Only The Federal Gov't Can Save The Economy

Turkana writes:

Businesses aren't creating jobs, and they have no intention of doing so unless they see signs that consumers will again resume spending. Consumers won't be spending as long as they have nothing or too little to spend. It's a feedback loop. There is only one way to break it. It has to be the government. The government has to create jobs. Infrastructure. Clean energy. Mass transit. There are plenty of social goods for government to fund, and there are plenty of people who are willing and able to be trained and employed. It has to happen. And only the government can do it.

This was true in February 2009, July 2009, December 2009, March 2010 and it is true today. The failure of Democrats to make this argument and attempt to shape policy reflecting this reality makes it impossible for Dems to go to the voters and argue (and defend) this policy. Instead, they run a clownish Recovery Summer campaign. This is a political and policy failure. And the political price Dems will pay in November for this failure will be high. The policy result from the political result will make things worse. The real life damage of the Dems' political and policy incompetence will be immense and longlasting.

Speaking for me only

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    A Republican win in November (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by andgarden on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:04:07 PM EST
    isn't adding insult to injury, it's adding injury to injury.

    I don't see how this turns out well.

    The Republican win (none / 0) (#7)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:28:48 PM EST
    You seem to have reasonable political perspective, andgarden. With that compliment (a sincere one, I would add), a question: What do you think the level of "win" will be? E.g., With all the pronouncements everywhere that the Republicans will win large/a wave/a huge victory, etc., what constitutes a sufficient win? While I believe that winning the House meets the definition of big Republican victory, the expectations game is quite another thing, perhaps?

    Regarding the House (none / 0) (#9)
    by andgarden on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:38:41 PM EST
    I'd say there are three realistic possibilities, ranked roughly as follows:

    1. Big Republican win (a kind of reverse 2006, where the Republicans hold ~230 seats);

    2. Small Republican win (~218-225 seats)

    3. Small Democratic hold (~218-225 seats)

    With that said, I suck at predictions.

    I agree mostly (none / 0) (#11)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:41:47 PM EST
    except I'd switch your #1 with your #2.  But that could just be wishfull thinking.

    I really hope this holds "I suck at predictions"


    #2 Reflects a tie (none / 0) (#15)
    by andgarden on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:47:39 PM EST
    #1 Reflects a Republican win of 5pts+. All of this can be roughly drawn from Gallup's seats/votes table.

    The Republicans won the 2002 redistricting battle, and that reality might help them once more.


    A good reminder re redistricting (none / 0) (#31)
    by Cream City on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:07:12 PM EST
    that will come again soon, and its significance.

    So it would be significant as well if Dems hold onto a majority in Congress for the next remapping of political power, especially to correct the often egregious remapping that Republicans did in 2002.

    That is, if Dems then would use their power in the next redistricting, as they have not done in so much else.


    Here's a secret (none / 0) (#40)
    by andgarden on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:24:55 PM EST
    Constitutionally, Congress could federalize Congressional redistricting. With 60 seats last year, the Dems should have (i.e., create a commission). I wrote about the issue for a class last year.

    Now it's up to the states, and the Republicans will make up ground there in November. PA, OH, TN, and probably NC will be bloodbaths either by election this year or map in two.


    But the real problem is (none / 0) (#50)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:40:32 PM EST
    Most state legislatures have the power to redistrict boundaries, and the governors sign off.  Something like 85% of state legislatures are up for grabs in November, as well as many governorships, and since many states are trending Republican in those state races, well, you can do the math.

    That's not a "but" (none / 0) (#52)
    by andgarden on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:41:27 PM EST
    That's in accord with what I just wrote.

    But the interpretive power (none / 0) (#61)
    by Cream City on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:48:51 PM EST
    remains to an extent with Congress, such as in oversight of the census.  A colleague of mine is quite the scholar on the census, and machinations by Congress to influence it and thus so much more of its impact on public policy.  Fascinating stuff.

    That said, yes, this is why there is cause for concern at how little it seems that the White House, the national Nu Dems, are really reaching down to influence state legislative elections.  So I hear here, where so little funds are to be had vs. the funding of GOP legislative races.


    I'll be watching for (none / 0) (#17)
    by brodie on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:52:06 PM EST
    what Charlie Cook predicts.  Last I heard, he was predicting an R takeover of the House (or very very close).

    I'll watch Cook, then discount GOP gains by about 20%, since I suspect he might be engaging in some wishful thinking and bias in some of his polling.  Just my sense of him.  Sorry, Charlie.  No one, maybe especially pollsters, can be 100% objective or accurate.  


    I'm my own pundit (none / 0) (#20)
    by andgarden on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:53:50 PM EST
    There's very little reliable data Cook has access to that we don't.

    And I didn't mean to imply (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by brodie on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:21:31 PM EST
    you weren't offering your own independent analysis.  But seeing the numbers projections, I simply and innocently saw a small opening to opine cynically on a noisy pollster who occasionally gets on my nerves with his often doom and gloom projections about Dems.    

    Another question (none / 0) (#83)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:18:02 PM EST
    After looking at the trend of "generic" ballots for Congress, I'm wondering about regional data in general. What are some good access points for how the so-called generic ballot looks in the Northeast, South, Midwest, and West? Maybe I've missed the breakdowns of Congressional seats by district, but I'm particularly interested in how the Congressional match-ups--with projected turnovers--size up in the Midwest and West, at this stage? In non-Rasmussen polls? In other words, in what districts will the House be won? And, is there anything unusual in said individual districts that set them apart from or in line with these "generic" ballots? (Example: In what would be the highly contested 4th Congressional District in Colorado, incumbent Democrat Betsy Markey might have been thought to be one of the "goners" in a wave...but, now there is an indication that noodlehead Tom Tancredo's gubernatorial run as a Constitution Party candidate may be drawing Republican votes at his and congressional level in her district as well. What a nice present, if so!)

    Have you seen (none / 0) (#88)
    by BTAL on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:26:03 PM EST
    Even the Senate (none / 0) (#94)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:37:44 PM EST
    Could be in play.  It would be difficult for the R's to gain a majority, but not impossible.  And the odds get a little netter each day.

    See Mark Blumenthal's post on HuffPo.

    Basically, it only comes down to a few seats, and seats currently held by retirining Dems where Republicans are running strong.


    Duh (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:19:30 PM EST

    Obama seems nearly as out of touch as Bush 43. (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by tworivers on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:54:01 PM EST
    when it comes to the economy and the struggles that average Americans are going through right now.

    Oh, he talks a good game about it once in a while, but there's no sense of urgency coming out of the White House, no sense that they understand the hardships that middle class families are suffering right now. Urgency and bold action are exactly what's needed, but the Obama administration seems strangely passive about it all.

    Mainly what he's done is to plot a "safe" middle course that tries to please everyone, but ends up pleasing no one.

    It's no wonder the polls for November look so grim for the Dems.  

    Buying.$100/lb.on.a.campaign.stop (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by observed on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:59:48 PM EST

    ham,that.is. (none / 0) (#109)
    by observed on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 03:01:05 PM EST

    Would the "character map"  feature help? (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by EL seattle on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 06:52:59 PM EST
    It's an 'Accessory' program on many computers. 

    You can select and copy a blank space, 
    and then paste it wherever you'd use the 
    'space' bar.

    It's slow, but it might work in a pinch. 


    Smart, it works!...haha (none / 0) (#131)
    by observed on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 07:09:09 PM EST
    very slow tho.

    No more inside baseball (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:25:15 PM EST
    The failure of Democrats to make this argument and attempt to shape policy reflecting this reality makes it impossible for Dems to go to the voters and argue (and defend) this policy. [emphasis mine]

    Refusing to make a public argument and instead playing inside baseball does actually have consequences.

    Obama is nominally a Dem, so the Dems will pay the (5.00 / 3) (#100)
    by jawbone on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:51:33 PM EST
    for his rightward leaning policies. But, since the MCM* goes along with the Repubs in referring to him and his policies as left or liberal, instead of right and corporatist they actually are, the public will begin to associate liberal polices with economic disaster.

    And the political price Dems will pay in November for this failure will be high. The policy result from the political result will make things worse. The real life damage of the Dems' political and policy incompetence will be immense and longlasting.

    The political price Dems will pay will go long, long after November: It took a bit over 5 years for BushCo to ruin the Republican brand; it's taken Obama under two years.

    I feared Obama's lack of speaking as a Democrat, of not using the term Democrat very often in his presidential campaign, meant he was not a committed Democrat. I think his actions show him to be more of a Republican than Democrat, especially relating to economic issues and civil liberties. I feared he would be bad for the nation, but I had no idea how awful he would be.

    Obama has opened my eyes to how corporatist many Democrats have become (or had been all along?). It's impossible for to rationalize what so many DC Dems do. As Dean Baker wrote, they do these things because they don't work for us. Obama sure doesn't....

    Ian Welsh wrote a prescient post in January 5, 2009 (yes, before the inauguration), which is excerpted in a more current assessment of the US economy and new predictions.

    Some of those Corporatist Dems may make a living on K Street, but what about all the unemployed? What happens to them when there is no unemployment insurance, their savings are exhausted? Obamavilles? Hurry up and die?

    *MCM--Mainstream Corporate Media

    The Economy (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by norris morris on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 12:15:00 PM EST
    Clearly Obama says one thing and does nothing of importance or relief regarding our serious financial hole.

    His current ability to effect real change gets dimmer with each day and most surely in the upcoming midterms.  Elizabeth Warren and a new Treasury chief who understands how to create programs that are sustainable, responsible, and
    effective will certainly not come from Geitner.

    Obama is a frozen leader. He cannot feel or sense how to encourage growth and put some bold and meaningful ideas into practice pronto.

    It doesn't matter that Bush left a mess. Obama knew this when he was running and the first stimulus was effected by Bush. He took this job on nevertheless with no executive experience and it shows badly. His cabinet choices likewise.

    The cabinet is full of dead heads and hero worshipers, political appointees and cronyism. No focused messaging has occurred and there is a flaccid seat of the pants response to any important subject. And no clear and focused messaging.

    Obama and company know nothing about P.R., or framing and controlling the message, and even when and where they've accomplished a few good things no one is aware of it. The gaffes have been unsupportable, and Obama's delayed and false reaction to the Gulf Spill has been disastrous.

    His aloof and stubborn demeaner and behavior are totally reflected in the Health Care fiasco when the country's citizens were bleeding financially.

    Job creation,infrastructure and other programs along with meaningfull assists on mortgage defaults was where his energy shoud have been spent.

    Instead we got a HC bill that allows private insurers to make a killing, continued increases in insurance and drugs, etc. If anything, he should have levelled the field with the Drug cartell and allowed importation and quick release of patents so generics could have helped us all with lower prices.

    He went behind our backs and dealt a deal wth the devil. The drug companies and big insurance made out like bandits.

    And he's crowing about "historic legislation"????

    No one currently uninsured will be able to afford ANY insurance or drugs until they are employed.

    Obama in his bubble loaded cabinet has not had the foresight that matches his over the top rhetoric about change.  He hasn't a clue.

    It's jobs,jobs,jobs.  We need an SOS response to this and the midterms bode disaster for the Democrats who have all muffed this.

    Sadly as a Democrat I see our party in disarray that will extract a terrible price at the polls and leave the party weaker rwegarding effective governance.

    From the Department of ... (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by lambert on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 04:07:31 PM EST
    ... You Can't Buff a T*rd.

    There's no point investing an iota of time, let alone money, in the Ds. Let 'em collapse. They need a bailout, for sure, but it's not coming from us.


    Becoming more and more convinced (none / 0) (#1)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:03:58 PM EST
    that the cleanest energy alternative available is nuclear.

    I think the real answer (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:28:39 PM EST
    will have to be all alternatives available in conjunction with one another.  I don't think there is a silver bullet, it's got to be multi-faceted.

    Agree completely, CST (none / 0) (#8)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:31:43 PM EST
    800 lb gorilla.

    The evidence (none / 0) (#4)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:23:36 PM EST
    takes me in the opposite direction when it comes to "clean" and "nuclear energy." A related lesson for me came years ago involving a pollution control issue at a steel plant, wherein certain steps taken to reduce air emissions worked for air pollution reduction...but, those same steps increased discharge of water pollution. Yes, there is a sirenesque appeal to "clean" nuclear energy. Among the downsides, for me, are the safety issues. Recall that it was the cumulative effect of a bunch of little things, taken-for-granted-it-worked-before things that may have culminated in the BP spill. So, I remember Three Mile Island near my hometown; and, the whole planet remembers Chernobyl.

    Agree (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Zorba on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:53:30 PM EST
    I would be much more in favor of (and less nervous about) increasing our dependence on nuclear energy if I felt that governmental regulation and oversight of the industry would be meaningful.  (And if we also had a reasonable plan for what to do with the spent fuel rods.)  As we have seen in far too many cases recently, government oversight is seriously lacking (to put it mildly).

    Nukes should be run by the government (5.00 / 0) (#87)
    by beowulf on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:23:16 PM EST
    Just as the most hydroelectric power is generated by dams owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, nuclear power should be generated by plants built and operated by either the Navy or the TVA (both of which have decades of reactor experience).

    There are three bottlenecks for nuclear plants. NIMBY zoning concerns, the need to construct each plant from scratch on-site (the reactors are too big to pre-assemble and ship by rail) and the fact that the  one part that must be pre-assembled, the reactor's large seamless containment vessel, is only manufactured by one factory in the world, and Japan Steel only capacity to make four (soon to expand to eight) at a time. We can stand in line behind the Chinese.

    The first bottleneck can be avoided by federal ownership, the Lord knows the military owns enough land to put them on (Uncle Sam is exempt from all local zoning laws, though of course the EPA and Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules still apply), the second and third by a cool modular design by Nuclear Navy contractor B&W.  Small reactors (10% output of standard reactors) which allow a plant to expand capacity by adding new reactor pods. Each pod has a 60 year life span and only needs to refuel every 5 years (the other reactor pods at the plant can keep operating during refueling).  All nuclear waste is stored within the pod.  

    B&W already makes reactors for Navy subs and their reactors are small enough to ship by rail. They can use their existing North American factories without needing to deal with Japan Steel.  They've already signed the TVA up as their first customer.  

    Oh wait that's socialism (the TVA, they're still around?).  Scratch that, lets give more tax breaks, loan guarantees and federal liability coverage to private utilities, that's what Reagan would want us to do. :o)


    Sounds like (none / 0) (#95)
    by Zorba on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:43:03 PM EST
    a reasonable idea to me, beowulf.  Thanks for the info.

    Other than the massive (none / 0) (#14)
    by brodie on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:46:49 PM EST
    safety risk, especially in an era of terrorist concerns, the massive costs, and the long time needed for construction and start-up and the long-term half-life of the toxic residue, other than those few things I think nuclear is a wonderful idea.

    The term for getting them up and running (none / 0) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:59:41 PM EST
    is a bad argument. Everything else takes a while to get up and running too.

    are so clearly and irrefutably etched in our memories. Especially after, for example, the observation that more people died at Chappaquiddick than TMI. About 30 died at Chernobyl, mostly emergency crew workers.

    March 14, 2008
    Deaths per TWh for all energy sources: Rooftop solar power is actually more dangerous than Chernobyl

    Comparing deaths/TWh for all energy sources
    Coal - world average 161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
    Coal - China         278
    Coal - USA           15
    Oil                  36  (36% of world energy)
    Natural Gas          4  (21% of world energy)
    Biofuel/Biomass      12
    Peat                 12
    Solar (rooftop)      0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
    Wind                 0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
    Hydro                0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
    Hydro - world including Banqiao) 1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
    Nuclear              0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

    From what I've seen most of the unwarranted fear of nuclear comes from lack of familiarity with it, it's an invisible scary bogey-man, an evel apparition even, while coal, oil and natural gas are stuff you can and have touched, smelled, seen, etc.

    There is no fear like the fear of the unknown.


    Bumper stickers (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 06:46:12 PM EST
    I remember the bumper sticker about Ted Kennedy and nuclear power from years ago.....

    It was annoying to read another needless dig at Ted Kennedy here.

    Not a way to appeal to liberals, one would think, assuming that was the objective....

    Not only do you have safety issues with regard to an operating plant, but you also have tremendous issues with respect to the radioactive waste.  At one time, it appeared the waste would be trucked on the interstates to a storage dump in Nevada.....That does cause concern.....Talk about an accident waiting to happen.


    Many plans now are for waste to be stored (none / 0) (#136)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 08:39:28 PM EST

    The less you know the scarier it is.


    On-site is still a potential problem (none / 0) (#146)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 11:50:25 AM EST
    Concern over nuclear power is not based on "superstition"--and it is extraordinarily condescedning of you to level this charge--but based on actual catastrophes that have occurred.

    That you understate the problems associated with Three Mile Island does not engender confidence in your position.  Long term health effects and the loss of an entire community was ignored by you.

    The same attitude, as others here have pointed out, was taken with respect to off-shore oil drilling until very recently.  The science and track record proved it was all very safe, they said....

    Opponents of expanded off shore drilling remembered actual spills from the past....

    The credibility problem nuclear proponents have is that they also tend to be part of the anti-regulation crowd.   Government is not the solution, Government is the problem.  Right?

    At minimum, with nuclear power you will need serious, effective regulation by those outside the industry......Republicans, however, don't do regulation.  Witness the evisceration of the MMS and any semblance of regulation of off-shore drilling.

    Why should anyone give the slighest bit of credibility to a position dripping with condescension and contrary to history and imbued with a dangerous anti-regulation bent?  


    in my condescending, contrary & dangerous opinion.

    You, of course, are entitled to your own condescending, contrary & dangerous opinion...


    Chernobyl (none / 0) (#26)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:59:08 PM EST
    effects extend way way beyond the 30 people who were killed at that time.

    I've known a number of people from that part of the world who were babies around the time when the cloud passed over their city.  The cancer rates in that group are shockingly high.  And I can add at least one personal acquaintance to your chernobyl death count.  She just died many years after the fact.


    Any death is, of course, tragic. (none / 0) (#28)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:02:02 PM EST
    I'm sorry for your loss.

    You should, then, be a nuclear supporter as the fewest deaths due any energy source is nuclear.


    there are some estimates (none / 0) (#32)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:07:32 PM EST
    that Chernobyl has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths.  Of course that's almost impossible to document or proove one way or the other.  But I would hardly call it a slam dunk either way.

    I think your numbers are off.


    They may be, they're not my numbers. (none / 0) (#33)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:11:10 PM EST
    But doesn't it at all open your mind up?  At least pique your curiosity?

    sure (none / 0) (#35)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:20:12 PM EST
    and I'm certainly not opposed to using nuclear as one of the alternatives.  I'm just skeptical of that particular analysis of it's death rate.

    I am curious where the "wind power" deaths come from.  I assume it's on the construction/maintenence side.  But with both solar and wind, if most of it occurs during construction rather than maintenence, one could expect that rate to go down over time.  It really didn't say anything about the wind power deaths.

    One of the benefits to not having a single "silver bullet" is that we continue to learn new things about all of these technologies every day.  So we really don't know where any of them will be in 10 years.  If we do them all, at least there will be options if one of them "fails" in some way.

    My personal favorite is wind power.  But that's cuz I think windmills are pretty :)  And I anticipate a very steep improvement in their efficiency in the nearish future.  I know of at least one idea being bounced around by engineers right now that could potentially double their output.


    I hope they can double it (none / 0) (#49)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:39:00 PM EST
    as it is horrendously inefficient now.

    I'd not be so optimistic on reducing "solar and wind power" deaths, they'd increase immensely, commensurate with any increase in installations, and the panels and propellers don't last forever so they'd need to be replaced, and they, like any other equipment, need to be continuously maintained. Whether you're mounting a new solar panel or cleaning it, a fall will still mess you up.

    Regardless, all those factors lead to deaths, and all those deaths are (I assume) included in the data I quoted.

    iow, if you double solar/wind, you will double the solar/wind deaths.


    Add: (none / 0) (#53)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:41:58 PM EST
    So, you are curious, but mostly only about how to discredit the numbers that don't support the position you want to win...

    I'm curious (none / 0) (#59)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:47:33 PM EST
    because I opened your link and they don't mention anything about where the wind power deaths are coming from.  They talk about solar for a while, but mention nothing about wind.

    Wind towers are tall. (none / 0) (#62)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:50:31 PM EST
    It must be from falls, mainly.

    Well, quick google: (none / 0) (#64)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:52:41 PM EST
    I reported in Wind Energy comes of Age a mortality rate of 0.27 deaths per TWh. However, the mortality rate was higher than I reported then. I had missed several accidents that I learned of later. [...]

    Data from the USA distorts the mortality rates relative to deaths in construction and deaths in operation & maintenance. The great majority of deaths in the USA can be attributed to construction activities, when installing, moving, or removing wind turbines. Six were killed during operation and maintenance.

    right (none / 0) (#67)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:58:49 PM EST
    I assumed as much as well, but it did seem strange that they go on about solar falling for a while and then don't say anything at all about wind power.

    But going back to my original comment, all of these alternatives are "safer" than coal and oil.  I still consider nuclear to be somewhat of an unknown in saftey because there is no clear way to measure the long term effects.

    That being said, I don't see any reason to write any of these things off, since all of them are safer and cleaner than what we are currently using, and all of them are still being researched and developed.  And none of them currently exist in the capacity to eliminate demand for coal and oil.

    I just don't see the point of saying to some farmer "dont put a windmill on your land because we have this nuclear power plant going in down the street".  One of the other nice things about solar is you can put it on your roof, and you don't have to build an entire plant just to put in one solar panel..

    There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, some of which are known, some of which are unknown.  Which is why I don't see the point in limiting our options at this stage.


    Except for nuclear of course (none / 0) (#79)
    by brodie on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:15:43 PM EST
    You a funny guy. (none / 0) (#86)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:22:22 PM EST
    Did you ever see... (none / 0) (#37)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:21:32 PM EST
    the documentary "Chernobyl Heart"?  Talk about a tear-jerker.

    The few deaths at the time of the meltdown were nothing compared to the lasting after-effects, especially the birth defects.  


    As I said above that is tragic. (none / 0) (#55)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:44:44 PM EST
    But, since apparently there are fewer of these tragic consequences due nuclear power compared to any other, should you not then support nuclear?

    Where are you getting... (none / 0) (#66)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:56:20 PM EST
    that other power besides nuclear causes such horrific birth defects & heart defects in a worst case scenario?

    The BP spill was awful, but I don't think we will see orphanages full of children with horrific birth defects and severe heart defects throughout the Gulf Region...there is no nasty like nuclear nasty, imo.  

    Maybe it has to be part of the energy solution, but I sure as hell don't wanna live near a nuclear power plant, ya know? Finding places to build them without the local population freaking out alone is a monster hurdle for nuclear.  


    now you pull out the "What about the chiiiiildren" card?
    Here we have unborn children affected by the air pollution their mothers breathe. Burning fossil fuels releases polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which we all breathe in but these chemicals affect the mental development of unborn children. Other new studies show smog causes increases in heart attacks, and reduces blood's ability to transport oxygen.
    Any idea how much NRG it takes to make a solar cell? Or a wind turbine?

    Point taken... (none / 0) (#91)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:30:16 PM EST
    it's all poisonous...but if you check out that doc you'll see poison so powerful it destroys you in the womb, born with a hole in your heart...never mind comin' up with cancer after 50 years, or increased risk of heart attacks...I'm talking babies with half a heart that don't even look human.

    If you wanna build 'em all in Wyoming I could be persuaded...but this is serious nimby.  Power rates are high here on LI, but its well worth them having never fired up the reactor in Brookhaven.


    I think you mean Shoreham (none / 0) (#116)
    by PatHat on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 03:12:16 PM EST
    But in fact, the nuclear reactor in Shoreham WAS fired up for low level testing. I believe it was irradiated for the sole reason of meeting some contractual criteria and then it was shut down for decommissioning. I lived on Long Island and remember thinking it was stupid to irradiate the thing because of the increased cost to dismantle it.

    Brookhaven National Labs... (none / 0) (#125)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 04:56:32 PM EST
    in Shoreham...that's the one.

    I thought it was never fired up, if it was I agree with ya...dumb on top of dumb on top of dumb.  

    If we are gonna start building more of them, highly populated islands with limited options to escape said island in an emergency is a bad place for one...that much is certain.


    I live 3 miles from a nuclear power plant. (none / 0) (#120)
    by Molly Pitcher on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 04:28:17 PM EST
    Its top level manager for maybe 20 years lived a mile closer to it than I do.  Other than the siren tests, it's about like living near any other plant--safer, as it happened, than Watts Bar (TVA) where I used to camp.  Here in the USA the nuclear facilities are often tucked out of sight; quite a difference in Europe where they are sited right by cities: out-of-sight maybe equals scary.

    Individuals could do more to get 'off the grid.'  We heated with wood and solar (solar air, also) for 20 years, and I have geothermal now.


    even you have to admit (none / 0) (#73)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:07:00 PM EST
    that whatever the figure for "nuclear deaths" is, it's not 30.  On that basis alone I'm not sure how you can confidently make that statement.

    Yes, (none / 0) (#58)
    by bocajeff on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:47:21 PM EST
    But it's also what happens when you make a nuclear power plant out of Legos. The construction and the safety issues at Chernobyl were substandard even for its time...

    We get about 15-20% of our energy from nuclear now, I believe. I'd like to get to the same rate as Germany and France...


    No doubt... (none / 0) (#68)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:59:50 PM EST
    safety is much improved, but nothing is 100% foolproof.  I still wouldn't wanna live near a state of the art nuclear plant with a 100% 5-Star safety rating...if something can go wrong it will go wrong, and nothing goes wrong like nuclear.

    We're still too far to the left on the evolutionary chart to be trusted with such powerful sh*t, imo.


    The nuclear bogey-man. (none / 0) (#72)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:06:45 PM EST
    A little much like superstition for me...

    Watch that "Chernobyl Heart" doc... (none / 0) (#82)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:17:28 PM EST
    the chances may be very slim these days, but its no boogey-man brother, no superstition...what happens when nuclear power goes wrong is very real...it's science.

    Like I said, maybe its gotta be a part of a comprehensive energy solution, what do I know...but the slim chance worst case scenarios of all kinds of power generation deserve consideration.


    Fear of the unknown. (none / 0) (#92)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:32:03 PM EST
    "But, but, could it happen again?"

    You stridently want to let people drink and/or do drugs or whatever and drive cars to their heart's content and only get John Law involved if they cause an accident, but you're a nuclear prohibitionist because of a movie you saw?

    Maybe someone should do a doc on the horrific deaths and mutilations of children due to drunk/drugged drivers for you to watch.

    Anyway, if prior to this thread you were 100% anti-nuclear, and after it you're "maybe its gotta be a part of a comprehensive energy solution," I've got to give you props for at least opening your mind to it a little...


    Of course it could happen again.... (none / 0) (#96)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:43:59 PM EST
    and it will happen again...human beings are involved.

    If my drug use could cause the baby born next door such massive birth defects as the lost generation of Chernobyl, thats probably the only thing that could get me to quit my degenerate ways...luckily dope doesn't do that:)

    And what can I say?  It was a powerful f*ckin' doc...it made me 100% anti-nuclear power near my house at least...sh*t Indian Point is not as far away as I'd like...if that thing ever blew the entire Tri-State is screwed...the last thing I wanna do is increase those odds.  


    on your own personal drug use is not at all what I was talking about. You don't usually purposely twist other's words like that but I do understand that this is a very emotional issue for you.

    Wasn't trying to twist your words.... (none / 0) (#113)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 03:06:33 PM EST
    a poor analogy, but not intentional.

    All good, (none / 0) (#115)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 03:10:49 PM EST
    I think I've had enough of the nuclear NRG discussions for one day!

    Call it what you want (none / 0) (#93)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:37:41 PM EST
    but, it is not foolish to be wary of running to nuclear as a result of fearing/not liking something else. Flinging names at one who is concerned does nothing to advance the argument. Suffice to say, death combined with documented (and, yes, anecdotal) contamination on a broad level gives reason enough for caution. Personally, I find that the step-by-step mixture of energy methods--to which CST referred--makes sense. "All the eggs in one basket" never appealed to me...at the very least, it hands to much potential and real power to a concentrated industry; and, over-reliance on or infatuation with any method makes us vulnerable in too many areas.

    christinep (none / 0) (#97)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:45:18 PM EST
    fwiw, I'm not "flinging names," I'm using words and phrases that are "inside references" to kdog, and, I assume some others who've been around here for a (too?) long time. Kind of like TL-Ebonics...

    I confirm... (none / 0) (#102)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:54:19 PM EST
    sarc has an open invite to call me on my brand of bullsh*t...he has a gift for it, and I appreciate the check on my pre-conceived notions...he's my man:)

    Check on the nukes. (none / 0) (#78)
    by brodie on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:14:11 PM EST
    Nuclear power reminds me a bit of those amazing large white tigers that Siegfried & Roy trained for their Vegas act.  Everyone was assured the situation was safe as the training had been extensive, and S&F knew what they were doing and had raised them since they were cubs, and many years worth of shows had occurred with no incident.  

    Then there was that incident.

    And I'm afraid the rather reasonable and benign-sounding argument of "adding nuclear in the mix of approaches" ends up with it gobbling up the lion's (or tiger's) share of the funding, given its costly and risky nature.

    And on the evolutionary chart metaphor, I have no quibble except that for political reasons, it looks bad for our side to say "too far to the left."  Suggest a change to "too far towards the beginning."


    I would love to see the NRG source (none / 0) (#111)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 03:06:10 PM EST
    that can produce the prodigious amounts of NRG that nuclear can provide but that is not also prodigiously expensive...

    The Sun is nuclear (none / 0) (#118)
    by PatHat on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 03:32:41 PM EST
    Why don't we let IT do the work and we can capture the energy? A commitment in research, development and installation on all new buildings would probably cost less than the liability insurance on the nukes.

    I like the idea of the Federal Govt (Navy TVA) running the nukes, but that horse has left the barn, I am afraid. Maybe after the next major accident.


    Huh, why didn't anyone think of that. (none / 0) (#119)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 03:47:43 PM EST
    It's the cleanest until it is not (none / 0) (#34)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:16:03 PM EST
    A lot like deep water drilling that way.

    Have you looked into the continuous (none / 0) (#41)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:25:02 PM EST
    ecological impact of manufacturing solar cells, for example?

    I just think that the (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:29:20 PM EST
    cleanliness of it when all goes right has to be balanced against the catastrophic effects of something going wrong. Which it will, eventually.

    And take my blinders off???? (none / 0) (#77)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:08:20 PM EST
    Surely you jest.



    Obama has been a disaster (none / 0) (#5)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:27:22 PM EST

    The stimulus is not the only long term hit (none / 0) (#10)
    by BTAL on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:40:03 PM EST
    that the D party will suffer from.  Besides the much discussed list of "accomplishments".  The blatant over-promising/under-delivering all while making completely ridiculous claims.  The two biggest in relation to HCR:

    •  You'll like once we pass it.
    •  HCR is a jobs bill.  Talk about bad messaging, practically everyone with a brain said - WTH???

    The House C&T bill is another example of over reaching and over governing that opened a lot of eyes to what was happening in DC.

    I'm sorry (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:45:26 PM EST
    but this is b.s.

    "example of over reaching and over governing that opened a lot of eyes to what was happening in DC"

    The reason Dems will lose is because of the economy.  Period.

    I mean the Patriot Act is small government but HCR and a Stimulus aren't?  I don't think so.

    No one has felt any direct effect of increased government control over their life - except for those who took TARP funds.  It's just a bunch of Fox News hyperbole.  And they are preaching to the choir on that one.  Those were never Dem votes to lose.


    The house C&T bill was a massive (none / 0) (#39)
    by BTAL on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:22:10 PM EST
    intrusion, that if passed would have touched and damaged more areas of the economy than can imagined.

    Am not defending or attacking the Patriot Act but, it was passed with significant votes from both sides of the aisle.  C&T was an arm twisting exercise to just squeak pass.  


    no one cares (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:29:07 PM EST
    about the bills that don't pass.

    They do when it sets expectations and (none / 0) (#48)
    by BTAL on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:35:23 PM EST
    perceptions of the direction of the party in power.  Those feelings go a long way towards support or opposition in the voting booth.

    give me a break (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:45:39 PM EST
    no one cares right now about a cap and trade bill that didn't pass.  And I repeat, the people concerned with the "slippery slope" of government control were never Dem voters to lose.  The people that were lost, were lost because of the unemployment rate.

    Besides, the government has always been in the business of regulating emissions.  You may not agree with the policy, but I'd hardly call it a massive expansion of government control.

    Did it perhaps increase republican zeal against Dems?  Maybe, I doubt that was really it though. I think it's more due to the fact that they smell blood.  Because of the economy.


    Oh, CST, (5.00 / 5) (#65)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:53:37 PM EST
    when will you ever realize that
    'expansions of government control' are bad when they are about protecting the environment from free-for-all corporate polluters, regulating the economy, or helping the middle class? and they are perfectly justified when they are about invading privacy and forcing people to align with the values of focus on the family, etc. (terry schiavo? patriot act? bueller??)

    The WH apparently cares since it pulled it (none / 0) (#76)
    by BTAL on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:07:59 PM EST
    from whitehouse.gov replacing with a pretty video.  It was a vote killer politically.

    One of the intrusion that I am referring to relates to the issues of existing homes and regulations/mandates dealing with appraisals, selling requirements, etc.  Those would have further driven the housing market into the ground.  


    oh. my. god. (none / 0) (#81)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:16:36 PM EST
    they changed the website!!!  Stop the presses.

    No but in all seriousness - when was the last time you heard anyone mention cap and trade?

    "would have" "might have" "if pigs could fly"

    Cmon now, you really think this election is going to be about a climate bill that never passed?  Of all issues?  Not unemployment?  Or shoot even fear over HCR?  Of all the "vote killers" out there, a failed cap and trade bill seems pretty low on the radar.


    Never said that C&T would be THE issue (none / 0) (#85)
    by BTAL on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:21:49 PM EST
    but we both know that it will be one of the weapons used against any D who voted Yea.  

    It is one piece of the perception mosaic in Nov.  The WH action just add depth to the issue.


    "Perception" (none / 0) (#132)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 07:15:25 PM EST
    That is what conservatives fight a lot to win--and successfully.  It supports my theory that the facts--reality--doesn't matter, "perception" does.

    Facts are just tools to be used or discarded if not helpful......all just a game....


    "Over reaching and over governing" (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:33:47 PM EST
    These sound a whole lot like "activist judge" phraseology to me. IOW, bad when it's for a left-wing cause and good when it's for a right-wing cause.

    Partly true (none / 0) (#12)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:43:44 PM EST

    Businesses aren't creating jobs, and they have no intention of doing so unless they see signs that consumers will again resume spending.

    This is true in part.  The part left our is that business won't hire unless the new hire will make money for the business.  With Obamacare increasing the cost of labor, business have to take in more just to break even on their current work force much less an expanded work force.  

    Add to that talk of raising the payroll tax (as promoted by this site) is a good reason to put off new hires until after the mid-terms and the cost of labor is better understood.  Consider hiring a skilled professional at $158,000 a year.  Eliminating the cap means another $7,000 or so in taxes.

    "Obamacare" (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:48:14 PM EST
    has not changed the cost of labor one whit.  That would be the insurance companies who are operating without any of the real "Obamacare" changes yet.  They raise prices because they can.

    Wrong (none / 0) (#38)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:21:59 PM EST

    The cost of insurance and therefore the price has gone up for just about all group plans across the country.  "Children" up to age 26 and living with parents are now covered when they were not previously.  Did you think that doctors and nurses were goint to treat those 20 sometnings for free?  

    the cost of insurance (none / 0) (#63)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:50:39 PM EST
    goes up every year.  Insuring 26 year olds is relatively cheap, and most plans already included them.  Could that have had some minor marginal impact on cost?  Maybe in a few states.  But nothing on the scale you seem to imply in your original comment.

    Silly (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:57:53 PM EST
    "The part left our is that business won't hire unless the new hire will make money for the business."

    That's not left out. That's the key - aggregate demand must be increased.

    Only the federal government can do that in this environment.


    Thats why tax cuts are so effective (none / 0) (#46)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:32:41 PM EST

    A payroll tax holiday puts more money in workers pockets increasing aggregate demand while at the same time reducing the cost of labor and making hiring more attractive.  

    While regulation nearly always increases cost and stifles demand, you are tight that only the government can reduce cost via tax cuts and increase demand.


    All this proves (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:48:00 PM EST
    once again, is the theory that if the strategic solution to a complicated problem can't fit on a bumpersticker, it's not worthy of being a plank in the conservative platform.

    Close all the schools of economics: the only way to have healthy thriving economy is to cut taxes and government spending. Forget bumperstickers, all we need to know about the economies of nations would fit easily in a fortune cookie.


    A tax cut (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by PatHat on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:26:20 PM EST
    that simply gets people to buy more stuff (mostly from China or other foreign countries) is not very useful imo. The better way to spur the economy is for the government to commit to a large jobs program that pays workers. Workers that can get off unemployment. New jobs pay back some money in taxes and the country actually gets something out of it mass transit, alternative energy, etc).

    How about (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by Molly Pitcher on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 04:35:21 PM EST
    the WPA in addition to the CCC?  Worked for my family!

    agreed, however.. (none / 0) (#117)
    by beowulf on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 03:30:35 PM EST
    You're making two separate points, a job guarantee and expanded infrastructure spending.

    In New Deal terms, the job guarantee was handled by the Harry Hopkins's Works Progress Administration.  It was for labor intensive projects (painting murals, say, or maintaining parks) to keep the unemployed gainfully employed. Capital intensive infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, dams) was handled by the Harold Ickes's Public Works Administration.

    The PWA isn't really necessary, the state DOTs and Army Corps of Engineers can handle all the money Congress throws at them in infrastructure spending (which obviously should be a lot more).
    A new WPA would be a very good idea, the trouble is creating a new agency in this day and age would be a bear.  Probably the only way it could happen is if Congress agreed to fund state-created WPAs.

    It would be a slog because there'd be opposition not just from small government types, but from government workers (and their unions).  After all, if Uncle Sam will pay the unemployed minimum wage to maintain city parks, why should the city have to keep around the parks department workers?  A payroll tax cut is a much easier play. It'd put more money in the pockets of employees and employers alike without any new bureaucracy and without stepping on anyone's toes politically.


    What about the millions (22% real unemployment) (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by jawbone on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 03:00:04 PM EST
    who have no income to be taxed???

    Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.

    See Shadow Government Statistics.


    A payroll tax holiday (none / 0) (#51)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:40:37 PM EST
    is something I would think could make sense but there is some negative literature on its effects.

    low-lying fruit (none / 0) (#106)
    by beowulf on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:57:36 PM EST
    The payroll tax is such a bad tax-- no personal exemption and most of it (the SS side) stops at $106,000 of income-- that it would be a positive thing to eliminate it even if it meant increasing income taxes (or cutting the $1.2 trillion in income tax expenditures).  What you tax, you get less of... what's wrong with American is NOT there is too much wage income for those making under $100,000.

    A payroll tax holiday would kick out almost $900 billion a year divided equally between employee employer.  Its really the best stimulus proposal out there (to his credit, McCain had the right idea last winter when he suggested cutting FICA by 50%).  The bigger questions are actually, how long do you let the tax holiday run and how do you scale it back as the economy picks up?  What I'd do is tie FICA holiday to the unemployment rate. Say, by multiplying U3 rate by 10.  Reduce FICA by that percentage and adjust it monthly when DOL drops the latest employment data.

    Our  9.5% U3 rate would mean a 95% FICA tax cut. I don't think it'd stay there for long.  I'd leave the tax adjustment in place, if we still need revenue when the economy is at full employment (even at 3% unemployment, FICA rates would still be reduced 30%), well, that's why God invented the carbon tax. :o)


    Two years minimum. (none / 0) (#114)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 03:07:46 PM EST

    With the economy booming, the income tax will generate heaps.

    The Democrats are going to let (none / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:53:48 PM EST
    the Bush tax cuts expire and then try to blame the Repubs.

    Everyone will have a tax increase, have less money to spend and the economy will continue to sink.

    those Bush tax cuts (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 12:56:16 PM EST
    sure did a lot for the economy.

    Well, (none / 0) (#30)
    by bocajeff on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:05:55 PM EST
    Tax cuts will always stimulate an economy (see JFK) - some more than others. The problem is that if you're going to cut taxes you have to either cut or limit spending - this was not done (Wars, etc...).

    Use your family budget as an example: If you get a $100 raise you have $100 more to spend. If you cut your expenses $100 you have $100 more to spend. If you act like the government you will cut your income $100 and spend an additional $100...


    But, (none / 0) (#43)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:25:25 PM EST
    not all tax cuts are equal in terms of their relative potential effect on the economy (i.e., depending on how many/who get their taxes cut). Just as not all spending is equal in terms of its relative potential effect on the economy (i.e., spending on foreign war is different than spending on domestic issues -- like jobs -- in terms of economic effect).

    I don't understand these blanket statements about tax cuts.


    hence, (none / 0) (#54)
    by bocajeff on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:43:37 PM EST
    the phrase "some more than others"...

    oh, sorry about that. (none / 0) (#56)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:45:11 PM EST
    I guess I was focused on the 'tax cuts will always stimulate....' part.

    You're right - 'some more than others'. I don't hear that acknowledged very often.


    We could sure use some Bush prosperity. (none / 0) (#80)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:16:08 PM EST
    When the Democrats took over both Houses of Congress in 2/2007 unemployment was under 5%, gasoline was around $2.00 and the Dow around 14000...

    By mid summer of 2008 the unemployment rate was going straight up, the market was going straight down and gasoline was holding steady at around $4.00-$4.50. All that in a short 17 months.

    In October the Democrats passed a bank bailout bill with no controls on so the bankers did what came naturally, they stole their share and called it bonuses.

    Actually Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac had been doing that for years, but since those guys were Demos no one thought anything about it.

    Since Obama's election the trend continues with the market run off around 50% before climbing back up to around 12,000, then back to around 10,000, about 25% below Bush's high.

    With unemployment and gasoline prices going up the future looks grim.

    In fact official unemployment is near a 26 year high. Actual figures are estimated to be near depression levels.


    Bush tax cuts (none / 0) (#84)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:20:33 PM EST
    are still in place.

    People and (none / 0) (#122)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 04:50:28 PM EST
    business buy/invest/hire based on their expectations.

    You don't buy a new home when your job security expectations are low. You don't hire people when you don't know what your taxes will be and what your employee benefits will cost. You don't rush out and buy stocks when you expect them to fall.

    The Demos have driven the economy into the ground. There will be no recovery if taxes are increased. And that recovery won't start until after people expect them to not increase.


    I was alive in the 90s (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by CST on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 04:55:25 PM EST
    you'll have to try that line on someone younger.

    So?? (none / 0) (#126)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 05:34:26 PM EST
    Go back a little further.. (none / 0) (#98)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:46:06 PM EST
    Maybe we could sure use some Clinton prosperity.

    That is, until the Bush tax cuts work their inevitable magic -- which is sure to happen any day now.


    A perspective on the Bush tax cuts. (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by Harry Saxon on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 04:52:03 PM EST
    From that infamous Socialist, Fareed Zakaria:

    Democrats, for their part, are also running scared, proposing to keep all the tax cuts except those affecting the very rich. But they were opposed to these tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. If they were a bad idea when budget deficits were small, why are tax cuts a good idea when deficits are around $1.3 trillion?

    The idea that the average American is overtaxed is a nice piece of populist pandering. In fact, federal taxes as a percentage of the economy are at their lowest level since the Truman administration. Chuck Marr and Gillian Brunet of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have calculated that a family of four at the exact middle of the income spectrum will pay only 4.6 percent of its income in taxes. Remember, almost half of the country pays no income taxes at all. The top 2 percent of Americans contribute almost 50 percent of federal income taxes.

    The simple facts are these: All of the Bush tax cuts were unaffordable. They were an irresponsible act of hubris enacted during an economic boom. Conservatives thought they would force us to shrink the government. But with Republicans controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, did reduced taxes cause reduced spending? No. They led to ever-increasing borrowing and a ballooning deficit.

    We have one of the smallest governments among all the world's rich countries. Yet we refuse to pay for it. (Yes, health-care spending is the big exception and, yes, we will have to get those costs under control.) I understand the fear that this is not a good time to raise taxes. But the impact of marginal shifts in tax rates on growth is pretty unclear. Bill Clinton raised taxes in 1993 and ushered in a period of extraordinarily robust growth. George W. Bush cut taxes massively in 2001 and got meager growth in return. Three tax cuts enacted since the financial crisis have done little to spur growth. In any event, if timing is the issue, Congress could extend all the tax cuts for a year but then let them expire. Better yet, spend money on far more efficient ways to spur job creation, such as tax credits for jobs, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would create four to six times as many jobs as would tax cuts.

    I don't like our current tax system. It's unwieldy, it taxes the wrong things (income instead of consumption) and its loopholes are legalized corruption. But we are not going to create the perfect tax code today. In front of us is a simple, easy way to bring America's fiscal house in order, reduce our dependence on foreign borrowing, restore U.S. credibility and power, and provide a stable revenue base from which to make key investments for future growth. All we need is for Congress to do what it does so well: nothing.

    When you add it all up (none / 0) (#127)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 06:05:51 PM EST
    The idea that the average American is overtaxed is a nice piece of populist pandering.

    it is mind boggling.

    FIT, FICA, Medicare, State Income, Local Income, State Sales Tax, Local Income Tax, Federal Excise Taxes, Franchise Fees Utilities, Federal Universal Service Fee, Federal Subscriber Line Charge, Lodging Taxes, Airport fees....


    You yourself have pointed out that (none / 0) (#133)
    by Harry Saxon on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 07:20:16 PM EST
    a family of 4 making 39K or less pays no income tax, so you really shouldn't be surprised.

    Facts be facts:

    In fact, federal taxes as a percentage of the economy are at their lowest level since the Truman administration.  Chuck Marr and Gillian Brunet of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have calculated that a family of four at the exact middle of the income spectrum will pay only 4.6 percent of its income in taxes. Remember, almost half of the country pays no income taxes at all. The top 2 percent of Americans contribute almost 50 percent of federal income taxes.

    State Income, Local Income, State Sales Tax, Local Income Tax,

    Which vary in application and amount from state to state, local income taxes are unknown in many parts of the country outside major urban areas.

    Lodging Taxes, Airport fees

    How to you propose to pay for airports without the users providing at least some of the funding?



    I don't know what your (none / 0) (#139)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 10:10:41 PM EST
    point is besides we need to pay more taxes.

    I would suggest if you believe that just write a check to the US Treasury and mail it to the address listed on your 1040 instructions.


    The point is, (none / 0) (#140)
    by jondee on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 01:38:18 AM EST
    Rush, that some people should be paying more and some should be paying a lot less. Not "we should be paying more".

    That, and that the Bush tax cuts and Bush economic philosophy are recession inducing sh*t.


    Funny thing, (none / 0) (#142)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 08:09:09 AM EST
    Barney.... Explain to me why the Demos haven't been able to correct this problem in almost 45 years??

    A lot less? Did you note the family of 4 making around $39K and less paying NO FIT??


    heh almost 4 years (none / 0) (#143)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 08:11:04 AM EST
    Gee, you wouldn't want to blame (none / 0) (#145)
    by Harry Saxon on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 11:09:21 AM EST
    whoever was POTUS for 2 of that 4 years, now would you?

    A legislative majority makes the Executive irrelevant?

    Who knew?

    Anyhoo, to get back to the thread topic:

    My point was that income taxes of all sorts are a low burden for most of the county, i. e., what the article I linked to was about.

    You made observations about the kind of taxes people are subjected to, I answered back, and you gave me your wonderfully polite and respectful reply.

    I'll take your advice under consideration, the only advice I follow blindly is my fathers' observation that free opinions are probably those that didn't sell well at retail.  :-D


    You list everything except ... (none / 0) (#137)
    by lambert on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 08:55:32 PM EST
    ... the total. Typical, since if you did that, you'd have to admit you're wrong.

    Without establishing income (none / 0) (#138)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 10:08:05 PM EST
    it would be impossible to have real numbers.

    Thanks for the admission (none / 0) (#148)
    by lambert on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 03:54:12 PM EST
    that you can present no data to back up your claims. Now go away.

    He's got basically (none / 0) (#29)
    by brodie on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    one more month, at most, in which to announce some major change in economic policy.  Like a 2d substantial stimulus/jobs program.  A bold one.  Acknowledge the 1st was big but not big enough as it turned out, and so now there's a chance to correct the initial well-intended mistake.  Put the onus on Rs to say no to more jobs for Americans.

    Do it even knowing the votes aren't there right now.  People will applaud the effort and possibly reward it at the polls.

    Just naming Eliz Warren to the new consumer agency, while a nice helpful gesture that might be beneficial to people in certain ways in the long run, won't be nearly enough right now or for November.

    The affinity for "gestures" is part of (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 01:30:28 PM EST
    the problem,whether it is the gesture of announcing some major initiative that never gets off the ground, or gets watered down, and packed with concessions to conservatives on both sides of the aisle - or - the gesture of nominating someone to a position of significant importance and then letting the nomination die (Dawn Johnsen), or gutting the scope and authority of the position so as to make it little more than window-dressing (a dollar says that's what happens assuming Warren would be nominated and confirmed).

    It's optics, spectacle, cotton candy.  And it's time we stopped allowing ourselves to be seduced or guilted or bamboozled or frightened into continuing to vote for people who can't match their rhetoric with action that is consistent with it.


    Actually there's a very real (none / 0) (#69)
    by brodie on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:02:32 PM EST
    and rational place for fear of the other party in electoral politics, no matter how disappointed we are with our side.  I always reserve the right to vote for my disappointing wimps if the other guys are only offering bigotry and more big tax breaks for the wealthy and their corporate sponsors.

    As to gestures, we're not that far apart since I too am not arguing for any insincere meaningless gestures, or ones that Team Obama will politely allow to be watered down into meaninglessness.

    But at this point, he's left with fewer options since the GOP isn't going to play ball at all in letting him have a quicky easy victory on the Hill.  One would be to combine the nifty appointment of Eliz Warren in September with a second announcement along the Stimulus 2.0 lines I suggested.  Then go and fight for it in the halls of Congress and on the stump.  Schedule either a televised speech to the nation or evening prime-time presser in which to spell it out in more detail.  

    He'll have to be a little more Harry Truman in all this, of course, and less The Perfesser.  So we can see for ourselves whether, as he bragged recently, he really does "politicking" well.


    I get what you're saying, but if (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 03:06:27 PM EST
    you look at what you're saying in relation to where things are now, what it means is that we are effectively in a race for the bottom: as the GOP gets worse, the Dems don't raise the bar, they lower it, because there is still this feeling that as long as Dems are "better" than the GOP - no matter how fine a distinction that is - we should keep voting for them.  I don't see this as improving either the quality of our representation or the quality of governance: a pool that consists of truly awful Republicans and only marginally better Democrats is a stagnant, stinking swamp.

    The other thing that concerns me is that I think too many people still believe that Obama really wants to govern as a progressive, but I truly have not seen any signs of that; a president who forms a commission and stacks it with social safety-net haters isn't progressive, and doesn't resemble a Democrat, either.  President HAMP, looking out for banks instead of the homeowners who need help, isn't progressive.  The president who engineered a health-whatever bill that will be a huge boon to an industry that is already sucking all our blood, isn't progressive.  Financial "reform?"  Ditto.  The list goes on and on, and reveals someone who just isn't interested in leading to the benefit of all of us chumps out here working our fingers to the bone and playing by the rules.  So, what - other than his pure self-interest - would lead you to think that he wants or needs to do anything bigger, better, bolder, to get the economy going again?  

    He's just not the president he sold himself as, and the Congress has failed to act as the independent body they are and push him to do the right things.  Why?  Because when you play Obama's game, the cash flows your way, and everyone knows they can't keep their jobs without all that nice, green cash.

    So, he and they tell the people whatever they have to to keep their jobs, and once that's in the bag, they can go back to ignoring us or deciding that we still have not sacrificed enough.  Just in time, the Cat Food Commission will be making its recommendations to a lame-duck Congress...and guess who came up with that timeline?

    I know this is about as negative as it is possible to be, but I am sort of at the point where I don't think it matters much which terrible party wins in November, because we're going to keep getting screwed either way.


    Re midterm politics, (none / 0) (#128)
    by brodie on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 06:30:56 PM EST
    I'm all in favor of the party of many actually being whittled down by a few sacrificial Blue Dogs, hopefully to be replaced in the next cycle by a truer version of Dem who will then start voting for programs that will help people instead of corps.

    Meanwhile, in my blue neck of the woods, I've got some good Dems to vote for -- Boxer, Brown and Woolsey.  I will show up for those 3 not only for what they stand for, but for what their GOP opponents represent in corporate dominance and trying to buy elections with little or no governmental experience.

    As to your itemized list of objections in your middle eight, again I largely sing the same tune.  But as to your question

    So, what - other than his pure self-interest - would lead you to think that he wants or needs to do anything bigger, better, bolder, to get the economy going again?

    I'll choose whatever motivation it takes, even if that's purely the self-interested kind which other Dem presidents have cynically practiced, btw, with little complaint (in retrospect) from a lotta you online folks.  With the economy in the dumpster, I don't care if he acts out of self preservation for 2012 or because he's the world's greatest humanitarian.  Just get it done or get out there and make the case for it whether or not it succeeds.


    Obama is not on the ballot in November (none / 0) (#134)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 07:24:12 PM EST
    A number of Democrats are....

    If you don't care if they are re-elected--due to your disappointment in Obama not being progressive enough, that sounds quite self-defeating imo.



    Oh, gosh - thanks for letting me know (5.00 / 2) (#135)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 07:58:50 PM EST
    that Obama isn't on the ballot - I would never have known otherwise...

    My choices here in MD this election are:

    Barbara Mikulski in the Senate - she will win no matter whether I vote or not - and Roscoe Bartlett in the House - a seat that has been Republican forever, and not likely to change given the way the district is drawn.

    For what it's worth, I never believed Obama to be progressive - there is little in his history that suggested he was - and so, it's hard to be disappointed when one didn't have expectations for better to begin with.

    My disappointment is rooted in a belief that I keep reading and hearing expressed: that no matter how bad the Dems are, we HAVE TO keep voting for them, even if they might be only millimeters better than their GOP alternatives.

    And that is allowing important decisions that absolutely affect people's lives to be made by those whose interests are not consistent with a progressive agenda that supports those who cannot speak for themselves, and who have little means to be heard.

    Are they all bad?  No.  Are some quite good?  Yes.  And good members of Congress should be returned to office.

    But here we are, coming down the home stretch to a mid-term election, and people are brain-storming what Obama can do to prevent a bloodbath - even though he has had over a year and a half to propose, and lend his brilliant political skills to, policies that would have been better for the country, and even though, in that same year and a half, the Democratic members of Congress were perfectly capable of standing up to do the right thing, even if that wasn't what their president wanted.  They don't work for him - they work for us; if they're confused about that, I'm not sure the best place for them is a position of such power and influence.

    Who needs to be "self-defeating" when the Congress can do that for us?


    Elizabeth Warren is an essential step, (none / 0) (#105)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:57:08 PM EST
    for the new consumer agency, although a bold move would be to nominate her for Sec. of Treasury, since Tim probably wants to spend more time with his family.  Confirmation hearings would be very interesting.  A less bold choice would be economic advisor, replacing Larry , who probably wants to return to his first love, teaching and research; added advantage: Economic Advisor does not require senate confirmation.

    Will there be ponies? (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by lambert on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 04:02:57 PM EST
    There's a good deal of commentary on this  thread that postulates thing Obama could do if only he "wanted" to, and a good deal of clever strategerizing baed on that assumption.

    Few seem willing to accept the idea that Obama, and the Ds -- who are, after all, thoroughly professional pols -- are doing exactly what they want to do.

    After all, as Ann points out, under the legacy party system, all the Ds have to do is appear to be better than the Rs.


    You are right. (none / 0) (#154)
    by KeysDan on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 08:03:47 PM EST
    If he wanted Elizabeth Warren he would have appointed her before any heat was on him.  Because the consumer agency was, in large  part, due to her thinking.  But we know he does not want her,  she is media savvy, most damaging to her, and she knows what is happening.  She is probably the only person with a Harvard background that Obama does think of highly, or who he feels he can't control.   He will stick with Timmy and Larry forever  They are doing exactly what he wants.  Christine, not so much, so off with her head.

    According to Gallup (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Buckeye on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:06:21 PM EST
    Obama's disapproval rating for the first time in his Presidency is over 50%.  If there is anything he can do to turn around the ship, he better do it fast.

    And I am not seeing anything close to trying.  It is almost as if they have accepted and are bracing themselves for the fact that they are going to get creamed in November and there is nothing they can do about it (or nothing they can do to mitigate it).

    Certainly personel changes (Geitner and Summers for example) will not help at this point (perhaps after the elections).


    Maybe Obama thinks it will be easier to achieve (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by jawbone on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:53:45 PM EST
    his objectives with a Repub House or full Congress??

    It must be tough trying to make people think he is doing something for them when he has to please his Corporate Overlords. With Repubs in charge, he can just say he couldn't do anything but go all with them.


    Gallup (none / 0) (#104)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:56:17 PM EST
    is behind a few days. Several other polls have his approval rating in the low 40s -  and that was a few days ago.

    I don't think one month will do it--and who could (5.00 / 0) (#110)
    by jawbone on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 03:03:10 PM EST
    trust his "words, just words"?

    Look over this chart and tell me we're not in a depression (from Calculated Risk). Follow the bright red line.


    We need a Jobs Guarantee (none / 0) (#149)
    by lambert on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 03:57:13 PM EST
    See here.

    Of course, that's not on the table. Neither of the two Republican Parties believes in it, because normalizing permanently high disemployment is a bipartisan policy goal in Versailles.


    The private sector and jobs (none / 0) (#74)
    by Dadler on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:07:16 PM EST
    Capitalism's private sector paradigm about employment goes like this: pay as few people as little as possible to do as much work as possible. That is not a recipe for long-term economic prosperity when the only thing that gives money value is the confidence (i.e., the positive thoughts) of the citizens who live within that economic system.

    We are at the end of an era when it comes to our delusions about the ability of money to reproduce and spread on its own.

    We control it entirely, and the entity which allows us to control it most equitably (in theory if not CURRENT practice) is that government supposedly by, of and for the people.

    You've got it backward, (none / 0) (#99)
    by bocajeff on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:46:14 PM EST
    It's pay people to turn a profit. Most companies would love to hire as many people and pay them as much as possible as long as it turned a profit and kept them competitive. Of course greed is a primary motive. Just like you don't live a monks life and give away your "profits" to those less fortunate who will never have the opportunity to access a computer or debate others for the sake of debate and not solution.

    BTW, government pretty much does the same thing. As do nationalized companies. You might call it different things but the last time I looked there weren't a lot of horse and buggy manufacturers out there...


    You don't call AT&T and Verizon... (none / 0) (#152)
    by lambert on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 04:04:56 PM EST
    Uncertainty (none / 0) (#141)
    by coast on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 06:52:36 AM EST
    This is why the private sector is sitting on the sidelines.  If Congress would do its job, then businesses would be able to make decisions about hiring and expansion.  As long as there is uncertainty with things such as rates, deduction limitations, and many other factors that go into many business decisions, businesses will continue to stay put.  We don't need to throw more good money after bad, we just need Congress to do its current job.

    I think a lot of people are (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 08:26:56 AM EST
    in wait-and-see mode, too uncertain about their jobs and the economy in general to risk spending on anything they don't have to - which is why I don't see tax cuts as being effective in getting people spending again: people will just save, if they can, and either get current on bills or a little ahead.

    Congress does need to do its job, but it seems like they are behind the curve most of the time, not ahead of it, which means much of what they do is more band-aid than prophylactic.

    I don't have much confidence in their ability to do what needs to be done; I expect a lot of talk, and the usual show, but nothing of real substance.