a secondary factor. I don’t think they helped.

    Random thought re: revenue. We’ve been talking for some time about how income taxes are lower than they’ve been in a long time, but obviously the popular perception (particularly on the Right) is that taxes are really high.

    I figured I should work out my overall tax burden for 2010, as a percentage of gross income.

    Total federal & state income taxes, plus property tax on our house and cars was 20% of our gross pay (not AGI). And we’re around the 95th percentile for earnings. 2010 was a bit of an odd year, due to the birth of our daughter and some unpaid leave that went w/that, so our income was down. We’ll see what happens with our 2011 taxes (AMT! Booga Booga!), but figure 20-25% for 2011.

    THAT IS NOT TOO HIGH. Given the situation, that’s too damned low. I’m not into covering for free riders, though, so I’m not going to donate extra to the IRS whilst Tea Partiers keep trying to starve the beast.

    Shared sacrifice. We (of the people, by the people, for the people…) racked up a bunch of debt. The bill is going to come due (not *right now* thankfully, but we need to deal with this in the medium/long term). The idea that people like me and people wealthier than me should be totally insulated from this is insane.

    I had this discussion with my parents the other day. They’re all fired up about the whole “half the population doesn’t pay taxes” meme. Setting aside that it’s income taxes that half the population pays, the obvious question is WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS? The obvious answer is that half the country earns diddly squat. Ever-increasing wealth disparity leads directly to this. You cannot squeeze blood from a stone. Those people don’t have the damned money. The top 20% have about 85% of the wealth. Obviously income isn’t exactly the same as wealth (though there is surely a solid correlation), and we mostly tax income, not wealth. But still. There’s no there there.

    So where does that leave us? We must have more revenue in the future. I agree with the majority in that I want to close the deficit (slowly, and not *right now*) with a combo of cuts & added revenue. I think it’s also a majority position that cuts should be greater than added revenue. 3 to 1 works for me. I could probably be talked into 2 to 1. The Dems have offered 4 to 1 (with the 1 being at least partly raised via removing deductions/loopholes rather than raising rates), and have been turned down. I don’t even know what to say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  57. Loviatar says:

    @Barry / @Rob in CT:

    The centrist crowd at Balloon Juice (former moderate Republicans and centrist Democrats) are very fervent in their belief that Obama is a true Democrat, to them he is not center right, he is at the most a centrist, or pragmatist. To attempt to disprove that and say no, he is a center right politician in the mold of a moderate Republican (80s / early 90s era) will open you to a long thread of insults and name calling.

    Even listing Obama’s center right comments, speeches and policies will not convince his true believers. As I said its more akin to a belief cult similar to what the Republicans had with Bush in the early aughts.

    The left sees him for what he is, but many of them feel what can they do its either him or the Insane Clown Posse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  58. john personna says:

    @Loviatar, I’m not sure why you think it is a win to say “at the most a centrist, or pragmatist.”

    That’s the point. And yet we’ve got crazies arguing that Obama represents the Liberals, who will not compromise, blah, blah, blah.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  59. Rob in CT says:

    @Loviatar:

    Interesting. Obviously, this simply proves that Obama’s such a slippery character with such a shadowy background that Americans are confused as to his real beliefs! Mumble, mumble, Muslim, mumble, socialist, mumble, facist, mumble Kenyan…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  60. @Doug Mataconis :

    As you noted you are on the “fringe” of today’s GOP. Which is a shame as I often disagree with your priorities but I inhabit the same universe of reality and information as you do.

    But what can you, and others like you do to de-incentive the CRAZY (my words, not yours) in the modern GOP — As I see it, you don’t have many effective options.

    1) Vote for the least crazy candidate in every GOP primary — if they win, vote for them in the general, if they lose, either vote Dem or abstain in the general for that race.

    2) Start funding primary challenges from the left or at least non-crazy ideological positions against GOP elected officials who are mismatched against their district Republican electorate.

    3) Defect entirely and never vote for a Republican in a general election until the non-crazy dominate the party again. If you want to enhance this option, then consistently vote for a Dem as that is a swing of 2 vote margin but if you don’t like the Dem running, it is still a swing of one vote in margin.

    4) Don’t provide covering commentary that relies on intentions or out of power elite wish projection instead of stark analysis of the actions of people who have the power to actually do things.

    None of those options are fun from your point of view, but they all have some slight possibility of marginally rejiggering the incentives to reward non-crazy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  61. Rob Prather says:

    @john personna:

    The frequency with which these long-time Republicans rise to defend (new) Republican policy has dropped precipitously.

    I can’t defend the indefensible. Neither can the other guys who post here because they are reasonable. Tea Partiers are not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  62. john personna says:

    @Rob Prather,

    FWIW, I am a lapsed Republican. I was ambivalent in the Bush-Gore election, but felt the party left me in the 2000s.

    (Update: I was pretty much a Reagan Republican, though I thought the “trees cause smog” and the push for the peacemaker missile were mistakes. I liked Reagan, but didn’t mind that he was blocked in his most extreme efforts.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  63. Loviatar says:

    @john personna:

    Ahh, but coming from a position that says the Insane Clown Posse is Far Far Right to have the opposite party led by someone who “at the most a centrist, or pragmatist” is not a good thing. For those claiming that they want the country lead in a centrist manner Obama would have to be of the center left or left, he is not so we end up with right leaning policies that harm the nation.

    As far as the crazies go they’ve always been there and will always be there, my philosophy is ignore and move on (thats why I like the new hide function in the comments)
    .

    @Rob in CT:

    I’ve never said Obama is a slippery character, what I’ve said is that Obama’s followers similar to his opponents project their beliefs onto him. When its pointed out that their beliefs may be wrong they tend to get upset and insulting (again similar to his opponents).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  64. sam says:

    Holy Shit! Is sanity breaking out?

    From today’s Washington Post: Out from under the anti-tax pledge:

    WITH A HANDFUL of exceptions, every Republican member of Congress has signed a pledge against increasing taxes. Would allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire as scheduled in 2012 violate this vow? We posed this question to Grover Norquist, its author and enforcer, and his answer was both surprising and encouraging: No.

    In other words, according to Mr. Norquist’s interpretation of the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, lawmakers have the technical leeway to bring in as much as $4 trillion in new tax revenue — the cost of extending President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for another decade — without being accused of breaking their promise. “Not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase,” Mr. Norquist told us. So it doesn’t violate the pledge? “We wouldn’t hold it that way,” he said.

    Somebody find Bithead and start CPR.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  65. Rob in CT says:

    @Loviatar:

    I know YOU didn’t say that. Sorry, it was an attempt at humor by poking fun at wingnut memes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. Nick says:

    Getting an accurate grasp of the facts is essential to any problem solving. Agreed?

    One party thinks that God intercedes in human affairs, depending on whether he’s happy about abortion, gay marriage, etc. The other party thinks this is nonsense.

    That’s a huge difference in the understanding of the nature of reality, and it’s irreconcilable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  67. Rob Prather says:

    @Nick:

    One party thinks that God intercedes in human affairs

    This strikes me as a bit oversimplified. I’m guessing that a fairly large number of Democrats believe in things like intercessory prayer and the like. In fact, at times leftish religious groups have played a big role in the party, such as expanding aid for the poor, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  68. Rob in CT says:

    Definitely oversimplified. There is magical thinking on the Left too. It’s a difference of degree, not kind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  69. Rob Prather says:

    @Rob in CT:

    It’s a difference of degree, not kind.

    Agreed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  70. George in GA says:

    @Terrye:

    @Terrye (and all the other Fannie and Freddie grave robbers)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNqQx7sjoS8&feature=related

    Some of the more informed comments have links to the data after the repubs got their way

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  71. MikeH says:

    @Barry: “And the current comeback was done by continuing their policy of trash, loot, and throw the mess to the other party.”

    The real difference now is that the right has established a national propaganda machine, in the form of talk radio and Fox News. SwashZone has an interesting post comparing Hearst to Murdoch and the relative reach of the propaganda machines they established. This has enabled the Republicans to completely rewrite history for a considerable chunk of the electorate and has really prevented them from being punished for their past sins.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  72. jukeboxgrad says:

    George:

    @Terrye (and all the other Fannie and Freddie grave robbers)

    Are you sure you want Terrye to watch that video of George Bush talking about how important it is for poor people to buy homes, even if they can’t afford a down payment? Her head might explode.

    Terrye, you should also make sure to pay no attention to Bush saying this:

    … you don’t have to have a lousy home for first-time homebuyers. You put your mind to it, the first time homebuyer, the low income homebuyer can have just as nice a house as anybody else.

    More of that sort of thing from Bush can be found here, here and here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  73. jukeboxgrad says:

    TR:

    I just don’t understand how some people see Obama as anything than what he is, which we used to classify as a moderate Republican.

    I think of both Clinton and Obama as two of our best Republican presidents.

    Check this out:

    I think Bill Clinton was the best Republican president we’ve had in a while

    You’ll never guess who said that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  74. Robert Green says:

    ah, another one of these “i didn’t leave the republican party, they left me”.

    these guys were evil AND stupid a long time ago, right around the middle of when you were a) voting for them and b) talking shit about the stupid unrealistic hippy democrats. ronald reagan, stupid, and richard nixon, evil, ruined us. reagan’s economic policies were both evil and stupid at the time they were mooted, as any halfway honest and intelligent person could easily discern (and did, in real time!). it’s nice to see you here in reality, but to me once again i’m hearing a republican ask for the gold star for trying really hard.

    thanks for nothing. why don’t you take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why you supported stupid and evil for so long? a blog post on that might be interesting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  75. jukeboxgrad says:

    sam:

    “Not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase,” Mr. Norquist told us. So it doesn’t violate the pledge? “We wouldn’t hold it that way,” he said.

    That sounds like an important development, but now he’s saying he was misquoted. See here and here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  76. jukeboxgrad says:

    Also see here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  77. Rob Prather says:

    @Robert Green: so your thinking has never evolved? Besides, I didn’t say they left me, though they did partially. My thinking has changed as I noted in the post. I’ve been moving to the left for years now.

    I would add that you, like Christopher, are full of yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  78. jukeboxgrad says:

    sam:

    “Not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase,” Mr. Norquist told us. So it doesn’t violate the pledge? “We wouldn’t hold it that way,” he said.

    I like this comment from WP:

    This is one of the goofier op-eds in the Post I’ve seen in a while. Since when did good governance require burning incense in front of the Shrine of Grover Norquist to discern the subtle distinctions among “not continuing a tax cut,” a “revenue enhancement,” and a “tax increase.” This is why the Republican Party has degenerated to a religious cult worshipping at the altar of a fat, beady-eyed egomaniac with inherited money and a lot of time on his hands.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  79. Chad says:

    I think it’s a bit of a reach to call Obama a Republican in a Democrats clothing. He’s just pursued goals that have been on the wishlist of the Left through conservative means. No Republicans were actively arguing for Universal Health coverage and Republicans weren’t proposing Cap and Trade as there ideal. These policies were formulated in opposition to liberal goals as an alternative. Obama has simply decided to meet in the middle and pursue a liberal agenda within a conservative framework.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  80. Rob in CT says:

    Hah, nice find, jukeboxgrad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  81. Rob in CT says:

    @Chad:

    I think that’s a fair read.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  82. Curt says:

    Funny how the Teatards don’t even pay their hotel bills.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  83. sam says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    That sounds like an important development, but now he’s saying he was misquoted.

    Sigh. I did have the fleeting thought, “But It’s only a matter of time till…”.

    I guess my hopes are dashed: they’re still fvcking insane.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  84. jukeboxgrad says:

    sam, my initial reaction was the same as yours (“Holy Shit! Is sanity breaking out?”).

    As Judd Gregg has pointed out, the sanity won’t start breaking out until after the actual shit actually starts hitting the actual fan (what he called “a few days of disruption” and “drama”).

    The self-destructive irrationality at the heart of the GOP runs deep.

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  85. Robert Green says:

    yes, robert p, in looking over some of your writing now i can see that you have been evolving. but that’s not what i was highlighting in my comment. my point is this: you are saying something has happened, some event or recent series of events, that has led you to

    I’ve been moving to the left for a few years now, but these idiots are radicalizing me. I’ve never voted for a Democrat in my life (full disclosure: I didn’t vote the last two elections due to moving), but I doubt I’ll ever vote for a Republican again. They’re either stupid or evil, but either way they’re dangerous and bad for the country.

    what i’m saying is that if you had to be led to this, you should explore (preferably in writing on a blog, which is one of your modes of expression) how it is that could be so blind to a group that has materially hurt both our country through its malfeasance and the world through its continuing idiocy (the latter in particular concerns anthropogenic global warming–a political party that rejects this is one that rejects science technology technical expertise and intelligence). e.g. you were into some really amazingly stupid shit for a large part of your adult life.

    why?

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  86. Jay says:

    @Robert Prather: Obviously my opinion isn’t popular, and I understand that many people come to this site for different reasons than I, but I think excessive ranting poisons blog communities.

    Everyone is angry about this, but feeling angry and typing-while-angry are different in an important way: one is self-reinforcing, the other isn’t. Again, obviously many people liked your article and responded well to it, but my personal preference would be to read about how and why we think Tea Party economics is wrong, what’s the evidence, etc.

    For the record, I’m not politically correct enough to care whether you insult the Tea Party in your article or in the comments. It’s that I think those kinds of insults are counter-productive. Just sayin’. Cheers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  87. Rob in CT says:

    There IS NO “Tea Party Economics.” And that’s rather the point. The Tea Party is largely about people getting their rant on, actually.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  88. Rob Prather says:

    @Robert Green:

    what i’m saying is that if you had to be led to this, you should explore (preferably in writing on a blog, which is one of your modes of expression) how it is that could be so blind to a group that has materially hurt both our country through its malfeasance and the world through its continuing idiocy (the latter in particular concerns anthropogenic global warming–a political party that rejects this is one that rejects science technology technical expertise and intelligence). e.g. you were into some really amazingly stupid shit for a large part of your adult life.

    I don’t buy your premise. True enough, there have been nuts in the Republican Party for quite some time, but they were held at the margins. I voted for Bush 41 twice and he was quite reasonable.

    The Republicans of the 90s had some good and bad ideas — I still think the Department of Education has failed miserably and its budget should be turned into block grants for the states — but they also acted as a check on President Clinton. I came away from the 90s thinking that Clinton had been a fine president and missed him less than a year after he left office.

    I did vote for Bush 43 twice — he who enacted a prescription drug program for Medicare, doubled spending on the Dept of Education and many other things the Tea Party wouldn’t like.

    Long story short, I don’t think I’ve ever been a stupid shit, though I do think you’re an arrogant prick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  89. Robert Green says:

    there is nothing the republican party is doing economically and in terms of science that was not presaged by reagan. anti-intellectualism, and hopelessly anti-logical economics all in the service of rich people was the essence of reaganism. and you liked it. you voted for it.

    why you don’t like its obvious conclusion is therefore confusing to me. you think that the contract with america and newt gingrich was different than the tea party. i find that magical thinking, and if it makes me arrogant to think so based on nothing more than the actual words of said contract, and on the actual actions and data, then so be it.

    i guess the bridge too far for you is just not that far down the road from what you have yourself assessed as crazy town.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  90. Jay says:

    @Rob in CT: I don’t disagree with you, but I think we should guard against sinking to their level. Even if you think someone is crazy, it’s worth analyzing the people who give them ideas (who presumably aren’t crazy) or at least fleshing out why the crazies think the way they think. We ignore these memes at our peril. Had people engaged with the TP in the first place, I wonder if we would be suffering as much Palin-ism as we are now. (for the record I am not excusing their behavior)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  91. Kylopod says:

    >Had people engaged with the TP in the first place, I wonder if we would be suffering as much Palin-ism as we are now.

    Pardon me, but that’s like saying we should let the bully kick the crap out of us because the last time a kid punched him in the noggin, he went crying to the teacher.

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  92. jan says:

    @Rob in CT:

    On the whole, Rob, your analysis was reasonable. What continues, though, to be passed along as ‘factual,’ just because Obama and the media said it was so, is that 4-1 ratio of cuts versus revenues obama was offering in his ‘Big’ deal.

    The feedback from the other side was that he was backing away from entitlement program cuts almost immediately, and was vague and inconclusive about the rest of the cuts. The only aspect of the Big deal was the revenue part, which is what the republicans are leary about and oppose.

    Also, republicans don’t trust this president as to what he says and promises. He has backed pedeled on so many issues, to not only republicans but to his base as well, that it’s difficult to believe his words. Actions from Obama is what is needed to make any deal or compromise be seriously considered by the opposing party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  93. Jay says:

    @Kylopod: I’m not sure how that analogy fits here, but I’ll do my best. The TP didn’t begin by metaphorically punching us in the mouth, they mostly just cried (to the teacher?). The media responded by mostly making fun of them. They responded by lifting weights and then trying stealing our lunch money. Maybe, in hindsight, we should have put our arm around them at recess…not because we want to be friends with the school bully, but because we should have predicted that angry children become violent…adults? bullies? Now I’m confused.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  94. jan says:

    The tea party seems to generate a lot of snide remarks from this blog. I can’t tell if it’s just because they oppose everything most of you support, or because they seem to have so much muscle in the republican party making them seem like the perfect group to beat up on.

    From my perspective and what I’ve seen and read, the tea party is mainly a scattered group of people, from all walks of life, who have philosophically bonded in their beliefs that centralized government usurps the power from the individual. The United States and its form of capitalism is not a collectivist society, but rather an individualistic one.

    They are less fanatics, than simply believers in self governance. Many are small business people. Many belong to some kind of religious organization. Most have families, involve themselves in schools, and up until recently have been too busy in their own lives to actively involve themselves in politics. You see that again and again in interviews, that many were pulled into the tea party movement by their angst of seeing so many aspects of our cultural and fiscal sanity going south, taking away their right of decision-making, education for their children, and so on along with it

    In a way the teas have only been the counterpoint, or a mounting ‘public retort,’ to the culture of political correctness and flirtation with European type socialism which has gained more ground in this country, especially after Obama’s election. It’s less a matter of ‘good’ versus ‘evil’ on either side of the political continuum, than an intense different point of view between people on how they want to live their lives. That’s why what Jay was calling for, a discussion of differing ideas, rather than just cat-calling each other might render at least a better understanding of everyone who at least share the same country address —–> the USA,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  95. sam says:

    @jan:

    The feedback from the other side was that he was backing away from entitlement program cuts almost immediately, and was vague and inconclusive about the rest of the cuts.

    And we should believe this unsourced assertion because?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  96. Kylopod says:

    >The TP didn’t begin by metaphorically punching us in the mouth, they mostly just cried (to the teacher?).

    You seem to have forgotten about those 2009 townhall meetings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  97. Liberty60 says:

    @jan:
    Why, the Tea Party is merely a heterogenous, principled group of fiscal conservatives concerned about the rising debt-to-GDP ratio…

    nope…I really couldn’t even finish typing that without laughing out loud.

    A thorough debunking of your rose-colored whitewashing of them would occupy a much longer post, but really, if you can still make such a bizzare and baldfaced assertion after all that we have seen and heard and experienced over the past 2 years, I doubt that a clear and compelling argument can penetrate the fog of delusion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  98. jan says:

    @Liberty60:

    You obviously have a closed mind, and see what you want to see with your own prescription rose-colored glasses. It’s pretty sad……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  99. mantis says:

    The tea party seems to generate a lot of snide remarks from this blog. I can’t tell if it’s just because they oppose everything most of you support, or because they seem to have so much muscle in the republican party making them seem like the perfect group to beat up on.

    It’s because they are idiots who want to destroy the country out of spite. That clear enough for you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  100. Jay says:

    @Kylopod: no, that’s what I meant when I said that they cried to the teacher…complaining at meetings isn’t that big a deal. I was actually sympathetic to the ppl speaking up at the town hall meetings…they were just concerned citizens at that point, The Rise of the Tea Party hadn’t happened yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  101. Kylopod says:

    >complaining at meetings isn’t that big a deal.

    Personally, I think shouting people down is going just a wee bit further than “complaining.” But maybe that’s just me.

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  102. The tea party seems to generate a lot of snide remarks from this blog. I can’t tell if it’s just because they oppose everything most of you support, or because they seem to have so much muscle in the republican party making them seem like the perfect group to beat up on.

    In my case, it’s because I think the tea party is by and large a bunch of phonies who didn’t care about the size of government when they controlled it and will stop caring again as soon as they control it again. In the mean time, they’re only interesting in posturing and have done very little to actually fix the problems this country faces.

    As someone who is actually concerned about the size and scope of government, I resent them using my issues, assuring that for the next generation I’m going to get lumped in with a bunch of political hacks.

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  103. jukeboxgrad says:

    a bunch of phonies who didn’t care about the size of government when they controlled it and will stop caring again as soon as they control it again

    Bingo. The GOP is in favor of small government except when it’s in charge of the government.

    Fool me once etc.

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  104. WR says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Here’s the great thing about tea partiers — you can ALWAYS fool them again. You can bet they spent all day yesterday calling each other up and explaining that it wasn’t really sweltering outside, that was just the evil liberals in goverment telling them it was, and they knew it was true because they heard it on Rush.

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  105. jan says:

    Well, to the progressive democrats here, the tea party people and those supporting their ideals are going to be around for some time. They are used to hard work, not getting their way, degraded and called names, oftentimes paying more than their fair share for causes and programs that are forced upon them. So, when you are used to being on the short end of what is considered PC and cool, a person tends not take the jeers of the leftist herds personally and just continue going for what they believe to be right.

    Most of what you describe tea party people to be like is so offensive and dishonest. The ones I have run across are principled, knowledgeable, proactive in all kinds of causes including humanitarian ones. They work food banks, go to places like Haiti to help, travel across the country, on their own dime (not paid for by unions), to support an effort they believe in, while still maintaining a job, business and family at home.

    I think they are far more analogous to the original movement of morons and idiots (only a third of the populace in those days) whose objectives contained a similar goal —> freeing themselves from the constraints of an overreaching government entity. Back then it was England, while today it is the liberal left calling themselves ‘progressives” who regressively want to smother all political dissent other than their own.

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  106. An Interested Party says:

    Obama is the new George III!!! Spread the word!!!

    Really, Jan, you might be taken a little more seriously if you didn’t caricature liberals as ridiculously as you claim others are caricaturing the Tea Party crowd…

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  107. jan says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I laughed after reading your comment. The teas have been maligned and ridiculed in this thread. However, when someone has a hard-hitting defense you say, “if you didn’t caricature liberals as ridiculously as you claim others are caricaturing the Tea Party crowd…

    I guess you want to have your cake and eat it too. In other words, it’s delightful to slam someone, but then when the ball is throw back, equally as hard, that’s not fair.

    Ok, I see the game you are playing……

    Reply

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  108. jan says:

    @An Interested Party:

    ….one thing you did get right was:

    Obama is the new George III!!!

    He has been called “The One” by his admirers, a messiah by others, and observed to be pompous, arrogant, and thin-skinned by those who have been around him. So, I guess he does have the qualities of a King. I didn’t look at it that way until you did. Thanks!

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  109. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    He has been called “The One” by his admirers, a messiah by others

    Strange. The only place I have ever read that was on conservative blogs and websites (but there it was in every second post). So I really doubt that this realization was due to An Interested Party.

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  110. Kylopod says:

    @jan: Please show me one example–just one!–of an Obama admirer referring to Obama in earnest as “The One.”

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  111. Rob in CT says:

    Seriously, that’s a BS conservative meme, jan. I have *never* seen Obama described as “The One” by liberals, either on the (many) liberal blogs I’ve read/commented on, or in person. Never once.

    But I’ve heard it a TON from Conservatives being snide.

    As for the Tea Party. I personally deride the Tea Party for the following reasons:

    1) Where the hell were they 2000-2008? Supporting the GOP, that’s where. They claim to be “independants” but when you look at the poll data about their beliefs, they’re nearly lock-step conservative Republicans. The base of the GOP. There’s nothing Indy about them, except branding. The poll data matches my personal experience: the people I know sympathetic to the TP are Republicans/Conservatives. There is very little ideological diversity there. The TP appears to have sprung fully-formed from the head of Zeus right after Obama was elected. It was the base of the GOP doubling-down on “we weren’t conservative enough.” So I find the claims of “oh, we’re a diverse group, we’re not Republicans!” to be laughable. Sadly, they aren’t even libertarians (they’re Socially Conservative too). Again, this is backed up by poll data.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20002529-503544.html

    Some choice excerpts:

    Asked to volunteer what they don’t like about Mr. Obama, the top answer, offered by 19 percent of Tea Party supporters, was that they just don’t like him. Eleven percent said he is turning the country more toward socialism, ten percent cited his health care reform efforts, and nine percent said he is dishonest.

    Sixty-four percent believe that the president has increased taxes for most Americans, despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans got a tax cut under the Obama administration. Thirty-four percent of the general public says the president has raised taxes on most Americans.

    See also: http://www.gallup.com/poll/141098/tea-party-supporters-overlap-republican-base.aspx

    Angry and Ignorant is no way to go through life, son. Anyway, if you read through the data you will see that I am correct: the TP is just the base of the GOP, attempting to rebrand itself.

    2) Ideology. I oppose many of the things they want. This makes sense, since they’re the GOP base and I’m a Democrat.

    3) There have been demonstrably stupid things pushed by the TP. Not just things I opposed ideologically, but things that are just flat out dumb. This Debt Ceiling debacle is just the most recent and potentially diasterous one.

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  112. The ones I have run across are principled, knowledgeable, proactive in all kinds of causes including humanitarian ones.

    The perfect example of the average Tea Partier is the classic picture of person with the “Tell the government to get it’s hands off my medicare” sign. They have no problem with massive government; as long as they’re the ones benefit. It’s just other people’s benefits they want to cut. And as Rob in CT points out, they’re over whelmingly social conservatives. Again, they think the government is damaging “liberty” when it tries to stop them from doing whatever they like, but they love using the law to control other people.

    This is just a group of boomers that got used to being able to manipulate everything to their advantage and now that their influence is starting to wane, they’re fighting to hold onto their privelege.

    Well guess what, thinking your’re a special princess who deserves to be treated better than everyone else isn’t virtuous and fighting for it isn’t principled. It just makes you self-serving.

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  113. Rob in CT says:

    Historical amnesia/ignorance (“Obama raised my taxes!” “Taxes are really high!” “Tax cuts spur economic growth and raise revenue!”) coupled with the usual SoCon stuff I’ve always disliked, even when I considered myself a Republican (highschool, admittedly, which is a while ago) = there is almost nothing there I can like. Tax cuts fix everything != fiscally conservative. Indeed, it’s fiscally irresponsible. In a particular context, tax cuts can be a good idea. In other contexts, it’s a bad idea. But to the GOP base, it’s *always* a good idea.

    At least a few TP types have at least made noises about cutting military spending, though I’ve yet to see any serious effort in that direction. If the TP were to take the NeoCon/Liberal Interventionist US foreign policy establishment down a notch or two, they will have finally done some good. But I rather doubt it.

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  114. An Interested Party says:

    However, when someone has a hard-hitting defense…

    Umm, writing the following…

    Back then it was England, while today it is the liberal left calling themselves ‘progressives” who regressively want to smother all political dissent other than their own.

    …isn’t a “hard-hitting defense” but, rather, the same kind of silly negative generalization that you don’t like when directed towards Tea Party types…

    Tell me, Jan, did you laugh at the comments of Ebenezer Arvigenius, Kylopod, Rob in CT, and Stormy Dragon, because they did a very good job of debunking the horse$hit you have been trying to peddle…

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  115. JeffG says:

    @Robert Prather:

    Teatards? Really?

    Man, I had no idea you’d become what you’ve become.

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  116. JeffG says:

    It’s probably no coincidence that many of these “sensible” GOP blogs end up being populated by liberal commentators who bash people who are right now arguing for the following: cut spending, cap it as a percentage of GDP, and enact a structural barrier to overspending in the future.

    That Prather has taken to calling such people “teatards” is disheartening, but then, some people just don’t have the stomach for a fight, and would rather be patted on the head and called “sensible” opponents than take the slings and arrows that come with being a constitutionalist these days.

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  117. jan says:

    @Rob in CT:

    I have *never* seen Obama described as “The One” by liberals, either on the (many) liberal blogs I’ve read/commented on, or in person. Never once.

    “The One,” was a label first coined and used by Oprah Winfrey when she initially immersed herself in Obama’s ’08 campaign. “Is he ‘The One?’”

    It has stuck and been used by all sides. But, you’re right that the GOP has included it frequently in their rhetoric because Obama was seemingly billed as the second coming of Christ or something, the way people swooned and flocked to him, while the media lamely sidestepped any digging into his background, like they usually would do for any other R or conservative candidate.

    You’re also correct, IMO, that the main political affiliation of the teas is conservative and/or republican. But, there are also a sprinkling of all other parties too: libertarian, moderate to conservative dems, indies.

    As for the teas arising after Obama was elected —> yes, that is when they suddenly seem to emerge, almost from nowhere. But, there was a huge majority of people who were unhappy under GWB’s reign. They were equally unimpressed when McCain/Palin became the party’s nominee. Quite a few just opted out of voting that year. But, when reality hit, that someone like Obama had taken the gavel of governing this country, it was the straw that broke the camel, and they decided to not trust government of either the left or right and take on what they saw wrong in this country by themselves. That’s why their movement seems so akin to the original Revolutionary War that saw a separation of Colonial America from it’s mother country England.

    As for the teas arising after Obama was elected —> yes, that is when they suddenly seem to emerge, almost from nowhere. But, there was a huge majority of people who were unhappy under GWB’s reign. They were equally unimpressed when McCain/Palin became the party’s nominee. Quite a few just opted out of voting that year. But, when reality hit, that someone like Obama had taken the gavel of governance, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and they decided to not trust any party anymore, on either the left or right, taking on what they saw wrong in this country by themselves. That’s why their movement seems so akin to the original Revolutionary War which saw a separation of Colonial America from it’s mother country England.

    I see the Teas as far from ignorant. Many have schooled themselves on the Constitution, civics, history. Many have stepped up to the plate and run for local offices and state offices, winning them. They are enthusiastic, involved, committed, not sitting on their hands and whining about a political philosophy they view as incrementally destroying their country. Instead, they have set themselves to the task, as they see it, to savage remaining rights, returning as many freedoms as possible that were once established by the original Founding Fathers.

    This is scary stuff for progressives who are equally enthused to see this country become more like Europe, in all it’s social programs, cultural “sophistication,” savoir faire and the like. However, the teas are watching how their European counterparts are doing, especially the PIIGS, Western Europe in general, and conclude that such government pleasantries are not sustainable and will fail and fell a given country. So, they are taking action to, as they see it, pull America away from the brink.

    Even this debt ceiling debate is seen by the two different perspectives of the progressives and the teas. While they don’t see you guys as “evil morons,” like many of you view them to be, they do think you are myopic in the bigger picture of where socialized governance will take this country. They want health reform, but not the type putting it in the control of central government, like the public option would do. This is where we are headed too, because Obama’s plan, if not repealed, is not sustainable. In fact progressives want the government to act as a ruling parent for most everything that goes on here, while the teas want to put it in either the states jurisdiction or an individual’s choice, to decide what is right for them on most social issues, taxation, bureaucratic regulations.

    Therefore, they want the plug pulled on much of the debt, including serious consideration of eliminating overlapping bureaucracies, tapering defined benefits that were contracted during a more robust time etc. I think they feel the biggest lever to enact any real change is this debt ceiling. So, that’s the reason they are standing firm on seeing that the government include substantial and long standing real cuts, before any debt ceiling is raised. And, some prefer it not be raised at all — that people should just suck it up. Unreasonable? Yeah, maybe. But, this group is not comprised of push-overs, like most “establishment” Republicans tend to be —>the go-along-to-get-along types.

    There are different players on the right, at the moment. We’ll see what happens.

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  118. Rob Prather says:

    @JeffG: Jeff, in retrospect using the teatard epithet was probably not the smartest thing to do. However, there is no question in my mind that what these people are doing is idiotic and dangerous. If we end up in a default situation, it will make the financial crisis look small and will actually increase the deficit due to increases in interest rates.

    It’s infuriating to me that people can be this foolish. If they want to talk about spending cuts or tax increases, they can do it during the appropriations process. Putting our nations credit at risk is not an option, at least among sane people.

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  119. Rob Prather says:

    @JeffG:

    take the slings and arrows that come with being a constitutionalist these days.

    The only constitutional issue here is whether the debt ceiling itself is constitutional. That statement is self serving and inaccurate to boot.

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  120. Rob in CT says:

    Jan,

    I can only say that I disagree with your characterization of the TP, and characterization of progressives (note: even if you are correct about progressive priorities, progressives are but a faction of the Democrats, and do not drive the agenda). I find the attempts to tie the TP back to the spirit of ’76 to be kinda funny, and the odes to the freedom-loving founders as very silly. The USA is far more free today than in 1787. Or 1865. Or 1932. Or 1965. That added freedom is due, in many cases, to departing from what the Founders thought (note: obviously one cannot really talk about what “the founders thought” because they weren’t a hivemind, but let’s leave that aside for now).

    I think you have a fantasy TP in your mind, not the reality. Much like I think most TPers have a fantastical vision of the USA of yesteryear. I think they’re yearning for a mythical age that never was.

    As for healthcare, if the TPers really want healthcare reform, just not liberal healthcare reform, then gosh wouldn’t it have been good for the GOP (of which the TP is the base, remember) to have engaged with that issue when they held the Presidency, House and Senate? You know, just a little while ago? Oh, right, I forgot… they did. They came up with Medicare Part D (and refused to raise taxes or cut other spending to pay for it). Where the F was the Tea Party then? Nowhere to be found, because Med D benefits old people and the TP is largely old people. It’s not a principled stand against tyranny, Jan. It’s about “this benefits me, so I like it. This doesn’t benefit me, or I don’t see the use of it, so I don’t want to pay for it.” That’s ALL IT IS.

    That’s fine, by the way. But it is appropriate to have that discussion, as Rob Prather points out, during the appropriations process. Manufacturing a crisis for leverage may have been smart politics (or maybe not, I’m not sure), but I find it disgusting.

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  121. Rob in CT says:

    Thinking about US history some more… let’s see if we can tally up the gains/losses in freedom over time. Let’s just focus on the 20th & 21st centuries, so we don’t have to rehash the Civil War, ok?

    Ok. 20th Century gains, off the top of my head:

    Women’s Suffrage
    Worker’s rights (OSHA. The 40-hour work week. Vacation time. Sick leave. FMLA.)
    Civil Rights/destruction of Jim Crow laws (which was resisted vehemently at the state level. The Feds were crucial in this step forward)
    Civil Rights advances for gay Americans (still ongoing, obviously). Some states have led the way here and the Feds have largely been obstructive (DOMA), so we have the opposite of the 60s civil rights scenario.

    Losses:

    Prohibition of various drugs, unfortunately still in effect, which has become The War on Drugs
    Vastly more powerful/intrusive “National Security” apparatus. Spying on Americans. This has waxxed and waned. It seems to me it was worst during the height of the Cold War and today.
    gun control laws
    Increased levels of taxation (this has waxxed and waned too, but I’m pretty sure the overall tax burden is higher now than in 1901).

    I left out alcohol prohibition, b/c it was put in and then repealed, so the net effect from 1901 to present is neutral.

    I don’t think regulations fit neatly in either category. Is something like the Clean Water Act a gain or loss of freedom? I’d say both, but primarily a gain. Does it restrict some behavior? Yes, absolutely. It does this to prevent direct harm to other people, thus protecting their rights. I don’t find that particularly controversial (note: the application of environmental laws & regs can be flawed, yes. Good governance isn’t a fire & forget thing. A regulation is only as good as the regulators). Having the EPA around can be a pain in the ass for businesses, sure. But then unregulated businesses were a pain in the ass for citizens. Regulated businesses pollute too, but less. Air and water quality has improved, though I think we can still do better on that score. Environmental regulation often gets mocked as being about the whateveryoucallit gecko somewhere. Mostly it’s about safeguarding human health.

    What would a TPer add to my “losses” list? Anyone got more “gains?” I’m sure I’ve missed some things. Probably a bunch of things.

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  122. jan says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Good post, Rob, but wrong on some of your points.

    As for healthcare, if the TPers really want healthcare reform, just not liberal healthcare reform, then gosh wouldn’t it have been good for the GOP (of which the TP is the base, remember) to have engaged with that issue when they held the Presidency, House and Senate?

    Like I said before, for the most part the teas were unhappy with Bush for many reasons, including the fact that he squandered many opportunities during his presidency. He did attempt to create reform for SS, and also to ratchet back some of the lending problems with fannie and freddie, by some legislation he supported in 2006. But there weren’t enough in Congress interested to take this on, including members of his own party. And even though the Republicans did hold power for 6 of Bush’s 8 years in office, their margins were minimal, in comparison to the almost filibuster-proof ones (especially in the Senate) Obama had in his 1st two years, making it more difficult to pass anything.

    As for Medicare Part D it was decried and opposed by many conservatives, as way too expensive.

    I think there is never a “good” time to discuss such controversial topics as to what to do about the debt ceiling. But, given the dems have offered generalities to specifics in any budget negotiations, let alone putting something down on paper, they seem to be playing with the process, playing with fire, almost hoping talks will fail so the other side can take the blame for “not cooperating.” That is the dems standard operating rules, to blame the other party for everything they can. It’s used by the republicans as well, but not in such a lengthy fashion as the dems tend to do. The ‘Blame Bush” cry has gone on far too long, and indeed is wearing thin as more recent polls seem to indicate. I mean, at some point, a president does have to own his own presidency, through bad times as well as good. It’s time for obama to do that now.

    I give credit to the republicans, so far, for at least coming up with a “written” proposal and presenting it to Congress, albeit wasn’t what the other side wanted. It at least put some written reality to their mouths. The dems just keep shooting their mouth off, playing what amounts to rumpus-room politics — stomping their feet and then leaving the room. How can anything be accomplished by that kind of ruffled posturing?

    BTW, Rasmussen has just come out with what is called a “startling” new poll showing approval for Obama almost the same as Ron Paul —> 41/37! Now when anyone gets close to a Ron Paul scenario, something is very wrong. And, right now it is the way the prez is conducting this whole debt ceiling crisis. It’s his crisis to fix, not to embargo. If there was a republican, such as a McCain or Bush, at the helm, I would be saying the same thing.

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  123. WR says:

    @jan: I wonder if you are so self-deluded you actually believe you would be saying the same thing if there was a Republican in control. If so, you are the only one who believes it.

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  124. jan says:

    @Rob in CT:

    What would a TPer add to my “losses” list? Anyone got more “gains?” I’m sure I’ve missed some things.

    What I think you are missing in your entire debate about the teas, is that they are not telling anyone to do anything! They are simply saying “leave more of the choices on how I live my life to either the state where I live, or to myself. If we fail at our decisions then it is our failure and not the governments.”

    The government should be the umbrella for broader oversight, protection of country, and not dealing with all the bureaucratic micromanagement, federal mandates, subsidizing anything that moves, a philosophy which seem to be overtaking small businesses and communities to the point of adnauseam..

    Furthermore, the teas are but a subset, a 3rd party political movement, since they distrust and disagree with policies generated from both of the major parties.

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  125. jan says:

    @WR:

    I have criticized republicans wholeheartedly during the Bush administration. Unfortunately, I believe Obama to be an even a worse president.

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  126. jan says:

    This isn’t even so about the R or D next to a given politician’ s name anymore, as much as it is about the policy being pushed at people these days. It just so happpens that the current prez is a D, and the only ones who seem to at least be tangibly trying to address some of the problems of the day appear to be R’s.

    In my own situation, I have voted for democrats, libertarians and republicans my whole life. It’s the person, not the party poltics, who attracts my vote, which is again why I’m bowing out of the dem party and simply going Independent . More and more people I’ve run across are doing the same thing, too. And, this is substantiated by looking at how fast the indie numbers are growing, across the nation.

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  127. Rob in CT says:

    What I think you are missing in your entire debate about the teas, is that they are not telling anyone to do anything! They are simply saying “leave more of the choices on how I live my life to either the state where I live, or to myself. If we fail at our decisions then it is our failure and not the governments.”

    Oh bullshit. The Teas are Social Conservatives, Jan (again, see the poll data on this). They’re just FINE with telling other people how to live. They just want their taxes low.

    And oh by the way, if the fit hits the shan for THEM, I friggin’ guarantee most would want government help. They just don’t expect things to go badly for them. Why would they? They are, based on the poll data, mostly above-average income folks (I’d wager, though I haven’t seen data, that they skew even wealthier than income alone would suggest, since many are retired, but that’s just a guess). People like them (like me!) don’t expect to need help, so they don’t value the safety net as much. When people find themselves in deep do-do, however, it’s funny how most of them suddenly want their Uncle Sammy.

    all the bureaucratic micromanagement, federal mandates, subsidizing anything that moves, a philosophy which seem to be overtaking small businesses and communities to the point of adnauseam..

    I can’t make sense of this, sorry. Which mandates? Healthcare obviously. But you’re using the plural, so there must be others that bother you. A philosophy that’s taking over small business? What do you mean? Is that yet another shot at unspecified regulations? Communities being taken over? What?

    I’m sorry, I really can’t make sense of that.

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  128. Rob in CT says:

    Oh wow, I missed this at the end:

    Furthermore, the teas are but a subset, a 3rd party political movement, since they distrust and disagree with policies generated from both of the major parties

    Umm, no. I’ve shown you the data on this. They are overwhelmingly Republicans, engaged in battle for control of the GOP. I get that they repudiate at least some past GOP policies. But they are NOT A THIRD PARTY. If they were, there would actually be a Tea Party, like there is a Green Party or a Libertarian Party. The Teas (wisely, I think) decided that doesn’t work, and so they’re inside the GOP trying to drive the GOP agenda, and having some success (sadly).

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  129. Rob in CT says:

    Last comment, then I gotta run.

    I hear you on voting for the person/policies more than the party. I’m with that. I too have voted D, R, and third party (both Green and Libertarian), depending.

    But this is just mind boggling to me:

    It just so happpens that the current prez is a D, and the only ones who seem to at least be tangibly trying to address some of the problems of the day appear to be R’s.

    I find it amazing that we’re watching the same thing unfold, and you come to this conclusion. It’s just incredible to me.

    Actually, the problem of the day, unfortunately, isn’t being addressed by either Party right now. That would be unemployment. A deal on long-term debt does nothing for unemployment. A deal that makes big cuts in government spending tomorrow will actually increase unemployment.

    They’re fighting about the problem of tomorrow (still important, mind you), mostly to set up the 2012 election. I think this is so because: 1) politics, duh; and 2) there is no political will in DC to do much of anything about unemployment right now. They tried a stimulus (1/2 the size liberal economists calculated was needed) and all it did was plug some holes in state budgets and maybe reduce unemployment a little. It was easy to cast it as a failure and move on. No more stimulus. The FDR put ‘em to work option isn’t even on the table. So we’ll muddle through, with little or nothing done about jobs. Eventually, the household debt overhang will be reduced enough that we’ll get some more growth and some more jobs. I think it’ll be a while, though.

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  130. jan says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Perhaps I should have phrased it that the teas are similar to a 3rd party movement because they find no real comfort zones in either party. Eventually, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a good idea, the teas may branch out forming a legitimate 3rd party. However, for now they are trying to work with the republican party, as this party is far closer to their way of thinking than the dems, who, in their own way have been taken over by the far left.

    I find it amazing that we’re watching the same thing unfold, and you come to this conclusion. It’s just incredible to me.

    On this point I 100% agree that we are watching our economy collapse at our feet, coming to such different conclusions! The only think you offer is that (like Paul Krugman) wish the stimulus was twice as much! If that happened we would be more in more debt with little to show for it, like with the original stimulus. Why is it that progressives believe that by throwing more of the same at something you will have a better outcome??? This is analogous to the definition of insanity, you know!

    I have to run as well…..

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  131. WR says:

    @jan: Throwing more of the same at something? You mean like more tax cuts for the rich to boost the economy, when eight years under Bush failed at that over and over and over again?

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