There Is No Offseason

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145 Responses

    • Avatar Elia Isquire in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Genuine LOL.

      To the OP: I’m not going to argue that the President right now is sitting pretty, but I think it’s worth noting that that same Quinnipiac poll has the following,

      “In a mythical matchup, he gets 40 percent to an unnamed Republican challenger’s 41 percent in the 2012 presidential race. ”

      Considering that Generic Candidate A is almost always more popular than any flesh-and-blood version, and that Obama is basically even with said Platonic Candidate in PA, I’d take this news to be unwelcome but not yet, at this juncture, truly worrying from the White House’s perspective.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Elia Isquire says:

        George HW Bush “The Wiser” and Barbara were interviewed a few years back. Now I always liked Bush41, he wasn’t a perfect man, but he was a mensch. He had a little doo-doo on his shoes from Iran/Contra but hey, everyone has a few dirty secrets.

        Anyway. Bush41 was asked how he felt when he wasn’t re-elected to a second term. Barbara sorta stepped in and answered. The gist of it was a telling of the tale of that devastating night, how Bush41 felt terrible about it. She told him at the time nobody in presidential history had a good second term. Bush41 chimed in, noting he sure felt bad at the time, especially when the presidential entourage left him at the airport, but over time he came to a sense of relief to have the burden of POTUS off his shoulders.

        Jimmy Carter expressed the same sentiments. Arguably, Carter has been a better ex-prez than president.

        Obama’s odds of re-election vary with the price of gasoline. If it’s at current prices, he won’t get a second term. I could be wrong, but the delirious victory celebrations at the end of Gulf War One didn’t last long enough to get him re-elected.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

          ugh… enough to get Bush41 re-elected.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to BlaiseP says:

            He’s eligible to run again, and I’d prefer him to just about any Republican who’s currently running. (I don’t know much about Gary Johnson, but I always have a soft sport for ex-49ers.)Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              Hmm. If he was maybe 15 years younger I might vote for Bush41.

              Tthe last GOP candidate who got my vote was Reagan, but Iran/Contra angered me and I wouldn’t vote for him a second time. Bush41 seriously tempted me to vote GOP, especially for his re-election, but I didn’t. I held my nose and voted for Clinton both times, though I thought he was a nogoodnik.

              Obama’s clever, no doubt. He’s proven more pragmatic than I expected. The presidency has taken the shine off him, for sure. Solon told King Croesus “judge no man happy until he is dead”. Croesus lived long enough for his fortunes to change and lose his kingdom to Cyrus, long enough to remember Solon’s words. Obama’s fortunes are down just now but they may haply change. Still too early to count him out.Report

        • Avatar Trumwill in reply to BlaiseP says:

          If I recall, Carter (along with Eisenhower) has advocated a single term of six years rather than two-of-four.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Trumwill says:

            Interesting. Didn’t know that. But they were both military officers and it makes sense. Get to the top of your game, make your best play, then get off the stage. Mucking around with politics of re-election, especially the begathons for Campaign Cash, must be the biggest drag. Obviously, it would interfere with the business of the nation. Campaigns shouldn’t be so long, or so exhausting, or so expensive. A single term might be a great idea.Report

          • I’ve always like the ideas advocated by Larry Sabato in A More Perfect Constitution. My favorite is this one:

            “Establish a new six-year, one-time presidential term with the option for the President to seek two additional years in a referendum of the American people.”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_More_Perfect_Constitution

            Essentially the President would run un-opposed when seeking an additional two-years. A vote of no-confidence would trigger a new election .Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Elia Isquire says:

        “I’d take this news to be unwelcome but not yet, at this juncture, truly worrying from the White House’s perspective.”

        I’m the OP for this one (Lester Freamon is a pseudonym I borrowed from The Wire). This is a fair assessment of where we are now but I’d venture not a common one from those committed to supporting the President’s reelection.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

      I made it my wallpaper.

      I hope Maribou giggles.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to BlaiseP says:

      I like this one.Report

  1. Avatar 62across says:

    The Republicans won’t be running a generic candidate and most polling I’ve seen has Obama dominating all of the potential candidates who’ve gotten any attention. Please… Trump will soon be slinking back under whatever rock he crawled out from after the weekend he just had.

    Do you have a mystery candidate that’s going to pop up in the next couple of months?

    Also, Obama’s approval ratings have very closely tracked Reagan’s through this point of his term. How’d that work out for Mondale?Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to 62across says:

      This is exactly what I’m not buying. The GOP is not going to nominate Donald Trump. Most likely the election will come down to Obama vs. Romney, Pawlenty, or Daniels. I don’t believe anybody has a definitive opinion of any of these three, regardless of head-to-head numbers. I do believe the voters have very strong opinions of the President.

      It’s hard for me to see how the Reagan numbers are relevant, or why you would think they would be. You do realize the economy is bad, right?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz says:

        Many people have a definitive opinion of the robotic pandering chameleon.Report

      • Avatar 62across in reply to Koz says:

        Uh, you do know that unemployment was around 9.5% in the third year of Reagan’s first term, right? I assumed you knew the actual trajectory of the economy during Reagan’s time in office rather than the myth. You know he tripled the debt as well, right?

        I only mentioned Trump because you singled out Trump and Gingrich in your OP. I agree that Pawlenty or Romney will get the nomination, though I’ve got popcorn stocked for the circus the Republican primaries are bound to be.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to 62across says:

          Of course I did, that’s the whole point. Reagan made big moves on the economy, especially wrt inflation and taxes (let’s give Reagan credit for Volcker for the sake of argument). These moves worked and more importantly were seen to work.

          Do you think it’s at all plausible that Obama is going to run for reelection on the theme of Morning in America? I don’t.Report

          • Avatar 62across in reply to Koz says:

            Koz –

            If you’re going to take a savvy character like Lester Freamon as a namesake, you need to represent a little better. C’mon this is not complicated.

            18 months before his re-election, Morning in America wouldn’t have worked as a campaign theme for Reagan either. It was still Middle of the Night in America after the midterms in 1982 (as 9%+ unemployment would indicate). Then, the economy improved (credit Reagan to the extent the President influences the broader economy, if you wish) and Reagan won handily.

            The coming 18 months will also determine Obama’s fate. Most economists predict the economy to improve, albeit slowly, over the coming year. If unemployment is under 8.5%, Obama will win.Report

            • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to 62across says:

              Mr. Across, history repeats itself until it doesn’t. The deficit/debt/ballooning entitlements issue is something we’ve never brought ourselves to face before, but [see the current crisis of Eurostatism] it’s in our face now.

              Perhaps we’ll kick that can down the road as we have always done and Europe did until recently. Or perhaps not. The American people are dumb, but they aren’t stupid. If the New Deal and the Great Society are to be saved, it’ll probably be conservatives who do it.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Entitlements are a huge problem until they aren’t. They are a boon for the medical supply companies and pharmaceuticals, etc. Medicare could negotiate deals with both. They don’t, because of political pressure.

                I’m sick of all the cheap talk about entitlements. Walmart is now capable of delivering reasonably priced pharmaceuticals yet the Medicare program can’t. I’m all for Medicare reform, insofar as doctors are walking away from any more Medicare patients. A few simple reforms would reduce costs, by my estimates, by as much as 40%.

                If I can stipulate to good motives for those Conservatives who hate these entitlement programs, perhaps you might find agreement in the possibility of Walmart-ization and Canuck-ification, which would produce enormous cost savings for health care commodities by bulk purchases.

                I’ll go one step farther and stipulate to unhealthy pressures applied to all the politicians, Con and Lib, by Big Pharma and Big Healthco. Obama caved in the face of just such political pressure. If he caved, everyone’s being knuckled under: this is a bipartisan problem. Much of the yelling and screaming about Health Care Reform is entirely justified: as it’s implemented, it’s boondoggles galore. But it just doesn’t have to be this way.

                If Congress exhibited any spinal calcium, they’d quit toeing the line for these boondoggle-mongers: I can’t believe the Conservatives are heartless beasts, willing to wheel Granny in her wheelchair into the nearest alley and leave her there. It’s just wrongheaded to erect such Straw Men. Prudent policymakers of all political stripes are justly outraged by the health care hogs in the garden. Our seniors deserve the help we give them, but not at the extortionate prices we’re paying for the commodities required to do so.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                The Eurostatist “social democrat” scheme is collapsing of its own weight, BlaiseP. Your particulars, even if accurate, do not cut to the structural problem, as it’s manifest in Europe—and actually some of those nations started dealing with the runaway gravy train a decade ago. We haven’t even started, the recent -$40B budget charade notwithstanding.

                We could knock off half of the Defense budget, but that is a static figure. Entitlements are expanding geometrically. And frankly, it doesn’t help that half the country is now Paul, and Peter’s pockets are no longer overflowing. Paul cannot live on the gleanings from Peter’s pockets, as he used to.

                Fine, this is all bullshit to you. And if there are enough like you, then we’ll keep kicking the can down the road. But the reckoning is coming, and it is real, not rhetorical, and can’t be fixed by bookkeepers and bean counters or by fucking Big Pharma or any other of the usual suspects.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

                The Europeans have not entered this discussion, not yet. I recommended Walmart-ization and Canuck-ization to the extent they achieve cost savings by bulk purchases.

                Alas, that reality has such a liberal disposition. The Europeenies are adjusting to economic realities with their eyes wide open, Germany leading the way.

                Your bulgy-eyed handwaving cuts no ice, Tom. You ought to furnish some numbers for this “geometric” expansion, at least present some terms and the rate of expansion. Words have meanings and you must show your work: fact-free fearmongering of this sort obliges me to conclude you’re not serious.

                Europe, like Japan and all the post-WW2 economies, currently has a bolus of oldsters in the life pools. They’re making adjustments to handle this statistical problem. It’s not collapsing so much as it’s changing to handle economic realities, and they are coping.

                I snicker to see you write “Robbing Peter to pay Paul”. Insurance has always used Young Peter’s payments to fund Old Paul’s nursing home bills. But thanks to the application of mathematical principles, every insurance company in the world manages to pay out more than it will ever collect, simultaneously enriching the insurance company. You see, out here in the real world, between Peter and Paul is an investment which pays off on schedule.Report

              • Avatar 62across in reply to tom van dyke says:

                If the New Deal and the Great Society are to be saved, it’ll probably be conservatives who do it.

                tvd, you must help me understand what angle you have to use to view US politics and see what you see, because it’s a perspective that is hard to jibe with the evidence. In the last 30 years I have been voting, it’s been Republican administrations making a mess and Democratic ones cleaning it up. Perhaps your use of “conservative” is meant to indicate some “no true Scotsman” framing of the GOP’s efforts.

                I’m not one of your straw man liberals who denies that the deficit, debt or entitlements are issues. Like most liberals I know and read (including Obama), I know these are real problems that need real solutions. For the deficit/debt, a real solution would mean programs being cut – defense especially, but everything should be on the table. But, on top of that, taxes must be raised from the historically low levels they are today. Granted Paul can no longer live off Peter, but the fundamental issue here is there are fewer and fewer Peters and more and more Pauls. Policies that abet the Peters in screwing over the Pauls won’t solve that.

                As to entitlements, the problem is the rate of growth in healthcare costs. The “serious” Mr. Ryan’s plan does NOTHING to control costs – it merely foists the problem off on seniors in the hope that some 70 year old will shop around his hip replacement surgery and bring the market to bear. Pathetic!Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to 62across says:

                “I’m not one of your straw man liberals who denies that the deficit, debt or entitlements are issues. Like most liberals I know and read (including Obama), I know these are real problems that need real solutions.”

                Those straw men are quite real, 62. That’s what the Republicans have demonstrated over the last 2 years. The Demo’s that count, Mr. Obama and the Senators, are unwilling to make significant expenditure cuts anywhere.

                There is just no way Mr. Obama can be a shoo-in for reelection when unemployment is at 10% and our team has the way out.Report

              • Avatar Axel Edgren in reply to Koz says:

                “There is just no way Mr. Obama can be a shoo-in for reelection when unemployment is at 10% and our team has the way out.”

                HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAAAAA!Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Axel Edgren says:

                There’s a great comment. Really, why is an enthusiast for Team Blue trying to pass judgment anyway? Remember, the cause of the problem is liberals: get rid of the liberals, get rid of the problem.Report

              • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Koz says:

                You mean the way in right?

                Remember team red got us into this mess. Their austerity measures will only keep us in it.Report

              • Avatar 62across in reply to Koz says:

                What have the Republicans demonstrated over the last 2 years besides nihilism?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to 62across says:

                They’ve demonstrated that the growth of the welfare state is not an inexorable fact of nature but the result of actions by very specific people. People who serve at the pleasure of the citizens and can be removed by the citizens, which if we’re lucky is in the middle of happening as we speak.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to 62across says:

                Mr. Across, one must figure in who held Congress, not just the presidency. The later Clinton years were certainly statistically the best, Dem Prez and GOP Congress. I endorse that more than the other way around.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to 62across says:

              “The coming 18 months will also determine Obama’s fate. Most economists predict the economy to improve, albeit slowly, over the coming year. If unemployment is under 8.5%, Obama will win.”

              Obama might win, but it will never be Morning in America in the next 18 months. The slow pace of the recovery prevents that, of course, but beyond that it’s the fundamental incoherence of the Administration wrt the causes of economic growth. What exactly do you think the Administration is asking us to believe in?

              If Mr. Obama does win reelection, it’s because he defused the unemployment issue, not because he flipped it.Report

          • Avatar Barry in reply to Koz says:

            “(let’s give Reagan credit for Volcker for the sake of argument). ”

            Let’s give Reagan credit for Carter appointing Volcker?
            How about we don’t.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Koz says:

        Koz: “It’s hard for me to see how the Reagan numbers are relevant, or why you would think they would be. You do realize the economy is bad, right?”

        Then you missed the whole point.Report

  2. I agree with BP’s comments re: 41. I’m a youngin’ but from today’s vantage point he seems like quite a good President — Clarence Thomas aside.

    The idea of one six-year term is also quite tantalizing. The second term does tend to be drag, doesn’t it? Clinton was able to get a decent amount done — pity it all was, from my vantage, ill-conceived.

    If Obama doesn’t get reelected I’ll hardly consider that to matter one way or another vis-a-vis his policy; but I would worry that it would somehow discredit whatever tweaks he’s brought to the Democratic style. And, frankly, I’d like to see the first African-American President get two terms.Report

    • Looking at Mexico and its 6-yr term, it seems the legislature starts ignoring the new president immediately, instead of in Year Five. Just an observation, living next door in CA for 30 years. Perhaps something about the fear of being on the wrong side of a popular president being re-elected, both in political clout and electoral sentiment.

      Elia, why you seem positive toward Bush41 but slightly negative to Bill Clinton puzzles me. I make it I’m on the other side of the aisle since you gratuitously slagged on Clarence Thomas, but I see 41 and Clinton as more peas in the centrist pod than any pair of candidates since 1960.Report

      • You’ve a pretty low bar for “gratuitous.”

        Anyway, I’m judging them by different standards slightly, for one, considering 41 is “good for a Republican” and Clinton is “disappointing for a Dem”; but actually more than that, most of what 41 did was pretty all right or not-bad. And maybe he would’ve done what Clinton did in his second term (probably would have) but that doesn’t mean he actually *did*.Report

        • You seem to agree that 41 & Clinton are peas from the same pod, then, Elia.

          And yes, I found the slag on Clarence Thomas gratuitous. I’ve read his opinions, and they have gravitas. One need not agree with them to admit that, and many of his critics do indeed admit it. Sort of like how Reagan was dismissed until his writings came out.

          But I realize now you were writing as a partisan, and this forum leans so heavily to the left in your eyes that the comments sections feel more like BSing in a university faculty lounge than making one’s case in an actual nonpartisan forum. I understand now where you were coming from, and do not blame you atall for your casual disrespect of Justice Thomas. You seem like a good Joe, Elia. Rock on.Report

  3. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I was wondering the same thing- we’ve been hearing for a while that Obama’s looking for a way out of Afghanistan quickly. So why not use this as a reason to declare victory and go home? I don’t know if it would improve his election chances, but it couldn’t hurt; and besides it just makes sense.Report

    • Avatar Elia Isquire in reply to Rufus F. says:

      Hopefully Barney Frank and Carl Levin’s comments today weren’t simply two lone guns coincidentally firing at once at the same target.

      Even if Obama does want to use this to accelerate the draw-down, he’s going to, at least for a time, feign resistance.Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Rufus F. says:

      Who’d you hear that from? Given what he’s done in Afghanistan so far, it sounds like wishful thinking from Team Blue.Report

      • Avatar Elia Isquire in reply to Koz says:

        As quickly as possible is an exaggeration. But the recent New Yorker piece does give on the indication that Obama’s heart is not in Afghanistan to the extent that Clinton, Gates or Petraeus’s are. I won’t deny that I’m doing a mild amount of assuming shared intentions, though.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Koz says:

        It’s been in a couple profiles. I guess the last article I read that in was in the Telegraph.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to Rufus F. says:

          Pre-OBL I take it?Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Koz says:

            Yes, pre-OBL there have been a handful of articles claiming that, behind the scenes, Obama’s heart really isn’t in this war in Afghanistan and he’s eying the back door. Those claims might indeed be wishful thinking- hey, they probably are- but I find it hard to believe that suspecting Obama’s not fully committed to the war is somehow unique to “team blue”.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Rufus F. says:

              It’s not a question of commitment for our team. For good or ill, we don’t think he’s got any real policy ideas, and that goes way beyond Afghanistan. It’s just worked out that it’s more convenient for him to stay in Afghan than to leave (and he also gets to take credit for OBL).Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Koz says:

                It’s instructive to view Obama in the light of his own hero, Abraham Lincoln, who came in for much abuse in his own time for being a ditherer. Lincoln inspired deep hatred in Washington, as Obama has in his own time, viewed as an opportunistic, sly bastard, even within his own cabinet: I think it was Seward who called Lincoln “that great baboon”.

                LBJ, who was a great man for policy, is Obama’s Cautionary Example. LBJ got loads of legislation through Congress, arguably more than any other president, for he knew the Congress and had for years. The Clintons, both husband and wife, are also Cautionary Examples, especially in the HCR debate, and he went to them both for advice on how not to repeat their mistakes.

                Obama understands things don’t happen all at once. The Executive is mostly a process of coping with events as they arise, capitalizing on opportunities as they present themselves. Most presidents never get the blame for their fuggups and get the credit for results they didn’t initiate. If Obama doesn’t seem to have any policy ideas, he does have policy and gets in the paint pretty much every time. He’s a pragmatist, a far cleverer man than his naive political opponents, whose policies are engineered to fit on a bumper sticker.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to BlaiseP says:

                That may be BlaiseP, I’m open to the possibility, but I’m beginning to feel Obama is absolutely terrible at the politics part of it. He seems to have let the GOP have free run of messaging and communication ever since he got elected to his enormous detriment. I don’t know whether it’s ineptitude; an honest belief in his change you can believe in shtick or an aloofness that makes him think he’s above the daily scrum of politics but his messaging has been awful.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to North says:

                Well, never get in the way of your enemies shooting each other. The GOP has let its mouth outrun its ass: for all their much-blethering about Cuttin’ the Fat Outta Government, they made the fatal mistake of touching the Third Rail of Medicare. They will rue the day they when they let Ryan open his big mouth.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to BlaiseP says:

                We’ll see BlaiseP. I’d really appreciate it if Obama threw a few elbows though or at least defended himself.Report

  4. The GOP takes the Senate. Replay 1996: Obama re-elected but neutered.

    GOP unifies behind a harmless mook, prob Romney, after somebody fringe-y wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. Anything but a Goldwater to drag the entire GOP to electoral annihilation.

    Just like Dole after Buchanan showed early strength. Better to win Congress than lose everything going for the whole enchilada. Huckabee’s prob too weird, although he might make for a nice Dole too. I think he could play Bum of the Month [the roster of nothings Joe Louis regularly ate for his supper].

    And that wouldn’t be a bad thing, a fiscally responsible GOP congress and a bleeding heart Prez to play “Dave” like Kevin Kline. And I sure liked having a black anchorman-president announcing bin Laden’s extermination last night. Geez, can you imagine a big fat cracker like Haley Barbour making that announcement to the world in his cracker drawl?

    Oy.

    All the above applies unless the GOP runs Paul Ryan, or better, John Kasich, Serious Cats both. And Mitch Daniels stands a counterpuncher’s chance. BHO, the man, is quite thin-skinned and his cool has never actually been tested. Anybody would seem chill next to Hillary, and BHO did. McCain was offered up and offered himself up as a Dole-like sacrifice himself. What a good loser.

    The GOP can win with a good loser, and lose bigtime with a big loser.Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to tom van dyke says:

      “And that wouldn’t be a bad thing, a fiscally responsible GOP congress and a bleeding heart Prez to play “Dave” like Kevin Kline. And I sure liked having a black anchorman-president announcing bin Laden’s extermination last night. Geez, can you imagine a big fat cracker like Haley Barbour making that announcement to the world in his cracker drawl?”

      This doesn’t work substantively, and therefore it doesn’t work politically either.

      The idea of hoping for divided government requires gridlock to be a plausible course. That’s often been the case recently, but it’s not as true any more. The last two years have made it abundantly clear that limited government and/or significant reductions in government expenditures requires Republicans in office. Therefore a significant number of voters are going to have to make peace with whatever internal issues they have preventing that from occurring.

      One issue revolves around the desire to govern through racial atmospherics (though not the only one). Whatever it is really doesn’t matter. We can either put the Republicans in, or we can live in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The voters could go either way on that one.Report

      • Avatar Axel Edgren in reply to Koz says:

        “The last two years have made it abundantly clear that limited government and/or significant reductions in government expenditures requires Republicans in office.”

        No, they require not having a financial crisis and massive recession. Of course, we don’t really have such luck.

        Stimulus – justified. Health care reform – necessary. Add wars and the tax cuts the subhuman left for his successor to contend with, and Obama simply hasn’t been anything but a standardized neo-liberal. The only reason the amount of government employees is relatively high is that private employment has gone down so severely.

        Spending is not running away. Causes of spending are. The infrastructure backlog will take trillions to clear – would that spending be excessive, too?

        All this talk about the deficit is nothing but dilettantism. Big numbers scary gasp time to be serious waaaaaah!Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Koz says:

        “The last two years have made it abundantly clear that limited government and/or significant reductions in government expenditures requires Republicans in office. ”

        And the last decade (and the decade before that) makes the opposite view even more abundantly clear.Report

        • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Barry says:

          Koz isn’t susceptible to things like historical records. That was then. Now is now.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Pat Cahalan says:

            That, and the fact that whenever anybody has successfully reformed the welfare state, or tried to do it for that matter, it’s been the Republicans.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Koz says:

              Clinton signed a good deal of welfare reform, aided and abetted by lots of folks from both sides of the aisle. Social Welfare is one of those troublesome aspects of the state which needs constant tending, especially pruning.

              But when it comes to Corporate Welfare, the GOP’s generosity is truly extravagant. That part of the GOP mindset is seldom discussed.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to BlaiseP says:

                No, Blaise. Clinton signed welfare reform ‘cuz he got rolled by our team (he had already vetoed it twice). And the corporate welfare talking point has lost steam as well in this year’s budget negotiations. If Mr. Obama wants to cut corporate welfare the opportunity has been there more than once to do it.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to Barry says:

          Uh, no. Recall the non-shutdown? The train of thought for some people was that if there was going to be a shutdown, the Demo’s would get the upper hand in public opinion since that’s the way it worked in 1995.

          Well in 1995, the Congressional Republicans led by Speaker Newt Gingrich confronted the Democrats led by President Bill Clinton. And the biggest bone of contention was the Republicans’ attempt to reform welfare, which the Demo’s refused to countenance. If we had been able to enact some kind of meaningful reform then, we wouldn’t be in such a deep hole now.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz says:

            Ugh, meant Medicare welfare.Report

          • Avatar stillwater in reply to Koz says:

            Nothing a little tax hike on the wealthy can’t take care of. You know, returning levels to the Clinton era, or even (gasp) pre-Clinton. (Interesting how all the balanced budget anxiety started right around the time taxes on the wealthy were being slashed. Hmmm.)

            I guess I have a bad memory but why is it we can’t do that?Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to stillwater says:

              Is it ok to return spending levels to the Clinton era? The problem is spending, corruption, the cost of bureaucracy, etc.Report

              • Avatar stillwater in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Well, there is that. And that’s at least an honest argument (even tho Clinton ran a lower deficit than Reagan, Bush or Bush the lesser). The suggestion that the country is broke and we need spending cuts or else is just absurd on it’s face. The wealthy are sitting on oodles of profits they think ought to be tax exempt.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to stillwater says:

                WTF are you talking about? The wealthy are sitting on piles of cash that are tax-exempt. In addition, US corporations are sitting on piles of cash that are tax-exempt as long as the money is not repatriated back to America from a foreign country (and it won’t as long as the US tax code and business environment remains the way it is).Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Koz says:

                Heh. While the US tax code and business environment remains the way it is. As it is, corporate profits made in the USA can be shipped overseas to evade the US tax code. Microsoft, Google, Pfizer and Oracle all ship their profits to Ireland. The really clever ones put a Dutch corporation between the two Irish ones to further reduce tax liabilities.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Well, I guess you learn something new every day. Good luck getting that money and funding Medicare with it.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to stillwater says:

                Stillwater, how about this: 45% of the public don’t pay no stinkin’ taxes. Let’s tax everyone?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Also, let me add this: all taxes on corporations, ma and pa companies, are eliminated, and we limit the power of the USEPA and layoff about 50% of those parasitic bureaucrats. That should provide work for everyone in America. Hell, we’d have Chi-com companies moving here.
                The problem is that commie-dems don’t want too many people working.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to stillwater says:

              “I guess I have a bad memory but why is it we can’t do that?”

              We can, it just doesn’t solve the problem. I thought you and I went over this already but maybe it was just North.

              The amount that the government takes out of the private economy is determined by how much it spends, not exactly the same thing as how much it taxes or how much its operating deficit is. That which is not borrowed is taxed, that which is not taxed is borrowed. In neither case is it available for return on investment.

              We can also consider the possibility of printing money but that doesn’t change much. The song remains the same.

              The hard part to understand might have to do with time frames. The return on investments made is day occurs far into the future (if it occurs at all). Therefore, if the perception that the government is going to take all the money at that time (or if the currency is debased into worthlessness) then investments made today are not plausible and therefore nobody can get a job.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Koz says:

                Quick summary for you: when right wingers talk about reducing the deficit they aren’t actually talking about reducing the deficit; they’re talking about shrinking the government (specifically only the parts they don’t like) and then slapping the label deficit on it for marketing purposes.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to North says:

                Ok North, what exactly do you think is going on? I take it you are in favor of lower unemployment. How exactly do you think jobs are created if not by investment, and how do you think investment is plausible when Team Blue has precommitted a hundred quintajillion dollars out of the private sector?

                I don’t buy the idea that the prominence of deficits as opposed to expenditures is some kind of marketing coup by our team. If anything, I think it’s a marketing disadvantage. It’s allowed Team Blue to delude themselves (and try to delude others) that if we could only raise taxes on the rich here or there we’d be okay.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Koz says:

                Jobs are created by demand, not investments.

                Now here’s how it really works, at a company like Apple. The product starts in a garage, it catches on — then it needs capital to build factories and hire people. Apple doesn’t make its computers, Foxconn makes them. Foxconn’s China operation will be geared to work with the China and the European market and it’s is about to open a big factory in Brazil to service the USA and the rest.

                You’re not going to get capital if you don’t have the numbers. It’s complete nonsense to assume government spending isn’t also spending. Just quit thinking that way: it’s completely bogus. Not only does government buy things, too, it has the ability to plow the ground for new markets, as it did with microprocessors, the Internet, advances in agriculture, roads, infrastructure, space technology, the list goes on and on.

                So Obama wants to spend money on education and the GOP is bellowing like a wounded water buffalo. It is the stupidest possible reaction. Can you imagine the world without the Internet? All the private sector demand created by that single technology stack will drive the world economy for a century, and what follows IPV6 will build upon it.

                The rich have avoided taxes by any number of means. I have pointed this out to you, before. Your reaction at the time was nervous scoffing, but the fact remains, if the gaps in the current tax avoidance schemes were closed, we wouldn’t have to raise taxes at all.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to BlaiseP says:

                No Blaise. Demand may be high or low. Every new business (or new business model of an existing business) requires substantial fixed costs to be paid at startup. These costs and profits, if any, are returned through sales minus variable costs at a substantially later time. If it’s perceived that income streams at a later time are not feasible because economic gains at that time are precommitted elsewhere, the whole business model goes away and there is no job creation. That’s the way it’s been in the US (and every other legit economy for that matter) for 100 years and it’s not gonna change soon enough to help unemployment now.

                Government spending is spending but it’s not investment. It doesn’t pay the fixed cost that bring new firms into the world and it doesn’t generate return for itself.

                “The rich have avoided taxes by any number of means. I have pointed this out to you, before. Your reaction at the time was nervous scoffing, but the fact remains, if the gaps in the current tax avoidance schemes were closed, we wouldn’t have to raise taxes at all.”

                You might be taking artistic license to exaggerate here. But, taken literally this is ridiculous by orders of magnitude, and there’s a host of secondary problems as well. If you mean something else you should write clearer.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Every business? Absurd. Ever actually started a business? Demand drives investment and there’s no way around it. What are my fixed costs writing software? Damned near nil. Everything on every developer’s box is open source software.

                Why do you think I’m up at 3 in the morning? For the good of my health? I’m working with my team in India this minute, they just got back from lunch. I run on India Standard time. If I wanted a hundred coders tomorrow, my fixer can get them and every one of them is a contractor. Now why can’t I find talent in the USA? Answer: it doesn’t exist here, because our education system produces kids who can’t fight their way out of a paper bag.

                I’d really like to work in the daylight for a while and hire American talent and put this device on an American assembly line.

                You’re thinking Old School, where people built factories. Now an American factory is a metal shed on a slab of concrete with an air compressor in the back where someone fries up potato chips. The business cycle moves too fast for your antique Substantial Fixed Cost model. Manufacturing is for chumps in the Third World. This thing I’m building has a shelf life of maybe three years max.

                You’ll never get rich on a paycheck, not here. Paycheck people pay 30% on their salary in taxes and all the while capital gains taxes go down, down, down. Great country to be a rich man, though, just not so good if you’re a member of the working class. Thanks to our idiotic government over the last 20 years, not only have wages and benefits declined, the pool of talent for knowledge workers is shrinking.

                You want investment in America? I’d start with education and infrastructure, so the industries of the future, you know, other than the potato chip industry, will have someone to hire and a decent fiber optic line to run into the office space.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Blaise, the things you write might be interesting and useful, but often times they don’t have very much to do with the topic at hand.

                You have to have capital to have economic production. It’s often the least interesting part of production (or maybe not) but it’s a requirement nonetheless. And that capital has to have a plausible expectation of positive return, and it doesn’t make any difference whether it’s the first world vs. the third world or manufacturing vs. New Economy.

                In fact just today I was reading Stacy McCain complain about Rupert Murdoch blowing $10 million on TheDaily.com. The idea of break-even metrics are topical here. If TheDaily.com can hit its break-even targets, it can be profitable on an operational basis. The capital investment is returned much later, which macroeconomically requires the possibility of profits and a stable currency long into the future.

                Furthermore, to say that job creation is driven by demand, whatever economic issues we may have with that, doesn’t help your case anyway. The main driver of demand isn’t government spending, but perceived lifetime income. If participants in the economy suffer a massive negative income effect, demand is going to suffer. Stimulus can help if it’s a short-term abnormality, but not if it’s a structural issue. Structural problems require structural solutions, and the solution to this problem is to shitcan Team Blue.

                Finally, this doesn’t have anything to do with the price of tea in China, but I don’t know of an IT manager who would rather hire Indian developers over American ones man for man. Maybe you’re an exception, maybe (or probably) not. The reason to hire Indian developers is because in some circumstances the cost disparity is too large to do anything else.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Thanks, I think. Your stuff doesn’t seem terribly congruent with reality, either.

                Capital is merely the difference between assets and liabilities. While it’s the least interesting part of production, it’s just an accounting perspective. Economics has advanced just a little bit since Marx, you know. I don’t have to go to a bank or a VC to fund my enterprise: the BlaiseP Widget Factory is a matter of finding who’s going to make my thingies. The object is to make money.

                I can’t find your thingie about Stacy McCain complaining about Murdoch buying TheDaily.com on his usual sites. Only an idiot buys a dot com. Logically, to sell a dot com, well, this requires finding a big enough idiot to buy one. Are we talking about Robert Stacy McCain? A company is its people.

                Your case for perceived lifetime income is bizarre. The movie industry came into its own during the Depression. People spend money, especially on dreams. See previous paragraph. As for the price of tea, or talent, in either India or China, I’d put my cat on the payroll if she could write good code.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Thanks for responding as well. You wander away from the point pretty regularly and you don’t resist the temptation to act like a jerk very well, but nonetheless you’re way ahead of the usual Balloon Juice droolers so well done for that.

                Like in this case, globalization and outsourcing are very important things, but my point was about the necessity of investment capital for job creation. There’s nothing about globalization or outsourcing that changes that, in fact if anything capital is in a stronger position with them.

                theothermccain.com/2011/05/04/thedaily-com-how-to-lose-10-million-on-a-startup-web-site-in-three-months/

                This is the Stacy McCain link if you still care.

                As far as the Depression goes, hoarding was a very important factor in the cause and/or duration of the Depression. Ever since Friedman and Schwartz wrote their book on the Depression, every other commentator has to engage them whether they agree or not, movies notwithstanding.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Koz says:

                Koz, considering that employment has been enormously lower in the past under much higher tax levels (both as absolutes and as a % of GDP) that certainly defenestrates the core argument that government spending alone drives the economy. Hell, under team Red’s utterly hypocritical and inept management unemployment rocketed upward even as taxation levels were drastically reduced setting the stage for our current fiasco of a fiscal situation. Odd that you share this conceit with both extremes of the political spectrum; the further lefties claim government spending drives the economy up just as the further righties argue that it drives it down.

                But who could possibly believe your claim even on first glance considering how simplistic it is? Nothing in this world is as simple as that so the American economy certainly isn’t. There’s a host, a legion, of reasons why unemployment is so high; like the recent recession for instance, are we going to try and blame the economic cycle on government spending as well?

                But really beneath both those criticisms is a simple appeal for clarity. If you’re going to go on about a size of government issue call it what it is: a size of government question. If you’re going to go on about the deficit go on about the deficit and if you want to talk about the deficit then taxation levels are a big part of that question (specifically about 50%). The government could be the size of the Kansas DMV and it would still be running at a deficit if it was being paid for by borrowing rather than taxing.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North says:

                For clarity’s sake though I want to specify that I do think government spending is a factor in the economy. I just don’t think it’s the only thing.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to North says:

                “Koz, considering that [un]employment has been enormously lower in the past under much higher tax levels (both as absolutes and as a % of GDP) that certainly defenestrates the core argument that government spending alone drives the economy.”

                Come on North, think a little bit. The whole point of this argument is that there is a level of expenditures that is so large that it destroys the economy, no matter how it’s financed (ie, tax policy) or what it’s spent on. So, why are you trying to cite prior tax regimes as a counterexample? That which is not taxed is borrowed, that which is not borrowed is taxed. Let the argument click for you and figure it out already.

                Because there has never been a time where the US government has committed to the level of expenditures that it has now. Ever ever ever ever ever.

                We have $14 some trillion in Treasury debt. We know that we have to pay this money back because we’re intending to continue borrowing, hopefully at cheap interest, for the forseeable future. We’re also committed to $60 trillion or $100 trillion or whatever in further debts (ie, expenditures net of revenues) because Team Blue insists on appropriating every last penny.

                This is where, for any reasonably intelligent person, Team Red has really put the Administration and Team Blue into a box, and all the stupid scenarios that liberals entertain themselves with are so much crap. You know the ones: “I got it, put OBL’s head on a pike, then release the birth certificate, then Sarah Palin that her mother wears combat boots,” “No, this is it, tell Trump we’re releasing the birth certificate and mail him OBL’s body instead and then have Glenn Beck arrested.”

                All the juvenile fantasies, it’s all bullshit, (and this is for you North) because whatever government spending is distasteful or objectionable is there because Team Blue insists on it. If you disapprove of spending federal dollars on corporate welfare or bombing brown people or whatever, you should know that the Administration was willing to risk the shutdown of the federal government in order to spend that money.

                “But really beneath both those criticisms is a simple appeal for clarity.”

                That’s a very good point and one that I’ve been meaning to get to. We should expect, in general, that issues of political economy are difficult and ambigious. But it’s to the tremendous credit (or discredit) of Team Blue that out of this ambiguity they have created a situation of great clarity. We know no longer have to theorize where the size of the welfare state is so large as to cripple the host economy, we’ve ran into it.

                At the moment we have $14 trillion in Treasury debt, $1 trillion and change of annual deficits and $80 or whatever of unfunded future liabilities. There is no tax policy that can make those numbers add up, there’s no point in trying to pretend that there is. And (maybe this is important for you), there was never a time in our nation’s history where our balance sheet was this bad, let alone a circumstance where we had high growth and low unemployment in spite of that.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North says:

                Well Koz, I have to admire your adherence to message even in the absence of real world salienc. Indeed there is some level of expenditures that destroys the economy but the idea that the US is at that point doesn’t strike me as being grounded in reality. The bond markets, for instance, are getting jittery not because the deficit is so big alone but because they’re beginning to wonder if Americans will actually raise the revenues necessary to pay for it. Yes it’s high, but other countries are higher as a % of GDP. But again that isn’t what bothers the bond markets. It’s not that we’re spending so much, it’s that we’re putting it on the national credit card. I’d bring up the point that this is largely a construct of the borrow and spend beliefs of Team Red (you know, the things they do when they’re in power rather than the things they claim they’ll do when they’re not) but I know any time someone brings up 2000-2006 you clap your hands over your ears and go to your happy place so I won’t bother.

                I agree, happily, that there’s a lot of spending going on that shouldn’t be happened. I’ll point out while you merrily pummel your straw man that no one here at least (least of all me) is proposing that the deficit be solved by tax increases alone. But the Team Red idea that no tax increases are allowed at all (or the absolutely insane idea that MORE tax ideas are needed, thanks for that laugh Ryan) is flat out Looney tunes.

                And all this obfuscating still is dancing around the fact that Team Red says they want to reduce the deficit but what they actually are proposing to do in their plans is shrink and restructure the government, and only the parts they dislike. Again it’s a small government argument (which the voters are divided and ambivalent on) dressed up as a deficit argument (which everyone pretty much agrees on). It’s a bait and switch that may work for the low info voters but it’s certainly not going to fly with me or most people around here.

                Now personally I think this underscores just how terribly important it is that Obama lay out his own proposal to counter Ryans’. Bowles Simpson (which he woefully neglected) lays out a good roadmap for him. What the GOP is trying to pull off here is the culmination of a decade long scam where they get into power, run up the deficit on things they like (war, corporate welfare, agricultural subsidies, unsupported tax cuts and defense industry pork) and then dump the mess in the Dem’s lap and demand they solve it by cutting things the GOP dislikes (safety nets and welfare). If Obama actually knuckles under to this then as soon as the GOP gets into power they’ll run the government back into the red and start the cycle all over while yodeling about “starve the beast” like demented yeti’s.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to North says:

                This is a great response North, I think we have the chance of getting somewhere soon. If I read you correctly, I take we agree that there is a level of government expenditures that is unsustainable under any tax regime.

                You claim that doesn’t apply to the current trajectory of expenditures. I’ll write more on this later but for now let’s just note that your claim that everything is kosher is limited to Treasury returns.

                “What the GOP is trying to pull off here is the culmination of a decade long scam where they get into power, run up the deficit on things they like (war, corporate welfare, agricultural subsidies, unsupported tax cuts and defense industry pork)…”

                I know you want to think this, but I think you have to shift your train of thought here. In the latest budget negotiations, the Republicans pretty much conclusively demonstrated that whatever government spending you find objectionable is there because Team Blue insists on in being there. President Obama requested that $3.8 some trillion of budget allocation authority in February of this year. For all but $40 billion of miscellaneous crap, he was going to instigate a federal government shutdown.

                I don’t think you’ve grokked the consequences of this, substantively or politically.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North says:

                Contrary to what you may think Koz there are very few liberals here, in the Democratic party specifically or on the left in general who want to nationalize the means of production. Once you accept that markets are useful then the idea that there’s a level of taxation above which you just get evasion, economic distortion and severely impaired GDP is common sense.

                With regards to Ryan and the current budget negotiations I just can’t agree with you. Ryan et all have merely demanded that the deficit be managed via cutting the same things the GOP has always wanted to cut (with a naked pander to their current elderly base), of course Obama won’t agree to that, his party would revolt (and rightly so) if he did. This remains just the talk that the GOP bliovates when they know they don’t actually have the power to enact their words into policy. It is just talk so far. We’ve seen what they did when they had the reins and it certainly wasn’t anything I’d consider the last best hope for prosperity in America today.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to North says:

                Thanks for responding. These last couple of responses especially are really great material for responding to. And for yourself as well, I suspect that it’s difficult for you to understand what I write until the context between us is clearer.

                “With regards to Ryan and the current budget negotiations I just can’t agree with you.”

                For example, here. First of all, the idea that Mr. Obama, in the third year of his first term, has to wait for Mr. Ryan to do something before he responds, that’s laughable on its face.

                There’s also more chapters in the budget story than Mr. Ryan’s plan. Mr. Ryan’s plan is a proposal for the 2012 budget, associated statutory changes, and projections going forward. But, among other things the powers that be just finished negotiations for the 2011 budget, in a context where the Ryan plan had little or no bearing. And in those negotiations, the Administration threatened to shut down the federal government if any cuts at all were made to Mr. Obama’s budget request of $3.8 some trillion, save for $40 some billion of discretionary spending cuts that the Administration conceded to the Republicans. Therefore, if Mr. Obama had intent to restrain expenditures, there’s nothing Mr. Ryan is doing or has done that prevents him. But of course, Mr. Obama has no such intent and the rest of us make political and economic moves with that understanding.

                This gets back at something I mentioned to Pat a couple of threads ago, wrt the twists of the budget tail for the last few years and the lack of Demo credibility regarding same. Every piece of evidence tells the same story. But no piece of evidence tells the whole story. You can’t draw substantial conclusions from marginally relevant premises when the real story is comprehensively laid out somewhere else.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to North says:

                “Obama won’t agree to that, his party would revolt (and rightly so) if he did.”

                Why not? What does he have on the table?

                According to Mr. Obama’s proposals, we have got trillion dollar deficits more or less, for as long as actual numerical projections are done. Then in the long term, everything is overrun by Medicare metastasization. In the middle somewhere we might get a few years of deficits between 0 and $500 billion. It’s ridiculous. What problems do we think this is supposed to solve? Why do we think this is a credible course of action? It’s important to note that libs never directly argue that it is, at least I haven’t heard it.

                This is an example of what I was trying to get at in my post from last month. Before we make an argument regarding what we want to do, let’s get some kind of clarity of what we can do. This shouldn’t necessarily be a controversial assertion, but in the current context it very well might be. Wrt Team Blue’s mentality of government expenditures, if Team Blue insists on its current strategy, our efforts should be directed to eliminating Team Blue from participation in political affairs altogether.

                (Paul Krugman has written about “eliminationists” more than once, and of course Mr. Krugman is Jewish. Mr. Krugman can work his Holocaust-victim metaphors from now till the cows come home, but it’s a perversion of history to think that loss of political influence is somehow comparable to the Holocaust. And the rest of us don’t have to accept that for one minute.)

                That aside for now, most of Team Blue wants to horse trade with Team Red to increase taxes and to come to some vague understanding to spending controls. It may even end up going down that way, but somebody should sue Team Red for malpractice if it does. Let’s let Team Blue and Team Red come up with expenditure trajectories that make sense on their own terms, and then we can start jockeying back and forth. More importantly we can also give something legitimate to the American people and let them arbitrate.

                If Team Blue refuses to do this, let’s just pick up what Team Red has and run with that.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to North says:

                There’s also a particular point to be made on taxes which should help clarify things for you.

                http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy12/pdf/BUDGET-2012-BUD-29.pdf

                Mr. Obama’s spending request at the link above is taking into account current law. And in current law, the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of calendar year 2012. Therefore the deficit projections of Mr. Obama are assuming that those tax cuts are repealed (or not extended if you prefer).

                There’s going to be significant political pressure to extend those tax cuts, and not all of it will be from Republicans. Politically speaking, to say that they will all be gone is already a significantly optimistic political assumption wrt revenue. Therefore, there’s no point in talking any further about revenue until those tax cuts are extended, or not.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to North says:

                “Yes it’s high, but other countries are higher as a % of GDP. But again that isn’t what bothers the bond markets. It’s not that we’re spending so much, it’s that we’re putting it on the national credit card.”

                And those countries are having very, very severe problems. Why do we want to be like them?

                “But again that isn’t what bothers the bond markets.”

                Why do we care about bond markets? If the amount we could borrow or the interest was higher, we’d be in very severe trouble. But because we don’t have those problems doesn’t mean everything is kosher. The Euro nations strongarmed the banks and Greece refi-ed their government debt easily enough last year. That doesn’t mean people didn’t see the problems. It doesn’t mean they could do it now.

                “It’s not that we’re spending so much, it’s that we’re putting it on the national credit card.”

                “….on the credit card” is somewhere on the top ten list of phrases a liberal should never utter.

                “Contrary to what you may think Koz there are very few liberals here, in the Democratic party specifically or on the left in general who want to nationalize the means of production.”

                You’ve mentioned this before, but you’ve never demonstrated its relevance. Actions, in this case government expenditures, have objective consequences all be themselves. Why are we supposed to think lib-Demo’s intent somehow outweighs the objective consequences of their actions?Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Koz says:

            ROFL. If you say so, Koz. C’mon down from those fluffy clouds and misty waaater colored memories. Clinton campaigned on ending welfare as we know it. It was Moynihan who introduced Welfare to Work. The GOP’s contributions were limited to clever ideas such as single mothers living in their parents’ homes, denying any help at all to single mothers under 21 and converting everything to nice porky block grants to their states.

            Gingrich was a two bit clown then, but upon becoming Speaker proposes to deny any benefits to unmarried mothers. And everyone would have to work to get any benefits at all, but funding for work training was to be eliminated entirely.

            Is a pattern forming here? The GOP had no ideas other than their own pitiful morality propositions. Naturally, Clinton vetoed it and back it went to Congress. Eventually the GOP gets its pork block grants and Clinton gets his welfare to work programs.

            Now that’s what really happened.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Koz says:

            Koz is right Bp. I thought the idea of ‘welfare reform’ came outta Newt’z “contract with America?’ My problem with the whore mongering Clinton besides his bitch wife’s Rose law firm connections and their relationship with the thug, Jackson Stevens and his desire to build Waste Technologies Industries haz waste incinerator in my hometown, is Bubba’s bootlicking of the Chi-coms and the amount of hi-tech info the traitor provided for them in exchange for money for the commie-dem’s, baby-killing political organization.
            .Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

              (wearily) Earth to Robert. Come in Robert. Clinton got elected on the promise of reforming welfare. Obama had plenty to say about it, too. Down here, in the real world, state assistance must constantly be monitored and fine tuned. Push it here, it bulges there, and not all ideas work, and even good ideas don’t work everywhere.

              This ought to be one area where Conservatives and Liberals ought to agree. But not you, Robert. With you, it’s one long litany of paternosters and credos and not an fact-based assertion in the whole of your missive with the exception of detailing a NIMBY conniption fit you had a while back.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I take it Bubba’s a favorite. As I recall the meetings between Bubba and Newt went in the shitter because Bubba was dithering around while his bitch wife was trying to screw the country with universal, commie-dem healtcare. Finally, Newt, who was at this time married to a girl from my home county who he would later betray, had enough of Bubba’s crap and pushed for ‘welfare reform’ on his/GOP own and while Bubba vetoed two GOP welfare bills he signed the third.
                You’ve been drifting lately and it’s bothering me. When a young whippersnapper like “Scott” has to correct your usually reliable latin/historical references I begin to wonder what else is a figment of your damaged psyche?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Not really. Bubba was a sleazebag. I think I already told you the story about those two Big Agco lobbyists, who Bubba told two different stories within fifteen minutes of each other.

                I was discussing Bubba with a French man and his wife, around the time of Monica. The GOP had Monica’s whole sorry confession read into evidence, memba that? Under the desk, the bathroom scene, the cigar, all that…. The woman said that was just sick, the GOP was just a bunch of prudes.

                Her husband’s response was far more interesting. He thought Bubba was a crude beast, not because he’d had sex with this girl, but because he’d never slept with her in bed, had merely used her, and obviously didn’t love her.

                As for the rest of your harangue, Robert, you lose points for lack of originality. Unless you can say something which hasn’t been said by others, what’s the point of writing a comment here? It’s just Vain Repetition. Quit it.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Bp, I write comments here to hep libruls. For libruls you have to repeat yourself.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Well, don’t. It’s rather like teaching the pig to sing. Wastes your time, annoys the pig.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I’ll think about that!
                Here’s a book you may enjoy:
                http://www.voegelinview.com/john-a-novel-review.htmlReport

              • Avatar Koz in reply to BlaiseP says:

                “Clinton got elected on the promise of reforming welfare.”

                No Blaise. Generations of Democrats got elected by promising to stay on the straight and narrow to the folks back home and then get their freak on when they got to Washington. Mr. Clinton was no exception. Welfare reform became law in summer of 1996 because Clinton got rolled by Team Red, end of.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Koz says:

                This is some nice revisionist history. Clinton was talking about welfare reform before the Republicans took the majority in the house (for the first time in ~45 years) and Newt became Speaker of the House. Let’s not forget that Clinton was a leading member of the Democratic Leadership Council, a group of center-right Dems who wanted to rein in the more left-wing elements of the party.

                After the Republicans took majorities in both chambers of Congress it was a matter of negotiation and compromise until a bill was created that both Clinton and the Republicans could live with.

                Clinton was not rolled. By blocking earlier Republican bills he could paint himself as the voice of reason standing against radicals who wanted to let poor people starve and freeze to death, the ultimately be the one who successfully got the public credit for reforming welfare, which helped him win re-election in ’96, when the GOP–after their big mid-term election wins–thought he was going to be an easy target. Trust me, there were no Republicans in Congress after the budget battle and welfare reform who thought they’d rolled Clinton.

                It’s amazing, though, how after a decade and a half the story gets rewritten for one side’s convenience.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to James Hanley says:

                No James. Clinton got rolled. Or to be more precise, the left-wing activist class got rolled by the American people. Mr. Clinton was elected President in 1992 and signed the welfare reform just a few months before his reelection in 1996.

                Clinton vetoed the bill twice in the hope that it would go away. And there was some chance that it would. Bob Dole wasn’t in outright opposition to welfare reform, but it was clear that he wanted the issue for ammunition against Mr. Clinton. Fortunately the GOP took the issue and left Mr. Dole to his own devices which turned out to be insufficient. And IIRC, it wasn’t till after the third attempt had cleared Congress or very nearly so when it became clear that President Clinton would sign it.

                No, the reason we got welfare reform was because the GOP stayed with the American people instead of the left-wing activist class and insisted it got done.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Koz says:

                Generations of Democrats got elected by promising to stay on the straight and narrow to the folks back home and then get their freak on when they got to Washington. Mr. Clinton was no exception.

                This, of course, is even more revisionist than the bit about Clinton getting rolled.

                It must be nice to have as much faith in a team as Koz does, though.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Chris says:

                Sometimes he’s so rigidly on message for team Red that I wonder if he’s a campaign staffer or something.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Koz says:

        I dunno, if you got gridlock then all the Bush taxcuts would sunset which would certainly help balance out the accounts pretty well. With severe enough gridlock the wars would have to end as well and then you’d be a long way down the road back to a balanced budget.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

          Gridlock is the best we can realistically hope for.

          If we want to be unrealistic, we can daydream about a Pawlenty/Obama debate. Or a Johnson/Obama debate.

          Instead of a Huckabee/Obama debate.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to North says:

          Allow taxes to increase for small bidness and you won’t get the increase in employment Barry needs to get outta this depression. The really rich have ways of avoiding taxes. I heard on rightwing radio that Mickey D’s had 62,000 jobs available across the country recently and over 1,000,000 Americans applied. I’d say Barry’s got us in a real good depression.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to North says:

          “I dunno, if you got gridlock then all the Bush taxcuts would sunset…”

          That’s a very good point which is a big part of the reason why the D’s are in such a hurtbag. In terms of congressional or presidential budget negotiations, there’s no point in dealing with revenue, there’s not even much point in talking about it. Clearly the slow reaction in this picture is the unwillingness of the D’s who count to cut expenditures.

          Therefore, the voters who want unemployment to go down can get rid of the D’s. Then, we can restore investment in America and we can all go back to work.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to tom van dyke says:

      “And that wouldn’t be a bad thing, a fiscally responsible GOP congress …”

      Somebody once wrote that when your financial advisor suggest putting some of your money into the Easter Bunny Egg Fund, you don’t care what else they’re saying.Report

    • > And that wouldn’t be a bad thing, a fiscally responsible
      > GOP congress and a bleeding heart Prez to play
      > “Dave” like Kevin Kline.

      This has a non-zero chance to turn out less than badly, as does the converse, with a GOP President and a bleeding heart Congress.Report

  5. Yes, pre-OBL. And when I say feign, I mean only at first. In general, I’d be surprised if he really did much with this. It’d be another big risk to try to parlay this into a draw-down and that’s not his style. But if he were to do so, now would probably be the time — and he’d be best served looking as if he was pushed (though not pushed around) by his left.Report

    • Elia, I don’t think a drawdown in Afghanistan will meet much more than cosmetic resistance from the GOP. It was “the good war,” but it’s an impossible “nation-building” task. [It never was a nation in any recognizably Western sense.]

      Iraq, on the other hand, might be said to be vice-versa.Report

  6. Avatar Herb says:

    “They are going to want real answers about jobs and growth and unless the Demo’s get a better message than what they’ve shown so far this movie will not end well for them.”

    Sure it will. Obama is an incumbent president with a growing list of achievements under his belt. It’s the Republican who will need a “better message.”

    The truth of the matter is that Obama had the advantage before, and if anything, he has even more of an advantage now. Killing Osama Bin Laden isn’t the kind of thing that gets you a short term bump in the polls. It’s the kind of thing that cements your place in history.

    Good luck “Trumping” that with the Paul Ryan plan.Report

  7. Avatar Koz says:

    “It’s the kind of thing that cements your place in history.”

    A place in history and 9% unemployment is enough to buy 180 EVs and a U-Haul back to Chicago. His biggest “achievement” is substandard growth. I like this explanation from Ezra Klein.Report

    • Avatar Axel Edgren in reply to Koz says:

      “His biggest “achievement” is substandard growth.”

      After the worst recession since the great depression, growth is already higher than the Bush average of 2.2 percent.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Axel Edgren says:

        The worst Clinton year was better than the best Dubya year, in terms of job growth, but you’ll never year Republicans saying so.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to Barry says:

          Well, how’s the Obama job growth been? Is there any reason to think it’s better than McCain would have been, or better than Mitch Daniels if he’s reelected? No. If there was any to be accomplished by the stimulus, it’s fair to say we’d have seen it be now.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Axel Edgren says:

        Did you even read the link? The deeper the recession the more important the growth is now (and should be easier to get btw).Report

    • Avatar Herb in reply to Koz says:

      “His biggest “achievement” is substandard growth.”

      Ah, come on now. He’s the president, not the Central Planner. His policies influence the economy, but not so much it can reverse the effects of a massive global recession in a couple years.

      A hypothetical Republican president would have the same problem. It’s just that a hypothetical Republican president can’t say he gave the kill order on Bin Laden. Because Obama owns that.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Herb says:

        “Ah, come on now. He’s the president, not the Central Planner. His policies influence the economy, but not so much it can reverse the effects of a massive global recession in a couple years.”

        Oh that’s exactly what’s wrong. He can triage the welfare state, which is exactly what centrist, independent, or even culturally-leaning Demo’s were hoping and expecting him to do. If he’d have done that, (enough to the point where we could credibly reduce our future liabilities from $100 trillion or whatever), then we could actually use our capital base and everybody could go back to work. And we’d all have a very merry Christmas.Report

        • Avatar Herb in reply to Koz says:

          And if my horse had a horn, it would be a unicorn.

          I guess I just don’t see how re-jiggering the US welfare state was going to prevent, or ameliorate, a GLOBAL economic meltdown. Maybe you can explain it to me.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Herb says:

            Well you see, cutting welfare during the recession would have likely exploded it into a full on depression, leading to Obama and every Dem in sight getting thrown out of office in a route without accomplishing anything and then letting the GOP sweep in and burn down whatever was left of the welfare state and then have more money to spend on invading Iran or whatever other state caught their fancy.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Herb says:

            “Maybe you can explain it to me.”

            It’s not that hard. The only issue is that “meltdown” is a little ambiguous. I don’t know if you’re talking about fall 2008 or now.

            The perception that, in the future, government expenditures will dominate the economy prevents investment today. Job creations occurs from investment. Therefore unemployment is high.

            Aside from the perception of runaway government spending, there really is no reason for 10% unemployment today. And we wouldn’t have it (or 9% or whatever) if John McCain were President.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Koz says:

          As a side point, speaking a slight social democratic hack, you know how to spot a conservative hack? When they speak of the future liabilities in Medicare and Social Security in a way nobody else does about nothing else.

          After all, does anybody say, “I have future liabilities of 48,000 for food for the next thirty years?”Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

            “I have future liabilities of 48,000 for food for the next thirty years?”

            It’s generally assumed.

            Now, if I were responsible for feeding you, I *MIGHT* say “I have future liabilities of $48000 for food for the next thirty years”, especially if you keep hammering about how I need to make sure that you are fed, and fed well, and how it is my obligation to feed you, and people feed other people in Denmark, and the dollar menu doesn’t count.Report

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