StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between



Is This The Economic Dark Ages In The U.S?

30 May 2012
Posted by Stan Collender

My guess is that Paul Krugman thought that this post was one of the more trifling economic-oriented pieces he has written in a while. It was short and probably took little time. It was also seemingly commonplace. After all, it was about a politician who said something inherently and obviously false.

But I found it to be extremely disturbing, not because it was off-the-wall -- it's anything but -- but because it described a behavior -- bald-face lying -- that has become so blatant and commonplace among Republican policymakers on economic issues that any one of them who is even slightly honest and candid now would be both an absolute rarity and a welcome relief.

And the fact that the GOP lying about the economy...and especially the budget...is so accepted and expected means that any Republican who wasn't jump-the-shark ridiculous on these issues wouldn't be allowed to stay in the party much longer.

The obvious frustration that Krugman expresses in the post (not to mention the almost back-of-the-hand way he swats away Governor Chris Christie's one-liner about the strength of the New Jersey economy and in the process makes the governor appear ridiculous to anyone who takes the time to look at the facts) mirrors what I was thinking when I posted this about House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) last week.

As I noted in the post, Boehner, who easily qualifies as the weakest and least effective Speaker in my lifetime and has to be included on the list of the all-time worst in U.S. history, demonstrated yet again that he'll say and do anything to stay speaker even when what he's saying about the budget can easily be shown to be nonsense and when he knowingly and without giving it a second thought  threatens the well-being of the U.S. economy.

I'd say this doesn't bode well for the outcome of this year's federal budget debate, but that's both obvious and an understatement. It actually points to the a period in U.S. history that is very likely to be labeled by historians as its economic dark ages.

 

America was created to be a

America was created to be a land of opportunity, where the individual could take an idea, develop it, and create wealth in the process. The natural state of our economy is prosperity. The only force capable of undermining our economy is a government that believes it has the right to micro-manage and manipulate it.


Stan-great comment.

Stan-great comment. Politicians have always stretched the truth in order to gain an advantage but today's Republican party has gone way over the edge. Their think tanks, supported by a few high rollers, are no better.


A politician? Lying? Sure,

A politician? Lying? Sure, he'll look silly to anyone who checks the facts, but most people get their news from TV and hearsay, so they won't get facts. The GOP has to lie; are they going to admit they primarily care about the wealthy and corporate, are for the creation of a permanent underclass, and don't really give a sh*t what's in your air, water, or food, as long as someone is making a profit from it?

The "Dark Ages" is an apt metaphor, since what's really desired is basically a return to feudalism--a permanent aristocracy that controls most of the wealth, and controls the movement and political freedom of the serfs (through the mechanism of the security state).

And Chris Christie is one of the relatively sane ones.

Not that the D's are very much better in the honesty dept. They're not going to admit that they aren't all that different from the R's in many of these areas.


R's don't believe in Defense cuts either

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/228309-sequester-replacement...

I can't believe this doesn't have more attention. The Rigell amendment to the NDAA passed 220-201. Forcing the entire 65 billion in spending cuts away from the planned 50-50 defense / discretionary split agreement so acrimonious we suffered a loss to our credit rating. And now the R's tell the D's to pound sand and take the entire $65 billion from discretionary spending? That's a 10% spending cut !


Just about every Republican

Just about every Republican politician alleges that: "we do not have a taxing problem, we have a spending problem;" but this is a monstrous lie. Everyone knows that Ronald Reagan reduced income taxes (more than one half for the wealthy); what is less commonly understood is that he extensively offset this by raising payroll taxes(more than double for most self-employed). Today, most American families pay more in payroll taxes than they do in income taxes. Between 1946 and 1981, income taxes averaged 12%(+/-1%) of normalized GDP. Reagan reduced income taxes to near 9%. Clinton increased them back to 12%; and Bush/Obama reduced them again to 9 %(and below). However, on budget expenses(which excludes Medicare,Social Security, Iraq war and stimulus) have remained 12%(+/-1%) of normalized GDP throughout. The deficit in income taxes has been financed by borrowing, largely from the Social Security trust fund. When Clinton raised income taxes back to 12%, this eliminated the on budget deficit. The CBO projected that this, plus the Social Security and Medicare surpluses, was enough to pay off the entire US debt by the time that the Social Security/Medicare trust funds would have to be amortized for beneficiary payments, all without having to raise taxes to pay for the amortization of those trust funds. Like Reagan before him, Bush took those excess payroll tax receipts and gave them “back” as income tax reductions, heavily weighted to the wealthy–who didn’t create those surpluses in the first place. By doing this, Bush guaranteed that income taxes would have to be raised in order to amortize the trust funds. The failure to do so simply permits the 1% to steal the money contributed by workers for their retirement. Everything about not raising taxes or limiting expenses, is about stealing the 99%'s money. The national debt has been caused primarily by income taxes which were reduced far below their historic 12%(+/-1%), not by on budget expenses, which have remained at their historic 12%(+/-1%) throughout. These taxing games have transferred $ trillions from the 99%'s payroll taxes to subsidize income taxes.


Future Historians will Little Care...

I believe that it is highly unlikely that future historians will single out our great recession as being an abberation, as they will view the general trend of our entire era as one of consequential delusion and rigid values.


Historians?

There will be no historians in the future. There's no profit in history (except for some movie makers, and they rewrite it as though they were the Texas Board of Education.)


Need to Sub. Monumental Pos. Externaities of Serious Jounralism

There are a number of reasons for this like the disgraceful putting of looking "Balanced" and "Very Serious" above truthfulness and not misleading.

But you have to realize the expenses of good journalism!

It's best to not just keep glossing over this and complaining.

It's just much cheaper to instantly write, "He said, She said" than to hire a journalist well trained in economics, with strong numeracy and analytical skills, and have her analyze and check the statements for not just factual correctness, but clear misleading, and to have a large strong technical staff to help her do this. That takes a lot more time, and a lot more skill, and thus a lot more money.

You want to complain, lets start complaining about not subsidizing ginormous positive externalities. Why isn't there a huge refundable tax credit for serious investigative and analytical journalism? Let's finally start complaining about that.

Also, the premium on fast, rather than non-misleading and truthful, in journalism is just ridiculous, another reason for "He said, She said".


Need to Subsidize Profound Positive Externalities of Journalism

Ok, fixed up try

There are a number of reasons for this like the disgraceful putting of looking "Balanced" and "Very Serious" above truthfulness and not misleading.

But you have to realize the expenses of good journalism!

It's best to not just keep glossing over this and complaining.

It's just much cheaper to instantly write, "He said, She said" than to hire a journalist well trained in economics, with strong numeracy and analytical skills, and have her analyze and check the statements for not just factual correctness, but clear misleading, and to have a large strong technical staff to help her do this. That takes a lot more time, and a lot more skill, and thus a lot more money.

You want to complain, lets start complaining about not subsidizing ginormous positive externalities. Why isn't there a huge refundable tax credit for serious investigative and analytical journalism? Let's finally start complaining about that.

Also, the premium on fast, rather than non-misleading and truthful, in journalism is just ridiculous, another reason for "He said, She said".


I know I sound like a broken

I know I sound like a broken record on this, but it is good that Stan is continuing to wrap his mind around the fact that the Republican Party as currently constituted is actively seeking to destroy this nation as conceived to be a land of prosperity, happiness, and opportunity for all, and cares only about looting whatever wealth there is and funneling it into the coffers of the uber-wealthy and multi-national corporations.


Reputational costs? On the

Reputational costs? On the contrary, Murdoch pays his liars quite well.




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