Is The GOP Suckering Fiscal Conservatives All Over Again?

Do fiscal conservatives realize they're being sold a bill of goods?

The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf hits upon a theme that I’ve brought up several times during the course of the Presidential campaign, the fact that the Republican Party is, once again, suckering fiscal conservatives into supporting a ticket that isn’t very conservative fiscally:

It remains the case that the Romney-Ryan ticket, as fleshed out in recent days, is running on the following:

  • Zero cuts to the military budget. “If I’m president and Paul Ryan’s vice president we will not cut our military budget,” Mitt Romney said. He’s also talked repeatedly about increasing defense spending.
  • Zero tax increases on investment, savings, or the middle class, and a broad income-tax rate cut.
  • Zero cuts to Medicare for the entirety of two terms in office.
  • War with Iran if it keeps pursuing a nuclear program.

What about those policy promises suggests to deficit hawks that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will shrink the deficit? Meanwhile, the GOP ticket promises to eliminate tax deductions but won’t specify which ones. Naturally, the deductions that cost the most are correspondingly popular with voters. How is it that deficit hawks fail to appreciate the fact that the most likely parts of the Romney-Ryan agenda to pass are the tax cuts, increases in military spending, and the restoration of $700 billion plus to Medicare, while the least likely to pass are the elimination of tax deductions?

Then there’s Ryan’s long term vision. Says Kevin Drum, if we presume no substantial cuts to defense spending, by 2050 it would entail “a cut of 80 percent or so” that affects almost everything save Social Security and Medicare. “It affects prisons, food assistance, education, the FBI, assistance to the needy, courts, child nutrition, drug-abuse counseling, FEMA, rape prevention, autism programs, housing, border control, student loans, roads and bridges, Head Start, college scholarships, unemployment insurance, and job training,” he writes. Does that seem even remotely realistic politically, even to the few people who think that it would be desirable?

As best as I can tell, a lot of deficit hawks are refraining from demanding a realistic path to a balanced budget because they assume Romney-Ryan will be better than Obama, and figure that more specificity is only going to hurt their ability to win the upcoming election. Isn’t that tantamount to putting the same blind faith in the GOP that its partisans identified as a root cause of the Bush-era spending spree, and which they promised to never indulge again?

Conor is absolutely correct, of course. Republicans have been hitting President Obama fairly hard for years now over his fiscal profligacy, and his failure to get behind the deficit reduction plan put forward by the very commission that he had formed to, well, come up with a deficit reduction plan. For the most part, those charges are accurate and well-deserved. However, at the same time that they’ve been hitting the President on these issues, they’ve been advocating policies that are just as bad and, in some cases worse, from the perspective of a fiscal conservative.

The best example of this, of course, can be seen in the area of defense spending. Before the ink was even dry on last August’s debt ceiling deal, Republicans were talking about reversing the defense portion of the cuts and, this year, they’ve taken action to do just that in the House of Representatives while Republican Senators have also been calling for the cuts to be reversed. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has called for the cuts to be delayed a year, which is obviously just the first step down the road of eliminating them entirely. Romney has also proposed increasing the defense budget by some two trillion dollars over ten years, including a massive expansion of the United States Navy. On top of all this, a major part of the Romney/Ryan campaign against the President includes criticism of the fact that he would cut Medicare spending, which is something that most people seem to recognize is absolutely necessary, and, as Conor noted, pledging not to cut Medicare while they are in office. How, exactly, is that fiscally conservative?

It’s really quite astounding that fiscal conservatives would let themselves be suckered like this again. One would have thought that the eight years of the Bush Administration would have taught them a lesson that you have to do more than just listen to the rhetoric of Republican candidates, you have to actually look at their policies. There are some responsible Republicans out there, Tom Coburn comes to mind, but their numbers are seemingly fewer than they used to be during the Bush years when there was, at the very least, a small contingent of the party speaking out against the profligacy of programs like Medicare, Part D. As for the voters who consider themselves fiscally conservative, I can’t say I understand their actions very well at all. For many of them, no doubt, supporting Romney is merely a means to get rid of Obama, who they consider to be worse. As Conor pointed out, though, that just means they’re making the same mistake that Republicans did last decade when they blindly trusted to control spending, then failed to punish them when they didn’t.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. That seems to be what Republican fiscal conservatives are doing right now.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Al says:

    “Again” kind of implies that they stopped at some point.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Are there any fiscal conservatives? I don’t think that falls under political science so much as cryptozoology.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    It’s really quite astounding that fiscal conservatives would let themselves be suckered like this again.

    No, it isn’t. There’s no such thing as a fiscal conservative in the GOP.

    There are guys who want tax cuts. And there are people who want the government in our bedrooms. And there are guys who want wars, many more wars. There never have been any fiscal conservatives. They’re a myth. They don’t exist. And please don’t cite Ronald Laffer Reagan.

    Yes, there are plenty of people who pretend to be fiscal conservatives, but they’re lying. They either want tax cuts, abortion prisons, or wars.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    By the way, I’d just add that I would LOVE to see an actual, honest fiscal conservative running on the GOP ticket. I would LOVE to hear some honest debate on the matter. But billionaires looking for tax breaks are not in any way, shape or form, conservative.

  5. MattT says:

    It’s worth recalling in this context that Obama did propose a Grand Bargain that would have led to actual deficit reduction – a plan that was moderate enough to elicit the cooperation of John Boehner, for a while – but it was torpedoed by the Right. Whether or not that Grand Bargain could actually have been achieved politically, we’ll never know, but Obama has clearly been much more “serious” on this score.

  6. An Interested Party says:

    I’m just curious…when has the GOP not suckered fiscal conservatives…

  7. john personna says:

    Thanks Doug, a good piece.

    @Dave Schuler:

    Lots of people make me look fiscally conservative.

  8. Me Me Me says:

    To be fair, Romney/Ryan are at least as fiscally conservative as Ronald Reagan was. Which is to say, not at all.

    The following is cribbed from the von Mises Institute:

    In 1980, Jimmy Caner’s last year as president, the federal government spent a whopping 27.9% of “national income”. Reagan assaulted the free-spending Carter administration throughout his campaign in 1980. So how did the Reagan administration do? At the end of 1988 federal spending accounted for 28.7% of “national income.”

    Even Ford and Carter did a better job at cutting government. Their combined presidential terms account for an increase of 1.4%—compared with Reagan’s 3%—in the government’s take of “national income.” In nominal terms, Reagan oversaw a 60% increase in government spending, due mainly to his requested budgets, which were only marginally smaller than the spending Congress voted.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Me Me Me:

    Of course the party line is that Reagan, who bestrode this narrow world like a colossus, who healed the sick and raised up the dead, was thwarted by . . . Tip O’Neill. The fact that Reagan never even submitted a balanced budget is as forgotten by “conservatives” as Reagan’s cut-and-run from Lebanon and his sending of weapons to terrorist Iran.

  10. george says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Are there any fiscal conservatives? I don’t think that falls under political science so much as cryptozoology.

    Actually I’m a fiscal conservative (along with the implied social liberal). Which means I’ve had to vote Democrat the last few elections in the US (and either Liberal or Conservative Party federally in Canada, and NDP provincially – all of which are well to the left of the Democrats actually), because the Republican Party lately has been anything but fiscally conservative.

    You don’t increase spending on wars while reducing taxes if you’re a fiscal conservative. Fiscal conservative means wanting to decrease the deficit, not increase it. And fighting overseas wars is about as far away from fiscal conservatism as you can get – spending a lot of tax dollars trying to get other countries to behave the way you want them to (whether by “policing” them or just plain conqueroring them) has always been a great way to drive your economy into ruin.

  11. Carson says:

    @michael reynolds: There is a third person running: Gary Johnson, who has an economic plan. The Republicans are trying to keep him off the ballot.
    Check out his website.

  12. PJ says:

    @Carson:
    If only there was more information about this Gary Johnson fella, then disgruntled Republicans would have someone else to vote for.

    Oh, and here’s a link to his site.

  13. mattb says:

    Anyone willing to take bets on how many of our conservative commenters will actually respond to this thread?

    Topics like this are kryptonite for them.

  14. stonetools says:

    Question: Is The GOP Suckering Fiscal Conservatives All Over Again?

    Answer: Yes

    This has been another episode of SATSQ.

  15. Rick Almeida says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I’m just curious…when has the GOP not suckered fiscal conservatives…

    When they’re suckering social conservatives.

  16. Ron Beasley says:

    Deficits only matter when the Democrats are in power.

  17. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    If only there was more information about this Gary Johnson fella, then disgruntled Republicans would have someone else to vote for.

    Related

  18. gVOR08 says:

    @stonetools: Al at the top of the thread was right, it’s not “again”, it’s “still”.

  19. bill says:

    well how can anyone argue with the atlantic, it’s so liberal you can eat brie off of it (kudos g.trudeau!) our current budget doesn’t seem to be working either, so much for hope and change. the issue is that people are afraid to spend even if they have money, they don’t know if they’ll lose their job soon as our current administration has done little to make anyone feel confident about our future….unless you work for the gov’t. or depend on it. ok everyone, thumbs down time!

  20. bill says:

    @Carson: why, he has no chance. roseanne’s running too if you’re interested.

  21. Rick Almeida says:

    @bill:

    the issue is that people are afraid to spend even if they have money, they don’t know if they’ll lose their job soon as our current administration has done little to make anyone feel confident about our future…

    These things are true enough, as far as they go, but nothing in the Romney/Ryan plan will create jobs, growth, or confidence either. That is more or less the main point of the post.

  22. @bill:

    well how can anyone argue with the atlantic

    Actually, you could, if you had better numbers.

    (One of the worse things you can do in an argument is blame a messenger without challenging the actual facts.)

  23. MBunge says:

    @bill: “the issue is that people are afraid to spend even if they have money, they don’t know if they’ll lose their job soon as our current administration has done little to make anyone feel confident about our future”

    To the extent that’s true, how much of that feeling has been DELIBERATELY promoted by conservatives?

    Mike

  24. Spartacus says:

    Doug wrote: “It’s really quite astounding that fiscal conservatives would let themselves be suckered like this again.”

    Can you please stop with the charade? You are conflating “fiscal conservatives” with GOPers. The two are not the same. They’re not even close.

    Secondly, those GOPers who call themselves fiscally conservative are not in any way being suckered. Do you really think James Joyner doesn’t know that Romney’s plan will result in higher deficits than Obama’s plan? James absolutely knows this. He also knows there is no rational reason to vote for Romney unless one is wealthy and is selfishly seeking a tax cut. Nevertheless, James will vote for Romney anyway because they wear the same jersey. It’s tribalism.

  25. Chris says:

    The point you’re missing is that conservatives believe that one of the few roles of the federal government is to maintain its military so of course that’s where they’d direct funds. Social programs and the like – other than social security and Medicare/Medicaid which are too far along to do anything about other than re-vamp – are the province of the states.

    The ideal situation for fiscal conservatives is for the federal government to collect just enough money to finance its core duties resulting in lower federal tax rates and to leave the rest to the states who can tax as they need, within a budget, to meet the demands of their constituents.

  26. David M says:

    @Chris: Seems to me the idea of the individual states running Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is completely unworkable.

  27. Herb says:

    @MBunge:

    ” how much of that feeling has been DELIBERATELY promoted by conservatives?”

    A lot. Nearly all. 99%.

    Indeed, whenever I hear about how Obama isn’t providing the country’s small businesses with the appropriate level of “confidence,” I know I’m listening to a crank. Sorry, Bill, but small businesses succeed or fail based on hard work, smart business practices, and financial discipline.

    Confidence plays no major role. And neither does federal policy.

  28. anjin-san says:

    our current administration has done little to make anyone feel confident about our future

    You have to love these sorts of comments. The previous administration was rabidly pro-business. Bush was “the CEO President”. The VP was a leading executive before going back into politics. We had a nod,nod-wink,wink climate towards regulation. The “ownership society”. Just make money.

    How did that work out? Oh, yea. Bush was cleaning out his desk with the economy at the brink of the abyss…

  29. @Ron Beasley:

    Deficits only matter when the Democrats are in power.

    I would really like to think that it was not that simple, but I’ve been asking about Romney’s missing $5.7 trillion for a few days and had no answers.

    If there are any fiscally conservative Romney fans, I really wish they’d explain it.

  30. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    If there are any fiscally conservative Romney fans, I really wish they’d explain it.

    I saw one over between the leprechaun and the unicorn.

  31. george says:

    @Chris:

    The point you’re missing is that conservatives believe that one of the few roles of the federal government is to maintain its military so of course that’s where they’d direct funds.

    But fiscal conservatives wouldn’t maintain a miltiary at a higher cost than can be covered, whatever they thought of the legitimacy of the other roles. And for that matter, conservatist doctrine on military used to be “enough to secure our safety within our borders”.

    Being the world’s policeman (to put it nicely) is more in line with imperialistic ideologies, and is a relatively recent addition (ie post WW2). Its also impossible in the long run to maintain a military that can defeat all possible combinations of possible enemies, and again, fiscal conservatism recognizes that it was only possible for a brief (historically speaking) window after WW2. Dragging the economy down trying to maintain that situation world wide isn’t fiscal conservatism, and I’d argue, not conservatism either, in that no other group of conservatives in the world thinks that’s part of the ideology. Its a GOP’ism way of thinking.

  32. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: I agree. It’s time for fiscal conservatives to say what they want cut out of the budget. Unfortunately most of the time, what they want sounds like Sharon Angle:

    “I’m tired of paying for government services that I don’t want and can’t use.”

  33. al-Ameda says:

    @Chris: And how would a state based social security system work? If I worked 10 years each in 3 states would I receive 3 social security checks? Would eac state have its own tax rate? A giant step backwards for America.

  34. David M says:

    Is The GOP Suckering Fiscal Conservatives All Over Again?

    Does Romney’s tax plan add up? No
    Do Romney’s policy proposals make the deficit worse? Yes

    There you go, the GOP is still worse for fiscal conservatives.

  35. Qtip says:

    @Rick Almeida:

    I thought republicans have passed a lot of legislation recently for social cons: abortion restrictions, no gay marriage, etc.

  36. MarkedMan says:

    There is a lot of truth to the observation that those who trumpet some real or imagined virtue the loudest are often the most likely to be violating that virtue. It may be simplistic, but the world is full of Larry Craigs (an anti-homosexual homosexual) and Dick Cheneys (an American-Values-First torturer). The Republican Party as a whole follows this syndrome. They shout about being fiscally conservative and pro-small business but, far from promoting these ideals, they actively destroy them.

    It seems to me that 90% of party supporters in general and 99% of Republican supporters in particular are about the Team. So yes, there is seemingly nothing the Republican party can do in reality that will prevent James Joyner from pulling that “R” lever.

  37. An Interested Party says:

    When they’re suckering social conservatives.

    Really? They have shown that they have the ability to do both simultaneously…

    The point you’re missing is that conservatives believe that one of the few roles of the federal government is to maintain its military so of course that’s where they’d direct funds. Social programs and the like – other than social security and Medicare/Medicaid which are too far along to do anything about other than re-vamp – are the province of the states.

    Ahh, but that is the point right there…most of the federal deficit is because of defense, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid…all of those other alleged social programs are a drop in the bucket of the federal budget…when conservatives present real plans that really balance the budget, plans that include real cuts to the biggest programs in the federal budget, as well as some kinds of tax increases/tax overhaul to make sure that what is being taken in is closer to what is being put out, perhaps then they will be taken more seriously…

  38. Chris says:

    @al-Ameda: To you and the other person who brought this up…SS/Medicare/Medicaid were excluded as a state responsibility in my response….though you are aware that the states have some responsibility for managing/paying for Medicaid.

  39. jan says:

    Doug, While I see the point of your commentary, I highly doubt you will get many concise responses, explaining Romney’s fiscal policies, as he hasn’t given them out yet, in great detail. What has been elicited by your dubiousness is a lot of neighing by those who are only too pleased rhapsodizing how fiscally irresponsible Romney’s stances are. Romney’s fiscal offerings, though, are but a generalized outline of what he wants to do and where he wants to go — similar to giving GPS a destination, but the map hasn’t computed the best route getting you there….yet.

    My original pick, for a presidential candidate, was Mitch Daniels of Indiana, mainly because he was so blunt about his focus being on the economy and not on social issues. Between the far right’s rejection of him, along with a family who was not interested in him running, Daniel’s candidacy never materialized. Like you, though, I have always respected Tom Coburn’s candid assessment of our economical dilemmas, and think of him as being one of the few honest, responsible Congressmen around, on either side of the aisle. If you recall, Coburn endorsed Romney early in the primary process, giving me pause to seriously consider Romney, leading to my supporting him over all the other much weaker candidates.

    It’s kind of funny, though, because many threads and energy have been expended on combing through every nook and cranny of Romney, and now Ryan’s, words and numbers. I just don’t remember such a demand for detail from Obama when he was running. Most of his rhetoric dealt with a ‘vision’ and nice sounding slogans. He had a thin resume, and was stumping for the office of POTUS on the vapors of what he wanted to do, not on what he did do, let alone a full economic plan drawn up for iron-clad approval.

    Even now Obama has no hard core plan, just ideas that mostly counter Romney’s, and are tied into a big centralized government ideology. Looking at the track record Obama has been able to develop over the past 4 years leaves me cold. And, looking ahead at what he has vaguely endorsed for a second term is something I am fundamentally against. So, this election is not a matter of being ‘suckered,’ as much as it primarily involves two viable choices. Sure, a person can vote 3rd party, or not at all. But that’s nothing more than a self-serving gesture showing people how noble you are. After all, everyone knows, the eventual winner will be one of the two — either Obama or Romney.

    Also, IMO, it’s not incumbent upon everybody voting for Romney to have to make a case whereby you are forced to finesse the intricacies of budgets and plans that most likely will dramatically be altered once the realities of leadership take hold. Just like Ryan’s medicare ideas underwent a 2nd generation remodeling, so will Romney/Ryan’s ideas evolve and change when hard numbers are before them. That 4% floor for military spending may revert downwards to 3%, along with drastic overhauls within the Pentagon dealing with wasteful abuse. The tax policies may be augmented by additional fees and heavy deduction alterations, which, will mean higher net incomes being subjected to those lower tax margins, coming out more a wash.

    The key though is not how the current economy’s proceeds are being divided, as much as revitalizing this economy, making it bigger, with more jobs and a greater number of people productively working. And, this is what I believe Romney/Ryan are far more capable of doing in their administration than Obama can do in an administration molded by him — especially when one uses the past 4 years as a yardstick for measuring a growth of less than 2% GDP and a continuing failure of creating good jobs, with a consistent EU of over 8%. That’s simply dismal, no matter how you cut it.

    That’s why I am supporting Romney, despite the admonitions listed here…as, there are plenty more, IMO, on the Obama side of the ledger.

  40. Me Me Me says:

    @jan:

    Doug, While I see the point of your commentary, I highly doubt you will get many concise responses, explaining Romney’s fiscal policies, as he hasn’t given them out yet, in great detail.

    He wants to lower taxes and increase defense spending than that is going to expand the deficit. How much more concise can I be? No further detail from Romney needed.

  41. michael reynolds says:

    @jan:

    Educate us.

    How does Mr. Romney’s approach differ from Mr. Bush’s. The one that gained essentially zero net jobs and ended up with us on the edge of a second Great Depression?

    Specifics? Because I haven’t seen any.

  42. An Interested Party says:

    And, this is what I believe Romney/Ryan are far more capable of doing in their administration than Obama can do in an administration molded by him…

    How?

  43. Stan says:

    To most Republican voters, deficits aren’t that important. What they’re concerned about is being taxed so that the government can provide benefits to people who don’t deserve them. I don’t agree with this point of view. In fact, I think it’s horrible. But I have to recognize that the average Republican voter feels victimized by the welfare state and that in their own eyes conservatives feel that they’re the moral ones, not the liberals. Until Republicans come to feel that poverty can result from bad luck or a bad start in life rather than laziness or poor character, they’ll continue to oppose welfare benefits, and it won’t be because they’re concerned about the deficit.

  44. al-Ameda says:

    @Chris:
    Sorry, I misread your comment.

  45. al-Ameda says:

    @jan:

    I highly doubt you will get many concise responses, explaining Romney’s fiscal policies, as he hasn’t given them out yet, in great detail.

    Here’s a concise question:

    So you support Romney’s plan to cut the top tax bracket from 34% to 25% while increassing defense spending, and generating annual deficits as big as the ones we have today?

  46. Modulo Myself says:

    @jan:

    It’s kind of funny, though, because many threads and energy have been expended on combing through every nook and cranny of Romney, and now Ryan’s, words and numbers. I just don’t remember such a demand for detail from Obama when he was running.

    Obama wasn’t perfect, but he gave details and he didn’t horrify the people who poke around in nooks and crannies. Romney freaks them out, and this is why nobody who pokes around is going to vote for the guy.

  47. jan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “Educate us. “

    The point of what I said was not to educate you or persuade you to back Romney, because that will never happen. I wanted to say why I was voting for him, as well as offer the opinion that much of what Romney is generally saying is probably intentionally vague as it will be changed should he win. Look what Obama said when he was running in ’08 —> going to half the deficit, believed that leadership meant you didn’t raise the debt ceiling, wanted to be more transparent, no lobbyists allowed, close Gitmo etc. So much of what he ran on just didn’t happen. Circumstances change agendas. Reality is illuminating.

    Also, anyone endorsing and voting for Obama is more a reflection of where they want this country to go. The same goes for me, in that Romney/Ryan at least talk the talk of smaller government, business incentives, growth, jobs etc. The final draft will be when they assume the responsibilies, if given the chance.

    I detest Obama’s policies. Whereas, I like the philosophies behind Romney/Ryan. And, I don’t go along with the old hat argument that Romney will be Bush. It makes for good campaign speeches, but Bush is not on the ticket. So, I am looking at this contest as Obama’s strengths and weaknesses versus the same with Romney’s — period.

    @An Interested Party:

    How?

    Obama is a bureaucrat, and Romney is a businessman. IMO, you have to live and work in the private sector to at least understand some of the underlying issues, motivations, and how to prime the pump of trust for investors to come back and risk being a player in this harsh economy. Obama doesn’t have a clue, whereas Romney does.

  48. al-Ameda says:

    @jan:

    Obama is a bureaucrat, and Romney is a businessman. IMO, you have to live and work in the private sector to at least understand some of the underlying issues, motivations, and how to prime the pump of trust for investors to come back and risk being a player in this harsh economy. Obama doesn’t have a clue, whereas Romney does.

    George W Bush was a businessman (in oil, in baseball ownership) – so what? Romney m=ade his fortune as an LBO specialist – leveraging debt to buy companies, stripping away assets and laying off workers. I’m not sure he understands at all.

  49. michael reynolds says:

    @jan:

    I hope this won’t sound too harsh, but once again: you got nothing.

    I give you an open field to make your case and . . . Nada.

  50. KansasMom says:

    @jan: “concise” I’m pretty sure you don’t know what that word means. You just used 250 words to say what Romney/Ryan say in two words. “Trust us.”

  51. Modulo Myself says:

    @jan:

    Your argument is completely refuted by Mitt Romney’s career at Bain. Romney was a numbers guy in a profession invented by financial bureaucrats. He did well, but not because he was remarkably tuned into some secret businessman’s wavelength available only to those who wrote case studies for their MBA.

  52. jan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Michael, I’m not up for an academy award to satisfy some kind of response that you can then, more than likely, take issue with.

    I’ve actually been honest about where I’m coming from. But, it’s never enough here. And, while you all are hounding people about Romney’s numbers, his exact ideas, we have Obama doing what? Where are the solid ideas in his plans. It’s all about tax the rich (which is class differentiation), expand social programs, forget about earlier promises of paygo, no budget for 3 years, a stand-off in the Senate for brain-storming budget plans — Michael, it’s one way bartering that you are doing here, and then calling people out for coming up with nothing.

    Anyway, talk among yourselves about Obama. He is, after all, a prominent candidate that is the encumbent up for reelection. Half of this discussion should be about how Obama is doing, what are his plans, is he keeping earlier campaign promises….

  53. jan says:

    In the meantime, I’m out of here for tonight. The redundancy of the posts become too much after awhile. I know why I am voting for the ticket I am voting for. I am not attempting to convince you guys, as you already are sealed and delivered for Obama.

  54. john personna says:

    @jan:

    You probably should not have brought feelings to a budget fight.

  55. An Interested Party says:

    But I have to recognize that the average Republican voter feels victimized by the welfare state…

    Indeed, as they cash their Social Security checks and use their Medicare benefits…

    IMO, you have to live and work in the private sector to at least understand some of the underlying issues, motivations, and how to prime the pump of trust for investors to come back and risk being a player in this harsh economy.

    This reasoning, of course, completely disqualifies Paul Ryan…

    Half of this discussion should be about how Obama is doing, what are his plans, is he keeping earlier campaign promises….

    Except this thread is titled “Is The GOP Suckering Fiscal Conservatives All Over Again?”

  56. michael reynolds says:

    @jan:

    Baloney, Jan. I can make my case for Obama in specific detail.

    1) I’m pro-choice, he’s pro-choice.
    2) I favor full equality for gays, Obama has finally come around on that.
    3) I support universal health coverage. Obama has come close.
    4) I believe that the 1% (a group I’m in, somewhat to my surprise) and even the 10% have an obligation to pay some bills. Obama wants to let our rich folk tax cuts expire. I think it’s past time.
    5) I think we need to rethink our defense expenditures and make some serious cuts, Obama does too.
    6) I oppose war with Iran and I think Obama is reluctant to go down that road.
    7) I am grateful to Obama for arranging the death of Osama Bin Laden.
    8) I support Obama’s drone war and other measures against Al Qaeda.
    9) I am gratified that Obama ended US torture.
    10) I am grateful for the fact that we avoided a major depression bequeathed to us by the previous administration.
    11) I believe that global warming is real and that we should treat it as such.
    12) I approve of Mr. Obama’s appointments to the SCOTUS.

    There you go. See? That’s how easy it is. And see how I never once mentioned Romney? Now why can’t you do the same for your candidate?

  57. Doubter4444 says:

    @jan:
    I will say that Jan’s comments tonight, while free of details, is at least one without a lot of invective and right with nut talking points – and for that i thanks her and hope, that as the post on commenting bough up that we can actually have conversations that reflect the point at hand, and not just spin spouted mindlessly.
    So, thanks Jan. (BTW, you did not really give any ammo to support the position you believe, but that’s ok, at least it’s not just snark about Obummer, Death panels and Islmo-Marxistism or something).
    It’s an important start, and I’m going to try to take it to heart.

  58. jukeboxgrad says:

    george:

    pending a lot of tax dollars trying to get other countries to behave the way you want them to … has always been a great way to drive your economy into ruin.

    But while that’s happening certain people make out like bandits. Us killing a lot of people in Iraq had the effect of certain people making a killing (link; 2007):

    Defense Sector Bests the S&P 500 for a Seventh Consecutive Year

    Do you have anything against the “Defense Sector?” Mitt wants to make sure those people don’t starve.

    Its also impossible in the long run to maintain a military that can defeat all possible combinations of possible enemies … Dragging the economy down trying to maintain that situation world wide isn’t fiscal conservatism

    Yes, and it’s also self-destructive, because in the end you can’t have a strong military if you don’t have a strong economy. And you can’t have a strong economy unless you deal with issues of health, education and infrastructure. That’s where real national strength begins, and it’s what the GOP always loves to cut first.

  59. jukeboxgrad says:

    jan:

    Obama is a bureaucrat, and Romney is a businessman.

    And what’s Ryan? If being a “businessman” is important, why did Ryan get picked? He has spent his career working for the government. Obama’s private-sector experience greatly exceeds Ryan’s.

    And Romney is a “businessman” only in a certain warped sense. What he did is financial engineering, not business. He ran one company, a company which built nothing, and mostly made money by shuffling paper and dismantling other companies that did actually make things.

    I realize a couple of other people have also made these points.

  60. ratufa says:

    Defense & foreign policy hawks, seniors, and people who want tax cuts (or at least oppose any tax increases) are some of the main Republican interest groups. Romney needs their support in order to win the election. They may not vote for Obama if he doesn’t publicly support policies they like, but they might stay home. It’s very hard (or impossible) to come up with fiscally conservative policies that don’t make some of the above groups unhappy, so it makes sense that Romney isn’t attempting to do so.

    Because many voters are uninterested in policy details or will discount most things a politician says during a campaign as long as they are in the voter’s favor, this probably will hurt him less than if he was honest about budget constraints.

  61. David M says:

    People that usually vote GOP are going to continue to vote GOP, even if the GOP policies become radical, because the media can’t/won’t point out one of the parties is worse than the other. Here are some examples of issues that are controversial for political and not policy reasons.

    The few policy oriented people involved with the GOP won’t dispute the stimulus made a pretty big contribution to GDP/jobs, but for political reasons the GOP politicians have to pretend it did not have any positive effect at all, which is laughable. (Remember this was only about what effects of the stimulus were, not whether it was the right thing to do.)

    The health care bill is a fairly moderate reform of the existing system, and was a positive for Romney in the 2008 primary. It’s only a radical government takeover because that’s how the GOP needed to describe it for political reasons, as their policy differences with it could have been resolved if they had been willing to compromise at all.

    For the deficit, the Republicans actually say deficit now when they mean spending, and basically refuse to acknowledge tax revenues even affect the deficit. Ryan and Romney propose lowering tax rates and revenue while increasing defense spending, two actions pretty much guaranteed to make the deficit worse. If they are elected, and do make it worse, they won’t care about it if they can’t use it for political advantage. It’s like saying you’ll go on a diet and start eating 1 lb of chocolate a day, no one should take that any more seriously than the GOP proposals on the deficit.

    In all these areas, the GOP has become radically unhinged from reality, but there is not really any penalty for this today, as the media is so scared of being called liberal they will cover for the GOP and pretend their plans are coherent. When the GOP claims to be fiscally conservative people should be pointing out they did not follow through in the past, and their policies would make things worse in the future.

  62. Herb says:

    @jukeboxgrad: I have to say, that “Obama bureaucrat/Romney businessman” quote clanged for me too. (And not to disagree too much, Doubter4444, but that’s pretty much boilerplate…invective? Not really. But definitely talking points.)

    The problem as I see it is that if Obama is indeed a bureaucrat, then it’s by virtue of being president, a position Romney endeavors to hold.

    So even conceding that Obama is a bureaucrat, and I’m not because the president is not really classically thought of as a “bureaucrat,” then what’s that make Romney? A businessman who wants to be a bureaucrat.

  63. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug:

    It’s really quite astounding that fiscal conservatives would let themselves be suckered like this again.

    “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

  64. Gustopher says:

    Good golly, the heck with the fiscal conservatives (I read the piece earlier today about our sad behavior as commenters, and how we shouldn’t swear).

    Who are the fiscally responsible voting for? Because its clear that the so-called fiscal conservatives just want to be lied to. And beat that negro in the white house.

    I used to call myself a fiscal conservative. But it turns out I was wrong about what it means. I want a tax rate high enough to pay for our spending. I’m doing pretty well, don’t worry, I can afford it. I want to be running surpluses in good times, and deficits in lean years. Design a whole swath of infrastructure projects when times are good, and implement them when times are bad — when people need jobs, and when workers are cheaper (they demand less, and we don’t have to pay them unemployment)

    But Republicans have redefined conservative as something wacky and ahistorical. Simple charlatans.

    Have Republicans hoodwinked the fiscal charlatans? No. None of them believe it for a moment.

  65. @Gustopher:

    I think the point is that fiscal conservatives have to vote Obama, because his budget is better.

  66. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: Shorter Jan:
    “Both sides do it, but my side does it less and has good reasons for it.”

  67. anjin-san says:

    Obama is a bureaucrat, and Romney is a businessman.

    Obama is a self-made millionaire. A best selling author. A history making, barrier shaking academic. Oh, and the most powerful man in the world. What have you done lately Jan?

    Romney is a businessman. A very talented one. So was Herbert Hoover.

  68. anjin-san says:

    It’s all about tax the rich (which is class differentiation),

    Well, you have a 1%er telling you he does not have a problem with that. I am a 10%er, and I don’t. Don’t stick up for us, we reject your values. You won’t here me whining in April when it’s time to write that check to uncle…

  69. superdestroyer says:

    Wound;t it be easier to just admit that there is no place in modern politics for fiscal conservatives. Both parties want a large, big spending government to pay off their core groups.

    The real question is how much of the GDP can government consume and how are winners and losers when the U.S. gets to that point.

  70. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I doubt that any progressive would want a real fiscal conservative running. It would take less than five minutes before progressives would start screaming about racism, sexism, and hatred.

    Progressives havt to be happy that spending looks like it is going no where but up because progressives believe that they will be the big winners in a big spending government. Progressives think they are clever enough to take advantage of the spending while avoiding the costs.

  71. C. Clavin says:

    If you are truly a Conservative your only choice in this race is Obama.

  72. Tsar Nicholas says:

    There’s a difference between buzzed and falling down drunk.

  73. C. Clavin says:

    @ SD…
    The facts do not support your claims.
    Spending is flat under Obama. He inherited a $1.3T deficit and the deficit today is about the same.
    In addition he proposed the biggest deficit reduction plan in history…which included cuts to entitlements.
    Facts…they always seem to favor Democrats. Which I suppose explains Mendacious Mitt and Lyin’ Ryan.

  74. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    There is nothing conserative about $5 trillion in national debt with a promise of $5 trillion more. If you look at the Democratic Party platform, it is just a promise for more entitlements, more spending, more government, and more third world immigrants.

    There is nothing fiscally conservative about raising taxes without spending cuts while promising more entitlements.

    There is no room in politics in the U.S. for fiscal conservatives. Politics has become a fight over government goodies, special privilege, and sticking others with the bill.

  75. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The facts say that President Obama promised government finance healthcare for 40 million people. The facts say that President Obama put 1.7 million third world immigrants on the path to citizenship and government entitlements. The facts say that President Obama promised trillion dollar deficits for all eight years of his administration.

    Even liberals are beginning to realize how much ACA is going to cost. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/09/01/acupuncture-as-essential-health-care-california-weighs-the-question/

    Even progressives are realize that mandates will continue to grow. Image what would happen if the Republicans had not won control of the U.S. House in 2010. Look at how the Democrats in Wisconsin pushed for a return to bigger government and more spending. Look at how the Democrats in Illinois and California have raised taxes during a recession.

    All the Democrats have proposed is higher taxes how for the promise of budget cuts later. And everyone realizes that later never comes.

  76. bill says:

    @Rick Almeida: business at large seems to think otherwise, of course predicting the future doesn’t always work- hence here we are.

  77. @superdestroyer:

    It should be easy then, for Romney to name an actual budget plan that is better.

    Why can’t he?

  78. george says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Wound;t it be easier to just admit that there is no place in modern politics for fiscal conservatives. Both parties want a large, big spending government to pay off their core groups.

    This is true. The main difference currently is that the Democrats are honest about it, and want to cover those expenses with taxes, while the Republicans pretend their spending isn’t on big government (private military?), and don’t want to pay for their spending with taxes. So while both options suck (I don’t like what Obama is doing fiscally – and for that matter I don’t like the health care plan he settled on either, it’d be much better to have a public system like the one I enjoy now that I’m in Canada and which is supported by conservatives here – or even better, a mixed system as in France or Germany (and which is very much supported by their conservatives). I think Obama could have pushed much harder for it (my impression is that he didn’t push much at all – though that’s a different topic).

    Of the two Obama is more fiscally conservative. Not that that’s setting the bar high, Romney would be a fiscal disaster, and I think he would make people look back fondly on Bush if he got in.

  79. Maybe I need an “Obama is less bad” bumper sticker.

  80. jukeboxgrad says:

    sd:

    There is nothing conserative about $5 trillion in national debt

    That number is wrong. It’s wrong because it implies that Obama became responsible for the debt on 1/20/09, and that is wrong.

    The facts say that President Obama promised trillion dollar deficits for all eight years of his administration.

    Another lie. The projected deficits are much lower than that (link).

  81. jukeboxgrad says:

    george:

    the Republicans pretend their spending isn’t on big government (private military?), and don’t want to pay for their spending with taxes

    Just to be clear, the GOP approach, which is to cut taxes while raising spending, doesn’t really amount to cutting taxes. They’re just shifting taxes from one group to another; they’re shifting the tax burden from us to our descendants. This makes perfect sense, politically, since those people don’t vote, and mostly haven’t even been born yet.

    The GOP whines about debt, but only when they are not in power. When they are in power, they love debt. That’s why 3/4 of the debt that Obama inherited was created under three presidents: Reagan, Bush and Bush. And of course Mitt will take us further down that road: more debt.

    Obama is the conservative in this race.

  82. @jukeboxgrad:

    Obama is the conservative in this race.

    You guys say that, but it negates the “fiscal’ versus “social” distinction.

    I think we know that fiscal conservatives were driven out (RINOs) by the socials. (Grouping defense spenders as ‘social,’ because it is a values thing.)

    I disliked “no place in modern politics for fiscal conservatives” because it further rejects the RINOs.

    No place for them in politics? I’d prefer that they become vocal independents.

  83. jukeboxgrad says:

    You guys say that, but it negates the “fiscal’ versus “social” distinction.

    You’re right. That was lazy writing on my part. If I could edit, I would insert “fiscal.”

  84. @jukeboxgrad:

    Alrighty then 😉

  85. Rob in CT says:

    Heh, “fiscal conservatives.”

    I used to believe that “fiscal conservative” meant “fiscally responsible.” Which, based on what I’ve learned both in school and out, means Keynesian, but not “vulgar Keynesian.” The vulgar version is the one that always wants to spend more, more more. Times are tough? Prime the pump! Times are good? Why would you begrudge granny her meds, you miser!

    The responsible one seeks modest surplusses in good times and is prepared to run deficits in lean times. As a practical matter, we haven’t been able to manage that, at least not for 42 years or so. Which is a real problem, and the Dems absolutely were complicit in that at times. I think they, or rather at least some of them, have figured out the vulgar Keynesianism is a disaster because it leaves the door open for the “starve the beast” insanity. Hence the willingness to try and reach a grand bargain to put us on a more sustainable path. Because the Dems want to sustain whereas the GOP wants to roll back the welfare state.

    The past 12 years have been really, really illuminating to me. Everything good I was taught about the GOP growing up (by my Republican parents) was shown, over and over, to be total bull. They were neither fiscally responsible, nor responsible in foreign policy (they were supposed to be anti-interventionist adults unlike those foolish liberal interventionist Dems). There has also been the cynical, hypocritical 180s done on various policy positions just so they can oppose Democratic proposals.

    If you consider yourself fiscally responsible and managed to watch that, shrug, and still pull the lever for the GOP… I don’t even… what are you doing?

    If you’re a SoCon, I sort of get it. While much is made of the GOP supposedly screwing the SoCons, to my eye they do more for SoCons than they do for fiscally responsible voters (note: “fiscally conservative” means something else – it simply means tax cuts, possibly with a side of less spending on “undeserving” people). Note the raft of anti-abortion bills they’ve pushed over the past few years. Of course, their SoCon service pales in comparison to their service to the ultra rich via changes to the tax code.

  86. mattb says:

    @Jan:
    Bravo for putting down in pixels why you are supporting Romney. It’s a good first step. As others have said, it’s generally based on what you *hope* the two candidates will *change* versus their explicitly expressed policy positions.

    Should you decide to do this again in the future — in fact, if anyone should decide to explain the basis behind their endorsement — let me suggest using @michael reynolds comment as the template.

    What MR did so succinctly is tie his support to actual policy positions versus platitudes. And additionally he choose policy aspects where there is a definite break between the two parties.

  87. Rob in CT says:

    @Rob in CT:

    We did manage “it” ever so briefly in the late 90s, sort of. I say sort of because I don’t consider a surplus to be a real surplus unless it starts actually eating away debt. The surplus in the 90s wasn’t a real one. It was better than we had done before (for a long time, anyway) or since, however. And if that sort of thing had continued, you’d have seen debt as a % of GDP fall over time, which is what matters more than the nominal figures. But I still see it as a bit of a missed opportunity to do better.

    As someone who actually cares about such things, the late 90s were a sign that maybe, just maybe, our government was figuring it out. But then… well, you know.

  88. @Rob in CT:

    I used to believe that “fiscal conservative” meant “fiscally responsible.”

    Good comment. For what it’s worth though, I think it’s ideal to run small deficits that can inflate away. Surpluses are not actually required, and possibly bad.

    We are a long way from that concern of course!

  89. C. Clavin says:

    @ SD…

    The facts say that President Obama promised government finance healthcare for 40 million people.

    That’s false. If you don’t understand how the PPACA works…how can you be against it?

    The facts say that President Obama put 1.7 million third world immigrants on the path to citizenship and government entitlements.

    Again…false. In fact Obama has committed more resources to illegal immigration than any other President.

    The facts say that President Obama promised trillion dollar deficits for all eight years of his administration.

    Those deficits are powered by Bush Administration policies…including un-paid for tax cuts, un-paid for entitlement expansions, and un-paid for wars. Again…spending under Obama is essentially flat.
    http://articles.marketwatch.com/2012-05-22/commentary/31802270_1_spending-federal-budget-drunken-sailor
    And finally;

    All the Democrats have proposed is higher taxes how for the promise of budget cuts later. And everyone realizes that later never comes.

    I guess you are unaware of Sequestration…which Republicans are trying to weasel out of…and Democrats are fighting to enforce.
    Obama is the only Conservative in this race.

  90. jukeboxgrad says:

    Fiscal conservative.

  91. C. Clavin says:

    @ Jan…
    George Bush was a Businessman too. How’d that work out for us? A 9% contraction of GDP in a single quarter…that’s how.
    I’m not sure where this right-wing fetishization of Businessmen running the Government comes from…but it’s not from modern history. Reagan wasn’t a Businessman…neither was Clinton. Eisenhower, who was President during the era all Republicans have wet dreams about returning to, wasn’t either.
    Hoover was though.

  92. John D'Geek says:

    @george:

    You don’t increase spending on wars while reducing taxes if you’re a fiscal conservative.

    Actually, War Debt is (almost) the only debt that fiscal conservatives can tolerate. Budgeting for a war means that you’re planning a war — and wars should be imposed, not planned. Having an “emergency fund” would help with that, however I doubt anyone (fiscally conservative or otherwise) really trusts congress to keep their hands out of the kitty.

  93. Rob in CT says:

    @john personna:

    I figure that’s debatable. Maybe you can run small deficits even in good times and figure you’ll inflate away, but I don’t quite trust it. I’m open to being convinced.

    Given the fancy footwork that can occur in budgetting, I’d rather err on the side of caution and shoot for (small) surplusses. What I mean by that is that I don’t expect the surplusses to exactly equal the deficits run in bad times. So there’s some “inflate away” built into my preferred path too. But less.

  94. C. Clavin says:

    @ Jukebox…
    There seems to be a desire to separate fiscal conservative from social conservative.
    If I had time I could make the argument that Obama is more socially conservative than Romney.
    The important thing to keep in mind is actual conservatism…and not what passes for conservatism today.
    Certainly the PPACA is socially conservative.
    Actaully preserving Medicare is socially conservative.
    It’s pretty easy to make a socially conservative argument for equal rights for homosexuals.
    And I believe Obama’s stance on Abortion is more socially conservative than the Republican Platform…or Ryan’s stand.

  95. Rob in CT says:

    With regard to military spending, here’s a quick run down of how I see it:

    1) Peace through strength is a good maxim.
    2) You cannot have a strong military if you don’t also have strong finances.
    3) Our present military budget is gigantic. Peace through strength squared or something.
    4) Also, I do wonder how much of our past interventionism has been aided and abetted by the “boy with a hammer” syndrome.

    Given that, I think it makes sense to reduce the military budget over time. Ideally, I’d want to shift the saved money over to what I see as more productive pursuits (either spending on things like health and education, or returned to citizens via tax cuts), but that’s not where we’re at. Deficit and (here comes the magic pony folks) debt reduction take precedence. The same logic applies to any cuts made elsewhere in the budget.

    Not that big cuts now are a good idea, of course. We’ve been over that. If we actually go over the fiscal cliff, the landing won’t be pleasant. It’s a bit like noticing you’re speeding down the highway (and worrying about the bond vigilantes state trooper who may be waiting for you) and, instead of taking your foot off the gas (Obama’s approach) or gently applying the breaks, you decide to slam the car straight into a concrete barrier. Well, you stopped!

  96. @Rob in CT:

    I figure that’s debatable. Maybe you can run small deficits even in good times and figure you’ll inflate away, but I don’t quite trust it. I’m open to being convinced.

    Easy argument. We ran deficits “of the size that could be inflated away” through the 60’s and 70’s. They were never a real problem.

    I buy the explanation that 70s stagflation was produced by Nixon’s reelection demand of the Fed for easy money.

  97. John D'Geek says:

    @Stan:

    Until Republicans come to feel that poverty can result from bad luck or a bad start in life rather than laziness or poor character, they’ll continue to oppose welfare benefits, and it won’t be because they’re concerned about the deficit.

    Oh, I’ve recognized that. I’ve also recognized that the Government has zero interest in actually eliminating poverty (the “system” is not set up to help someone get out of poverty), and neither party has done a danged thing about it.

    @Doug

    A quote comes to mind:

    There are three types of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Politicians.

  98. @John D’Geek:

    Oh, I’ve recognized that. I’ve also recognized that the Government has zero interest in actually eliminating poverty (the “system” is not set up to help someone get out of poverty), and neither party has done a danged thing about it.

    Interesting discussion here, hinging off Japanese poverty. The tag paragraph is:

    If we get outside the “blame-the-poor” introspection bubble, we find that income and wealth pretty much follow a Pareto distribution in every country – there are poor people everywhere. Not poor in the absolute sense – American and Japanese poor people generally have food and shelter and warmth – but poor in the relative sense. The real question of “Why does poverty exist?” is the question of “Why do income and wealth follow a Pareto distribution?”. Bad behavior is not likely to be the answer.

    So, “eliminating” poverty is probably not a viable goal. On the other hand, some sort of system to ensure a base quality of life is probably justified (morally incumbent).

  99. Rob in CT says:

    @john personna:

    Ok, I’ll agree to disagree (mildly)… if only because of the hole we’re presently in (not just our present debt-to-GDP, but our general economic situation, which includes us bleeding large amounts of money if trade deficits pretty much all the time). I admit this may be just me and my emotional response to debt (I hate it). Let’s let this one drop. It’s so far from where we’re at now it’s not even really relevant to the discussion.

    I’ve also recognized that the Government has zero interest in actually eliminating poverty

    Hmm. I think what we have is a mishmash of programs, some of which are helpful for helping people out of poverty (money spent to help pay for college and stuff like that) and a lot of which is basically… “band aid” spending (food stamps, etc). I see both as necessary, but would prefer a different balance of expenditure (more on the proactive stuff, less on the band aids, though I still think those are needed). There will always be poor people*. We want to prevent harsh privation, and make sure that the helping hand is extended for those who can & will take it. I firmly believe we need social mobility, and I worry quite a bit that we’re losing that.

    On that, many of us agree. How best to do that… well, that’s the big question. I don’t think we’ve got it right, and am fully in support of looking around the world for better examples (see also: healthcare reform).

    * – there is always going to be a hierarchy… we’re primates, fer goodnessakes. Get rid of the elite and a new elite will form. The key, for me, is to prevent aristocracy (and permanent underclass). I think we’re dangerously close.

  100. @Rob in CT:

    Note my “We are a long way from that concern of course!”

    We have a long way to repair the balance sheet before we worry about slight deficit or none.

  101. mattb says:

    @John D’Geek & @john personna:
    Perhaps a better beginning for the conversation — which in part I think is @JP’s position — is this:

    We need to all accept that some amount of poverty is inevitable. It’s literally baked into the modern capitalistic system, if not the human condition. And taken from a macro view, it has nothing to do with lack of personal responsibility or other moral failings. It just simply “is.”

    Starting from that perspective, we should ask two major questions: (a) what is an acceptable, realistic rate of poverty? (b) What are the necessary basic support services needed to assist those in poverty? (c) What services can be provided to help some of those people in poverty attempt to get out of it in the short and long term? (d) How do we pay for all of it.

    Starting from this perspective means accepting the necessity of some “band aids” — though in the case of food stamps I object to that term. A band aid suggests that one can survive without the service. Food and medical care are necessary life items, not band aids.

  102. Rob in CT says:

    @mattb:

    Good questions.

    Also important is how to define poverty. Poverty in an absolute sense (can you afford basic necessities – yes/no) or relative sense? In a wealthy country, that’s an important question.

    I tend toward the belief that the palliative [I withdraw bandaid. I wasn’t going for “something minor you can do without” I was going for “something that does not solve an underlying problem, but protects against immediate disaster”] spending should be driven only by poverty in the absolute sense. But relative poverty should be considered for “helping hand to better your condition” policies (financial aid for education, etc).

  103. mattb says:

    @mattb:

    we should ask two major questions:

    Sigh… just like the weapons of the spanish inquisition, my two questions turn out to be a lot more than two.

  104. Rob in CT says:

    Heh.

    And I’ve added more.

    Also, I should add to my own. My posts make it sound like I’ve got this sharp division in my head between these sorts of programs, separating them into two categories.

    In reality, financial aid for education isn’t going to help you if you can’t buy food. I know this.

  105. I personnel think that at a minimum everyone should have an apartment, food, health care, and access to public transportation.

    Our biggest problems in providing that are our cultural expectations on housing and transportation. If we try to give everyone a house and a car problems arise.

  106. Barry says:

    Doug: “…and his failure to get behind the deficit reduction plan put forward by the very commission that he had formed to, well, come up with a deficit reduction plan. ”

    This would be the plan which Paul ‘Deficit Messiah’ Ryan voted against?

  107. Barry says:

    @Dave Schuler: “Are there any fiscal conservatives? I don’t think that falls under political science so much as cryptozoology. ”

    It’s like the 17-year cicada; they emerge whenever there’s a Democratic President. When there’s a GOP president, they morph back into big spenders.

  108. jukeboxgrad says:

    clavin:

    George Bush was a Businessman too. How’d that work out for us?

    GWB was our first Harvard MBA president, and Mitt would be our second. They even graduated in the same class (1975).

    If I had time I could make the argument that Obama is more socially conservative than Romney.

    Fair enough. I had a similar thought.

  109. jukeboxgrad says:

    geek:

    I’ve also recognized that the Government has zero interest in actually eliminating poverty (the “system” is not set up to help someone get out of poverty), and neither party has done a danged thing about it.

    This has to do with human nature. Money is a positional good; it’s about status in the pack. Our experience of wealth or poverty is highly positional, rather than absolute.

    People who are poor, or somewhat poor, take comfort in knowing, or imagining, that there are people who are even poorer. (I saw a study about this recently; I wish I could remember where.) This is a pretty universal human trait. The feeling of being in the bottom group is much more disturbing than the feeling that you are somewhat above the bottom.

    We can see this in race relations, with poor white people taking comfort in the belief that poor black people are even poorer (and wanting to keep things that way). But this dynamic is also a political reality when you take race out of the picture. Working-class people (regardless of race) might state, intellectually, that they wish for everyone poorer than them to be able to escape from poverty, but on an emotional level, that scenario is disturbing to them.

    On a certain level, we need to have some poor people so the rest of us can feel a little better about ourselves. Strange but true. It’s been studied and measured.

    rob:

    there is always going to be a hierarchy… we’re primates, fer goodnessakes. Get rid of the elite and a new elite will form

    Yes, what I just described is very much about our identity as primates.

    The key, for me, is to prevent aristocracy (and permanent underclass). I think we’re dangerously close.

    Yes, I agree. I think we tend to forget that what you described is the typical state, that is, what is found most often in human history. A strong middle class is not a natural thing. It only exists if we go out of our way to make it exist (and Republicanism is all about letting it die, and making it die).

    This has been nicely explained by Thom Hartmann:

    There’s Nothing “Normal” About A Middle Class … There is nothing “normal” about a nation having a middle class, even though it is vital to the survival of democracy.

    … what’s “normal” in a “free and unfettered” economy is the rapid evolution of a small but fabulously wealthy ownership class, and a large but poor working class. In the entire history of civilization … the middle class was an aberration. …

    … The idea that turning a nation’s economy over to “free market” corporatists is idiotic isn’t new. Thomas Jefferson laid it out in an 1816 letter to Samuel Kerchival.

    “Those seeking profits,” Jefferson wrote, “were they given total freedom, would not be the ones to trust to keep government pure and our rights secure. Indeed, it has always been those seeking wealth who were the source of corruption in government. No other depositories of power have ever yet been found, which did not end in converting to their own profit the earnings of those committed to their charge.”

    He added: “I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. … We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. … [Otherwise], as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, … and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow sufferers.”

    A totally “free” market where corporations reign supreme, just like the oppressive governments of old, Jefferson said could transform America “…until the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering. Then begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia, which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man.”

    … As Jefferson realized, and FDR proved, with no government “interference” by setting the rules of the game of business and fair taxation, there will be no middle class. And as history around the world proves, when the middle class vanishes, democracy often goes with it.

    Republicanism is about destroying the middle class, and is therefore ultimately about destroying democracy.

  110. Rob in CT says:

    Good stuff juke. Though, as always when I read quotes from Jefferson, his hypocrisy is breathtaking. He speaks of liberty, while owning slaves.

    Which is an important point, I think. Those who stood up in forthright defense of slavery (unlike Jefferson, who had enough conscience to be a little bit ashamed) liked to call workers in the capitalist system “wage slaves” and argue that since an underclass was necessary/inevitable, so much the better to have a captive one (and then they’d claim slaves were better cared for than workers. Though this was wrong even then, it’s important to remember they were talking about workers in mid-19th century factories, not cubicle rats like me in the post-New Deal era). Basically: hey, somebody has to do the sh*t work so the rest can live well. How shall we handle this? The old Democratic Party’s answer was slaves, and later, an underclass of non-slaves who “knew their place.” The old GOP, by contrast, sold the idea of “self improvement.” Sure, a feller might start off doing manual labor, but if he was virtuous he could someday own a business of his own. And while our country was still expanding into undeveloped areas (via screwing the natives), handing out free land, there was some truth to this. In a developed, mature economy that is no longer acquiring lebensraum, it’s not so simple.

    Rambling post is rambling. Sorry. My thoughts on this stuff are not all that well organized.

  111. george says:

    @mattb:

    Sigh… just like the weapons of the spanish inquisition, my two questions turn out to be a lot more than two.

    But no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

    Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

  112. @jukeboxgrad:

    People who are poor, or somewhat poor, take comfort in knowing, or imagining, that there are people who are even poorer. (I saw a study about this recently; I wish I could remember where.)

    It was here:

    ‘Honey Boo Boo’ ratings top Republican National Convention

  113. C. Clavin says:

    “…when I read quotes from Jefferson, his hypocrisy is breathtaking. He speaks of liberty, while owning slaves…”

    Evidently the slaves were free to fornicate with the master when they liked, however.

  114. jukeboxgrad says:

    Rob, thanks for the compliment.

    as always when I read quotes from Jefferson, his hypocrisy is breathtaking. He speaks of liberty, while owning slaves.

    It’s done via another normal part of human nature: compartmentalization. We all do it. Someday our descendants will make a corresponding statement about us. It might be this: ‘they filled their houses with cheap stuff from China even though they knew it was cheap because it was based on slave labor.’

    My thoughts on this stuff are not all that well organized.

    You’re raising important issues that need to be discussed more. It has to do with the intersection of economics, politics and morality.

    john:

    Honey Boo Boo

    Excellent, thank you. That’s exactly what I’m talking about.

  115. John D'Geek says:

    My most recent comment was just taken captive. Once it’s released, could someone let me know why? LOL!

  116. Barry says:

    @David M: “Seems to me the idea of the individual states running Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is completely unworkable. ”

    And that’s the plan.

    Put your pension in the hands of Tea Party state governments.

  117. Barry says:

    @jan: “Romney’s fiscal offerings, though, are but a generalized outline of what he wants to do and where he wants to go — similar to giving GPS a destination, but the map hasn’t computed the best route getting you there….yet.”

    When the destination is unreachable, then the details don’t matter.

  118. Barry says:

    @jan: “Obama is a bureaucrat, and Romney is a businessman. IMO, you have to live and work in the private sector to at least understand some of the underlying issues, motivations, and how to prime the pump of trust for investors to come back and risk being a player in this harsh economy. Obama doesn’t have a clue, whereas Romney does. ”

    Confidence fairies?

  119. Barry says:

    @Rob in CT: “We did manage “it” ever so briefly in the late 90s, sort of. I say sort of because I don’t consider a surplus to be a real surplus unless it starts actually eating away debt. The surplus in the 90s wasn’t a real one. ”

    I’ve never seen a right-winger really accept the 1990’s; they either deny it’s reality, or claim that it wasn’t due to Clinton and Democratic policies.

    It’s like FDR and the Great Depression; the right just keeps explaining reality away.

  120. Barry says:

    @Rob in CT: “I figure that’s debatable. Maybe you can run small deficits even in good times and figure you’ll inflate away, but I don’t quite trust it. I’m open to being convinced.”

    It’s not that, actually. Rob, when you are criticizing Keynesianism, you really don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s having the growth in the debt be below the growth in the GDP.

  121. Barry says:

    @John D’Geek: “Oh, I’ve recognized that. I’ve also recognized that the Government has zero interest in actually eliminating poverty (the “system” is not set up to help someone get out of poverty), and neither party has done a danged thing about it.”

    In the same sense, the Government has no interest in actually reducing foreign threats, or building good infrastructure,………………………..

  122. S.Lynn says:

    ABO 2012!

  123. al-Ameda says:

    @S.Lynn:

    ABO 2012!

    Osama Bin Laden and Moammar Qaddafi would definitely have agreed with you.

  124. Rob in CT says:

    It’s not that, actually. Rob, when you are criticizing Keynesianism, you really don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s having the growth in the debt be below the growth in the GDP.

    Uh, Barry? I wasn’t criticising Keynesianism. I think Keynes was right. However, as I understand it, he was in favor of surplusses in times of strong growth, to make up for the deficits in bad times. That way, the next time you have a recession, your finances are strong and you can take aggressive action.

    And I understand that debt as a % of GDP is the number to look at. Which is why I don’t actually argue that surplusses need to be big enough to cancel out prior deficits. I do want real surplusses occasionally, though. Not because I disagree with Keynes, but because I agree with him.

  125. John D'Geek says:

    @Barry: Sorry, my reply (yesterday) got caught by the Spam filters. Don’t know why, and I’m not retyping all that again.

  126. mannning says:

    Here are comments in MRs template with the second sentence my reply in italics in each case.

    1)I’m pro-choice, he’s pro-choice. I am pro life and so is Romney.

    2) I favor full equality for gays, Obama has finally come around on that. I am for human equality, but not in-your-face public demonstrations of the practices of homosexuality, which I abhor. Stay in the bedroom! Romney leans this way.

    3)I support universal health coverage. Obama has come close. I am for several levels of voluntary health insurance.

    4)I believe that the 1% (a group I’m in, somewhat to my surprise) and even the 10% have an obligation to pay some bills. Obama wants to let our rich folk tax cuts expire. I think it’s past time. I am for an equitable tax program, and it isn’t going to come from Obama. Massive redistribution of wealth is not on!

    5)I think we need to rethink our defense expenditures and make some serious cuts, Obama does too. I am for a strong defense, but there are cuts that should be made. Romney is for a strong defense and for reducing duplication, mismanagement, waste and fraud.

    6)I oppose war with Iran and I think Obama is reluctant to go down that road. I oppose war in general, but as above, I believe we may have to join that fight, and need a strong military to do so real soon now! So does Romney think this way
    .
    7)I am grateful to Obama for arranging the death of Osama Bin Laden. That is what any president should do. So would Romney, I believe.

    8)I support Obama’s drone war and other measures against Al Qaeda. I support active engagement with jihadist groups, GWOT. I believe Romney will continue the fight.
    9)I am gratified that Obama ended US torture. No torture has been policy for years. It was reiterated by Bush

    .
    10)I am grateful for the fact that we avoided a major depression bequeathed to us by the previous administration. I do not support crony capitalism, spraying money around without a valid business plan, no budget and other wasteful expenditures. I hope that fiscal sanity is true for Romney. Better on that says he will, than one we know will not.

    11)I believe that global warming is real and that we should treat it as such. The effect is rather minimal according to several groups but, I do support continuous scientific investigations by truly qualified and honest men in the fields involved. This I believe Romney will support.

    12)I approve of Mr. Obama’s appointments to the SCOTUS. I would support a more conservative SCOTUS by at least one. I am confident that Romney will try to put conservatives on the court.

    Here are a few negatives for Obama that totally convince me,beyond the differences above,
    that he is far less desirable than Romney.

    1. $700 billion out of Medicare that Romney will restore.
    2. Obamacare. Romney will repeal it and fix it.
    3. He will raise taxes given the chance. Romney is exceedingly reluctant to raise taxes.
    4. Obama broke his promise to halve the deficit.
    5. Obama lost our AAA rating. I expect Romney to work to get it back.
    6. No budget for three years and counting. Romney will force a budget to be published.
    7. GM fiasco on the taxpayer’s back and given largely to the unions. Cost so far is 25 billion. If this giveaway can be reversed, Romney will do it.
    8. Mostly tax cheat Czars (and one communist he appointed that was finally forced to resign–Van Jones) running the nation while he flits around paying golf (104 rounds), promoting himself, orating, posing, strutting and preening. I expect integrity in the Romney cabinet and appointees.
    9. He grounded NASAs manned space program, and directed the NASA head to conduct an outreach to Muslims as his mission! Not sure of Romney’s position, but I believe he will redirect this.
    10. He has governed as a highly partisan hack that let the Congress write the bills, race them through without reading them, then selling them with lies.
    11. Our borders are still far too open. The fence was supposed to be completed in 2009. He ordered his own amnesty program, and clearly intends to do more.
    12. Transparency in his administration was touted to the heavens, but there has been none.
    13. His use of the TARP money under his control was abysmal.
    14. We have had 8%+ unemployment for all four years, but really closer to 14% because of the people that stopped looking and gave up.
    15. The stimulus had virtually no effect on unemployment overall. It was supposed to bring it down to 5.6% by now.
    16. Where is the full accounting for stimulus financials? I expect Romney to run a full accounting of his financials while in office.
    17. As president he forced out the GM CEO, and has been regulating the salaries of Wall Street and elsewhere, a highly distasteful incursion into the private sector. This kind of effort will be stopped by Romney.
    18. His administration has readied 4,400 new regulations to go into effect when he is reelected. An estimated hit of $89 billion. Stopping this flood of new regulations is expected in a Romney administration.
    19. The bottom line is I do not feel better off today than four years ago. I feel totally unsettled and uncertain about both now and the future if Obama wins another term. I even fear for the loss of the country I love to a bastardization of the Constitution and a socialization process that I deeply resent. by people I do not respect.
    20. He is maneuvering with H. Clinton to get gun control via a treaty with the UN, which is not going to happen on Romney’s watch.
    21. The added debt by Obama exceeds $4 billion over all other commitments by Bush. So we are now at $16 Trillion in the red. Romney I expect to work to reduce it.

  127. David M says:

    @mannning:

    1. $700 billion out of Medicare that Romney will restore.
    2. Obamacare. Romney will repeal it and fix it.
    3. He will raise taxes given the chance. Romney is exceedingly reluctant to raise taxes.
    …we are now at $16 Trillion in the red. Romney I expect to work to reduce [the deficit and debt].

    You don’t see any contradictions there?

    (I’m ignoring the rest of the conspiracy nonsense. Holy crap, I had no idea you were so complete unhinged from reality.)

  128. MarkedMan says:

    @mannning: You know manning, as you started your list I thought to myself, well this is a good honest answer. I don’t hold your opinions about abortion and homosexuality and what have you but, hey, they were on the table. Then I got to number 7 (Osama) and your answer that you believed any president would have done it and specifically that Romney would, made me start. Romney specifically said, in a very public way, that he would not go into Pakistan to go after bin Laden and that even moreso, Obama was dangerously naive to even talk about it. ‘How could Manning just forget that and state so certainly that Romney would have given the go ahead?” OK, but you were back to a solid opinion on #8. But then in #9 you said we didn’t torture under Bush, which is just ridiculous. From there on out you just descended into the wildest of fantasy worlds where up is down and black is white.

  129. jukeboxgrad says:

    Romney specifically said, in a very public way, that he would not go into Pakistan to go after bin Laden and that even moreso, Obama was dangerously naive to even talk about it

    Mitt was one of many Republican leaders who mocked Obama years ago when he told us how he intended to get OBL.

    Mannning is a Republican. He lives in an alternate universe. Yes, I know I repeat myself.

  130. Rob in CT says:

    You can boil down Mannning’s post to this:

    I deeply resent. by people I do not respect.

    Large parts of it, of course, are factually wrong. It’s absolutely riddled with… well, let’s say errors.

    But in the end, I think it comes down to that feeling. Things being done that he resents, by people he does not respect.

  131. mannning says:

    @David M:

    the situation is as stated, and Romney, in my opinion, is the better person to sort out the fiuscal problems than is Obama. All of our finances are in contradiction, one way or another: too much spending and too little revenue to cover it, yielding a growing debt, and tons of printed money.

    @MarkedMan:

    In fact, I did not know that Romney stated he would not go after OBL. Minus points for him there for a decision in advance. When faced with the reality as President, I would hope he made the right decision. And minus points for me that I missed that fact.

    Regarding Bush, he made a specific speech to the nation to the effect that torture was forbidden. This was after the actual waterboardings, as I recall it, so you either take the man at his word that henceforth no more waterboarding, or you simply call him a liar. My statement holds that he made that speech, and nothing more.

  132. mannning says:

    @Rob in CT:

    So he is guilty of..errors…without any specificity whatsoever. That is just one step above a BOO-HISS, which so many resort to when they are lazy or ignorant. You would make a good and bisased umpire; calling the strikes and balls to suit yourself.

  133. mannning says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Things being done that he resents, by people he does not respect.

    You should have qualified that statement: Wrong, improper, or bad for the nation things being done that he resents by people he does not respect.

  134. mannning says:

    @MarkedMan:

    From there on out you just descended into the wildest of fantasy worlds where up is down and black is white.

    Care to challenge me on any of the so-called fantasies you spoke of? It would take a bit of effort, but there are sources for each accusation I made, less of course my belief that Romney would have pulled the trigger if in the same position. I would dearly love to see your counters to them all, with proofs.

    This is a continuing sickness in this blog. Damn someone’s statements without a shred of evidence to contradict the statements, manily because they don’t fit the ongoing belief system and story line here.

    Let me say this: a large number of my fellow conservatives believe exactly the same things about Obama, his administration, and the individuals surrounding him. And that number seems to be growing as these facts are spreading. Surely this will help the cause of the GOP, unless these “fantasies” are refuted.

  135. jukeboxgrad says:

    there are sources for each accusation I made, less of course my belief that Romney would have pulled the trigger if in the same position. I would dearly love to see your counters to them all, with proofs.

    This is a continuing sickness in this blog. Damn someone’s statements without a shred of evidence to contradict the statements, manily because they don’t fit the ongoing belief system and story line here.

    You have it backwards. You made the claims; therefore the burden is on you to support those claims. That’s how it works, full stop. The burden is not on others to provide “a shred of evidence to contradict the statements.”

    Example: I think you beat your wife. Unless you want to be part of “a continuing sickness in this blog,” it’s about time you showed “a shred of evidence to contradict” this statement. “I would dearly love to see your counters to [my claim], with proofs.”

  136. mannning says:

    I cannot respond to “descended into fantasy where black is white and white is black” without knowing the what and why of such a statement, which of many statements does that apply to, and on what grounds. Otherwise, I shall move on to other matters.

  137. jukeboxgrad says:

    without knowing the what and why of such a statement

    You still don’t get it. The burden is not on someone else to show you how you have “descended into fantasy where black is white and white is black.” The burden is on you to show proof for the claims you made. Until you do so, only a fool would take them seriously.

  138. David M says:

    @mannning:

    the situation is as stated, and Romney, in my opinion, is the better person to sort out the fiuscal problems than is Obama. All of our finances are in contradiction, one way or another: too much spending and too little revenue to cover it, yielding a growing debt, and tons of printed money.

    That doesn’t really explain why Romney is the better choice when he wants to increase Medicare and Defense spending, increase the deficit by repealing Obamacare, and lower tax revenues.

    He’s proposing things that make addressing our fiscal problems impossible.

  139. mannning says:

    In my opinion, any candidate says things he may well wish to retract or modify once he is in office, witness the Obama set of broken promises when he began to govern for real. I am not at all surprised that Romney hasn’t yet put a full picture together of the push me-pull you problems of our finances, but I have confidence in his ability to do so, whereas I have little confidence in Obama’s ability at this point.

    My longer reply was caught up in spam filters for some reason unknown to me. Forget it!

  140. mannning says:

    Spam filters have blocked my responses four times for no known reason. I quit.

  141. jukeboxgrad says:

    mannning:

    Spam filters have blocked my responses four times for no known reason. I quit.

    Are you using the reply button to put my name at the top of the comment? I have heard that this can cause the result you described (but only for certain names, like mine). Solution: don’t use the reply button. Just type my name. That’s how I do it.

    Here’s another tip: don’t type a response, especially a long response, directly on this page. It’s too easy to lose your text that way. Instead, type your comment in some other program (like a word processor) where you can easily save as you go. That way you don’t lose everything if something goes wrong. When you’re done writing your comment, copy and paste it into this page.

  142. mannning says:

    Correction to my no.18 above: 4100 new regulations are in the pipeline for approval, not 4400.
    To see the scope and direction of EPA and DOI regulations go to:

    http://www.sensibleregulations.org/resources/stop-the-tidal-wave-regulations/

    “The next four years could bring a tidal wave of more than 4,100 regulations for the American economy. Regulations in the pipeline are estimated to cost the economy more than half a trillion dollars. Below is a sampling of energy, environment, and labor regulations. To view another sampling of regulations, that will cost the economy $515 billion”
    ——–Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations

  143. David M says:

    @mannning:

    The next four years could bring a tidal wave of more than 4,100 regulations for the American economy.

    The first thing at your link is amending a rule to remove MI from an existing EPA regulation, so I’m going to assume the rest of the 4100 are similarly positioned to instantly bring an end to our economy.

  144. mannning says:

    What a dumb remark! No one has claimed that all new regs are a disaster, but quite a number are indeed costly to implement. Plowing through 4100 of these writeups is painful, but the Small Business people have done a culling job and priced out the impacts at a respectable $0.5 trillion.
    Now that does impact the economy. Employing your stupid assessment is rather frightrening if you are anywhere near a decision position. Good luck to you in your afterlife.

  145. David M says:

    @mannning:
    Saying there’s “4100 new rules” and calling it a flood is designed to make it sound overwhelming, but when that number includes changes like the one I listed then it means nothing. I’m also not entirely sure the “National Federation of Independent Business” is an unbiased or trustworthy source of information about the expected impact. It’s almost a guarantee they are describing a worst case scenario that doesn’t really reflect reality.

  146. mannning says:

    Why, that reaction simply disqualifies you from any further credibility here, ole black and white.

  147. David M says:

    That group is using the number of rules as a scare tactic, so why should anyone trust their analysis? If they include this “Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Environmental Protection Agency” in their “tidal wave of regulations”, why would anyone care about the rest of the list?

    They are announcing as loudly as possible that they are not interested in actual analysis, so why do you believe them, and more importantly, why would anyone else?

  148. jukeboxgrad says:

    They are announcing as loudly as possible that they are not interested in actual analysis

    Exactly. And by citing them, mannning is doing the same thing.

  149. mannning says:

    Precisely the reaction of those who do not want to admit that under Obama the EPA and other regulatory agencies are having a field day coming up with rediculously numerous regulations supporting Obama’s green revolution, etc ready to roll after Obama wins (God help us!) and never mind the cost. It is in fact a scary proposition. Rule by regulation and fiat.

    The trick of finding one piece of a big problem to use as an excuse not to consider the major core facts of an issue is worn thin now. Disingenuous argumentation is what it is properly called. I needn’t bother to go further with this line, but the point has been made and the references are there for those who do have concerns about overregulation, so the dodgers will end up not thwarting the issue after all for those who think for themselves. If one does not have any concerns about this issue, then it is ostrich time for him.