Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston





The U.S. was just downgraded from a “Full” to “Flawed Democracy.”

You can thank President Porn-Star Shagger, the one who praised a murderous North Korean dictator and insulted our closest ally, Canada.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Mitt Romeny is either ignorant of the facts or a bald-faced liar when he accuses Mr. Obama of out-of-control spending.  So are the conservatives who continue to repeat that talking point.

What Liberal Media? 

Every conservative blog I've read continues with the fallacy of Obama being a big spender.  It's all a lie and even the Wall Street Journal had to acknowledge it.  What are the chances that we'll hear the opposition admit to this? 

Answer:  Slim to none. 

Why?  Cognitive dissonance again.  Conservatives have been repeating this lie so many times that it is now received "truthiness," so how can they possibly admit they've been hornswoggled by a lazy media and dishonest pundits and bloggers?  Or worse, so blinded by their hatreds, they cannot allow the truth to bleed through to their consciousness.

BTW, take a look at the chart and understand who the biggest spenders are.

From NPR's website:

"Democrats like Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager of President Obama's re-election effort, and Donna Brazile, the Democratic political strategist, were delighted to point on Tuesday to an analysis of federal spending under President Obama compared with his predecessors.

Max Nutting, a journalist who writes for the MarketWatch website affiliated with The Wall Street Journal looked at the data and found that rhetoric and reality don't quite match up.

Nutting found that, contrary to repeated allegations from the president's political foes, including Mitt Romney, that Obama has been on a federal spending tear, he actually hasn't.

Indeed, Nutting, spending under Obama has actually occurred at a slower rate than it did under previous White House occupants.

You actually have to go back decades to find a presidency — Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s to be precise — in which spending happened at a slower rate.

An excerpt:
"Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an "inferno" of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children's future. Even Democrats seem to think it's true.

"But it didn't happen. Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.

"Even hapless Herbert Hoover managed to increase spending more than Obama has."
Hoover happened to be president when Will Rogers, that great American humorist, was at the height of his popularity. It was Rogers who gave us a line that is no less true today then when he uttered it more than 75 years ago:
"It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble. It's what we know that just ain't so."
I've asked the Romney campaign for a response to Nutting's piece and will update this post with same."

 Rex Nutting's writing in Market Watch:

By Rex Nutting, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree.


I'd love to hear how the Obama haters will spin this!  

It'll drive them nuts to have to admit that Mr. Obama is a fiscally responsible president!

Smartypants has a great post up on this subject with an additional graph showing that the GOP are the big spenders.

Meteor Blades over at the daily kos writes:

"A key aspect of budgeting often ignored for political conveniency is the fact that the federal fiscal year begins Oct. 1. So by the time Obama stepped into the Oval Office, the budget for fiscal 2009 was already nearly one-third spent and expenditures for the rest of the year locked in. He added about $140 billion to the spending in 2009 through the stimulus plan.
chart on federal spending under Obama
The big surge in federal spending happened in fiscal
2009, before Obama took office.
For the four budget years Obama has had a direct hand in shaping, federal spending is on track to go from $3.52 trillion to $3.58 trillion. On an annual basis, that's 0.4 percent. When those dollars are inflation-adjusted, federal spending will actually have fallen during Obama's first four budgets at an average rate of 1.4 percent. That, Nutting says, is the first real decline since Richard Nixon pulled hundreds of thousands of the U.S. troops out of Vietnam 40 years ago.

What's also true, of course, is that revenue hasn't kept up with spending. This is partly due to tax cuts pushed through by George Bush, two wars rushed into by George Bush and a record-busting recession that began on George Bush's watch. The impact of the last includes millions of Americans out of work or working fewer hours, thereby reducing income tax revenues and putting immense pressure on expenditures for food stamps and unemployment insurance benefits."


Leslie Parsley said...

The Three Musketeers plus one (Boehner, Cantor, McConnell and Romney) qill ignore it and continue to spew their mythology. Shared.

Anonymous said...

I hope people study the details, but Americans won't pay attention until November first.
Government needs to be reformed and both parties are guilty, of failing to perform that duty.
When reform happens (it will have to) it's imperative for Democrats to be in the White House and have majority in the House, to succeed in passing legislation that represents all the people.

Silverfiddle said...

So his 5 trillion in debt is just a figment of our imagination...

Here's the plain truth:

btw, where is the WSJ link?

Rational Nation USA said...

Shaw - Cognitive Dissonance, must be the new buzz word as the business class I recently finished delved into the affect and impact of cognitive dissonance in the workplace. Interesting indeed.

Well, point made. And I, as well as others acknowledge that GWB was in fact quite the "liberal spendthrift." And on misguided ventures and direction.

So, shouldn't the real concern be how to slow and ultimately reverse the trajectory we find our national debt and annual deficits currently on? Don't we need a basic and yet deep change in how the nation does business?

If the simplistic answer is "just raise taxes" then that solution is as singularly misguided as those who would "starve the beast" with no thought to infrastructure impact etc.

Oh well, either way as near as I can guess at this point in the game is we're pretty much screwed either way. The real hope for change lies in the person of Gary J

Rational Nation USA said...

ohnson. And what Silver said..

S.W. Anderson said...

Excellent post on a point that can't be made too loudly and clearly or too often.

It also bears mentioning that when demonizing Obama as the biggest big-spending Democrat of all time, the folks who had no problem with Bush & Co. putting two wars and Medicare Part D on the national credit card (where they wouldn't crimp W's re-election prospects), those same people charge the cost of those three things as part of Obama's supposedly profligate spending. That's because, acting responsibly, Obama put the wars and Rx drug program for seniors on the budget shortly after he became president. But doing it ballooned the deficit even before the stimulus spending got under way.

S.W. Anderson said...

RN, raising taxes on the rich is a survival tactic for the country's nonwealthy many. It's swinging the pendulum back toward a compromise "center." Not back to the point of being genuinely fair, considering how the rich and super rich have played the system like a grand piano the past 30 years, of course, but closer.

Federal nonmilitary discretionary spending wasn't runaway when Obama became president, and where he hasn't cut it back he's mostly held it steady. Holding steady has amounted to a cut for the poor struggling to afford gas, electricity, food and some other things whose prices have risen as if all the talk about how inflation is negligible was true across the board.

Silverfiddle said...

George Bush spent too much as well, but he racked up half the debt Obama has, and he had eight years to do it.

Not apologizing for Bush, but putting it back in perspective.

Shaw Kenawe said...

SF, I think SWA answered your link about debt under Mr. Obama:

"...those same people charge the cost of those three things as part of Obama's supposedly profligate spending. That's because, acting responsibly, Obama put the wars and Rx drug program for seniors on the budget shortly after he became president. But doing it ballooned the deficit even before the stimulus spending got under way.'

Speaking of debt:

"...Ronald Reagan signed 17 debt ceiling increases into law. (That might explain why the Gipper repeatedly demanded Congress boost his borrowing authority and called the oceans of red ink he bequeathed to America his greatest regret.) As it turns out, Republican majorities voted seven times to raise the debt ceiling under President Bush and the current GOP leadership team voted a combined 19 times to bump the debt limit $4 trillion during his tenure. (That vote tally included a "clean" debt ceiling increase in 2004, backed by 98 current House Republicans and 31 sitting GOP Senators.)

Of course, they had to. After all, the two unfunded wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the budget-busting Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 (the first war-time tax cut in modern U.S. history) and the Medicare prescription drug program drained the U.S. Treasury. Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Eric Cantor voted for all of it."

A comprehensive review of spending under the GOP and the Dems by HERE.

I think the conservatives need to be careful about their complaints about big government spending, since the GOP, according to history, and engaged in it with gusto!

Conservatives complain and whine about it only when the Dems are involved in doing what they do so well.

Silverfiddle said...

No he didn't. And you can talk about Reagan's spending all day long. I'll point out again, Obama has outspent both Bush and Reagan 16 year in only four.

And I am not sticking up for Bush (I've got to say that since you libs are constantly abandoning facts and reason and instead constantly striving to score points in political team sports).

I'll even go so far as to pin much of the problem on him. Bush did amp up spending his last year when the economy crashed. This set a new, much higher spending baseline. Obama grew it slightly, which is how you get these "rate of growth" numbers for Obama. Bush raised the bar to irresponsible levels his last year, and Obama has kept it there, even raising it slightly, which is how he incurred so much debt.

Yeah, Bush started the "emergency" spending, eating all the statistical increase, and Obama has built on it.

This is propagandistic sophistry, and thankfully the American people are seeing through it. Success works (Reagan); failure doesn't (Obama).

Worst recovery on record, and most debt ever racked up by a US president.

Shaw Kenawe said...

SF, I'll let Ezra Klein, who knows much more about this subject than I do, answer your talking points:

"How much has Obama added to the debt, anyway?

There are two answers: more than $4 trillion, or about $983 billion. The first answer is simple and wrong. The second answer is more complicated but a lot closer to being right.

When Obama took office, the national debt was about $10.5 trillion. Today, it’s about $15.2 trillion. Simple subtraction gets you the answer preferred by most of Obama’s opponents: $4.7 trillion.

But ask yourself: Which of Obama’s policies added $4.7 trillion to the debt? The stimulus? That was just a bit more than $800 billion. TARP? That passed under George W. Bush, and most of it has been repaid.

There is a way to tally the effects Obama has had on the deficit. Look at every piece of legislation he has signed into law. Every time Congress passes a bill, either the Congressional Budget Office or the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the effect it will have on the budget over the next 10 years. And then they continue to estimate changes to those bills. If you know how to read their numbers, you can come up with an estimate that zeros in on the laws Obama has had a hand in.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities was kind enough to help me come up with a comprehensive estimate of Obama’s effect on the deficit. As it explained to me, it’s harder than it sounds.

Obama, for instance, is clearly responsible for the stimulus. The health-care law, too.

When Obama entered office, the Bush tax cuts were already in place and two wars were ongoing. Is it fair to blame Obama for war costs four months after he was inaugurated, or tax collections 10 days after he took office?"


Silverfiddle said...

Compared to Obama, Reagan's small deficits look like the good old days. And unlike with Obama, America got something for Reagan's tiny deficits: A historically-unprecedented economic boom, and later an actual budget surplus thanks to President Clinton's wise continuation of Reaganomics.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"So the center built a baseline that includes everything that predated Obama and everything we knew about the path of the economy and the actual trajectory of spending through August 2011. Deviations from the baseline represent decisions made by the Obama administration. Then we measured the projected cost of Obama’s policies.

In two instances, this made Obama’s policies look more costly. First, both Democrats and Republicans tend to think the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts is a quirky budget technicality, and their full extension should be assumed. In that case, voting for their extension looks costless, and they cannot be blamed for the resulting increase in deficits. I consider that a dodge, and so I added Obama’s decision to extend the Bush tax cuts for two years — at a total cost of $620 billion — to his total. If Obama follows through on his promise to extend all the cuts for income under $250,000 in 2013, it will add trillions more to the deficit.

The other judgment call was when to end the analysis. After 10 years? After the first term? We chose 2017, the end of a hypothetical second term. Those are the years Obama might be blamed for, so they seemed like the ones to watch. But Obama’s spending is frontloaded, and his savings are backloaded. The stimulus bill, for instance, is mostly finished. But the Budget Control Act is expected to save $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years. The health-care law is expected to save more than a trillion dollars in its second decade. If our numbers were extended further, the analysis would have reflected more of Obama’s planned deficit reduction.

There’s also the issue of who deserves credit for what. In this analysis, anything Obama signed is attributed to Obama. But reality is more complicated. The $2.1 trillion debt-ceiling deal wouldn’t have happened without the Republicans. But a larger deficit-reduction deal — one including tax increases and spending cuts — might have.

In total, the policies Obama has signed into law can be expected to add almost a trillion dollars to deficits. But behind that total are policies that point in very different directions. The stimulus, for instance, cost more than $800 billion. So did the 2010 tax deal, which included more than $600 billion to extend the Bush tax cuts for two years, and hundreds of billions more in unemployment insurance and the payroll tax cut. Obama’s first budget increased domestic discretionary spending by quite a bit, but more recent legislation has cut it substantially. On the other hand, the Budget Control Act — the legislation that resolved August’s debt-ceiling standoff — saves more than $1 trillion. And the health-care reform law saves more than $100 billion."

Shaw Kenawe said...

"For comparison’s sake, using the same method, beginning in 2001 and ending in 2009, George W. Bush added more than $5 trillion to the deficit. You can see the breakdown in the chart atop the post, or in a larger, more readable, chart here.

What is often assumed in this conversation is that all deficit spending is equal and all of it is bad. That’s not the case. Deficit spending when the economy is growing is different from deficit spending when the economy is in crisis."


Silverfiddle said...

...and now that Obama has ended one war and is winding down another, where is the dividend?

Silverfiddle said...

Lipstick on a pig...

Worst. Economic. Recovery. Ever.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Keep repeating that until you believe it, SF. But I'm believing the guy who backed up his assessment on the SLOWEST RATE OF FEDERAL SPENDING since Eisenhower.

That means something. You and others ignore the catastrophe that the GOP handed to this president and the intransigence of the Congress to get anything done.

During the inauguration, the big kahunas in the GOP were already plotting to undermine him.

You and others nicely joined in that destructive chorus; and instead of working with the man the American people soundly voted for in 2008, the opposition did all it could to sabotage him and America.

Good way to make points for the conservatives; bad way to screw America.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dean Baker has a balanced view, and shows how the GOP did all it could to sabotage the recovery so that dudes like you could go on blogs and crow about how bad a recovery it is. It's like setting fire to a house, shutting of access to water, then blaming the firemen for not doing a better job of saving the house.

Baker: "This is where the stimulus came in. The government had to fill the gap in demand. This fact has nothing to do with how much we like the government compared with the private sector. Private businesses were not about to increase their investment by $1 trillion (this would be doubling annual investment) at a time when the economy was in the tank. That doesn't make any sense.

President Obama's stimulus helped fill the gap in demand. At this point there have been numerous studies by independent economists, including the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, almost all of which find that the stimulus created between 2 million and 3 million jobs. This was an important boost to the economy at a time when it desperately needed it. It is important to remember that President Obama had to push through this stimulus over the near-unanimous opposition of the Republicans in Congress.'

Silverfiddle said...

And I just explained to you how they got the "slowest rate" number. It's meaningless. But initially jumped up spending his last year to irresponsible heights, and Obama has built from there.

That is how Obama has racked up his historically unprecedented debt. Reagan is a skinflint compared to Obama.

Shaw Kenawe said...

It's meaningless to you, SF, because facts have gotten in the way of what you want to believe is reality.

Silverfiddle said...

No. I accept the data upon which Nutting based his tendentious article.

He is measuring annual increases in spending, and he includes 2013, which hasn't happened yet, to bring Obama's number down. It's a trick.

He is averaging percentage increases, which hides the magnitude of the actual numbers.

Which is bigger 5% of 10 or 2% of 100? That is where the mathematical mischief lies.

Nutting does do us one favor: He links to official government data. I recommend you go through it yourself instead of letting partisan screwballs filter it for you.

I am not trying to be mean, but to show you the tricks one can play with numbers. All sides do it.

I particularly recommend to you table 1.3 and 15.6.

Anonymous said...

Do we dump everything this country has built for the last 100 years? Read History and learn what America was like before safety net programs. Sure it's expensive, which is why our forefathers taxed themselves at twice the rate before RR and continuous Republican tax cut policies.
SF's lies about who's the biggest debtor president, is laughable. We had minute debt until Republican tax cut policies became law. Growth under Reagan was nothing compared to the growth under Clinton (22 million jobs).
It's simple Math, and I don't want to live in a pre FDR America, when people starved and died early because of lack of health care, or lack of food. Life expectancy has gone up because of these programs ensuring better living standards.
If SF, RN, and others to cheap to pay for the best country on the Earth, maybe they should move to another country that's better (in their view).
If free markets will take care of these problems, why didn't it before the 1930's? Social programs (voted on, paid for by taxes, and supported by the people) is not Socialism. Communal taxation is a proven way to better the whole society.
More conservative lies, that government is the problem.

Truth 101 said...

The fact is Silverfish that government spending is what kept us out of a depression. Spending that was necessary due to republican mismanagement.

Obama was tasked with sparing us an economic calamity due to 30 years of ignorant and irresponsible reaganomics and deregulation. To vilify him for that is deluded on your part.

Shaw Kenawe said...

SF, are we to believe only Democratic "partisan screwballs" twist data? And you don't?


I've seen your comments at other conservative blogs where you state liberals are crazy, or a sickness on this country, or ruining this country, and other such apocalypic descriptions of Dems and liberals. So I take YOUR counter arguments with a grain of salt. You have an agenda, just like the rest of us, and it is, from what I've read in your comments and on your blog, an agenda to portray this president and the Democratic Party as demons.

You can't expect me to take into consideration your ideas when I see how skewed they are against all things liberal.

I know we all do this; I do it. But I'm not sure you recognize that you're playing the same game.

TRUTH, until both sides stop demonizing each other, we will get nowhere. Mr. Obama isn't perfect, but he isn't a demon bent on destroying this country.

I've read that crap on so many conservative blogs that it's now nothing more than annoying background noise, not worth concentrating on.

It gets us nowhere.

skudrunner said...

Granted Bush was responsible for adding to the deficit, 5 trillion was your words, and Obama had only added 4.7 trillion. Obama is the winner because he tied Bush in less than four years what it took Bush 8.

The Obama campaign of bringing the wealthy down is not being accepted well so not he touts, do you really want someone who has been successful running the country.

Goes with the Obama ideals of don't inspire people to do better, blame failure on the successful.

S.W. Anderson said...

Past some point of insisting white is black and night is day, it becomes clear a commenter is just a troll. It becomes clear the person isn't just misinformed, wrongheaded and stubborn. It becomes clear the person's real purpose is disruption and meme-spreading for the sake of harrassing, distracting and propagandizing.

Silverfiddle said...

S.W. It becomes clear you did not follow Nutting's link to OMB data. It clearly shows that Obama has incurred more debt than Reagan and Bush combined.

@ Troofy: The fact is Silverfish that government spending is what kept us out of a depression. Spending that was necessary due to republican mismanagement.

Debatable, and entirely avoiding the issue at hand.

Shaw: Yes, yes yes! All sides do it! I've never maintained otherwise. If you want to ignore the math, it's your blog and your choice.

You do realize Nutting's "analysis" uses Bush's last year, with the $787 billion one-time stimulus as a baseline, right? He says so on the second page.

So Obama spent almost an extra trillion per year, on what? That is why Nutting's nutty claptrap does not square with the fact that Obama increased the debt by $5 trillion and still climbing higher.

You liberals can argue he needed to do it to save us or whatever, but you cannot run from the fact that he increased the national debt by $5 trillion and our economy is still in the dumper, with persistent high unemployment.

Dave Miller said...

Isn't all of this litigating the past?

For an economy that still is not firing on many cylinders, what suggestions are there to change the current trajectory?

Silver, from the conservative side, what do you suggest? It may sound trite, but haven't we tried the GOP route of tax cuts and deficit spending and found it wanting?

I also think you should own up and answer Shaw... why do you, and your conservative blog friends continue to portray President Obama as purposefully bent on destroying America?

Why does your crowd continue to call him Un-American in an attempt to make him out to be not of our country?

Why can't you and your other blog friends, like Geeez, Darth, Lisa and others just say you disagree with President Obama's policies, but he has every right to be President?

Why can't, or more realistically, won't you or anyone else from your side explain why when the GOP won big in 2010 you all claimed a mandate and said the country had spoken and Dems needed to agree to your policies because majority rules, yet somehow refused to apply that logic in 2008 after Obama won?

Why won't you or your side explain why the GOP decided to obstruct Obama at every turn, and then criticized him for not getting anything done?

The list goes on and on and on.

Please, please, please, give us some specific new solutions.

It is certain your candidate Romney, and none of your conservative blogging buddies will.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"..but you cannot run from the fact that he increased the national debt by $5 trillion and our economy is still in the dumper, with persistent high unemployment."

Tell us why this is. Doesn't this give the GOP exactly what it needs to try to defeat the president? Isn't that a coinkydinc?

There is no way on this bluegreen earth that you or anyone can say a GOPer would have done better. That's first.

Second, is the fact that no government can succeed when half of it is trying to destroy the half that's in power.

Had the GOP not used blackmail to keep the Bush tax cuts in place, I believe we'd be hearing a different story. There were ways out of this mess that would have hastened the recovery, not stalled it.

When you have a political party set on sabotaging a president in order to regain political power at the expense of struggling Americans, one has to stop and think about who these people are and why anyone in his/her right mind would allow them back in power.

Bring us back to the good old tax-cut and spend years of incompetency that got us here?

No thanks.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Good questions, Dave. I await answers.

Meanwhile, this is good news and a direct result of President Obama's actions. Had Romney been president, this would not be a reality. He was for letting the auto industry crash and burn.

"The automobile industry has been a consistent bright spot in the American economy over the last several months, as automakers have added jobs to meet growing demand. And news from the industry is only getting better, as new estimates expect automakers to sell 14.3 million cars in the United States in 2012 — 1.5 million more than they sold last year.

Factories for both foreign and domestic automakers are now working “at maximum capacity” and the industry is adding shifts and jobs to keep up with that rising demand, the USA Today reports:

Some plants are adding third work shifts. Others are piling on worker overtime and six-day weeks. And Ford Motor and Chrysler Group are cutting out or reducing the annual two-week July shutdown at several plants this summer to add thousands of vehicles to their output.

“We have many plants working at maximum capacity now,” says Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans. “We’re building as many (cars) as we can.”

Chrysler and General Motors, the major beneficiaries of the auto rescue, have both reported their best profits in more than a decade, and both were already planning to add jobs this year."

And yet, I've never seen any conservative say this was a good thing.

From Think Progress

Silverfiddle said...

Dave: I answer for myself and nobody else. I don not think Obama is purposely trying to destroy the country. I think he's doing it out of ignorance and gross incompetence.

Silver, from the conservative side, what do you suggest? It may sound trite, but haven't we tried the GOP route of tax cuts and deficit spending and found it wanting?

Deficit spending is bad. Period. Regardless of who does it, and I don't believe in infinite tax cuts.

Our economy was doing fine until the housing crash and the Wall Street-packaged crap bombs blew up, all aided and abetted by our federal government, democrat and republican.

Tim said...

SF's last comment is finally making a "little" sense. The dirty secret is that the 5 trillion of red ink is from *wait for it* TAXCUTS to stimulate the economy, and probably a trillion for the two wars. Taxes must go up. Personally, if they raise my taxes by 3-4% I would only notice it a little, and I am far from rich. There, I said it. I don't care if they raise taxes on people making under 200K a year. I would go as low as 75-80K a year. And I would raise the capital gains taxes from %15 to %20. I trade stocks, and I would not stop just because I had to pay %5 on the profit. Even if it did slow down stock market action, it would help weed out the short term traders but the serious investor is staying put because you don't pay taxes until a sale of the stock.Let's also start cutting defense.

Rational Nation USA said...

Cut taxes ... Reduce spending.

If you cut revenue (in government that's PC for taxes), assuming a balance budget and no fluff you must cut spending or you get... increasing deficits and debt.

We have lots of room for cutting, INCLUDING the military, and wasteful duplicity. If this is done first and taxes need to rise to reverse our trajectory then so be it. Reasonable people understand a balance needs to be found.

Continued deficit spending is certainly a recipe for inevitable collapse.

Tim said...

RN, cuts to public television, NOAA, college grants, etc., just are not going to get us there, and I'm sorry but Soc. Security and Medicare are untouchable in my opinion (and probably most of the electorate), and we can cut defense probably by no more than 200 billion a year. Where do we cut another 300 billion? That old saw of waste fraud and abuse is old.

S.W. Anderson said...

"Our economy was doing fine until the housing crash and the Wall Street-packaged crap bombs blew up, all aided and abetted by our federal government, democrat and republican."

Such ignorance is breathtaking to behold.

Our economy was a house of cards waiting for the next gust of wind. Consumer debt was at insane levels. Credit card debt alone was at insane levels, considering that millions were financing more than $3,000 month to month at interest rates of 15, 18, 20 percent and beyond. Business debt, politely dubbed "overleveraged" was through the roof. In fact, given the ways corporate America was indebted and its resources for dealing with debt if things went bad, the federal government came off looking like a piker. Then there were those brilliant, under regulated Masters of the Universe playing their larcenous games. Even Alan Greenspan belatedly gets that part.

Instead of writing nonsense comments full of opinions stated as fact, invest $5 and change (at Amazon) and some of your time reading Kevin Phillips' book, Bad Money. Consider it an investment in knowing what you're talkiing about, in having facts as well as opinions.

Silverfiddle said...

S.W. Believe it or not, I partially agree with you. First the disagreement: The economy was not a house of cards. Our fundamentals were and still are solid.

I agree with you on the rampant debt, which federal government policy egged on to greater and greater heights, and Bush's easy money policy was mostly to blame. Throw cheap money out there and people will go crazy.

Additionally, government's crony crapitalist-friendly laws encourage recklessness and heads corporations win, tails taxpayer loses. Corporate welfare is a bigger problem than welfare for the poor, and both parties encourage it. Take away the government safety net and make the corporate hot shots eat their losses and the gambling will mostly end.

Silverfiddle said...

Independent confirmation of what I've been trying to say

Until Barack Obama took office in 2009, the United States had never spent more than 23.5% of GDP, with the exception of the World War II years of 1942-1946. Here’s the Obama spending record:

– 25.2% of GDP in 2009

– 24.1% of GDP in 2010

– 24.1% of GDP in 2011

– 24.3% (estimates by the White House ) in 2012

What’s more, if Obama wins another term, spending—according to his own budget—would never drop below 22.3% of GDP. If that forecast is right, spending during Obama’s eight years in office would average 23.6% of GDP. That’s higher than any single previous non-war year.

I'm blogging on this topic Friday. Thanks for the inspiration, Shaw!

Tim said...

"What’s more, if Obama wins another term, spending—according to his own budget—would never drop below 22.3% of GDP. If that forecast is right, spending during Obama’s eight years in office would average 23.6% of GDP. That’s higher than any single previous non-war year."
SF, I guess that you forgot that we are still in the process of fighting one war and unwinding another. Guns or butter my friend, guns or butter.

Leslie Parsley said...

Here is a very good analysis of the MarketWatch article by Politifact, which rates it "mostly true."

Shaw Kenawe said...

Tim, I'm afraid a lot of people dig into these numbers as though all of this happened in a vacuum, as though Bush's two un-financied wars and his Medicare Part D and tax cuts during two wars [unprecedented in US history] didn't create a staggering foundation for the debt and deficit.

Also, part in their eagerness to place all of the blame for these unhappy numbers on Mr. Obama, they merrily ignore the fact that every attempt to work with the Congressional GOPers was met with a resounding NO!

In fact, the GOP contrived this strategy before Mr. Obama took the oath of office. They planned to sabotage everything this president did.

And then we hear people who blithely ignore the GOP's immense culpability in this financial mess and insist it's all Obama's doing.

This article in Perrspectives explains how the GOP made it a policy to undermine and obstruct everything so that Mr. Obama's presidency would fail and the GOP could regain power.

I call that criminal, and so does this article:

Guilty as Charged: How the GOP Killed Washington

It's rare that a criminal publicly announces his intent to commit a felony. But when it came to their scorched-earth campaign of obstructionism to destroy the Obama presidency, GOP leaders weren't shy about their plans. While 15 top Republicans schemed in private on the night of Obama's inauguration to "challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign," conservative mouthpieces like Bill Kristol and Rush Limbaugh promised gridlock at every turn.

Three years later, as Congressional scholars Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann suggest in their new book, the Republicans' foul deed is done. From its record-setting use of the filibuster and its united front against Obama's legislative agenda to blocking judicial nominees and its unprecedented (and repeated) threats to trigger a U.S. default, the most conservative Congress in over 100 years has stopped Washington dead in its tracks. But judging from the muted reaction from the press and a public evenly split in its Congressional preference, Republicans are getting away with their crime.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Thanks Leslie.

Silverfiddle said...

You are right Shaw that none of this happened in a vacuum, and Bush shares at least 50% of the blame.

And let's put the old GOP obstruction canard to rest. Obama had both houses of congress for two years. They failed. Not the GOP's fault there, although there is plenty blame in other areas for them.

Tim: We are out of Iraq, so I'll ask you again, where is the dividend?

Rational Nation USA said...

Silver, of course you are correct with respect to sharing "the blame" as Bush in reality bears some responsibility for the fiscal mess we're in. However, the left, at least the majority as near as I can tell accepts only the premise that Bush is 100% responsible. Which of course is as ludicrous as blaming President Obama for everything.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Funny you should write that, SF, because I was reading an article by Jonathan Cohn in TNR online just the other day where he actually refutes what you just wrote:

"Obama had both houses of congress for two years. They failed."

Here's Cohn's answer to that GOP talking point:

"Wow, that’s quite a statement. Since we’re likely to hear it again in the coming year, and not only from Rubin, it's worth some scrutiny.

In 2009 and 2010, the years Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, Obama signed several sweeping pieces of legislation – overhauling everything from student loans to financial regulation. He also signed into law a series of initiatives designed to rescue the economy, chief among them the Recovery Act. The cumulative results of these measures? A new agency to protect consumers from financial industry abuse; more vigilant food inspections; new public works coupled with a new system for awarding grants based on merit; a new program for rewarding innovations in public education; and cash for struggling Americans, in the form of unemployment benefits, aid to states, and tax cuts that most economists believe saved the nation from a much worse economic crisis.

All of that is in addition to health care reform, which is already reshaping the industry and will eventually make insurance available to all. One could argue (ok, I have argued) that it's the single most important domestic policy initiative since the 1960s.

And that’s just the legislative record. Obama also used executive authority to rescue the U.S. auto industry, doing so in a way that Romney now says was wrong. He's implemented stringent new regulations on mercury and other dangerous emissions. As commander-in-chief, Obama presided over the killing of Osama Bin Laden, among other terrorist leaders, as well as the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Obama did this despite unprecedented use of the filibuster and the open willingness of congressional Republicans to make Obama’s defeat their top priority. That's an obstacle Romney never faced in Massachusetts. Keep in mind that, because of the filibuster, true Democratic control of Congress lasted only seven months – from early July, 2009, when Al Franken gave the Democrats sixty voters, until early February, 2010, when Scott Brown reduced the Democratic majority to 59."

Nice try, SF, at revisionist history. But I call FAIL.

skudrunner said...

"Had Romney been president, this would not be a reality. He was for letting the auto industry crash and burn."

You are under the impression that GM would no longer be in business. If you recall, they still filed bankruptcy, have only paid back a portion of what was gifted. Obama got what he wanted and that was payback to the unions for supporting his election.

GM would not have gone out of business they would have had to make smart business decisions. Chrysler has been going out of business for years, now they are foreign owned so what did the taxpayers gain from their investment?

It would have been better for all concerned to increase employment so more people could afford vehicles but this administration has no plans to increase employment. If you follow the news, even the leftist news, you hear that companies aren't expanding because of the uncertainty of this administrations policies.

Obama would rather blame than lead and his attack on the rich is not leading. What other country do the people who pay 86% of all income taxes be accused of not paying their "fair share" by the people who don't pay any income tax at all.

Truth 101 said...

You know Shaw. You may be right. I've advocated for years fighting back on their level. Not one of the candidates I ever worked for that won ever regretted my style. The ones that lost all admitted they should have beat up their opponents.

This unfortunately has probably done more to cause rifts in the democratic party betweeen those who want higher minded discussion than beat downs which I advocated after watching so many of my people lose to this type of campaign.

What I do makesd no difference but seeing as how what I'm doing now doesn't really matter, and has in reality caused me more misery, it's time to go another direction.

Anonymous said...

'why do you, and your conservative blog friends continue to portray President Obama as purposefully bent on destroying America?'

actually Dave he isn't doing it alone,he's taking orders from his boss who loves playing God at the expense of working class citizens.
dn it wouldn't be his first time.

Anonymous said...

Hey RN,
Clinton got to a balanced budge, Obama has only been there 3 years. ALL other presidents in the last 32 years have been Republicans.
What percentage of responsibility for the total debt, would you give the Republicans?

Silverfiddle said...

Shaw: Please point our the "fail" you are calling.

Obama had both houses of congress, so I did not misspeak.

And your long list of impressive democrat legislative accomplishment gives lie to the trope that the GOP obstructed anything.

Fail? Don't think so.

Shaw Kenawe said...

skudrunner wrote: "You are under the impression that GM would no longer be in business. If you recall, they still filed bankruptcy,"

GM was only able to file bankruptcy after the US gave them the loan:

"The General Motors Chapter 11 sale of the assets of automobile manufacturer General Motors and some of its subsidiaries was implemented through section 363 of Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The United States government-endorsed sale enabled the NGMCO Inc. ("New GM") to purchase the continuing operational assets of the old GM. Normal operations, including employee compensation, warranties, and other customer service were uninterrupted during the bankruptcy proceedings. Operations outside of the United States were not included in the court filing."

skudrunner: "Obama got what he wanted and that was payback to the unions for supporting his election."

You really think that the unions would have thrown their support to the GOP? Really? Tell us another joke.

skudrunner: "GM would not have gone out of business they would have had to make smart business decisions."

Wrong. There wasn't any time for GM to make "smart business decisions" as they were already collapsing.

skudrunner: "Chrysler has been going out of business for years, now they are foreign owned so what did the taxpayers gain from their investment?"

The taxpayers got the advantage of thousands and thousands of people in this country not losing their jobs and not having to extend thousands and thousands of more unemployment benefits, food stamps, and any other emergency support for people who lose their jobs and the familes who suffer from that. That's what the taxpayers got.

skudrunner: "It would have been better for all concerned to increase employment so more people could afford vehicles"

Seriously? Unemployment hadn't bottomed out yet. And who exactly should have "increase[d] employment?" The government? People were losing jobs in private industry. Should the government have hired them to increase jobs? What are you talking about?

skudrunner: "...but this administration has no plans to increase employment."

FACT: The unemployment rate has improved since Obama took office.

FACT: The GOPers in Congress have not worked with the president in his Jobs bill. The Congress, not the president, has the power to create jobs, the president proposes legislation; Congress passes it. Congress, led and obstructed by the GOP is screwing the American people by not working with the president to solve our economic problems.

The uncertainty is coming from the GOPers and their refusal to work with this president.

skudrunner: "Obama would rather blame than lead"

When Obama talks about the do-nothing GOPers in Congress he's telling the truth. You call that "blame."

skudrunner: "...and his attack on the rich is not leading. "

He's never "attacked" the rich. You're repeating a lie. If you believe he has, I challenge you to prove it with a link to where he's "attacking" the rich.

skudrunner: "What other country do the people who pay 86% of all income taxes be accused of not paying their "fair share" by the people who don't pay any income tax at all."

They've got you trained very well in spreading their talking points. People pay taxes. Even the poor. The rich get to hire lawyers to help them with loop holes and to send their money off-shore--like Mitt Romeny, all American tax evader.

Shaw Kenawe said...

SF: You're fogetting he passed most of that legislation while Pelosi was the Speaker and the Dems held the House, and the other legislation through executive authorit without the Republicans, who continue to obstruct.

The majority was only 7 months long. Not 2 years as you said.

Go back and read what Jonathan Cohn reported.

skudrunner said...

There is still no proof that GM was going out of business. If you remember Mazda, when they filed bankruptcy, the Japanese government let them work it out and they turned it around. GM could have done the same thing without government interference.

Obama's action lives up to Joe Biden's promise to the union leaders "we owe you big time" and they paid up. They awarded half of a private company to the union, never done before.

"He's never "attacked" the rich."

You can't possibly believe that statement. He blames everything on the "rich" who only pay 86% of all income taxes. An BTW my post didn't say taxes it said income tax of which 48% don't pay. The rich don't just get to hire lawyers and move but they take advantage of the tax laws as they exist. Obama had two years to get tax reform and what did he do, nothing. Our tax system is broken and needs an overhaul. You blame people for taking advantage of the tax system yet you don't seem to blame ADC mothers and professional welfare recipients for taking advantage of the system, why is that?

Dave Miller said...

Skud, Mazda, as you stated, received govt help. The GOP has not, and did not support that in the case of GM.

Also, can you or anyone else please tell me who was going to loan GM and Chrysler the needed money to finance their structured bankruptcy?

Without the Feds stepping in to do that, GM would be gone today and with it thousands of jobs across the country.

Wasn't it a good investment in the end?

skudrunner said...

"Also, can you or anyone else please tell me who was going to loan GM and Chrysler the needed money to finance their structured bankruptcy?"

So far every major legacy airline has filed bankruptcy and reorganized without the tax payers paying for it. I don't see the Obama administration jumping in to bail them out and there are a lot more workers with the airlines than GM and Chrysler.

GM would not have closed their doors if Obama didn't bail them out. I guess you believe if companies are mismanaged it is the taxpayers who should bail them out. Ford made it and they were in the same shape they just didn't want to be government owned and good for them.

Shaw Kenawe said...

skudrunner: "You blame people for taking advantage of the tax system yet you don't seem to blame ADC mothers and professional welfare recipients for taking advantage of the system, why is that?"

SK: Why? Because I find that it isn't decent to make the unfortunate feel more miserable by blaming them for the economic mess we're in.

First of all, the percentage of what we spend on welfare to keep families together and children fed and healthy is small compared with what we spend on defense.

It's telling that you, a GOP supporter, would go after poor families, mothers and children--people you label "professional welfare recipients" and nary a word about military contractors who suck more out of our economy than do people in need. Go look at the CBO website to understand you're angry at the poor for the help that they receive and not at military contractors who suck at the government teat.

"Safety net programs: About 13 percent of the federal budget in 2011, or $466 billion, went to support programs that provide aid (other than health insurance or Social Security benefits) to individuals and families facing hardship. Spending on safety programs declined in both nominal and real terms between 2010 and 2011 as the economy continued to improve and initiatives funded by the 2009 Recovery Act began to expire."

"Defense and international security assistance: In 2011, 20 percent of the budget, or $718 billion, paid for defense and security-related international activities. The bulk of the spending in this category reflects the underlying costs of the Department of Defense and other security-related activities. The total also includes the cost of supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, funding for which totaled $159 billion in 2011."

What we do for the most helpless and the weakest among us says a lot about what sort of people we are.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"GM would not have closed their doors if Obama didn't bail them out." --skudrunner

An opinion, not fact. You're entitled to it, of course, but that doesn't make it so.

Anonymous said...

GM still went through bankruptcy proceedings all Obama did was shore up his union supporters only now they owe the taxpayers billions.
Why didn't Obama just give a million dollars to all small businesses who were struggling being they make up 70% of the workforce? At least it would have gone back to the people not just the UAW. This is going to be same thing for health care. Unionize the health care system with under educated low class government workers who will only take the job for their union benefits.
they don't care about quality health care they just care about bigger government and to say they did it even though it will be a undesirable outcome.
We need certainty and Obam is not givng anyone that at least Romeny has organizational skills an with his bakground will produce a budget that can get us ion the right track.
The only president not required to do a budget in 3 years and it's all just fine by his supporters. Always making excuse for this inept president.
Stop treating him like a dependent and let him act like a leader/man for a change.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Anonymous: "Romeny has organizational skills an with his bakground will produce a budget that can get us ion the right track."

Romney sucked at job creation while he was governor of Mass. We were 47th out of 50.

And while Romeny was governor, we had one of the highest per capita debt in the country.

Those are his executive accomplishments.

Why do you or anyone believe he'd be better as president?

Rational Nation USA said...

You do the math And it was republicans that forced Clinton to balance the budget. Even my progressive brother acknowledges that fact.

Rational Nation USA said...

No anon, it is you who hides behind the curtain is it not?

Calling me, or anybody else who disagrees with you a coward does not make you right. It does however make you a what you truly are. Vapor

Enjoy your nightmare.

Anonymous said...

I didn't ask you to agree with me, just answer a question, which you refused to do, that's why you are a coward, you never answer questions, just spout your Rand cultist crap.

Rational Nation USA said...

Anon, you can continue to try and bait me, it won't work so give it up.

I make no apology for not answering your absurd remarks to your liking oh vacuous one.

Now go have yourself a nice and pleasant evening.

Silverfiddle said...

Shaw: Obama had a democrat majority in both houses for two years. What Cohen refers to is losing the Senate supermajority, but they still had a majority.

I apologize for the shameless blog pimping, but my full response is here:

Tendentious Liberal Claptrap

I do not apply that label to you, Shaw. You are a wonderful writer and you often make points that cause me to stop and rethink.

Tendentious liberal claptrap refers to the piece by Nutting that you linked to.

skudrunner said...

"Safety net programs: About 13 percent of the federal budget in 2011"

Safety net programs for those in need are a good thing but how much of that is wasted on those who would rather be on the government payroll than look for a job.

All this rage about passing a drug test to collect welfare benefits. If money is going to support drugs habits is that something the taxpayer should have to pay for?
Increased unemployment has done nothing but prolong unemployment.

Defense spending is way out of control but so is government spending overall.

Obama campaigned on change and was seen as the pied piper leading the nation to a better life. He has turned out to not lead but blame.

Tim said...

"Tim: We are out of Iraq, so I'll ask you again, where is the dividend?"
The last US troops crossed the border into Kuwait in Dec 2011 and you are asking where is the peace dividend? Let's not forget the $10 billion A MONTH still being channeled into Afghanistan. Let's also remember the medical costs that we will incur for decades (I suppose that's where republicans would like to cut, or create "savings" by privatizing the VA health system.) and all the money that we are going to pay to prop up Iraq's army by equipment and training, to say that Bush is to blame for at least 90% of it is more like it.

Tim said...

I thought that the newest tea bag talking point was that there really wasn't a balanced budget under Clinton anyway. Teabaggers are just lying when they say they want to balance the budget. Their only goal is winning, and when they do they will gut the remaining safety net and reduce taxes on the wealthy and corporations and (as MI Governor Snyder has proven) increase taxes on both the poor and retirees.

Anonymous said...

Spout your crap (like your post today claiming Obama spending is the greatest ever) forgetting to tell your readers that the House passes all spending bills, and the House is Republican majority. They won't pass any Obama legislation, the spending is Republican policy.
Your lies are thick, thick as your head, which cannot even define, answer questions about your delusional cultist thinking. Love the way you refuse to even post reasonable questions from your readers, because you cannot answer them. What a load you are, coward.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Hey, everyone, I've been away from the blog and will be for the rest of the weekend--family wedding.

One thing I want to be sure everyone understands is that I'd like to keep this comment section free from personal attacks.

I appreciate Anonymous's passionate rebuttals, but ask only that we attack the ideas, not the person.

I have been to some conservative blogs that have attacked me personally and specifically as a woman. I don't like to be degraded like that, so I'd like to keep away from that sort of response.

We don't need to call each other names, but please do rip apart my, or anyone else's, comments when you have a good counter argument.

SF, "tenditious liberal claptrap?"

Sounds like a great name for a blog to turn that label on its head.

Tim, good rebuttals as usual. Thanks for joining in on the discussion.

Anonymous said...

An honest answer to an honest question, that's what RN and the rest of the wackos call baiting.

skudrunner said...


Have fun and I appreciate your allowing an open blog.

As to anonymous, there are to many of you, why not pick a name instead of calling someone a coward.

Dave Miller said...

Silver, I keep hearing from you and the conservative side that Obama had a majority for two years.

You are correct. Yes he did. And you know as well as anyone else that a majority is 100% useless in the Senate unless you have 60 votes.

I dare say that we have still not seen the Obama agenda.

When the GOP won in 2010 it was interpreted as a mandate by GOP leaders. They told the Dems to get in line because the American people had spoken and expected results, GOP results.

Again i ask, why was that interpretation valid in 2008?

If the GOP wins the Senate in 2012 and keeps the house, do you believe the GOP should be called to account for the performance of those two bodies if the Dems, as they surely will in retaliation, block all but the most necessary legislation?

These last three years have been ludicrous. I cannot remember such lock step blockage of a presidents agenda in my lifetime.

But it would not be so bad if the people responsible for that obstruction, did not then complain that the other party never did anything.

Silverfiddle said...

Tim: You engage in diversions.

We were spending $17 million per day in Iraq. We've been gone for 5 months. Where is the dividend?

Better check Uncle Obama's sticky fingers...

Tim said...

SF you engage in confrontational language to try to bait people into arguing with you. Personally, I'll take Mark Twain's advice and not argue with you. You have a pattern (like all Teabaggers) of ignoring any source that presents facts that you disagree with so it is pointless to argue with you, and evidently civil discussion is impossible because you just start right in with the name calling and insults.

Anonymous said...

Nutting's assertion that spending hasn't gone up markedly under President Obama - 3 Pinocchios.

KP said...

The magnitude of the debt numbers are so large that either side can use them to make a political point. As well, there is some overlap which allows ideologues freedom to say almost whatever they want. It doesn't mean anyone is lieing. More likely many of us wear blinders and have blind spots when it come to some issues.

Is Nutting mistaken or is WaPo mistaken that he and Carney deserve three Pinocchios?

Rational Nation USA said...

RN USA blog owner identifies as a person who discloses his real identify with a real photo and makes his e-mail address public.

The anon attacking me on this comment thread does not get his comments posted at RN because they amount to nothing more than personal attacks laced with foul language. Anon is nothing but a disillusioned backyard blowhard who lacks the courage to identify himself.

You who visit PE judge who the coward is.

Have a enjoyable Memorial Day all. And Shaw, thanks for allowing me to comment on your fine site.

Steve said...

RN has posted as anonymous on THIS blog, but Shaw (not to bright) didn't know it. Good for you Shaw post ones hate (RN) but censor others. A true protector of false friends. Don't be a dupe Shaw.

Steve said...

RN claims to know who I am, so his attack here is just another game for him. Expose me RN.

Rational Nation USA said...

Shaw, It is indeed unfortunate that you, a progressive blogger with integrity have now been attacked without reason by Steve. For some on the left there is no shame.

Perhaps the thought of preserving liberty, free open speech and dialogue is so threatening to collectivists like anon and Steve, as well as many other progressives (and conservatives) they must destroy, or at least attempt to destroy the reputation of those who use reason as a guide.

I'll will not respond to these attackers on your site nor will I on my on site or others. Anon taunts me to expose him, and I could, but that is not my purpose and it is not my place.

I have challenged anon to self expose which he has chosen not to do. For fairly obvious reasons.

Perhaps when one posts at three in the morning it is because their shift, and other obligations preclude them from other more common hours, except for the weekends. But jut like so much else the obvious is lost on individuals like Steve and anon.

At any rate Shaw I've enjoyed your site and the many good people who visit and comment here. If going underground as anon, and attacking bloggers who differ with you is considered honorable or courageous (as opposed to what it really is cowardly)then I am proud to stand against such tactics both here, my site, and everywhere else.

Have a good Memorial Day. With any luck you'll be able to fumigate your site of the likes of anon and Steve et all. They do by far more to hurt your cause than help it. An should anyone like them ever gain the levers of pwer none of us, liberals or conservatives would have the liberties we all believe we hve a right to.

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rational Nation USA said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KP said...

When the cat is away, the mouse will play.

Dave Miller said...

Guys... grow up will ya? This kind of rhetoric is way to juvenile...

How is this considered serious dialogue?

Rational Nation USA said...

Dave, It isn't. And yes it is juvenile. Apparently anon and Steve enjoy stalking me from site to site. Guess I've always had a "stand your ground" mentality when dealing with bozo's like thee guys. But you're right, it is time to give it up and move on to more important things.

Have a Great Memorial Day Dave...

KP said...

As I said on a right leaning blog paraphrasing Carl Sagen; the chief deficiency when we argue this way is the polarization: Us vs. Them.

No party or group has a monopoly on the truth. This attitude, that says "you'll listen to us; and if not, to hell with you", is not constructive. It does not get any useful message across. It condemns the user to permanent minority status.

Dave Miller said...

KP, how did that go over on that conservative site?

KP said...

Hi Dave –

After my post on the right I got a “hear hear” in agreement from a thoughtful conservative. I have not heard anything here so I am not sure how my comments are received. I consider you a thoughtful man and you didn't comment.

Same thing earlier. You asked me something in another thread "how do you define a far right winger?"

After some soul searching I answered that my conclusion was that the "far side" of anything (apologies to my favorite cartoonist of all time, Gary Larson) will wind up demonizing those who do not agree.

You didn't comment. I don't know if you agree or disagree. Why the questions with no comments? If you are trying to sort me out consider it done.

Tim said...

KP you are correct that "far side" leftists and right wingers (SF) start right in with the name calling if you deviate one iota from their orthodoxy, and that is really tiring. This whole no compromise at all, take no prisoners will never succeed, as there is that vast 80% middle that is neither hard right or left. I mention a 1 or 2% tax increase and they come unglued. They don't want to talk about sensible budget calls, either. Let's just burn it all down is where they come from, and that is just ridiculous. Why does saying a balanced approach of modest tax increases coupled with sensible budget cuts (especially in Defense), all moderate positions, brand me as a "leftie libtard" in the eyes of frothing at the mouth tea bag types like Les and SF? It is a waste of time to argue with these people. They are not open to objective facts and only let in data that buttresses their narrow worldview. And Les, way to be the bigger man and not let a troll hijack a post honoring our vets (NOT!)

Tim said...

And that trash post on irrational nation on Memorial day praising Ayn Rand of all people made me want to throw up. That woman was the most selfish narcissistic person there ever was. Sure we are all free and want the freedom to achieve our dreams, but as Americans WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!!! If you can't figure that out I can't explain it to you.

skudrunner said...


There are always extremes and they are the ones who seem to make the most noise and get the most attention. Most people fall in the middle, either middle left of right. I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I could care less about who gets married, just don't do it with my dime.

Your idea of any tax increase is appalling to me and not just because I don't want to pay it, I pay enough. Our elected officials will just squander it, bribing people with money for votes and then coma back for more. If it was guarantee that a 2% tax hike would go to nothing but the deficit, I would support it but that won't happen.

Politicians have three goals, stay in office, spend our money and get more of it. Obama attacks small business yet he has never owned one nor worked for one. The idea of working 50-60 hours a week so I can pay for someone else to do nothing does not appeal to me Yet I am the target of the leftists because I don't want to pay more taxes.

You started off your last post with a reasonable approach and then went off the deep side. If you don't want to see opposing ideas perhaps you should stay away from any open site, stay with the narrow minded only sites.

KP said...

Tim, I agree with Alan Simpson that some compromise will serve us best on tax reform, entitlement reform and defense. Do you think some entitlement reform is needed? That is a moderate position.

Relative to Shaw and SF, I don't see either one of them as "far siders". Rather, both attempt to use facts as they interpret them and are passionate about their ideology. I appreciate that about them. I can't make everyone agree with me and that's okay.

The problems on this thread began late and it wasn't SF or Shaw and they had nothing to do with 'facts'.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Hi everyone,

I've been away. Didn't take the laptop. Had a great time at my nephew's wedding on beautiful Lake Champlain in a little town just north of Burlington, Vermont. The weather was perfect, the bride and groom were gorgeous, the food was great, and the band outstanding--jazz!

I come back here and find some rude people who ignored my request to keep it civil.

I don't know who "Steve" is, but I do know he's probably an angry, unhappy person. He's been rude to me and disregarded my simple request to not turn this comment section into a kindergarten, where everyone's throwing mud pies at each other.

If "Steve" or "Anonymous" dislikes this blog and how I run it, they can take their grievances and anger and go elsewhere.

Haven't we had enough political discord and divisiveness?

Thanks to all of you who were nice enough to pick up after the brawling and clean up after the children wrecked it.

KP: Just heard back from my niece. I'll get back to you on that subject. I've got relatives coming here to Boston for dinner tonight.

Gotta run.

Silverfiddle said...

Tim: Where did I namecall? Funny charge, since you called me a teabagger. I have not used provoking language, and my argument is grounded in the government data that Nutting links to.

Sounds to me like you get uncomfortable when your dogma is challenged. The truth hurts.

Dave Miller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Miller said...

Hey KP...

I've been on mobile for the last week or so and commenting with those robotic letters can be a little tough... I'm not very good at deciphering those letters on the small screen.

As for the extreme right vs. the left... I guess I was looking for a more definitive stance.

For instance, on the left, I consider the truthers, those who say the US government planned and allowed the 9/11 attacks to be extreme. Same thing, again, my opinions only, for those that say that Bush wanted to see American servicemen die in war. I also do not think he lied to take us into war, but did make a bunch of mistakes that cost us dearly.

If I had to define the extreme right, I'd look at it this way...

Birthers... extreme
Obama is a Muslim... extreme
Only way to balance the budget is through cutting expenses... extreme

I listened to Donald Trump over the weekend. He said that many people believe President Obama was born in Kenya. For him, since many people believe it, it is a valid stance.

That seems to be the view of many extremists on the right, that so many people can't be wrong about this. Well yes they can. The world isn't flat either and many believed it was.

As for Shaw's post... Silver has it about right... the figures that show Obama has lowered spending do indeed come from using numbers inflated from the last year of Pres. Bush. Interesting that the WSJ, a conservative paper, would miss this.

I am with Shaw in her desire to see some decorum. Too often the left uses terms like republiscum and even teabagger to tar the right while the right uses terms like libtards and American hater to tar the left.

I do not know why both sides cannot admit that both Dems and Republicans, including Bush and Obama have acted in what they feel is best for America and that they all love our country.

I do not know why the moderates do not rise up and say enough is enough... we will not participate where hate toward others is spewed on either side...

It is troubling and depressing for me.

KP said...

Dave, I appreciate your thoughts. Another example of why I never gloss over one or your posts. You are always well reasoned.

As for the extreme right vs the extreme left ... I think my answer was definitive. You and I could build a specific lengthy list together and we would probably agree on most items but I don't think it's necessary to print “300 Reasons you might be an Extremist” list a la Jeff Foxworthy on Rednecks.

On why moderates are not rising up and saying "enough is enough ... we will not participate where hate toward others is spewed on either side..." I would expand the question to those on the left, right as well as moderates.

I exert my influence the best I can, as you do, without malice, while trying to get others to think. I also learn. Over three decades I have found that I cannot alter some aspects of some of my patient’s lifestyle. There are unhealthy patterns some will not let go of. So I assist them the best way I can. You can't tell somebody with an eating disorder “enough is enough”. It is much more complicated than that. You must see this in your ministry.

Accepting advice that challenges long standing habits or beliefs takes an open mind. The brain is neurologically wired for consistency. I have become aware of how tightly I and others can hold onto certain behaviors that may slow or prevent progress. Does a man or woman want to learn or just be right? Political extremist are not all that different from addicts.

What’s the answer? As you know, our view of ourselves and others alters what we see and don’t see; what we question or fail to notice; what we are willing to risk in an effort to achieve, or what we settle for because “that’s out of my reach”. When we are made aware of a bias toward ourselves or others, we are given freedom of choice.

Chances are we will not remove bias by speaking with others who already agree with us. As well we will never see our own! A breakthrough occurs when we learn something we didn’t know we didn’t know.

Dave Miller said...

An author I really respect, Leonard Sweet, posed this question and it always stops me in my tracks...

Do you want to be in relationship, or right?

Sadly, like many, I too often choose to be right...

Rational Nation USA said...

Well stated Dave and KP. Perhaps the biggest eye opener for me since I began blogging three years ago is how much alike in some ways the fringe (extreme) right and left resemble on another.

The reason I started visiting liberal blogs was because listening to the same conservative choir, and preaching to the same conservative advocates I found myself getting bored, as well as not learning what other reasoned and principled people with liberal views just might have to offer that may cause me to think "outside my box."

I do not regret my decision in doing this, in fact it has been healthy for me. It has helped me to realize my classical liberal and libertarian principles do not align with either the modern conservative (if that means republican) agenda, nor does it align with the modern liberal views (if that means the democratic or socialist) agenda. Again, speaking to the fringe or more extreme elements.

As I argue Randian, Classical Liberal, Constitutional, and Bastiat, principles I have begun to realize rational, reasonable people have more in common than not, conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and moderate independents.

If we are to remain one people we sooner or later must began to act like one people again.

I hope you do not get a barrage of troll comments Shaw, the result of this comment. What I can tell you is my spam mailbox if growing daily, all personal attacks on my person. I was forced to go to comment moderation because the language often used is not fit for any respectable person to read or hear.

KP said...

Me too, Dave.

KP said...

RN, great comments. The reason I started visiting blogs at all was to learn. And I have learned a ton; about politics, the left and the right; but most of all I have learned more about me.

To further explain myself about the slightly off topic idea that extremist might be similar to addicts:

David Linden has written a book entitled “The Compass of Pleasure”. Linden describes normal pleasure as water, food and sex. He suggests that many of the other obsessions we experience are a result of the dopamine circuit of the brain gone a bit awry.

There is an attenuated dopamine system in the brain. If dopamine is low the same set of variables that lead someone else (more "normal" whatever that is) to experience pleasure may not register pleasure for another. Some of us need to go near or over the line to find similar pleasure. Our pleasures can be virtues or vices.

Interestingly, brain scans demonstrate that generosity and exercise impact the same areas of the brain as gambling, alcohol and marijuana. Uncertainty (and all things that bring it / confrontation?) stimulates the dopamine circuit at the same brain center that is stimulated while waiting for the flop card when playing blackjack.

What I have learned about myself is: take your pleasures wisely, take your vices moderately and mix in some virtuous pleasures. In other words, raise dopamine levels on purpose (kindness, generosity and exercise).

Silverfiddle said...

Dave: Thank you for acknowledging the validity of the data I presented.

In the spirit of comity, I will again reiterate that Bush was also a wild spender. Washington, we have a bi-partisan problem.

I will ask in all charity, how much is enough when it comes to taxes?

Our government is spending around 25% of GDP but collecting on around 18%.

Finally, I'll say that our government does not give us an honest accounting of its activities. Notice we can't discuss the problems because we're arguing over basic data that we would use as a baseline.

If government would stop lying to us, maybe we could actually have some good discussions.

KP said...

Dave, correct me if am wrong, Len Sweet is a strong voice of the emerging church. I read the book "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller years ago and shared it with my wife and daughters. Weeks ago we listened to him in church.

A couple of things he said struck me:

1) Conflict is part of life.

2) Humble people, do the work. We are all wounded healers; unless we remain bitter.

3) If you don't know where you are going, why be moral? There is a reason for morality.

4) Great stories come from pain and sacrafice. Great stories come from suffering. Conflict can make us tender, loving and kind people if we let it. That is what we do.

Tim said...

"I will ask in all charity, how much is enough when it comes to taxes?

Our government is spending around 25% of GDP but collecting on around 18%. "

Looks like you answered your own question, SF. We need a 7% increase in taxes to fund the government.

Silverfiddle said...

Do you realize that is historically unprecedented? Also, there are too many escape hatches now, I haven't seen anyone posit an plan on how government could actually collect that amount.

We (the nation collectively, not just you and I) need an open conversation on just what government should and shouldn't be doing.

skudrunner said...

I agree with Tim's assessment of gaining additional revenue. Since there are 48% of income earners who do not pay income tax (federal) they should pay 5% and deficit spending should be capped at 23%. With that you make up the 7% shortfall.

This way everyone will pay their fair share which is what BHO keeps asking for.

Dave Miller said...

I would start by saying we do not need to police the entire planet. Unless of course those benefiting from it are willing to pay for the service... Are you hearing that Europe?

Dave Miller said...

KP, you are correct about Sweet... I tend to like Don Miller a little more, and Rob Bell more so...

I was encouraged to see that you are aware of the emerging church movement... not many in this neck of the woods are aware of them and even less on the more conservative side.

I would say that the term emerging is now a little dated... if we haven't emerged yet, it ain't gonna happen. I do, however, strongly support the ideals, aims, and goals of many in that movement.

Especially people like Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo... both of those guys are trying to wrestle with some difficult stuff.

Dave Miller said...

Hey whats the deal with the robot stuff? Now we have a picture of a number?

KP said...

Dave, maybe emergent is more appropriate. Are you familiar with Matt Hammett at the Flood Church?

Dave Miller said...

No KP I am not...

skudrunner said...


You posted "Do you want to be in relationship, or right?" You can have both.

My wife is in a relationship (with me) and IS Always Right. If I think she is wrong about anything, she sets me straight in short order.

Dave Miller said...

Very good point Skud...

KP said...

Dave, thanks for the referral to Rob Bell. I have ordered his book "Love Wins" for myself and my daughter and I and will look into the NOOMA series.