Wednesday, March 4

Take me to your leader, whoever that is.

A little over a month ago, Rep. Phil Gingrey, a Republican from northwest Georgia, said that talk-radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh were just "stand[ing] back and throw[ing] bricks" while Republicans in Congress had to try and get real work done; within 24 hours, he was on Limbaugh's show expressing "very sincere regret" for those harsh words. Last week, Republican National Committee chairman and former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele referred to Limbaugh as an "entertainer" and admitted that Limbaugh's rhetoric about "want[ing] Obama to fail" was "incendiary" and "ugly"; two days later, he, too, went groveling for Limbaugh's forgiveness. Yesterday, Limbaugh implied that House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), despite statements seemingly to the contrary, agreed with him about wanting Obama to fail, and Cantor's office is remaining conspicuously silent about any clarifications.

So my honest, sincere question to the Republicans and small-c conservatives who stop by this site from time to time is: Is Rush Limbaugh really the guy you want as the spokesman for your party and/or ideology?

Yes, Limbaugh's show is, relatively speaking, extremely popular. Yes, he's a household name even amongst those who aren't fans. But let's not pretend that his 14,250,000 weekly listeners represent anything close to a majority of the American public. Even if I give him major benefit of the doubt and give him credit for having 14 million regular listeners -- ignoring the fact that some people might listen to his show more than once a week, or every single day -- that number is barely a fifth of the nearly 70 million people who voted for Obama in last year's election. You really want to make the American public choose between these two guys?



I'm not saying that Obama is pure as the driven snow, nor that there aren't legitimate criticisms with the way he and the Democrats are going about trying to turn the economy around. I'm not 100-percent comfortable with the idea of spending $800 billion on anything, whether it's a stimulus package, a space-based missile defense, a war in Iraq, or anything else. But I give Obama credit for sitting down with a very intelligent group of people, deciding on what they thought needed to be done to jump-start the economy, and then presenting it to the American public, controversy and all. For all their caterwauling about big spending and supposedly being cut out of the loop, have the Republicans -- whose approval ratings are currently as bad as Obama's are good -- bothered to pitch anything even resembling a tangible alternative? Not that I can see, and here again they appear to be taking their cues from El Rusbo, who at last week's CPAC convention openly mocked the idea that actually coming up with better policy proposals was a winning strategy for taking power back from the Dems.

I worked my ass off for more than a year leading up to the 2004 election, and I remember very vividly how few Democrats had any winning strategy that year other than complaining about how horrible George W. Bush was. Well, you saw how that worked out. Now you have a talk-radio shouter whose strategy is to do nothing more than that same kind of complaining -- and nobody in your party is willing to cross him. This is how you propose to get the American people to vote for you again? I think it's hilarious that these are the same folks who just a few years ago were boasting about how tough they were in being willing to take on Osama and Saddam and whoever else, but they apparently don't even have the balls to stand up to a talk-radio host.

Say what you want about Barack Obama, but you have to admit the guy's a pretty shrewd politician, and nearly every time someone's underestimated him in the past it's been to their own detriment. So if the Obama camp is trying to make Rush Limbaugh the face of the opposition -- which they are, pretty openly, in fact -- they've probably got a pretty good reason for it.

So I gotta ask, is that really the fight you want to pick? All those legitimate criticisms and concerns you supposedly have about Obama's policies, and you're just going to allow them to be routed through Limbaugh's sit-back-and-complain filter? You go do that if you want, but that's a briar patch the Democrats will play in all day long.

38 comments:

Bobby said...

To me, each represents opposite ends of the spectrum. I don't like the President's economic, national defense, class warfare, or immigration policies. And I don't like Limbaugh's constant talking about how great he is or his far right wing socially oppressive leanings. I'm far more to the middle and quite Libertarian, but generally vote Republican because they are more in line with what I want in regards to economy, taxes, defense, etc. Mainly because the social stuff doesn't affect my day to day life.

I get the strategy of making Limbaugh appear as the face of the opposition, to make it even uglier... But it comes across to me as middle school girls talking trash about each other to their friends.

I'd like to think that our country would be above that sort of petty bickering and could be a bit more mature about it despite our philosophical differences. But I guess that's not the case in big time politics.

Now please, back to hot chick photos please. :)

Reed said...

You touch on something that has been really notable in all this. How the Republican politicians, despite all their usual bluster, are acting like cowards with regard to Limbaugh. The thing is, they don't realize that the game has changed. The people have moved on from the redvsblue donkeyvselephant crap. That's why Obama won. If one of them could show some cojones and stand up to Limbaugh, he/she could take long-term control of the party. I can't believe none of them are smart enough to see that.

Doug said...

Fair enough, Bobby. Here's a British chick playing a Nintendo Wii in a bikini.

Never let it be said that I don't give the people what they want, and I didn't even have to use anybody's tax dollars to do it.

Marque said...

I guess I'm wondering what you think Republicans SHOULD do. Rush has said he wants Obama to fail. That's because Obama has said he wants to "remake America" into a socialist Euro-state. If he DIDN'T want Obama to fail at that, what the heck does he stand for? And by extension, what would Republicans stand for?

By saying that he wants Obama to fail, he is NOT saying that he wants America to fail, or for the recession to continue for the next four years. Rather, he's merely saying that he disagrees with the policies Obama has put forth and hopes they don't come to pass (or fail in the execution). If that statement is off-limits, then Democrats are effectively stating that opposition to their policies is out of bounds.

As for whether Republicans should be courting the 90 million Obama voters instead of Rush's listenership, one should point out that in the face of an unprecedented media love affair, 47 percent of the country voted against the man. Republicans could do far worse than trying to maximize their vote among the 47 percent while staying true to their principles and showing the 5 percent of Obama voters why they were voting for Republicans over the past 30 years. My sense is that those Obama voters were unclear (as I was) what McCain and his Republican friends stood for, and thus went with the guy who spoke well and everyone seemed to like. They still don't like taxes and big government - they just took Obama at his word that he didn't either. Now they're beginning to know better.

The media/Democrats' insistence on "new ideas" from Republicans is code for "don't bother showing up." Conservatives believe in lower taxes, less regulation, and smaller government because they work. They aren't obligated to stop proposing them because another party won an election last November. And if they do, they've already lost the next one.

Josh M. said...

"There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership," Steele said. He added, "There are those out there who want to look at what he's saying as incendiary and divisive and ugly. That's what I was trying to say. It didn't come out that way."

Not sure how you get "groveling" out of that.

I don't listen to Limbaugh, but I'm not really understanding why he's taking all this fire. So he wants Obama's policies to fail - so do I.

We don't want Obama to fail just 'cuz, but because we don't believe his far-left style of government is the way our country should be run. If something makes no economic sense and goes against everything that made this country prosperous for over a century, why should we support it?

Obama's a great politician, absolutely. He can deliver a speech, and has successfully elevated class warfare to an entirely new level. But his team seems to have no more economic acumen than the average Daily Kos commenter, and for that reason, I have to hope his policies see no surface success in the short-term. Because the longer we travel down this road, the harder it will be to get back when its eventual, definite damage is felt.

Josh M. said...

Oh, and the Democrats hardly presented their plan to the American public. They rushed putting it together, then they rushed to vote on it, then they rushed to pass it - which, of course, went against Obama's pledge to give the public five days to review any piece of new legislation.

The American public was an afterthought.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think that if you are the titular head of a political party, or an actual elected official, and you feel the absolute need to address the ramblings of a blow hard on a talk show who mainly appears to be trying to boost his ratings, well, that is groveling in my book. It most definitely is not leadership.

And Doug, I think you are wrong to bring it up - after all, they might change course if you wake them up.

RAS said...

You obviously don't read Drudge Report. Do yourself a favor and go there right now and click on the big picture at the top of the page.

I love how liberals always think they are two steps ahead intellectually.

Will said...

Whenever I see "Drudge Report" and "intellectually" in the same post and there isn't a clause mentioning how they're mutually exclusive, I cry inside a little.

Is Matty still doing the "Is it something he said" schtick w/r/t to Obama's speech (and then changing it when the Dow went back up)?

Question for Josh: exactly how is Obama "far-left"? He's left of Dubya, sure. But thus far he's resisted even a temporary nationalization of the big zombie banks, something the UK did months ago (and I don't hear anyone calling Gordon Brown's crew a bunch of commie pinkos). He's proposed dropping the Bush tax cuts, so the top marginal rate will go from 35% to 39.6%. Oh noes. Nevermind that under Nixon in was in the 70s, and until Reagan had never been below 40% since before the Great Depression.
Hell, Obama hasn't even called for a cut in military spending!
So I'm just wondering how some of y'all would react if Keith or anyone on TV started advocating things that were truly "far left." Instead of what we have now, aka, something a tiny, tiny bit left of the overall policy of the last 30 years.

Doug said...

No, I don't read Drudge Report. I did read that same Politico story, though, when it was first posted. This morning. Hours ago.

On a side note, I'd just like to say that I've found yet another reason it's awesome to be rich: When the top 1% get a huge tax cut, it's sound economics and the top wage earners getting what's rightly theirs. But when I get a tax cut, even a little one, it's "class warfare."

Josh M. said...

"Hey, 95% of you, you're going to be OK! Only those making above $250,000 are going to be hammered here!"

How is that not class warfare? Demonizing 5% for having the audacity to be successful - isn't he supposed to be the President for everyone? He's singling out one group of people, the dastardly rich, and relying on everybody else's hatred and/or jealousy to get his plans through.

Of course, the term "tax cuts for the rich" is class warfare in itself. When you cut taxes across the board, of course the rich are going to get bigger cuts. Because they pay MORE TAXES in the first place. The top 5% of income earners pay 60% of all income taxes, and the bottom 40% pay nothing - and that's pre-Obama! (Yet now the bottom 40% will be getting "tax breaks," which is just a nicer word for "welfare").

Sixty percent of income taxes from five percent of the people - and yet they're still not paying "their fair share." Makes sense.

Josh M. said...

Oh, and to throw more numbers at you - roughly 60% of small business owners show an annual income of over $250,000K. When their taxes are raised even more, what do you think that's going to do to the job market?

Or is the only good job a government job, as Obama seems to believe?

Reed said...

You gotta love short memories. "Unprecedented media love affair." I seem to remember when even remotely disagreeing with the president was verboten. Somewhere around 2002-2005. Heck, the Dixie Chicks said, "We're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas," and that was enough to get them burned in effigy. Come on.

The media is just now pretending to be outraged about illegal stuff Bush was doing in 2002 simply because some memos were released. Obama will never get that kind of treatment, no matter what Rush Limnbaugh claims.

NCT said...

Obama's not "demonizing" the top 5%. Taxation is not punishment.

Jen. CHICKTASTIC! said...

Doug, courtesy of a link I got on Facebook today I give you ...

www.imsorryrush.com

enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Obama will be a one term president. The market has voted on his economic plan - a plan that even his Treas Sec can't explain. Biden thinks that the stimulus plan will help small business by making sure the roads and bridges will be there so their customers can get to them? And the congressional dems are pushing back on his budget. Guantanamo will bite him in the end. Russia has already spit on his bargaining the missile shield for an Iran embargo. You wanted young and inexperienced, you got it. Unfortunately, we needed older and wiser...and I don't mean McCain.
Limbaugh is a voice, a voice that many relate to in this country. Most liberal, government journalists wouldn't understand his appeal. The fact that as many people listen to him in the middle of the day is pretty phenomenal. O's hard turn to the left will be his undoing. Clinton tried it but Dick Morris turned him back to the middle. I don't think O will recalibrate until it's too late...he's surrounded himself with too many lefties. And the gaffes are there...he referred to the "profit to earnings ratio" today. Well, it's the "price to earnings ratio." W would have been crucified. And all those lobbyists on his payroll. My, my, my. The sad part is the we will be paying out the ass for years to come for his policies. All, not just the top earners. Why we have to have a socialist experiment every so often is a shame. The result is always the same. O ain't FDR, he's LBJ and dems will be banished again once the lame repubs find their spokesman and it won't be el rushbo...right as rain.

Josh M. said...

Reed: Are you really arguing Bush got better media treatment than Obama?

NCT: Taxation is being used by this administration as a punishment for the mess we're in (not one Democrat that I've heard has suggested government played any role). When you intentionally separate 5% of the population, and assure the other 95% that the government will force them to take care of everything, that is absolutely demonization and punishment.

Steve said...

I think putting forward Rush as the face of the party, intentionally or not, isn't a bad strategy. If you can get Rush to whip up the base, you can leave Obama and his current policy trajectory to bring the moderates and independents back to voting Republican. If Obama's proposed budget, taxes, associated deficits and entitlement programs pass in much the same form as they exist today, plenty of people who voted for him just because they were tired of Bush and the Republicans will come back to the fold. The novelty of voting for the charismatic black guy will have faded and people will actually listen to what he says and believe him. Obama is holding to the principles that got him elected. Good for him. Unfortunately alot of people didn't listen to him on the campaign trail and now seem surprised when he is trying to enact the socialist agenda he touted during the campaign. I think they come back in the next few election cycles to vote for a more moderate or even conservative approach.

Let Rush take the heat from the Democrat's talking heads. He can take it and dish it as good, if not better than they can. The rest of us will see the impact of Obama's policies and not need Rush to guide us.

Tommy said...

"Taxation is not punishment."

Sure it is. I'm guessing some folks on this thread don't live in areas where there's much entrepreneurial activity. Which is too bad, because in a period of creative destruction, like the one we're clearly in, entrepreneurship is where jobs, wealth and thus economic recovery are going to come from. Propping up GM, AIG, Citi, etc., will only prolong the agony.

So guess who's in that top 5%? Angel investors and venture capitalists who now have a little less to throw at the next Google or at companies whose business models will supplant those of the failed automotive and print news industries.

Tax those folks, and you're not just punishing them, you're punishing everyone downstream of them. If you look at what happened to venture investing in Q4 and how it's shaping up in Q1, you ought to be very afraid. A lot of good ideas will die of capital starvation and incrementally so due to a tax scheme more focused on redistribution than on investment in the future.

Steve said...

And Doug, you getting a tax cut is class warfare when the money to pay for that tax cut comes from some other person's wallet. Obama is proposing raising taxes on one group to give that money to another group. Many will get a "tax cut" when they don't pay any taxes at all. How can you cut someone's taxes who doesn't pay any to start with? How is that not simple wealth redistribution and class warfare. It's little different than what Robert Mugabe is doing and you could argue he has a better historical basis for his actions than Obama has for his.

I don't begrudge any "true" tax payer (meaning someone who actually sends the government money every year) a tax cut as long as it's not funded on the backs of another.

Tommy said...

Ask any economist, taxes and the increase/reduction thereof, are purely an economic tool the government has to incent or disincent certain activities.

Want to lower carbon emissions? Tax the producers until the cost of taxation is greater than the cost of retrofitting the plant.

So exactly what activity are you trying to stop when you tax rich people and corporations? Consumer spending and job creation?

Wanna know why the Dow cratered after Obama offered his economic plan? Because the stock market reflects what investors -- mostly large, institutional investors who are investing pension and 401K money -- think will happen in the future.

Contrary to what Obama said the other day, the stock market is fundamentally different from some tracking poll. Insitutional money managers -- the guys who are investing your and my retirement money -- think Obama is going to crater the economy. And, rather than just blithely saying so to a Neislon pollster, they're putting their money where their mouth is. Huge difference that ought to give Obama serious pause.

Frank said...

Oh yeah guys. It is really gonna piss me off if I only get 62 cents instead of 65 cents out of every dollar I make over $250,000.

Think I'll just take my ball and glove and go home.

Put down your copy of "Atlas Shrugged" and think for yourselves a little bit.

The tax rates during the Clinton years did not crater the economy and they won't crater the economy this time around either.

Republican tax cuts and Ponzi schemes created this mess and now the adults are going to have to clean it up.

At least give them some time.

Tommy said...

Frank,

I'm not a Republican or a Democrat, so I think I can speak relatively objectively to you about this.

If you think the current economic situation mirrors the 1992, you're as clueless as the Republicans. US equity markets have shaved off hundreds of billions in market cap in the span of a few months. With a sensible recorvery plan, it will take years, possibly decades, to rebuild what has been destroyed.

Let's use your numbers and apply it to Silicon Valley, which we can safely say is the largest driver of economic activity in this country. In SV, within a 50-mile radius there are 50,000 people with net worths of over $10 million. These are people who start companies, invest in others' startups, contribute to foundations, etc.

Now let's apply your tax increase to those folks, who we'll assume make $2M annually. That 3% tax increase on every dollar earned over $250K across those 50,000 people comes to $2.625 BILLION that the government thinks it can spend more wisely than people who have shown more than a passing aptitude for creating wealth for themselves and many others.

The facile response is that these are the people who got us into the mess. Some of them, perhaps. But most of 'em are why the mess isn't worse.

As an entrepreneur and one who works with many other entrepreneurs, the idea of nearly $3 billion leaving geographic epicenter of the greatest economic engines the world has ever known for Washington, where it will fund countless bridges to nowhere makes me shudder. It is a potentially colossal tragedy.

Anonymous said...

O.K. Obama is only going to raise taxes on the wealthy. Most of the wealthy are business owners and corporations.

When their cost of business goes up because of higher taxes guess what? Those higher taxes will get passed right on down to ole Doug and all his poor-ass liberal buddies.

Steve said...

Frank, Give them some time to do what? To start with, it's not 3%. It's 3% plus an increase of 5% in capital gains taxes, plus a reduction in allowable deductions. All that money is going towards social programs that will probably result in a net loss of jobs and in give-a-ways that won't really produce any tangible results. Giving $400 to every filer will have little to no impact on the economy.

This isn't a plan to dig us out of a mess. It's a plan to change the social fabric of this country while people are desperate.

Here's an idea. Instead of limiting the rich's ability to deduct charitable contributions, limit the 95% group's charitable deductions. If they need my $400, they shouldn't be giving their living expenses to charity. His carbon tax will probably eat through that $400 pretty quickly when it gets passed on to consumers.

If Obama produced a plan that included a tax increase on the rich, but had some reasonable hope of creating jobs and wealth for everyone, I'd be skeptical, but at least willing to give it a shot. As it is, he produced nothing of the sorts.

Jeff said...

Hmmm....Crickets from the Olbermann groupies who frequent this site, I guess the logic of Tommy and others is too much to absorb. If you think the Government should be about the business of confiscating the earnings of others so that Obama, Pelosi, Frank, Reid, et al can re-distribute them to those they see fit, then why not kick in an extra $50 per week and make it payable to the US Treasury? If you truly believe that these guys can more efficiently allocate societies resources and you will be better for it, then why not make more of a personal investment with these folks? It would seem like a rational allocation of your own resources if you truly believe in this philosophy. Seriously, send them more of your own money each week and you will benefit, right? Right? What's that? You don't think that you should send more of YOUR money to them? Why not? If they can do such wonderful things for you and society with the money of those making >$250k, then logic dictates that they can make just as much magic happen with your money as well. Come on, show some courage, live out your own ideology, take advantage of this investment opportunity and stop asking that it only be perpetrated upon others.

Will said...

More numbers: I see the "the top 5% pay 60% of all taxes" argument, but for some reason you leave out the "they also earn/control 70% (I've seen it higher but let's split the difference) of the wealth."

Also, I'd love to see one of you conservative "logic masters" explain how a 4% increase on a marginal tax rate (not even 4% overall) will cripple a rich person's earning ability.

But hey, if you want to stick your fingers in your ears, go whole hog. Try the John Galt approach. I promise I won't miss ya.

Jeff said...

Will -- Well then, go ahead and kick in an extra 4% on top of your marginal tax rate. If you truly believe in Government control of the allocation of resources and good things will flow from it, then you should get a wonderful return on your investment. If it is not going to cripple the wealthy, then there should be no reason why it will cripple you. Also, you get the extra bonus of leading by example.

Tommy said...

Will, I'm going to hold your feet to the fire on this. If you think the government can do more to stimulate the economy with $3 billion harvested from Silicon Valley than the entrepreneurs and VCs who've sparked the most innovation and growth in a two-decade span that the world has ever seen, let's hear why.

Steve said...

What does whether or not someone can afford a 4% increase in taxes have to do with anything? If we start going along those lines, then we need to start looking at what the 95% who won't see a tax increase spend their money on. Shit, I'd kick in an extra 10% if I got to pick how it was spent.

Right now the plan calls for the 4% going to wealth redistribution and an "investment" in health care during a serious recession. If you think those are the correct priorities, take any money you have left in you 401k and invest it in Obama's health care initiatives. Let us know what kind of return you get.

And enough with the Atlas Shrugged references. As pithy as they may appear, no one is arguing along those lines.

Scott said...

Tommy, I am afraid you will be disappointed in the answer, that is if you get one. These folks are not all that interested in stimulating the economy. They are all about "fairness" -- whatever the hell that means. Whatever it means, it is fairness as they determine it. At the end of the day, they are only satisfied when the "rich" (once again a subjective and arbitrarily applied value) pay their fair share, because after all 60% of the bill being paid by 5% is just not enough. It is always a lot easier to talk about tax increases in the abstract, when there is no chance that you yourself will be compelled to turn over more of your income.

Anonymous said...

Frank, this is not Clinton's economy. We have no internet boom to offset Clinton's capital drain.

O has thrown sand into the gas tank and the economic engine is seizing-up.

Obama will be a one term president.

Chris said...

Tommy, you make good points but the Silicon Valley itself was sparked by our government. Capitalism, the best system in the world, has had its effect and that market has somewhat stabilized and won't provide the growth it once did and so many guys began taking their tax cuts and putting them into their pockets.. Hopefully now, I believe the next sector to provide us with a nice boom will be energy and I trust that the government will lead the way and allow a fertile land for companies to come in and boom just like in The Valley...

Anonymous said...

Energy? BS. The next wave will be biotech. Human molecular therapies and crop genetics.

Tommy said...

Chris, I'm unfamiliar with what role, if any, the government played in Silicon Valley's rise. How far back are we talking? When Andy Grove launched Intel in the '60s?

Sorry, but unless Al Gore really did invent the Internet, there's nothing for the Clinton administration to claim here.

"I trust ... the government" Boy, those are some famous last words. As far as I can recall, government has only successfully sparked growth in the private sector once -- defense contractors -- and that was due to a clear and pressing need. The government has talked a good game about stimulating the alternative energy sector since the Carter administration, and suddenly it's going to happen now, in the midst of a wealth redistribution plan? Sorry, but hope is not a strategy.

A lot of you guys are looking for Obama to FDR his way out of this. What people forget about the '30s is that FDR funded a bunch of public works projects on the backs of the rich, and we muddled along for 10 years with no discernible improvement. Then World War II came along and, with it, a boom in defense spending. Suddenly people were getting jobs with Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, etc., and those folks began buying houses, cars, etc., setting off a ripple effect across the economy, and, unfortunately, building up the military-industrial complex Ike warned in the '50s might be with us for awhile.

Anyway, back to the original point. I'm no Republican and I don't care much for Limbaugh, but I damned sure wouldn't underestimate him. The last "shrewd politician" who did was Clinton in '92-'94, and that resulted in the first Republican majority in Congress in 40 years. Here's the political mistake Obama is making: The 95% of American who make less than $250K may envy the 5% who do, but that doesn't mean they don't aspire to matriculate to that 5%. That's why the populist, class warfare stuff always backfires in this country.

Chris said...

Tommy,

The government set up several of there research firms and invited many businesses to come in and conduct research for military tech and etc. Firms such as Bell Labs and Lockheed. This time is around 30s-50s, when our tech sector really began to take its roots and then explode with engineers such as Paul von Neuman and others..

I don't understand how a tax cut for the 5 percent is a great fiscal move and excellent economics, but allowing those tax cuts to expire is class warfare. Why can't I get a tax break instead of the 5 percent? Isn't that creating class warfare on the other side?

I think our current crisis is a telling tale and our businesses are failing America by looking for the quick buck.. Defense spending isn't making America one red cent as far as jobs are concerned...

As far as biotech goes, it will take off, but I believe that energy is much closer. With biotech, we still have to perfect our methods of analysis and storage of the data. But I agree, it's going to be big.. How can you tell? By all the bioinformatics programs and biotechnology programs cropping up all across the nation on different campuses...

But anyway, I'm not Republican, but I guess you could call me a conservative Democrat but I try to be as non-biased as I can.. The idea though, is to do as you said, except instead of defense, we do it with infrastructure and energy and begin to manufacture our own goods..

I can't tell you why we have not addressed the issue of energy independence but unfortunately, we haven't. However, the current administration is the only one I've seen lay out a competent energy plan that may cost us right now, but will greatly benefit in the future...

Tommy said...

Chris,

Fair points about the Bell Labs move back in the day. I thought you were crediting Clinton for the Internet boom. My mistake.

Spinning a tax increase as letting a cut to expire is a little disingenuous, as it implies that Obama isn't really doing anything, and it discounts the fact this is a new administration operating in a completely different economic climate from when those cuts were enacted.

The bottom line is that the Obama team has come into this situation with a choice in how to respond, and their choice is to raise taxes on the group of people who, yes, control a disproportionate amount of the wealth in this country, but who also do a commensurately disproportionate amount of the spending. And consumer spending is 70% of the economy, assuming you measure that by GDP. Another 15% comes from business spending and Obama is taxing corporations as well. So that leaves government (with its massive attendant deficit) to lever its 15% of GDP into doing all the heavy lifting for our economic recovery.

And, for an example of the government investing wisely, have a look at my fair burg, Austin, which is spending some of its stimulus money on solar-powered parking meters. The break-even on that investment will take years and no long-term jobs will have been created. Some stimulus.

That's probably why you see the markets capitulating in recent weeks, in spite of there being no new scandals, 9/11s, etc.

I agree that much of our economic collapse was driven by the quarter-to-quarter near-term mentality of Wall Street. Which is why I'm viewing this as a period of creative destruction. Streamline the regulatory agencies so that they can effectively enforce rules, as opposed to sticking their heads in the sand, as the SEC did with Madoff.

But sticking it to angel investors, entrepreneurs, business lenders and companies creating net new jobs is an incoherent response designed only to win votes from people who have merely a vague idea that rich people are somehow responsible for this entire mess.

chrisfrmatl said...

You make a good point but I never claimed that all parts of the stimulus will work. Obama is not perfect, nor is his administration. They're not even close... I don't know if " sticking it " top these companies is any more of how these firms have stuck it to the American people. If we ever want to get back to where we were, our business people are going to have to go back to concerning themselves with the American people and the working American instead of just making a profit to replenish their trust funds...

The private sector will be the ones to determine how far our economy goes as always, but you have to hope that self interest and greed don't blind their long term outlook as you said... Grow the middle class, enforce regulation to encourage less self interest and more concern for the working American and we can avoid times like these...

P.S.- LOL.. I don't see how anyone could give Clinton or Gore credit for something they had nothing to do with...