Posts tagged ‘deficit hawks’

WTF Friday

As we normalized President DFF, it is also how we normalize WTF moments. In fact they just become news tidbits among all the news tidbits. But still we have them. The biggest one is those fiscal conservative Republicans just passed a massive spending bill that raises our debt massively. If you are not confused by the propaganda machine you will note that that has been their modus operandi since Ronald Reagan. It is kind of hard to be the party of big military spending, tax cuts, and the magical supply side economics and do anything but blow up the budget. Not sure how they got the reputation of fiscal hawks other than they cried loudest about deficit spending but did the most to ensure it.

The next WTF moment will come when we hit the debt ceiling, the amount we have agreed is the debt we will pay for (we already spent it, see above). We will see if the hypocrisy reins supreme if they start pounding their chests on this one. This is one of those things we should have changed a long time ago, if you authorized the spending then you authorized the raising of the debt ceiling to pay our bills. I have argued before that Republican’s fixation on debt and trying to make the micro economy the same as the macroeconomy of our economy equal is disingenuous, but there is an element of truth to it in the details:

As we learned from John Maynard Keynes, deficit spending should be countercyclical. When economic growth goes down, deficits should go up, and vice versa. The idea is that the government can pick up the slack when private demand lags (as was the case back in 2009).”

But they are doing just the opposite here. Here is the thing. In a economy we should be raising taxes right now if we really need all this spending. Now I am all for a strong military, but President DFF and his cohorts confuse a strong military with a strong country as if bullying is the only tactic of power. We are becoming weakened in the world, not because we got the biggest baddest weapons, but because we are becoming economically and ethically weak under President DFF and his boys. Note he now wants a military parade to show off our shiny weapons while we withdraw from the stage of economic deals to strengthen our power and influence in the rest of the world.

And here is really a WTF moment for conservatives if they want to admit it. Here in California under the leadership of a very pragmatic liberal, Jerry Brown, we are putting money away for a rainy day.  Yes there are Californians who don’t like the gas tax or the higher taxes, but they are the next wave of fools that vote Republican, and they are a minority.  When things got better we did not “give the money back to all those hard working rich people,” we started putting it away for when the economy turns south as it may be doing now. It is because Democrats have always been the party of more careful budgeting. The best way to talk about debt is a percentage of GDP and here are the facts:

Republican presidents after Eisenhower have increased the federal debt as a percentage of gross domestic product by a total of 60%. Democratic presidents have reduced the debt as a percentage of GDP by a total of 9%.

President Obama is the only Democratic President during whose time in office the debt has risen relative to GDP. The data extends to the end of FY2014 (September 2014). President Obama’s bar will almost certainly drop by the end of his presidency, as GDP growth is relatively high and the deficit is relatively low. 2/5ths of the increase during President Obama’s presidency occurred during the first year while the country was still in the midst of the Great Recession.

Of course President Obama inherited a failed economy in 2009 and safety net, stimulus, and war spending (from the Bush War) did not help. But the bottom line when you look at numbers and you care about debt and deficits, you are better off under Democrats.

We need to be raising taxes right now, not cutting them. Gas tax should go up to pay for improvements to our transportation systems. The recent tax cut should be repealed so that the wealthy pay their fair share, and we should be investing in infrastructure improvements. In fact, there is a bigger picture here if we are willing to look at it. Economic inequality. We need to more fairly share our gains so our citizens have the buying power to keep our economy self sustaining. But I am spitting into the wind. People who believe in sounder budgets vote for Republicans because they make the most noise about it, but never deliver. WTF.

Well we will have another disaster like the Bush years and then Democrats will regain power. Hopefully this time they won’t think the answer is to reach across the aisle to find middle ground solutions that fail and put the fools back in power. They should just turn away from that approach and leave them in the dust of history’s failed lessons. I can hope.

The New Normal

I have, as many others have, been warning against accepting the DFF and Republicans falling in line behind him as the new normal. I have argued this is not normal and we should not normalize him or them. But it is the new normal. I don’t know about you, but when you don’t think it could get any worse, then you peruse the morning paper, and it is much worse. What are you to do (vote)? Here was a smattering of what is in the news this morning:

Let’s take the last two. Remember the Tea Party and the Tea Party Caucus in Congress. They were going to make the government fiscally sound again, “Debt is the problem!” “Balanced budgets!” Those were the guys and gals who shut down, or threatened to shut down the government over increasing the debt limit (stupid in itself). Now those boys and girls just passed a tax cut (none of them have read) that will add $1.5 trillion to the deficit. Say what? Oh, don’t worry, when they are faced with increasing the debt limit to fund what they approved, as they have to do each year they will balk. Yeah, makes no sense whatsoever.

Meanwhile, what of Democrats? Who cares? And that is about it. From their loss of the House in 2010 on they have been clueless that they are clueless. And the biggest problem is that it is the same old people which is part of the reason that even though they are making sense, no one is listening. Here is from Eugene Robinson cited above:

Both major parties are in crisis, and I believe the reason is that the ground has shifted beneath them in ways they do not understand. Until the contours of the new political landscape become clear and the parties reshape themselves accordingly, I fear that chaos and turmoil will reign as the new normal.

Let me be clear: I am not postulating any sort of false equivalency. It was the Republican Party that nominated Trump for president, and it consequently must be blamed for this horror show of an administration. The party that loves to grandly invoke the name of Abraham Lincoln sent to the White House a crass egomaniac who cynically heightens racial animosities — a man who, by temperament and ability, is patently unfit for high office. You did that, Republicans.

…But the party (Democrats) managed to lose a presidential election to a man who had never been elected to public office, who slandered Mexican immigrants as rapists, who used African Americans and Latinos as foils to help him stoke feelings of grievance among whites, and who bragged about sexually harassing and assaulting random women. You lost to that guy, Democrats.

The party of Franklin Roosevelt allowed the GOP to pretend to champion the interests of the working class. Failure to connect with white voters in the Rust Belt is only part of the story of last year’s defeat, and maybe not the most important part. Democrats failed to sufficiently energize their core constituencies — urbanites, African Americans, Latinos, women, young people.

But what we got was the same old party pushing away the new blood and resurrecting the old establishment. As I noted yesterday, even Donna Brazile is back. So no one cares what they have to say because, let’s face it, they are losers. So that is where we are today. Republicans out of control trying to pass anything without the slightest scintilla of analysis, but a win on the coat strings of a narcissistic pig, and Democrats feckless to understand that the ground is moving under their feet. Just another Friday where it would seem the only news worth watching is sports news. Go Houston/Dodgers. I haven’t decided yet. This is just great baseball. Maybe that is all we have left of America.

The Democrats Just Don’t Know How to Negotiate

I watched Steny Hoyer, Democratic Whip, tonight say all the wrong things and send all the wrong messages after the debacle in the House where they ajourned until after Christmas refusing to even vote for John Boehner’s rediculous proposal. Here is a reasonable translation of Steny’s comments if you are sitting on the other side:

We need to get an agreement before the end of the year.
Message: We will cave some more.
The President is willing to work over Christmas to come to an agreement.
Message: We will cave some more.
We need to work with those Republicans who are putting the country first.
Message: We will cave some more

The message should have been:

There is a very reasonable offer on the table and we have gone as far as we can go which if we go over the cliff, will be off the table and we start anew in 2013.”

Then the Democrats need to caucus because we are going over the cliff and the Republicans/Boehner are not going to deliver the votes necessary for any reasonable agreement unless the Democrats totally cave. And if they did then it would mean that elections mean nothing and the Democrats are showing what gutless wonders they are. They would be compromising with policies that wrecked the economy and what you are seeing is the dysfunction that American voters brought us in 2010 that brought ideologues to Congress and allowed state governments to gerrymander their districts so that the House of Representatives no longer represents the majority of the voters.

Then I listened to Howard Dean who is a deficit hawk and who clearly does not understand that we are going to have to have a larger deficit to get the economy again and is fine with going over the deficit cliff because this will be real deficit reduction. It will be, but that is the problem as it will devastate the economy. We need to go over the cliff because the deal the President offered is a bad deal. But then we have to have a plan for real hardball politics for the debt ceiling debates.

PEOPLE! THE FOCUS HERE IS TO GET THE ECONOMY GOIN AGAIN, FULL STOP. THE DEFICIT CLIFF IS AN ARTIFICIAL CRISIS THAT CONSTRICTS THE ECONOMY TOO MUCH AND SHUTS IT DOWN. THE DEBT CEILING IS ANOTHER ARTIFICIAL CRISIS THAT WILL WRECK HAVOC ON OUR ECONOMY. BOTH HAD BEEN CREATED BY REPUBLICANS AND SOLVING EITHER ONE IS NECESSARY, BUT NOT SUFFICIENT TO GET OUR ECONOMY GOING AGAIN! WHERE IS THE STRATEGIC PLAN BY THE DEMOCRATS TO GET BEYOND THESE AND GET THE ECONOMY GOING!!!!

Now is the time to lay out that plan and indicate that going over the cliff resets all negotiations to ground zero and all previous offers are off the table, and take it to the people. There are Republicans in the caucus who are not crazy and the negotiations are going to have to include those Republicans and the Democrats who must buy into this agreement, Otherwise we are just going to capitulate one more time to the Republicans in the name of “saving the economy” where you are losing the war and the voters who brought you into office. If you have a problem with what that plan should be, see Paul Krugman. He has been right every step of the way in this mess and you continue to ignore him.

No Pie Eyed Democrat Here

Just in case you are wondering, no, I am not some fawning supporter of Barrack Obama. I think he is a good person and he has a lot on his shoulders. He is infinitely more in tuned with where we need to go than Mitt Romney and the Republicans who seem fixed on returning us to a 19th century vision of America, that may I add, did not exist. He has also fallen short on many things that are extremely important to me. But then so has the whole Democratic Party although the last two days has shown me some real backbone for a change. In my mind only a fool would vote Republican if you bothered to fact check anything. They represent a failed philosophy to governing and our economy that requires a total suspension of reality to hang on to. There is an edge of racism and exclusion in their ranks that is more similar to the assumed superiority of royalty.

But just to be clear, let me tell you where I think Mr. Obama has fallen short and where we need him to go in the next four years. I do this with the full knowledge that sitting on my hill with a glass of wine pontificating is a whole lot different than actually sitting in the Oval Office and running a country. But if we don’t shoot for the stars, why have stars:

  • Obamacare was a start, but only a start and we need medicare for everyone. Our broken system will only get its cost under control when we learn the lessons of the rest of the world in running health care insurance.
  • The economy is the issue and you can’t have deficit control and stimulus at the same time. The problem is lack of demand and only government can stimulate that demand right now. So suck it up. Quit pandering to the deficit hawks and start talking about how we grow out of our debt.  Reform the system so we all pay more and then reinvest it in stimulus
  • Close Guantanamo and get it over with. I know it was Congress who threw up the roadblocks, but where was the fight?
  • Eric Holder just dropped the last cases against CIA agents who tortured people to death in Iraq. Where is the moral outrage? Where is the investigation of torture and a real inquiry into what we did and to make amends?
  • Why do we still have the Patriot Act? Why are you not fighting to get many of these onerous provisions removed to restore our civil liberties?
  • No, it is not true that we now have a system where banks are not too big to fail. They still are and this administration like most politicians has drunk the market place Kool-aid the banks passed out for free and needs to understand that regulators aren’t the answer, but limiting the size and reach of financial institution is. Banks will never self-regulate when greed is their modus operandi
  • Get out of Afghanistan, now. I cry every time I see another American who died so we can prop up a country that isn’t worth propping up. Yes, I cry real tears as I think about standing in front of the Vietnam Memorial and read names of my friends who died for nothing. Wars have to be worthy and this one, like that one, is not
  • We need debt relief now in overhanging debt in the mortgage market. Gut up and quit worrying about being called soft on the abusers. When the economy finally takes off, nobody will care
  • Finally recognize as FDR did, that this Republican Party represents not just people with differing opinions in the market place of ideas, but ideas and intentions that will destroy what made America a great nation. Understand that all they want is your failure and call them out for what they are and take them on toe to toe. Democrats have to start standing for something instead of taking a measure of which way the wind is blowing to see if they can stay in office. Quit trying to find compromise with failed ideas

All in all there is only one choice and the America I love has been on display in the Democratic Convention where they have actually shown some spine. But still, I can dream for more.