Free Markets, Free People


Obama and the debt ceiling

I was gobsmacked by this quote in a POLITICO story about Obama’s walkout from a debt ceiling negotiation:

On exiting the room, Obama said that “this confirms the totality of what the American people already believe” about Washington, according to a Democratic official familiar with the negotiations, and that officials are “too focused on positioning and political posturing” to make difficult choices.

That line could be the summary of the Obama presidency to this point.  Think Afghanistan for instance.  Remember this:

The withdrawal has created deep divisions in Washington. The defence secretary, Robert Gates, argued for a modest reduction – at one point as low as 2,000 – citing the advice of US commanders in Afghanistan that they need to protect gains made during the winter against the Taliban.

But senior White House staff, conscious that the president has an election to fight next year, argued in favour of a reduction that would send a signal to the US public that an end to the war is in sight.

The “difficult choice” would have been to keep the troops in place and reinforce the success they’ve been having.  Instead, we got the “positioning and political posturing” decision made to hopefully enhance Obama’s re-election chances.

Certainly, there is political posturing going on all over the place by both parties, but when the GOP actually sticks to its guns (no new tax increases) while playing hardball, how does that “confirms the totality of what the American people already believe?”  I don’t think he understands which side of that statement he’s actually on.

Ed Morrissey makes another point:

One of the easiest ways to identify an amateurish negotiator is the issuance of obviously empty threats.  Yesterday, Barack Obama issued one of the emptiest political threat in modern American history when he stomped out of the debt-ceiling negotiations yesterday in a fit of pique:

“Eric, don’t call my bluff. I’m going to the American people with this.”

Really?  Then Obama will be in for a very rude awakening when he finally meets the American people:

Gallup: Americans paying attention oppose debt-ceiling increase almost 2-1

CBS poll shows 69% opposed to a debt-ceiling increase

Poll: Majority support a balanced budget amendment

Poll shows more people concerned about national debt than national default

Poll shows Americans getting more pessimistic on economy, want spending cuts

Americans oppose raising debt ceiling by more than 2-1 in Gallup survey

CBS poll shows Americans oppose debt-ceiling hike 2-1

Hill poll shows 62% opposed to raising the debt ceiling

The people have been taking it to Barack Obama since the midterm elections.  Maybe he should do less stomping and a lot more listening.

But listening isn’t one of his forte’s.  Instead he likes to play games like this.  I’m sure some sycophant will soon call what he did “gutsy”.  Bottom line, the GOP has to hope he actually follows thorough on his threat because he is obviously not at all tuned into the American people who, as the links point out, have been stating their opinion for quite some time.

Obviously Obama thinks he can pull his campaign trail wool over the American public’s eyes one more time.  But my reading is that public is in no mood for his oratorical mendacity.  The swooning crowds of yore are no more.   For 2 plus years Americans have been able to watch and assess this guy based on his actions, not his words.  And if the “generic Republican” poll is any indication, they’re wanting change as badly now as they did when Obama was swept into office.

So – hang tough GOP, the polls say the American people are with you.  Don’t fall for the political theater and cave to non-existent pressure.  He’s the one the with problem.  Make sure you remember that.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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141 Responses to Obama and the debt ceiling

  • Obama “jumps the shark” on Social Security …

    Obama beat everyone, however, with his scaremongering claim that Social Security checks are at risk if he doesn’t get his way on the debt ceiling. “I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on Aug. 3 if we haven’t resolved this issue,” he told CBS News, “because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.”
    Wait! What happened to Social Security’s “guarantee”?
    You know, the iron-clad assurance of Social Security benefits in exchange for paying into the program your whole working life? It’s something Democrats constantly talk about, particularly when attacking Republicans who propose privatizing the program.
    As Nancy Pelosi once put it: “Social Security has never failed to pay promised benefits, and Democrats will fight to make sure that Republicans do not turn a guaranteed benefit into a guaranteed gamble.”

    EPIC FAIL by “The Won”

  • The GOP leadership is deathly afraid of being Gingrichized at the hands of the Democrats and their media allies.

    First problem with that is that it’s selfish and unprincipled. Sometimes you have to do what you know is the right thing even if there’s personal risk involved.

    Second problems is that it’s not 1995 any more. The economy was humming along pretty good then, and since there is a huge swatch of citizens/voters who don’t pay much attention to politics when times are good, the media had a ready audience for the narrative against Gingrich and his allies. Now, the economy looks shakier by the month, most people have personal experience with it, and that makes the media’s narrative-hacking tougher because people are paying attention. Add in the extraordinary dimunition in the influence of major legacy media in the last fifteen years, and the probability that Obama can depend on them to game the outcome is way, way lower than it was in 1995.

    There are some signs that some of the GOP is starting to get this. Not McConnell, probably not Boehner, but I liked the idea that Cantor got under Obama’s skin. Cantor of all people, who I’ve slammed as the stereotype of a slick, establishment GOP politician. He may be calculating that, with the guys above him possibly getting ready to cave, he can position himself as the leader of the section of the GOP that is ready for a fight. He wouldn’t do that unless there was some decent change that such a fight will work. I get at least a small bit of encouragement from that.

    • Didn’t McConnel ask the Biden spending cut question (2 billion in 2012) and then simply decide it was pointless to negotiate with Obama? I think McConnell’s idea is to put the question of real cuts on Obama, so he is forced to show the public what his plans are instead of hiding behind the media air cover.
      Now I am not sure I like McConnell’s plan, but it may very well be true that its pointless to negotiate with Obama. Even people like Megan McArdle were terrified of SS checks not going out and advised the GOP to fold.
      Also, regarding tax increases, there are going to be more budget cuts then just these. This is just round one. I suggest in 2012 both parties show off their plans again, well, for the Dems it would be for the first time, including their tax plans…then run on them if they are so great. As Bruce has said, taxes should be raised after everything else has been done, not before.

  • In what alternate reality does the “most powerful man in the world” petulantly storm out of discussions, leaving the rest of his team looking a bunch of dopes? Apparently the need to find a solution does not extend to taking the high road and beating the other guys into an agreement, no matter how long or tedious it is. He’s gone from bin Laden killer to precious little flower in the space of a few short weeks. Is it really, really just because he doesn’t want to sit down and do hard work, face-to-face, for as long as it takes against a determined opposition? Or does he actually believe someone will save his ass and his image no matter how many childish stunts he pulls in the company of adults?

    • No, it’s because he’s the ‘dragon’ on the maps where the empty space was and the words ‘here be dragons’ were written in with a picture of a dragon ravaging the drawn landscape.

      He’s hype, he was hype before he ‘got Bin Laden’ and made the ‘gutsy’ decision to do what he had no choice about doing (it would have been gutsier to take him alive).  He’s nothing BUT hype, it’s his whole life, his whole career.

      Only now he doesn’t have anyone higher than him who can keep bolstering the story of how bright he is to justify moving him up one more ladder rung.

    • This is who he is.  When he can’t dominate the discussion by going “I won” he can’t hack it.

      Pres. Beeotch can’t take it.

    • That is because he was never a serious person and hard work is something he knows nothing about.

  • Here – I have a cunning plan my lord.

    Let’s let these people come to do this 50th B-day party with ‘the wonton’ and then we’ll apply all funds raised to the debt, or to help cover Social Security for another day.

    What’s more important,  saving the country or getting the Wonton re-elected?  Come on you democrats!, time to eat your peas!

  • Pinning your hopes on polls? Oh dear…

    American voters disapprove 56 – 38 percent of the way President Barack Obama is handling the economy, but by 45 – 38 percent they trust the president more than congressional Republicans to handle the economy, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
     The country is in a recession, 71 percent of American voters say, but by 54 – 27 percent they blame former President George W. Bush more than President Obama.

    The president gets a 47 – 46 percent job approval rating, unchanged from the June 9 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. That tops a 64 – 28 percent disapproval for Democrats in Congress and a 65 – 26 percent disapproval for Republicans. Obama outscores congressional Republicans on several points in the deficit reduction battle:
    Voters will blame Republicans over Obama 48 – 34 percent if the debt limit is not raised;
    Voters say 67 – 25 percent that an agreement to raise the debt ceiling should include tax hikes for the wealthy and corporations, not just spending cuts;
    Voters say 45 – 37 percent that Obama’s proposals to raise revenues are “closing loopholes,” rather than “tax hikes”;
    But voters say 57 – 30 percent that Obama’s proposals will impact the middle class, not just the wealthy.
     

    • Your polls are worthless. Our economy is headed off the cliff and Obama is acting like a child. This will not go well for the country, but especially for him.

      • We could believe Obama a bit more if he said, like LBJ, that for the good of the country, he doesn’t have time for campaigning.
        But we all know that campaigning is all that Obama knows how to do.

      • No, the Republicans are acting like children (though Boehner is apparently trying to bring some adult thinking to the table — but he’s imprisoned by mindless ideologues), with an irrational anti-tax increase position.  Obama is almost certain to get re-elected, the GOP is actually playing into his hands, it’s sort of fun to watch (if only the Republicans weren’t holding the economy hostage).

    • Was this an official poll done by you around the wine and cheeser last night, or just a straw poll?

      • Well, I can’t be too sure if Tom hangs out drinking wine and eating cheese with the folks at Quinnipiac, but he at least quoted an actual poll rather than McQ who merely expected us to just take his word for it.

        So the American people are “with” the GOP, huh?  I’d like to know how McQ comes to this conclusion.

        • Uh, you did click the links to the polls (or at least the links to the links) in my post didn’t you Pogue? You do know how to follow links, right?

        • Well, there was an election just last year.
          Just sayin’

        • Not so much ‘with’ Pogue – hell you saw this in 2008 – it’s not necessary they be with, it’s only necessary they be against the boob in the White House (pick your flavor).

          Hell, who knows, maybe after a Republican victory in 2012 they can do a walk in in 2016 by running against Obama AGAIN like he ran against Bush in 2008.

          So, what do you think, are we going to lose little Ricky to the country for a while in 2012?

    • Tom…look up the poll questions, then look up the term “Push Poll”.
      Dupe.

  • As I note in my blog today, the Republican House are acting like petulant children, demanding everything be done their way, refusing to compromise even when the facts clearly show that a small tax increase on the wealthy makes since, and can lead Democrats to agree to more cuts.   John Boehner seems a bit more adult, but he’s like a dad driving a station wagon yelling at the kids to behave.  When mom (Cantor) takes the kids’ side, the father is condemned to impotently drive with his family out of control.   The Republicans are imploding, and Obama and the Democrats must be pretty happy to see this happening on the eve of an election year.   Obama is already favored, the Republicans are at risk now of losing the House if they can’t behave like adults.
    Not raising the debt ceiling would lead to economic disaster.  No rational person who understands basic economic can deny that.  Obama will find a way to avoid it, even if he has to use the 14th amendment.   Meanwhile, the Republicans overstretch, living in clear denial of reality.   Note this:  In 2001, revenues were at 19.5 percent of gross domestic product and spending was at 18.6 percent of GDP. That was our surplus. In 2010, revenues were at 14.9 percent of GDP while spending was at 23.9 percent. That’s our deficit: Revenues are down and spending is up.
    Note as well that the wealthiest 1% have had their income increase nearly 300% since 1980 (that’s when the borrow and spend mentality began — debt to GDP doubled during the Reagan years, as we created the illusion of prosperity built on high debt and lower oil prices), the top 20% have increased 95%.  Since 1980, the bottom 60% haven’t even kept up with inflation.   The gap between the wealthiest and the middle class is greater than ever, while class mobility is behind France.  The US tax system is the least progressive in the world; the US wealthiest 10% are the richest in the world; the poorest 10% are behind the poorest 10% in Greece and the Czech Republic.   It’s time for the Republicans in the House to grow up and act like adults.

    • Wait….this was really you!

      And once I read it, I could see yes, it was REALLY you.  As insane as Scerb sounds, he’s positively rational compared to your genuine post.

      Within a paragraph you demonstrate your grasp of facts (that is, slippery) and your drift into unreality.
      “the Republican House are acting like petulant children, demanding everything be done their way, refusing to compromise even when the facts clearly show that a small tax increase on the wealthy makes since and can lead Democrats to agree to more cuts” will lead to More cuts?  PURE FREAKING SPECULATION.

      So, your proposal is the Republicans give up something concrete, that is, agree to higher taxes, on the premise that in return the Democrats MAY think about making cuts.   Fine, you send me $200.00 on Saturday, and it could lead to me sending you $1000.00 in return on the following Monday.  Willing to take that bet with your $200.00?

      Furthermore – If you took ALL the money of the “wealthy” it would NOT begin to touch this problem, the proposal to raise the tax on them is meaningless and not a serious proposal to address the issue of excess SPENDING.  Grow up, this is like you discovering you owe the bank $10,000 and declaring that if you take away your kid’s $10.00 weekly allowance it will fix the problem with the bank.  CUT SPENDING, is that so hard?

      “Obama will find a way to avoid it, even if he has to use the 14th amendment. ” – already determined he cannot legally do so – next.

      As for the rest of your post – dude, what are you smoking?
      Where can I get some?
       

      • Cut and paste job from KOS or whatever other talking points site Erb frequents…

        “Not raising the debt ceiling would lead to economic disaster.  No rational person who understands basic economic can deny that”

        >>> Perfect example of the one-way ratchet that is the keenest weapon in the liberal arsenal.  Under this scenario, the debt will always be going up up up.

        No thanks, because THAT’S where the real disaster lies. 

        We don’t raise the ceiling, we still pay our debts, we’ll just have to cut spending.  The HORROR!

        But you know this. All this talk of “default” or “withholding Social Security because the money isn’t there” is pure drivel.  Default or stopping payment is a voluntary choice.  Always has been, always will be.

        And you know this.  You just a liar, nothing more, nothing less.  Pitiable. 

        • I actually don’t read political blogs much.   Those I do read tend to be right of center.  But I did cut and paste some info from my own blog, like the Washington Post quote comparing revenue and spending ratios between 2001 and 2010.
          If we don’t raise the debt ceiling, we’ll either default, or there will be a government shut down of some sort.  (IF the Treasury can decide what not to spend, don’t expect it to follow GOP priorities — the House won’t have a say in that).  So it’s possible that the Treasury could prioritize and avoid default and keep a few really important government functions going.  This would create a shutdown like scenario that would overwhelm the political debate and ultimately require some kind of deal.  It would be similar to the Clinton-Gingrich showdown in 1995.

          • I actually don’t read political blogs much. It’s not really necessary. With my godlike powers of political science, I pretty much know everything I need to know instantly about any given issue.

            Those I do read tend to be right of center. And that’s not either because I need to find someone to talk down to in order to deal with my self esteem issues. Nope. Stop saying that. And stop talking about how my self esteem is low because I’m a low-paid professor at a third-rate college in which half the maintenance budget goes to repairing moose gnawing. I’m smart and capable, and darn it, people like me.

            But I did cut and paste some info from my own blog, like the Washington Post quote comparing revenue and spending ratios between 2001 and 2010. And of course the Post is a completely objective source, and certainly not biased leftwards. I decree it.

            If we don’t raise the debt ceiling, we’ll either default, or there will be a government shut down of some sort. And I’m not either just restating obvious stuff to talk down to you dense righties like you are retarded children, so stop saying that.

            So it’s possible that the Treasury could prioritize and avoid default and keep a few really important government functions going. This would create a shutdown like scenario that would overwhelm the political debate and ultimately require some kind of deal. It would be similar to the Clinton-Gingrich showdown in 1995. See, the wise spending bureaucrats won that time, and it proves they will win every single time in the future, so why do Republicans even try? Our comrades objective media stand ready to expose the Republicans for being obstructionist and denying grandma her check. It will definitely work, and that’s why we wise moderate pragmatic leftists will always win these kinds of debate. And just shut up about how it will eventually come to economic catastrophe. It won’t, and even if it does, we’ll find a way to blame it on the Republicans and turn it to our advantage to increase our power over the proles as we march towards leftist utopia.

          • We only default if we choose, so that’s a non-starter.

            Govt “shutdown”?  Good.  The govt shut down in MN and nobody seemed to notice or mind very much. Just ask Gov. Dayton who just got reamed by the state GOP.

            But we don’t have to shut down.  That’s your lie.  That we only have 2 choices.  Default or shut down.

            We can simply make cuts as well.  Hardly economic armageddon.  But you know this already. Dishonest as the day is long is what you are.

          • “IF the Treasury can decide what not to spend, don’t expect it to follow GOP priorities — the House won’t have a say in that).  ”

            Actually the house could pass a spending bill that lays out what will be paid.   IE debt service, social security, military pay.  Of course then it goes to the Senate.  I would like to see Harry Reid not bring to a vote a bill that says social security payments wont continue or military pay will stop or Obama veto it.

            The treasury of course will be able to lay out priorities for whatever isnt covered by the bill but they cant override the bill as all spending bills originate in the House.

      • What the hell Scott, let’s really talk about money – you send me $200.00 and I may send you $20,000, no make it $200,000.  We can talk about it, you agree, send me the cash, and we can talk.

         

      • The Democrats must follow through on cuts.  I will join you in attacking them if they don’t.  I think they need entitlement reform as well.  The Republicans do have some ideas that are necessary.   So I agree that the GOP needs to get something in return
        Also, I don’t claim there is a quick fix — quite the opposite.  We got into this with 30 years of living beyond our means through increased debt, and it won’t get over quickly.   Increased revenue is only part of the solution, spending cuts is another part, and ultimately we’ll only get our debt to GDP ratio down to a healthy level by growing the economy.   Relatively small tax increases on the wealthy, spending cuts, and a growing economy are needed to, over time solve the problem.
        Do you doubt the facts I gave — comparison of revenues and spending between 2001 and 2010, how the wealthiest have grown in income while the bottom 60% haven’t kept up with inflation, that the US has the least progressive tax system, etc.?   I can support those claims, which don’t you believe?

        • “how the wealthiest have grown in income while the bottom 60% haven’t kept up with inflation”

          Why do I give a flock about how much money the wealthy have Scott?

          I worry about me, my family.  I don’t delve into how much money the ‘wealthy’ have, and unless they got it by screwing people over, like Maddoff or those assholes at Enron, I don’t resent them for it.

          I’m an adult, I don’t worry about the Jones having a nicer car, a bigger TV, taking more vacations, give up the childish envy.  It’s their shit, in more cases than not the people they’re calling ‘wealthy’ earned it.
          Talk to me about the Kerry-Heniz’s, the limousine liberals, the Kennedy’s, giving up THEIR shit FIRST, and then we’ll see how sincere your argument is.

          Till then it’s an appeal to destructive class warfare, хорошая работа Comrade.

          • The wealthiest have benefited from tax cuts and gained most in the economic growth of the last thirty years, while working class and poor have stagnated.  That’s the reality.  I’m only saying that given the problems, the wealthy can afford to pay a slightly larger share of the tax — even if it is less than what Reagan had them pay.  It would be part of a solution — and since neither party can impose its will on the other, a compromise with both sides making concessions is the only way to solve this crisis.  Also, while I’m not all that materialistic or concerned about what others have, I doubt that the wealthy really earned that much more of the income (the chart is on my blog, with a link to other charts).  I do think that Kerry, Kennedy and others can afford to pay more taxes.  I’d actually prefer a tax reform more like a fair tax that closed loopholes and perhaps decreased top marginal rates but did not allow so many deductions.
            I suspect that if the gap between rich and poor increases, there will be class warfare — populist class warfare.   Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

        • The Democrats must follow through on cuts. I will join you in attacking them if they don’t. That’s right – if the Democrats do again what they’ve done every single time they’ve run this game before, I’ll post some meaningless criticism. Right after I bash the Republicans again for being the real source of the lack of agreement on spending cuts.

          I think they need entitlement reform as well. Though not by dumping Obamacare. Oh, no. It’s needed. The Republicans do have some ideas that are necessary, and I’m all in favor of them as long as they are so far out in the future that wise leftist Democrats will be able to completely reverse refine them before they take effect.

          So I agree that the GOP needs to get something in return. Just not very much. And in the future, as I said. But we need to soak the rich RIGHT NOW so we can have that money to pay off the special interest groups Obama needs to be re-elected stimulate the economy some more to get higher growth.

          Also, I don’t claim there is a quick fix — quite the opposite. As I said earlier, especially the spending cut stuff needs be way, way out there in the future. We got into this with 30 years of living beyond our means through increased debt, and it won’t get over quickly. And shut up about how the debt is almost entirely due to programs put in place by wise, leftist Democrats, just shut up about that. It was Reagan, I tell you. I was there, in DC in the eighties, and I saw that it was Reagan’s fault. I decree it, and you guys ought to just respect my advanced degree, which is from a place with “Advanced Studies” in the name, so you know it’s important.

          Increased revenue is only part of the solution, spending cuts is another part, and ultimately we’ll only get our debt to GDP ratio down to a healthy level by growing the economy. And how the economy will grow by sucking more wealth out of it to be spent by bureaucrats is a complex economic, political sciencey thing that I can’t take the time to explain right now. Though of course I understand economics just as well as I understand quantum physics, especially the non-mathy parts. For example, I know for certain that markets don’t adjust themselves, there’s no reason to believe they do.

          Relatively small tax increases on the wealthy, spending cuts (way out in the future, of course), and a growing economy are needed to, over time solve the problem. See, how hard was that? Now, as so many times before, I’ve outlined the solution, so you grunt engineer types get busy figuring out the details and growing the economy, so that we wise pragmatic big-picture leftists can continue helping our society on its march to progressive utopia.

          Do you doubt the facts I gave — comparison of revenues and spending between 2001 and 2010, how the wealthiest have grown in income while the bottom 60% haven’t kept up with inflation, that the US has the least progressive tax system, etc.? I can support those claims, which don’t you believe? And I won’t either be cherry-picking and ignoring our high capital gains tax or the fact that the top 10% of taxpayers pay 70% of income tax already. Nope, those things are irrelevant, because they don’t promote our post-modern, leftist, class-warfare agenda. I decree it.

          • “The wealthiest have benefited from tax cuts and gained most in the economic growth of the last thirty years”

            Actually the vast majority of the money from the Bush tax cuts went to those making 250k a year or under.  If you wish to talk about Fairness why not make everyone pay a minimum of say 5% of your gross no matter what your income level is.   Gee that means that 50% of the folks in the country would actualy have to pay more than 3% of the taxes.

            And Again.  IF YOU TAKE ALL The money THAT PEOPLE MAKING 250k AND UP MAKE AND SEND THEM IN AS TAX REVENUE YOU STILL WONT EVEN BALANCE THE BUDGET FOR THIS YEAR.  Our problem isnt that taxes are too low it is that SPENDING IS TOO HIGH. 

        • So – IF we raise these taxes, (and WHO are we raising them on) how much will it pay off?

          We’re not talking spending cuts here, necessary, but let’s not talk about them yet, let’s just talk taxes. Let’s pretend we can just continue the spending spree for the duration of your demonstrating you understand the amount of revenue from the raised taxes matched against the costs of government as it is today.

          2 simple questions, go ahead, I’ll wait.

          • Part of it is to get political agreement — you won’t get spending cuts if you don’t raise taxes, and it’s unlikely the GOP will come back in a stronger position after the 2012 election.  You cut spending, raise taxes and then grow your way to a better debt to GDP ratio.  That’ll take awhile, but all parts of it matter.   Again, our revenues have gone from 19% of GDP to 15 % of GDP, while spending has gone from 19% of GDP to 24% of GDP.  There is no quick fix, but over time we can turn this around (debt levels are bad, but not disastrous — Japan is at 200% of GDP for instance, almost 3 times our debt to GDP ratio).

          • If the taxes are a small part – and spending is the big part – why the insistence on taxes.

            The answer is to stop spending, not to raise taxes.   Geeze, this is like deciding you can’t have a steak, potato and asparagus for lunch because you’re low on pepper.

            Children are the ones who demand they get everything their way, well, children and arrogant snot nosed Presidents.

          • Why can’t you get spending cuts without taxes?  Please explain the relationship.
            And, explain how raising taxes will spur growth.
            That’s how the government got to this awful fiscal mess.  Your solution is more of the same.
            “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

        • “The Democrats must follow through on cuts.  I will join you in attacking them if they don’t. ”

          Horse S*** Where have you been for the last 20 years?

    • Here – a daily does of reality under Obama – wake the frack up.

      we know we’re screwed, and the Arabs don’t love us.

    • refusing to compromise even when the facts clearly show that a small tax increase on the wealthy makes since, and can lead Democrats to agree to more cuts.


      No, it’s not a case of tax increases in exchange for spending cuts.  It’s a case of “raise the tax rates now, and later we will cut spending”. 

      And by the way, mister PhD, it’s “sense” not “since”.

      • A problem with being a fast typist, my fingers go quicker than my brain when words have similar spelling.
        I agree there must be spending cuts.  The Democrats have to agree to cuts that are certain to happen.  If they make a deal and the Democrats don’t follow through, I promise I’ll attack the Democrats for political games and dishonesty.

        • ” If they make a deal and the Democrats don’t follow through, I promise I’ll attack the Democrats for political games and dishonesty.”

          Wow, that’s persuasive – you’re gonna attack them are you?

          Well, the Republicans can take THAT to the bank, what was I thinking, they should agree to everything Odrama wants then, PDQ.

          There’s sarcasm there, see if you can find it without my marking it in the text.

          • Then negotiate connecting tax cuts to spending cuts.   As I understand it, that’s the proposal, it’s not just promises to cut later.   Tax cuts and spending cuts, pass them together!

        • If the FedGov spent the same amount of money this year as it did FY2007, there would be no need to raise the debt ceiling.
          So, why exactly is trillions of dollars per year which were not being spent 4 years ago is so necessary that the world will fall apart?

        • Again, Horse s***. Amazing how a political ‘scientist’  seems to forget Democatic reneging on spending cuts.

          I  disagree with a number of people here here, but you are a true POS. The problem with the internet (for you, anyway), as Billy Beck and others have pointed out, is that you are on record- permanently. 

          Awwww, f*** it.

          • Timactual, you are wrong.  The Democrats have kept their deals as well as Republicans.  You’re making stuff up and then throwing out an insult to try to hide the stench.

    • As I note in my blog today, which I’m certainly not pimping though you should definintely come read, the Republican House are acting like petulant children. After accidentally winning the House majority, they act like they actually have a responsibility to live up to the stuff they said in campaigns. Imagine! The nerve!

      They are demanding everything be done their way, refusing to compromise even when the facts clearly show that a small tax increase on the wealthy makes since. I mean sense. Yes, it definitely makes sense, since I’m not one of them, and neither is anyone in the faculty lounge. Yep, those wealthy are just infinite sources of more money, and anyone who doesn’t get that is a political idiot.

      If they would just consent to soaking the rich some more, they can lead Democrats to agree to more cuts. And don’t start about how the Republicans did exactly that under the first George Bush, and then got the tax increases without any of the spending cuts that were supposed to come later. It won’t happen again! And if you don’t agree, you are a petulant child. I decree it.

      John Boehner seems a bit more adult, since he’s willing to cave to Obama like any rational adult would do. But he’s like a dad driving a station wagon yelling at the kids to behave. When mom (Cantor) takes the kids’ side, the father is condemned to impotently drive with his family out of control. Not that I’ve ever been in that exact situation because my Russian wife runs the show in our house. Stop saying that.

      Yep, those tea party backed Republicans are just out of control. They actually think they have some kind of authority to influence the budget! How ridiculous! It’s like they think they have some kind of authority from the Constitution or something!

      The Republicans are imploding, and Obama and the Democrats must be pretty happy to see this happening on the eve of an election year. Yep, imploding. That’s the ticket. I’m sure the Republicans are in trouble, and don’t you dare start up about how I was so far off in predicting the election in 2010 that no one with brains would pay a lick of attention to me when I predict election results. I’m a political scientist with an advanced degree (have I ever mentioned that?), so naturally I have godlike powers of political science that allow me to predict elections. Obama is almost certain to be re-elected. Obama is already favored, (don’t start up about those polls showing him losing to a generic Republican) and the Republicans are at risk now of losing the House if they can’t behave like adults. Yep, if they don’t give in to Obama of the christlike visage, and do the wise thing and let the left run the show in this economic crisis, they are being immature and will be defeated next year. I decree that too, so don’t start up with any of those stupid charts and graphs about looming economic catastrophe. If we just let Obama use his super powers to lead us out of this mess, it will all turn out great. Stop laughing.

      Not raising the debt ceiling would lead to economic disaster. No rational person who understands basic economic can deny that. So therefore, the Republicans should give into to Obama to get it done. And that’s not either a total abuse of logical reasoning because there are lots of ways to raise the debt ceiling that don’t involve new taxes. Nope. It’s wise, moderate, pragmatic, post-modern political analysis. Definitely not just a self-serving argument to bash Republicans. Nope.

      Obama will find a way to avoid it, even if he has to use the 14th amendment. So shut up about how even leftist lawyers have told the Obama administration that the 14th doesn’t mean anything like what Geitner said, or that Geitner himself repudiated that interpretation. Just don’t start. We wise post-modern political academics know that the Constitution is a living document and therefore means at any particular point in time exactly what we need it to mean at that point in time, even if it supposedly contradicts what we wanted it to mean at some other time. It all makes sense if you understood post-modernism and have an advanced degree, which of course you sterile, inbred, Goebbels-like dense righties do not.

      Meanwhile, the Republicans overstretch, living in clear denial of reality. Namely the reality that we wise and smart leftists need more money to do the wonderful things we do. Note this: In 2001, revenues were at 19.5 percent of gross domestic product and spending was at 18.6 percent of GDP. That was our surplus. In 2010, revenues were at 14.9 percent of GDP while spending was at 23.9 percent. That’s our deficit: Revenues are down and spending is up. So therefore we clearly need to raise revenues, and don’t start up with how revenues are down because the federal government has screwed the economy up beyond all recognition by going into debt via high spending. We just need more money, and those rich people have it, and therefore we ought to take it. How much simpler could it be?

      Now let me spin some meaningless, unverifiable statistics for which I don’t either have to give you links that prove that soaking the rich is the right thing to do. {Insert a few hundred words of poorly done statistical assertions here. Don’t forget to compare us to those wise Europeans, who we definitely ought to be a lot more like. Also assert that we just are not progressive and so we totally let the rich off the hook, even if the statistics don’t support it, and make sure that the stuff about having one of the highest capital gains taxes in the world is left out because that does not fit the narrative. Don’t bring up how the top ten percent pay the vast majority of income taxes either – that would definitely look bad for the whole class warfare thing.}

      It’s time for the Republicans in the House to grow up and act like adults. Which clearly means letting the other side get pretty much everything they want. See, if you don’t support letting we wise, compassionate leftists win, you are an immature, selfish shill for rich people.

    • “the facts clearly show that a small tax increase on the wealthy makes since”

      Actually, no, it doesn’t make since. It doesn’t make sense, either.

      Ah, to heck with it, this is boring.

      1.
      trolling
      4083 up, 552 down

       

      Being a prick on the internet because you can.

      1.
      trolling
      4083 up, 552 down

       

      Being a prick on the internet because you can.

      1.
      trolling
      4083 up, 552 down

       

      Being a prick on the internet because you can.

      From ‘Urbandictionary.com’;
      “ Trolling;
          Being a prick on the internet because you can…”

      You are not amusing, coherent, or correct. The lack of effort shows, also. A new personal best for being a waste of time and boring.

      • Uh, sorry about the repetition. Using a strange computer.

        • I have posted a number of acts, and linked to stats.   You just post insults.  Why?  The facts are against you, and so you try to make a lot of noise to prevent people from actually seeing reality.  I see right through you, tiimactual, you engage in “the big lie” — anything to promote your ideological whim, even if it means denying reality.  It’s not going to work.

          • “Why?”

            I, and others, have already answered that question. Repeatedly.

    • … even if he has to use the 14th amendment.

      Oh, Please. Who is acting like a petulant child ?
      Even “Turbo Timmy” has ruled out that ridiculous interpretation of the 14th amendment.

  • While I believe that this temper tantrum is mostly Captain Bullsh*t being who he is, I suggest that there is also a large degree of political theatre in his dramatic walkout.  We’ve seen some stories in MiniTru lately to the effect that his base isn’t too happy with their messiah because he hasn’t gone far enough in turning the USA into the worker’s paradise that they want.  They’re disappointed; the blinders are coming off, and they are seeing and ADMITTING that the emperor has no clothes.  Oh, the idiots will never vote for a Republican, but they MIGHT stay home if they don’t see much point in voting for (in their puny minds) Bush v2.0.  His poll numbers generally aren’t good; he must have an energized base come next November if he wants to keep eating wagyu, playing golf, and traveling on the biggest private jet in the world on the public’s dime.  How can he get the troops whipped up?  Staging a fight.  Showing “guts”.  “Yeah, yeah!  Barack showed ‘em!  He showed those tea baggers that they can’t push him around!  They want tax breaks for the rich, but he stood up to ‘em!”

    The key here is MiniTru: can they do for him what they did for Slick Willie in the ’90s?  Can they con the American people in to believing that we can avoid a crisis ONLY by following Obama?  They are certainly trying, and it seems that Captain Bullsh*t is betting that they’ll pull it off.

    We shall see.

    • The Dems can also screw up the narrative easily. Now we have alternative media…say there’s a shot of Obama looking high as a kite at his birthday party after not getting a deal and stopping ss checks…that will be enough….or maybe an ill advised round of golf, etc.

  • So Erb surfaces for a moment to scold us into thinking that the president is serious about any spending cuts he is proposing and that he, Erb, will “I’ll attack the Democrats for political games and dishonesty” if they do not follow through.

    Pardon me if I do not follow you off that cliff, Erb!  Obama has increased the deficit by approximately $1.5 Trillion every year he has been in office, even though he promosed he would go through the budget and cut out any dead wood as a campaign promise.  you want to show me any curtting he has done except some Defense programs?

    Take a look at the last 6 times the debt ceiling has been raided.  Except for the last time ($1.9 Trillion) the ceiling has been raised less that $900 Billion each time and once as low as $200 billion.  Did you happen to Notice any tax increases that accompanied those debt increases?  So, why all of a sudden are taxes such a huge deal?  And why all of a sudden does the President insist upon a $4+ Trillion deal?  Politics, pure and simple!  He does not want this issue staring him in the face again before the 2012 elections!  Even though it is an issue he himslef promulgated, he does not want it to be on the table for the next election.  he wants to demagogue it to death, using scare tactics like withholding SS checks, etc.

    And now you want us to accept his deal and all you offer us is a promise from you to call him and the democrats out on it when they renege.  (Notice I said when not if!)

    Again, Pardon me if I do not follow you off that cliff, Erb!

    Now you can go an collect your 30 pieces of silver from your Democratic masters for shilling for them one more time!!!

    • Oh, we can have complete confidence that Obama will cut spending. Erb himself assured us he would right after Obama took office:

      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.

      It amazes me that this professor of political science can be so consistently wrong about stuff like this, and *still* come back and pompously lecture us on how we ought to trust Obama to do the right thing, and how the Republicans ought to stake the future of this nation on such lefty wishful thinking. The schmuck.

      • Would now be a good time to get him to admit he was wrong, or should we wait.
         

      • Um, Billy, Obama probably has over six years.  It’s too early to proclaim you’re right.  Also, don’t forget who started the debt run up.  From 1981 to 1990 the US debt to GDP ratio went from 30% to 60%, even as oil prices plummeted, helping the economy.  The 80s were an illusory prosperity built on debt.  The bad decisions made in the early eighties have led us to 30 years of fiscal and economic mismanagement, leaving us a far weaker country than before.  Those problems are real, bipartisan in their creation, and requiring grown up bipartisan compromises to fix.   You can pompously sneer as you read like minded blogs and cushion yourself in a partisan world where everything is looked through your particular shade of right-libertarian glasses.  That’s easy, people on the left do that too.  Cling to your ideology, “us good, the other side bad” ridicule and dismiss those who don’t share your belief in the proper ideology.   But it’s weak, irrational and self-destructive thinking.  Luckily, that kind of thinking isn’t as common in the generation coming up; I have confidence that they might fix the problems our generation created.

        • I am perfectly content to let anyone reading these comments decide who is clinging to ideology.

          I’m guessing almost everyone will choose the professor of political science who was so ludicrously far off in predicting the 2010 elections that he ought to be embarassed about ever making political prognostications again.

          • The fact that he predicts Obama’s reelection gives me comfort that Barry will lose in a landslide.

          • I suppose if you go by your like minded comment makers in this blog, Billy, they’ll agree with you.  But that’s my point — you’re suffering from intellectual inbred behavior.   In the real world, you’d have a lot less luck — people would see who is posting facts, making a fair argument, holding both sides accountable, and arguing for our decision makers to act like adults, make tough choices and stop playing games.   So I suggest you stay in your corner of the blogosphere.  It’s safer for you, you can hold on to your beliefs without being challenged (and if challenged, you can rely on flamemeisters to respond, and you can feel self-righteous in thinking that those who disagree with you are inherently bad).   By the way, funny how you cite the 2010 elections (I wasn’t far off close to the elections, only back in March 2010 — and I was far closer to the mark in the 2008 and 2006 elections than many of you were).  But that’s really not relevant to the issue at hand.  You’re just looking for excuses not to face up to the facts.   Oh well, you’re not doing any harm in your blog, but you would do much better for yourself if you would get out and actually engage opinions other than your own.

          • ” but you would do much better for yourself if you would get out and actually engage opinions other than your own.”

            Prozac? Lithium?

          • “intellectual inbred behavior”
            Can anyone name a group any more intellectually inbred than political “science” academics?  At least those from the Ivy League occasionally get some air time on NPR.  Droning on and on in obscurity from a remote frozen outpost is just about the most sheltered position from which to be lecturing others.
            It’s funny to read Ott Scerb lampoon this guy. But when the real guy writes these absurdities in all seriousness, I almost get the feeling that he’s being paid by Scerb.
            As predicted, Scott’s is exploiting his pre-election approach of making multiple, varied predictions to now claim that his pre-election predictions were fairly accurate.
            Since he’s now repeatedly predicting an Obama reelection in a transparently partisan effort to cheerlead his team to come from behind, I’m betting that he’ll hedge once or twice before November 2012, enough that he can claim that he predicted Obama’s loss due to economic problems.
            Note to Ott Scerb: add a few lines to the routine to include the “not hurting anyone” line.  He’s been tossing that one out for over a decade, despite it never gaining any traction.  The implication, of course, is that there are people who express opinions elsewhere who actually do damage, though I’ve never seen him attempt to make that case with any concrete examples.

        • Obama probably has over six years…

          So in July 2017, Obama will still be in office?  You predicting a repeal of the 22nd amendment or a slide into dictatorship after the economic collapse?  You looking at Hugo Chavez for your model?

          Cling to your ideology, ‘us good, the other side bad’ ridicule and dismiss those who don’t share your belief in the proper ideology.   But it’s weak, irrational and self-destructive thinking.  Luckily, that kind of thinking isn’t as common in the generation coming up; I have confidence that they might fix the problems our generation created.

          Can you provide any quantitative data to substantiate your claim that “the generation coming up” have radically different critical thinking skills?  As a titular educator, you display a strong aversion to individualism, critical thinking, and honesty.  If the other educators of “our generation” are even 10% as rotten as you, there’s no chance that the upcoming generations will have sufficient numbers of individuals with the skills to make the radical changes to undo the damage wrought by politicians who pursue those ruinous policies you defend.  But you don’t want them to challenge the system, to question the status quo, now that “the man” is you.

    • Again, Boehner and Cantor can negotiate a direct connection between spending cuts and tax increases.   I reject your claim that it has to be promises for later cuts.

      • “I reject your claim that it has to be promises for later cuts.”

        Does anybody here give a sh*t what you reject?!?  Show me the Democrat’s version of the budget from which they will take the cuts?  And if you can’t show me the “budget” from which the cuts will come then by definition it has to be a promise for later cuts.

        • The media gives the pass after pass. No one knows what the Dems really are promising.
          I would assume its completely a bad deal, when Biden is offering to cut 2 billion in 2012.

        • Don’t be evasive.  I’m saying this has to be part of what is negotiated.  You’re saying the budget doesn’t exist yet.  Well neither do the tax increases.   You negotiate to have them assured to be together.  I think you know the Democrats will follow through, you’re just looking for a flimsy excuse to hold on to your ideological extremism.   Unfortunately your kind of thinking has already severely harmed the country.  The Iraq war, deregulation of the financial sector and the (admittedly bi-partisan) borrow and spend mentality that started with fervor in the early eighties have made us already a declining power.   Unless people can pull their head out of the ideological a$$e$, we’ll simply continue down this path – a former power declining rapidly.

      • That brings to mind Adam Savage of “Mythbusters”: “I reject your reality and substitute my own.
        When politicians claim to cut spending, it’s always back-loaded, so that 2% are for now and 90% are for 10 years down the road, before which everyone will forget about that plan.
        While I fully expect Republicans to either cave or to pull the back-loaded smoke and mirrors gimmick, as they always do, if they had any cajones they would quit meeting with the Democrats behind closed doors, adopt a detailed budget in the House involving massive cuts today, and then tell the Senate and POTUS they can accept it or publicly offer a detailed alternative.  Again, I don’t expect anything of the sort.

        • Biden wants to cut 2 Trillion in 2012!
          Oh wait, its actually 2 billion.

          LOL.

        • Elliot - [I]f [the GOP] had any cajones they would quit meeting with the Democrats behind closed doors, adopt a detailed budget in the House involving massive cuts today, and then tell the Senate and POTUS they can accept it or publicly offer a detailed alternative.  Again, I don’t expect anything of the sort.

          Absolutely.  I think, though, that both sides want the “behind closed doors” approach.  First of all, it allows both sides to more freely spin what goes on as there are fewer witnesses.  Second, it keeps things more tidy and prevents some clamor and grandstanding.  It’s also a good way to keep the real idiots out (though that begs the question of why SanFran Nan and Sheriff Joe are in the room).  Finally, it flatters the egos of those involved: “It all rests with ME.  I’m in the know, I’m the big kahuna, I’ve got the authori-TAI, I’m the one that will be on the Sunday morning shows.  It’s… it’s… it’s like being the popular kid in high school all over again!”

          As for the dems offering a “detailed alternative”, forget about it.  Dingy Harry has made it pretty damned clear that he’s not about to do that (and why should he; it’s much easier to blow through other people’s money when you haven’t even got to submit a plan for how you intend to blow it), and MiniTru isn’t about to hold him or his gang accountable for their failure to do so.  Indeed, the failure is treated almost as a virtue: he’s arranged things so that we keep on spending and spending and spending without those nasty ol’ tea baggers being able to stop it by (gasp!) REFUSING to pass a budget.

      • Again, Boehner and Cantor can negotiate a direct connection between spending cuts and tax increases. I reject your claim that it has to be promises for later cuts

        >>> NUH-UH.

        Seen that game before also.  The tax increases sail through, while the usual assortment of groups litigate the spending cuts out of existence or into irrelevance.

        No thanks.

        • You do realize, don’t you, that your unwillingness to be snookered for the umpteenth time by Democratic promises of spending cuts means you are petulant?

          Well, I say, if this be petulance, let us make the most of it!

        • Yeah.  Just look at what prompted Obama to leave the negotiations … Cantor asking why the cuts kept getting smaller with each passing meeting.  Clearly, Obama has lost control of the Democratic caucus and has to make concession after concession to his own party’s caucus.  Meanwhile, Reid who is on the other end of the caucus, is bashing Cantor.  Reid can’t even control his own Senate caucus.  He knows Cantor hit “pay dirt” with those questions on why the number kept getting smaller .. it’s because the President is getting smaller and Reid can’t help either.  What a weak party leader Obama has become.

        • I don’t believe you’ve seen that before.  I think you’re making this up.  I think your claim about the Democrats not following through is pure BS, designed to allow you to avoid dealing with reality.

          • “I think your claim about the Democrats not following through is pure BS, designed to allow you to avoid dealing with reality.”

            And you sir do not remember your own history.  Reagan negotiated a similar package associated with his taxes that would include $3 cut from spending for every $1 increase in any taxes.  The spending increases sure came through but He never saw the spending cuts. 

            You sir are the one not dealing with reality.  upon what premise do you maintain the Democrats will follow through?  Honor?  Don’t make me laugh – you can’t spell the word!  Credibility?  Like your own credibility here on this blog – nonexistent! 

            Tell you what, let’s let the elections sort it out.  For real.  Lets put together a short term debt increase that will last only until just before the next election and let the voters decide the outcome.  If the populace wants to spend itself into irrelevancy, then so be it – but let the voters decide!

          • Scott Just becuase you think it and want to believe it doesnt make it so.

            It should be easy enough to find SOME evidence backing up your assertation that he is a liar.

  • Excellent question from Allahpundit:

    If default would be a catastrophe, why is Obama opposed to a short-term deal that would avert it?


    http://hotair.com/archives/2011/07/14/if-default-would-be-a-catastrophe-why-is-obama-opposed-to-a-short-term-deal-that-would-avert-it/

    • Silly, the default isn’t a catastrophe – I have zero doubt he’d default if he reasonably thought he could lay it at the feet of the GOP and skate – but him not getting re-elected?  Now THAT would be the catastrophe.

      • Bingo! This MF’er will have the largest neon arrow sign in existence mounted high and pointing to his grave when he moves on. I’d bet it’s been in the will from the beginning.

  • Isn’t it also interesting Obama said:

    “Eric, don’t call my bluff”

    He’s basically admitting that Eric has a stronger hand then he does, otherwise he’d have said something like “Eric, don’t call my hand”. But no, he made a psychological slip as if to say “Eric, I’ve got a pair of Queens here and I’m pretty sure you’re sitting on three Aces. The only way I’m going to win is to go all-in and then flip the table over when you call me and hope security doesn’t kick me out of the casino”.

    • I know, the ‘genius’ of Obama, Mr. Constitutional law Havahd graduate – priceless – “don’t call my bluff”.

      That’s exactly what you do when you know someone is bluffing.

  • Don’t really matter, this is all going to come apart like the Hindenburg if they keep pounding on Operation Gun Runner.

    That will lead to the Oval Office (if they don’t just let it go).

    • I have full faith and confidence in the Republicans to let the investigation into Gunwalker / Fast & Furious peter out without anyone above Melson being held accountable.  I realize that the allegations of whistleblowers paint the picture of bureaucrats intentionally organizing an operation to send weapons into the hands of Mexican death squads in a cynical ploy to inflate statistics as a pretext for pushing gun control.  But I also remember a number of discussions during Clinton’s reign, from Vince Foster and Branch Davidians to allegations of smuggling from Mena, in which opponents predicted these scandals would bring down the president.  Some of these (like Mena) were baseless.  But in other cases, Republicans in Congress made some noise, but were ultimately gutless in pursuing anything more serious than perjury.
      Presidential administrations learned many lessons from Nixon about not creating evidence which could be subpoenaed, creating plausible deniability, keeping the inner circle loyal, and handling crises politically to intimidate the other party by painting them as witch hunters.
      Unless Republicans get solid evidence dropped in their laps, there’s a good chance they’ll balk at pursuing an investigation, for fear of getting political egg on their faces.
      Besides, political office holders are loathe to rock the boat too much.  It’s one thing to bump someone off the railing for a sex scandal, quite another to risk having voters see the government as thoroughly corrupt, rotten enough to cause the deaths of law enforcement in the US and Mexico in a clandestine operation straight out of a Hollywood thriller.

      • “straight out of a Hollywood thriller.”

        I know, just in case we were wondering where Obama/Holder/Napolitano were getting their plans.

  • Gee, Elliot, you fixate on election predictions and broad attacks on academia, but you totally avoid the substance — data on tax rates, changes in income, budgets, etc.  In other words, reality and the facts are inconvenient, so you prefer to distract and call names.
    And SShiell the claim that you can’t make a deal with the Democrats is because over 30 years ago you allege the Democrats didn’t follow through on a deal?   First, you have to back up your claim — what was the deal, and who prevented it from taking place (if that did indeed happen).   I doubt its as you say, and the fact you have to go back over 30 years to try to find an example actually weakens your position immensely.
    Moreover, none of that addresses my point – they can negotiate that to couple the cuts and tax increases.  You don’t give any reason why they can’t — you have your narrative and you don’t want to veer from it, regardless of the facts.
    That’s ultimately why the Republicans are failing politically.   You’re caught up in a kind of ideological narrative that defines the other side as the total cause of the problem, embrace a simplistic kind of ‘market good, government bad’ mentality that does not stand up under scrutiny (seriously, Ayn Rand has been utterly refuted), ignore economic reality to pretend that raising the debt ceiling won’t cause problems, and are caught up in a weird kind of mutually reinforcing alternate reality.   To defend your other-world, you simply launch personal attacks (whether against people who post her or liberal pundits and democrats) to make it appear any view other than yours is idiotic, contradictory and even evil.  You’ve become a caricature of real political discourse.
    It gets absurd when people say things like “if it’s so bad, why doesn’t Obama just give in.”  Well duh.  The GOP hold the House, the Democrats have the Presidency and Senate.   They can’t let the Republicans take the economy hostage and demand everything be done their way.  Moreover, they know that big money – corporations, banks and others that support the GOP — are going to put tremendous pressure on the Republicans to do the only sane thing and raise the debt ceiling.  Not to do so would cost the money behind the GOP billions of dollars.  So Obama knows that he has the facts on his side, and politically he’s got the winning hand.
    But hey, if it makes you feel good that 2010 went your way, keep relishing that…you know, the way the Democrats enjoyed 2006 and 2008…what comes around goes around, again and again…

    • You got a problem with history Erb, then shove it up your ass!!!  You claim the democrats are good for their word – you own that statement!  Where have the Dcmocrats reneged in the recent past?  How about transparency?  Publishing a bill for 5 days prior to signing – as promised by Obama.  Show me the last time that one was fulfilled.  And that one was a minor one.  Well where I grew up if you can’t trust someone on the minor issues you sure as hell can’t trust them on the big ones!  You want a big one?  Where is the Senate Budget?  For 2+ years now the Democrat controlled Senate has refused to publish a budget – in fact the Senate Budget committee has not even met in session so far this year!!!  That one is not just a biggie, it is a violation of the law!!!  Big enough for you, asshole? 

      And you just sit back and say – “Oh just trust the Democrats, their word is good and I will swear by it.”  And when challenged your response is “I think you’re making this up. I think your claim about the Democrats not following through is pure BS, designed to allow you to avoid dealing with reality.“  Once again I ask you “Upon what premise do you maintain the Democrats will follow through?”

      As I understand it we will find out where the rubber meets the road.  House Republicans are proposing to vote on a bill Tuesday which would give Obama the increase in the debt celing he wants ONLY IF there is a Balance Budget Amendment to the Constitution. 

      Will the Democrats in the Senate pass the bill?  And if so will Will Obama veto the bill?

      Now lets see who blinks!

    • “First, you have to back up your claim — what was the deal, and who prevented it from taking place (if that did indeed happen).”

      You and Obama are much alike, you have absolutely no knowledge of American History.  Just to present you with some facts, and to do what you yourself do not do – here’s the back up.  The bill in question was the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982.  And just so you gan go look it up here’s a citation for you to peruse:
      http://pithocrates.com/tag/democrats-are-liars/

      Now if you still have a problem with history, my previous instruction for you to “shove it up your ass” still holds.

      • Your site asserts that they promised spending cuts.  Who promised them?  What kind of cuts did they promise?  You’re offering no real evidence here, just an assertion that 30 years ago “they” (that’s all the post you linked said) promised “cuts.”   Who?  What?  That’s quite vague.  Here we have a real negotiation where specific cuts can be agreed to in advance.  History does not seem at all to be on your side here as you thought.   So I suggest you apply your suggestion to yourself.  It seems to be your style.

        • You asked for a citation and i gave you one.  If you do not know your history then that is your problem.  And as far as style is concerned, you can go back to your Democratic Masters and collect your 30 pieces of silver.  A Shill for Obama and the Democrats is the only style guide you seem to follow.

          • No, I asked for a citation that backs up your claims.  Yours does not do so.   You claimed the Democrats don’t follow agreements.  You haven’t shown any time they haven’t — and your only lame attempt to do so (which had no evidence supporting your claim) was 30 years ago.  I have to conclude that no evidence exists to support your claim.
            You also don’t respond to how they can today negotiate coupling tax increases with spending cuts.  Yeah, you can strut and preen and in a blog friendly to you, you can avoid being man enough to admit you were wrong and made a claim you can’t back up.  But I see through you.

    • Where are the cuts he promised in 2009?  2010?  Where’s the control on spending that you yourself proclaimed he’d have to take?

      I saw someone else point out Obama’s promises are like those you get from your brother that you can have his allowance forever tomorrow if you’ll let him have your ice cream today.

      No point really, you’re an apparatchik.  You’re a degreed version of the woman who proclaimed she wouldn’t have to worry about her rent and gas because Obama was going to be President.

    • Gee, Elliot, you fixate on election predictions and broad attacks on academia…

      Oh dear, now it’s a “fixation”.
      And yet, you’re the one who keeps making predictions about upcoming elections.  In the very comment in which you accuse me of being fixated on election predictions, you close with yet another prediction.
      Is “Ott Scerb” paying you?
      Also, you’re the only one bringing in the Russian Radical, making the usual claims that she has been refuted without specifying which of her ideas were refuted and by whom.  But bringing her up when nobody else was discussing her, much less citing her as an authority, is both a straw man and a red herring (a straw herring!).
      If you want to have a grownup discussion about economics, how about contrasting Hayek and Keynes (beyond the level of the humorous viral videos)?  Want to discuss the ethics of the free market, how about you offer refutations of Ludwig von Mises. Much of his work is available on-line at mises.org, so you can provide arguments with direct links to the original (as opposed to waving your hands and claiming that someone, somewhere once refuted it).  Want to tackle the “government is evil” thesis?  How about you take on Murray Rothbard?
      It’s rather shallow and ignorant to focus on that woman who was mostly attacked for her personality and the dregs of her “cult” followers, when any good book store, library, or amazon.com has plenty of nonfiction books on the topics.  Somehow, I doubt you’ve read much of these others. You seem so insulated and simple-minded when you discuss ethics and economic policies.

      • Hayek and Keynes actually had some conversations and Hayek recognized that Keynes did not believe in a lot of the stuff that people called Keynesian were saying.   I like Hayek and to a lesser extent Mises.   However, I’m not one to choose a side and simply believe and support the people of “my” side and dismiss the others.  I see positive contributions in economists left and right, and I’ve not found anyone who I think really has the whole picture.  Rothbard as a thinker is far beneath both Hayek and Mises.
        The problem with economic theory like Rothbard is that it is just theory.  Theories are inherently over simplified interpretations of reality designed to allow people to make sense of a complex world.  When you study social science you learn quickly that ALL theories end up having holes because so much has to get simplified in order to create a parsimonious theory.   In the case of economic libertarians, they ignore how in the political and social realm power relations create the capacity for people to undercut any “spontaneous order” that might arise, and rig the games in their favor.  That’s why, as Mark Martinez notes, markets need the state — you need rule of law and regulation for markets to function.  Economic theory operates with “all other things being equal,” and they never are — that’s why we’ve never had a stable libertarian system, that’s why when governments break down organized criminal gangs and chaos emerge.   Markets are good, but they aren’t magic.  The danger comes when people put a kind of religious faith in a theory or philosophy – reality defies any ideology.
        Ironically, Adam Smith understood that.  As a moral philosopher he realized that capitalism required a kind of ethical code among capitalists.  He only used the “hidden hand” metaphor once, and did not claim it would yield perfect outcomes absent a social order.   I think libertarians often really misunderstand Smith (who, by the way, was Karl Marx’s favorite economist — Marx said he wanted to figure out a system where Smith’s economic theory would actually work.  Marx was wrong of course — he also put ideology on a pedestial and made massive mistakes — but his vision was a truly libertarian society where the state would wither away and Adam Smith’s economic theory would actually function.

        • I see positive contributions in economists left and right, and I’ve not found anyone who I think really has the whole picture.

          Left and right? That’s an archaic reference to the French Revolution, the use of which makes any comparison simple-minded, if not completely detached from reality.  If Republicans are “right” then the economists I listed have no place on that one-dimensional continuum.  Principled libertarians and anarcho-capitalists are not “right” (and, most certainly never “left”).  If anything, some Republicans borrow from the free market advocates, when they’re not ranting about gays, Muslims, immigrants, atheists, or drugs.  But that’s not the fault of the people who are being poorly and selectively emulated.
          Another glaring problem is the premises underlying the “whole picture” crack.  I’ve corrected you before, but apparently you’re incapable of deviating from the script.  Freedom isn’t a system with which to rule others, a blueprint for society.  It’s the anti-system.  Only central planners who arrogantly think they know better how to run the lives of other people see the need for a “whole picture” type solution.

          The problem with economic theory like Rothbard is that it is just theory.

          You sound like the creationists who dub evolution “just theory”.  What you continuously gloss over when discussing economics is the ethics.  You make pragmatic arguments (which are generally inaccurate, in and of themselves) but consign to the whim of mobs or bureaucrats the question of whether the product of a person’s efforts and creativity can justly be taken by force.  When you do address such considerations of right and wrong, you end up sneering that people who stand for freedom and morality are powerless to change the government.

          In the case of economic libertarians, they ignore how in the political and social realm power relations create the capacity for people to undercut any “spontaneous order” that might arise, and rig the games in their favor.

          No, they don’t.  That’s a flat out lie.  Also, economic transactions are not a game, though people like you like to portray success as winning a game of chance, dismissing the effort and creativity behind the success.  Economics is about human beings applying reason to the problem of survival and forming mutual, consensual arrangements to make solving such problems easier.
          Using force or fraud to gain advantage violates the libertarian non-aggression policy.  Not only do libertarians address this, they also demonstrate how this applies to government, as well as to thugs and con artists in the private sector.
          If anything, the problem is that people like you ignore how government is all about this very problem.  What could be more exemplary of corrupt “power relations” than to forcibly take what others produce so that central planning bureaucrats can create government jobs or hand out free cheese, taking credit for spending other peoples’ money?  That’s worse than what mafias, drug cartels, and Madoff’s do.  At least those criminals don’t claim to act in my name.

          [Marx's] vision was a truly libertarian society where the state would wither away and Adam Smith’s economic theory would actually function.

          It’s so nice of you to feed Ott Scerb such great material.
          Socialism is the opposite of freedom, thus completely opposed to libertarianism.
          If you want a political spectrum which has some use, try the collectivist-individualist metric.  Socialism and libertarianism are at opposite ends.  (And, that’s not a false continuum like left/right where Hitler and Stalin are virtually identical.  The ends of that line don’t ever curve in on themselves.)

          • I’m trying to see if there is an argument in your post.   First, economic theory is far less verified and sophisticated than scientific theories like evolution.  But even biologists note how evolution theory has changed over the years (dramatically so) and probably still will be altered as new evidence is gathered.  Social science theory is far more an over simplified interpretation of reality and as such anyone grabbing onto such a theory or philosophy as akin to a religion is making a serious error.
            Using force or fraud to gain advantage permeates all of social relations, and absent a state with a good regulatory scheme, the only way that won’t destroy markets is if you have a system where people all agree to live in accord with certain ethics that prevent them from using those advantages.   That’s the approach behind communitarian-libertarian thinking (which is also skeptical of governmental power).
            I am not a fan of big government — in fact, I see the bureaucratic state that now defines government has probably not lasting the next century, giving way to more localized forms of governance.   Governments are no more the problem than big corporations and big money (and in most countries world wide governments actually have less power than non-governmental actors in their states).   Physical force is only the most crude, the most visible and the most easy to recognize and act against form of power.  Economic force, structural power (which has the most impact but often is the least visible) are just as real.  Reality is messy — I understand the desire to have a nice, simple straight forward way to determine ethics and politics.  It gives one a sense of certitude, self-righteousness even, and maybe a belief one sees a clear reality that somehow others miss or are deluded from.  That is a very seductive path.  Unfortunately, it is a path in denial of reality and rationality.

          • Evolution as a whole was a poor choice to make the analogy I was attempting.
            A more apt analogy would be the development of the eye through evolution, the crane vs. sky hook comparison. Creationists assert that the eye is too complex to occur spontaneously via evolution.  However, biologists point out that there are species with very simple eyes, even species with eyespots (photosensitive structures which lack any ability to recognize shape).  Thus the comparison is between a gradual building (as with a crane) vs. an instantaneous miracle (as with a sky hook).
            Similarly, by your argument that anarcho-capitalism is “just theory”, you essentially demand that a lack of aggressive force in a society (i.e., no government, no crime) must arise spontaneously from chaos to a condition of sustainable order.  You disregard what’s in between the extremes, as well as the day to day interactions between peaceable individuals who don’t need laws or regulations to force them to respect the rights of others.  They do the right thing because they were raised by parents who taught them to do so.  None of that requires elections or bureaucrats or fancy paper with flowery language.
            What you call “just theory” is merely the universal application of principles which decent people integrate in their lives each and every day, without needing your guidance or approval.

          • Using force or fraud to gain advantage permeates all of social relations…

            When do you use force or fraud to gain advantage over others?  You already admitted to the pizza thing.  Where else?
            The absence of aggressive force or fraud means the absence of crime.  It also means the absence of government—anarchy.  You can’t have a government without resorting to aggressive force, the very thing which also makes a criminal a criminal.
            In a truly just world, Obama, Pelosi, Bush, Boehner, and the whole lot of them would be sitting in a prison cell next to Bernie Madoff, after TARP, Porkulus, etc., which amount to theft on the scale of trillions.  That’s not even mentioning wars.

            …absent a state with a good regulatory scheme, the only way that won’t destroy markets is if you have a system where people all agree to live in accord with certain ethics that prevent them from using those advantages [gained through force or fraud].

            I don’t disagree with that statement.  The corollary is that people who live in accord with such ethics must violate those ethics to create a government.  Unfortunately, human beings can often be frightened into subverting ethical principles with the mistaken belief that by doing so, they will be safer.

          • I am not a fan of big government…

            You’ve said that for years, but every chance you get, you’re cheerleading Democrats, FEDERAL Health Care mandates, FEDERAL environmental mandates, etc..
            Your voting record belies your claims.
            You’re just a disingenuous fraud.  You pretend to be something you’re not.

  • Oh, and consider this story:  http://money.cnn.com/2011/07/14/news/economy/debt_ceiling_taxes/index.htm
    I suspect Republican control of the House is in danger!

    • Wanna Bet!!!!

      But then again, you have made bets here on this bolog before and what happened?

      You Welched!!!

      • You won’t pin him down or get him to take responsibility for what he’s written in the past.
        It’s why he was being called Jello by Billy Beck and others on Usenet back in the 90s.  I was reminded of that when Boehner said that negotiating with Obama was “like dealing with Jell-o”.

        • Billy Beck said that because I essentially destroyed his weird anarchist world view and he couldn’t accept the fact he might be wrong, or that there was an argument he couldn’t defeat.   True believers (and especially adherents of the utterly refuted Ayn Rand) have particular ways they try to steer the argument to avoid admitting weakness.   They label, try to posit dichotomies, and structure the argument in their favor.  I refused to do that with Beck, I deconstructed his world view and showed it to be wrong.  When I wouldn’t play his game (follow his effort to rig the argument in his favor), he had a choice.  He could use logic and still develop the argument (which would have led to a conclusion he would not have liked) or he could wimp out, call the other person “jello” and cling to his weird anarchist world view.   He of course did the latter.   When someone is losing an argument and really thinks they shouldn’t, it’s common for them to say the other person is slippery.  Otherwise, they have to recognize they might be wrong!

          • “Billy Beck said that because…”

            No, he said it because it is true. Just like the rest of us.  

          • Billy Beck said that because I essentially destroyed his weird anarchist world view…

            Yes, and you’re on the top of the list for the Nobel Prize.  *pat pat*
            Everyone who witnessed that or your exchanges on this website knows the truth and you only enforce your reputation as a dishonest propagandist to claim absolute victory over a man twice as smart and ten times as knowledgeable as you.
            And, once again, you mention Rand without any cause.  Nobody involved now or in those past discussions was a “true believer”.  I can only guess that you falsely assume that you can push buttons by denigrating her, but you’re wasting your time.
            Billy Beck criticizes Rand for, among other things, her rejection of anarchy.
            Would you like to have a little contest?  I’ll bet I can find more arguments by ancaps and libertarians against particular ideas of Ayn Rand than you can find from people of your political ilk.  If, as you monotonously drone on and on in your mantra, she was “refuted” it should be very simple for you to give such details.  If, on the other hand, you offer nothing, then it’s obvious that you’re just bluffing.
            So, you up to it?

      • When?  Be specific, please, and I will address them.  I am pretty sure you’re wrong.

        • “When?  Be specific, please, and I will address them.”

          LOL.
          Deja vu. This is Erp’s exit line. Like any other spineless squid, a squirt of ink and then goodbye.

        • Previously, on at least two occasions you swore you were leaving this site never to return.  And the last one I personnally know about was your own boast the Democrats would hold the House in 2010.  You were challenged by multiple persons on this site, myself included and you left – per the bet.

          YOU WELCHED!!!!  YOU CAME BACK!!!

          You are a Lying Piece of Shit – who also happens to be a Democratic Shill.  But I suppose that is redundant.

          • I never swore, and that’s not a bet.  Sorry, SShiell, you fail.  I said in March 2010 I thought the Democrats would hold the House — many thought that at that early date.  By November I was pretty sure they wouldn’t!   Of course, I also was right in 2003 about the Iraq war and the fact it would not be the easy cakewalk paid for by Iraqi oil production yielding a pro-US mideast that many claimed.  But the fact is you haven’t shown any ‘welching.’  But hey, honesty isn’t your strong point, is it?

          • You played the scatter shot game of throwing out multiple variations on your predictions as a way to cover all the contingencies, so you could do exactly what you’re doing now.  But anyone who knew you knew that’s what you were up to at the time, so nobody is surprised that you’ve lived down to their expectations.
            I’m firmly anti-war today and didn’t support the Iraq invasion, but I also saw through much of the anti-Bush, pro-Democrat protests and prognostications (such as yours) as cynical and partisan. The most disgusting were those dubbing the people setting off bombs in marketplaces and mosques as “freedom fighters”, though I’d have to review the archives on what you wrote to see if you were among that group, or just friendly with them out of political expediency (Bryan “Zepp” Jamieson springs to mind).  But overall, I don’t think your specific predictions and assessments concerning the Iraq war were as accurate as you now portray.  Certainly, your predictions about Egypt seem to be way off.  And, your original support for going to war in Libya was as morally repugnant as the support for going to war in Iraq (particularly in light of you self-identifying as a pacifist).

          • “But hey, honesty isn’t your strong point, is it?”

            I can’t help but laugh at that.  Tell yo0u what Erb, let’s poll those who comment here as to the repsective veracity – your versus mine.  You wanna bet who’s comments are respected here?  You wanna bet what people think of your comments? 

            You who stated John Kerry’s Cambodian Fantasy was undoubtably the truth. You who predicted Kerry would win.  You who called the Iraq Surge an abject failure months before the the last surge Combat Brigade had even arrived in theater.  You who predicted the Democrats would retain the House in 2010.  You who derided any possibility of Muslim Brotherhood dominance in Egypt.  You who supported whoe heartedly our own current Libyan incursion.

            Yep – You are the sole purveyor of Truth and the American Way among the commenters on the blog.  Just ask anyone!?!?!

            LOL!!!!!!!

    • Ah, a CNN poll used to support a CNN article.

      Gee.

      Here, a counter poll – not that it will matter to you.

       

      • As Warren Meyer, contributor to Forbes points out:

        The point he is trying to make is that 80% of the people in the US support higher taxes as part of the deficit reduction package.  Not sure I have seen a poll number this high, but let’s assume our dear leader would not lie to us.  But let’s be clear on what this means – 80% of the people in the US support higher taxes on other people.

        Playing dueling polls is a fool’s errand.  When the values of individuals are put up on the auction block, subjected to mob whims, all sorts of horrifically unethical results may occur.  Repeat this cycle enough and you get to where we are.  You’ll never vote your way out of this mess.  No poll will turn the tide.

        A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing…” —Alexander Fraser Tytler (unsourced)


    • “Closing those loopholes would raise a relatively modest amount of revenue, especially compared to the monster spending cuts that are on the table.”


      Monster spending cuts?  Monster spending cuts?  WHERE?
      Funny, they can’t provide any link to the list of Monster Spending cuts.

      • Republicans only “balanced” the federal budget in the waning days of Clinton (“balanced” if you ignore the accounting gimmicks with Social Security, etc.).  Since then, they’ve held Congress and the White House and ballooned the deficit.  Earlier this year, Boehner et al. reached a budget deal in which they touted cuts, which, in the final analysis, turned out to be mere smoke and mirrors, mostly counting defunct programs as “savings” and back-loading projections to future years.
        Even if the Republicans defeat Obama and take both houses of Congress, they will never make the cuts necessary to avert disaster.  Never.
        They were within one vote of passing the Balanced Budget Amendment.  The one vote against was Bob Dole’s.  And, then they nominated that rotten #&!*# for president.
        I hope Erb continues his run of being wrong in his election predictions.  But the sad fact remains that Democrats losing just means Republicans winning, and they’ve demonstrated, time and again, not to be the fiscal saviors that the true believers seem to think they are.

        • Eliot, have you ever heard “Only Nixon could go to China.”
          Obama can get spending cuts through — in fact, he is more likely to do so if the Congress stays GOP after 2012 than it would be if a Republican became President.   The Democrats can block cuts and entitlement reform, but Obama could push them through.
          The GOP has to recognize that if they are truthful about wanting to get the budget in line, they have a golden opportunity working with a President who needs to provide credibility on the budget beore the next election (and like Clinton, will be able to push compromises through the Democratic party after wards).
          A balanced budget amendment makes no sense.  It’s good for countries to carry some debt.  Not 80% of GDP (I’d say 30% is better), but some debt makes sense (and we’ve had debt throughout the history of the country).  A balanced budget amendment sounds good politically, but it defies economic theory.

          • “A balanced budget amendment sounds good politically, but it defies economic theory.”

            Being the expert on all things, along with being a Democratic Shill, please provide for us the economic theory that a balanced budget defies.  As one who has a degrees in both History and Economics, I would like to see what economic theory you can provide to support your BS statement.  Additionally i think you should check your sources on your BS statement that “we’ve had debt throughout the history of the country.”

            But then that is your style isn’t it – throw the past against the wall and hope some of it sticks and hope no one will challenge you on it.

  • “ It’s good for countries to carry some debt.”

    Amazing.
    Okay, I’ll bite, I could use a good laugh.
    Why, pray tell, is it good to borrow instead of pay?  

  • Credit is the life blood of capitalism, timactual.  If you doubt the importance of credit and debt in building functioning economies, then you’re showing economic illiteracy.

    • “Credit is the life blood of Capitalism, Timactual”.

      So, tell me Spartacus, did the Romans throw a pilum through your progessive socialism shield so now you’re defending your lame ass argument with capitalism?

    • Evasive and nonresponsive,  as usual. You said COUNTRIES, meaning governments.  So, why is it good for governments to borrow?

  • Scott erb

    You can double the tax revenue from the Top 50% of taxpayers and you wont even pay the deficit for this year.

    How about making me a bet.

    If republicans win the presidency next year YOU never post here again.

    If Obama wins than I will never post here again.

    Are you man enough to take that bet?

    • RM, even if he takes the bet – if he loses he will WELCH!!!  He has done it before and I would not bet against him doing it again.

    • Only a wimp gets taunted into a silly bet.  I’ll post when I want, and have no desire to limit your ability to post.   I do remember you were certain Hillary would be the Democratic nominee.   In any event, if someone agrees to something after being taunted “are you man enough to this” proves only that he is not!

      • Yep Scottie. Didnt think you were man enough for a simple bet.
        And I ddi say that Hillary would be the nominee. I was wrong about 2008. I still think she will be on the ticket in 2012 as she will be the only thing capable of Obama even being in the ballpark come Nov 2012.

         

        • BTW Scottie
          Earlier you sai d”you can avoid being man enough to admit you were wrong and made a claim you can’t back up”
          You say someone isnt man enough to do something yet you arent even man enough to take my bet. I mean you were man enough to takie others as you are claiming you never welched on a bet on this site but I notice you never said that you never made a bet on this site.
          talk about someone else having balls when you grow a pair yourself.


           

          • Again, being taunted into a bet by someone saying “you’re not man enough” is something only a wimp would do.  Take your bet and put it where the sun don’t shine.  I don’t usually make bets, I generally find them silly.  If you think making silly internet bets is a sign of “balls,” you have a very weird conception of manhood.   I think being a good father, working hard, being honest, and contributing to my community counts more.  But if you think the real test is an internet bet, you can have that belief.  I am man enough to scoff at you for it.

          • Scott Scott Scott
            Typical leftist.
            You dont even have the convictions of what you are saying.
            Could it be possible that you dont think obama is going to win in 2012?
            What terms would be acceptable to you? Maybe just a gentleman’s wager? Maybe you set the stakes?
            As far as manhood goes, the things you mention are commendable. Too bad most dems dont feel the same way. You left out one thing that I would add in though. It is called honor. Something I have found very few liberals to have.


             

  • SShiell, funny how you resort to argument ad populum, based on the population commenting on this blog.  Clearly, I’ll lose polls with this group, you’re on home turf in terms of blogs.  But in the real world, well, that’s a whole different ball game.  Enjoy the security of a like minded blog group.   It’s an illusion.

    • “It’s an illusion.”

      The only illusion here is the one where you think you are the only adult in the room.  You are not – by a long shot.  I have to laugh when you lecture me about the “Real World”!!!!  This from a person deeply embedded in Academia!!!!  Take a peak outside your ivory towers Professor (????) and see the real world.  Listen to the words of people who work for a living.  Not the words of those from the “Teacher’s Lounge” or even those words from students who suck up to you trying to schmooze a grade. 

      I don’t live within the security of a like-minded blog.  I live and breathe in the real world.  A world where people get pink slips in an economy where the goverment acts in its own interests and not “for the people”.  A community where neighbors all around me who once proudly showed off their Obama bumper stickers are now ashamedly peeling them off their cars.  Ashamedly because they realized they have been taken by a huckster.  And these people are not your typical “Tea Party” types but people who are prominent in the local NAACP chapter – yes black people who are walking away from “the Messiah”.  They are walking away from the very same huckster that you carry water for.  But that would not be evident in the elite world you live in – where Obama is seen as a Centrist, while the rest of America is beginning to see him for the far left ideologue that he is.

      No, I do not rely on big words like populum but I do rely on something called common sense and that is where you fall short.  Keep typing from your Ivory tower and keep being the same smug troll you have always been in this blog.  Your own dishonesty and arrogance will trump anything I say or do in or out of this blog.

      • Nice little rant, SShiell, but it doesn’t deny anything I said (nor do I believe all of it).   As for real world, well, teaching at a rural college focused on teaching with lots of first generation students doesn’t lend itself to ivory towers.  It’s pretty working class.  But I love it!

      • Reading other responses, SShiell, where you try to assert I was wrong about things in the past ten years (yes, I like everyone else have been wrong about a lot — but I’ve also been right a lot too) explains why you post as you do.  You really have an image of me as some smug guy who thinks I’m always right sneering down at my computer as I reply.  Your defensiveness comes from a fantasy image you have of me.  Mellow out, take it easy and just communicate.  I don’t look down at you, I only taunt back as a tit for tat to your taunts, I don’t take it seriously.   I expect the usual flames when I post here, and that’s fine — I’ve seen conservatives suffer flames if they post in sites unfriendly to their views.  I do think this kind of blog interaction is indicative of a problem that Walter Lippmann warned about — when people cease listening to each other and just attack and defend their position, democracy fails to function.   In all the noise you might not notice that I do listen, and I agree on a lot of things, including the need for significant spending cuts.  The name calling, eh, it’s part of the game.  I don’t let it bother me, you shouldn’t let my taunts bother you.  It’s just for fun, don’t take it seriously.

  • “It’s just for fun, don’t take it seriously.”

    You have a very strange notion of what is fun.

  • Elliot, way up there you say some things that I think are in error.  First, the idea that aggressive force or fraud is the only inappropriate way to get advantage is arbitrary poppycock.  At the very least, there is no reason for me to accept that, especially since much of social science investigates the raw power of structural and economic forces to create advantages, exploitation and control even absent overt aggressive force.  I know from a study of politics and history that if you get rid of government, you’ll get organized criminal gangs, chaos and horror.  From there you might never get back to where we are.  First people will cry for protection and then an authoritarian government will arrive.  Overtime maybe people will work to limit that government’s abuse of power and you’ll finally get a democracy again.  After generations you might get back to where you are now.  The idea it will be stable and function is not borne out by any evidence.

    Anarcho-capitalism may be based on a theory, but it itself is not a theory, it is a religion, it is faith.  It is faith in a very simplified view of reality that is at its core arbitrary and irrational, in complete disregard of existing evidence, and its adherents often lose the capacity to recognize their own fallibility as humans and the possibility they might be wrong.  Democracy rests on people recognizing that there are many interpretations of reality, and therefore we not only make better decisions but we learn and improve our understanding of reality through engagement and interaction.

    Peacefull day to day interactions in modern societies are most common when there is rule of law and an accountable government.  If that disappears, those peaceful interactions become more precarious, and historically things get worse all the time.   There is no reason to expect otherwise; you do not provide one (or any evidence they might).  It is fantasy based on a simplistic and misguided view of ethics and morality.

    In a best case scenario, you like utopian communists, may each recognize that a pure voluntary society with no one exploiting others (which you call using aggressive force, utopian communists also see economic force embedded in that) would be best.  But you don’t get there from here through articles of faith.  If that is the best future, democracy is the only path there because it upholds culture and allows interaction and learning.  Get rid of it, and things will decline dramatically.  So even if your vision of what would be a truly ethical world is right (it might or might not be), anarchy and getting rid of democratic government would push us further away from that goal and risk civilization itself.

    • First, the idea that aggressive force or fraud is the only inappropriate way to get advantage is arbitrary poppycock.

      I’m not the one indicting “advantage” as a bad thing, in and of itself.  A tall man has an advantage over a short man in many situations.  An attractive woman has the advantage over a homely one.  There is nothing unethical about one human being having an advantage over another, if the advantage was achieved naturally and honestly.
      Gaining an advantage through aggressive force or fraud is, however, unethical.  The fact that you go on and on in your argument without making that crucial distinction means your conclusions are the result of false premises.
      “Exploitation” is another word which has a negative connotation in economic discussions, but it is morally neutral.  I exploit the grocer who can sell me food cheaper than it would cost me to grow myself.  The grocer exploits me by making a profit.  The grocer and the farmer or factory exploit each other.  To argue that we should be absent exploitation is to make the case for Mao’s plan which starved tens of millions.
      An exchange of values, such as a purchase or a job, is beneficial to both sides, or they wouldn’t consent.  Maybe the person in the third world country works in a “sweat shop” factory, making wages which would not provide a living in the US or meet the standards of safety here.  But the fact is they choose to leave the farm and work in places you consider exploitative because it’s better than the farm they left.

      I know from a study of politics and history that if you get rid of government, you’ll get organized criminal gangs, chaos and horror.

      With government, you still have organized criminal gangs.  Very often, those gangs have government agents on their payroll.  Look at Al Capone.  Look at Mexico today.  But what really destroys your argument is that the most murderous horrors in history have all been committed by government.  Communists, Nazis, conquests by Muslims and Christians, Romans, Mongols.  The efficiency of their murder, torture, and imprisonment is orders of magnitude greater than what has ever been achieved by the worst mafias or gangs.
      Without government, or with minimal government, you can have mafias and chaos.  But you can also have order, when groups work out matters on their own at a local level and keep the would-be thugs in check.  Much of that depends upon culture.  Certainly people brought up in the American culture which evolved from the Enlightenment are far better suited to live in a civilized, peaceful manner with one another than the primitives in Somalia or Afghanistan, who have never benefited from a renaissance.
      So, you can take your chances without government, maybe people will get along, maybe the predators will go unchecked.  Or, you can guarantee that there will always be a group of predators who use force to impose rule on others.  At best you can argue that a small, limited government can be better than an authoritarian regime or a nanny state.  But since government requires the aggressive use of force to maintain a monopoly on the use of force, it can never be completely ethical, only a lesser evil than a worse government.

      …it is a religion, it is faith.

      The “will of the people”, the fiction by which government claims authority, is something which one must take on faith.  Rationally considering that each individual is a separate entity, with distinct wills, personal benefits or losses in each situation, one can see that the faith that people like you put in collective decisions, the “good of society” is misplaced.  Deciding on a given system by which to rule others is like picking a religion.
      Anarchy, on the other hand, is like atheism.  It’s a lack of belief in the fiction of consent of the governed, due to contradictory evidence.  It’s not an organized system by which to rule others, just as atheism isn’t an organized belief system.  There’s no atheist church, just as there’s no atheist king or president.
      I realize that your script is hard-coded to spit out “faith, faith, faith” in response to everything you want to denigrate.  But you’ve got to at least try to make your case.

      It is faith in a very simplified view of reality that is at its core arbitrary and irrational.

      The core is simply respecting the rights of other individuals.  Such core principles are neither arbitrary nor irrational.  When one group of people (rulers) makes decisions about what is good for others, since they are fallible humans, their decisions are ultimately arbitrary.  And, using aggressive force, which is unethical, on the premise that you’re trying to prevent unethical behavior, is quite irrational.

      …in complete disregard of existing evidence, and its adherents often lose the capacity to recognize their own fallibility as humans and the possibility they might be wrong.

      The evidence is in: governments murder people by the millions.  They enslave by the billions, ruin the dreams of individuals, crush the human spirit.  Adherents to individualism, on the other hand, recognize that they are fallible as human beings and thus not qualified to make decisions for other people against their will.
      You see how every argument of yours is upside down and backwards?  Every fault you ascribe to individualism (anarchy, libertarianism, free market) is generally not true, and is a far greater fault of government.
      Enough for now.

  • BTW Scott REf the 3 to 1 spending cuts vs tax increases that dems never did for Reagan which I believe you scoffed at above.
    http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/2011/07/there-they-go-again-remembering-tefra-debacle-1982

    Off to Blair House and a variety of undisclosed locations they went over a period of weeks to work their magic. When they were through, out came TEFRA, the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act, a legislative package sold to President Reagan as a grand compromise constituting a 3-to-1 rate of spending cuts to tax increases.
    This is the same ratio that Brooks, in the current context, calls “an astonishing concession” on the part of Democrats, the framework of a deal Republicans should accept without hesitation as the “mother of all no-brainers.” That’s essentially what the Gang of 17 told Reagan in 1982.
    Reagan reluctantly agreed, signing the bill into law, saying he was supporting “a limited loophole-closing tax increase to raise more than $98.3 billion over three years in return for … agreement to cut spending by $280 billion during the same period.”
    While the tax provisions (including excise tax increases and various business tax adjustments) were promptly put in place, Reagan wrote years later that “the Democrats reneged on their pledge (to cut spending) and we never got those cuts.”
    Indeed, spending by Congress increased in subsequent weeks (!) (not to mention years), and there was no discernible progress in reducing the deficit.



     

  • Exploitation is the equivalent of theft.  If you can take advantage (value, wealth, whatever) from others through economic or structural power, it is no different than physically stealing it, in pure ethical terms.   The way you use exploitation is not exploitation, it’s just trade, you’re not using the word properly.
    I agree that governments have done the most violence.  But without governments you’ll get the Huns, the Goths, the Mongols and other groups.   Governments have the proven capacity to expand freedom, bring stability, protect individuals, and set the conditions for unprecedented prosperity.   Moreover, you aren’t going to get rid of them, that’s my point.  Chaos and anarchy will get people to demand security and government will inevitably emerge and you’ll go through the whole thing all over again until you finally get to democracy.  That’s the ultimate argument against anarchy — if it could work it would have.  We see ZERO evidence it could work.  That is a huge hole in your theory — theories with no evidence are not at all viable.   But maybe democracy can evolve.
    I disagree with your position on rights, and find it wholly arbitrary.  First, each entity is both separate and part of a large whole.    You would not be the person you are if you were born in Cairo and raised there.  Your values, your beliefs, your interests, and core aspects of your identity come from the community in which you were raised.   As John Donne said, “no man is an island.”  I go into this in more detail in this blog post:   http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/particle-or-wave-individual-or-collective/ Moreover, people tend not to make decisions rationally, but with emotion based on inaccurate and incomplete information.  Even the way people view politics tends to be emotion first, then looking for an argument to justify what someone feels to be right.   You’re doing that too — that’s why you can take such an obviously arbitrary subjective set of beliefs and convince yourself they are not.   You have to defy logic to do that, it has to be emotion.
    Finally, governments are people.  People aren’t different any government than they are out of government.  Corporations and big banks are people as well.    Without government people will still find ways to do what they do; without regulations Walmart might enslave millions, without states corporations could wage war.   Conglomerations of people don’t yield something different just because you call it government.
    And finally, democratic governments in the modern era have created more freedom, a higher quality of life, and better conditions than anything in the past.  That’s why people choose to support them.  You may think that’s unethical, and you may have a radically individualist ontology, but if my ethical perspective and belief about reality is different than yours, there is absolutely no objective reason for me to follow your faith — it appears to me your own arbitrary belief you hold.  Your defense of it is semantic, vague, abstract and relies on argument by definition.  It is not supported by empirical evidence, question your core assumptions and the entire thing falls apart.
    Now, you can hold those beliefs.  I can hold different ones.  Others can hold even different ones.  Yet when it comes to action involving society, we all have different views on rights, the proper limits and trole of government.  None of us can enforce our particular view on the other.  In democracy, we have a process to settle those disputes.  It’s imperfect, but it can improve itself over time, and you’ve offered no alternative that isn’t fantasy.

    • Exploitation is the equivalent of theft. …The way you use exploitation is not exploitation, it’s just trade, you’re not using the word properly.

      Exploitation is not theft.  To exploit is to use to one’s advantage.  I’m not stealing from the grocer, nor is he stealing from me.  We’re both exploiting what the other can offer for our mutual benefit.
      You need a dictionary.
      I can also exploit land, whether it’s food, minerals, shelter, or a defensive position.  I can exploit a situation, such as noticing people have a need for an item nobody else is providing, starting a new business to tap an as yet unfilled niche in the market.
      I realize you probably spend a lot of time listening to class warfare rants about “exploiting the poor” and “wage slavery” and other such inanities, but for people not mired in that collectivist ideology, the word “exploitation” is morally neutral.  It can be bad or good.

      If you can take advantage (value, wealth, whatever) from others through economic or structural power, it is no different than physically stealing it, in pure ethical terms.

      Are you seriously arguing that when people who bust their asses to build a successful business, who then turn around and take advantage of their economic power to send their children to high quality schools, while your kids go to crappy government schools, that’s ethically the same thing as coming to your house, putting a gun in your face, and stealing money from your pocket?
      If that’s not your argument, then you need to explain this ambiguous “economic or structural power” term you use in your mantra.
      You keep putting up charts of income disparities, complaining about class mobility, which shows you don’t care about the individual life stories of the people whom you want to tax or the people whom you want to subsidize.  You claim that being rich has no correlation to hard work (though you’re using the Marxist labor theory of value, which is a stupid approach to measuring the worth of an effort by how much muscle and sweat it requires, ignoring the power of intellect to accomplish amazing things).  So, my conclusion by putting those things together is that you really do consider income disparity to be the ethical equivalence of theft.  The problem is, you’re not looking at evidence.  You’re taking a high level view of the statistics, treating the population and property like pieces on a game board, and deciding that you must counter these crimes by shifting pieces around on the board.
      The rest of your argument is more of the same.  More “it won’t work” (work for whom? You never answer that!) and “faith faith faith” and a dozen other things already refuted by me and others dozens of times.
      Enough of this.  I’m going to go do some exploiting.  Lock your doors and windows!

  • Here is a quote that Scott Erb reminds me of.

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
    C. S. Lewis

    and some  that he needs to remember
    Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold — but so does a hard-boiled egg.”

    “Public servants say, always with the best of intentions, “What greater service we could render if only we had a little more money and a little more power.” But the truth is that outside of its legitimate function, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector.”
    - Reagan

    With Obama we can talk, we are almost from the same generation, one can’t deny that Obama is different (from Bush). He’s intelligent, he has good intentions and we have to help him.”‘  – hUGO Chavez

     The road to hell is paved with good intentions”