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October 23, 2008

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R. P.

For a more "fair and balanced" view, with 33 actual citations, see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_policies_and_the_subprime_mortgage_crisis
This indicts both parties. Remember which party was running the legislature in the late nineties, and that Greenspan was there for both administrations, and that both Clinton and Bush pushed this idea.

(There, I responded without attacking the source...)

Brendan

Another great link from yr ugly twin Matt Drudge- super! When all else fails blame poor people, welcome to right-wing politics 101. Nice of you to conveniently forget to post anything about Phil Gramm's ingenuity with credit default swaps. You even went and tried to soil the good name of Thomas Wolfe! Please just stick to Tom 'pansy ass white suit' Wolfe in the future- way more relevant.

Clayton

Summary of the crisis: You Can't Go Home Again.

Basil White

If you apply the Serenity Prayer to information, you only attend to information that can support a decision. How much in the newspaper influences a decision you make? Probably nothing. I don't even watch the Weather Channel unless I'm leaving town.

K

Ha, that's hilariously funny, Irwin. Along the same lines, I read this story in a newspaper and thought of you.
http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/17789356/detail.html
Comments?

Carlos Mendes

Who put the LSD into the LDS coffee urn?

Carlos Mendes

"Mormon coffee - It's forbidden, but it's good!"

Jeffersonic

I don't think the cheerleaders for deregulation, (e.g. Enron, et al.)
have kept any credibility in this crisis, nor are they free from guilt.

Irwin? Irony?

Orson is a good science fiction/fantasy writer.

I like the Rhinoceros Times About page which says --

"The Rhinoceros Times, an award-winning newspaper, is published weakly by Hammer Publications."

http://www.rhinotimes.com/content/about_us

Meridian, the gathering place for Later-day Saints? Irwin?

Compos Mentis

I, for one, can't wait for the Democrats to raise taxes on "the rich," which will, not surprisingly, cause the rich to hire fewer people, raise prices on the goods and services they provide, and raise the rents on the properties they own -- thus making life harder for the poor, who will then look to the Democrats to do something, who will, in turn, blame "the rich" and raise taxes again, and on and on until all monies are confiscated by the state for redistribution. Sound economic policy? It's not supposed to be. Democrats -- keeping the poor poor since 1964! When all jobs and goods and services and property are meted out by an omnipresent government, won't life be grand? Kim Jong Il thinks so! Isn't that good enough for you?

The Lib

Yeah, because trickle-down economics has worked out so well for all of us so far. Thanks, Reagan! Maybe we need a little dose of so-called socialism. Either that, or our own version of Bastille Day—fuck taxing the rich, let's just kill 'em and take their money!

Compos Mentis

I'm with you, Lib! You light the torches, I'll gather the townsfolk, and we'll march on their evil mansions at nightfall. Then, everyone will be happy and wealthy through some magical process I haven't figured out yet.

The Lib

Seriously though, the Republican's economic plan since Reagan has only helped the wealthy to stay wealthy. The poor will stay poor regardless of which party takes the White House. Obama MIGHT be actually able to help the middle class, we'll see. My Nader/Paul dream ticket will never happen in corporate-run, two-party America, so again it's the choice between the lesser of two "evils."

Unless envy is the cornerstone of your ideal economic policy, I can't see how the "wealthy" staying wealthy would negatively impact you. Also, how do you define wealthy? Say you own a business that grosses 200 grand a year: Are you wealthy? Do you have employees to pay? Do you have a family with a couple of kids you're putting through college? Do you pay income tax, business tax, property tax, rent, insurance? How wealthy are you then? I appreciate the fatigue that eight years of Bush has brought about, but Obama's tax plan will only negatively impact the middle class it purports to help. Regarding your dream ticket, I'd rather see a Nader/Paul debate, myself. That would put the socialist/capitalist argument in stark relief.

Compos Mentis

Whoops -- That was my response, Lib.

The Lib

So Compos, what's our reasonable choice here? Vote McCain/Pailn? Nein Danke! Maybe if I hit myself in the head with a board a few times. I'm reasonably sure that an Obama administration will at least be different, and hopefully better, than the last 8 years. Our reputation on a global/foreign policy basis alone is so trashed that an Obama win could only lead to some kind of uptick, however minor. I cannot fathom how anyone could be voting Republican after the last 8 years.

Compos Mentis

Hi Lib-
I plan to write in Ron Paul as a protest vote. Not that anyone will listen. In the quadrennial "lesser of two evils" contest, though, I'd have to root for McCain only because I feel an Obama presidency will be an unprecedented disaster on an economic level -- even worse than what we're experiencing now. I agree with your prediction that Obama will, at least initially, improve our image abroad; but I feel that will be small consolation for the havoc that his tax plan will wreak.

You made a negative comment about the "trickle-down" theory of economics. Though what mechanism could Obama's "trickle-up" plan possibly succeed? More importantly, how would you define success?

The Lib(ertarian)

Compos, I can only assume from the fact that Obama's tax plan is your major complaint that you must be a small- to medium-sized business owner. This is clearly your big sticking point, but what about McCain's pledge of no Federal involvement in our mess of a health care system? Small companies are being broken by the cost of health benefit plans, or they're dropping them entirely, or seriously cutting back benefits and full-time hiring due to cost. And staying in Iraq "'til it's over"? This will not do wonders for our economy either, as wars always inflate the national debt.

I'm hesitant to define success, as I'm no economist, but I know that when the middle class feels flush, they spend more money on homes, cars etc., and that's always good for the economy. If people can't afford to buy cars, or get the credit to buy cars, there'll be nothing to put all that fuel in that we'll be sucking out of the Alaskan game preserves. "Regular Americans" have been suspect of Obama because of the old fear that Democrats always raise their taxes. In fact, under Obama, the taxes for most regular workers (not owners) should go down. Any incoming President will HAVE to raise some taxes to deal with the mess the NeoCons have made.

I'm not too concerned about "trickle up," as I think Exxon has enough money already. Maybe it's time to Federally regulate this capitalism gone horribly awry. Smaller businesses can still work hard and make profits, even with a 3% raise in Capital Gains tax. Under Obama's plan, small businesses may be taxed more, but will also receive certain incentives if they do right by their employees.

Compos Mentis

Lib-

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. No offense, but I'm confused as to why you describe yourself as libertarian, as you seem opposed to libertarianism as it's generally defined.

I do not own a business, nor do I own much of anything. I do like to get hired, though, when I need a job, and not have to pay higher prices for goods, services, and rent. At the same time, I've worked with and for people who own their own small-to-medium sized businesses, and I've seen up close what they're up against -- taxes and fees from every direction. Obama will increase that burden, which will not be good for the economy or the working class.

If the high cost of health insurance is putting people out of business, do you think it'll be more affordable for them if it comes out of higher taxes instead? How will it benefit the worker if the boss has to lay him off or close up shop? Have you looked at socialized medicine in other countries, with its lower quality of service, and found it satisfactory? Think of the mess that HMOs have turned out to be, then imagine a massive new government bureaucracy running them. I view such an idea with great trepidation. Also, the HMOs themselves are an consequence of federal mandates, not free-market capitalism.

As far as the rising war debt, I wouldn't expect that to change much. Obama is not the anti-war candidate that his followers are hoping he is. If they wanted an anti-war candidate, they should have gone with Dennis Kucinich. The Democrat leadership was beating the drum for the Iraq war before Bush was even president, and have supported the war effort with their votes. Obama has called for a shift in military focus towards Afghanistan, and Biden is hinting at future conflicts on different fronts.

I'm not much concerned about Exxon myself; I'm chiefly concerned with how redistributionist economic systems stifle opportunity and upward mobility for those on the bottom by punishing those in higher tax brackets. It's a lose-lose situation for everyone but the government itself. Don't expect them to tighten their belts when they demand more "sacrifice."

This is all academic, anyway, as I'm sure Obama is going to lock it up. I hope you're right, and I'm wrong, and that things will improve under his leadership; but from where I stand, I don't see it happening. Cheers.

constance

Y'all getting this stuff the major dailies?

The Lib

Compos, a few final thoughts (as clearly we could go on like this indefinitely): Philosophically, I'm all for small government and everyone pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, but these are unrealities as long as we must make practical choices within the 2-party system. In 2000, when I exercised my civil liberty to vote for whomever I choose and voted for Nader, all I did was help Bush to secure the White House—and we all know the unqualified disaster that has become. Now, my view is that the power of the extreme right wing of the Republican party must be quashed at any cost. Perhaps 8 years of NeoCon rule has turned me into a bit of a reactionary socialist. I think the rampant hysteria over the Obama tax plan and its assumed Robin Hood-like provisions may be just that, hysteria; we shall surely see what happens.

Carlos Mendes

http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2008/10/25/summit-beijing.html

http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/news/topstories/2008/10/15/tp-sarkozy-cp-5690508-306.jpg caption
"Mai oui! J'ajoute simplement des zéros à la gauche de la virgule décimale, et voilà - Fin de la crise!"

Cyn-tillating

I think the rub isn't whether taxes are raised or cut, it's addressing how the funds are used...but it also helps general morale when the president of the united states can speak in coherent sentences and doesn't appear at risk to keel over at any moment. But that's just me! Ah....Doesn't the internet need more opinions? I'm just so floored by how much everyone knows about everything now. And it's all so compelling and witty, isn't it? I mean, where did people get their information before BLOGS??? :)

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