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View Diary: Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: False equivalency edition (124 comments)

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  •  Democrats pushed through the alleged stimulus (0+ / 0-)

    without evne gauging the problem.

    It was called a stimulus plan, but was really just a payback to Democratic consituencies that probably saved a few jobs, but at a high price.

    Here's the thing:

    That bill was passed in February of 2009, before unemployment soared.

    After that?
    Crickets for a good long time.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 11:28:41 AM PST

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    •  Sorry, this is bunk. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annominous, skohayes

      The stimulus was not what it should of been, but that was not possible to get a dime more out of the GOP and you know it. And your notion that it was a payback to Democratic constituencies is just another Right wing talking point, not a fact.

      By January of 2009 job loss was the worst in 34 years:

      Employers slashed another 598,000 jobs off of U.S. payrolls in January, taking the unemployment rate up to 7.6%, according to the latest government reading on the nation's battered labor market.

      The latest job loss is the worst since December 1974, and brings job losses to 1.8 million in just the last three months, or half of the 3.6 million jobs that have been lost since the beginning of 2008.

      The loss since November is the biggest 3-month drop since immediately after the end of World War II, when the defense industry was shutting down for conversion to civilian production.

      Just to refute your idea that job loss was not soaring at the time the stimulus was passed.

      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 11:40:24 AM PST

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      •  The stimulus bill was ill considered from the (0+ / 0-)

        start and guaranteed to fall short.

        As your quote states: unemployment in the mid 7s was the worst we had seen in years.  In the months to come, it would reach double digits, levels last seen in 1982. To this day, long-term unemployment remains at or near all-time records.

        The worst thing about the bill is that it allocated a great big pile of poorly targetted money, and spent it before the magnitude of the problem was known.

        Better deals could be had for a series of more focused bills, especially as the enormity of unemployment became clear.  Once you've dropped a $900 billion bomb, however, it's hard to go back for more.

        Not that anybody cared to. They were too busy passing ACA.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 12:17:07 PM PST

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        •  Like I said, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annominous

          your denial of the extremity of GOP opposition---most obstructionist in history, by far, makes it difficult to have a reality based discussion with you.

          "Better deals could have been had for a series of more focused bills..."
          The thought of negotiating several stimulus agreements with this republican party reminds me of trying to negotiate anything from the debt ceiling, to the sequester. It often can't be done, and if it gets done it takes forever.  We didn't have that kind of time in early 2009. "Don't make good the enemy of perfect."

          "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

          by StellaRay on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 12:38:28 PM PST

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          •  Excuse me? (0+ / 0-)
            your denial of the extremity of GOP opposition
            I don't recall denying that.
            I do recall saying that Obama is no FDR and not even a Bill Clinton.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 12:41:15 PM PST

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            •  You're continued supposition (0+ / 0-)

              that if only Obama was FDR all would have been well, tell me you are in denial of the extremity of the GOP opposition, and the strength of it, as well as the importance of the context of the times in this discussion.  IMO, you can't grab a president out of the time line, plunk him in today and declare what he would or wouldn't have done.

              Obama has passed 10 times the progressive legislation that Clinton did---perhaps that's your problem with him.

              "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

              by StellaRay on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 12:56:49 PM PST

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      •  I'll grant you that the Democrats possibly,... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes, StellaRay

        ...even probably, couldn't have gotten a larger stimulus passed.

        But one critique I and some other people made at the time was that even if they couldn't have obtain a larger stimulus, no effort was made to do so. This was both a political and economic mistake. (As we guessed then but know now for certain, Christine Romer's idea of a larger—$1.3 trillion to $1.8 trillion—stimulus never got a hearing from Obama because Larry Summers didn't present it. To be fair, she didn't push it very hard.)

        The economic reason for going bigger is obvious to all of us (whether we said so at the time or later came to that conclusion). The political reason, however, has been papered over with constant references to GOP obstructionism. But while there was, of course, such a blockade, one purpose of putting forth envelope-stretching proposals is to show voters what kind of legislation we and our party would push if we had the clout and will push when we obtain it. "Showing" our colors in this way, helps us convince more of those voters to choose us at the next election so we actually do obtain that clout and then can take the action we showed we support.

        There was as well another debate dynamic going on in early 2009 around the stimulus. Many people (at Daily Kos and elsewhere) responded to the critiques about the stimulus being too small with claims that he could subsequently ask for another stimulus if the first proved to be too small.

        This too was problematic, as some of us pointed out at the time. First, putting enough kick-starting money into the economy quicker can speed us into lift-off. But putting too little money in twice does not. Second, as I pointed out repeatedly in the winter and spring of 2009, a president (any president) has the most political capital during the first year of the first term. On something as big as the stimulus, a president only gets one bite of the apple. And that is exactly what happened, which still contributes to, but is not the entire
        cause behind our current predicament.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 02:21:51 PM PST

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        •  I so appreciate your analysis here, MB. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Meteor Blades

          Your last paragraph particularly resonates with me, which is what I was trying to get to in my comment that a series of smaller stimulus bills would have been worse, and probably never happened.

          However, I do believe that this president HAS faced unprecedented obstructionism. Heck, I don't even have to state it as my belief, it is simply unarguable fact. And so I get a bit famished when folks say, yeah, well there was obstructionism, BUT...

          ...and then the burden of what today's GOP has done since this president put his hand on the Bible, which HAS been different than what any other president has faced, gets pushed to the side as a kind of sub point...when I think it's the better part of the whole point.  

          Many reasons for this accepted obstructionism, not the least of which is this is our first black president, and I think many liberals were very naive about this in terms of just how many worms were going to crawl out of the wall accordingly.

          Add to this the fact that we'd been living in GOP land for 3 decades, with Bill Clinton hardly making a dent in it, and in many ways celebrating those principles---repeal of Glass Steagall and passage of NAFTA, not to mention welfare. Then add 9/11 to that, something that shook this country to its toes and assured nothing would ever be quite the same, and that fear would be for a very long time, the best motivator.

          When we suggest that Obama could have been better, smarter, more worthy, less wrong, that is of course correct, but it is also correct for every president.  

          I don't write this comment as an Obama supporter who can't see the president's mistakes.  But then I've been around a long time, and I've never seen a president who didn't make mistakes, and more than a few of them.

          Obama's achilles heel coming into office was imo, that he believed his "blue state, red state" speech at Kerry's convention more than anyone.  And that he saw his strength as building consensus, being a community organizer on a huge scale, and had no idea what he was in for in the first term of his presidency, and was slow to give up on what he thought would work.  This was indeed a matter of hubris, but certainly on the scale of new presidents, not at all out of the ballpark.

          As for what to do with that all important first year of your first term as president, well...2009 surely gave Obama a plethora of crisis to choose from. He chose health care, although accomplished many other things as well.  I'm glad he did, but that's all up to one's personal priorities.

          Thank you for hearing me out.

          "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

          by StellaRay on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 07:33:35 PM PST

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          •  Mostly, I agree with what you've said here.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            StellaRay

            ...including about long-term obstructionism, which is worse now, and the racism.

            I understand the matter of being practical and to compromise about what one puts forth so as to get something enacted, even if it isn't all one would like. My view, however, is that, ESPECIALLY when one is faced by folks who will obstruct no matter what one proposes, best to propose big so voters understand where you are really coming from, what you really want, what would be the laws of the land, the programs, if you had the support needed to make them so.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 08:13:58 PM PST

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            •  I agree. (0+ / 0-)

              And I think the president is also beginning to agree. I think in addition to being no dummy, he's also a very fierce competitor which means one must adapt to realities. He's had and will have to continue to overcome his own hubris about what he could achieve his way, and change his game plan.

              But yes, in a world where they're going to obstruct no matter what you say why not go for broke---with this caveat. A new president may in many ways have more power than ever again, but he/she---someday the she, huh?---is also untested and unproven---imo nevermore so than in the crisis that Obama walked into, with a black face.

              I do believe America has been center right for quite awhile, perhaps unconsciously and easily, given the lack of challenge of 9/11 or the Great recession, and maybe for all the wrong reasons, but the bulk of our legislation since Regan will tell you that is true. I think the pendulum is beginning to swing, and as a stalwart progressive, I too would like to see the president bat it a little harder.

              But then every time I walk out of my blue bubble---friends, neighborhood, state and of course this beloved site---I see what he faces.

              Nevertheless, learning fast is the prerequisite of any great leader.  I hope our president measures up.  I see signs he might.

              Thank you for the conversation.

               

              "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

              by StellaRay on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 08:49:01 PM PST

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