Cutting Through The Crap

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Blood, It Boils




A Texas teacher suspended indefinitely because someone thinks he's a liberal, and an atheist.

The Republican war on science continues.

Dress code, schmess code; or, Andy Card is full of sh*t.

Bipartisanship means working with these people.

Rome burns.

Nothing changes.

Among all of the above, the lesson seems to be this: elections DON'T matter. Overwhelmingly, voters went for a person calling for bipartisanship and for working together to solve problems. But between arcane Senate rules, which have been bastardized to require 60 votes for anything to pass, and the fact that the Republican party has descended into regionalism that assures the reƫlection of entrenched idiots, voted for by witch-hunters, nothing has actually changed. A 59 - 41 election would be a landslide. In the Senate, it means "failure," the thwarting of the will of the electorate, the braying of failed politicians as if they'd actually won.

Indeed, the blood boils. I gotta stop reading.

.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Texas is a weird place. My sister's kids go to public school in a well-to-do Dallas suburb. The kids don't have a Valentines Day party, although they all pass out valentines to each other. It's a "friendship party". Can't do Halloween (aka All Hallows Eve, the day prior to All Saints Day in the Catholic faith) - that's the "fall party". Christmas / Hanukkah /Kwanzaa / Eid - no chance. That's the "winter party". All of this PC stuff is absurd. I am certain my nieces will be sent to a private school if any of that "intelligent design"/ creationism junk comes up.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the Republicans are standing up to the bad bill, which even the CBO has said will hurt more than it helps.

Note to Krugman: The last eight years were overwhelmingly good--lots of people made money. Sorry if you lost yours to greed. I still have mine.

Bill

Sid Schwab said...

Bill: Could you explain where you got the idea that the CBO said that?

Indeed lots of people made money. The question is who, and how. And what about everyone else. On the other hand, you've made it quite clear exactly what the problem is. A few people made out while the country went down the tubes. And those that did, including you, evidently, don't care a whit about the rest.

So thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/04/cbo-obama-stimulus-harmful-over-long-haul/

Well, you clearly don't know what I care about. If Krugman's unhappy, maybe he was greedy, gambled and lost. Housing prices went up, income went up, the stock market went up, businesses were begun. Most everyone did well, and that's good. The last year sucked, not the whole eight years. Actually, just the last six months.

I'll wager my income is below yours, Sid--even your retirement income. But thanks for guessing at my thoughts.

Bye.

Bill

Frank Drackman said...

Umm Sid, the Bipartisanship vote was AGAINST the Porkulus bill... and it used to take 67 votes to break a filibuster, surely you remember the summer of 64' when a prominant West Virginia Democrat spoke for 14 straight hours to conclude a 54 day Filibuster, took Republicans to end it Hmm what was his name again, Heard? Turd? oh yeah...BYRD...Check out Wiki-Pedia sometime, don't cost nuthin,

Frank

Sid Schwab said...

Bill: the Bush policies, which were, essentially, "here's a credit card: go out and spend, and ignore the fact that you'll have to pay later," led to false growth, the true costs of which are now evident. It makes no sense to say it was fine if we ignore the last year. That's like saying the Titanic cruise was actually great, as long as you ignore the last few miles.

If I overstepped in assuming your thoughts, I'm sorry. But it's a very spurious argument you are making.

An errant policy led to spurious growth, and ultimate failure. It's baffling to hear an argument that since it looked great for a while (even though many, myself included, were pointing out it was a house of cards) we should somehow not include the current reckoning in the assessment.

Anonymous said...

Sid--please explain, then, the difference between the way you describe Bush's growth and the current "stimulus" bill.

Bill

Sili said...

I'll focus on something positive and thank you for joying me in the quest to invigorate the diaeresis.

Sid Schwab said...

Bill: that's a fair question. The answer, as I see it, is in the entirely different scenarios: analogizing again, Bush got us to buy a fancy car that we couldn't afford, and drove it off a cliff. We still need a car, but we're broke. To fix it, we're going to have to borrow more money; once we get it running again, we can begin to pay it off.

The CBO report to which you previously referred did say it would provide stimulus and a few million jobs. It contained, as far as I can tell, no assumptions about what happens when we're back on track, by which point, Obama has said, he'd be addressing entitlements and other fixed costs (like defense, if he has the balls) to bring the budget back toward balance.

Krugman, who evidently doesn't carry much weight with you, addressed it on "Morning Joe" this morning.

I'm no economist; I only listen to and read what I can. There seems little disagreement that something big needs to be done; the question is what. Republicans would be happy if it were all tax cuts; Dems if it were all spending. Either way, the deficits go up. So it's a matter of which path leads to more jobs and more rapid and sustained turnaround. Investing in infrastructure, I'm convinced, makes much more sense. It makes jobs, and leaves us with better roads, schools, etc. Likewise spending on education, which is admittedly much more long-term. Like Obama, it amazes me that money to weatherize homes is bashed: jobs, cutting homeowner costs, reducing energy use. How is that not good?

Of course I worry about the huge deficits and debt, and was saying so when everyone thought Bush's economy was great, as it racked up several trillion in debt. He took us from around 4 (and heading lower due to the surpluses of Clinton) to over 10. The attempt to repair the damage will add another 1. If it works, the next step -- and not too soon, as FDR did -- will be to try to bring things back toward balance.

That's how I see it. I have no real way of knowing. I do know that the "tax cut as the answer to any economic question" has failed, ever since Ronald Reagan.

Sid Schwab said...

Sili: thanks, although I have no idea what you mean.

spynster57 said...

The current political posturing doesn't make my blood boil because I think we need a bit more patience. We've had a new President for less than 1 month - still 7.9 years to go, assuming he's reelected.

However, comments from readers like Bill, who refuses to see or acknowledge that the average American has been badly affected by the Bush/Republican policies, definitely increase my temperature. It's not only greedy people who have lost.

Bush's tax cut gave me an extra $30 per month. At the same time, my health care deductible tripled and my premium increased. The interest rate on my savings accounts began falling and this past year the return on my 401k was a minus 36%. My house is now worth $50,000 less than when I purchased 6 years ago, so I've lost most of the equity and hard-earned down payment. The company I work for is up for sale and there's no guarantee that I will have a job, health insurance, retirement contributions in the next year.

So, Bill, good for you that you've retained your money. A great many of your neighbors and fellow citizens have not, through absolutely no fault of our own. The Republican party needs to take off the blinders and cooperate in finding solutions, not just throwing up road blocks.

I would go take a nice relaxing shower to cool down now, but I'm conserving on my water and heating bills. Guess I'll go walk around the block and count the For Sale signs in the neighborhood instead.

Sid Schwab said...

spynster: I agree. My frustrations are mainly that the R's are able to block so effectively, and that even though there is much more in the bill in terms of tax cuts than there'd have been if it were a "pure" Democratic bill, the R's still whine that it's not bipartisan enough. When what they want is 100% tax cuts, and no spending; which, it seems undeniably obvious, is a pre-failed approach.

Anonymous said...

"still have mine" is a comment aimed at the dyspeptic Krugman, who seems bitter. I assume he has lost much.

Spynster--I'm sorry things are tough. Trust me, it's tough here, too. I don't think we can blame health-care costs on Bush alone. That's been happening for quite some time. For a good article on the deregulation of the banking industry (which happened in the 90s--I think that was Pres Clinton, right?--see here:

http://fic.wharton.upenn.edu/fic/papers/02/0239.pdf

Look, folks, my in-laws lost a ton. I'm lucky I was very conservative in investing, but my main asset is my house, which is down 40%. I know people are hurting. Here's the question: the gubmint is proposing to spend over $3000 per person in the US. That money will have to be paid back, by us. The money we use to pay it back, then, will be money we don't spend in the economy. At that time, spending will drop, costing jobs, etc.

Tax cuts aren't thrown away--they go into your pocket and you spend it. Do you think the gubmint will spend it more wisely and more fairly than you? Tell me that almost $10,000 is coming off my taxes this year and I'll show you some spending!

Speaking of taxes--I'm figuring mine out now, and feeling like a sucker since, apparently, few prominent Dems worry about taxes until they're appointed to the cabinet.

All of the sarcasm by Obama and posturing by Nancy Pelosi aside, this bill is not about stimulus, it's about Dems spending on things they've been dying to spend on. They're not letting this crisis go to waste, as Rahmbo would say.

But, you've won. If this bill is a good thing, the Dems will get all the credit. If it's a dog, they'll deserve all the blame, though they'll never accept it.

Bill

Anonymous said...

Here's a good article that sums up many things:

http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/05/obama-stimulus-republicans-opinions-columnists_0206_peter_robinson.html

Bill

Sid Schwab said...

Bill: sarcasm is abundant everywhere. I don't think Obama was being sarcastic, so much as pressing a point: it's his view that tax cuts are a less effective weapon for this situation. Intuitively, if nothing else, I agree. My reasoning, as I've said, is that giving millions of people a small amount to spend is less effective than spending a lot to get millions of people working. This situation is very different from when Bush took over. Plus, tax cuts help those who have jobs already, which is good; but as millions are losing jobs, getting them back on the rolls is essential, too. More than that: with spending on infrastructure instead giving people enough to buy some stuff, you have something to show for it. Roads, schools, bridges, electric grid, insulated homes. Like Ike, and FDR.

I don't disagree that in deregulation there is blame to share. Clinton bowed to the Republican congress. But under Bush it went further, and he put people in as regulators who didn't believe in regulating.

Admitting failure is not an abundant commodity in either party, by the way. Bush? Cheney? You kidding me? Everything "good" that happened on their watch was to their credit (what were they, again?) Everything bad was carryover from Clinton.

robd said...

Bill,
if you do some research on FACTS,
you will find:
- growth of the US economy under 8 years of ush less than under Clinton;
- gov. debt much increased instead of reduced;
- emlpoyment-to-population ratio down instead of up.

spynster57 said...

Dear Bill, let's trade website references. Take a look at the Kaiser Family Foundation for interesting looks at the healthcare costs in the US - www.kff.org. According to their studies, insurance premiums were at the very lowest during the Clinton years, 1990 - 1996. I assume this is partly due to the insurance companies fears of Hillary's health plan. But between 2000 to 2005 (Bush Admin.), "the cost of premiums for family coverage have increased by 73%." In 2008, that increase is projected at 89%. My small employer has already been put on notice that our 2009-2010 increase will be in the range of 30%. Of course I know there are many contributing factors to this other than politics, but under the Republicans the costs have exploded. We have a system which doesn't seem to work well for anyone - neither providers nor patients. It's one of the reasons I voted for change in 2008.

Anonymous said...

"Trickle-down economics" leaves those at the top of the heap in improved condition, while the fecal matter trickles down to engulf those at the bottom of the pile.

Anonymous said...

robd,

Agreed, at least in principle. But Bush was fighting a war...which Cliinton should have started but didn't.

And, yes, that is a FACT. Clever use of caps, though.

Bill

Anonymous said...

Spynster,

Actually, I belong to Kaiser and am very glad. I remember that health insurance costs began to rise around 1989. My employer changed providers in 1990 and the new people wouldn't take my pregnant wife. My daughter was born on my VISA card, which I had to show to get into the hospital.

You need to show a cause linked somehow to Republicans, I think. A lot of things cost more now than in 2000.

It's one thing to vote for "change" (and it's quite easy to promise change, btw), but what change do you expect? Can Obama just make it all cost less? I'd vote for him myself, then. Can he make cars cost less, as well? How about movies? Food? I'm afraid you're setting him up to fail.

Bill

Anonymous said...

Anon-

It was JFK's phrase: "a rising tide lifts all boats." Why do you care, exactly, that someone else, someone with more money than you, benefits? Do you resent Bill Gates' wealth? Didn't he create a need for millions of jobs in the computer industry?

Does Gates eat his money? No, he spends it on his ridiculous house. I'll bet his contracts and sub-contractors appreciate his wealth. And the local lumber suppliers, and every one else around. The rest he puts in the bank and people in Seattle borrow it for mortgages, etc. Let him do well. Let's just worry about ourselves.

Bill

Leigh said...

Bill, you're mistaken about several things. The CBO report emphatically endorses stimulus, as fast as possible. You need to read the whole report, not just regurgitate something you heard about it.

Forbes is the same magazine that just handed out an endorsement of Intelligent Design as our gift for Darwin's birthday. As an authoritative source, they're useless.

"A rising tide lifts all boats"? Yes, Kennedy used it. But Herbert Hoover used it first. Not, perhaps, the best aphorism to mention nowadays -- at least now around those of us who know some history.

Leigh said...

My blood is boiling too. Here's a (slightly expurgated) reiteration of a comment I left over at Greg Laden's blog:

Enough with the bipartisanship crap, which wouldn't be crap if only the Republicans cared about 1) the country instead of their party's talking points 2) facts instead of ideology, and 3) the future of their party, which will ultimately be destroyed by their foolishness.

But since they're all morons who can't face reality, I say, screw 'em. We've got the numbers, so let's just go forward without them. Let the bastards filibuster if they want; their implosion and marginalization will only come the sooner as the American public finally, and irrevocably, realizes who's to blame for the mess we're in.

And not a moment too soon, either.