What "Lessons" Will Be Learned From Today?

Some, sadly including some self proclaimed "liberals," insist that today 'proved [S&P] f*cking right!' This despite the fact the US Treasuries hit 2 year yield lows.

I prefer, via Atrios, the lessons from Brad DeLong:

Stock market down 17% in two and half weeks while the bond market has reduced the yield on the Ten-Year Treasury from 3% to 2.35%, and break-even five-year inflation has fallen from 2.1% to 1.7%. I think that is a very loud wake-up call for Mr. Obama--that it is long past time for him to stop talking about how surrendering to Republicans on long-run spending priorities will bring the confidence fairy who will then gift us with a strong recovery and start actually doing his job.

Yep. See also Krugman.

Speaking for me only

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    I agree (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by BDB on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 03:24:15 PM EST
    that the path Obama is following will continue our economic slide (in fact, I'd argue that's the point - to make us "competitive" by lowering wages 30% or so).  

    I disagree that he's surrendering to Republicans.  He's following this path because it's the path he wants to follow.  It's who he is.  I know that's hard for people like DeLong to accept because it means Obama isn't going to save us.  But wake up, DeLong, Obama isn't going to save us.  He's one of the people trying to bury us (he's admittedly got a lot of bipartisan company).

    digby (none / 0) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 04:47:42 PM EST
    Harwood:...they clearly are pointing to the intransigence and resistant of the Republicans that would require tax increases as the reason behind this downgrade.

    So I think they're are multiple forces to blame and, of course, if you look at the longer view, Democrats have supported many of the spending programs [entitlements] that have gotten us into this place as well.
    Harwood: At this point the administration's investing its hopes in that process and hoping they turn the negative energy of the downgrade into the positive energy and momentum of a public push for them to make a Grand Bargain.

    Nothing, not ongoing 9% unemployment, not predictions of another recession, not a rout in all the budget negotiations negotiations, not even the S&P downgrade will make the White House stray from its goal, stated clearly before the inauguration, of a Grand Bargain. This is obviously what they want as their legacy and this crisis will not deter them. Indeed, it is an opportunity to press harder. They aren't feckless --- they are determined. digby

    Did you see this, in the DeLong (none / 0) (#43)
    by Anne on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 10:29:45 PM EST

    And when I talk to their staffs, the message I hear is not "we were wrong about how the world works, and are rethinking the issues from the ground up to figure out what to do" but instead "we were unlucky: our policies were good". Never mind that Richard Koo or Carmen Reinhart or Ken Rogoff or indeed all of us who have ever taught the Great Depression in Europe foresaw the rerun of 1931s Credit-Anstalt crisis that is now playing at the European cinema. If I were as unkind as Jon Walker, I would say that I am reminded of the old Scooby-Doo TV series, in which at the end the villain always says: "My plan was perfect, perfect! I would have gotten away with it if not for those meddling PIIGS!"

    Three years ago I would have said--I did say--that Ben Bernanke was among the best available candidates for Fed chair and that Tim Geithner was among the best available candidates for Assistant to the President for Economic Policy.

    Today I think they both suffer from the sunk-costs problem.

    In order to properly respond to the situation today they need to forget everything they thought they knew about the world in the summer of 2009 and look at the situation with fresh eyes. I don't think they have done that. i don't think they can do that. And yet theirs seem to be the only strong policy voices from people with deep substance-matter expertise that Obama hears.

    Important question: do they want to do that?  If the answer is "no," then it pretty much doesn't matter if they can, does it?

    The market losing almost 20% of its value in two weeks shouldn't just be a wake-up call, it should be a 2 x 4 to the face..oh, wait - that's what we're getting out of all of this.


    BTD (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 03:27:57 PM EST
    nothing is going to be learned least of all by Obama.

    There's a lot that can be learned looking over the last few years by a lot of people but Obama has written his own political death ticket. Nothing can change that now.

    What a novel idea (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 03:29:05 PM EST
    ...that it is long past time for him to stop talking about how surrendering to Republicans on long-run spending priorities will bring the confidence fairy who will then gift us with a strong recovery and start actually doing his job.

    That would be a nice change. Meanwhile back to reality - how much more is Obama willing to give away to get his "grand bargain."

    Meanwhile, the Tea Party has upped the ante:

    The new panel will have 14 weeks to do its work. Republicans have made clear that they will push for cuts in federal spending under the new health care law, arguing that it should be on the table along with other government programs and tax breaks. The Congressional Budget Office says the law will cover 34 million uninsured people by expanding Medicaid and subsidizing private insurance at a cost of $1.1 trillion over 10 years.

    Sandy Levinson at (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Anne on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 07:02:10 PM EST
    Balkinization weighs in on the concentration of power in a few:

    But even more telling with regard to regime change is the further diminution of Congress as a serious law-making or deliberative body. (Nothing new here; Carl Schmitt would certainly understand how and why that has happened.) We are to be effectively governed in the next several months by the new super-duper committee of six Republicans and six Democrats who will be able to propose fast-track budget cuts (or, in theory but not in fact, tax increases) that Congress must vote up or down on, with no possibility for amendment. Lest one compare this to other fast-track procedures, such as the base-closing commissions and the like, note that the failure of Congress to acquiesce to the wishes of their new masters will lead to killing the hostages, in this case automatic budget cuts in defense and in programs involvng the vulnerable.

    As I wrote yesterday, this literally makes no sense IF one believes that our current defense budget makes sense (and, of course, if one is a bleeding heart who believes that the suffering should receive help instead of being left to their own prospects in a Darwinian free market). This is not the way a serious Republican Form of Government operates. It is the way a "constitutional dictatorship" takes further (and suitably complext) form. In any event, political terrorism will have been "normalized."

    In this context, I'm happy to echo the words of a Texas Republican Representatives, Michael C. Burgess: "I hate it, I hate it, I hate it with a passion." This comes, suitably enough, from a story in today's Times on how "Lawmakers in Both Parties Fear that New Budget Panel Will Erode Authority." Yes, indeed. It represents a new version of "delegation run riot," though this time the delegation is not to the Executive Branch, but, rather, to an insider's club of less than 5% of the entire Congress, whose members will be appointed by the Speaker, the House Minority leader (Nancy Pelosi), and the Senate majority and minority leaders, with, one presumes, no formal approval by the House or Senate itself. Why would anyone who has any lingering belief in democracy, representative government, or a Republican Form of Government believe this is a good idea?

    That phrase - "constitutional dictatorship" - has been like an ear-worm ever since I read it; I think we are entering into some deeply dangerous territory.


    The politicians in D.C. (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by MO Blue on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 08:24:18 PM EST
    are more of a threat to me and my survival than any foreign born terrorist. I am sure that I am not alone in this.

    This Super Congress is designed to pass legislation that is harmful to the general public without individual politicians bearing responsibility for the damage.

    Right now I am extremely angry at the people who ridiculed and silenced those who warned of the consequences of electing a person who campaigned on rehabilitating the Republican Party and putting Social Security on the table.

    We didn't understand nuances or Obama's clever election strategy. Obama's strategy was clever alright but it was not the people those who did not see Obama as "The One" who were fooled.


    Yes, and I believe (none / 0) (#47)
    by KeysDan on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 10:41:46 PM EST
    Obama fears that the fearsomely designed "auto-cuts" will not seem so fearsome in the face of  the product of Cat Food II, and, will be the default after either a majority is not achieved or a successful vote in Congress is not obtained.  The Standard & Poor ratings, that really refer to the economy (and spooked the stock market), not the bond market, will be played by Obama to make Cat Food II successful.

    The lesson Obama will learn (5.00 / 5) (#4)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 03:35:06 PM EST
    is that he needs to move even further into austerity mode. He'll demand more spending cuts and higher revenues. He will do the exact opposite of what the economy needs. It's going to be a very unpleasant next couple of years.

    Jobs discussion is dead (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by waldenpond on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 04:11:11 PM EST
    Jeez, check out media today.  It's nauseating.... SS means testing, increase mcr age (effing insane) etc.

    Obama got what he needed from S&P... the phoney deficit discussion rules the day again.  Now the politicians get to keep on their ideology schtick.

    Couple of years?  hmmmm, I think we are in for a long-term change.  I see no indication people are going to do anything.  Maybe if there was rolling outages in cell phone coverage people would take notice?


    Lessons? (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Dadler on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 03:40:07 PM EST
    I guess that the line between reality and fantasy is so thin that it's not much of a line at all.

    That S&P and their track record are taken seriously, and this is the starting point for any defense of their action, really boggles me. Grifters with better parking spaces, nothing more.

    Oh, Brad, Brad, Brad... (5.00 / 8) (#8)
    by Anne on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 03:57:54 PM EST
    Obama's not asleep, he's wide-awake - a condition being mirrored by millions of people who cannot sleep for the fear that gnaws at them more and more every day.

    Brad's one of many who needs to do some serious waking-up, and understand that this is not about not surrendering to Republicans, but about not actively cooperating in the destruction of the American economy.  

    What do you call someone who deliberately engineers policy and legislation that subjects those least able to rise above them to the prospects of a meager, stressful and hard life?  

    It's approaching evil, in my opinion.  Evil.

    I want to crawl into a hole (5.00 / 6) (#14)
    by andgarden on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 04:34:23 PM EST
    I did NOT sign up for a reenactment of the 1930s.

    Sadly, we are getting the bad part of the '30s (5.00 / 4) (#17)
    by caseyOR on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 04:47:02 PM EST
    and none of the FDR New Deal type programs to mitigate the damage to the vast majority of Americans.

    Things will be bad ( already are in many ways) for me, a baby boomer whose only income is Social Security Disability and who would have died many years ago if not for Medicare. My future increasingly looks to be a miserable death that occurs about 20 years sooner than  I wanted, or it needed to.

    Sadly, andgarden, things look even worse for people your age. You are facing decades, if not a lifetime, of trying to just keep your head above water. Forget about having a boat to ride out the flood. And any lifelines thrown out by Obama and Congress will most likely be 15 foot ropes tossed to people who are drowning 25 feet from shore.


    Actually, the truth of the matter (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by andgarden on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 04:51:43 PM EST
    is that our safety net is far better equipped to handle the problem now than it ever was in the 1930s. The New Deal was essential, but it did not solve unemployment or most of the suffering. Only the massive deficit spending of WW II did.

    maybe we need a nude eel (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Dadler on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 04:57:31 PM EST
    i'm just at a loss to envision a solution to the delusions and up-is-down mindset making swiss cheese of what's left of the national mind.

    The safety net may be better now, (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by caseyOR on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 05:03:41 PM EST
    but Catfood Commission II, and Obama, will make sure to correct that flaw in their plan.

    I am a proponent of massive government investments in just about anything that spurs employment is times like these, short of another world war. So, I don't think it does us any good to sell short the employment programs of the New Deal. They did not end all suffering, but they made a huge difference in peoples' lives and in the degree of their suffering, a huge difference.

    We should be so lucky now to have a President forcefully pushing for those kinds of programs.


    We still have the bulk of those programs, (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by andgarden on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 05:10:19 PM EST
    and they are better and more comprehensive than they were at the time. It's not 1975 anymore, but it's not 1930 either.

    Some are at risk, but that's probably down the road. The issue is that the safety net programs were not sufficient then, and they are not sufficient today, even after Great Society. Nobody can replace government as investor of last resort.


    She/he said employment programs, Andgarden (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 06:10:50 PM EST
    No, we do not have those anymore.  We don't even have the modest employment and training programs of the Nixon/Ford era we used to have that kicked in when unemployment rose to -- gasp! -- a horrible 6 or 7 percent.

    (I used to be part of the adminstration of those programs on the state level right after I got out of college.)

    The WPA and the CCC not only kept some money flowing into the economy, they accomplished all kinds of useful things, not just infrastructure but -- another gasp -- paid writers to write things like the first comprehensive guidebooks.

    Also very important, they enabled people to regain some self-respect.


    That's a fair point; I glossed over it! (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by andgarden on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 06:45:58 PM EST
    Caught one the better (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by NYShooter on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 01:39:51 PM EST
     Charlie Rose programs last night. Among the guests was a Harvard guy, Liberal, really smart, and really disgusted with Obama.

    Anyway, catch this: he said they've been doing studies at Harvard  about what projects would put many, many thousands of people to work, AND do really great things. The one he mentioned last night, I thought was brilliant. He said the studies show that if the government began a project of retrofitting their buildings (followed by the private sector) to make them more efficient, the costs would pay for themselves in six years, and reduce the need for imported oil by 50%.

    Neat, no?


    Done to some extent (none / 0) (#83)
    by Addison on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 01:48:43 PM EST
    Well, that has been done to some extent, with over 240 retrofit green renovations of federal buildings and 10 new "green building" federal structures:

    We're talking Washington dollars here, so "small" means $5.5 billion. That's the amount the stimulus sets aside for making the nation's existing federal buildings more energy-efficient ($4.5 billion) and constructing new federal buildings and border stations ($1 billion). Since most of that money is for renovations, which are a lot less eye-catching than the new Frank Gehry-designed concert hall that opened last week in Miami Beach, Fla., we the critics yawned. Who wants to review a new fan coil heating and cooling unit?


    And the administration has proposed a plan to aid commercial buildings do the same:

    Dubbed the "Better Buildings Initiative," it aims to make commercial buildings 20% more energy efficient over the next decade by catalyzing private sector investment through a series of incentives to upgrade offices, stores, schools and other municipal buildings, universities, hospitals, and other commercial buildings.


    There's always room for expansion of the program, but it's not really a new or untested idea.


    Right, (none / 0) (#86)
    by NYShooter on Wed Aug 10, 2011 at 06:47:17 AM EST
    and I realize that, so did that guest. I guess I should have put the conversation into context. They were discussing the paralysis in Washington, from the President on through the Congress. They were comparing the attitude FDR tried to instill vs. the Hamlet-like dreariness of Obama. His demeanor alone exudes hopelessness. I guess another way of saying it is, "you don't have to re-invent the wheel.

    The huge WPA projects of the 30's not only put people to work, the things they built were important, needed, and improved the infrastructure greatly. The energy retrofitting was just an example of something that's ready now. No new training, education, dislocation, etc, etc. What could be bad? 50% reduction in imported oil, buildings energy efficient, and millions of people working on useful things.

    Where's Obama's plan, or Congress's?........anybody?


    The New Deal did (5.00 / 8) (#25)
    by Towanda on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 05:41:04 PM EST
    create a lot of jobs and alleviate a lot of suffering, though -- as compared to none of that being done now.  That is what is inexplicable.

    Entirely explicable, by comparison, are the attacks on the safety net programs.  Mean, stupid, short-sighted, ahistorical, and all that -- but explicable in terms of the ideology of the Republican party.

    Of course, that returns us to the truly inexplicable:  That millions of liberals, especially those who consider themselves the smart intellectuals and "creative class," were so stupid as to elect a Republican, a candidate who kept attacking New Deal programs as entitlements and spoke admiringly of Reagan, etc., as their president.


    Did anyone? (none / 0) (#23)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 05:29:40 PM EST

    Other markets down too (none / 0) (#48)
    by MKS on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 10:58:04 PM EST
    Maybe as a silver lining we will stop spending so much on the military......especially overseas....

    A thorough study of why-unemployment is needed. (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Timothy MacAren on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 06:19:08 PM EST
    I attribute the major reason to our weakness and easy to destabilize that these days have proved, to unemployment. When the man works, everything falls in place, sooner or later. When the man does not work, maddening sleepless nights and sense of being unhinge spread. Even the modestly moneyed investor feels vulnerable. The banks are bursting with money--they can't loan it out because of late regulations and decline in public credit. Businesses are plump after Stimulus, they are selling whatever they want. Why unemployment then?
    I even attribute unemployment to the public apathy and insane cheering of Eric Cantor, the Gang of six, the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist, Bachmann(?!), that happened while those terrorists were sabotaging the country's Budget. Because they are terrorists who inserted terror in the mind of those unemployed mentioned above. To me, they are traitors to America. While China is biting our heels. While we are going to continue spending in anti-terrorism and the wars with Arabs and Muslims vetting Palestinians statehood on September.

    how stupid do you have to be (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by desmoinesdem on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 12:44:55 AM EST
    to beg your total failure of a Treasury secretary to stay on the job? I don't care if the optics look bad (Obama losing the last original member of his economic team). I know Republicans would put up a big fight before confirming a new Treasury secretary. But Timothy Geithner is a failure in every respect, and for the POTUS to ask him to stay is ridiculous. He's either blind or he wants to lose the election.

    Well... (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Addison on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 12:52:10 AM EST
    ...the confirmation is sort of a non-issue. There could always be an acting secretary for an extended period of time. Or a recess appointment. Geithner is there because he has the faith and trust of the president. Based on what, I don't know. Presumably the both believe that if not for Geithner we'd all be eating boiled rats right now, seasoned with rationed salt. Only the hypothetical "could've been worse" can ever excuse Geithner's performance.

    We've had this discussion (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by NYShooter on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 03:43:34 AM EST
     here before.  My best guess is that Obama sees Timmuh as a gateway to the Cool Kids Club.  Geithner does know his way around having slithered around the banking bureaucrocy forever. The other traits I think Obama finds attractive are a.)  Geithner is unethical, Obama doesn't have to watch what he says.  b.) Geithner doesn't have an empathetic bone in his body, let alone a sympathetic one  and, c.)  He has that wise-guy, Eddie Haskell way about him. Makes Barry laugh, nothing like dumping on widows and orphans for a good chuckle.

    There's one other possibility, and about this I'm not joking. If you go back through the history of the bailouts, and all that business, in every case I can think of where choices had to be made weighing bank concerns against the citiznry, Geithner sided with the banks. Not only sided with the banks, but sided 100% with the banks.  In every case where bailouts were made, including the noxious AIG bailout, even when the banks were more than willing to compromise and accept less than total bailout, Geithner insisted on 100% payment. It is said that in the inner sanctums when these issues were being debated, witnesses claim Geithner's mantra was, "not one penny," meaning the banks were not to lose even one cent.

    Not to drag this out, my point is, maybe the banks told Obama that a condition for the boatloads of money they gave him was that Timmie had to be in the White House as point man for their interests.  If that was the case, Boy! Did they get their money's worth.

    But, you're right, nobody, not republican, not Democrat, not outsider has a good thing to say for Geithner, and it is a mystery what hold he has on our Community organizer.  


    The lesson Obama needs to learn is (none / 0) (#6)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 03:43:55 PM EST
    There are way too many people with power and money in this country who are more than willing to bring the country to it's knees to achieve their goal.

    You can't negotiate with people that are absolutely certain of their beliefs. Rather than catering to the demands of the tea party, he needs to expose them as the far right radical wing they are.

    He knows this -- he works for those people w/ (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by jawbone on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 06:40:06 PM EST
    "power and money in this country who are more than willing to bring the country to it's knees to achieve their goal."

    They selected him to save their sorry behinds when they tanked the economy.


    I tuned him out last week (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by andgarden on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 07:06:21 PM EST
    It's a good thing I know why I still have to vote for him, because he isn't really telling us.

    Why? Because a 2nd Great Depression (none / 0) (#42)
    by observed on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 10:24:35 PM EST
    is not as important as Scotus?
    I think at this point it's quite arguable that McCain would have been better than Obama overall--though still abysmal.

    Nonsense (none / 0) (#44)
    by andgarden on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 10:31:01 PM EST
    Nonsense back at you. (5.00 / 5) (#46)
    by observed on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 10:35:40 PM EST
    Obama's failure is destroying the chances of the Democratic party.
    He took a full house and turned it into 7 high, in just 3 years.
    The long term cost of having Obama as President could be 8-12 years of Republican Presidents starting in 2012.

    Washington Post (3.50 / 2) (#50)
    by Madeline on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 11:29:28 PM EST
    i think, had a 3 page article on the Young Guns, the Ryan, Cantor group. From the article, it appears that Karl Rove and Cantor came up with the plan and it was orchestrated perfectly, right down to the 2010 election.  

    The goal:  The beginning of "the permanent Republican majority". Just what Karl Rove said he would work to achieve.


    There might possibly be one or two (none / 0) (#53)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 01:21:59 AM EST
    Republicans who would be less damaging economically than Obama, but McCain absolutely and unequivocally isn't one of them.

    And that isn't even taking into account his Stone Age foreign policy ideas.


    Democrats had (none / 0) (#75)
    by observed on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 12:11:27 PM EST

    All I heard in the speech was (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by shoephone on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 09:40:25 PM EST
    "American Exceptionalism Still Lives!"


    "Don't Worry, Be Happy."


    No doubt (none / 0) (#35)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 07:17:27 PM EST
    I said that's what Obama needs to do. I have no illusions that he will! He would rather fail (and fail the country) than admit that negotiating as a community organizer is a world apart from the hardball political environment of DC.

    This is America Jack... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 03:48:00 PM EST
    we don't learn lessons...we push the problem down the road and keep the gravy train running on schedule for inner party members.  Pay no attention to the third class train.

    I don't think we should look at Standards-R-Poor downgrade as a question of right or wrong, they sure don't.  Or the gamblers reaction, thats just degenerates degenerating.

    The question is who placed the billion dollar bet?  Who stands to gain?  Who has gained and continues to gain?

    I'm having a hard time caring anymore, its not my game, I don't want to play. And the sun shall rise tomorrow oblivous to all this grifter nonsense.  And if it gets bad enough, I will steal bread from the mouth of decadence with my pirate crew...so why sweat what you can't control?

    Exactly (none / 0) (#62)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 09:09:09 AM EST
    Lessons learned ??  By who and applied to what ?  

    Pull out next time we have a financial show down, wait for the free-fall, buy at discount rates, and cash in ?  Pretty sure that lesson won't be lost.

    Guaranteed, next time we deal with this issue, same BS, same actors, same results.

    And for the record, the bet lost was a cool trillion, the estimated losses this week.  Funny how losing a trillion is called a Market Adjustment by the same aholes that would rather die than have their taxes raised.

    The obvious correlation, lost by everyone...

    I got an idea, how about we raise taxes, never have another debt ceiling discussion, and keep a trillion in our pockets we could possibly use to... I don't know, pay those taxes, and blow the rest on hookers and yachts, or whatever wall streets spends it's ill-gotten gains on these days ?  

    Everyone wins but Norquist.


    Interest rates (none / 0) (#9)
    by athyrio on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 04:02:50 PM EST
    with Wall Street in a free fall, how long before interest rates go thru the ceiling??

    A long time (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 04:03:33 PM EST
    if the economy is in recession.

    Finally we agree on something today (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 07:24:25 PM EST
    I am very vulnerable right now with flexible (none / 0) (#13)
    by athyrio on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 04:29:39 PM EST
    interest rates and just want them to hold steady till I get myself more stabilized (thanks to medical bills) Thanks for the answer...

    One of my tinfoil hat theories (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by ruffian on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 04:39:01 PM EST
    is that the S&P downgrade to AA was basically a device to allow some kind of interest rate hikes when they ordinarily would not be done during a recession. I don't think they will go through the roof, but they will rise as bankers try to squeeze us some more on credit cards and mortgages.

    The S & P downgrade (none / 0) (#40)
    by NYShooter on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 09:45:42 PM EST
     should have little, or no effect on rates. The only changes they might effect are some funds that stipulate in their charter that bonds purchased must be triple A.  Also, you're right, some cc cards and other loans may be tied to Government rates but those rates are dictated by the market place (supply & demand) and not by S & P, or anyone else.

    OK, good (none / 0) (#63)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 09:11:30 AM EST
    I don't really trust my tin foil hat.

    Actually, a modest rise in interest (none / 0) (#16)
    by masslib on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 04:40:27 PM EST
    rates would do away with the deficit.

    The sooner the better. (none / 0) (#57)
    by Chuck0 on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 07:28:51 AM EST
    I'm tired of earning less than a percentage point on my savings.

    Good luck with that (none / 0) (#58)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 07:31:44 AM EST
    The interest of savings never seem to catch up with the interest on credit.

    the problem is that (none / 0) (#24)
    by cpinva on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 05:37:21 PM EST
    pres. obama seems to lack the wherewithal to do what needs to be done. were i a psychiatrist (which i'm not, nor do i play one on tv. as well, i didn't spend last night in a comfy, yet reasonably priced hotel room, and get a good night's sleep.), i would say mr. obama suffers badly from low self-esteem. he terribly wants all the cool kids to like him, and will subject himself (and, unfortunately, the rest of the country) to any humiliation to accomplish this. sadly, he appears not to realize that they'll never like him, whatever he does. but i'm not a psychiatrist, so i won't say it.

    we are effing doomed.

    I really don't think (5.00 / 8) (#28)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 06:12:33 PM EST
    lack of self-esteem is one of Mr. Obama's problems.

    Actually, I think lack of self-esteem (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 09:16:13 AM EST
    is a problem for him.

    It's tempting to assume that someone who rises to the level Obama has must be overflowing with self-esteem, but I'm not so sure that's true in his case; I think some people's deep belief in themselves, and their commitment to whatever it is they believe in, are forces and qualities that can make them great leaders, but I also think there are those who gravitate to a public arena as a way to fill the great, gaping holes in their psyches, and use adoration and adulation as a substitute for self-esteem.

    Obviously, I don't know the man - I only know what I am allowed to see and hear - so maybe there's more "there" there than it appears, but if there were, I think there would be more evidence of it in his public actions.  In his history.

    I'd like to think that people who like themselves, who respect themselves, are also people who lack the disdain for, negative judgment of and aloof dismissal of the lesser lights - old people, sick people, the poor, those struggling to support families, those who got hosed in the mortgage mess.  

    But, I don't know - maybe it's possible to believe in yourself and believe in relegating the least among us to lives that will be more difficult to improve on.  Maybe it's possible to like yourself and show more honor and respect for thugs-in-three-piece suits than for average people who need help.

    I don't see Obama as someone with a healthy level of self-esteem; having and being able to wield power is not the same as having self-esteem - but it may be another way to fool one's self into thinking it is.


    Just an Observation (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 11:35:15 AM EST
    If I were to toss out a guess from watching him, I would say his self esteem is linked to what others think about him far more than what he thinks about himself.  Or more accurately, he doesn't have the skills to judge himself because all that matters is what others think of him.  

    I have a friend with similar traits, and his driver is the need for people to like and praise him.  He does some rather unsavory things at times because he believes it will get people to think highly of him, when in fact, those schemes usually do the opposite.  Don't get me wrong, he is a great guy, but on occasion I get wrapped up in something stupid, that makes no sense until I remember who I am with.

    I see it Obama, practically jumping up and down after OBL, not caring that he killed people because a lot more people really wanted OBL dead and they loved him for that.  But now when the chips are down, he looks deflated, he speeches are hollow, because no one is singing his praises and all the energy he spent trying to win the affections of people who will never like him was in vain.  But more importantly, they don't like him and that is more then he can bare.

    What scares me is if he follows the pattern of my friend, he will double down, even after election, because when is all said and done, he needs those people to like more then he needs to... anything.  It's all done chasing affections he can't obtain.

    Of course I have no idea, just my observations and in all likelihood I am trying to box him into something I know and understand.


    you make the (common) mistake (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by cpinva on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 09:17:23 AM EST
    of confusing public bravado for self-esteem. the two are not, by definition, mutually inclusive. how often have you discovered that someone you knew, that you considered to be extremely self-confident, was the polar opposite in private?

    Actually, no (none / 0) (#87)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Aug 10, 2011 at 12:53:39 PM EST
    I'm not making that mistake.  For one thing, I don't see a whole lot of public bravado from Obama.  What I see is calm, cool, self-possessed certainty.

    lol (none / 0) (#56)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 07:21:17 AM EST
    Or, conversely, we all could work (none / 0) (#26)
    by Towanda on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 05:43:31 PM EST
    real hard to become the cool kids.  
    After all, his message was clear in the campaign: You are the change that you believe in (or whatever that inane postmodern slogan was that was so embraced by the inane postmodern set).  

    Nothing to do with him; it's all on you.  Be cool.


    I can't for the life of me (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 07:32:56 PM EST
    understand why Brad Delong would want someone like Larry Summers running the Fed.  Brad has already admitted that he spoke highly of Geithner and Bernanke in the beginning and now he says he was wrong.....fine.....good.

    Brad Delong does understand though that the Fed's job is conducting the nation's monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates?  Right?

    And he does understand that at the beginning of this confidence fairy collapse, Larry Summers shouted down everyone in the room who wanted to talk about doing something about unemployment and kept screaming that nothing could be done?  Right?

    Even today, Larry Summer's advice is to wait for the more better confidence fairies to magically reappear.  They eventually will Larry says, and he's right.  On this road, in about ten years or more they may magically reappear.

    The only rates the FED (none / 0) (#41)
    by NYShooter on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 09:51:54 PM EST
    controls are short term rates. They do that throught the so-called discount window where banks can borrow money (but don't.) There are many other instruments banks do their short term borrowing through, but the "discount rate" is the determining factor for those rates.

    Long term rates are detrmined by the supply and demand of the markets.


    That's what quantitative easing is for--the FED (none / 0) (#55)
    by steviez314 on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 04:42:43 AM EST
    buys LT treasuries and pushes down those rates too.

    That's correct, (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by NYShooter on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 08:48:09 AM EST
    But the difference there is the FED basically buys Treasuries on the open market, creating demand, and pushing rates down. Short term rates are actually set by the fed.

    I should have specified that the fed, normally, controls short term rates.

    Obviously, these are not normal times.


    sorry (none / 0) (#61)
    by NYShooter on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 08:55:13 AM EST
    responding to two comments at the same time.

    Again, I agree, you're correct.


    I have zero idea (none / 0) (#59)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 07:59:11 AM EST
    How your comment applies to mine.  It is in the Fed's mission statement what I quoted.

    #1.  When Larry Summers was in a position within the structure to be more directly able to do something about unemployment at the start of ALL OF THIS, he chose to save the Shadow Banking infrastructure instead of the people.  And he screamed at anyone who wanted to take a different approach until they shut up or left the room or left the White House.

    #2.  I'm assuming that Brad DeLong would like Larry Summers to run the Fed because Larry isn't afraid to be a harda$$.  And that is obvious, and given certain situations can be a good idea.  Why does DeLong want that?  Because now the Bernanke has the whole economy in between a rock and a hard place, DeLong assumes that we would be better off if we would have had someone tougher who wouldn't have rolled over for all this quantitative easing....except....except....quantitative easing is what has allowed the existing banking system structure to survive and remain in place.  And there is ZERO reason to think for one minute that Larry Summers would have done one single thing differently.  If Larry Summers had been the head of the Fed the only thing that would be any different is that the guy who makes the televised statements for the Fed and testifies before Congress would be prone to screaming episodes and have bulging eyes along with five chins, and would not have impeccable manners.  AND THAT'S IT!

    What do you know of Larry Summers credentials and his history concerning economics and the policies and the issues he has spent his career fighting for?  I think if you investigated that a bit you would be flat out shocked!  An even better question would be what does Brad DeLong know about all that?

    In my book, from this point on I don't care who Brad DeLong gives his blessing to.  His picker is broken.


    Sorry for the confusion. (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by NYShooter on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 09:52:29 AM EST
     I agree with your comment:

    "......maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates? Right?"

    And was just adding that the fed controls short term rates....most of the time. I should have added, as steviez314 pointed out, long term rates, during the current "Quantitative Easing" binge, are being pushed down by the Fed buying treasuries from the Treasury.

    Actually, its been reported widely, that the FED's purchase of Treasuries often takes a detour through the major banks who, for acting as the broker, make a cool 3% "carry trade" profit. Just another way to shovel risk-free trillions to the big boys. Of course, its impossible to know what's really going on as the FED is a private institution and doesn't have to tell us rubes anything. The banks, sitting on Zillions of dollars worth of crap, which also isn't being divulged, need to make their multi million dollar bonuses somehow, and who better than the taxpayers to give it to them.


    Exactly!! (none / 0) (#68)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 10:39:51 AM EST
    I don't think that people understand that what the Fed has been doing is only creating a faux market meltup.  And as soon as QE is ended the market crashes....horribly. But the rich are richer still, and the smart money on Wall Street is richer still.  The rest of us, we have been raped again of our savings and what it is worth.  The best of this disgusting scenario would be that they are deleveraging on our backs.   That used to make me so mad because why should I suffer while the rich get richer and all the vitality is sucked out of our economy like a vampire on a jugular just because the people who made the bets could not be allowed to suffer the default.  It was going to be hard to recover from that, and impossible if they weren't going to return to sane banking. At this point though I have reason to believe that the deleveraging isn't even happening now.  And if it isn't, we are truly 100% phucked on this road.  It is only a matter of time and we will have Great Depression 2...probably just as bad as Great Depression 1 which I convinced myself could not happen that badly to us again.  I'm beginning to speculate differently though at this point.

    Oops...typo (none / 0) (#69)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 10:43:50 AM EST
    I have no reason to believe that the deleveraging IS happening.

    Well, here's the thing.... (none / 0) (#70)
    by NYShooter on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 11:18:47 AM EST
    The elephant in the room, as memories fade, is now out of site, out of mind, like the crazy uncle in the attic:....... and that, of course, is the unknown, and probably unknowable, the gigantic pile of crap that the banks are holding as collateral.  Since they are allowed to keep the amount secret, and mark it up on their books for whatever amount they want, we can, I believe rightfully, assume the amount is so great as to make the entire system insolvent.  I further believe they are allowed to keep it secret because if the public knew they were bankrupt, and that they still pay themselves record bonuses, courtesy of the taxpayers, well, that might be the trigger for the mayhem I'm sure they privately dread over.

    Finally, now follow me on this: Don't you find it a little strange that, as each day goes by, more and more important people go public with their utter disgust as to the obsessive, bordering on vengeful, destruction of every democratic principal we've gained during the last century is being led by Obama? Almost every die-hard Oboma-bot has thrown in the towel by now, and its only a matter of time before his polls follow suit. Those in the know have given up on him; the public takes a little longer.

    I think Obama is sweating bullets, and the only thing that matters, the only thing that gives him a shot at re-election is that one billion dollars he's spending day and night collecting.

    I think if you had a split screen, with Obama on one side, and Bernie Madoff in his final days on the other, they would be twins.

    Talk about a house of cards!


    I wish Obama wasn't in this spot (none / 0) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 11:32:56 AM EST
    You might be better at following the public perceptions and the ebb and flow of that than I am, I'm too distracted by his leadership choices as a CIC.  I cannot fault him one bit in that department.  One day I'm freaking out about what he does to the little civilians...and then the next day I experience something very different, very morale building that affects my military life that has to do with his CIC choices.

    Based on all that though, he's a pretty good old style Republican :)  Back in the day


    Exactly the right conclusion (none / 0) (#77)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 12:35:24 PM EST
    Site Violator, oy. (none / 0) (#49)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 11:06:05 PM EST

    Brother can you spare a trillion? (none / 0) (#67)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 09:58:34 AM EST
    Outside of actual government jobs, new jobs are not created by government spending. The company receiving the money creates the jobs.

    The problem with massive government spending is this:

    What do we spend it on?

    Pick the wrong thing and you lose, just like anyone "investing" in a start up that doesn't fly loses.

    A huge chunk of the  stimulus went to state and local governments. That means the money was filtered at least twice. The results? Hundreds of thousands of dollars to create one job. Politicians did what they do. Take care of themselves and friends.

    That didn't work well.

    Some jobs were saved by the GM/Chrysler bailout, but no new jobs were created.

    A few jobs were "created" by so-called green energy companies. But the actual numbers are low.

    Now Obama is back to "shovel ready" construction projects. Problem is, there very few. And the new ones require some local funding so that money has to be acquired along with the permits, etc. After that is done the project can move forward but in today's world you have fewer people using better equipment.

    The boom in the 80's and 90's came from new technology. Government investment in NASA, defense spending and the Internet unloosed an avalanche of new processes, products and markets. Unfortunately we allowed the companies who profited from these to move them off shore.

    So if we are going to spend another trillion or so in search of 5% unemployment it has to be spent on something new.

    This from some Obots in my hemisphere (none / 0) (#72)
    by smott on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 11:34:39 AM EST
    ...far from packing it in...

    Sent to me from an AA  BA pal who converted from Hillary Clinton after the revelation in 08 that Teh Clintons Were Racist!!!

    Not sure if I should reply....

    Arrogance of being President while being Black

    I don't think anyone was under some real illusion that the election of Barack Obama actually means the end of racism in America . I'm pretty sure that the president-elect knew it better than anyone. After all, he saw it every day, from the moment he announced his candidacy. To some degree, he saw it within his own party during the primaries. And he saw it in all ugliness during the general election. For half of this country, he was "That One". No matter how big and clear his victory was. No matter how smart he is. No matter how decent he is. No matter what a true patriot he is. No matter how optimistic and positive his vision for America was. All that didn't matter. Because at the end of the day, he was still black.

    I'm kinda old. I remember, vaguely, where my parents were on November 22, 1963. I've seen so many presidents. Some were feared, some were hated, some were adored, some popular and some not. But all of them, without exception, were treated with the highest respect deserving the office of the president of the United States .

    That is until a black man won the right to occupy this office. It's been 24 months now, and in the eyes of so many, Barack Obama is still that one. He is being disrespected and at the same time being held to the highest standard of any president I've ever seen - and not just by the Republican side! He has to perform three times better than any president in history, and even that may not be enough.

    For the media, he is many more times just "Obama" than "President Obama". They create scandals out of nothing issues. It took them at least 6 years to start giving Bush a small part of the shit he deserved. It took them 6 months to begin crap all over Obama because he's yet to fix the catastrophe that was left for him.

    They use condescending tones when they talk about him, and only mildly less condescending when they talk TO him. With anyone else, CNN wouldn't dare go to commercials every time the president speaks, like they did during that summit on Thursday. They wouldn't dare be counting how many minutes George Bush or Bill Clinton were talking. Chris Mathews wouldn't dare make an issue out of Ronald Regan calling members of congress by their first name, like he is not actually the president. They fully cooperate with the Right-Wing smear machine when it comes to president Obama's national security performance - even if almost every independent and military expert actually thinks that he's a terrific Commander-in-Chief. You'll never see them on TV, and virtually no one from the Left, in congress and outside, defend the president on this matter.

    I don't care about the Far-Right. They're just crazy ignorant Neanderthals. It's the way the beltway and the mainstream treats this president that is shocking. On Thursday, almost every Republican had no trouble interrupting him in the middle of a sentence. They looked like they're going to vomit every time they had to say "Mr. president". They all had this Eric-Cantor-Smirk whenever he spoke. Then they went out and started to spit their stupid talking points, to the delight of the media. Sarah Palin, a woman who can hardly read, thinks that he was "arrogant" towards John McCain, and somehow this is an important news. Because you see, "Obama's Arrogance" is the talking point of the day.

    Oh, those talking points. He is arrogant (because he knows the facts better than all of them combined). He is an elitist (because he uses big words that they don't understand). He is weak on national security (because he actually thinks about the consequences). He divides the country (well, he did that the day he had the audacity to win the election). Worst of all, he actually thinks that he's the president. He even dared to say so on Thursday. How arrogant of him. You'd think that previous presidents didn't have any ego. Somehow it turned out that the one president who treats even his biggest opponents with the utmost respect - is the arrogant one. I wonder why?

    I expected that his winning the Presidency would bring out some ugliness, but it's been far worse than I imagined. The racism coming from the Right is obviously clear and shameless, but there's also some hidden and maybe subconscious and disturbing underline tone behind some of the things that I read here and throughout the Left blogosphere, even before the end of Obama's first year - 'He's weak, he's spineless, he's got no balls, primary him in 2012'. It'll be dishonest to deny that.

    The fact is that for millions in America, Barack Obama is this uppity black man (Not even a "real" black), who received good education only due to affirmative action, and has no right to litter the sacred Oval Office with his skin color. They just can't accept the fact that the president is a black man, who unlike his predecessor, was actually legally elected. But what's really sad is that it's not just the fringe, its deep deep in mainstream America .

    Barack Obama's ability to remain above all this slob, to keep his optimism and his strange and mostly unjustified faith in people, while continuing to gracefully deal with an endless shitstorm - is one of the most inspiring displays of human quality I have ever seen. And I can only hope that the Cosmos is on his side because God is and He never makes a mistake.

    Sometimes, they make me feel ashamed to be a white man!!

    Good grief. (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 12:03:58 PM EST
    All those things that are/were said about Obama from the GOP are the same things that have been hurled at virtually every Dem. This is the kind of stuff that you write when you don't remember what went on in the 90's.

    Yeah. Didn't know (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by smott on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 12:26:05 PM EST
    if/how I should reply. I like the sender she is genuinely good hearted. But she bought  the Clintons Are Racist thing and went whole-hog Obama.

    Ironically it's AAs who are getting the brunt of the sh-tty O policies....yet I think the last poll I saw had 88% (!!) of AAs believing O has improved the economy over Bush.

    So I suppose there is no argument to be made v that mind-set....


    Oddly, the letter writer claims to remember (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by shoephone on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 12:35:59 PM EST
    all the way back to JFK... and yet, somehow, he doesn't remember the Carter years. And he doesn't seem to remember the 24-hour insanity over Clinton. Convenient, isn't it, to be able to rewrite history like that?  

    I see I should have written "she" not (none / 0) (#79)
    by shoephone on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 12:37:15 PM EST

    Seems to me (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 12:43:14 PM EST
    The writer forgets about how many times Bush was referred to as "Bush" or Clinton as "Clinton".

    Also seems to forget that we were told about how many vacations Bush took, and definitely about Clinton's constant tardiness and how long he spoke at a press conference or SOTU.


    this is the template (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 12:52:12 PM EST
    for the white "fauxgressive" who cannot admit that s/he voted for Obama primarily for racial reasons & who then projects his/her own brand of white racism on other white voters who did not choose Obama

    She's Tea Party.....Left (none / 0) (#84)
    by NYShooter on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 01:54:31 PM EST
    No attachment to reality, I'm sorry she feels this way, but she'll just have to stand aside because the flesh, blood, and bones of milliuons of our citizens are suffering, and will suffer unspeakeable pain because the only man who could prevent that from happening chooses not to.

    We elected him to do just that, instead, he's leading the pack to speed up the degradation. the terror and pain that will be inflicted on millions of people bother me a whole lot more than her psyche.


    I am not a fan of Obama's (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 06:11:18 PM EST
    policies. No question about that.

    If anyone wanted to go back and pull up what I had to say about BushII, they would soon realize that my comments regarding Obama and his policies are downright benign in comparison.

    Obama's policies are in many way a continuation and expansion of Bush's assault on civil liberties, the president is above the law and the same trickle down economy policies favored by Republicans since Reagan. His policies suck big time no matter what race he is. If you want blame his poor judgment and for sh!t policies on the white side of his genetic background, go for it. Otherwise, the above comment is pure B.S. Scream racism all you want - his policies still suck big time and are especially disastrous for AA communities.