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View Diary: Daily Kos/SEIU State of the Nation poll: Romney moves into tie with Obama (233 comments)

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  •  It's the economy catching up with Obama (18+ / 0-)

    It took a while, but economic confidence is finally trending down, and it's pulling Obama down. As we've seen the past few weeks, even a competent campaign can't fight against that. All we can do is hope economic confidence improves slightly.

    Why did the Washington Post hire Bellatrix LeStrange? And why did she change her name to Jennifer Rubin?

    by NoFortunateSon on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 11:32:20 AM PDT

    •  I agree. (4+ / 0-)

      Hope is great, but it isn't a strategy. There is little coming out of the Obama administration on the economy except "those mean Republicans are just messing everything up!" The air of fatalism is disturbing. There are solutions to resolving this depression but it requires big, bold actions, something that is foreign to a pretty cerebral Presidency.

      The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

      by Anne Elk on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 11:39:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And the problem with this message (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        "those mean Republicans are just messing everything up!"

        is that "those mean Republicans" are still going to be there, probably still in control of the House, in 2013.  

      •  Obama hamstrung himself on the economy from day 1 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike, Micheline

        by appointing god's chosen Goldman Sachs freakazoids in key positions in the admin.

        Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
        Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

        by The Dead Man on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 12:00:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Such as? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Delilah, LordMike

        I'm not arguing, but I'm curious what policy levers Obama has available, that don't require cooperation from bodies hostile or indifferent to his re-election (i.e the Republicans in Congress, the Federal Reserve).

        •  Nada. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          But that shouldn't stop him from proposing something anyway.  Maybe a little bigger than the AJA.

        •  I should have a file to allow me to cut and paste (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          this. But, as I keep banging away about this, the economy needs a few trillion in infrastructure spending. But it cannot come from deficit spending for obvious political reasons. Fortunately, there is a simply massive amount of money lying around that isn't really doing anything. That pile of money is called retirement savings. The combined amount of money in IRA and 401K's in the USA is upwards of $8 trillion. If I offered you 3% p.a. return guaranteed on a 10-year tex-free bond, would you buy some? How's your IRA doing right now? I bet 3% would be kind of nice. That's what a lot of Americans would think. By issuing the equivalent of Liberty Bonds, the US could raise over $2 trillion and put the savings of American citizens to work rescuing their own country from economic decline.

          Since the bonds would be voluntary, it wouldn't be a tax. But it wouldn't add to the deficit immediately because the interest is paid after 10 years. For $2 trillion, my math says the interest comes out to $136 billion. The investment in the economy would more than pay for the interest bill in increased tax receipts. So, if I can come up with something like this, why can't the Administration?

          This is not a problem of not having the money to solve this depression. It's very much a question of perception. You cannot spend $2 trillion by deficit spending, even though that's not a problem, but you might be able to by asking ordinary citizens to lend it to you because it's money we already have that isn't remotely productive.

          The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

          by Anne Elk on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 01:40:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What you are proposing... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

   just another name for deficit spending no matter how one paints it. In addition, you are proposing overpaying for borrowing which makes it even more expensive (10 year treasury yield hit 1.393% today). Indeed, yields on corporate 10 yr AAA bonds, with no government guarantee, are even lower than the return you are suggesting. I don't understand how this is more politically palatable than just borrowing the money the usual way through 10 year T-Notes and T-Bond auctions.

            Deferring the interest is just a shell game. Perhaps GAO accounting allows not booking the expense of interest owed but not yet distributed (unlike FASB rules which I believe would prohibit such a treatment), but that's a trivially explainable shell game that would give another talking point to Romney.

            The tax free aspect is irrelevant to IRAs and 401(k) accounts -- they are already tax deferred and there's no mechanism in place to track a "tax free" gain on certain classes of investments on which tax is forever forgiven -- it's all (principal and gain) taxable as ordinary income when you take a distribution.

            Many of those who are attracted to a low yield, low risk, long term investments (i.e., willing to bet inflation will remain low for most of the term) in their IRAs (and, to a lesser extent, in 401(k)s where investment options are usually much more limited) are already in Treasuries (directly or through bond funds or target retirement funds for older folks). To the extent that this deal entices them to swap to AnneElk Bonds, it will increase the supply of after market treasuries thereby driving down interest rates on newly issued Federal debt which could be a benefit of this approach, but this would be a pretty small benefit.

            The notion that the money currently deposited isn't "even remotely productive" is interesting. Why, then, are investors willing to pay a premium to use that money? If AnneElk bonds pay more than AAA corporate bonds, it will drive some people to move to the higher yielding government insured AnneElk bonds -- driving up interest rates for corporations which will make expansion more expensive and lead businesses to become more conservative about expanding. The entire purpose of keeping interest rates low, like it or not, is to encourage investment and spending -- AnneElk bonds would do the opposite.

            •  Economically, yes. Politically, no. (0+ / 0-)

              The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

              by Anne Elk on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 02:47:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  So what you are saying (0+ / 0-)

              is that we shouldn't increase spending. Great. Explain how you would persuade Congress to do that.

              The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

              by Anne Elk on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 02:49:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I didn't state an... (0+ / 0-)

                ...opinion on increasing spending.

                I'm not quite sure what you're asking me to explain.

                If we increase spending, we need to borrow more money and/or raise more revenue, likely through higher taxes on high income taxpayers and corporations.

                But, both routes require Congressional approval. The Administration can't create AnneElk bonds unilaterally to evade the debt ceiling. Nor can the Administration spend funds unilaterally that are not authorized.

                In this environment, accounting games (which only work if GAO accounting doesn't have to account for the deferred interest until it actual pays it for some reason that escapes me right now - else the whole proposal makes no sense) such as AnneElk bonds are NOT going to get through Congress.

                Perhaps I'm missing your point.

                •  I see what you are saying (0+ / 0-)

                  But there is (a) a need to raise domestic spending and (b) a need to sell that to the public if not the Congress. If you don't agree with (a), then we are done. If you do, then perhaps you might consider that the AnneElk bonds are at least good marketing even though the underlying economics aren't different. In the case of AnneElk bonds, what people think they are vs what they actually are is a very important issue. If you have another idea to sell the public on the need for increased spending, let's hear it.

                  The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

                  by Anne Elk on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 03:26:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Big, bold actions are foreign (0+ / 0-)

        to McConnell and Boehner and congressional Republicans.

      •  I agree. I really want to know step by step what (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike, WillR

        is going to be done about the economy in a second term.  Thus far, I haven't really heard this....and I am a Progressive who would vote for Obama if he wasn't even I know low info voter wants to know the same.

        •  And, this would have the benefit of forcing... (0+ / 0-)

          ...Romney to do the same. To the extent that Obama speaks in specifics, Romney is backed into a corner to do the same.

          Of course, both would only be able to execute on their plans to the extent Congress cooperates.

      •  ..and tell me exactly how you get these bold (0+ / 0-)

        actions in todays congress?

        There are solutions to resolving this depression but it requires big, bold actions, something that is foreign to a pretty cerebral Presidency.

        "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

        by tuma on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 02:04:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You make a case for bold action, and then when the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Anne Elk

          Republicans block them, you paint them as obstructionists.

          Obama needs a bold, new economic plan that he can run on. It doesn't matter that Congress won't pass it.

          Obama has become the status quo. People have decided that what we're doing isn't working. So they're wondering why they should vote for him, for more of the same old same old.

          He needs to state boldly what he plans to do differently to turn things around. And make a case that you must elect him and a Congress of Democrats  in order to get this done.

        •  That's the issue, isn't it? (0+ / 0-)

          But you can't win an argument if you haven't joined it. We actually know exactly what to do to get out of this depression. It's basic economics. We have to jack up spending by a huge amount. So there is no economic quandary here. There is, however, an enormous political problem. Voters are persuaded that the deficit is a monster that is eating the country. Feeding that monster is widely accepted as a bad thing. A very bad thing. My suggestion is to sidestep this perception a bit and argue to voters that the government will gladly borrow the money they already have in their retirement savings accounts for a time. To many Americans, this would be a nice little boost to their retirement accounts and would also be a very patriotic gesture. The fact that these funds would not have to paid pack until the depression was over would be a good deal. Sure, as WillR points out, it is a bit of a shell game. But perceptions matter; in fact politics is 90% perception. This is an argument the President could make and win. All he would be saying is that he wants to borrow some of the money we already have that's not doing too much right now in order to rescue the country. Seems pretty simple to me.

          The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

          by Anne Elk on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 03:01:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  There won't be any economic good news ... (6+ / 0-)

      Exceptionally little is going to change by September, and after that it won't matter.

      Both campaigns are going to go negative. The next few months are going to make the Battle of Agincourt look like high tea.

    •  you are correct (4+ / 0-)

      Bad job numbers and bad GDP numbers will continue to pull him down. Have you noticed every polls stats on the President's handling of the Economy, horrific numbers

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