Free Markets, Free People

“The Brokest Generation” – something that every under-30-year-old ought to read

There are plenty of good writers around, but there are only a few who cause me to pause during reading and think “Oh, how I wish I could write like that.”

Mark Steyn is in that group. Just about anything he writes is worth reading, and he is the best in the business at being funny and thought-provoking at the same time.

Occasionally, though, he captures the essence of an issue in a way no other current writer can. His current article at National Review, “The Brokest Generation“, is in that category. Go read it yourself, and then pass it along to the folks who are going to be paying for the folly of the Obama years (and the somewhat-lesser follies of the administrations that preceeded him).

It’s true irony that the chanting, swaying kids in the creepy Obama videos will be the ones who pay the highest price for Obama’s fumbling foolishness. Per Mark:

As Lord Keynes observed, “In the long run we’re all dead.” Well, most of us will be. But not you youngsters, not for a while. So we’ve figured it out: You’re the ultimate credit market, and the rest of us are all pre-approved!

The Bailout and the TARP and the Stimulus and the Multi-Trillion Budget and TARP 2 and Stimulus 2 and TARP And Stimulus Meet Frankenstein and the Wolf Man are like the old Saturday-morning cliffhanger serials your grandpa used to enjoy. But now he doesn’t have to grab his walker and totter down to the Rialto, because he can just switch on the news and every week there’s his plucky little hero Big Government facing the same old crisis: Why, there’s yet another exciting spending bill with twelve zeroes on the end, but unfortunately there seems to be some question about whether they have the votes to pass it. Oh, no! And then, just as the fate of another gazillion dollars of pork and waste hangs in the balance, Arlen Specter or one of those lady-senators from Maine dashes to the cliff edge and gives a helping hand, and phew, this week’s spendapalooza sails through. But don’t worry, there’ll be another exciting episode of Trillion-Buck Rogers of the 21st Century next week!

This is a connection we need to be making over and over again: when the mountain of federal debt finally collapses of its own weight, the younger generation will be hurt the worst. Most of the people who fomented the crisis will have long since passed on, or be comfortable in their retirement because of the assets they were able to accrue at taxpayer and lobbyist expense. They will have gotten what they wanted: time in the sun, running things, letting others pay them obeisance, getting respect they don’t really deserve. Either they are too stupid to realize what they are doing to the next couple of generations, or they are too mendacious to care. The sooner the younger generations learn the con job that has been perpetrated on them, the better.

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69 Responses to “The Brokest Generation” – something that every under-30-year-old ought to read

  • Feeling a bit tangential ?

    Happy PI Day.  3.14.2009

  • we need to establish a private sector organization to investigate predatory borrowers.

  • Original gangster or <a href=’http://rawdawgb.blogspot.com/2009/03/ob.html’>Original banker</a>?

  • As a response to the recession debt jumps from $10 trillion to $12 trillion.   But somehow when debt was piling up under Reagan, Bush and then Bush the Younger, the first $10 trillion didn’t matter.  In fact, the last $5 trillion before  the recession was under Bush.   So, yeah, get upset about the debt.  But it’s not like the GOP have been fiscally conservative — and in booms they borrowed and spent.  That is what Reaganism was: borrow, spend, and have foreigners finance trade deficits so we could have something for nothing.  Reaganism gave us the consumerism generation that thought they could sit back and just get rich doing nothing but putting a bit of money in stocks or property, while working less and enjoying cheap  foreign goods.

    Somehow, that didn’t get as much conservative condemnation as this attempt to reinvest in the US to make us competitive again.  I wonder why?   And if Obama keeps his promise to cut wasteful spending moving  forward and reduce the deficit, will you give him any credit?  Nah, when you view the world through partisan lenses, you get a warped view of reality.

    • Actually I was wrong on a point – the baiout passed under Bush, so he raised the deficit by $6 trillion, Obama’s stimulus by $1 trillion (or a bit under), and I bet he doesn’t add near as much to the debt as Bush and the GOP — I would not be surprised if the debt declined by the time he leaves office in 2017.

    • Why do you keep asserting that this site has failed to condemn Bush for being a spendthrift?

      How many times does it have to happen before you actually realize it?

      And believe me, if Obama actually factually “cuts wasteful spending” I will have no problem applauding it. I just don’t think it’s going to happen, and the evidence right now is firmly on my side.

      • Why do you keep asserting that this site has failed to condemn Bush for being a spendthrift?

        It’s very simple. Scott isn’t interested in actual debate or trying to convince anybody. He’s here to preen.

        As his alter ego has expressed so eloquently, Scott desperately needs to feel superior to somebody, so he comes here and convinces himself that he’s above all of us. The fact that we all know what a fool he is simply fails to penetrate the barrier of arrogance and ignorance with which he has surrounded himself.

        So facts don’t matter to him, nor do all the things he’s gotten wrong in the past that he refuses to admit to. He ignores all of that, and just picks out things he thinks he can sound superior about.

        And, of course, when anyone points this out, he comes back with one of his “more in sorrow than in anger” comments about how we won’t engage him as an equal and that all we do is insult him, and that somehow proves that he’s right and we’re all wrong. He’ll probably do that in response to this comment. He’s been doing it for a long time, and it’s gotten pretty tedious, but most of the thoughtful commenters around here have learned to ignore him most of the time.

        So don’t sweat his cluelessness. Everybody around here but him has figured out that he’s not really worth paying much heed.

        • Actually, Billy, your reply describes yourself.  Note that I give facts and information, you respond with insults.  The facts are on my side.  If inside of preening and  acting superior, you’d simply talk with me and engage in a real debate and exchange — something I’ll engage in a friendly and content laden manner — we could have a real discussion.  Instead you hide behind ad hominems.  Facts are on my side.  You are blog preening and I’m calling you out on it.  Do you have the intellectual honesty for a real discussion?   Or are you going to hide behind simply calling names and acting superior?   Or maybe you’re bugged that on Iraq, the 2008 election and the  economy I’ve been proven right — and you guys are so invested in your ad hominems that you don’t have the capacity to actually admit when you’ve been wrong and someone else right. So  hide behind your insults. I’m sure they make you feel very superior. 

          • your reply describes yourself

            The “I’m rubber and you’re glue” gambit. Too funny. Good call, Billy.

          • Oh, I forgot to mention dishonesty, but that is a given.

          • Good call, Billy.

            Yep. It gives me no pleasure to predict what that silly jackass will do. It’s like cleaning the soap scum out of the shower – you know it will come back, but you try to keep it beat back as best you can.

            Most of the people in the world are divided into two camps: those who learn from history and the experiences of others, and those who must experience something directly to learn the lessons it gives. But there is a small minority that is incapable of learning the lessons of reality at all. They can blithely ignore any evidence, even of their own lives, to believe something they desperately need to believe.

            I’m not sure, but I think Scott is in the third group. If I’m right, he will spend an entire career believing himself to be smart and knowledgeable and a great teacher. Anyone who presents evidence to him that he’s wrong will be accused of “intellectual dishonesty” or something equally irrelevant, so that Scott never has to really pay attention to what they say.

            He has chosen academia, a field that allows people to get away with that kind of psychology and attitude for an entire career. He lacked the courage to stay out in the real world (insofar as DC is part of it!) and absorb the lessons it taught. He retreated to a safe environment where he can’t really be threatened.

            To prove to himself that he’s really capable of taking on the real world, he ventures forth onto the Internet, seeking places where he won’t be banned, but where he can feel smug and superior to those who post there. It’s rather ironic that places with enough intellectual honesty to let fools like him post provide him with the platform to accuse others of intellectual dishonesty. Of course, this irony completely escapes him. If someone considers him a fool, then they must be intellectually dishonest! He decrees it, in the words of his alter ego.

            His main function around here is to be “Exhibit A” of the delusional nature of the leftist mind, with a secondary function of serving as a great example of an academic social sciences fraud. Oh, and as an inspiration for humor, both from his own posts and the satires of them.

        • He is not only here to preen, but also to troll. He even bragged about it. Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether he is intentionally trolling or just flaunting his usual ignorance and cowardice.

          • Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether he is intentionally trolling or just flaunting his usual ignorance and cowardice.

            It is hard to tell sometimes. I do find it interesting that he let it slip at one point that he was de facto trolling. I perceive that he drops into trolling mode when we ignore him to the point that he isn’t getting the psychological satisfaction he craves. At that point, he trolls to engender any kind of response at all.

            It must be pitiful to live that way. If it were not for his overweening smugness, I’d feel sorry for the guy.

    • If I charged 1000 bucks on a credit card this month when i normally only chage 250 bucks i could easily say next month i’m gonna cut my deficit spending in half but i’m still charging twice what i normally charge.

      And please explain this reinvestment in the economy?  I simply don’t see it.

    • Scott,

      Read much? If you do you should try and picking up a copy of Obie’s newest book, it’s called, “A New Era of Irresponsibility.” Hardly anyone has been careening about the $6,969,000,000,000 which he will add to the existing debt. (Oh and as a sidebar, you are an idiot if you think the debt will decline by 2017, deficit spending for that year will alone will be $636 trillion.)

      Wondering abut taxes? Income taxes rise from $958 billion in 2009 to $2.15 trillion in 2019. Social Security payroll taxation rises from $662 billion in 2009 to $1.05 trillion in 2019. Medicaid payroll taxation rises from $191 billion in 2009 to $308 billion in 2019. Who do you think is goig to pay all of this? And please don’t be so progressive as to tell me the rich, because they will probably be extinct by then. The billiion will be the new trillion and the middle class will be the new wealthy.

      And you want to bitch about debt sales? Then why is Obie trying to suck up to the Chicoms to get them to buy more of our debt? Left leaning solutions: Spend and blame Bush, no one will notice.

      I suggest you get off your partisan ass and realize the Central Planner-and -Chief is spending the country into oblivion with no end in sight. How much more do you think the system can take before it breaks beyond the point of no return. And please don’t gimme the garage about Bush, Bush is Non Sequitur now, I want to know what the almighty leader is going to do besides saying, “Wasn’t me.”

      • Oops, meant trillion is the new billion.

      • I think your predictions about where we’ll be in 2017 are way off base.  I think Obama is probably going to pleasantly surprise you — I just wonder if you’ll admit it when it happens.

  • I’m reading a lot – trying to get a handle on all the stuff that I don’t understand.  Ran across this today, and thought it was worth passing on.  I don’t know enough to vouch for it’s veracity, but I’m suspicious enough to think it may be right on…

    http://market-ticker.denninger.net/archives/857-The-Bezzle-Defined.html

    • Everything Karl Denninger writes on this subject is worth reading and thinking about.

      Anyway the younger generation isn’t going to have to pay this off.  There’s going to be a war of some sort first.  The debt will be repudiated, childfree senior citizens who thought it was a good idea to offload their responsibilities onto the state will find themselves dying in the streets, and no one will care.

  • They will have gotten what they wanted: time in the sun, running things, letting others pay them obeisance, getting respect they don’t really deserve. Either they are too stupid to realize what they are doing to the next couple of generations, or they are too mendacious to care

    We all know what generation this really refers to.

  • “… be comfortable in their retirement because of the assets they were able to accrue at taxpayer and lobbyist expense.”

    Yes, but what are those assets going to be worth?

  • As a response to the recession debt jumps from $10 trillion to $12 trillion. Well, for the first year. I’m sure it won’t be $2 trillion every year. Heck, it will probably drop to only $1.5 trillion next year.

    But somehow when debt was piling up under Reagan, Bush and then Bush the Younger, the first $10 trillion didn’t matter. Well, let me tell you, it sure didn’t matter to the Democrats who created Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, crop subsidies, college subsidies, and all those alternative energy programs. But that’s as it should be, because the intentions of those Democrats were good, and so they are completely exonerated, and it’s the responsibility of your grunt engineer-type Republicans to figure out how to make that all work out, while we wise leftist Democrat professor types do the real heavy lifting on making decisions for our society.

    Yep, the last $5 trillion before the recession was under Bush. Of course, a lot of that was the last two years under a Democratic Congress, and much of it earlier under a Democratic Senate, but still. It’s the Republican’s fault exclusively, because the holy writ of postmodernism tells us so.

    So, yeah, get upset about the debt. And don’t start up with how you libertarian types have been railing against the debt for decades, just don’t start! Because you libertarian types are meanies, and so everything you do or say is automatically wrong. Even if your predictions seem to come true.

    It’s not like the GOP have been fiscally conservative — and in booms they borrowed and spent. And don’t start up with how Democrats did the same thing, and are borrowing and spending now, I tell you, just don’t start!!! Because I want to tell you about how evil the Republicans are and how good and honest and competent the Democrats are, and if I have to leave out some things to keep focusing on that point, well, it’s all justified by post-modern debating techniques.

    Anyway, let me rail against Reagan for a while. That is what Reaganism was: borrow, spend, and have foreigners finance trade deficits so we could have something for nothing. Reaganism gave us the consumerism generation that thought they could sit back and just get rich doing nothing but putting a bit of money in stocks or property, while working less and enjoying cheap foreign goods. And as I’ve told you a hundred times before, the Democratic Congresses that passed all those spending bills to build up the deficits don’t count, d*mn it! They just don’t!! Reagan was the bad guy, and if we had just kept Carter, we would have been perfectly happy with our 12% inflation and our %12 percent unemployment and our %18 mortgages!! Because Jimmy was a saint, unlike that odious Reagan, and Jimmy really cared about us, and he respected postmodern leftism. So he would have made us pay for our hegemonic sins and everyone would have been so much happier and better off. I decree it!! So that’s the way it is, and you mean righties just have to accept it!!! I decree it, I tell you!!!

    Somehow, Reagan didn’t get as much conservative condemnation as this attempt to reinvest in the US to make us competitive again. Yes, that’s right, funneling money to leftist causes is reinvestment, because we wise leftists have defined it that way, and you righties just have to suck it up and accept it. And there’s absolutely NO CONTRADICITON in fixing overspending and debt by doing more overspending and debt!!! There just isn’t, so STOP SAYING THAT!!!

    And if Obama keeps his promise to cut wasteful spending moving forward and reduce the deficit, will you give him any credit? Nah, when you view the world through partisan lenses, you get a warped view of reality. Of course, if he his plans cause a complete meltdown, then I won’t come back and admit I was wrong either. But that’s because I’m a wise leftist who is never wrong by the holy principles of postmodernism, and you all are just mean, Neanderthal righties.

    And I was so right about Sadr beating Maliki! I was, I was, I was! And about Iraq overall, because it was the biggest foreign policy disaster in not just American history, but world history! And violence in Iraq is going to increase any moment now, just as I predicted! And oil is going to shoot up, you’ll see! And those Swift Boat guys are horrible liars, all fifty of them, and Kerry was a stainless hero!!!! I’m brilliant and always right, and you righties are just mean to deny that!! I DECREE IT!!!!!

    • Dr. Scerb, you forgot to point out that you’re “actually siding with libertarian economists” while the rest of us are bowing and praying to our Reagan shrines. Again, I’m sorry that I am unable to live up to your libertarian greatness. Thank you for showing me the way.

  • There is plenty of blame to go around on who got the national debt to this level.  That’s done.

    The addition of new debt at this point is truly outrageous.  Throw in the unfunded debts and there is no possible way to pay it back, ever!  Our descendants will curse us all, rightfully so.

  • JWG, that’s a great point. I’ve studied Hayek, and I teach a course on political economics, and that dictates that all you mean and dense righties ought to just accept that I’m the expert here and that I’m right about everything. And I’m really closer to the libertarians, and the fact that I support Obama doesn’t invalidate that because he’s not a socialist, so stop saying that!! He’s a wise and wonderful father figure to us all, with his Christlike visage, and his plan is a calculated gamble that’s guaranteed to work.

  • Q and O: The only blog that maintains a full-time satirist just to deal with happy-talk[1] Erb.

    About deficits and debt: Milton Friedman recommended that the Feds run politically acceptable deficits because they were the safest way to prevent the growth of government. His reasoning was that if deficits were a constant that meant that it would be extremely difficult to create new entitlement programs, which are the reason for the embarrassingly large federal budgets in the first place.

    Pat Moynihan was the only politician I ever recall (and long before I heard Friedman’s explanation) accusing Reagan of purposely running high deficits in order to stall further federal government activism through the Congress. I believe that the proof of Friedman’s theory (and Moynihan’s observation) came with the defeat of Hillary’s Stalinist health care program in 1994, and my contention has been that the national debt should be awarded the Medal of Freedom for that victory.

    What you’re seeing with Obama right now is the calling of the politically acceptable deficit bluff on the leverage of this conjunction of a financial crisis and a recession. He’s in the socialist “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” mode, and naturally the passive-aggressive narcissist from academe is experiencing the socialist equivalent of sexual convultions over it.

    And let’s not get started on the tu quoque nature of the PAN’s argument. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

    [1] “Barzun gives his readers lots of smart social commentary. He points out the way in which our egalitarian ethos encourages an “amiable stupidity.” The best man for a committee is someone who is cheerful, optimistic, and incapable of disturbing others with critical thoughts. The trend continues. These days the single most important qualification for academic administration is the ability to project an “empowering” and “inclusive” style of leadership.

    • The theory that debt inhibits the growth of government is obviously in error, to be polite.

  • I seem to have introduced a new variant spelling for “convulsion.”

    But while I note that, let me add that Friedman also said that Congress was most dangerous after it had balanced the budget. He liked the deficits high enough to prevent new entitlement spending, while remaining in that politically acceptable range.

    My observation is that selling and accumulating debt is much less costly in financial and social terms than new entitlement programs.

    The socialists, Obama chief among them, hunger and lust after nationalized health care. That is the prize that turns the corner in America and suddenly we find ourselves in Europe (aka The Dead Zone).

    But the frustrations over the failure to get that (it’s been fifteen years since Hillary’s Stalinist plan went down) has driven the Left to accumulate all manner of secondary and diversionary perversions in their portfolio of desires.

  • Tim writes:
    “The theory that debt inhibits the growth of government is obviously in error, to be polite.”

    Is it in error? Sticking with the federal budget, it had held around 20% of GDP for well over a quarter century. There is no nationalized health care, as there is throughout Europe, and entrepreneurial capitalism flourished here.

    That might be a glass is half full view, but it’s not like I don’t have the half empty version as well.

    We could look at this from a number of perspectives, including the role that the vaunted “federalism” plays (aka spending by states and municipalities), but the feds are the most horrendous spenders, straight up.

    My point is that Obama is now calling the “politically acceptable deficit” bluff and going for the whole hog.

    • If I recall correctly, we have had budget deficits almost every year since WWII. There has been significant growth in entitlement spending since WWII. I have yet to hear the Democrats say that entitlement spending, or  any spending except definse spending, cannot be increased due to deficits. If the theory were true, we would certainly not be hearing about new entitlements such as health care at this point in time.

      • Broadly speaking, the two big hits in entitlement spending since WWII come with Medicare and the Great Society programs. Government grew in other ways, but those were the big entitlement hits. Going back at least to the late 70′s the federal share of GDP has hovered around 20%, while in Europe it’s up around 40% or higher. Now, the 1960s were the time when the WWII debt was finally being paid down due to the deficit hawk attitude of the 1950s, under Eisenhower. Voila! You get Medicare and the Great Society.

        Reagan let the deficits run up. The Clintons take back the baton in the early 90s, raise taxes to lower the deficit, why? So that they could justify and have “room” in the budget for a takeover of the health care sector of the economy. But what was one of the big themes of the ’92 campaign? Deficits and debt. Of course the Democrats don’t say they won’t spend because of high debt, anymore than Republicans go around waving Friedman’s “politically acceptable deficits, beware of balanced budgets” theory. But the debt is on the public’s mind in the 90′s and politicians are wary of stepping over the line into politically unacceptable debt.

        Now we come to Obama in the middle of a crisis which he is not going to “waste.” The sky, he thinks, is the limit. It’s not just his intention to spend the country out of recession, but to transform the economy into a European socialist one. Nationalized health care is on the front burner. He’s going to call the debt bluff.

  • Actually, Billy, your reply describes yourself. And that’s not an all-purpose answer I use whenever someone insults me, so stop saying that!

    Note that I give facts and information, you respond with insults. Well, I call it facts and information. Of course, in the post-modernist world I inhabit, a fact is whatever I say it is. So by definition, the facts are on my side. Isn’t post-modernism great? Too bad you don’t believe in it, because then you could be an argumentative powerhouse like me.

    If inside of preening and acting superior, you’d simply talk with me and engage in a real debate and exchange — something I’ll engage in a friendly and content laden manner — we could have a real discussion. And don’t start with how people here have been trying that for years until they realized how futile it was, just don’t start! Because neither you nor any of the others satisfied my rules for debate, which is that I’m always right. All you have to do is accept that, and we can have a real debate.

    And yes, I would have a friendly and content-laden manner, because I desperately need someone to validate that I’m actually a good debater. I would come back again and again, always pointing out the critical flaws in everything you say. Don’t you want to do that? We could go back and forth forever, the way a few other commenters have tried before they got tired of me. All you have to do is play the rules by my game, and I’ll be nice! Isn’t that worth it?

    Instead you hide behind ad hominems. Facts are on my side. Oh, am I starting to repeat myself in this comment? Well, it’s just because I’m so gosh-darned offended that you refuse to engage me in a debate of equals, though of course some are more equal than others, so naturally I would get to set the rules of the debate. You do see that don’t you?

    Probably not. You ex-military types are mostly basket cases anyway, and you think you’re so tough because you know how to use a gun and stuff. That makes you so arrogant. You are blog preening and I’m calling you out on it. Do you have the intellectual honesty for a real discussion? To come back again and again and let me tell you over and over how wrong you are? To never accept anything you say, but just keep repeating the same talking points over and over? Don’t you have the stomach for that? Or are you going to hide behind simply calling names and acting superior?

    Or maybe you’re bugged that on Iraq, the 2008 election and the economy I’ve been proven right — and you guys are so invested in your ad hominems that you don’t have the capacity to actually admit when you’ve been wrong and someone else right. And I am so right about Iraq, I am, I am, I am! The violence there is going to increase any moment now! I decree it. And Sadr won over Maliki! It’s obvious! Juan Cole said so!

    And of course, on the election, I can’t actually point to anyone around here who said Obama wouldn’t win, but still. I was right! I was, I was, I was! And the fact that picking Obama is akin to calling the toss of a coin is beside the point, so stop saying that!

    So hide behind your insults. I’m sure they make you feel very superior. But you’re not! I’m the superior one! I decree it!

  • Actually, Erb, you are wrong at all points. being a nice guy, I’ll limit my pointing them one to one instance or your error. Go ahead and explain to us how Reagan piled up debt. That fact is that in general congress has the power of the purse, not the white house. Add to that the niggling little detail that all eight of Reagan’s budgets were DOA at the Hill, being deemed by Democrats to cont&in too many cuts in spending.

    • Congress passes budgets.  The President proposes them and has to sign them.  I was in DC during the mid-eighties, working for a GOP Senator.  The Reagan Administration publically dismissed concern about deficits, and at times worked with a majority in Congress (they had the majority in the Senate for awhile, and with conservative Democrats a working majority in the House) to get deficit laden budgets passed.  To try to pretend Reagan was helpless and not part of the problem shows that you really have no knowledge of that era.

  • Wow, Billy, you must be really bothered to go into such a frothing set of insults.

    What bothers you is that I’ve been proven right, you are incapable of answering my arguments with logic or evidence (otherwise you would prove me wrong), and you have a fantasized image of me as some ‘leftist professor caricature’ that embodies traits you just love to attack.

    In short, you’re in fantasy land.  But that’s OK.  Obviously when you’re confronted with someone who can effectively counter your points you go into ad hominem mode.  You’re sort of the image of what I work (rather effectively) to prevent my students from becoming.

    Of course, if you ever want to put aside the insults and actually discuss the issues, then we could see who actually understands the material and has the best argument.

    But that is what you’re afraid of, isn’t it.  So hide behind the personal attacks, and watch the world go a very different way than you expected (and enjoy having a President who thinks like I do!) :-)

    • a President who thinks like I do

      The really funny thing about this statement is that Erb would always deny it when others pointed it out before Obama was a household name. At least Erb isn’t afraid to admit anymore what everyone already knew from the beginning.

      • You’re making no sense JWG.   I think Obama WILL cut the deficit like he says because I think he is a pragmatist who doesn’t want socialism or a massively large government.  Time will tell.

    • You’re sort of the image of what I work (rather effectively) to prevent my students from becoming.

      Thanks, Scott! That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said about me. Even though I’m sure you didn’t intend it that way.
      Though I suspect you’re “effective” about that in the same sense that you’re an “effective” debater around here. That is, you are deceiving yourself in both cases.

      I grieve a bit for your students, at least the ones that take you seriously. But I suspect there are not nearly as many in that group as you think.

      Now, I have a project going, and no more time to insult you today. You’ll have to make do with this video. Imagine me in the John Cleese role, with you as Graham Chapman:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7qxqvjTbu0

      • Hollis writes:

        “I grieve a bit for your students, at least the ones that take you seriously.”

        Well, think of all the happy-talk admissions Erb has made over time. But  just take two: Obama thinks like him  and Howard Zinn’s history of the United States is a fine work.

        A student who takes Erb seriously will be a socialist who essentially hates the United States, which is what I’ve been saying for years are Erb’s two consuming interests. Socialism and anti-Americanism. And before you say “and lying,” that’s just a tactic (well, O.K., and a personality trait) in service of the two consuming interests.

      • I don’t understand the penchant for insults anyway.  We’re all relatively smart people with different perspectives, stating them. The need to demonize and insult seems silly and unrealistic.

        Anyway, my blog today is about lessons learned, and uncertainties still, in the current economic collapse.  I challenge you to tell me where I’m wrong and why, and engage in a discussion of real substance.  Because, after all, internet insults are impotent.  Real discussion, that’s what matters.

        • Well, certainly, Scott, no one would ever take your endless repetition of the same happy-talk platitudes literally across decades as in any way insulting. Although your implication that you are a “smart person” could be taken as a grotesque slight against the concepts of both “smart” and “person.”

    • Erb, you now sound like a parody of yourself parodying Ott Scerb doing a parody of you doing a parody of yourself.

      Do you have to take a pill to do that?

      It’s either that, I think, or some sort of neural plug-in, or implant.

      I’m thinking that Philip K. Dick must have had a neighbor like you, who gave him some of his ideas.

  • “I think he is a pragmatist who doesn’t want socialism or a massively large government”

    Heh.  Obama wants to massively increase the role of the federal governement in health care, a proposal for which he admits that $680 billion is a DOWN PAYMENT (just the start!).  In 2017, health care spending is expected to account for ~20% of GDP.  Being conservative, I’ll give you that half of health care spending is already by gov’t.  His spending plans already are already looking at 25% of GDP.  So when the federal gov’t is controlling a full 35% of GDP(current 25% plus the other half of health care spending), you don’t consider that a massive government?  Would the fed’s stake in GDP have to rise above 50% before you consider it massive?  

    • If when Obama leaves office he”s added even half the debt that Bush has, point it out and I’ll admit I was wrong about him (and he’s  got the added difficulty of greater service charges to the huge Bush/GOP debt he’s inherited).   Maybe I’m just over optimistic, but I think Obama will recognize the need to cut spending overall.  Time will tell.  If I end up being wrong, I’ll certainly admit it.

      • “If I end up being wrong, I’ll certainly admit it.”
        *Note -offer only appies to the 2017 prediction, not any predictictions that have been proven wrong already or statements made that were patently false to begin with.

        • Actually, Ted, I’ve admitted to being wrong many times on many things.  Who can post and never be wrong?  Alas, people have been very wrong on the Iraq war and a variety of other issues apparently find the idea of admitting they were wrong to someone they disagree with so distasteful that they prefer insults instead.  It’s really not so hard.  All people have to do is put aside caricatured images they have of others, say, "OK, we have differences, let’s talk this through" and they can learn from each other.  I prefer that to the idea that it’s a war between two competing versions, with people on the other side somehow inferior by definition.  Sure, one can hide behind insults and bravado, but that really is contrary to useful discussion of issues — and I think as a country we should be listening to each other more, not insulting each other.

          • Scott, has it occurred to you that you’ve been repeating the same, almost word-for-word, therepeutic happy talk in response to your multitudinous critics for at least fifteen years?

            O.K., so, is “Castro still better than Batista?’ Or has 50 years of totalitarian communism finally outweighed the relatively mild authoritarianism and much greater prosperity of the Batista years? Do you have your final answer?

            How about this: you said that Hillary’s health plan was not socialism, but that everyday voluneerism was. Have you made up your mind?

            How about a final definition of socialism?

            Do you still believe that socialism and libertarianism are compatible? And that the lads here at Q & O are still your brothers in liberty, if only they would engage in honest discussion and debate and let you help them realize it?

            Finally, for now, does Venus lose heat, or not?

          • See, you’ve mentioned a few times in this post how you were right on Iraq. I missed the ones where you admitted that you were completely wrong on the surge costing thousands of extra lives lost. Or the part where now that ‘Obama the pragmatist’ has adopted the Bush strategy for ending the war in Iraq, that Bush must have been right about that too. Link to those past posts and I’ll kindly withdraw the comment.

            Or we can go with the flat lie that Obama doesn’t want socialism. If he didn’t want socialism he would try find a way to lower heath care costs without having the government run the whole thing. If he were a pragmatist he would reject ideas that only lower the cost when the quality of care is significantly compromised. In reality Obama wants “redistributive change”. Guess what – that means socialism.
            The attempts to diffuse this statement claim that Obama was talking about a specific legal term with a very narrow focus. But those attempts are easily shown to be a complete sham. First – his supporters claim he was referring only to specific ideas that had come up during the civil rights movement but were not acted on by the Warren Court. But those changes had already taken place before 2001 (lawyers provided by the court, federal funds for education etc.), and he lamented that we still suffered and that he still wanted change. Not just a tweaking of the current system, but “major redistributive change”. Second – the claim he was only referring to the specific legal term “redistributive change” : None of the dozen free legal dictionaries available include the term “redistributive change” AND Obama uses several different terms in the interview including “economic change”. In the interview Obama clearly agrees with a caller that “reparative work, economically” be done in the U.S., just that the courts aren’t set up well to accomplish it.  In 2001 Obama said he wanted socialism, and he’s never withdrawn that comment.

  • I don’t understand the penchant for insults anyway. Why are you all so mean to me? We’re all relatively smart people with different perspectives, stating them. Of course, relatively speaking, I’m much, much smarter than you, which is proven by the fact that I’m always right. The need to demonize and insult me seems silly and unrealistic. I guess it’s because you feel so inferior.

    Anyway, my blog today is about lessons learned, and uncertainties still, in the current economic collapse. In it, I manage to talk out of all four sides of my mouth, so that no matter what happens, I’ll look like a psychic. I challenge you to tell me where I’m wrong and why, and engage in a discussion of real substance. And of course, if you challenge any single thing I say that supposedly proves I’m wrong, I’ll just point to something else I said to prove how right I am. But it would be a real debate! Don’t you see?

    But you should stop being mean to me. Because, after all, internet insults are impotent. Real discussion, that’s what matters. And if I ever learn how to do that, I’ll let you know.

  • If when Obama leaves office he’s added even half the debt that Bush has, point it out and I’ll admit I was wrong about him. Yes, I know I have never admitted I was wrong about Sadr, about violence increasing in Iraq, about the price of oil, but I wasn’t really wrong about any of those things! You would understand that if you understood the holy writ of postmodernism, which no one around here except me really gets.

    So I’m confident I won’t be wrong about Obama either. No matter what numbers you come back with, I’ll have a whole bunch of reasons why they don’t matter and don’t prove I’m wrong. My godlike powers of political science give me the ability to do that, and you dense righties just have to learn to live with it.

    Maybe I’m just over optimistic, but I think Obama will recognize the need to cut spending overall. Stop laughing! It’s true, he will, I just feel it! And don’t start up with his healthcare proposals, just don’t start! And it’s really, really not fair to bring up his reversal on earmarks.

    Time will tell. If I end up being wrong, I’ll certainly admit it. And since I get to define what “wrong” means, I’m not too worried about ever having to do that.

  • Obama clearly doesn’t want socialism.  To say he does is over the top silly.

    • Obama is a movement socialist, born and bred in it. He was tutored in it as a kid in Hawaii by his grandfather’s friend, CPUSA member Frank Marshall Davis. He got the full postmodern Gramscian identity politics load of it at Columbia as an undergraduate. He was indoctrinated after that into the Alinsky method in Chicago and then settled into his Marxist “black theology” church to be tutored by James Cone’s liberation theology acolyte Jeremiah Wright.

      Yeah, it’s silly to call Obama a socialist. Why would anyone get that impression.

    • Obama’s words and actions both show that he wants socialism.  But statements made purely from available facts are silly if they clash with your narrative. I guess we can ignore the evidence if you stake your professional reputatio something valuable (like a twinkie) on the fact that he’s not.

      • Ted, I don’t think you know what socialism is.   Even Social Democrats in Europe don’t want socialism.  Nothing Obama has said or proposed is fundamentally different in terms of ideology than what most Republicans want.  It’s just a matter of what the “mix” in the mixed economy is.  Also, note how ineffective attacks on “socialism” are these days.  That’s a very 20th century style attack, it no longer registers with most Americans, especially younger ones.  It’s like those who had the strange idea that Rev. Wright would somehow  undue the Obama candidacy.  I think some people haven’t noticed that our discourse about politics has undergone a complete change in the last twenty years.  The rhetoric of the 80s is obsolete — and the inability to recognize that is one of the problems the GOP has.  Their message is anachronistic.

        • Most Republicans do not want ‘economic justice’ for racial issues. Guess what- that cannot be achieved without a significant amount of socialism.  Fully nationalized health care is fundamentally different from a ‘mixed’ system. 
            Attacks on “socialism” haven’t lost ground because socialism has been shown to actually work. Attacks on reason, such as labeling it ‘obsolete’  have been effective, but they only work when the population is kept uninformed or is predisposed to question anything that doesn’t agree with the established narrative.  Facts must be either attacked or ignored.
            This explains why Rev. Wright didn’t undo Obama. The news focused on a few isolated statements while completely ignoring that the published doctrine of his church had been racist for 20 years. Anyone pointing to the truth of the matter was dismissed as alarmist, or petty, or anachronistic. But it still doesn’t change the fact that Obama belonged to a racist organization, or that any Republican in the same situation would have been doomed.
            People that want to make a positive difference in the world may or may not have integrity and/or solid reasoning skills to go with it.  If you have both you can more easily see through weak, vague arguments; but you’re also likely to go into a field like construction or engineering where you can make a tangible difference. If you have neither, you won’t make it in those fields, but you can still flourish in journalism or teaching liberal arts; so the percentage of people that want to push a narrative unsupported by facts is higher in the media and academia. It doesn’t even have to be intentional, because those of you without integrity or a good background in science won’t necessarily realize that they are being biased. This is the main problem with the GOP’s message. Reaching an audience that has been poisoned against it.

          • Wow, Ted decides to simply insult all educators and make it seem like a vast conspiracy against the GOP message.   Yeah, you with that argument, Ted, see where that will take you (eyes rolling).

            Or, perhaps, you might want to consider that maybe you’re wrong, and instead of going for emotional conspiracy theories it makes sense to actually discuss the issues?  Nah, demonization is easier, isn’t it!  Have fun with it.

          • Now, now, Scott. When Ted writes that “the percentage of people that want to push a narrative unsupported by facts is higher in the media and academia,” he is giving but the restrained view.

            But I’m curious. You’ve had a major league stadium’s worth of people tell you this about yourself and the colony you belong to. Do you have a legitimate memory problem that allows you to play out each incident as though the previous 50,000 didn’t happen? Or is it merely a characterological twitch (O.K., disorder), as I have assumed almost from the outset?

          • I did try to discuss the isuue, and backed it up with facts. You replied with a dismissive insult, then demonized Republicans. Denial and Demonization is easy, and you’ve provided the clear examples.Now you follow with nonsense statements based on nothing but projection.

             I clearly stated that only a certain percentage of liberal arts educators fall into the described category.  I also made it clear that no actual conspiracy was needed, just individual action.  But hey, this is exactly the tactic I described above used to keep people from tying Obama to Wright. Dissmiss the facts as wild rhetoric without ever coming up with anything to counter them. From the beginning you haven’t written a single word in evidence that Obama’s socialist actions and statements don’t apply. As I said above, it has been effective with the general population, but it doesn’t stand up to actual discussion.

          • Well, Ted, I didn’t see any facts in what you wrote, just some unsubstantiated assertions.   No one claimed “socialism works.”  Rather, just about everyone, including European Social Democrats are in favor of mixed economies.   And the reason Rev. Wright didn’t hurt Obama is the silly attempt to look at the “ideology of the church” had nothing to do with Obama and was correctly shrugged off by a public more concerned about the candidates and what they stood for.   But if you want to think educators in the liberal arts are somehow inferior and thus doing things to undercut the ability of people to understand the GOP message, please make that argument — it’ll get the laughter it deserves.  In fact, it’s that kind of silliness that has marginalized the GOP at a time when the country actually needs a decent, rational conservative alternative to what the Democrats are bringing forward.  Instead of sounding like sober, articulate social critics with ideas and plans, it sounds more like whining that “these incompetent boobs have overtaken our education system and produced a generation that can’t think and thus doesn’t realize we’re right.”   That argument will get you kudos from the extreme right, but nowhere in the real world of politics.

          • There’s some solid reasoning: the ideology of the church Obama attended had nothing to do with Obama.

            No wonder the public shrugged it off (I mean in addition to never being told about it because the media was afraid to touch it)!

            Two questions occur to me Scott:

            1. Do you yourself actually know anything about the ideology of the church?

            2. How and why would you assume (presume?) that by Obama attending the church for 20 years one is assured that said ideology has nothing to do with him?

            Actually, Scott, you do know (now at this moment, at least) that your argument boils down to argumentum ad populum (“Everyone shrugs this off, therefore it means it has nothing to do with Obama”).

        • The front burner arguments about the power of the state in economic affairs (i.e., socialism) are not that different than they were in 1950, Scott, let alone the 1980s. In some ways they are sharper, in some ways cloudier, though I think that in 1950 there were a lot of Americans who would simply punch you in the face if they listened to you for five minutes. Alas, that era has passed.

          Obama is, as I wrote, a movement socialist, born and bred to it. Part of that game is to have academic apologists, most of them usually pretty unconscious to their expected roles, telling anyone they can that it’s no big deal, or isn’t even real. But that requires not paying attention to the facts, not even for five minutes. The movement doesn’t like to listen, you see. To say that it’s “in denial” would be to overstate its innocence, however.

  • “Well, Ted, I didn’t see any facts in what you wrote, just some unsubstantiated assertions. ”
    Obama’s own words provide no clue to his thoughts? Obama’s actions don’t count as evidence of his wants? Because I referred to them both, and you provided nothing.
    At this point the real question becomes ‘Oxygen thief or worthwhile cautionary example?’

  • Ted, Obama said he would cut the deficit in half.  He said that he opposes big government as the solution.   So if you want to trust Obama, then you’re with me  here.   I didn’t see you refer to anything specifically that Obama said, except one old very narrowly defined snippet of “redistributive change” (which even Republicans often want, depending on the program) which you magically take to mean socialism.  You cling to that while ignoring everything else he’s saying.
    That’s not very persausive!

    • Once Obama triples the deficit, Scott, he might indeed then “want” to cut it in half. Just like I’ll give you 50% off on your next Volvo after I first double the offering price. You’re ready to buy, right? Because I “want” very much to give you that 50% off.

      Now, here is Jim Wallis, Obama’s new top “spiritual advisor” — the new spiritual advisor sounds a lot like the old spiritual advisor:

      “In parallel with his magazine’s stridently antiwar position during the Seventies, Wallis championed the cause of communism. Forgiving communism’s brutal standard-bearers in Vietnam and Cambodia the most abominable of atrocities, Wallis was, by contrast, unsparing in his execration of American military efforts. He demanded greater levels of “social justice” in the allegedly oppressive U.S., but was silent on the subject of the murderous rampages of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. In fact, several Sojourners editorials attempted to exculpate the Khmer Rouge of the charges of genocide, instead shifting blame squarely onto the United States.”
      Sounds like another socialist advisor, Scott.

    • I was referring an interview that happened to get a lot of press last October, I guess I made a false assumption that anyone paying attention to politics was aware of Obama’s statements on using clearly socialist policies in addition to obtaining equal rights:
       Obama: One of the I think tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributed change and in some ways we still suffer from that.
      Caller .. My question is it too late for that kind of reparative work economically, and is that the appropriate place for reparative economic work to take place?
      Obama – ..I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts… y’know I think any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts”

      In addition Obama has promised nationalized health care as a solution. Good luck doing that with small government. You cling to his goal of reducing the deficit (which is a stated goal of  most governments, no matter what their economic system) while ignoring his stated desires and his actions as President.
       

  • So a comment about the civil rights movement — where the goal was justifiably to help a population that suffered disproportionate poverty and discrimination to move up — and a health care reform package that is very private sector oriented is suddenly “socialist” to you.  Ted, a lot of conservatives support that kind of health care reform.

    See, this is your problem.  You make grandiose claims on the flimsiest of evidence, and ignore all the other statements Obama said about the economy and his goals.   The reason that kind of “message” doesn’t play is that it is so obviously illogical.  Anyone can see that claims of “socialism” based on those quotes just doesn’t hold water, and that you have to ignore 98% of what he says to even try to make that claim.   So yeah, education does prevent people from getting the message: they use logic, critical thinking skills, and understand that your point has no justification and is based more on emotion than reason. 

    There certainly are arguments to make against Obama’s policies and priorities, but going into an emotional rant about “socialism” or “Rev. Wright” and the “ideology of his church” is just silliness, and will get you no where, nor will it advance the national discussion of how we deal with this crisis.  Come up with ideas and substantive arguments, and that’ll be worth taking seriously and responding to.  But the emotional stuff, well, that’s meaningless.   You don’t want to end up as some old crank spouting off at school board meetings and being ignored.

    • “A health care reform package that is very private sector oriented” is it, Scott? If that weasel was a proctoscope, you’d be screaming for another turn, right?

      As for Obama’s socialism, that’s clear and established. It is a fact, not an “emotion” driven hypothesis. His background is replete with clear and convincing evidence.

      The involvement with the church was a very serious matter and eagerly avoided by the media. It was about basic judgment and strange inclinations, not to mention a fundamental assumption of socialism. Obama apologists did what they could to silence anyone who dared to speak about it. You can see that Obama’s current “spiritual advisor,” Jim Wallis (noted above, with link) is perhaps worse than Wright, if perhaps more to your liking. 

  • Once again, you ignore the evidence because it goes against your narrative. Obama was clearly not just not talking about the civil rights movement in a historical sense, but also about the future. Martin has summarized the relevant point about Obama’s church and health care.
     You have provided abosutlely no evidence for your claims, meanwhile, you fasely accused me of insulting an entire group of educators because you lack the simple logical skills required to understand what I said. Go find a geometry teacher and have them interpret it for you, ask them if I said all liberal arts educators lacked integrity or reasoning skills.