Controlling Congress

A theme that just won't go away.

Capitol Buidling Dayime2Even this morning I keep hearing reporters use the verb “control” to describe the Republican Party’s relationship to Congress.  This word choice is especially disjunctive given that the stories in which this word is deployed are those about the current fight over funding of the Department of Homeland Security (i.e., the fight that the Republicans are currently losing in the Congress that they have been described as “controlling”).

This makes me think of something that some dude wrote back in November:

Note that I did not say that the Republicans would control Congress.  This is a different issue entirely.  The party ostensibly controls the House at the moment and will continue to do so, but Speaker Boehner’s true control of that chamber is hampered by factions within his party (although it is still more than fair to say that the Republicans control the House).

By “control” I mean the ability of the majority party to set the legislative agenda in the chamber and to be able to see that agenda successfully through the the chamber.  By this definition, control of the US Senate is nearly impossible to achieve because of the rules of the chamber which privilege the minority in most of the business of the chamber.  A unified bloc of 41 Senators can stop almost any legislation from passing the Senate (there are some budget bills that operate on a basic majority rule principle and there are some modification of the rules in terms of dealing with appointments).  In simple terms, a party that lacks 60 seats lacks full control of the chamber..

[…]

As such, I do not see a shift in the Senate leading to a substantial change in the practical status quo.  Yes, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell will both get a shift in media treatment and their daily jobs will change.  However, in a weird way being the Majority Leader is not all that it is cracked up to be, since the media will proclaim that the majority party “controls” the Senate but the reality will be that getting things accomplished will not be easy in the least. Meanwhile, Senator Reid will find that being in the minority is a lot more fun than being in the majority.

The general upshot:  I am in no way surprised by the current situation (and am somewhat amazed that the GOP allowed itself to get into this bind and, further, that the press covers it like it is anything other than totally predictable).  I do understand that some Republicans (perhaps most) think that this impasse gains them political points with their base, my question would be:  to what end?  The base will already vote for them in 2016.  After all that talk about having to govern perhaps some actual governing would be nice.

Having said all that, let me return to some other themes I often write about. In the past I have criticized the rules of the Senate that empower the minority party to block the majority party from passing legislation in the chamber.  Many readers seemed to assume that my criticism were linked to the fact that the Democrats controlled the chamber when I wrote some of those criticisms.  However, may I say that now that the Republicans have the majority of seats in the chamber, I would like to see them able to actually legislate.  Despite any number of criticisms that I would level at both the competitiveness of US congressional elections (for example here and here) and even to the structure of representation in the Senate itself,* I think that once voters have awarded a majority of seats to a given party that that party ought to be able to engage in regular law-making without substantial obstruction by the minority.

Really, the Republicans should be in a position, with a majority of seats in both chambers to pass legislation that directly challenges President Obama’s approach to the immigration issue.  Yes, the President could veto such legislation, but it would also transform the nature of the debate, both by making the confrontation being between the legislative and executive branches, but also by making that debate about specific, concrete policy options.

In general, I would note the following issues:

1.  We seem to increasingly find ourselves in a situation in which a regular way of trying to accomplish legislative success is playing chicken (i.e., maneuvering a situation in which all or part of the federal government might be shut down).  Recent examples include numerous debt ceiling confrontations, the federal budget itself in 2012, and now DHS specifically.

2.  Even when a party has a majority of seats in both chambers, it cannot effectively pass legislation.

3.  Addressing the immigration issue specifically (one which has clearly been broken for at least a decade) has been reduced to a combination of prosecutorial discretion and questionable executive orders.

On that third point I would specifically note that both parties have during the time noted both controlled the White House and majorities in both chambers of congress (and had some time of unified government).   This is not to say “both sides do it” as I do think  that it is clear that large chunks of the GOP are dedicated to blocking immigration reform, but rather to point out that there is some significant dysfunction within our policy-making institutions being revealed by our general inability to govern in an area of clear need.  (See also:  the budget process in general over a similar timeframe).

The ongoing inability of our legislature to function in a reasonable fashion is going to lead to more presidential moves like those made by Obama on immigration.  It will also lead to ongoing self-imposed crises like this shutdown and that.  As such, we need a more thorough public examination of these issues.

______________________

*I have mentioned this at numerous times in the past, but cannot recall a specific post to cite.  I do not have a problem with the notion of a second chamber that represents states, or even one that does not represent those states equally.  However, the two-per-state rule coupled with population patterns creates some distortions that I believe are highly problematic.  Not only do we have some crazy ratios between large population and small population states (CA to WY being the most extreme), it is possible for Senators representing a distinct minority of the population to control the chamber (and with the filibuster, the Congress).  This is problematic from the point of view of representativeness.  (One post that at least touches on this issue is here).

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    After all that talk about having to govern perhaps some actual governing would be nice.

    Shoot….you crack me up!!!!

  2. Pinky says:

    and am somewhat amazed that the GOP allowed itself to get into this bind and, further, that the press covers it like it is anything other than totally predictable

    Our press covers snow in winter as if it’s unexpected. Our political press is lazy and sensationalistic, reducing everything to horse-race narratives. Minimal discussion of issues, consequences, or anything other than BIG SHOWDOWNS. Even the less-mainstream, less-lazy press falls into the horse-race narrative, because quite often such outlets are ideological and/or partisan. It’s difficult to find media coverage with depth and without a dog in the fight.

  3. Mr. Prosser says:

    “I do understand that some Republicans (perhaps most) think that this impasse gains them political points with their base, my question would be: to what end? The base will already vote for them in 2016.” I think many are afraid of a primary. I read this morning that Clay Akin is considering challenging Roy Blunt.

  4. Jack says:

    This is not a bug, it’s a feature. It was a feature when the Democrats were in charge and Republicans were accused of obstruction. So, everyone that accused said Republicans of obstruction will now say the Democrats are obstructing legislation, right? Right?

    Yeah, no hypocrisy there.

  5. humanoid.panda says:

    do understand that some Republicans (perhaps most) think that this impasse gains them political points with their base, my question would be: to what end? The base will already vote for them in 2016

    This is a textbook example of a collective action problem: for the party as a whole, those impasses are bad, and the votes of the base are guaranteed and Citizens United made their donations irrelevant. However, for each individual member, a primary from the right (remember Cantor!) is a real threat, so he wants someone else to vote to end the impasse.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    Personally I think many, perhaps most, congress critters like the status quo. They like being congress critters and fear greatly having to take responsibility for anything. Tilting at windmills energizes the base and having those tilts inevitably fail means they won’t really be held accountable.

  7. al-Ameda says:

    @Stephen:

    The general upshot: I am in no way surprised by the current situation (and am somewhat amazed that the GOP allowed itself to get into this bind and, further, that the press covers it like it is anything other than totally predictable). I do understand that some Republicans (perhaps most) think that this impasse gains them political points with their base, my question would be: to what end? The base will already vote for them in 2016. After all that talk about having to govern perhaps some actual governing would be nice.

    The Republican Party has paid no political price whatsoever for shutting down government twice in the past 5 years. Probably 50% of the Republican Party base believes that a shutdown is a good thing because they do not believe that the federal government provides services and programs that benefit them. These are the same people who believe that the federal government provides benefits to undeserving people.

    Frankly, the GOP stands a good chance of winning the presidency in 2016 if only for two reasons: (1) if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, we could be looking at a reprise of those prosperous yet GOP-Hate Filled Clinton years, and (2) people may be so fatigued from years of constant obstruction of the Obama presidency that they may well give up and vote to let Republicans drive this thing into the ditch once and for all.

    Hillary Clinton is not good on the campaign trail, and it will take massive Democratic turnout to keep Republicans from winning the White House in 2016.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    @humanoid.panda: As any number of pundits have noted, it’s a conflict between GOP senators, especially senators facing reelection in ’16 in blue and swing states, and GOP representatives worried about being primaried in bright red districts.

    It’s a commonplace that Rs and Ds have swapped territories since the sixties. “Dixiecan” isn’t as mellifluous as Dixiecrat, but that’s a part of what we’re seeing.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @al-Ameda:

    …the GOP stands a good chance of winning the presidency in 2016… Hillary Clinton is not good on the campaign trail, and it will take massive Democratic turnout to keep Republicans from winning the White House in 2016.

    And the GOPs have, as they said in Cabaret, “Money, money, money, money, money, money…”

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:
    Gee, it does appear that Republicans are still behaving as if they want to shut down government over one issue that they refuse to negotiate, so, yes, it is truly amazing that anyone still believes that Republicans are the party of obstruction of government. I just don’t understand it.

  11. @Pinky:

    Our press covers snow in winter as if it’s unexpected. Our political press is lazy and sensationalistic, reducing everything to horse-race narratives.

    This is true, unfortunately.

  12. @Jack:

    So, everyone that accused said Republicans of obstruction will now say the Democrats are obstructing legislation, right? Right?

    Yeah, no hypocrisy there.

    You did read the post, yes?

    Although one major difference with the GOP is that even in the majority, there move is to threaten shutdown.

  13. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    It’s still a case of Republicans taking hostages and expecting ransom in return.
    Republicans are still threatening to shut-down the Government if they don’t get everything they want.
    You go ahead and call it whatever makes you happy.

  14. Jack says:

    @al-Ameda: Get your facts straight. The Democrats are filibustering a bill that fully funds DHS. Period. The Democrats are filibustering. THe Democrats are obstructing. Have a little bit of integrity.

  15. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The Republicans are not threatening a shutdown. They have offered a bill that fully funds DHS for the remainder of the fiscal year. Period. The Democrats are forcing a shutdown by not allowing a vote on the bill.

  16. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Again. The Republicans are not threatening a shutdown. Last year they refused to vote on something and they were blamed for a shutdown. This year the Democrats are refusing to vote on something and they are, by their inaction, threatening a shutdown.

    You can’t have it both ways. You can’t blame the Republicans for not voting and causing a shutdown, and also blame the Republicans for Democrats not voting and causing a shutdown.

  17. @Jack: I would note, again: my post states that they ought to be able to get their vote, given that they have the majority of seats and all.

    You are being grumpy and difficult unnecessarily.

  18. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I am not disagreeing with you about that. I’m simply pointing out the hypocrisy of those who called the Republicans obstructionist when they refused to vote yet fail to label the Democrats with the same broad brush.

  19. wr says:

    @Jack: Shorter Jack: I don’t actually have anything to say, but I want to pity myself for a while. After all, I’m a “conservative”!

  20. Jack says:

    @wr: My post was clear. Don’t blame the Republicans if DHS “shuts down”. Blame the Democrats.

    If I wanted you to spew crap I’d squeeze your head.

  21. superdestroyer says:

    What Dr Taylor is writing is that politics is at an impasse until the Democratic Party regains control of the Senate in 2016 and regains control of the House in 2022. Then the U.S. will enter a new era in politics when the Democrats will have total control.

    What is amazing is that the Democrats are obviously runnng out the clock on the Republicans until demographic changes eliminate the Republicans are relevant to politics. What is odd is no one is thinking about or writing about what will happened when the Democrat have control of all three parts of government starting in January 2023.

  22. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    No. You are, per usual, mis-informed.
    The DHS needs to be funded. Democrats are more than willing to do that.
    Republicans want to use that very basic task of governance as a hostage in order to get something else totally unrelated. This is what Republicans do…they manufacture crisis’. The debt crisis was manufactured, but the economic damage it did was real. They are currently doing their best to manufacture a SS crisis so that they have an excuse to privatize SS..
    This is not the Democrats problem…it’s not on them.
    If Republicans want to have two votes…one on the DHS and one on the Obama Immigration Order, as is proposed in the Senate…fine. Democrats are more than willing to that as well..
    Republicans are the ones being unreasonable. They want something and will hold their breath and stomp their feet until they get it. Or go to bed without dinner as petulant children should.
    Of course you are a dutiful water-carrier so you will be unable to recognize these facts, or to modify your opinions based upon them.

  23. Tyrell says:

    The system worked better years ago. There was a lot of wheeling, dealing, bluffing, drinking, giving, taking, and other stuff going on behind the doors, at some private club, or at the golf course. Things got done, agreements made, and progress. Excellent legislation came out. Those were the days of Johnson, Dirksen, Humphrey, Mills, Russell, Ervin, Mansfield, Fulbright, and O’Neill. Leaders, statesmen.

  24. @superdestroyer:

    What Dr Taylor is writing is that politics is at an impasse until the Democratic Party regains control of the Senate in 2016 and regains control of the House in 2022. Then the U.S. will enter a new era in politics when the Democrats will have total control.

    No, that is not what Dr. Taylor is writing.

  25. anjin-san says:

    @Jack:

    My post was clear. Don’t blame the Republicans if DHS “shuts down”. Blame the Democrats.Fox has told me what I think. That is all.

  26. superdestroyer says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The Republicans are at an impasse. they either give the Obama Administration what is wants some time in the future or the Democrats just wait out the Republicans until demographics buries conservative politics in the U.S.

    What no one is writing is how the Republicans can get even a partial policy victory out of the situation. Either they stand aside while the Obama Administration pursues a policy of amnesty for illegal aliens or the Democrats just wait until they do have the votes in congress to pursue a policy of amnesty for illegal aliens.

    What is not being discussed is not doing amnesty or finding some way to discourage future amnesties after the current one is passed.

  27. Mikey says:
  28. Scott F. says:

    Steven –

    You say:

    I think that once voters have awarded a majority of seats to a given party that that party ought to be able to engage in regular law-making without substantial obstruction by the minority.

    And I agree, if the operative words here are “regular law-making.” What McConnell has proposed – decoupling the DHS funding bill from a bill reversing Obama’s immigration action – would do exactly what you are looking for here. It would clarify the policy positions currently muddled by having the immigration language in with the DHS funding and it would demonstrate the nature of this disagreement as one between a Democratic executive branch and a Republican legislature. You should be wholly in favor of the latest actions out of the Senate. There is not the dysfunction in that chamber you allege.

    Which means this is all about what is going on with the Republicans in the House. They don’t want this clear debate on immigration, so they’re all about “forcing” the President’s hand with brinkmanship, because there is no such thing as a position of compromise. And as humanoid.panda makes clear above, this has everything to do with where the real power lies in the House. Boehner’s got nothing available to get his caucus in line. What can he possibly threaten that doesn’t pale in comparison to drawing the wrath of right wing Super PACs, the Kochs and Sheldon Adelson?

    This lack of control you lament isn’t about minority party versus majority party partisanship now and it wasn’t about that when the Democrats ran the Senate. Control now lies with the oligarchs, courtesy of Citizens United, and nothing short of a Supreme Court reversal or a new census is going to change it.

  29. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    @al-Ameda: Get your facts straight. The Democrats are filibustering a bill that fully funds DHS. Period. The Democrats are filibustering. THe Democrats are obstructing. Have a little bit of integrity.

    Integrity? Sure, I’ve got that.
    Basically, this is a take-it-or-leave-it Republican bill, and again, no negotiation need apply. Republicans are again trying to leverage a non-negotiable demand into a shutdown of the federal government. Even Mitch McConnell is now counseling that a clean bill on immigration be developed and run through the House and Senate.

    What are Republicans afraid of?

  30. C. Clavin says:

    @al-Ameda:

    What are Republicans afraid of?

    The list is long but I think The Modern World pretty much sums it up.

  31. gVOR08 says:

    @Tyrell:

    Johnson, Dirksen, Humphrey, Mills, Russell, Ervin, Mansfield, Fulbright, and O’Neill. Leaders, statesmen.

    I think you may have committed a gaffe, in the sense of accidentally telling the truth. They’re all Democrats.

    Do you really believe our current dysfunction is a matter of personalities? No structural causes:
    – the nationalization of news and politics?
    – modern travel allowing much more time at home, out of DC?
    – polarization of the news?
    – the creation of a far right Republican base?
    – the increasing role of money, much of it independent of the party structure?
    – democratization of the nominating process, replacing party run back rooms with primaries?
    You think if Barack would have John and Mitch over for a drink the Gohmert caucus would pull their heads out of the hole they dug?

  32. Pinky says:

    @gVOR08: Tyrell is not a partisan.

  33. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jack:

    The Republicans are not threatening a shutdown.

    Of course. And kidnappers who threaten to shoot the hostage are not actually threatening to shoot the hostage.

    The Democrats are forcing a shutdown

    Of course. And when the kidnappers shoot the hostage after not getting the ransom they demanded, those who refused to pay ransom were “forcing” the shooting.

    Instead of threatening to shut down DHS, why doesn’t the GOP House just threaten to shoot a puppy? According to your ‘logic,’ it would be obvious to everyone that Democrats are to blame for the dead puppy.

  34. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Legislation, from both parties has amendments. The fact that DHS is fully funded and has amendments that disallow DHS from implementing the immigration that Obama wants is not in debate. The fact that Democrats are filibustering this bill means they are blocking the legislation. Any DHS shutdown, which affects less than 20% of DHS by the way, is on them. Democrats are afraid to let this come to a vote to protect their representatives that might vote yeah on this legislation and protect Obama. Give it an up or down vote and let Obama veto it if he is willing to shut down DHS.

  35. Jack says:

    @anjin-san: Yeah, because unlike you, I read something other than the talking points given to my favored political party.

  36. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:
    The Republicans are at an impasse not because of demographics but because they are stupid people who favor absurd and unworkable policies they formulate in line with a thoroughly discredited ideology. They are in short obsolete. Their ideas are obsolete. Their world view is obsolete. Their attitudes toward life re obsolete.

    They are driving Model T’s and not understanding why the rest of us go zooming past them. They are dinosaurs.

    They have the option of modernizing their world view and surviving. This would require them to crawl out of their bubble and encounter the real world, as it is.

  37. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Pinky: Indeed, we agree for once. Tyrell is not a partisan, he is a well-constructed sockpuppet parody of a Reagan Democrat of a certain age.

  38. Jack says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Basically, this is a take-it-or-leave-it Republican bill, and again, no negotiation need apply.

    The president still has the option to veto this legislation. What are the Democrats afraid of? What they are afraid of is the press saying that Obama has shut down DHS with a veto of legislation that fully funds DHS.

  39. Jack says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    Of course. And when the kidnappers shoot the hostage after not getting the ransom they demanded, those who refused to pay ransom were “forcing” the shooting.

    What you are suggesting, is that all past legislation that had amendments that one party or the other didn’t like, for example “sequestration”, was in fact one party holding the other hostage.

    Republicans are holding no one hostage. Thay are asking for a vote. Period. Democrats are simply refusing via filibuster, to vote. They are holding DHS funding hostage, not Republicans.

  40. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    They have the option of modernizing their world view and surviving. This would require them to crawl out of their bubble and encounter the real world, as it is.

    Yeah, because it’s the Republicans that call everyone that disagrees with their policy racists. That’s so 21st century.

  41. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    The president still has the option to veto this legislation. What are the Democrats afraid of? What they are afraid of is the press saying that Obama has shut down DHS with a veto of legislation that fully funds DHS.

    The facts of the situation are proving me right.
    The public perceives that the GOP is the problem here. Refuse to pay DHS staff until the president and Democrats acquiesce? Sane people know that that’s not normal hardball politics, that’s just unreasonable. Democrats knew this, Republicans evidently did not (or they did not care.)

    I actually believe that Boehner and McConnell knew that the GOP strategy of leveraging a non-negotiable demand was not going to work, but they had to do it to satisfy about 50% of the party that wants a hardline Republican stance. They gambled that the public is so angry about the president’s immigration order that public opinion would force Democrats to acquiesce.

  42. Gromitt Gunn says:

    In seriousness, however, I enjoyed your analysis, Dr. Taylor (as I almost always do).

  43. Jack says:

    @al-Ameda: Considering I have seen polls stating that upwards of 70% of the public, as opposed to businesses, agree with the Republicans on this issue.

    It’s odd that democrats, who demonize big business so often, are so willing to go along with big businesses hiring illegals and depressing wages for the middle class.

    I guess they simply cannot come to the conclusion that Obama has overstepped his powers to effectively make illegals legal.

  44. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    Yeah, because it’s the Republicans that call everyone that disagrees with their policy racists. That’s so 21st century.

    I do not of anyone who calls a Republican a racist for disagreeing with Obama’s policies, although I’ll admit It’s certainly a current Republican tactic to claim that that is the case.

  45. Another Mike says:

    The heart of the issue is the DHS Immigration Memorandum.
    It is the power of the executive branch versus the power of the legislative branch. Do the senators stand with their branch or against their branch? Well, that depends, what party is the president? If he is of my party, I stand with him, otherwise I stand with my branch. That’s just how it works.
    I think President Obama recognized long before running for president that it would be fairly easy for the right person under the right circumstances to overcome the constitutional separation of powers. It was really just a matter of finding the nerve to do it. He had stated time and time again that he did not have the power to do what he was being urged to do on immigration. Then the time came when he realized that he did. It was only a matter of finding the nerve. It will be easier from here on out.
    The Republicans are fighting him of this issue, because they know that if he gets away with it, it truly will be easier next time. It is not really about immigration, as in time even a Republican congress would have passed an immigration bill just a good or better than what the president has accomplished.

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    No one does that. I call racists racist. There is, for example, no element of race in the GOP’s stupid effort to turn the internet over to Comcast. That’s just Republicans licking the rear ends of their paymasters. And it’s a perfect example of Republican stupidity. It means the GOP is picking a fight with basically every member of the computer generation. It means they’re at odds with youth, with the future.

  47. Jack says:

    @al-Ameda: Micheal called me a racist earlier this week when discussing this immigration non legislation. Numerous Democrat politicians have said that opposition to Obama’s policies is only because he is black. Come on now, please read something other than Huffington post.

    Oprah
    http://godfatherpolitics.com/13292/oprah-says-oppose-obama-youre-racist/

    Criticizing the IRS: “Republicans are using [the IRS scandal] as their latest weapon in the war against the black man. ‘IRS’ is the new ‘N****r.'” — Martin Bashir

    Supporting voter ID: “If you go back to the year 2000, when we had an obvious disaster and – and saw that our voting process needed refinement, and we did that in the America Votes Act and made sure that we could iron out those kinks, now you have the Republicans, who want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws and literally – and very transparently – block access to the polls to voters who are more likely to vote Democratic candidates than Republican candidates. And it’s nothing short of that blatant.” — Debbie Wasserman Schultz

    Republicans trying to keep Obama from being reelected: “Look at, look, the Tea Partiers, who are controlling the Republican Party….Their stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term. What’s, what does that, what underlines that? ‘Screw the country. We’re going to (do) whatever we (can) do to get this black man, we can, we’re going to do whatever we can to get this black man outta here.’… It is a racist thing.” — Morgan Freeman

    Disliking Barack Obama: “I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American.” — Jimmy Carter

    “For anybody to say there’s nothing that is racial about some of the animus being expressed by President Obama, you’re not telling the truth. We know with a lot of people, I don’t care what he does. He’s not going to be acceptable because of his skin color.”- South Carolina representative Jim Clyburn (D-SC)

    And that was spending less than 2 minutes using google.

  48. michael reynolds says:

    @Another Mike:

    I think the Republicans look to see where Obama stands and they go stand somewhere else.

    The GOP is concurrently abusing Mr. Obama as a tyrant (immigration) and abusing him for refusing to grab more power (AUMF.) They don’t even have a consistent institutional bias. They demand more control for the Congress while demonstrating a complete lack of ability to deal with power, and while they actively demand to be deprived of their power of warmaking.

  49. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: You called me a racist. Period. Simply for disagreeing with Obama’s policy of waving his magic phone and making illegal legal.

  50. gVOR08 says:

    @Jack: Self awareness is not a front line skill for conservatives, is it.

  51. Pinky says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: I don’t know if Tyrell, or anyone else on the internet, believes the things he says. gVOR08 was wrong to “gotcha” him for supporting Democrats, though. It hints at an underlying assumption that everyone is either mindlessly Democratic or mindlessly Republican.

  52. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    Considering I have seen polls stating that upwards of 70% of the public, as opposed to businesses, agree with the Republicans on this issue.

    … and yet, right now the public does not agree that shutting down the government over the president’s immigration decree is not the right thing to do.

    Senator McConnell and Speaker Boehner should present a clean immigration bill and see if they can get their way, if public pressure will cause Obama and Democrats to bend. Holding DHS staff hostage over the immigration issue is proving to be a failed tactic.

  53. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Actually, Jack, I called SuperD a racist. Because he’s a racist. It’s not a close call where he’s concerned. He is a racist. Clearly. Obviously.

    Frankly, I don’t pay much attention to you. Maybe you’ve got race issues, I don’t know, I don’t memorize your every ill-informed bleat. My best guess is that you’re 80 years old, living in a care facility and watching Fox News all day long. I cut some slack to the elderly. But that’s just a guess. Calling SuperD a racist? That’s not a guess.

  54. Pinky says:

    @Jack: Michael calls three people racist before getting out of bed every morning, and five more before he makes it to the bathroom.

  55. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The GOP is concurrently abusing Mr. Obama as a tyrant (immigration) and abusing him for refusing to grab more power (AUMF.)

    What would you call a person that has sicced executive departments on Republicans to exact some flesh because they disagreed with his policies?

    What would you call a president that tells ICE agents that they better follow his policies or they will be dealt with?

    This president is a tyrant, he simply won’t admit it.

  56. Jack says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Holding DHS staff hostage over the immigration issue is proving to be a failed tactic.

    So, you are saying that the Republicans that hold the power of the purse, should not wield that power over an agency that will implement these policies?

  57. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    Disliking Barack Obama: “I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American.” — Jimmy Carter
    For anybody to say there’s nothing that is racial about some of the animus being expressed by President Obama, you’re not telling the truth. We know with a lot of people, I don’t care what he does. He’s not going to be acceptable because of his skin color.”- South Carolina representative Jim Clyburn (D-SC)

    I believe that both Carter and Clyburn are definitely right on this. Up to the 2012 election polling consistently showed that about 50% of Republicans subscribed to Birther claims that called into question the legitimacy of the Obama presidency.

    Most reasonable people know the difference between honest disagreement with the president’s policies – on school choice, on Libya, on ISIS, etc – and with dog-whistle racist undertones that cause people to question the motivation of those opposed (is the president Christian? does the president love America? and so forth.)

  58. Ken says:

    @superdestroyerthe U.S. will enter a new era in politics when the Democrats will have total control

    Ten minutes to Wapner

  59. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:
    I can guarantee you I did no such thing. If I called you a racist, it was not for a policy disagreement. It was for how you reached a policy disagreement.

    For example, if you accuse Mr. Obama of being a tyrant and also of being weak, then the logical disconnect will force me to search for some explanation for your inconsistency. Just like when the GOP exploded over Obamacare and then nominated Mitt Romney, the man who signed his own Obamacare law in Massachusetts. When I see obvious logical disconnects, I understand that we have moved outside the sphere of reason into emotion.

    It’s not all that complicated. If a white man says 2+2=4 and you agree, and then a black man says 2+2=4 and you call him a secret Muslim, I gotta go looking for irrational motives. Right?

    Well, that’s what the GOP has been doing for the last six years.

    This is basic character work. A character’s opinions and actions must be explained. They come from somewhere. They come from reason, or they come from untested assumptions, or they come from need, in other words, emotion – love, hate, greed, insecurity.

  60. David M says:

    @Jack:

    So, you are saying that the Republicans that hold the power of the purse, should not wield that power over an agency that will implement these policies?

    Correct. “Do what I want or I’ll burn everything down” isn’t a responsible governing tactic that can be condoned.

  61. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jack:

    Yeah, because it’s the Republicans that call everyone that disagrees with their policy racists.

    Racism is a big problem in the GOP. To see this, you need only notice these two facts:

    A) Obama is the first president to release his birth certificate.
    B) Roughly half the GOP are birthers.

  62. gVOR08 says:

    @Pinky: Tyrell’s past comments, as best I recall, have struck me as coming from a basically conservative point of view, but generally reasonable, not fringe. I explicated an implicit statement in his comment. I expect Tyrell can speak for himself if he feels I’ve misread him or been unfair. If he’s right, I’d be happy to apologize. To him. You, on the other hand…

  63. Jack says:

    @al-Ameda: I believe that both Carter and Clyburn are definitely right on this. Up to the 2012 election polling consistently showed that about 50% of Republicans subscribed to Birther claims that called into question the legitimacy of the Obama presidency.

    Based upon your above, then people that believe he should was not born in this country are then discriminating based upon nation of origin. Hint: A nation of origin is not a race.

  64. Jack says:

    @David M:

    Correct. “Do what I want or I’ll burn everything down” isn’t a responsible governing tactic that can be condoned.

    20% of DHS personnel, secretaries, janitors, etc. is far from “burning everything down”. You, and every Democrat talking head on TV is greatly exaggerating how a shutdown of DHS actually effects DHS.

  65. Jack says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    A) Obama is the first president to release his birth certificate.
    B) Roughly half the GOP are birthers.

    Obama is the first president that spent the entirety of his formative years in a foreign country.
    Obama is the first president since the writing of the Constitution, that I am aware, that has a parent of foreign birth.

    Hint: Place of birth is not racism.

  66. David M says:

    @Jack:

    That includes their prior attempts to take the debt ceiling hostage and actually shutting down the government, so it’s a fair description of the GOP behavior.

  67. Jack says:

    Mods, please release my response to Jukeboxgrad.

  68. jukeboxgrad says:

    Mods, please release my response to Jukeboxgrad.

    My crystal ball says you’re using the Reply feature to reply to me. Don’t do that. For some bizarre reason, the result is what you experienced. It’s been this way for years.

  69. @Jack: There is nothing in the queue.

  70. @Jack:

    This president is a tyrant, he simply won’t admit it.

    I have some books you should read…

  71. @Gromitt Gunn: Thanks–I appreciate you saying so.

  72. Jack says:

    @David M:

    That includes their prior attempts to take the debt ceiling hostage and actually shutting down the government, so it’s a fair description of the GOP behavior.

    For once I agree with you. The Republicans, by failing to vote, caused a shutdown. Now, the Democrats are threatening to shutdown DHS by failing to vote.

  73. David M says:

    @Jack:

    In each case the Republicans are the ones demanding policy changes as a condition to either fund the government or raise the debt ceiling. They are literally saying they will shut it down if they don’t get their way, instead of being responsible legislators.

  74. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    What would you call a president that tells ICE agents that they better follow his policies or they will be dealt with?

    I’d call him a president.

    Um, whose policies should executive branch employees follow if not the head of the executive branch?

  75. Gustopher says:

    @Jack:

    20% of DHS personnel, secretaries, janitors, etc. is far from “burning everything down”. You, and every Democrat talking head on TV is greatly exaggerating how a shutdown of DHS actually effects DHS.

    Why is it appropriate to stop paying janitors and screw up their families finances in an effort to score some political points?

    The Republican Senate Minority, for the past 6 years, established a precedent that you need 60 votes to move anything though the Senate. The Republican majority does not have 60 votes, so they need to compromise.

    Even if they did manage to get 60 votes, they would face a veto they could not override. So, they would still need to compromise.

    What does this have to do with the janitors? Why are Republicans insistent on hurting janitors rather than compromising when there is no way forward other than compromising? (Also, a shutdown of the DHS should affect more than janitors and secretaries…)

    On the plus side, all the time wasted on this prevents Republicans from moving anything else through the Senate.

  76. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    Based upon your above, then people that believe he should was not born in this country are then discriminating based upon nation of origin. Hint: A nation of origin is not a race.

    Jack, I hate to break this to you but, Hawaii was a state at the time that Obama was born there.

    So, Birther claims were either: (1) the result of incredible ignorance on their part (possible, I admit), or (2) a not very clever attempt to appear to be non-racists in questioning the legitimacy of a Black president under the guise of “nation of origin.”

    I’ll take (2), because even after they learned that Hawaii was in fact a state in 1961, they rejected state-provided evidence of Obama’s birth in America as insufficient. The fact is, nothing would be sufficient for Birther racists.

  77. @Jack: Regardless of anything else, you seem to be in denial about the fact that underlying strategy here by the GOP is to force the possibility of a shutdown. They are the ones playing chicken still (which is really rather odd given that they are now the majority party ostensibly responsible to pass legislation). They started down a path to create this confrontation of their own accord.

  78. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: But, in your heart of hearts, you know Superdestroyer is right — one party rule is coming to get us all! Feel the brown, beige and black terror sweeping across America, storming our borders and breeding like Catholics!

    The GOP, the last great white hope for America, is making a valiant stand against demographics, just as they are making a valiant stand against science, and it is the duty of every real American (you know, the white ones) to stand with them.

    Why don’t you write about that rather than nonsense procedural arguments that will never, ever make a difference given the demographic decline of decency?!?

  79. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jack:

    A nation of origin is not a race.

    Funny how the first president who produced a document proving his “nation of origin” was also the first black president. A complete coincidence, obviously.

  80. @Gustopher:

    Why don’t you write about that rather than nonsense procedural arguments that will never, ever make a difference given the demographic decline of decency?!?

    I will have to take that under advisement.

    😉

  81. @jukeboxgrad:

    Funny how the first president who produced a document proving his “nation of origin” was also the first black president. A complete coincidence, obviously.

    Obviously.

  82. Another thing that has not, to my knowledge, ever been raised about a sitting president: their love of country and especially the way they were raised:

    “He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”-Rudy Giuliani.

    That doesn’t raise any flags about race or Obama’s “otherness.” No, not one bit.

  83. Pinky says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Another thing that has not, to my knowledge, ever been raised about a sitting president: their love of country and especially the way they were raised

    ???

  84. Jack says:

    @David M:

    In each case the Republicans are the ones demanding policy changes as a condition to either fund the government or raise the debt ceiling. They are literally saying they will shut it down if they don’t get their way, instead of being responsible legislators.

    What matters is who is failing to vote, not what is in the package. Obamacare had zero Republican votes, Democrats called Republicans obstructionist while trying to buy every vote they could to pass it.

    Here, what you are saying, Democrats are not the ones obstructing the legislation because there is something the Republicans want in the bill.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  85. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: Executive branch employees should follow the LAW, and ignore unlawful policies.

  86. Jack says:

    @Gustopher:

    Why is it appropriate to stop paying janitors and screw up their families finances in an effort to score some political points?

    I agree. Why don’t Democrats stop filibustering the bill and vote to pay the janitors and secretaries?

  87. Jack says:

    @al-Ameda:

    o, Birther claims were either: (1) the result of incredible ignorance on their part (possible, I admit), or (2) a not very clever attempt to appear to be non-racists in questioning the legitimacy of a Black president under the guise of “nation of origin.”

    Um, no. Birthers have a two prong argument.

    1) Proof that Obama was born in Hawaii.
    2) People born to parents of a foreigner are not Natural Born citizens.

    They didn’t question Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton’s citizenship…I guess they weren’t black enough.

  88. @Pinky:

    ???

    The quote is there for you to read.

    I expect, also, you followed the media coverage of the speech in question.

  89. KM says:

    @Jack:

    What would you call a president that tells ICE agents that they better follow his policies or they will be dealt with?

    The Boss. They work for him, not the other way around. As you tend to say – PERIOD.

    I know of very few jobs where you can do whatever you want, ignore your ultimate supervisor and not be “dealt with”. FYI – the proper terminology is “fired” or “let go” – I’ll even accept “$@^&-canned”. No matter what personal fantasies you concoct, the government is not the Mafia.

    Hey, they’re free to find other jobs. Isn’t that the Republican way, after all – don’t like what the employer’s doing to you so you can just hoof it. Personally contribute to the shrinking of the federal budget and all that…..

  90. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    They started down a path to create this confrontation of their own accord.

    I agree. They attached language to the Bill that Democrats oppose. I’m simply stating that democrats are indeed the one’s filibustering the bill, and thus denying DHS funding. Give it a vote. If the bill fails to pass, then they need to come up with something everyone can agree on. If it passes, which I suspect it will, then force the president to veto it.

  91. David M says:

    @Jack:

    What matters is who is failing to vote, not what is in the package. Obamacare had zero Republican votes, Democrats called Republicans obstructionist while trying to buy every vote they could to pass it.

    Here, what you are saying, Democrats are not the ones obstructing the legislation because there is something the Republicans want in the bill.

    Do you even understand what’s going on? The Democrats did not threaten to shut down the government or default on the debt if Obamacare was not passed. The Republicans have threatened to default and have shut down the government if they don’t get their way on certain policies.

  92. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I guess when Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton ran, they were not black enough to be demanded proof of citizenship. Either that, or you memory just failed you. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and lean towards the latter.

  93. @Jack: You miss two issues: 1) Neither of those two were nominated, so the need to attack them was not as great (and Sharpton was not even a serious minor candidate), and 2) neither of them had a father born abroad. Even ridiculous conspiracies need a means of starting.

  94. Indeed, let me cut to the chase: it is unfair and inaccurate to attribute all opposition to Obama to race. However, it is utterly ludicrous to pretend like it not a factor in some opposition. Further still, it is beyond ridiculous to state that race is not a factor in birtherism.

  95. David M says:

    @Jack:

    [The GOP] attached language to the Bill that Democrats oppose. I’m simply stating that democrats are…denying DHS funding. Give it a vote. If the bill fails to pass, then they need to come up with something everyone can agree on.

    They have voted several times, and it’s failed each time. Remember, according to the rules the GOP established, it takes 60 votes to pass something in the Senate.

  96. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    That doesn’t raise any flags about race or Obama’s “othe[r]ness.” No, not one bit.

    Obama is the first president to spend most of his formative years in foreign countries. Why has he not produced his passport? Why has he not produced his application to Occidental and Columbia? Answer that, and you will see why people believe he was not raised like most Americans.

    Did he have a foreign passport? Did he apply to college as a foreigner? No one will answer these questions. In a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama’s then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel, touts Obama as “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” A literary agent just doesn’t make stuff up out of whole cloth. He was provided that information.

    The fact remains, we know of Obama’s birth, his time in Hawaii while going to High School, and nothing in between. He purposely cultivated an “international” identity.

  97. @Jack: Ah. Now I see.

  98. Ken says:

    @Jack:

    I agree. Why don’t Democrats stop filibustering the bill and vote to pay the janitors and secretaries?.

    I agree. Why won’t the police stop this “negotiation” nonsense and just give the ransom to the kidnappers so the hostages will be released?

  99. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    Way. Outside. The. Channel.
    Let’s try bringing it back between the buoys.

  100. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    1) Neither of those two were nominated, so the need to attack them was not as great

    The questions of Obama’s legal ability to assume the presidency started long before he was nominated.

    http://mediamatters.org/research/2006/12/20/schlussel-should-barack-hussein-obama-be-presid/137559http://mediamatters.org/research/2006/12/20/schlussel-should-barack-hussein-obama-be-presid/137559

    2) neither of them had a father born abroad.

    Exactly. The constitution states Natural born citizen for a reason. Prior to Obama, it was the default argument that this phrase meant “born to two parents of US citizenship”. Birtherism is not about race, which by the way, Obama is half black, so because no one questioned Sharpton and Jackshttp, it must be because the are full black.

  101. Jack says:

    @David M:

    They have voted several times, and it’s failed each time. Remember, according to the rules the GOP established, it takes 60 votes to pass something in the Senate.

    No, they haven’t. They have not voted on the bill. To vote on the bill, you must first get past a filibuster.

  102. Long Time Listener says:

    Where in the Constitution is the President required to provide nonsense like college applications/transcripts. When does this nonsense stop? I would, however, like to know where the President stands on the more vital discussion of In-And-Out-Burger vs. Five Guys.

    Apologies for hijacking the thread. However, seems we’d already stepped through the Looking Glass….

  103. KM says:

    @Jack:

    Um, no. Birthers have a two prong argument.

    1) Proof that Obama was born in Hawaii.
    2) People born to parents of a foreigner are not Natural Born citizens

    I see. So you would you agree based on that logic there will be no Cruz presidency?
    After all, he was definitely born in Canada (proof of foreign birth) and his father was Cuban (didn’t become a naturalized citizen until 2005). It would be truly hypocritical for him to run then, yes?

    he was not raised like most Americans.

    Why this keeps being brought up like a solid fact, I will never understand. There is no American monolith – being raised in New York is different then being raised in Georgia or Idaho. The fact that we have the term “real American” tells you the type of people who spout that nonsense don’t even believe it themselves.

  104. David M says:

    @Jack:

    The bill needs 60 votes to pass, period. Asking that Democratic bills require 60 votes but Republican bills only require 51 is not a reasonable request.

  105. Jack says:

    @Long Time Listener: Nowhere. This is not about the Constitution or the presidency. This is vetting that should have happened before he was eligible to run for president. Not after he assumed the office.

  106. @Jack:

    The constitution states Natural born citizen for a reason. Prior to Obama, it was the default argument that this phrase meant “born to two parents of US citizenship”.

    No, that was not the default understanding of that phrase, but is is a key birther argument.

    Again: I see exactly where you are coming from.

  107. Blue Galangal says:

    @Jack: I don’t know how you seriously maintain an 8 year old “cultivated an international identity.” Not with a straight face, anyway.

  108. Jack says:

    @David M: I am not asking that. I am simply saying, “stop the filibuster” and vote on the bill. Based upon the results of that vote, then, determine what needs to happen. If all Democrat Senators vote against it, fine. But give it a vote.

  109. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Show me anything reputable prior to 2006 that states a natural born citizen is based upon locan of birth and not on parental citizenship?

    I’ll wait.

  110. Ken says:

    @Jack: Obama is the first president to spend most of his formative years in foreign countries.

    Interesting. Tell me more. I know Obama was born in August of 1961. When did move to Indonesia? When did he move back? Because it seems unlikely that he spent more than 9 years living there

  111. @Jack: Having demonstrated yourself to be a birther (or, at least, birther sympathetic–but as far as I am concerned, birther) , I am fairly confident that nothing I say will make much difference.

    I say this because based on the type of “evidence” and “reasoning” displayed above that you are not amendable to rational discourse on this subject.

  112. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Article II, section 1, pa. 5: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

    If “natural born citizen” is a synonym for “citizen,” then there is no reason for adding the exception “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution.” None at all. Being a citizen is not sufficient, unless you happened to be alive when the Constitution was adopted.

    Obama is old, but not that old.

  113. David M says:

    @Jack:

    That is the effect of what you are advocating, whether you explicitly say so or not.

  114. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: So, you got nothing. Noted.

    I was simply explaining why birthers feel the way they do and to indicate that nothing about birtherism is about race.

  115. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    Jesus-gawd…they voted.
    They bill fell far short of the 60 vote threshold Republicans themselves established.
    Now they are going to vote on a clean bill.
    House Republicans can now decide if they want to continue obstructing…or of they want to fund the DHS.

    Frankly…I’d just as soon disband the DHS. It’s a massive bureaucracy that Republicans (you know, the small Government guys) created in order to compensate for their massive National Security failure (9.11).

  116. Jack says:

    @David M: No. I. Am. Not.

    I am saying, let the Senators have a vote on the bill. Stop filibustering. I am not saying that Republicans only need 51 votes to pass a bill.

    The filibuster is what is delaying DHS funding, not Republicans. cOngress has the power of the purse and they are exercising it, against an agency that will implement these new “policies”. That is their job.

  117. KM says:

    @Jack:

    Show me anything reputable prior to 2006 that states a natural born citizen is based upon locan of birth and not on parental citizenship?

    Herbert Hoover.

    Hoover’s mother, Hulda Randall Minthorn (1849–1884), was born in Norwich, Ontario, Canada, and was of English and Irish ancestry. Both of parents were Quakers.

    Now you can claim he’s “natural born” because his mother married his father. However, since Barrack Sr married Ann, there goes that argument…. unless you want to be sexist and make a distinction between women marrying into the country vs men.

  118. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Frankly…I’d just as soon disband the DHS. It’s a massive bureaucracy that Republicans (you know, the small Government guys) created in order to compensate for their massive National Security failure (9.11).

    Finally we agree on something.

  119. David M says:

    @Jack:

    There is no meaningful difference between the vote on the filibuster and the vote on the bill. Saying the Democrats should not filibuster GOP bills is saying the GOP bills should require fewer votes to pass than Democratic ones.

  120. @Jack:

    So, you got nothing. Noted.

    Apart from having read rather thoroughly Madison’s notes on the convention (as well as the Federalist Papers among other things) as part of scholarly research for published work?

    Sigh:

    “Natural born” (i.e., born in the US) as opposed to being naturalized (i.e., a citizen not born here but made a citizen later). This is to be contrasted with the qualifications for Senate and House, where they need only have been citizens for X number of years. It really isn’t that difficult.

    Just look at the construction of the qualifications and it isn’t that hard to figure out.

    Also: if you want to play this game, show me where having parents born in the US is something that the Framers envisioned.

    I was simply explaining why birthers feel the way they do and to indicate that nothing about birtherism is about race.

    Sure. Whatever you say.

  121. C. Clavin says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    @Jack:

    I was simply explaining why birthers feel the way they do and to indicate that nothing about birtherism is about race.

    Emphasis mine.
    Feel is the key word here.
    You cannot reason with someone who does not come to their opinions through reason. Yu cannot reason against feelings. Republicans are ruled by their emotions. They feel like Obama is a foreigner. It doesn’t matter that they have no evidence or no proof. Because it’s not about reason. It’s about irrational fear and hatred of the colored man in the White House. But it’s not racist.

  122. Jack says:

    @KM:

    Hoover’s mother, Hulda Randall Minthorn (1849–1884), was born in Norwich, Ontario, Canada, and was of English and Irish ancestry. Both of parents were Quakers.

    Hoover’s mother was naturalized prior to Herbert’s birth.

  123. KM says:

    @Jack:
    Incorrect. Hulda never renounced her Canadian Citizenship.

    They married in 1870 and as as his wife, she was automatically gained citizenship in accordance with the naturalization statutes of the period. Sr married Ann before Barack was born – same thing, just gender-flipped. In other words, try again.

  124. Jack says:

    @David M: David, Senators may agree to continue a filibuster and stand united because votes aren’t individually tallied. If the bill is voted on, names go with votes and constituents can see where there Senator stands on an issue.

    60 votes are need to break a filibuster, I agree. After that, the actual bill is voted on and Senators are held accountable for their vote.

    By definition: A filibuster in the United States Senate usually refers to any dilatory or obstructive tactics used to prevent a measure from being brought to a vote.

    I’m simply stating, end the filibuster and vote on the bill. I am not aware of any actual vote on the bill itself. Please correct me if I am wrong about an actual vote on the bill and link me to an article.

  125. Jack says:

    @KM:

    They married in 1870 and as as his wife, she was automatically gained citizenship in accordance with the naturalization statutes of the period.

    Bingo. At that time, marrying a US citizen gave the foreign adult US citizenship. It doesn’t anymore.

    Marriage to a U.S. citizen makes you eligible for a green card. Having a green card for a certain number of years can make you eligible for U.S. citizenship. But it’s a two-step process — at a minimum. In other words, even if your U.S. citizen husband sponsors you, you cannot go directly to becoming a U.S. citizen.

    http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/how-i-married-us-citizen-us-citizenship.html

  126. David M says:

    Shorter Jack: Only GOP filibusters should be allowed

  127. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Sure. Whatever you say.

    I say birtherism isn’t about Obama’s race.

    I’m glad we agree.

  128. Jack says:

    @David M:

    Shorter Jack: Only GOP filibusters should be allowed

    No. I am saying the filibuster is what is preventing DHS funding. Therefore, Democrats are the one’s forcing a DHS shutdown.

  129. Jack says:

    @David M: Shorter Dave: But, but, I like the Democrats, and they can never be wrong!

  130. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jack:

    Hoover’s mother was naturalized prior to Herbert’s birth.

    I’ll believe it when I see her papers, and don’t try to fool me with the Photoshopped version.

    Prior to Obama, it was the default argument that this phrase meant “born to two parents of US citizenship”.

    As KM pointed out, this disqualifies Cruz. I notice you are ducking this problem.

  131. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Apart from having read rather thoroughly Madison’s notes on the convention (as well as the Federalist Papers among other things) as part of scholarly research for published work?

    Then you must know our founders relied upon Vattel and his creation of the phrase Natural Born Citizen.

    Before the Constitution the closest reference we have to Natural Born Citizen is from the legal treatise “the Law of Nations,” written by Emerich de Vattel in 1758. In book one chapter 19,

    § 212. Of the citizens and natives.

    “The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights. The society is supposed to desire this, in consequence of what it owes to its own preservation; and it is presumed, as matter of course, that each citizen, on entering into society, reserves to his children the right of becoming members of it. The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children; and these become true citizens merely by their tacit consent. We shall soon see whether, on their coming to the years of discretion, they may renounce their right, and what they owe to the society in which they were born. I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.”

  132. David M says:

    @Jack:

    That is why the national GOP is a political cancer. The gerrymandering, super PACs, filibusters, etc force the same response from the other political parties. I oppose all of those, but it would be counterproductive for the Democrats to unilaterally disarm, so they have to react in kind.

    It would be best if neither party engaged in gerrymandering, but the worst option is only one party using it. Texas and California are a prime example of this, the good government in CA empowers the GOP nationally…

  133. Jack says:

    @jukeboxgrad: I could care less if Cruz is eligible. He wouldn’t be my choice anyway.

  134. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jack:

    a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama’s then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel

    Allahpundit at Hotair is a pretty solid conservative, and years ago he explained why your argument is stupid. Link.

    it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen

    For the third time: explain Cruz.

  135. @Jack: This proves only what Vattel’s definition was.

    There is also that pesky 14th Amendment to deal with.

    Again:

    No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

    No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

    But, as I expected, nothing will deter a birther.

  136. Jack says:

    Jukeboxgrad,

    I’ll believe it when I see her papers, and don’t try to fool me with the Photoshopped version.

    She was naturalized, based upon the laws at the time, by her marriage to a US citizen. Those same laws were not in effect when Obama was born.

    I could care less if Cruz is eligible. He wouldn’t be my choice anyway.

  137. Long Time Listener says:

    1. Where does the Constitution define ‘natural born citizen’? Seems pretty clear on other sorts of stuff, and where unclear…amendments. Why rely on the writings of some Swiss guy, when we’ve got a pretty decent Constitution….

    2. Can Ted Cruz be President? I don’t really care, but that question hasn’t been addressed in this thread.

    3. Incidentally, where does the Constitution, or any other Federal Law, list some standard or ‘template’ for ‘vetting’ of candidates? Was this applied to Mrs. Palin (low blow -I retract that)?

  138. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:
    Birtherism is basically racism. So you’ve pretty much destroyed yourself as being a person anyone should listen to. But I notice that you did not dispute my earlier guess as to your age. So let’s just say you have some serious cognitive degeneration. I don’t understand why age so often means a loss of critical faculties even in the absence of a medical explanation like Alzheimer’s. But I suppose I’ll get there myself, so maybe then it will make sense.

  139. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jack:

    She was naturalized, based upon the laws at the time, by her marriage to a US citizen

    And where are the papers proving her marriage? Funny how no one can find them.

    I could care less if Cruz is eligible.

    But I’m sure you never speak up anywhere to complain that he’s not. Interesting how that works.

    By the way, aside from disqualifying Cruz, your Vattel argument also disqualifies Jindal and Rubio.

  140. Jack says:

    @David M:

    Texas and California are a prime example of this, the good government in CA empowers the GOP nationally…

    Good government in CA??? Really??

    California citiesare in fiscal trouble because the government (both local and state) spends more than it takes in and then raises taxes in a vain effort to make up the difference. With government employee pensions skyrocketing, high unemployment compensation debt and an increasing amount of taxpaying businesses fleeing the state, California is learning a hard lesson in fiscal responsibility.

    Tell me again how much money LA wasted giving Ipads to students and teachers? ($500 million for devices, plus an additional $500 million for internet infrastructure upgrades, raised through construction bonds).

    The LA Unified School District had planned to buy some 700,000 iPads for its students and teachers. The Apple tablets would include learning software built by publishing giant Pearson. But Superintendent John Deasy announced earlier this week he is canceling the contract and restarting the bidding process.

    We could all benefit from such good governance.

  141. Ken says:

    @Jack: Obama is the first president to spend most of his formative years in foreign countries.

    I think you may have overlooked my response to this. Perhaps you could clear up some confusion? Exactly how long did Obama spend in foreign countries during his formative years? Because I have a hard time believing he was out of the US for 9 years or more

    Also, for a guy who claims not to be a birther, you spend and inordinately large amount of time and energy repeating and defending long debunked birther lies. Why is that?

  142. Jack says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    By the way, aside from disqualifying Cruz, your Vattel argument also disqualifies Jindal and Rubio.

    Again, I don’t care about those people. Neither has a serious shot at the presidency. If someone here wrote an article about their possible candidacy and the question of eligibility came up, I would have the same position I have now.

    And of course many here would defend them and say I’m a racist because they are brown people? Right?

    I won’t hold my breath.

  143. @Long Time Listener:

    Where does the Constitution define ‘natural born citizen’?

    Exactly. And in the absence of a SCOTUS ruling telling us otherwise, the best thing to do is go with a plain reading of the document. The parallelism suggests that the issue was that unlike Senators and Representatives that Presidents had to be born in the US.

  144. @Ken:

    Also, for a guy who claims not to be a birther, you spend and inordinately large amount of time and energy repeating and defending long debunked birther lies. Why is that?

    Indeed.

  145. David M says:

    @Jack:

    Apparently you are unaware of recent developments. I was referring to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which has basically eliminated gerrymandering for now.

  146. Jack says:

    @Ken: I have no idea how much time he spent in foreign countries. That is my point. No one but Obama and maybe his handlers know the answer to this question.

    I was responding to why the birther issue is not racist. I have to know the material in order to properly respond.

    As Jukeboxgrad just noted. I don’t support Cruz. Nor do I support Jindal or Rubio as candidates. Nonetheless, they too would be caught in this same quandary. Is that racist against Hispanics and brown people?

  147. Jack says:

    @David M: Yes. I was unaware of that particular topic. Thanks for the link.

    Elected officials should not be able to select the audience that best fits their demographic in order to get elected. Either a person’s ideas are good for the whole of they are bad for the whole, regardless of the melanin content of a groups skin.

  148. Grewgills says:

    @Jack:
    He was a citizen at birth by virtue of his mother’s citizenship and by virtue of being born in the United States. He is therefor a natural born citizen. Any claim to the contrary requires proof that natural born citizen means anything other than citizen by virtue of the circumstances of their birth.

    The natural born citizen clause was to eliminate the possibility of naturalized citizens being elected president. Can you show that it was anything other than this.

  149. Grewgills says:

    @Jack:
    Why is it your stance on the filibuster seems to have changed over the past couple of years?

  150. Jack says:

    @Grewgills:

    He was a citizen at birth by virtue of his mother’s citizenship and by virtue of being born in the United States. He is therefor a natural born citizen.

    Which would also mean he is a citizen of Great Brittan? Right? His father’s citizenship also passed on to Obama. Kenya was under Great Brittan at the time. Thus, dual citizenship. Thus:

    “I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.”

  151. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But I notice that you did not dispute my earlier guess as to your age. So let’s just say you have some serious cognitive degeneration. I don’t understand why age so often means a loss of critical faculties even in the absence of a medical explanation like Alzheimer’s.

    I’m 48, with a Bachelor’s in Business Management.
    I spend my work days as a Mid-level manager, private industry Defense Contractor.
    I am retired military.
    I am married to a brown woman with the maiden name of Garcia. She too thinks Obama is an idiot.

    Is there any other personal information you would like me to share?

  152. Jack says:

    @Grewgills:

    Why is it your stance on the filibuster seems to have changed over the past couple of years?

    It hasn’t. My first post to this article states:

    This is not a bug, it’s a feature. It was a feature when the Democrats were in charge and Republicans were accused of obstruction. So, everyone that accused said Republicans of obstruction will now say the Democrats are obstructing legislation, right? Right?

  153. wr says:

    @Jack:
    If you want to complain that California is badly run, be my guest. But claiming that mistakes made by the city of Los Angeles proves that the state is badly run merely proves you know nothing about anything.

    Here’s a handy guide: California is a state. Los Angeles is a city and a county. The government of California is the state government. The government of Los Angeles is either the city or the county government.

  154. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jack:

    I have no idea how much time he spent in foreign countries.

    Which means you were making sh*t up when you said this:

    Obama is the first president to spend most of his formative years in foreign countries.

    If you really “have no idea,” then your “most” was deliberate fiction.

    And your “no idea” is also an instance of making sh*t up, since the number of years he lived in Indonesia (5) is known.

  155. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jack:

    : I have no idea how much time he spent in foreign countries. That is my point. No one but Obama and maybe his handlers know the answer to this question

    That is an insane statement.

    1967
    Ann Dunham marries Lolo Soetoro. When Barack Obama, Jr., is 6 years old, the family moves to Jakarta, Indonesia, Lolo’s hometown. In Indonesia Barack Obama becomes familiar with poverty, beggars, and children dying from illnesses. The house they live in has no stable electricity and the streets in their neighborhood are not paved. Ann gets a job as an English teacher at the American embassy. Barack Obama Jr. attends Franciscus Assisi Primary School, which is a Catholic school.

    1969
    Lolo Seotoro, Barack Obama’s stepfather, is promoted in the American oil company he works for, and he relocates the family to a better neighborhood. Consequently, Barack Obama leaves the Catholic school and attends a public school closer to the family’s new residence.

    1970
    Barack Obama’s half sister Maya Soetoro is born. However, Ann Dunham’s second marriage begins to disintegrate. She misses her home in the U.S. and wants her children to grow and be educated there.

    1971
    When Barack Obama is 10, his mother sends him back to Hawaii, to live with his white grandparents in their two bedroom apartment. With the help of Ann’s parents, Barack Obama gets a scholarship to Punahou, a prestigious prep school in Honolulu. He’s one of few black students at the school, and his classmates regard him as ‘the black kid from Indonesia.’ Barack Obama’s separation from his mother has a tremendous impact on him.

    Source:
    http://www.barack-obama-timeline.com/

  156. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    I have no idea how much time he spent in foreign countries. That is my point. No one but Obama and maybe his handlers know the answer to this question.

    Again, he was born in Hawaii and he provided to the public evidence of that fact.

    Why do we need to ask his “handlers” if Hawaii was a state when he was born there in 1961.

  157. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    They didn’t question Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton’s citizenship…I guess they weren’t black enough.

    No, the reason they were not questioned concerning their citizenship is they weren’t First-Black-President enough.

  158. Tillman says:

    Jesus Christ, I don’t know whether to laugh or curse a blue streak…

    It certainly would have been nice in the last four years if the Republican minority had stopped filibustering and allowed proposed bills to get to a vote, so everyone would see where their senators stood on the issues. You know, so 51 votes and majority control could actually mean something aside from scheduling failed votes over and over.

    “Let’s let the bill come to a vote.” I agree! Where were you four years ago, jackass?!

  159. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    A literary agent just doesn’t make stuff up out of whole cloth.

    AHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    You’ve never actually dealt with a literary agent, have you?

  160. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    I spend my work days as a Mid-level manager, private industry Defense Contractor.
    I am retired military.

    But of course. Just another fiercely independent free-enterprise Randian…who depends for his living on sucking on the Big Government teat.

    Seriously, can’t any of you guys hack it out in the free market like the rest of us?

  161. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Is there any other personal information you would like me to share?

    Yes. Have you ever actually earned a dime that didn’t come from the American taxpayer?

  162. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Which would also mean he is a citizen of Great Brittan? Right? His father’s citizenship also passed on to Obama. Kenya was under Great Brittan at the time.

    No, you imbecilic and addled moron. Kenya was a crown colony of Great Britain at the time, which means that Kenyans were not British subjects and did not hold British passports.

    (Also, too, no one Britain is a “citizen” of Britain — they are, strictly speaking, subjects).

  163. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jack:

    Which would also mean he is a citizen of Great Brittan? Right? His father’s citizenship also passed on to Obama. Kenya was under Great Brittan at the time. Thus, dual citizenship.

    Birther arguments are generally stupid. This one is especially stupid, and not just for the reason explained by Rafer Janders.

    It can’t possibly make sense for our election system to take into account a concept of “dual citizenship” that is determined by the laws of some other country, because then we would be handing every other country in the world the power to disrupt our elections. Tomorrow Bulgaria could declare that every person in the world more than five feet tall is automatically a citizen of Bulgaria. So then only short people could be president, right?

    By the way, every Jew in the world has a right to automatic citizenship in Israel. Next up I guess you’ll explain how Jews can’t be president.

  164. Blue Galangal says:

    @Jack: This whole birther thing makes me sick, but seriously: Chester A. Arthur. His father was NOT naturalised before CAA was born, his parents were married in Canada, and in fact CAA’s older sister was born in Canada. CAA was born in the US, to a US-born mother and an Irish/Canadian father.

    I have a son who was born in Germany, not on a US military base, and the way the Army lawyer explained it to us, well before the birther crap was raised over our first black president, was this: there are two statuses: natural born and naturalised. There is no third mythical status. You are either one or the other. If you are not naturalised, you are natural born (and therefore eligible to run for the presidency, among other things). End of story. My son did not need to apply for a green card and immigrate to the US, nor did he need to go through a naturalisation process. Therefore he is natural born.

  165. @Blue Galangal: You are just proving the depth of the conspiracy!

  166. KM says:

    @Blue Galangal :

    I don’t think they realize how many people they confuse/offend when they go off like this, especially one of their prized groups: military. A good friend is marrying into the Air Force next year and almost put a hold on the wedding because her stupid family tried to convince her their kids wouldn’t be US Citizens. It took far more effort then it should have to dispel that lie – she keep referring to the things she saw on TV (Fox, natch) that were the direct result of birtherism. My family is military (I’ll be the first generation to not serve) and I was horrified of the nonsense this otherwise reasonable women was spouting. Thank god we talked some sense into her – wedding’s next May 🙂

    Much like the arguments about gay marriage that end up pissing off unintended segments of the population (marriage is solely for procreation, etc), birthers have to construct this narrow definition in order to exclude that man certain people . That’s why they either support Cruz or “don’t care” despite clearly caring in this case – their definition is tailored to an individual and thus anyone who gets accidentally included in their definition gets a pass for REASONS or they just pretend it’s not an issue. But the average folk who don’t by into this crap now think there’s “controversy” over a basic status and that it’s more complicated then it really it. They’ve done real damage to this country, all in the name of smearing the President they can’t stand.

  167. Ken says:

    @Jack: I have no idea how much time he spent in foreign countries.

    But you said “Obama is the first president to spend most of his formative years in foreign countries”.

    Both of those statements can’t be true. So which one is true?

  168. JohnMcC says:

    Wow, what a perfect example of ‘not controlling the debate’!

  169. wr says:

    @Ken: “Both of those statements can’t be true. So which one is true?”

    “Jack,” to the extent that he exists, is a birther. Which means that while no two of his statements can be true, both can be lies.

  170. jukeboxgrad says:

    al-Ameda:

    nothing would be sufficient for Birther racists

    Are you sure? Maybe something like the following proposal would finally settle the matter, once and for all. Link:

    “All we are asking is that the president produce a sample of his fetal membranes and vessels—preferably along with a photo of the crowning and delivery—and this will all be over,” said former presidential candidate and Afterbirthers spokesman Alan Keyes, later adding that his organization would be willing to settle for a half-liter of maternal cord plasma. “To this day, the American people have not seen a cervical mucus plug, let alone one that has been signed and notarized by a state-certified Hawaiian health official. If the president was indeed born in the manner in which he claims, then where is his gestation sac?” Keyes said that if Obama did not soon produce at least a bloody bedsheet from his conception, Afterbirthers would push forward with efforts to exhume the president’s deceased mother and inspect the corpse’s pelvic bone and birth canal.

  171. al-Ameda says:

    @jukeboxgrad:
    hahahaha …
    It’s true, pro-lifers would definitely be influenced by a review of the president’s birth placenta.

  172. superdestroyer says:

    @Gustopher:

    ACtually there is nothing that the GOP can do. The fate on the U.S. is already set due to current demographic trends. The real question is why do so many wonks, pundits, and political writers keep writing as if politics will continue as if everyone is white. Wouldn’t it make more sense to think about what politics in the U.S. is more similar to current day Chicago where the white elites are feuding with the ethnic politicians over who controls government spending and who will get the most out of government.

    Instead of thinking of politics in terms of Republicans and Democrats, it may make more sense to think of politics being a fight between middle class whites and everyone else.

  173. Blue Galangal says:

    @KM: It is, literally, CRAZY. When your kid is born overseas to two US parents, that kid gets a US birth certificate (in fact, my son’s is very pretty compared to many state birth certificates). In a country like Germany, where they do indeed have a law that one parent has to be a citizen, he’s not even eligible for German citizenship or dual citizenship just because he was born there. So if he’s not an American citizen at birth, what do they think he is, those crazies??? Is he countryless?

    It’s also interesting that the birther crazies always cite a DISSENTING OPINION (e.g. in Wong Kim Ark) but neglect to mention that it’s the dissent so it’s not, you know, the ACTUAL RULING, which in fact ruled in favor of Wong Kim Ark’s citizenship.

  174. mannning says:

    Jack:

    The label “birther” was apparently coined by liberals, or their more radical cousins the progressives, to mean racially motivated attacks on Obama by way of challenging his status as a natural born citizen of the US. Thus you are swimming upstream all the way against “their” definition of birther as racist. Your spaghetti doesn’t stick on the wall here…

  175. @mannning: “birther” is a colloquialism used to describe someone who questions the country of origin of Obama (and/or the “natural born” nature of said birth).

    It is linguistically akin to “truther” (as those who claim to want the “truth” about 9/11).

    Any racial connotation of the term is a result of the claims by the birthers in question, not some liberal/progression smear.

  176. Tillman says:

    @mannning:

    The label “birther” was apparently coined by liberals … to mean racially motivated attacks on Obama by way of challenging his status as a natural born citizen of the US.

    Well, there’s very little other motivation out there for questioning his citizenship. After all, if there was serious doubt, then there would have been discussion of it before he was elected, like there was with the white John McCain since he was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Hell, one law prof disagrees with the bipartisan review that found him eligible claiming he was made a citizen retroactively which would disqualify him from being “natural-born.” The only reason this theory never saw its day in court is because it was at best a technicality, and to exploit it would have been unseemly. Y’know, kind of like our friends in King v. Burwell.

    I mean, to believe our society elected a non-citizen to the presidency is conspiratorial thinking of the stupidest, least-convincing kind. If he was a non-citizen, McCain’s campaign wouldn’t have ignored the possibility as they ended up doing. No political campaign for the presidency would ignore this. So even entertaining the idea of Obama’s non-citizenship as an actual possibility betrays one as having zero sense.

    Then you start to examine the types who put forth birther theories, and well, “racist” (even if just implicitly) is the easiest category they fall into. To pretend they fall elsewhere is to make up motivations for them they haven’t expressed.

  177. gVOR08 says:

    @Tillman: OMG!!! McCain’s in on the conspiracy!

  178. Tillman says:

    God. Imagine the circus Republican opposition researchers could’ve caused in 2008 if they found out Obama wasn’t a citizen. They could’ve released the information right before the Democratic Convention and forced a damn internal party crisis. Imagine coming out with that info in 2012, accurately delegitimizing Obama’s presidency.

    I’m not talking about a liberal media holding water for “their guy,” I’m talking about the people invested in finding out information that would beat him in an election without having to tally the votes. To believe a birther theory is to discount everyone invested in seeing Obama’s political demise as massively incompetent. Granted, the last six years have demonstrated some incompetence, but this is too good, too Rovian even, to be missed.

  179. @Tillman: Heck, forget the Reps. If there was any definitive proof Obama was not a citizen, the Clinton campaign would have gladly used it in 2008.

  180. mannning says:

    The term berther has consistently been used by the left as a derogatory term that implies racism of anyone questioning the birthplace of Obama. You may be technicaly correct, I do not know, but I have seen this usage, and this implication for five or six years now. Racism is implied.

    It is time to drop the whole thread.

  181. Rafer Janders says:

    Racism is implied.

    No, racism is not implied. Racism is a fact.

    What, other than racism, is any basis for doubting Obama’s natural born citizenship?

  182. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.”

    It should be noted that even according to de Vattel the birtherism stuff is nonsense. He requires one parent to be a citizen. That Obama’s mother was a citizen at the time of his birth is undisputed.

  183. al-Ameda says:

    @mannning:
    T

    he term berther has consistently been used by the left as a derogatory term that implies racism of anyone questioning the birthplace of Obama. You may be technicaly correct, I do not know, but I have seen this usage, and this implication for five or six years now. Racism is implied.

    It is time to drop the whole thread

    .
    Or, to put it another way, “those who did not know that Hawaii was a state when Obama was born there are not necessarily racists.”

  184. @mannning:

    The term berther has consistently been used by the left as a derogatory term

    It is a derogatory term, as it should be because the arguments in question are ridiculous and require willful ignoring of the facts and clear evidence and/or pretzel logic the likes of which are stunningly stupid. This is true if one assume no racial animus on part of a given birther.

    However, it is extremely difficult to divorce the race issue from a question like one’s parentage, especially if we are talking about an African father and assertion that the president was born in Africa. This is compounded by all the international talk (as if living abroad makes one less American).

    Birthers and truthers alike are not to be taken seriously.

  185. @mannning: BTW: complaining about the term “birther” strikes me as suggesting that there is a more respectful term to use for someone who makes these claims,. However, as much as I encourage vigorous debate, some positions are truly ridiculous and do not deserve such respect.

    I no more have to treat the birther position respect than I do the assertion that the earth is flat or that the moon is made of green cheese.

  186. mannning says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    At this point I must agree that extensive commenting on the issue of berthers is rather stupid. Many of the usual posters appear to agree basically that use of the term either implies or simply is a derogatory racial reference, and I happen to agree.

    It is also true that many on the right had high hopes for the proposition that Obama did not qualify for the presidency, believing, accurately as it has turned out, he would be a disaster in that office, besides being a consummate liar and spin master to the people, not to mention an $8 trillion spending spree, soon to top $10 trillion before he must go.

  187. An Interested Party says:

    It is also true that many on the right had high hopes for the proposition that Obama did not qualify for the presidency, believing, accurately as it has turned out, he would be a disaster in that office, besides being a consummate liar and spin master to the people, not to mention an $8 trillion spending spree, soon to top $10 trillion before he must go.

    Oh please…I wait with bated breath for anyone to explain how McCain/Palin and/or Romney/Ryan would have been so very much better for our country…

  188. jukeboxgrad says:

    mannning:

    an $8 trillion spending spree

    A) People who don’t understand the difference between ‘borrow’ and ‘spend’ should be discussing neither.

    B) Your numbers are wrong. Conservatives love phony numbers.

    C) When adjusted for inflation and the size of the economy, Obama’s borrowing is comparable to what Reagan and GWB each borrowed. IOKIYAR.

    D) Obama inherited the worst financial collapse in 80 years, the biggest deficit ever, and historically low tax rates. That’s the cause of his borrowing. It’s not because Obama has increased spending. Republicans are like people who pee in your house and then complain that the place stinks.

  189. @mannning: Our fundamental disagreement is that you seem to think that people other than birthers made the word derogatory while I would maintain that the birthers themselves, by their actions and so-called arguments and evidence are the ones that made the word have a derogatory meaning.

    Put another way: the derogatory meaning is the result of bad behavior, not the result of someone else defaming the word.

  190. Also: while there is plenty to criticize about the Obama presidency (as there is with any presidency) the notion that his administration has been a disaster is simply objectively not the case (unless “disaster” means “president for a party I don’t like”).

  191. nmannning says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    1. The birthers didn’t coin the term, liberals did, and set about using it in a derogatory way, and defined it to mean racial prejudice against Obama. Birthers had no reason to define the term at all. That there were and are birthers that actually had racial prejudice is simpy a fact. It is also true that there were, and perhaps are, birthers in other than leftist terms that are not racists.
    2 . The truth is I do not believe Obama has been a good president for a host of reasons covering just about every facet of governance, and especially because of his lies to the public, which has taken a book to lay out fully to date–but probably not competely, and there is the better part of two years to go.
    3. Jux. Picky picky picky. You want the full anaysis of the national debt here?
    Obama’s share of responsibility for the debt is north of $8 Trillion and growing. It is not relevant that others borrowed or spent at some level or other, what is relevant is now and the financial mess we have been led into by this president over the past 6 years.

  192. jukeboxgrad says:

    Obama’s share of responsibility for the debt is north of $8 Trillion

    Obama’s first fiscal year began on 10/1/09. The debt that day: $11.9T. The debt today: $18.1T. The difference between those two numbers: $6.2T. Source: link.

    Like I said, conservatives love phony numbers.

    the financial mess we have been led into by this president

    Obama cut the Bush deficit by 66%, so this claim of yours is also divorced from reality.

  193. Not to mention that a) a presidency cannot be, nor should it be, assessed solely on the questions of debt and deficit, and (more importantly), b) any president who came into office in 2008 was going to run large deficits due to the Great Recession.

    Any assessment of the Obama presidency that ignores where we were economically in 2008 versus where we are now is simply dishonest and/or not serious.

  194. @nmannning:

    The birthers didn’t coin the term, liberals did,The birthers didn’t coin the term, liberals did,

    I am going to try one more time,

    Yes, I agree that the term “birther” was coined by people other than birthers.

    BUT the reason that the term has racist connotations is BECAUSE OF THE ARGUMENTS MADE BY BIRTHERS. To pretend as if the claims made by birthers (I really can’t think of another term to use) were innocent and reasonable and their name was then sullied by liberals is pure nonsense.

    To go to an extreme example: no one names their kid Adolph for a reason, and it was because of the actions of one specific Adolph, not because his critics poured a certain connotation into his name.

  195. al-Ameda says:

    @nmannning:
    Picky picky picky. You want the full anaysis of the national debt here?
    Obama’s share of responsibility for the debt is north of $8 Trillion and growing. It is not relevant that others borrowed or spent at some level or other, what is relevant is now and the financial mess we have been led into by this president over the past 6 years.
    —————————–
    Picky picky picky indeed.
    The fact is that the president’s fiscal policies and the Federal Reserve’s QE have led us OUT of the 2008 financial catastrophe, the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression. The National Debt? What matters is the capacity of our economy to pay for the debt we now carry – and it’s quite clear that we have the financial ability and capacity to meet out debt obligations (notwithstanding the willingness of Republicans to entertain a default.)

  196. jukeboxgrad says:

    we have the financial ability and capacity to meet out debt obligations

    Correct, and this is an important point that is often denied. 100% of the current deficit would be eliminated if the top 1% resumed paying the effective tax rate they used to pay in the period 1942-1981. Link.

  197. mannning says:

    A fairly simple back of the spreadsheet analysis indicates that none of the current cures, including drastically raising taxes on the 1% will allow us to get out of debt. Even a 9% GDP growth year over year can’t do it.(which is impossible to obtain). Any cure had to begin in 2008 or earlier and nothing of the kind happened. Nor will it happen by 2017. Interest on the sums we will borrow subsequently from foreign sources will rise materially as well, worsening the situation.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-12/paying-down-debt-now-almost-mathematically-impossible

  198. @mannning:

    Two things:

    1. jukeboxgrad referred to taxes covering the deficit, not paying down the debt.

    2. The presence of debt is not, per se, a problem. Evidence of this fact is that we have had a national debt since the founding of the country. You seem to be assuming that a) debt is bad by its very existence and b) that debt is a new issue.

  199. jukeboxgrad says:

    mannning:

    none of the current cures, including drastically raising taxes on the 1% will allow us to get out of debt.

    This claim is false, and I already showed proof that this claim is false. To understand the falsity of this claim you need only to notice that the aggregate wealth of the top 1% exceeds the national debt.

    http://www.zerohedge.com

    The worthless hack you cited loves phony numbers, just like you. He said this:

    since the end of World War II, the US government’s total tax revenue has been almost constant at roughly 17% of GDP

    The 40 year average is about 18%, not “roughly 17%.” It has also not been “almost constant.” Here are the numbers for Clinton’s last four fiscal years:

    19.2
    19.2
    19.9
    18.8

    That’s how Clinton ran a surplus.

    I can’t find the part of your comment where you take responsibility for the phony numbers you cited. Instead of doing that you cited someone who presents more phony numbers.

    Steven L. Taylor:

    jukeboxgrad referred to taxes covering the deficit, not paying down the debt.

    You are describing my comment in this thread, but in the material I linked I address both. Link.

  200. An Interested Party says:

    You seem to be assuming that a) debt is bad by its very existence and b) that debt is a new issue.

    Indeed…all that started on January 20, 2009…

  201. @jukeboxgrad: Fair enough.

  202. Pharoah Narim says:

    @mannning: Sooooooo you want everyone’s 401Ks to crap the bed because some shill convinced you that the national economy was as easy to understand as your family budget?!? Bwahahahhhaahaaaaaaaa haahaah—woooooooooooooohhhh. I hope you’ll be here all week. LoL

  203. mannning says:

    From the collection of economists I have consulted, trying to determine how to preserve my retirement nestegg, I have received the following advice: 2 predict the economy will tank within the next six months, and 2 have said it will tank, but not for about a year, and all of them advised me to prepare for the demise of the dollar, and that we are in the boom before the crash. I value their advice far more than I do unknowns on the net who seem to have a very high stake in the status quo.

    The analysis I referred to used US government figures and a few cogent assunptions. Even if you increase the government percentage from 17% to 18% as Jaqx stated, it makes little difference to the outcome. Nor would 19%! One calls someone a hack when they cannot refute the work, and try to discredit the work by challenging details that don’t sway the results. Shameful, but seemingly true. Some people are overly punctilious. A brief view of the analysis won’t hack it!

    The idea that we can resolve our yearly debits by taking all of the money from the top 1% welthiest is pure nonsense, not to bring up the unfunded liabilities (debts) and accelerating interest in future years as well. The current $18+trilion is chump change compared to the huge obligations we face in the nation. Exactly what is the point in stating that the top 1% have about equal wealth to the current debt? You think the government will expropriate it to pay up? Not in my America.

    To say that debt is our natural state, so don’t worry is likewise nonsense, in that we have had munerous examples of what happens when debt grows too far and an economy spirals out of control, especially for the average citizen that cannot cope with the inflation that surely comes. The list of nations that have gone through this terrible trial is very long. Think about the rise in interest we will be forced to pay downstream as our debt grows. It compounds!

    The bottom line is simple: let us wait and see. I have made my preparations. I hope everyone can do the same.

  204. David M says:

    @mannning:

    Please don’t take financial advice from delusional cranks. We mock your horribly misguided political nonsense, but your “economists” could actually harm people’s lives.

    By the way, what were their predictions about inflation and the economy between 2008 and 2010?

  205. jukeboxgrad says:

    mannning:

    One calls someone a hack when they cannot refute the work

    Except that I did “refute the work.” And “work” is the wrong word, because the worthless hack you cited made a bunch of phony assertions that he didn’t even pretend to support with evidence. Not understanding the difference between assertion and evidence is a key part of what makes you such a good conservative.

    what is the point in stating that the top 1% have about equal wealth to the current debt?

    “About equal” is yet another instance of you putting your thumb on the scale. The wealth of the top 1% exceeds the national debt by over 20%. And “the point in stating” this is to demonstrate that you made a false claim when you said this:

    none of the current cures, including drastically raising taxes on the 1% will allow us to get out of debt.

    Wrong. Unless you think $18.1T (the debt) is greater than $22T (the aggregate wealth of the top 1%), then it’s a simple mathematical fact that “drastically raising taxes on the 1% will allow us to get out of debt.”

  206. @mannning: I sincerely fear that you have not been consulting economists, or even legitimate financial planners, but rather charlatans who wish to sell you something. If they are trying to get you to buy gold or other “inflation-proof” commodities, I would run the other way.

    An assertion to consider: a certain type of “economist” has been predicting not only inflation, but in some cases hyperinflation, since 2008. They guaranteed us that the stimulus and the various QE moves would result in massive inflation.

    And yet: no inflation.

    When predictions fall that flat, a wise man reevaluates whether such claims have any validity.

  207. al-Ameda says:

    @mannning:

    The idea that we can resolve our yearly debits by taking all of the money from the top 1% welthiest is pure nonsense, not to bring up the unfunded liabilities (debts) and accelerating interest in future years as well.

    The idea that we do not have the economic capacity to pay for our current national debt is not supported by the facts or by current ratios of debt to economic output. Our ability to pay for our debt is limited only by the willingness of our people and our elected representatives to authorize payments on our debt obligations.

    The same is true of our projected Social security and Medicare liabilities – it really is a matter of our willingness to fund those obligations, to fund those earned benefits. Our tax rates are historically low, the problem we have is that approximately half the body politic does not want to further tax themselves to ensure that those programs are financially viable in the decades to come. These people want a free lunch.

  208. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Once again your patience astounds me.

  209. Taiko drum says:

    Manning: Did your economists tell you that it is all relative? Sure, if you’re talking about it in a vacuum or perfect market, your economists may be right, but in reality the dollar only has to be perceived as being better than the alternatives. Look at 2008 crisis, the dollar strengthened due to various reasons but one was that investors figured the dollar was safer relative to other currencies. I would take real world actions over armageddon prognostications. Also, when it comes to inflation, do your economists ever bring up velocity or is it nothing but yelling about printing money?

  210. @gVOR08: 🙂

  211. mannning says:

    “My economists” lol were selected from a set of them that had the following records: They each predicted 2000, and 2007-2008 downturns to their customers, and they each have at least a 100 thousand customers (i.e. subscribers or followers) if not more. The total number I consulted was about 15, all of whom were predicting a significant downturn in the period 2015-2017. Forbes was one, Dent, Tice, Levy, Shiller, Fleckenstein, Roberts, Kirby, Ing, Rickards, Weidemer, and Lombardi were some others in the set. Oh, and Stansberry as well.

    So you with the great wisdom can tell me that all of these men were wrong, that everything is just fine, and there will be no downturn this year or the next. I am sure that at any one time a fourth of the economists will be predicting disaster, a fourth predicting a mild downturn, a fourth will be predicting a mild upturn, and the final fourth will be predicting a wonderful upturn. Interesting that I must have picked all in the disaster group and none in the rosy group. Since I am a skeptic to begin with, I tend to side with the negative predictions just now.

  212. David M says:

    @mannning:

    **Fleckenstein: has inaccurately been predicting a crash and runaway inflation for several years. He also hasn’t invested in the stock market since 2009

    **Harry Dent: best known for inaccurate predictions of a massive crash after 2009.

    **David Tice: known for inaccurate crash predictions in both 2010 and 2012

    **Jim Rickards: a crank who incorrectly predicted negative effects of QE and supports the gold standard

    **Weidemer: inaccurately predicted QE related inflation and recession in 2011.

    **Lombardi: inaccurately guaranteed a recession in 2013.

    **David Levy: less of a crank, but known for pessimistic predictions that don’t pan out, predicts the US will probably weather the next recession much better than the reset of the world.

    **Shiller: not a crank, but only making mildly pessimistic predictions

    Not exactly what I would consider a go to list people for reliable economic predictions, much less take advice from.

  213. gVOR08 says:

    Wall Street indexes predicted nine out of the last five recessions.

    – Paul Samuelson

  214. mannning says:

    @David M:

    Well if you predict a crash every year, you will probably be right once in ten or so years. Exactly how do you know each of these men and their records? More to the point, do you know 3 or 4 really good economists that have a sterling record? Getting the next two years right is of the utmost importance, and given you are right, I am taking tons of bad advice from those who predict a crash. What about Stansberry?

  215. jukeboxgrad says:

    What about Stansberry?

    Link:

    Financial Publisher Who Defrauded Public Investors Is Back With Another Ominous Video … In 2003, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued him for allegedly fraudulent practices toward his clients. As a result, Stansberry was “ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution and civil penalties for disseminating false stock information and defrauding public investors through a financial newsletter”

    That Stansberry? Stansberry promotes phony numbers, just like you. I could show you proof, but I’m sure you don’t care, since you still haven’t taken responsibility for your own phony numbers that you posted repeatedly.

    do you know 3 or 4 really good economists that have a sterling record?

    So Stansberry fits your concept of “a sterling record?”

  216. jukeboxgrad says:

    Exactly how do you know each of these men and their records?

    By paying attention. Link:

    Bill Fleckenstein says that investors who buy into the stock market at all-time highs are making a grave error.

    Amount the Dow has increased in the 14 months since he said that: 17%. Oh well.

  217. David M says:

    @mannning:

    Looking for economic predictions isn’t a good idea, as most anyone worth listening to isn’t going to make any. And the “economists” who predict doom and gloom all the time are hurting anyone who takes their advice. How did the last few years turn out for anyone expecting a crash? How about inflation?

    It’s not fun that no one knows what will happen with the economy, but accepting the uncertainty is part of being able to avoid being misled by charlatans.

  218. mannning says:

    @David M:

    So that is the measure! Economists that make predictions are phony! What, then, are they for?
    Most on my list claimed they predicted the downturns of 2000 and 2007, which, if true, was a useful thing. Unless they predict a downturn every year…

    The clamor from just about every “economist or investment advisor” I have accessed have about the same story: we are headed for a serious downturn real soon now. And the supposed good ones stay silent! So what In hell to do? Well, I did what several of them advocated, and stand to do reasonably well in any event, but especially well if the market tanks or we go to war, etc.

    No one, especially Jax, has punched a big hole in Simon Black’s analysis either, so, hack or not, he makes a case for big trouble in the next few years. I would like to see such an analysis if anyone is capable of putting one together that dispels what Black has shown. But I doubt that will happen; only pickers are here. This is a dare.

    I believe Jax is smoking something potent if he believes that the US government will initiate a tax program that hits the wealthy that hard anytime soon. But, of course, that is exactly what he and others of his belief system want. Such confiscatory rates are not the law now, and I do not believe it could ever be enacted in time to be effective, nor will any Republican congress pass such, so Jax is whistling in the dark. Of course, Obama, inventive as he is, might issue an edict going crosswise to the constitution yet again. Meanwhile, the national debt is growing, and the interest will accumulate. I do believe also that the wealthy have understood the tax threat very well indeed and most have made adequate preparations to defend their wealth.

  219. jukeboxgrad says:

    if he believes that the US government will initiate a tax program that hits the wealthy that hard anytime soon

    I didn’t say we would. I said we could. Do you have exceptionally poor reading comprehension, or are you dishonestly trying to relocate the goalposts? Probably both.

    the wealthy have understood the tax threat very well indeed and most have made adequate preparations to defend their wealth

    If we wanted to tax the rich in ways that are effective and unavoidable, we could do so. We simply lack the will to do so. This has to do with politics, not economics or mathematics.

  220. jukeboxgrad says:

    No one, especially Jax, has punched a big hole in Simon Black’s analysis either

    This is the first time you’re mentioning him, so I don’t know why you think someone was supposed to respond to something you never mentioned.

    I would like to see such an analysis if anyone is capable of putting one together

    You have already proven your affinity for phony numbers and people who promote them, so no one should take this assertion seriously.

    Unless they predict a downturn every year

    You might be starting to catch on.

  221. mannning says:

    Site Admin, are you going to release my comments here or not?

  222. jukeboxgrad says:

    My crystal ball says you’re using the Reply feature to reply to me. Don’t do that. For some bizarre reason, the result is what you experienced. It’s been this way for years.

  223. @mannning: Nothing pending.

  224. David M says:

    @mannning:

    Regarding how I was aware of those these men and their records, quite simply I wasn’t remotely familiar with any of them before this. I was fairly sure of what the basic results of a google search would reveal, and it turned out I was correct.

    The specifics were different, but failed economic forecasts is an issue I am familiar with, having read Barry Ritholtz for a while. He recently addressed the issue in his column titled My Prediction: Your Forecast Is Wrong

  225. jukeboxgrad says:

    He recently addressed the issue in his column

    That article is quite relevant. He mentions Tice, who was also mentioned by mannning. From your article:

    Consider David Tice, who this past August warned of a 60 percent market crash. That might be scary, if you were unaware of the fact he made the same forecast in both 2010 and 2012.

    Which reminds me of this statement by mannning:

    Unless they predict a downturn every year

    Hilarious.

  226. mannning says:

    Sometimes Reply works and sometimes it doesn’t.

    !. Simon Black was the author of the spreadsheet I linked to earlier. You didn’t read the title references correctly.
    2. You have not refuted his analysis, especially since he used relaxation methods, so I suspect you didn’t hear his pitch all the way through.
    3. He is something of a character for sure, but his analysis stands there mocking us to prove it wrong. (Some people think he isn’t a man anyway.)
    4. So I challenge you to put up a refutation spreadsheet analysis. Otherwise, his work stands that projects the impossibility of paying off the national debt through massive and continuous GDP growth, zero debit or reasonable (as opposed to draconian) tax increases.

  227. jukeboxgrad says:

    Simon Black was the author of the spreadsheet I linked to earlier. You didn’t read the title references correctly.

    Your link is here. Immediately below the title I see this:

    Submitted by Tyler Durden

    And then the next line says this:

    Submitted by Simon Black

    It’s not my fault your link can’t decide which author they want to credit.

    You have not refuted his analysis

    His collection of unsupported assertions is not an “analysis,” and I pointed out a major factual error.

    I challenge you to put up a refutation spreadsheet analysis

    Has it occurred to you to wonder why his “spreadsheet analysis” is not actually available in the form of an actual spreadsheet that can be downloaded, opened and examined?

    reasonable (as opposed to draconian) tax increases

    I realize that you and your sources define Ike-era tax rates as “draconian.”

  228. mannning says:

    Geez! So put up your own spreadsheet.

    The only viable path seems to lead to rather significant tax increases, up to perhaps 23% or even higher, instead of the 17% figure Black used. What that burden does to the economy might be disastrous, but I can’t assess that. Perhaps you can. My bet is that we will have to materially increase the defense budget over the next 5 to 10 years also, which must be factored in. An increase of perhaps 30% for years might be a working start, since we are now going down to pre WWII levels, while our opponents are growing by leaps.

    It does serve your interests to pour cold water over Black’s analysis, but it is a useful, albeit simple view of our circumstances, uses a base from the government, and his rather few “assertions” are quite rational. His use of 17%, which you challenged, was taken from a longer time period than your few examples, I believe, but it too can be varied for effect in the model, and should be, all the way up to 23% or higher.

    .

  229. mannning says:

    I believe it is time to close this thread as we are not going to make any progress.

  230. jukeboxgrad says:

    So put up your own spreadsheet.

    I already presented numbers you are choosing to ignore. You said this:

    none of the current cures, including drastically raising taxes on the 1% will allow us to get out of debt.

    I then presented numbers proving that “drastically raising taxes on the 1% will allow us to get out of debt.” You then said this:

    his work stands that projects the impossibility of paying off the national debt through massive and continuous GDP growth, zero debit or reasonable (as opposed to draconian) tax increases.

    Consider these two statements:

    A) Even drastic tax increases won’t get us out of debt.
    B) We can’t get out of debt without drastic tax increases.

    A is your original position and B is your new position. A more vivid example of disingenuous backpedaling would be hard to find. This is a good way of letting everyone know that you don’t expect to be taken seriously.

  231. mannning says:

    Oh dear, you are struggling to make a case so hard, I am almost reluctant to puncture your balloon.

    The fundamental here is that we will not enact drastic taxes, not for too many years anyway, yet that might be the only way to try. I am sure that the left would have a go at such raises, but they are doomed. Plus it is most likely that raising taxes so high would defeat the whole scheme by dragging the economy down, hence the GDP, and hence the tax yield. Consumers would close their purses for sure, not to mention the effect on the economies of the rest of the world, and the blowback from their troubles. Such a huge tax rise just might be the final blow that sends us into a disastrous downward spiral.

    From our friend Black’s spreadsheet none of the other options will suffice either, singly or together, which leaves us in the lurch with no viable way out, except your idea of commandeering the wealth of the 1%ers, which unfortunately isn’t enough! It will not cover the unfunded liabilities downstream, and that, too, would put a major drag on the economy, so we are still in the lurch. The total US debt has crossed $60 trillion in case you hadn’t noticed.

    Perhaps you are advocating canceling major parts of Medicare, social security, and ObamaCare (the near 70% of GDP spent on entitlements) to pay us into the black?

    By your defense of the current situation plus raising taxes, especially on the rich, I must believe you are an Obama Dem. and subscribe to leveling the wealth. Duly noted.

  232. jukeboxgrad says:

    raising taxes so high would defeat the whole scheme by dragging the economy down

    Yes, Ike-era tax rates are disastrous, which is why we remember the ’50s as a time of great economic hardship.

    your idea of commandeering the wealth of the 1%ers, which unfortunately isn’t enough

    Except that it is. I showed proof, which you are choosing to simply ignore.

    The total US debt has crossed $60 trillion

    “Unfunded liabilities” are not “debt.”

    the near 70% of GDP spent on entitlements

    I didn’t realize that “entitlements” was more than three times greater than the entire federal budget. You didn’t mean to say “GDP,” and your “near 70%” is yet another phony number. You have so many.

  233. mannning says:

    Those liabilities must be paid when they fall due, so they act exactly like debt. So we are in $60 trillion plus in debt. Or will they rescind Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.?

    Yes, I made a mistake, I should have said budget, not GDP. Glad you are reading me closely. You obviously knew what I was driving at, but you just HAD to pick at my mistake. Seems you are focused on my mistakes and not the overall problem, which is the US is in dire straits financially, and your pipe dream of confiscating the wealth of the 1% will not happen.

    Now, now, the mandatory expenses of the US Gov’t in 2014 was 66% of the budget, which I rounded up to “near 70%”. Picky picky! It may well be 70% this year!

    So my original position still holds: we are in serious financial danger.

  234. jukeboxgrad says:

    Those liabilities must be paid when they fall due, so they act exactly like debt.

    If Congress decides that benefits are too high, they are free to pass a law changing the benefits, which means SS and Medicare do not “act exactly like debt.”

    Or will they rescind Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.?

    What you’re doing is called the fallacy of bifurcation. There are fixes that do not require “rescind.” For example, raising the cap fixes Social Security. Pre-Reagan tax rates also fix these problems.

    you just HAD to pick at my mistake

    Because your comments are packed with every kind of “mistake.” Let’s discuss another one.

    the mandatory expenses of the US Gov’t in 2014 was 66% of the budget

    Link:

    Mandatory spending—which totaled about $2.0 trillion in 2013, or about 60 percent of federal outlays

    Your 66% is another phony number. Also, you didn’t say “mandatory expenses.” You said this:

    the near 70% of GDP spent on entitlements

    “Entitlements” and “mandatory” are not synonyms. For example, the latter includes interest expense. Are you claiming that interest expense is “entitlements?” Because that’s essentially what you did.

    You prove over and over again that you lack a basic understanding of the terms you use. “Debt” is not a synonym for “unfunded liabilities,” and “entitlements” is not a synonym for “mandatory.”

    I notice this statement from those wacky Marxists at Heritage (12/8/14):

    In 2003, the entitlement share of the budget was 44 percent, compared with 49 percent today.

    When Heritage says “49 percent” and you say “near 70%” this is yet another strong indication of your love for phony numbers.

    the US is in dire straits financially, and your pipe dream of confiscating the wealth of the 1% will not happen

    “Confiscating” is another word for taxation. If the debt is ever paid, that will require “confiscating” from someone. The wealth of the top 1% exceeds the debt, so it’s possible to eliminate the debt by taxing that wealth. This is not a prediction or a “dream;” it’s a statement about math. I realize math upsets you.

    So my original position still holds: we are in serious financial danger

    Your “original position” was much more specific. You said this:

    none of the current cures, including drastically raising taxes on the 1% will allow us to get out of debt.

    The wealth of the top 1% exceeds the debt, which is sufficient to prove that your statement is false. It’s too bad you lack the integrity to admit it.

  235. mannning says:

    Well, I was a piker regarding unfunded liabilities. As of Feb 2014 it was calculated to be over $205 trillion. Heaven knows what the figure is today.

    http://dailyreckoning.com/205-trillion-in-unfunded-liabilities

    Unfunded
    Describing any liability or other expense that does not have savings or investments set aside to pay it. That is, the party responsible for paying an unfunded liability pays for it out of current income or by borrowing. The risk of an unfunded liability is that a payee may not receive that which he/she is entitled to if the payer goes through a difficult financial period. It also increases the payer’s current liabilities (especially for social security and Medicare).

    Good luck meeting those obligations however you try.

    Back in the soup again.

  236. jukeboxgrad says:

    $205 trillion

    You should take responsibility for your prior phony numbers before you post new ones.

    any liability or other expense that does not have savings or investments set aside to pay it

    The Pentagon is an “expense that does not have savings or investments set aside to pay it,” so you should explain why you exclude it from your tally of “unfunded liabilities.” It fits your definition, so I guess you need to start over and come up with a new definition.