Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Decision '08, Palin, Politics, conservative reform — Rick Moran @ 11:09 am

Reading this interview of Sarah Palin by Rush Limbaugh was alarming if you care about the direction of the conservative movement and the Republican party.

It’s alarming because Sarah Palin is not living in this century. Example:

RUSH: You mean that you don’t even hear it (tax cuts) being discussed on the Republican side or within the administration?

GOV. PALIN: Within the administration, and as it is discussed on the Republican side, Republicans need to be bolder about it. Independents need to be bolder about that solution that has got to be considered and plugged in. This is the only solution that will be successful. We need to rehash some history that proves its success. Let’s go back to what Reagan did in the early eighties and stay committed to those commonsense free market principles that worked. He faced a tougher recession than what we’re facing today. He cut those taxes, ramped up industry, and we pulled out of that recession. We need to revisit that.

This recession is far different than the one faced by Reagan in 1980 when he took office. First, this recession is much deeper. The labor market has totally crashed. Whereas in 1980, most workers were laid off or furloughed, with the promise they would be called back eventually, not so this time.

This piece on the Reuters blog points out that there are several reasons why unemployment may top 12% before it begins to come down and why recovery will be incredibly slow - no matter how many tax cuts you can come up with:

1. For the first time in at least six decades, private sector employment is negative on a 10-year basis (first turned negative in August). Hence, the changes are not merely cyclical or short-term in nature. Many of the jobs created between the 2001 and 2008 recessions were related either directly or indirectly to the parabolic extension of credit.

2. During this two-year recession, employment has declined a record 8 million. Even in percent terms, this is a record in the post-WWII experience.

3. Looking at the split, there were 11 million full-time jobs lost (usually we see three million in a garden-variety recession), of which three million were shifted into part-time work.

4.There are now a record 9.3 million Americans working part-time because they have no choice. In past recessions, that number rarely got much above six million.


6. The number of permanent job losses this cycle (unemployed but not for temporary purposes) increased by a record 6.2 million. In fact, well over half of the total unemployment pool of 15.7 million was generated just in this past recession alone. A record 5.6 million people have been unemployed for at least six months (this number rarely gets above two million in a normal downturn) which is nearly a 36% share of the jobless ranks (again, this rarely gets above 20%). Both the median (18.7 weeks) and average (26.9 weeks) duration of unemployment have risen to all-time highs.

7. The longer it takes for these folks to find employment (and now they can go on the government benefit list for up to two years) the more difficult it is going to be to retrain them in the future when labour demand does begin to pick up.

Sorry, Sarah. Tax cuts alone ain’t gonna fix this. Millions of jobs have been permanently lost - millions. You are living in a dream world - or time warp - if you believe that a little Reagan-like tax cutting will lift all boats.

(The fact that it was Reagan/Volker monetary policy that most economists credit with taming inflation which allowed the tax cuts to work their magic seems lost on Palin.)

And I am all for “common sense” whether it be applied to free market principles or anything else. But as far as “ramping up industry?” Would someone please inform our uninformed former Alaskan governor that the manufacturing sector has shrunk by 2/3 since 1980 and “ramping up” a disappearing sector of the economy is something akin to ramping up the horse and carriage industry?

Yes, it is a time warp - tired, old solutions to problems that sound as grating and tinny on the ear as a wax disc being played on an old gramophone. Almost since this blog’s inception, I have been agitating for the GOP to drop this 1980’s mantra of “cut taxes, cut spending, shrink government, strong defense.” There is nothing much wrong with any of those ideas except they need to be refashioned to reflect 21st century realities.

How much can you cut taxes when the deficit is at $1.7 trillion and climbing? When the national debt is soaring over $12 trillion? Without corresponding cuts in the budget, it would be the height of irresponsibility to add to the problem. And if memory serves, when the GOP was in the majority the last time, they weren’t enamored of cutting anything from the budget.

Shrink government? Fine idea, I’m all for it. Where to begin? Whose services do you cut first? The old? The poor? The Middle Class? Entitlement reform is a good place to start but since bi-partisanship is out of the question (so I am told), how do you accomplish that politically suicidal manuever?

We’re already spending half a trillion on defense while engaged in two wars. Perhaps we could amend the “strong defense” goal with a “smart defense” battle cry. I don’t think we’ll be fighting the Russians on the plains of mittel europa for the foreseeable future. But much of our defense spending is geared in that direction. A reordering of priorities is desperately needed if we are to fight the wars of the 21st century.

The long and short of it is Palin and most of her supporters believe you can slap the template used to achieve victory 30 years ago and win going away in 2010-12. What’s eerie is that the 1980-era Democrats offered New Deal solutions to the recession, making the exact same mistake today’s conservatives are proposing. Trying decades-old remedies for what ails us is myopic. The world has moved on, conditions have changed, the economy is as different as can possibly be imagined today compared to 1980 and yet Palin wants to graft those ideas onto the today’s economic problems.

And if you want more evidence that Sarah Palin is out of touch with the modern world, here she is again:

GOV. PALIN: I think just naturally independents are going to gravitate towards that Republican agenda and Republican platform because the planks in our platform are the strongest to build a healthy America. We’re all about cutting taxes and shrinking government and respecting the inherent rights of the individual and strengthening families and respecting life and equality. You have to shake your head and say, “Who wouldn’t embrace that? Who wouldn’t want to come on over?” They don’t have to necessarily be registered within the Republican Party in order to hook up with us and join us with that agenda standing on those planks. In Alaska, about 70% of Alaskans are independent. So that’s my base. That’s where I am from and that’s been my training ground, is just implementing commonsense conservative solutions. Independents appreciate that. You’re going to see more and more of that attraction to the GOP by these independents as the days go on.

“Who wouldn’t embrace that?” Oh, say about 65 million voters.

And there are plenty of commenters who point out that Palin has abandoned her “independent” personae and is now fully engaged as the tribal chieftain of right.


Everything she has done since arriving on the national stage has involved steadily distancing herself from her short record as governor. Reihan has already given up on her as a viable political leader, and I’m not surprised. Reihan is a smart writer interested in policy ideas and their application in reforming government, and there would not be much call for that in Palin’s GOP. Continetti has embarked on a project of rehabilitating the national political fortunes of someone who dropped out of elective office in her own state mostly because she could not put up with the tactics of her opposition and the scrutiny of the media. Why should we take such a project seriously? If arguments in support of Palin’s political future don’t deserve to be dismissed pretty quickly, no argument ever should be.

I would have thought that anyone interested in promoting reasoned, thoughtful discussion would shudder at the thought of a Republican Party led and defined by Sarah Palin, whose national political career has been one episode of inflammatory, uninformed agitation after another. That is the kind of party and the kind of conservatism Continetti is working to create. Fortunately, his preferred candidate is so politically radioactive to most of the country that it will never take hold.

“[I]nflammatory, uninformed agitation,” you say? How’s this?

Palin blamed a culture of political correctness and other decisions that “prevented — I’m going to say it — profiling” of someone with Hasan’s extremist ideology. “I say, profile away,” Palin said. Such political correctness, she continued, “could be our downfall.”

OK - so is that “reasoned thoughtful discussion,” or “inflammatory, uninformed agitation…?”

The point isn’t that it is better to risk the caterwauling from CAIR about placing an emphasis on searching Muslim men at the airport. The point is the incredibly cavalier manner in which she offered her opinion. How can anyone take someone like that seriously as a potential president?

Reading the Limbaugh interview proves that she is better at articulating talking points and that the talking points themselves are a little better. But one is still left with the impression that she is a depthless wonder with an understanding of the issues that’s a mile wide and an inch deep. This is fine for your run of the mill congressman or even if you want to aspire to the senate. Joe Biden got by on such shallowness for a couple of decades and look where it got him.

I fully realize my opinion of Sarah Palin is not that of a majority of true conservatives. But then, it appears that the majority would rather go down in flames with Palin than take down Obama in 2012:

A new national poll suggests that the Democrats may be the party of pragmatism and Republicans may be the party of ideological purity.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey’s release on Tuesday comes just two weeks after internal party divisions led to the GOP loss of a seat in the House of Representatives that it had held since the 19th century.

The poll indicates that a slight majority, 51 percent, of Republicans would prefer to see the GOP in their area nominate candidates who agree with them on all the major the issues even if they have a poor chance of beating the Democratic candidate. Forty-three percent of Republicans say they would rather have candidates with whom they don’t agree on all the important issues but who can beat the Democrats.

I would vote for Marco Rubio even though I disagree with him on a few issues. But would a majority of Republicans vote for Charlie Crist if he were to beat Rubio in a primary? I also disagree with Crist - probably more than I disagree with Rubio - but would vote for either man because our agreement on issues far outweighs any disagreements.

And this is “unprincipled?” Some conservatives are acting like spoiled brats who, if they don’t get absolutely everything they want out of a candidate, are going to take their vote, go home, and sit on it. This is not responsible citizenship. There is nothing “principled” about it either. It is childish to act in this manner.

This is not to say there shouldn’t be primary challenges from conservatives to some GOP incumbents. There are a few who deserve it. But if conservatives take the position that anyone who doesn’t agree with them on 100% of “their” issues should be tossed aside, there will indeed be a bloodbath that will weaken the party at a time when opportunity is beckoning.

I might also add that with that kind of attitude, even if the Republicans experience massive gains in 2010, the chance to take the White House and hold on to those gains in 2012 will be a big question mark. Even if the economy is still horrible in 2012, this desire to eat our own will fatally weaken the party and it is likely that a lot of winners from 2010 will go down to defeat in 2012.

In total, I would have to say that the Sarah Palin phenomenon is poison for conservatism and deadly to the Republican party. But blinded by an inexplicable attraction to this polarizing, ill-informed, political Svengali, it is quite possible that the movement and the party will go down to defeat to the sound of thunderous applause.


  1. Bravo.

    Comment by JerryS — 11/18/2009 @ 11:22 am

  2. Rick

    I hate to break it too you but nice and nuanced is running out of gas.

    Take a look at the Decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Not Gibbon but some of the newer stuff when filtered fopr Bias.

    We become too civilized right before the fall.

    If the Fall comes again there will be no eastern Empire or Church to maintain learning, we are too interconnected. We all go down together.

    This dark age will be longer and deeper thanks to civilized, soft people.

    We didn’t break the eggs beacause it would upset gentle sensitivities, so we didn’t make the omlette, so now we can all starve in happy knowledge of our brilliance and sensitivty.

    Remember we must speak and act nicely to the enemy because they respect graciousness and gentility.

    Sorry - this isn’t one of my “be nice to the Dems post.” Read it again, ninny. And this time, try not to block the words with your finger.


    Comment by steve — 11/18/2009 @ 11:29 am

  3. Better congratulate you now for coming over to the good side of the force before the the wingnuts and the birthers and other assorted Palinites fill up the comments with mindless rage and ill-considered vitriol.

    Comment by Surabaya Stew — 11/18/2009 @ 11:47 am

  4. Rick, I’m not sure what your point is. Sure, I agreed with less taxes and smaller government, but it’s going to be too hard? No kidding.

    If nothing else, at least we’re talking about solutions. Is fixing the economy going to be complicated, yes. But let’s talk fundamentals and work though the details from there. For the love of Christ, the Dems are talking a second stimulus and you’re ragging on Reaganomics.

    You also need to point out alternatives if you don’t like Palin’s talking points. I had wanted to see Romney out there more but he’s scarce. Not sure why.

    Like it or not, Palin has tapped into something. I like her. Will I vote for her in 2012 if she runs/ But frankly, I’d vote for Piper Palin just to get Obama out of office.

    For a woman written off as irrelevant back in August, she mounting a substantial comeback in very little time, no? Will it last? Who knows. I’m willing to give her a chance. Maybe you should too, despite how out of touch her defenders happens to be.

    Comment by ignorantapathy — 11/18/2009 @ 12:17 pm

  5. If Palin is the best we can muster, 2012 is already lost.

    Comment by funny man — 11/18/2009 @ 12:23 pm

  6. Either Palin will rise to the occasion, or she won’t. Check back in 2011.

    Comment by MOswingvoter — 11/18/2009 @ 12:31 pm

  7. In total, I would have to say that the Sarah Palin phenomenon is poison for conservatism and deadly to the Republican party.

    I most certainly hope so.

    Comment by Richard bottoms — 11/18/2009 @ 12:57 pm

  8. To answer ignorantapathy: “You also need to point out alternatives if you don’t like Palin’s talking points. I had wanted to see Romney out there more but he’s scarce. Not sure why.”

    Lets look at the budget to see why Palin’s talking points are incoherent.

    According to wallstats http://www.wallstats.com/deathandtaxes/:

    We take in about 2.1Trillion in revenue;
    We spend 3.5T
    this leaves a deficit of 1.4T

    The 3.5T in spending breaks down like this:
    1.421 Trillion is discretionary, able to be cut.
    The remaining $2.17 Trillion goes for Social Security, Medicare/ Medicaid, interest on the debt, and so forth.
    The biggest portion of this is Social Security/ Medicare/ Medicaid accounting for about $1.3 Trillion of the $2.17 Trillion.

    The federal discretionary budget for FY 2010 is $1.421 Trillion; It is broken down into military spending $901 Billion (62%) and non-military $520 Billion (38%).

    So this means a few things- it is mathmatically impossible to balance the budget without one of the following:
    1. Raise taxes;
    2. Cut Defense/ Homeland Security;
    3. Cut SS/ Medicare
    4. A combination of all the above.

    Realistically, the public will never allow a serious cut in Medicare/ SS. A slight trim, perhaps raising the eligibility age, but never a deep cut.

    So this leaves raising taxes and/or cutting defense. Raising taxes, such as instituting a VAT as Bruce Bartlett has suggested, is possible, but only if the Tea Party stops being religiously committed to cutting them.
    Cutting defense is possible, but only if we stop engaging in multiple wars that last a decade.

    The bigger point here is that the current conservative movement is wedded to shallow platitudes and contradictory bumpersticker slogans. It is incapable of governing, even if it were given the chance.

    Comment by Liberty60 — 11/18/2009 @ 1:10 pm

  9. Rick,
    I really don’t understand the Palin phenomenon totally. I can see where Palin appeals to many because “she’s just like us.” as the liberals swoon over Obama because he’s “exotic” and says things that get that old Kumbaya feeling running up and down your leg.–ie: Chris Matthews. I want someone who far wiser than I in economics, foreign policy, and who has a good handle on what goes on in the intelligence community. I am not saying Gov. Palin is a blooming idiot. She has polished herself up since campaigning with McCain, but still, she has miles to go.

    Comment by Brooklyn Dave — 11/18/2009 @ 2:11 pm

  10. Well since I am about to be considered a wingnut….I will try and honor that moniker!

    Let’s put your argument down in terms even Sarah Palin could supposedly understand….shall we?

    It’s so bad, a band-aid just won’t work. So let’s just remove the sore by amputation?

    I agree, I suggest we remove the cancer that has been known as Unions and other pro-socialistic groups that find safe harbour within the waters of the liberal nation.

    Now that you are right will surely make a little ol’tax cut worthless!

    Comment by Jan Zales — 11/18/2009 @ 2:21 pm

  11. Why is it, pray tell, that liberals feel it necessary to traffic in pure, unadulterated hatred of those of us on the right? Richard bottoms is a good case in point. I don’t hate the Left (or even Mr. bottoms as he styles himself) - I think they’re demented loons but I don’t hate them - and yet there is no vile canard too low for the Left to utter about us. It’s pathetic, really! Sorry Richard, I’ll continue to cling to my religion and my guns and save your sorry ass right along with my own if that’s okay with you.

    Comment by Gayle Miller — 11/18/2009 @ 2:24 pm

  12. It would appear that Obama will run in 2012.
    It would appear that at least Romney or Palin will run against Obama, if not one of a few others that pop up.

    Whether Palin emerges as a competent conpetitor or not, if she gets the Republican nomination, she gets my vote, since, after tons of reasoned analysis mixed in with several “I told you so’s”, I see Obama and his ilk as a far, far worse threat to the nation, czars and all! One ecomomic
    analysis has our 2019 national debt at $32 Trillion with all of the Obama stuff properly accounted for.

    Of course, I would rather have Romney as President and cheer him on as he deconstructs the Obama era, and constructs a new, sound conservative era for our country. Out with change for the sake of unions and cronies, and in with change we can understand item by item, and be able to judge each of them in turn to be good.

    Democratic Utopianism is apparently far from dead in this nation. Let me see, by 2012 we may find ourselves with a government that supports:

    Universal world government. It is still championed, despite the preponderance of evil nations.

    Universal World Constitution. Here is their chance to rid the US of that pesky Constitution that keeps limiting things they want to do… for the people.

    Universal Healthcare. It is on the table now.

    Universal Education is very likely not far behind; free through college. There is quite a stimulus here for the building industry.

    Universal Welfare is coming back under many disguises, such as earmarks, stimuluses and the like, and eventually out in the open.

    Universal Housing had a rough beginning, but they are working on it. The concept of a no-payback mortgage seems to make sense. Then there could be no defaulting! Here is yet another stimulus for the building industry!

    Universal Retirement Funds better than Social Security will be in the mix. Lets all retire to Hawaii.

    Universal Insurance covering, well, everything from life to autos to housing, to health, to…you name it! Very high premiums, enforced membership, long waits for settlements and low payouts would be par for Government-run operations.

    Universal Food and Agriculture Management will ensure enough to eat for the world–hopefully. Here comes rationing!

    Universal Loans for any old purpose, guaranteed by the US Government, will ensure that the entrepreneural spirit never dies. Maybe it will be on the Korean System where each family member gets three chances to establish himself in a business funded by the family (in our case, the Feds).

    Universal Correctness of Speech and Hate Control will ensure employment for just about every other person in the nation–Dems–to watch over us and report– 24/7.

    Universal Unionization Act will make us all joiners, else there will be a penalty of $10,000 and an 8-year jail term. Another big immigration employment boost here–a lot more jails to build!

    Universal Immigration and Open Borders Act. Y’all come!

    Universal Environmental Controls Act. This will make it very difficult for Repubs to buy, build, or operate any kind of business, and will extend Government control over every aspect of business in general.

    Note 1: To my children: After 2020, invest in the building industry!
    Note 2: Do it in Hawaii!
    Note 3: Cancel the first two notes! The nation will be totally broke far before any of these Utopian stimuluses (stimuli?) take effect.

    Comment by mannning — 11/18/2009 @ 2:27 pm

  13. Yeah, Richard, Gayle is going to save you with her gun. Plus Jesus.

    Is it zombies, by the way? Is that what she’s saving you from? Or is it aliens? Should I be concerned?

    Comment by michael reynolds — 11/18/2009 @ 2:27 pm

  14. Gayle Miller said:

    Sorry Richard, I’ll continue to cling to my religion and my guns and save your sorry ass right along with my own if that’s okay with you.

    The country truly appreciates the intellectual heft that you, your god, and your guns bring to the table. You’re a true American hero Gayle. Mr Bottoms (as well as the rest of us) would do well to thank you for [theoretically] saving our sorry asses from whatever it is we need to be saved from. Thank you.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 11/18/2009 @ 2:32 pm

  15. Rick baby, you use too many words to explain what you believe as opposed to Palin’s beliefs.

    I’ll break it down for you:

    You believe the government has to be heavily involved with the economy. Palin doesn’t. You believe the government holds the key to a vibrant economy. Palin doesn’t. You believe the economy can’t be at its best without the government. Palin doesn’t. You can’t imagine an America without an economy micromanaged by politicians in D.C.. Palin can.

    You can’t live happily without a large, powerful government acting as a safety net for everything you do. Palin can. You trust the government above the individual. Palin doesn’t. You worship politicians like Obama. Palin doesn’t.

    See why you can’t agree with Palin on anything? See why the nation is split in half? It’s because half of the nation believes what you believe: life wouldn’t be worth living without a government to be there for you from cradle to grave. And the other half thinks like Palin: life wouldn’t be worth living if the government were there hovering over everything you did from cradle to grave.

    I certainly hope you don’t have to make a living as a mind reader because buddy, you suck at it.

    I believe none of those things. And only a nincompoop would make shit up out of thin air about what I “believe.”


    Comment by Tommya — 11/18/2009 @ 2:36 pm

  16. “He [Reagan] faced a tougher recession than what we’re facing today.”

    It’s hard to tell whether or not Palin “gets it” wrt the serious plight of the economy. If she does, she’d be wise not to let on that she does, lest she be pounded by the right (as well as the left who will pound her anyway) for being too doomy.

    Better to spout Reagan policy platitudes … for now.

    So, at present, there is no way to tell what Palin really thinks, long range, on the economy. She either doesn’t have a clue or she’s not letting on that she does. I’ll giver her the benefit of the doubt and vote for the latter. She’s a politician after all … and a savvy one.

    While it’s true that tax cuts and a return to “free market principles” won’t fix the dire state of our economy, they wouldn’t hurt either. They’d make the situation LESS BAD.

    Palin, and anyone else on the planet who really “gets it” on the economy, is wise not to reveal too much of what they know, particularly if they plan to run for public office.

    Comment by Lorianne — 11/18/2009 @ 2:44 pm

  17. Lorianne:
    Here is a link to the Tax Foundations charts of federal income tax rates througout history:
    Notice that tax rates are lower now than they were in 1986 under Reagan; and much, much lower than they were under Eisenhower in the 1950’s. Weren’t we prosperous in those decades?

    “Lower taxes” is a card that has been played, and played, and played again.
    Would yet another round of tax cuts help? Well, they would certainly reduce revenue and increase the deficit- is this a good thing?

    See my comments above regarding the budget, and think about which GOP 2012 contender has even made a serious stab at a balanced budget; They all know it requires more than vague platitudes, but can’t bring themselves to break the taboo of taxes and defense spending.

    Which is why I say that even if they returned to power, they could not govern.

    Please note that I am not attacking from the left; I am attacking them for not believing in their own message-
    If you are going to posture as the “commonsense” Presidential candidate, then G**damnit, at least have some common sense.

    Comment by Liberty60 — 11/18/2009 @ 3:06 pm

  18. Recovery need not be slow if you re-legalize enough economic activity. Want to revitalize your local sign shop? Change your local zoning ordnance to ok larger signs. How about cutting down the red tape for powerplant construction so that we don’t lose major manufacturers like the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company which just closed operations in Montana because powerplant construction restrictions made Bonneville Power unable to fulfill its contractual obligations for power. Columbia Falls was the world’s biggest aluminum operation. Losing it is not trivial.

    There are opportunities at the local, county, state, and federal levels of government to improve economic performance by legalizing practices we thought we could get away with outlawing. We should be aggressively pointing those out.

    This is today’s target rich opportunity and one that Reagan triaged out of his presidency even though it was in his original template, rightly viewing taxes as more key in his day (and political reality forcing something to give). But the role of tax cuts is not zero.

    We’re about to undergo major tax increases in 2011 as the death tax kicks back in at punitive rates. We’re going to get income tax hikes and more rate brackets too. If we’re in the second leg of a W shaped recession, those baked in tax increases are going to kill off any recovery. Those increases need cutting.

    I’m going to give Palin the benefit of the doubt here (not having heard the interview) and assume that these baked in reversions to the pre-Bush levels are the sort of cuts she’s referring to.

    Comment by TMLutas — 11/18/2009 @ 3:20 pm

  19. The problem is not if the majority of Republicans would vote for Charlie Crist in the general: They would complain, many would claim they’d stay home and a few would actually go it. The question is if Charlie Crist has any chance of beating Rubio in an off-cycle primary, and if Rubio has any chance in the general election afterwards (or if even Crist would after running way to the right to get the nomination).

    The likely answer to both is “No”, and that polls says the GOP rank and file, what’s left of it, is fine with that, better to lose the seat than have someone in it that won’t march in lockstep. That strategy is no longer working that well in the House, it’s a sure ticket to permament minority status in the Senate.

    I really am a centrist independant, leaning left on social issues (gay marriage, if they’re crazy enough to *want* it, why not?) and right on fiscal issues (the Clinton balanced budgets were nice), and having to think long and hard about some where those values come into conflict (socialized medicine seems to work pretty well in Europe, but the sticker shock and civil liberties questions are not trivial).

    And that’s the thing: Palin’s base doesn’t want to think too hard, and doesn’t trust anyone who does. This is why Palin’s obvious ignorance and “from the gut” snap decisions appeal to them, she isn’t telling them the problem is hard and trying to think it through. They think that’s a good thing, they aren’t ever confused about what she does or why because they’re convinced ignorance is wisdom. Even when what she does makes no rational sense, the certainty and conviction with which she does it makes them sure she must be brilliant.

    And wisdom is lies. They don’t trust Obama because they don’t understand his thought process, they find it confusing. If they can’t understand why he does what he does, it can’t be because he’s smarter than they are, it has to be because he’s hiding something.

    Comment by Dave Rickey — 11/18/2009 @ 3:53 pm

  20. I know Rush has pounded into your heads that liberals are the real bigots and racists, worse than the Klan, but that’s of course nuts. Incidentally, I don’t need any saving, and as a former soldier I spent 13 years protecting you and every other conservative lunatic I disagree with.

    As for the angelic conservative bible quoting, gun toting, loving Republicans.


    Rachel Maddow reports on the latest racist and disturbing attacks on President Obama, including the merchandising of Psalm 109:8 on T-shirts and teddy bears. The Biblical verses are threatening when taken out of context as they do and applied to the President.

    MADDOW: “And then there’s this, a Biblical quote making the rounds in anti-Obama circles, as reported this week in The Christian Science Monitor: Pray For President Obama – Psalm 109 Verse 8. What’s Psalm 109:8? Well, it reads ‘Let His Days Be Few, And Let Another Take His Office.’ Let his days be few. Uh, it’s followed immediately by another verse: ‘Let His Children Be Fatherless, And His Wife A Widow.’

    What we’re looking at right now is two things going on. We see the evangelical groups that I talk about in my new book, ‘Patience With God,’ enthralled by an apocalyptic vision that I go into in some detail in there. They represent the millions of people who have turned the ‘Left Behind’ series into best-sellers. Most of them are not crazy, they’re just deluded. But there is a crazy fringe to whom all these little messages that have been pouring out of Fox News, now on a bumper sticker, talking about doing away with Obama, asking God to kill him…

    Really, this is trawling for assassins. And this is serious business. It’s un-American, it’s unpatriotic, and it goes to show that the religious right, the Republican far-right, have coalesced into a group that truly wants American revolution, and if it turns out to be blood in the streets and death, so be it. This is not funny stuff any more. They cannot be dismissed as just crazies on the fringe. It only takes one.”

    SCHAEFFER: “Absolutely. Look. This is the American version of the Taliban. The Taliban quotes the Qu’ran, and al Qaeda quotes certain verses in the Qu’ran, in or out of context, calling for jihad, and bloody war, and the curse of Allah on infidels. This is the Old Testament, Biblical equivalent of calling for holy war. Now, most Americans’ll just see the bumper sticker and smile and think that it’s facetious. Unfortunately, there are 22 million Americans or so who call themselves super-conservative evangelicals. Of this, a small minority might be violent. But, the general atmosphere here is really getting heated.

    And what surprises me is that responsible, if you can put it that way, Republican leadership and the editors of some of these Christian magazines, etc. etc., do not stand up in holy horror and denounce this.

    You know, they’re always asking ‘Where is the Islamic leadership denouncing terrorism? Why aren’t the moderates speaking out?’ Well, I challenge the folks who I used to work with… I would just say to them: ‘Where the hell are you? This is not funny anymore. And be it on your head if something happens to our President…”

    Comment by Richard bottoms — 11/18/2009 @ 5:05 pm

  21. Wow. Where to start…How about this recession is longer, deeper, with much more unelmployment than the recesson Reagan faced in 1981 BECAUSE Reagan used the tried and true method of turning a free market system loose to produce, such as cutting regulations, cutting government spending, and cutting taxes; whereas this administration has gone 180 degrees in the opposite direction? Check the government statistics on the average length of recessions, for crying out loud. EVERY time the government tries increasing spending, raising taxes, and increasing regulations when the economy is in a downturn, it merely increases the length of time it takes for the economy to recover.

    IF all the additional “plans” the idiots in DC have, such as Healthcare, Cap and Trade, etc., are eventually passed, we may NEVER recover economically. It IS possible to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    You are an economic illiterate.

    Comment by Optimus Maximus — 11/18/2009 @ 5:06 pm

  22. Optimus;
    Actually, Reagan did NOT cut spending; he massively increased military spending while also cutting taxes. This combination of stimulus spending helped lift us out of recession, but increased the national debt astronomically.
    Look at this graph of our national debt-

    As I pointed out, our taxes are already lower than during his terms; So another round of tax cuts won’t help us.

    Comment by Liberty60 — 11/18/2009 @ 5:32 pm

  23. Some Weds. evening links…

     Hard words from VDH: When reality catches up to rhetoric
    Dems alarmed as Independents bolt
    Sure makes it sound like a show trial:

    Americans who are troubled by the decision to send alleged Sept. 11
    mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to …

    Trackback by Maggie's Farm — 11/18/2009 @ 5:40 pm

  24. Actually, Reagan did NOT cut spending; he massively increased military spending while also cutting taxes.

    Revising the myth of Saint Ronald is not allowed.

    As I pointed out, our taxes are already lower than during his terms; So another round of tax cuts won’t help us.

    No, no, no. The line is Obama raised taxes the day he was sworn in. Everyone knows their taxes have gone up.

    Every unemployed worker in America needs to see Warren Buffet get his taxes cut. That way they’ll feel better about the not having a job thing.

    Comment by Richard bottoms — 11/18/2009 @ 5:50 pm

  25. To everything wrong with this country,Sara Palin is an existential risk. Including the pointy-headed elitist in the republican party. All of the hate and fear is coming from the people who are anti-Palin! I laugh at your angst!

    Comment by otis — 11/18/2009 @ 5:54 pm

  26. Taxes are lower now than under the Clinton Administration . . . but we as a country were “more prosperous” then. W cut taxes, and America suffered the greatest loss of national income in its history. Have I “proven” that lower taxes hurt the economy? Of course not.
    The issue of national-level macro ecconomic theory is unbelievably complex. It is a field with so many variables that the recognized experts in the field rarely agree on what is happening and how to fix it. “Cut taxes and everything will get better” is, respectfully, childishly simplistic.


    What are you talking about? By 2012 we may face a Universal world Constitution? Is that based on any kind of fact, or just because you know the Libruls are run by the Bilderbergs?
    Red flacks are complaining that the NYC terror trials are giving the suspects too many rights (rights that derive from the Constitution). The last Red Administration had a Vice-President claiming he was exempt from the Constitutional rules governing both the Executive and Legislative branches. They debated secretly using troops for police actions in the States (a clear Constitutional violation) just to see if they could get away with it. They attacked the warrant requirements of the Constitution. All of these are facts, not opinions.
    But the Dems are the ones that want to do away with the pesky Constitution?
    Universal Political Correctness, Universal retirement funds, Universal Open Boarders (what does that even mean?) . . . where are you getting this stuff?

    @Dave Rickey:

    “I really am a centrist independant, leaning left on social issues (gay marriage, if they’re crazy enough to *want* it, why not?) and right on fiscal issues (the Clinton balanced budgets were nice), and having to think long and hard about some where those values come into conflict (socialized medicine seems to work pretty well in Europe, but the sticker shock and civil liberties questions are not trivial).”

    So you assess each question on its own merits, weigh pros and cons? Heretic!
    You’re not going to do too well here, unfortunately. That kind of thinking poses a danger of ending up with “bad” answers . . . and then CommieSocialistTotalitaranismDevilWorship.
    Being practical is sooooo Hitler.

    “If they can’t understand why [Obama] does what he does, it can’t be because he’s smarter than they are, it has to be because he’s hiding something.”

    But its not hidden anymore — the One World Order plan has been leaked (see comment #12).

    @Richard Bottoms:

    Really, is there anything more Christian than not only praying for the death of someone, but their divine retribution be visited on their innocent children as well? It’s what Jesus would do (if the role of Jesus were being played tonight by Charles Bronson after a steroid-and-meth binge).
    I guess that whole “support your country in a time of war” jingo had an expiration date. Disgusting.

    Comment by busboy33 — 11/18/2009 @ 5:59 pm

  27. I can’t find much to agree with in your post, Rick. First of all, manufacturing in this country is roughly equal to what it was in the 1980’s, so I don’t know where you’re getting your figures. As a manufacturer myself, I have seen some sectors go down while others have increased dramatically and productivity has definitely increased. It is a challenging atmosphere for us right now, but we are not alone in this! Secondly, while I don’t think we should raise or lower taxes right now, I am all for cutting spending across the board. It can be done, it’s being done by non-governmental entities all across America right now.

    Comment by buquet — 11/18/2009 @ 7:03 pm

  28. Let’s see… the US has the second highest business tax rate in the world. Business is leaving to greener pastures and you say that cutting taxes is not the answer. Of course, no real answer is supplied. Just an excuse to attack Palin. So the real question. What is it about Palin the drives people nuts? When I hear her speak, I hear a leader. When I see her, I see a leader. That is what is needed here. Leadership!

    Comment by mjbrytt — 11/18/2009 @ 7:38 pm

  29. If unemployment indeed hits 12% as Rick suggests, that will spell “Doom” for the Democrat majority in Congress in 2010. That would be the silver lining in these economic storm clouds.

    Rick says he’s in favor of shrinking government but doesn’t know how. My answer — divided government. Give President Obama a Republican Congress, and maybe both institutions will be motivated to pay more attention to the American public than to their ideological bases. The prosperity we enjoyed in 1982-1988 and 1994-2000 occurred when different parties controlled the White House and Congress. The worst times occurred when one party controlled both institutions under Carter and Bush 2, and now Obama.

    Divided government is the best answer. It may not shrink government, but it can slow the growth. To those who say divided government means little will be accomplished in DC, I say, “Sounds good to me.”

    Palin may indeed sound empty headed, but so did Reagan, for that matter. (Let’s not forget how dismissive the Left was of Reagan.) Yet, look at what Reagan accomplished. I’d rather have a vacuous, ‘do-nothing’ President than a savvy, Harvard-grad who uses every national crisis as an opportunity to reward special interests with programs and create new entitlements which increase the deficit.

    Having said that, right now I don’t trust any one party to control both Congress and the White House. Our best hope is to unseat incumbents next year.

    Comment by Doug King — 11/18/2009 @ 8:40 pm

  30. If unemployment indeed hits 12% as Rick suggests, that will spell “Doom” for the Democrat majority in Congress in 2010.

    We’ll lose seats, but Doom. Un uh, not hardly bub.

    As long as the GOP insists on sending the most conservative (read crazy) politician you have up against your moderates in primaries you’ll continue to get smoked in the general elections.

    Comment by Richard bottoms — 11/18/2009 @ 8:58 pm

  31. Dear Rick

    I agree with your post about how cutting taxes only has a limited impact these days. Reagan had the benefit of marginal tax rates of 70% to cut so his cuts diverted money from government into the private sector and certainly stirred the boom of the 1980s with Paul Volker’s help.

    I do think you should concede that the tax cuts of Ronald Reagan of the 1980s and John Kennedy’s of the 1960s benefitted the country immensely. On another note I think we should also praise the enconomic genius of Calvin Coolidge and Andrew Mellon who implemented the the same policies in the 1920s. It was Hoover who increased taxes and regulations in the 1930s before FDR came along.

    As far as pragmatic, I live in California and worst Senator of all time is up for reelection next year (Barbra Boxer for those lucky enough to live outside CA) I would vote for Mao Tse Sung or Nelson Rockefeller if it meant getting rid of Boxer.

    So yes I can be pragmatic. 2012 is way far off and my biggest fear is the Barak Obama is a disaster and no reasonable alternative exists.

    Comment by Kevin Brown — 11/18/2009 @ 8:58 pm

  32. Reagan borrowed and spent on a jobs program in the form of a defense build-up. But of course when we deficit spend to build submarines that’s totally different from deficit spending to build roads or schools.

    Because . . . Um . . . Oh, because Republicans approve of borrowing to spend on defense.

    GOP’s rules of economics: jobs in shipyards good, jobs in schools bad. Republican deficits good, Democratic deficits evil.

    How often have Republicans complained about the trillion dollars for Iraq? That would be: never. They are deficit hawks of convenience. Another word for that is “hypocrites.”

    Comment by michael reynolds — 11/18/2009 @ 9:35 pm

  33. ” I’d rather have a vacuous, ‘do-nothing’ President than a savvy, Harvard-grad who uses every national crisis as an opportunity to reward special interests with programs and create new entitlements which increase the deficit.”

    Damn straight! Thats what I hated about Bush (Harvard MBA ‘75); he used the terrorist attacks to shovel billions in lucrative contracts to Halliburton. Then to top it off, he creates a new drug benefit entitlement which only balloons the budget deficit.

    Wait- you DID mean Bush, right?

    Comment by Liberty60 — 11/18/2009 @ 9:43 pm

  34. Rick,

    You called me a gasbag in another thread, probably deservedly. I humbly return the title to you for this post.

    I am a CPA, prepared between 8,000 and 9,000 Individual and business tax returns starting in 1978. Also, got a diploma from a marginal school, William & Mary.

    While these numbers are from memory, BUT Reagan inherited interest rates in the mid to high teens, inflation approaching 10%, a cake walk I admit.

    You write “Sorry, Sarah. Tax cuts alone ain’t gonna fix this. Millions of jobs have been permanently lost - millions. You are living in a dream world - or time warp - if you believe that a little Reagan-like tax cutting will lift all boats.”

    It’s interesting how you disdain of Sarah Palin so much that you IGNORE her actual statement to Rush on tax cuts. I realize you didn’t find this qualitative enough because IT DID NOT fit your meme. Sarah Palin said that taxes should be cut on JOB CREATORS. Yep we have lost jobs, it’s obviously stupid to cut taxes on the individuals and businesses WHO ACTUALLY HIRE people.

    Let me give you the benefit of the doubt, and presume this is NOT about your pet peave “Sarah Palin”. I’ll accept you would write this same screed about ANYONE who stupidly proposed tax cuts. That makes this even more farcical.

    You’re on the side of Angels and the great intellectual Paul Krugman Yale and MIT PhD with Nobel Economics Prize. His analysis…Don’t worry, be happy.


    Only small minded dolts read things into what other people write that aren’t there. You have absolutely no clue what I think about tax cuts (I support limited and targeted tax cuts in this instance). You just spouted nonsense about me not supporting tax cuts any time any place because you’re a brainless twit who is too lazy to find what I actually believe about tax cuts - too much work.

    Anti-intellectualism? Where?


    Comment by the Dragon — 11/18/2009 @ 10:01 pm

  35. If you borrow and spend to build a road, you’ve got a road. Even the “Bridge to Nowhere” was going to have economic benefits for the area it served (nowhere near adequate to justify the expense, but a bonus over and above the jobs from building the bridge). Spend it building a plane, you’ve got a plane that may be obsolete before it’s actually needed. Spend it building an F22, you’ve got a plane that is too expensive to lose, the capital equivalent of an entire WW2 aircraft carrier that can be destroyed by a single medium-caliber round.

    If tax-cuts for the wealthy and de-regulation are always the answer, why are we in this mess? Never mind, I know what answer the Conservative catechism gives: There haven’t been *enough* of those yet. Bush was too liberal.

    News Flash: We’re quickly reaching the point where there’s going to be no point in taxing the non-wealthy: They don’t have any money.

    Comment by Dave Rickey — 11/18/2009 @ 10:29 pm

  36. Palin will not be a factor in ‘12. She will have her book tour and do her turn as the victim of the liberals, the media, or whatever other goblins she conjures up…and then like the hula hoop and the pet rock before her, she will be gone. It will then fall to the grown-ups to deal with the grown-up problems that face our nation.

    Comment by Dee — 11/18/2009 @ 10:33 pm

  37. Holy crap…just reading those comments of hers reminded me that I don’t like to hear her talk more than about ONE MINUTE.
    She’s Too polarizing.
    She says too many upbeat and/or folksy sound bytes or cliche’s.
    If she sounded any more like a cheer leader(?), I’d have dry heaves.

    And I’m Republican…..a moderate, off the beaten path, female Republican.

    Comment by SB Smith — 11/18/2009 @ 10:38 pm

  38. Her incessant whining drives me crazy. But her know-nothing, populist anti-intellectualism is irresistible. She’s also drawn to victimhood and martyrdom. What’s not to love?

    Comment by kreiz — 11/19/2009 @ 1:32 am

  39. Supplement to #34.


    Here is the 4th question of the interview, and 1st substantive Question Rush asked Governor Palin.

    “RUSH: They can’t wait to meet you, judging by the reception you got during the campaign. Now, ladies and gentlemen, Governor Palin, when we spoke last Thursday I spoke to her a lot about the things in her book regarding the campaign. That stuff you’ll read in the Limbaugh Letter, and I predicted to Governor Palin then that much of her book would be ignored in light of the dirt that she was supposedly dishing from the campaign. So Governor Palin what I’d like to do here is go some different directions from what we did in the newsletter interview and start with the economy. We have 10.2% unemployment. We see no end in sight. The administration and others are suggesting next year could be just as bad with unemployment going up to 11%. What would you do differently than is being done now?

    GOV. PALIN: It’s over 10%, and in fact it could be closer to 17 or 18 when you consider those who have kind of given up and are not applying for unemployment benefits. So it’s bad, it’s really bad and then of course Fed Chair Bernanke announced that there are still weak job prospects for the very short term and probably long term, and that’s an uncomfortable place for our country to be. What we need to do is shift gears and really head in another direction because what we’re doing right now with the Fed, it’s not working. We need to cut taxes on the job creators. This is all about jobs, creating jobs. We have to ramp up industry here in America, and of course reduce the federal debt, quit piling on and growing more. But those commonsense solutions there, especially with the cutting taxes on the job creators, that’s not even being discussed. In fact, increased taxes is the direction it sounds like Obama wants to go.”

    You somehow missed this as you decided to focus on the 5th question and answer which
    was somewhat more generic, yet anyone actually listening would know it incorporated part of this answer given 30 seconds earlier.

    It’s interesting that you seem to want a 500 page position paper in 3 sentences. Your argument seems to be that tax cuts were the ONLY and EXCLUSIVE answer.

    I gave my credentials in 34, NOT to say I know much or anything about Macro economics. I don’t and don’t pretend to. YET, I can give you a very accurate assessment of HOW individuals/taxpayers are likely to react/behave in response to tax policy and economic policy as enacted into law. Macro Economics is only useful to the extent that those Economists who create/promote certain policies actually and accutately project/predict the resulting behavior of millions and hundreds of millions of individuals. My experience, at least regarding executing economic policy through the Tax Code, is that they are generally incorrect in assessing/predicting actual human/taxpayer behavior.

    Taxes have been a tool of behavior modification for decades. It rarely achieves the stated objective, often/usually creates the opposite behavior.


    Comment by the Dragon — 11/19/2009 @ 7:08 am

  40. @theDragon:

    “the great intellectual Paul Krugman Yale and MIT PhD with Nobel Economics Prize.”

    He went to Yale and MIT and got a PhD? How could anybody possibly trust him?

    If you had cancer and were going to have surgery, would you rather go to the surgeon who is Dean of the John Hopkins surgical department . . . or the one that graduated from Aruba Community College?

    If you’re hiring an executive for your business, would you rather hire the person got a doctorate from the Wharton Business School at U. Penn, or the one that got a Masters from the University of Phoenix online?

    Why does an education make you sneer at Krugman? What about decades of study and research makes someone less qualified in your eyes than someone who hasn’t done that? You seem to believe in the whole “educated people are dumb” ideology . . . as someone that doesn’t understand the thinking, can you explain what is so untrustworthy about studying something?

    Comment by busboy33 — 11/19/2009 @ 7:42 am

  41. Extrapolation, busboy. (OOMA you might say.) Simply applying a look at the Obama Liberal Dem legislative and administrative trends, and the stated objectives of the Secular Humanists (Humanist Manifestos I, II, III, 2000. Over 60 SM manifesto signers are in the Congress now, and hundreds are in the Administration), and then hanging them with universal, Utopian this, that, and the other objectives.

    The first point is that Obama is moving far faster to install his form of Utopian government than is realized, with the help of the resident Humanists in Congress and the Administration, and with more of his appointees on the way. There is no such thing as visibility of the processes.

    So what is the end point? Well, the #12 post is one version of what the trends say. Amnesty for illegals, opening the borders to all and sundry–even worldwide,as the EU has done within their borders, moving to make the UN more effective as a governing body,with help from the internationals/one-worlders in the UN, etc, etc.

    Call it the ultimate change program!

    The need for speed is obvious, so they will have to make as many inroads as possible in Obama’s first term, hoping he will win a second term in 2012 so that they can continue down this path to Universality,one world government, Equality of Outcome, Leveling, and control of the commercial sector. Obviously doing all of this by 2012 is impossible, but they are setting their directions down now. Look for free college legislation once something has happened with Cap and Trade.

    In the end, however, I was being sarcastic–with a touch of cynicism and madness.


    Comment by mannning — 11/19/2009 @ 7:58 am

  42. It astounds me that the entire world seems to focus on every mis-step, mis-statement, or assumed ignorance by this woman, while ignoring the almost daily blunders by (possibly) the most vapid, inexperienced, naive, and narcissistic man that has ever held public office. Is she an economics whiz? No. Is Obama? Hell no. Is she out of touch with reality? Not sure (you seem to be sure she is). Obama? Yep. Is she a bald-faced liar that makes shit up as she goes and is never criticised by the media for bogus claims and inflated numbers? No. Obama? Hell yes.

    She may be bad for the party, and her suggestions may not work, but she’s not saying anything that every other conservative pol (and most liberals) hasn’t said at one time or the other. But for some reason, you feel the need to pick apart everything she says, point by point. I don’t remember you doing that to anybody else, including Obama (yes, you have criticised him plenty of times, but a I don’t remember any collages of statements being disected to demonstrate his ignorance or state of being “out of touch”).

    Comment by lionheart — 11/19/2009 @ 9:33 am

  43. Busboy,

    You asked “If you’re hiring an executive for your business, would you rather hire the person got a doctorate from the Wharton Business School at U. Penn, or the one that got a Masters from the University of Phoenix online?”

    You asked a very good question. Personally, I have had several businesses which have been profitable. None at the level to hire an outside Executive. So I have no actual experience.

    The answer is I would hire the individual who has a “track record” of doing what needs to be done. A resume is nice, demonstrated practical ability is a MUST. I also would give preference to someone with the the ability or track record, to think out of the box.

    I guess you can summarize it best as there are thinkers and doers and maybe a subset of doers are leaders. You don’t necessarily hire a thinker to be a leader or doer, just as you shouldn’t/wouldn’t necessarily hire a leader/doer to be a thinker. There aren’t alot of individuals who excell at both.


    ps: 10-12 years ago I was hired to do several years tax work for the Wharton School Alumnea Assn. (I think that was what it was called, it was external to the school itself, but was activly involved with school fundraising and alumnea issues). You would have thought there was a Wharton grad who could have handled it ;-)

    Comment by the Dragon — 11/19/2009 @ 11:30 am

  44. You guys are clueless.

    Comment by ahem — 11/19/2009 @ 11:46 am

  45. Busboy,

    Oops.. you said “Why does an education make you sneer at Krugman? What about decades of study and research makes someone less qualified in your eyes than someone who hasn’t done that? You seem to believe in the whole “educated people are dumb” ideology . . . as someone that doesn’t understand the thinking, can you explain what is so untrustworthy about studying something?”

    What I reject is the idea that a diploma for one school(group of schools) makes you “God”, and a diploma from any other school, or no diploma at all (Bill Gates for example…didn’t he drop out?) makes one ignorant. Yes, these are intentionally painted at the extremes.

    There are individuals with similar Godlike credentials who come to diametrically opposite conclusions on the same issue. MUST I accept that both are correct due to their resume’s? I may be ignorant, but I’m not that stupid.

    Summary…performance not resume. It’s what you can do with what you learned, NOT where you learned it.


    Comment by the Dragon — 11/19/2009 @ 12:06 pm

  46. Dragon @ 39:

    “Cut taxes”…sweet Jesus. Seriously? Thats the universal, all purpose sure fire magic bullet Republican solution.
    The layoffs are happening because businesses stopped getting clients, because no one is lending money now as a result of the Crash;
    Cutting taxes on what little income businesses have now, isn’t going to do squat.
    Until the markets start running again, until money starts flowing through the system again, taxes could be zero, and nothing would happen.

    What irritates me, is not that she is proposing a solution that won’t work; What irritates me is that the Republicans only have that one prhase, “Cut Taxes” that they use for every economic problem they face; they wave it around like a magic wand, like a talisman that wards off evil spirits; they use it without thinking, without reflection, just a repeated mantra.

    And people like Rush swoon and say this is a “substantive policy answer”.
    This is why people say Sarah is anti-intellectual- its not that she doesn’t have a Harvard degree- its not that she can’t think- she just chooses not to- she prefers a tired hackneyed cliche to a serious thought.

    Comment by Liberty60 — 11/19/2009 @ 12:19 pm

  47. When are bloggers (on the right and left) going to stop clogging the intertubes with analysis of Palin? Enough is enough. You (and others) have explained and explained what you like or dislike. Can we just give it a rest and move on to more substantive issues? Even if she does run for office again, there is still plenty of time AFTER she announces to make endless arguments for why it’s a good or bad thing. STOP! PLEASE!

    Comment by HyperIon — 11/19/2009 @ 1:37 pm

  48. Your problem Rick is that you’re actually not a nut, despite the name of your blog. As a liberal, I may disagree with you but I never think “This guy is nuts.” Actually I think I am tempermentally a conservative, resistant to change, and skeptical of new ideas (most new ideas are bad.)

    Comment by gary — 11/19/2009 @ 2:17 pm

  49. Liberty60 said;”“Cut taxes”…sweet Jesus. Seriously? Thats the universal, all purpose sure fire magic bullet Republican solution.
    The layoffs are happening because businesses stopped getting clients, because no one is lending money now as a result of the Crash;
    Cutting taxes on what little income businesses have now, isn’t going to do squat.
    Until the markets start running again, until money starts flowing through the system again, taxes could be zero, and nothing would happen.”

    I guess you’re correct. IF you take the most simplistic definition of “cut taxes”.

    Didn’t TARP free up credit?

    The US Tax Code has numerous provisions applicable to Employers besides the Individual Income or Business Income tax rate.

    You are also correct that there are other factor’s, including very tight credit.

    The real question is, is there a solution? Or should we all band together, surrender, and recite the Chicken Little mantra “the sky is falling”.

    We can blame Bush for the TARP “slush fund” 733 bil
    Credit Obama etal for 787 bil stimulus “slush fund”.

    Could those funds have been used more efficiently? I suspect so.

    My own idea instead of the Stimulus was a payroll tax holiday for 3/6/9/12 months, depending what amount of 3/4 to $1 trillion. What would that have done? Saved an employer 8-10% of payroll. The employee would have received a @ 8% raise, and most/many would spend most and save some of that increased cash flow. IF more money is spent on goods or services aka “stimulus”.

    I have also toyed with the idea of a several $ trillion loan program for business, BUT since I have many unpleasant experiences with client’s dealings with the “Small Business Admin” I don’t have faith that it could be done without massive “red tape” and particularly fraud.

    Rick mentions cutting government spending, with I obviously agree, AND he gives many good reasons WHY that will/can not happen.

    Also, we have a tax increase coming down the pike next year when the Bush tax cuts expire. Now there is a stimulus if I ever heard of one.

    OF course, There is another solution. Probably start a “Civil War”. Nationalize ALL business (I mean ALL business owners are rich and crooks), appoint a Government flunky to run each business, employ ALL the unemployed (saves paying unemployment) at say 40-60K per year. Have a 60-70% flat individual income tax rate. Have to work with the salary and tax rate to make everything balance. Then we can all live happily ever after.

    As a practical matter, no matter what Sarah Palin says, or what Rick says or what you and I say, there is 1 more year before voters, should they decide to do so, can make a some change, and then only at the Congressional level, which could be vetoed by the President, and UNLESS some Senate Democrats got cold feet, a veto would be sustained in the Senate.


    Comment by the Dragon — 11/19/2009 @ 2:20 pm

  50. @Dragon:

    Oddly I agree with you completely and disagree with you completely.

    I think we’re talking about two different definitions of “do”. Some things (like changing a tire) make experience more valuable than education. No matter how much you study in a book how to change a tire, somebody who has done it before will do it better and faster. Agreed.

    But we’re talking about macro-ecconomics on the National and inter-National level. That involves a different sort of “do”ing. Nobody “does” National tax development. Somebody can write a specific tax code, somebody can collect or pay taxes, somebody can calculate funds accrued . . . but macro-ecconomics is a theoretical discipline. “Doing” is in the thinking, not the manual activity.

    Let me give a (sloppy) analogy: nuclear fission. In the nuclear power plant, there is the person that runs the board. They montior the core temperature, activate the fuel rod motors to raise/lower them, controls the coolant vale pressure, etc. They are a “doer”. Then there is the nuclear physicist. They don’t “do”. If the control person dropped dead, the physicist probably doesn’t have the manual skills and experience to operate the equipment.
    Now let’s question the operation of the plant itself. The core temp is drifting toward a dangerous spike, but the emergency shutoff system is crippled. Should the operator (the “doer”) simply pull the rods out of the generator completely (still facing the potential of a meltdown but if a meltdown is avoided the plant is still viable), or should they crash the whole system (avoiding a meltdown but effectively making the entire plant useless)?
    Odds are, the “doer” doesn’t have a clue. They’re going to go to their S.O.P manual and do whatever it tells them, because they don’t have the theoretical knowledge to make that call. The physicist does. They wrote the manual. They have the theoretical knowledge to make an informed call. Even though the operator is the one actually pushing buttons and pulling levers, the “thinker” in this case is the actual “doer”, because this is a situation that requires theory, not physical skill. For a question about theory, the “doer” is not nearly as important as the “thinker”.
    If the question is “how do we implement this idea?”, you go to the doer. If the question is “what idea should we implement?”, you go to the thinker.

    “What I reject is the idea that a diploma for one school(group of schools) makes you ‘God’, and a diploma from any other school, or no diploma at all (Bill Gates for example…didn’t he drop out?) makes one ignorant.”

    I agree 100 percent. Some of the most dumb-as-rocks idiotic people I have ever met had advanced degrees from big-name schools. On the other side, I know some brilliant people whose degrees from “minor” schools (or lack of degrees entirely) make you say ” . . . and you went to community college?!? Damn! I’ve got to enroll there!”. A degree from a good school doesn’t necessarily “prove” any ability . . . but to hear someone went to Harvard and MIT and say “can’t you tell he’s an idiot” . . . that’s not very realistic.

    Another example: you’re the President. War breaks out. You need to appoint a general. You have two people standing in front of you. One studied military strategy at West Point and did their doctoral disertation in battlefield tactics. The other played alot of Risk.
    Now, the West Point grad may well be an idiot. The Risk-player might actually be an natural tactical genius. Stranger things have happened.
    Who are you going to turn to first?

    But as you also noted, Krugman won the Nobel prize for ecconomics. That does tend to imply that he MIGHT have some actual skill and ability in the field (unless you think they just randomly draw names out of a hat). The textbook he authored is one of, if not the most, commonly used textbooks to teach other people macro-ecconomic theory. Again, that tends to bolster his resume a little bit.

    Let me be clear — I’m not saying that whatever Krugman says is correct. As I noted above in comment #26, the subject is so theoretical and complex that experts don’t agree on a single answer. But to scoff at his resume and imply he doesn’t have the chops to have his ideas about macro-ecconomics considered seriously . . . well, that’s silly.
    You may believe that his liberal philosophy discredits his opinion on tax cuts, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t an internationally recognized and respected expert in the discipline. His education doesn’t mean you should consider him learned, but his career certainly does.

    In comment #39 you quote Palin’s opinion on ecconomic solutions. She isn’t either a “doer” or a “thinker” in this area. At the absolute best (and I’m being generous IMO), she’s what you classified as a “leader”. She can give orders to make the thinkers think and the doers do. Great. So why should I care what her theories are on ecconomic recovery? Being a leader doesn’t mean you are magically knowledgeable about subjects . . . it means you can get people to do what you tell them to do, whether that idea is bright or not.
    She’s got an opinion. Everybody does. It might even be right — hell, I’m not an ecconomist. But what in her resume or her work history makes you think she has the slightest idea what she’s talking about? Do her comments imply she knows her stuff because the sheer brilliance of her words are clear for all to see . . . or is it because you agreed with what she said even before she said it? Do you disagree with Krugman because his decades of study, Nobel Prize, professorships here and in England, 25 books either authored or edited, 40 scholarly articles aren’t the least bit impressive . . . or do you disagree with him because he’s a liberal who doesn’t support tax cuts which you believe in?

    It seems like we’re talking about an article of faith. You appear to believe tax cuts are the solution, as many Republicans/Conservatives do (and again, that may well be right). If you believe it, then it sounds correct when you hear it. If I believe that the Heavenly Spirit manifests itself in earthly visitations, then the pancake in front of me is obviously emblazoned with the visage of the Virgin Mary via divine power. If I didn’t believe that before I made breakfast . . . well, it just looks like a burnt pancake.
    If that is the case (its an article of faith), then the acceptance of support and the rejection of critiques isn’t based on the facts but on reinforcement of belief. The critic is going to be rejected regardless of who they are. But that doesn’t invalidate the critic or their ability — it just means you disagree with them.

    Comment by busboy33 — 11/19/2009 @ 5:36 pm

  51. @manning:

    Dammit, now you’re just messing with my head (and quite sucsessfully too).

    Now I can’t tell if you were being sarcastic, or you’re being sarcastic about having been sarcastic. The more I try to figure it out, the more confused I’m getting.
    So . . . I’m going to concede this one with a heartfelt Bronx cheer and slink away, consoling myself that this is some sort of dastardly plot. Trickery, I say!

    . . . dammit . . .

    Comment by busboy33 — 11/19/2009 @ 5:48 pm

  52. A chiding rebuttal, sir.

    Comment by smitty — 11/19/2009 @ 9:24 pm

  53. @busboy

    I can’t make an infinite regression out of that sarcasm thing; besides, I don’t do sarcasm very well. It might have been more of a parody I was thinking of, or just a quirky outlook on the future.

    The real question is, is there a grain of truth in those predictions? I know that some people think exactly that way about what must transpire in the nation on a few or all of those Universals, and I have a copy of the signed document to prove it! Many professors seem to enjoy that SH stuff, and quite a few congressmen.

    So it is a trend to watch out for, though by the time you realize it is really underway it will very likely be too late! Or, that seems to be the plan.

    Needless to say, I don’t do conspiracy theories very well either: someone has to hand it to me on a platter, and he did.

    Comment by mannning — 11/19/2009 @ 10:26 pm

  54. busboy,

    Yes, we are generally in agreement.

    A couple points of disagreement (excluding Sarah Palin) which would probably be narrowed if we were discussing them over a pint.

    1.) You are correct I have great faith in “Tax Cut’s” loosely defined as incentives in the tax system. This faith comes from over 20 intense years of income tax practice. Unfortunately, Many/most individuals make decisions based tax related incentives OR avoid tax related penalties. I ALWAYS tell/told new clients I have 3 rules they must agree with before I take them as a client. Rule 1…I DO NOT wear ties. Rule 2…My humor is offbeat, so when I say something ans laugh…Laugh it WAS funny, Rule 3…This is the only important rule. You don’t do anything for tax purposes…with only a couple a specific exceptions…In 99+% of the cases a Good Tax decision is a Bad economic decision.

    I have had clients lose thousands,even millions of dollars saving hundreds, maybe thousands even tens of thousands of dollars.

    Example: One of my focus area’s was taxation of investments. Business was booming in the rock and roll “Tax Shelter” era particularly in the late 1980’s. I think I actually recommended 2 tax shelters of the hundreds I saw. Almost all were like a lottery ticket, you got the tax benefit today, and you didn’t know for 3-10 years whether the investment was going to pay even a dime in return. Did my clients listen? Some did, yet the enticement of investing say 30-50K with a theoretical possibility of a future profit while avoiding laying out 10K with their tax return was like the moth to the flame. Idiocy in my book, yet human beings will act like human beings every time.

    The tax issue, and corresponding taxpayer behavior, in my experience, is psychological and/or sociological far more than it is economic.

    Another thing I learned is that even while expressing understanding of the alternatives and recognizing the one that BEST suited their personal finances and situation, when the rubber meets the road, they would only follow that path IF there were tax incentives/rewards.

    2.) As to macro-economic theory, and Krugman or other economists. I personally call the field “egonomics”. Look over a period of say 20 years. You will find that most of the prominent economists have been incorrect more often than they have been correct. I suspect that ratio is roughly 2-1 incorrect to correct.

    What might attribute to the inability to be consistantly correct? The underlying theories haven’t really changed, the inconsistant variable is the inability to consistantly predict the actual behavior of the humans (again, not an economic issue, rather a psychological or sociological one). You can have a logical and PERFECT model when actual behavior matches predicted behavior. Say a model predicts 2X and 6Y and the stupid humans actually behave .75X and 9Y. Does the Theory suck or do you need to polish the chrystal ball?

    Finally, Krugman may be world acclaimed and I am just someone in the DC suburbs no one has ever heard of, yet I will stack my record for predicting how taxpayers will react/behave in reference to specific tax proposals against anyone. Krugman probably has a supurb Theory, my experience says his chrystal ball is cloudy currently. Only time will tell, and this thread will have long since forgotten.

    3.) I think expanded my doer/thinker/leader idea maybe a bit farther than I would. No harm, I am often inarticulate with the written word. There is a reason I am an accountant. I only have to deal with 10 digits and a limited number of symbols. Those of you who communicate well, I admire, you have the challenge of 26 letter and 8-10 punctuation marks and symbols. That is an skill which I have not mastered.


    Comment by the Dragon — 11/19/2009 @ 11:01 pm

  55. I think that those predicting the demise of the Republican party if it nominates Mrs. Palin have to first understand Mrs. Palin better. 1) She somehow gets Conservative to treat her like a rock star. 2) Somehow everyone who says what she’s going to do & what she’s got to do ends up looking like fools. 3) She somehow demolished ObamaCare with two words posted on a frickin’ facebook page. 4) She stumbled into Sam Walton’s strategy for her own brand of retail politics to 2ndary markets first.

    Just a lucky idiot, right?

    If you want to improve your track record at predicting Mrs. Palin. Google, then read Malcolm Gladwell’s essay on David & Goliath and girl’s basketball. And remember which sport Mrs. Palin played in high school. Look at her history in Alaska and how she fought and won there.

    The question isn’t whether Republicans be fools to nominate her, but whether Mrs. Palin will choose to run.

    Comment by Steve Poling — 11/19/2009 @ 11:47 pm

  56. Well, where to begin? Reagans tax cuts were to be employed with spending cuts that never happened because the Dem’s controlled the house and the Senate. And if we spent money on defense at least we bought something with some value that payed huge dividends in the near future.
    As for this recession being worse than the last? Are you kidding me? There are still hiring signs here and there, I see them all the time. I was just out of High Scool in 1981 and I remember being on a waiting list for a job at McDonalds! of all places for 2 months!!! You can go into McDonalds right now and get hired just about anywhere in this country. People still have a lot of diposable incomes, I have seen homeless drunken bums with cell phones, go figure just how bad it really is. I am not saying its not bad, because I am sinking too, but relatively, this is nothing.

    Comment by john Taylor — 11/20/2009 @ 9:57 am

  57. While tax cuts are definitely needed, there are other areas that need to be looked at. There are probably a number of ways we can streamline government programs and make them more efficient. There are likely many cost savings that could be recognized here to. This way we can still get the much needed tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Ms. Palin is correct on this, however, she and her supporters should focus more on how we can make our current government programs more efficient.

    As such, I would not necessarily say her supporters are in a “time warp.” Tax cuts are clearly a good place to start, however, we need to look closely at how we can make government more efficient.

    A good place to start would likely be with Defense. We should focus more on “smart defense.” To start with all troops should be withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan as quickly as our transport vehicles can get them out. These should be redeployed along the borders. There would be tremendous savings here.

    Also, we should upgrade the nuclear arsenal and spend less on some of our conventional forces. Still more savings. Nuclear weapons are much more effective and are likely less expensive. Also, most of our conventional items would not be expected to last very long in a war with our most likely adversaries in the 21st century, which are Russia and China. Having an improved muclear capability is less expensive and it gives us a better chance of winning than with what we currently have. While countries like Iran and Venezuela are certainly capable of winning a war with America it is unlikely that they could actually conquer America, at this time. An improved nuclear capacity helps us realize cost savings and it helps us to be in a better position to actually fight and win the likely conflicts of the 21st century.

    How many government departments are involved in education? At least 10 I think. This could be streamlined to one or two departments and the cost savings would likely be enormous. There are likely a number of examples of where greater effieceny could be utilized across the government. This combined with tax cuts would be extremely helpful.

    In any event, national health care should be out of the question right now. We simply cannot afford it.

    While Ms. Palin is certainly correct about tax cuts, the proposal is far from complete. It needs more detail. For example, it needs to focus on how we can make current government programs more efficient. If we can do this, we may not need to cut out anyone’s “entitlement” or government services as some would call them.

    While we’re looking at how we can do this, no new government progams should be added. This means national health care should be shelved for the foreseeable future. It’s going to take some time to analyze each government program to make it more effiecent. Since Ms. Palin is not a part of the government right now, there would likely be no way she would be in a position to know which government programs can be made more efficient or how to do it. As such, she is only able to go into detail on the starting point right now which is tax cuts.

    Finally, Ms. Palin is not as influential as either her supporters or her detractors give her credit for. She is simply a political pundit right now. She holds no office nor does she hold a position of influence within the RNC. Right now she has no chance of being elected to any office any where and it is unlikely she will have a chance in the foreseeable future. She quit her job as Governor in Alaska right in the middle of her term. The voting public would rightly want to know if she will quit again should the going get tough furthermore any potential opponent either in the genral election or the primary will have a field day with it. At this time, I see no way for her to overcome the fact that she quit in midstream.

    Comment by B.Poster — 11/20/2009 @ 11:00 am

  58. The best thing about Obama is that no matter how “bad”, “unprepared”, or “ignorant” Palin appears to some people, she will NEVER be as bad for this country as Obama. At least she doesn’t want to fundamentally transform this country into a socialist state or enable the Democrats in Congress to steal liberties and buy votes through the slush funds known as Cap and Trade and the supposed health care reform bills.

    Her history shows that she does not support corruption inside her own party much less the Democrats. At least we know where she stands. Obama double talks more, if not better, than Bill Clinton. He LIES to us everytime he talks.

    Comment by Cargosquid — 11/20/2009 @ 11:22 am

  59. Well Said !
    Palin IS toxic.

    It was stated her knowledge is a mile wide but only an inch deep….
    Oh my God…I hate to say that reminded me of obama - no In Depth knowledge of far too many things.

    Those childish conservatives who stayed home in 2008 and didn’t vote because McCain wasn’t conservative enough for them should be feeling remorse also because They Helped Elect Obama.

    Comment by SB Smith — 11/20/2009 @ 2:07 pm

  60. First thoughts, from Palin or anyone, are subject to change as knowledge and wisdom grows. She reminds me of a teenager trying out ideas like coats to see if they fit well.

    Comment by mannning — 11/21/2009 @ 8:50 am

  61. Ah yes. The wing nuts. That Palin girl is out of her mind and an isolated nut why Americans by 2 to 1 believe tax cuts are the answer.

    So she may be nuts - who know? But she is marching at the head of the parade. Exactly what a politician should do.

    So your analysis may be true. But it doesn’t matter. It is irrelevant.

    Comment by M. Simon — 11/21/2009 @ 4:28 pm

  62. Props.

    I’m kind of surprised that Pajamas Media tolerates your heresy. That’s now how I had them pegged.

    Comment by glasnost — 11/22/2009 @ 4:06 pm

  63. Yeah, tax cuts alone aren’t going to turn things around.
    I’d say that if the government actually believed that the private sector was a friend of the average American, that it might go a long way to turn things around. As it is, the Democrats on both end of Pennsylvania Avenue hate the private sector with every fiber in their bodies, so they are in this to take them down. Their hate seems to know no bounds.

    What business in their right mind would hire now if they can avoid it ? The prospect of ObamaCare and “Cap-n-Tax” are frightening to small business. Medium to large corporations are moving offshore in order to protect themselves from a government gone positively nuts on fiscal policy. In the process they are shedding as many US jobs as they possibly can so as to protect themselves from the long term costs (i.e taxes and mandatory fees) are expected to go thru the roof once monetary policy kicks off the next round of inflation.

    Effectively, our government is doing everything it can to destroy our economy in both the short and near term. By the time Obama finishes his first term, they will have made a dent in extending that to the long term as well.

    Comment by Neo — 11/23/2009 @ 12:17 am

  64. As I said in another post, I like Sarah Palen.2012 is a long time away. I will wait and see how she does. I would vote for her any day over the left-wing liberal socialist-comminist Barack Obama.

    Comment by meanjoegreen59 — 11/24/2009 @ 11:09 am

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