And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
"…first a Keynesian observes that fiscal stimulus can increase growth in a depressed economy. Second, as an attempted reductio, a conservative says “if that was true, then you could increase growth by breaking a bunch of windows.” Third, the Keynesian accurately points out that you could, in fact, increase growth by breaking windows. Fourth, the conservative accuses Keynesians of wanting to break windows or believing that window-breaking increases wealth. But nobody ever said that! The point is that we have very good reasons to think smashing windows would be a bad idea—there’s more to life than full employment—and that’s why Keynesians generally want to boost employment by having people do something useful like renovate schools or repair bridges."
— Matt Yglesias, leaving out the next line in the exchange; the one where the conservative screams “that’s socialism,” makes a lot of unfounded claims about runaway spending, and then says government initiated stimulus has never worked, and most especially never worked in the guise of the colossal stimulatory effect of government spending to fight WWII. That recovery was the either “power of the markets” or “the markets anticipating Reagan and ‘morning in America.’” As usual.
"[Rather than a double dip recession] we may be looking at 2 years or more where the growth could be in the range of 2.0 percent or even less. When we have 9.1 percent unemployment, this is an outrage. If we get people applauding because at least we are not seeing a double dip, then we have to calmly escort these ignorant beings to somewhere far away from economic policy discussions. They clearly do not have a clue and need to try a different line of work.
Finally, it is 100 percent nonsense to say that the government is out of policy options. We can do more stimulus. The financial markets are yelling at the government at the top of their lungs saying “borrow more money.” That’s what 2.6 percent interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds means. There are balanced-budget worshipping politicians who say that the government can’t do anything, but this is not true and the NYT has no business repeating it.
The Fed could also do more. […] Ben Bernanke has himself suggested: targeting a long-term interest rate (e.g. a 1.0 percent 5-year Treasury rate) or a higher rate of inflation (e.g. 3-4 percent). […]
The government could also try to create jobs by taking steps to lower the value of the dollar. The Chinese government has been making threats that it will stop buying up U.S. government debt if we don’t take their advice. The Obama administration could ask what they most want and then do the exact opposite. If the Chinese government stops buying U.S. assets then the dollar will fall against the yuan. This is equivalent to imposing a tariff on Chinese imports and giving a subsidy to U.S. exports. In other words, it should lead to a burst in net exports which will lift the economy and create jobs."
— Dean Baker is either giving great analysis of the nation’s near term economic outlook and policy options —or— reciting a litany of facts, large and small, that you will never, ever hear on any MSM outlet. Even by accident.
I’m not sure which, though.
"Put it this way: suppose that from here on out we average 4.5 percent growth, which is way above any forecast I’ve seen. Even at that rate, unemployment would be close to 8 percent at the end of 2012, and wouldn’t get below 6 percent until midway through Sarah Palin’s first term."
— Paul Krugmanbrings the optimism while not-so-gently chiding his fellow media travelers’ insistence that all focus be upon what are essentially made up problems of deficit and government spending. Employment is the problem. Fix that and you can work on wage growth and lessening income inequality across the spectrum, lard on some tax reform, and all these so-called existential spending issues and all the hooha over the “right” size of government will evaporate.
Even less clear is why the media forever focuses on the self-funded, no deficit impact at all for at least 40 years Social Security program when they do a story on the horrors of deficits. It’s a story for another post, but maybe (just maybe!) it’s because they don’t plan on needing it. Medicare, on the other hand, they know they need, know is a deficit ballooner, but just don’t care so long as they get theirs. Very Patriotic.
One can understand the attraction for thinking that tax cuts should stimulate higher rates of economic growth. With greater after tax income, workers are more likely to work harder and longer and, facing fewer taxes, entrepreneurs are in a better position to start companies and hire new workers. The problem is that the data does not bear this out either. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a statistical agency in the United States federal government, notes that over the past decade of lower tax rates, the number of business start-ups has actually declined.
Even if tax cuts generated increased economic growth rates, both conservative and liberal economists agree that economic growth would not increase anywhere near enough to offset the cost of the cuts.
File under: Things We’re Not Allowed to Discuss.
Much easier to talk about big bad China bogeyman than the simple fact that the car-centric, energy hungry American lifestyle of the late 20th century on is the thing driving our trade deficits, driving our foreign policy decisions, driving our economy into the ditch. Is it any wonder? The economic inducements drive most people to live 50 miles from work and, as a result, drive for hours each and every day, and drive everywhere else you may want to go as well. Insanity. And, far from calling out said insanity, our society seems to look down upon and make life unnecessarily difficult for those who are even able to choose to withdraw from this cycle.
That it is a solvable problem if and when met with sustained will to change it gives me no optimism whatsoever. That the process of solving it would greatly assist our own recovery will never be discussed. Cars today! Cars Tomorrow! Cars über alles!
This article is worth a read on the basis of these two sentences alone:
“Elon has huge steel balls,” his ex-wife notes on her blog. “He truly does.”
His other main business, a rocket company called SpaceX, aimed to replace the space shuttle and eventually take people to Mars.
Apparently the section detailing his underground base of operations with sliding, stainless steel doors and a monorail was edited out. Likewise any information about his taste in jumpsuits. I’m guessing red with little lightning bolt logos.
"Now, [the GOP] will say, ‘Well, we’re going to cut spending.’ So you say, ‘Okay, what are you going to cut?’ And then what they say is, ‘Well, we’ll cut education by 20 percent. We’ll eliminate 200,000 children from early childhood education programs like Head Start. We’ll cut financial aid for 8 million college students.
At a time when the education of our country’s citizens is probably the best predictor of that country’s economic success, they think it’s more important to give another tax break to folks who are on the Forbes 400 list.
Now, I want to ask my Republican friends: Do you think China is cutting back on education? Do you think South Korea is making it harder for its citizens to get a college education? These countries aren’t playing for second place. And guess what. The United States doesn’t play for second place. We play for first place."
— Barack Obama, finally playing for first place himself.
"[An] increasing share of national income [has] gone to the top 1 percent of earners since the 1970s, when their share was 8 percent to 9 percent. In the 1980s, it rose to 10 percent to 14 percent. In the late-’90s, it was 15 percent to 19 percent. In 2005, it passed 21 percent. By 2007, the last year for which complete data are available, the richest 1 percent were taking more than 23 percent of all income.
The richest one-tenth of 1 percent, representing 130,000 households, took in more than 11 percent of total income in 2007.
That does not leave enough spending power with the rest of the population to sustain a flourishing economy."
— Bob Herbertdiscussing Robert Reich’s book Aftershock.
Generic GOP response to everything but the last line: So what?
Generic Democrat response to everything: If we just move those deck chairs to this side, and these to that…
Generic Population response, living it, far too busy to read about it: inchoate blood rage.
Making the current situation any clearer?
I want the Bush tax cuts to expire, totally. They were passed through reconciliation and designed to be temporary. If you are some butthurt citizen moaning about your missing $75* a year and a half from now in your tax return, you can blame the Republicans for designing a tax cut that was designed to last ten years.
Same here. Though the real play it seems to me would have been to come to the press conference the other day and say:
“The Bush tax cuts are and were a failed policy. Those days are over. Here are the Obama tax cuts, tied to expire as economic growth and recovery takes place over time (such that the deficit and debt impact will be minimized and limited to this period of crisis for the nation), and valued at the exact same amount as the entire Bush tax cuts, but pointed entirely at small business, start-ups, and those individuals and families earning below $250k/yr.”
You then torment the GOP every day between now and then about why they’re against tax cuts. What could be wrong with tax cuts?
Whether or not they pass: the GOP loses. Instead, and as usual, the administration and the Democratic party at large engages the GOP on their turf, and using the GOP’s own framing. Even if something gets done, the credit (such as it is) goes to Bush. When they expire, the blame goes to Obama. Yet these are the ground-rules “our side” chooses again and again.