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I've been wondering how to follow up on my first entry given the breadth of issues people would like to see addressed.  I think I can cover a lot of what people wanted by dividing my diary entries into two categories.  The first will be like my first entry, and will cover a little bit of my history and what happened to change my mind.

That's all well and good, but unlike the memo "Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U.S.", this type of information should be considered a historical document.  And while many of you may be interested in how it happened, most of you would be much happier with information that is sure to annoy a conservative.

So please consider this my gift to you for such a warm welcome (by the way, my welcome to the Republican Party was by no means this warm.  I'll tell you about it in my next post).  It regards the death of the most hallowed of conservative principals (one which has in reality died more times than Freddy Krueger), and my proof comes from the Republicans themselves.  

Thrill as you find your Republican friends speechless, flopping around desperately gasping for guidance like a mercury-laden sea bass on the deck of the Downeaster "Alexa".  Fair warning:  This post is ridiculously long and technical, but I'll do my best to make it funny...ish.

The founding principal of `fiscal conservatism' is supply-side economics--the notion that tax cuts stimulate the economy, and therefore increase federal revenue.  This is a notion famously trumpeted by The Heritage Foundation.  In fact, here's a direct quote from

"It's simple: lower tax rates = more robust economy = more federal revenue."

Wow!  You'd have to be retarded to disagree with that, don't you think?  There's just one problem, and it's an ongoing problem for Republicans in general.  Reality refuses to conform to their world view.

Let's take a look at numbers from the Department of Commerce and the Congressional Budget office.  Last time I checked Congress was Republican, and the Department of Commerce answers to Bush, so clearly this isn't information from the liberal media.  First, federal revenues from 1999 to present (in billions):

1999           2000         2001          2002          2003          2004
$1,827.5    $2,025.2    $1,991.2    $1,853.2    $1,782.3    $1,880.1

Here's what you should take away from this--federal revenues declined every year Bush passed or implemented a tax cut.  Be forewarned.  The first thing a Republican will say is "Don't you think that has something to do with 9-11?"  Then they'll call you a traitor.  

Well sure, you could say that if the economy was shrinking.  Boy, I sure hope for their sake the economy shrank in 2001, 2002 and 2003 before growing again in 2004.  Otherwise they're gonna wind up looking pretty stupid.  To the Department of Commerce we go (figures given in billions)!

1999         2000          2001           2002            2003           2004
$9,268.4    $9,817.0    $10,128.0    $10,487.0    $11,004.0    $11,728.0

Aw, crap!  It didn't work!  The economy grew every year!  Even in 2001!  The truth is `supply-side economics' died during the Clinton administration.  Think about it--if lower taxes = higher federal revenue, doesn't it necessarily follow that higher taxes = lower federal revenue?  Despite what Republicans called `the biggest tax increase in history' the economy grew at an average annual rate of 3.7%, and federal revenues grew by $870 billion.  Since Bush has been in office the economy has grown at an average annual rate of 2.52% and federal revenue is down by $145 billion.  

So Clinton raises taxes.  The economy does fine and federal revenues go up so fast they outpace spending.  Bush taxes office and cuts taxes...a lot.  What happens?  The economy grows, but federal revenue declines.   This seems stupid to us, but to Republicans it's like saying there's no Santa Claus.   Just yesterday I saw a freeper make a post regarding the budget deficit by saying "So long as the economy keeps chugging along and Bush keeps cutting taxes we'll be fine."  They just don't get it.  They really think you can cut your income so much that you get a raise.

So here's the simple version of the dialogue you get to have with your Republican friends (I promise I will NEVER post something this long again.  This is an issue that has been bothering the HELL out of me for about a year and half now, and I've got to get it out or I'll explode).

Sane Person:  "If tax cuts increase federal revenues, how come it hasn't happened yet?"

Republican:  "Don't you think 9-11 has something to do with it?"

SP:  "Maybe...if the economy had been shrinking.  But it's been growing at about 2.5% per year."

R:  "Where are you getting those numbers from?  Time magazine?"

SP:  "Nope.  The Congressional Budget Office and the Dept. of Commerce.  Last time I checked those were Republican, right?"

R:  "Blu-bla-blub-bla..."

That's where they start flopping around.  It's fun to watch.  This isn't about runaway spending or a media bias.  It's about a flawed core belief of the Republican party.  And GOD how they hate that.

And so our villain turned hero has debunked the core principal of the modern day fiscal conservative.  I'm not sure how many times you have to debunk an organization before they become `thoroughly debunked.'  I'm going to go with 10 times.  One down, nine to go.

Update [2005-2-2 14:12:1 by advisorjim]: 2/2/05

There's a little something I posted downstream on the blog that you might want to check out. Look for the response that beings with "Now your touching on." Also through discussion I've figured out a way to summarize my point a bit more succinctly.

From 1996 to 2000 GDP grew by $2 trillion, and tax revenues grew by $550 billion. From 2000 to 2004 GDP grew by $1.9 trillion, but tax revenues declined by $143 billion. What changed? We had roughly the same level of economic activity. If tax cuts lead to more federal revenue, shouldn't $1.9 trillion in growth have yielded more than $550 billion in new tax revenue, and not a $143 billion decline?

Originally posted to advisorjim on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 01:25 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Go, go, go, go! (4.00)
    A+ and recommended.  

    Of course he's written in the Lamb's Book of Life. He's the Antagonist.

    by ultrageek on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 01:32:27 PM PST

    •  Second that... (none)
      •  My wingnut boss just responded to this post (none)
        This is all he's got:

        Looks like you solved one of the great debates in modern economics.  Yep, that pretty much proves that Supply Side economics doesn't work.  Keynes (who, by the way, is the father of "Demand Side Economics") is the only answer.

        Umm, don't you think that the supporters of such a view actually have some data on their side, too?  Not to mention the economic theory behind that data.

        Economics is not just wild ass guesses.  There is actually a "science" to it.  Unfortunately, considering the gazillion variables that affect economies, it is difficult to ever "prove" something right or wrong.  At the extremes, though, there is some proof:  Centrally controlled economies, such as the Soviet Union, are notoriously poor.  Capitalism tends to outperform socialism.  Hard to argue those points. And in both cases, one could argue that Communism/Socialism is an extreme Keynes example.  I don't think the world has really seen an extreme "Supply Side" example.

        Lower tax rates = higher federal revenue is a valid theory.

        •  That reminds me (4.00)
          Of the dark ages of America, when that Communist Bill Clinton was in office.  Have you people so quickly forgotten the forced labor camps and bread lines of the 1990's?  Thank God Bush cut taxes and made us capitalists again.
        •  Wow he's stupid (none)

          So ask him for his facts. Here we have ACTUAL data for supply-side economics being wrong--tax revenues shrink while the economy goes.

          So what's he got? What data convinced him? Or does he believe things without knowing any of the data, just because the government told him so?


          •  Oh, and I assume (4.00)
            since he's lecturing us on how knowledgeable he is, he knows that David Stockman--Reagan's budget director--repudiated supply-side economics and openly admitted that it was just a scam to give tax breaks to the rich?
            •  Yes, he has read my book. (4.00)
              And in my book, I said this:

              But the later years of Reaganomics were not a stellar economic success for America.
                  "He, in fact, tried to recoup it over the succeeding years with a series of tax increases which were necessary to bring the budget back at least into decent position." said Fred Bergsten, with the Institute of International Economics. "I think the budget deficits and the trade deficits that came along with them were seriously debilitating to the economy for about ten to fifteen years."
                  Even David Stockman, Reagan's budget director, said, "It leaves behind a profound fiscal policy failure and imbalance."

            •  asdf (none)
              Not the "Triumph of Politics", but Triumph of Rich Rhetoric!
            •  The problem with supply-side economics, (4.00)
              besides the fact that it doesn't work, is that China ends up holding a shitload of our national debt, and I just read a few weeks ago that arms dealers and drug traffickers are shifting over to Euros, considering US dollars to be unreliable.

              Man, when the black market doesn't trust your currency, you're totally fucked.  AND since this article was posted on Yahoo! or MSNBC or someplace like that, you know it has to be old news to everyone actually involved in illicit goods trading.

              We're so screwed.

              Try _that_ with a drunken elephant.

              by spacekitty on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:08:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Perfect example... (4.00)
          Like I said, with Republicans it's all emotional.  Rather than invest the time to find and listen to the opposing view, the response is "Don't you think that the people in charge know what they're doing."  

          If you're basing your faith on the notion that those in charge must know what they're doing, prepare to be very disappointed.

          Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

          by advisorjim on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 02:35:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, that was my response to him as well (4.00)
            As a former Red-House kid myself, I told him that I find his faith inspirational.  But I also suggested that faith is only necessary in the event of insufficient knowledge to cancel out the faith or verify it as valid.

            I also reminded him that he would find similar numbers under Reagan.  Trickle down economics do NOT work.  This is a myth perpetuated by the upper one percent, and then they keep the money and invest it.  Now, they don't even have to pay taxes on dividends of those new investments, so your example becomes even more valid.

            •  faith-based economics (4.00)
              A reality-based economist, of any political persuasion, might say:  "Under some circumstances, lowering taxes can (or may) increase the tax base enough to increase revenue."

              That's not how Bush and friends approach things.  Instead, they say:  "Lowering taxes will increase the tax base enough to increase revenue." ("Circumstances be damned" is implied, but not actually ever said.)

              This is actually a premise, not a conclusion from evidence.  If it were a conclusion, you'd see them at least acknowledge some limits (e.g., revenue can't keep going up once the rate gets close enough to zero).  

              •  So, wouldn't lowering taxes to zero (none)
                bring about an infinite increase in revenues?  Oh wait, even better!  What if we had "negative taxes", then revenue would increase to infinity squared.
                •  "Negative Taxes" (none)
                  The less I work, the more money the IRS sends me?

                  Even if I enjoy what I'm not doing?

                  BushCo: exporting carrots and sticks to people who don't eat carrots.

                  by rockin in the free world on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:01:05 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I always use that one... (4.00)
                  And the wingnuts always respond that obviously if you go down to zero taxes there would be no revenue.

                  So I ask them then what is the ideal number at which taxes should be set before you start losing revenue and how do we know we already aren't below that level?

                  And I've never once gotten an anser to that question.  In fact, the question always stops them in their tracks and results in a stammered, "I don't know" and a changing of subjects.

                  •  Exactly exactly exactly (4.00)
                    This is exactly what I was thinking after reading this.

                    Clearly if the tax rate was 100% there would be no incentive to work and no government income.

                    Clearly if the tax rate was 0% there would be on government income.

                    Therefore the tax rate needs to be somewhere in between that, so what's the number?  By the way, 'lower' isn't a number it's an ideology.  (Using the useful figures posted above) Since the economy has grown year on year and tax revenues have fallen surely it is clear that the tax rate is past the balance point where it maximised revenue and further reducing taxes just makes things worse.

                    However, I don't think the majority of the anti-tax brigade (really the anti-services brigade) care if reducing taxes increases revenue.  They don't care about government revenue they just don't want to pay out any taxes, either because they are terminally short sighted, empathy deficient, or both.  Some of them would be happy if there was no government at all.  A lot of them would be happy if all that was left was a large 'defence' force (to, you know, 'defend' Americas economic interests) and a bunch of cops to stop the poor from breaking in to their compound and taking their HDTV.

                    By the way, supply side economics (at least reduce taxes to increase revenue) can work.  Clearly when taxes are 'too high' then reducing them will stimulate the economy, possibly enough to increase tax revenue overall.  Ireland has a far better economy and government revenue now than it did when corporation and individual taxes were far higher.  This may of course be co-incidence, but most credit decreasing corporation tax with stimulating external investment and kick starting our stagnating economy.  For reference personal income tax here is 20% for the first €28k and 42% for the rest, tax credits for various things make it a bit more complicated.  A right winger would probably say I may as well be living in communist Russia, but Ireland is one of, if not the, fastest growing economies in Europe.  At which point a wingnut would probably start telling me how much better we'd be doing if our taxes were even lower... <sigh>

                    •  Ireland (none)
                      You are absolutely correct about Ireland. However, I think that there were some unique circumstances: the rationalisation of corporate and personal taxes 'freed' a potential that may not exist in all economies. Not least, a very well educated, English speaking relatively low wage populace. And it coincided with very significant financial subsidies from Europe.


                    •  in 1955 (none)
                      The tax rate on the top 1% was 90 %. They hated that, of course, and have been lowering and compressing the rates together ever since. Now a nurse on overtime pays nearly the same as a millionaire. Unearned income, and capital gains, taxes are a joke, and Bush is likely to make it worse.
            •  Faith is the evidence of things unseen (4.00)
              Not the evidence of things untrue.

              You can never be too rich, too thin, or too cynical.

              by Dallasdoc on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 04:11:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Kudos on and thanks for (none)
            another excellent diary, advisorjim.  Like so many on this site, I am sincerely baffled at how the right can walk around in a cognitive-dissonant fog so much of the time.  Please keep posting and filling us in...just so we can have the peace of mind of understanding them, even if we fail most of the time in changing their minds!

            Hersh is right on in likening America to a cult right now.  Do you know one of the techniques cults use is constant streams of verbal indoctrination, levied at tired people?   Think of Jim Jones preaching over the loudspeaker in Jonestown, while his followers were sleep-deprived and barely surviving.  He convinced people to do the ultimate against their own self-interest - to kill themselves and their children! In America, we get Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly and co. coming at us over the airwaves, all hours of the day...and many of us in America right now are tired - physically and emotionally! - and barely surviving!  In a way, the red staters who are voting against their own economic interests are the perfect targets for the Limbaugh cult...

            "Our particular principles of religion are a subject of accountability to God alone."--Thomas Jefferson

            by hopesprings on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:36:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  That drives me crazy (none)
            The economy, I can't really debate because I'm so math phobic. It's unwise of me to even try.  But I've gotten that exact same responce to the Plame outing.  "Well, we don't know there has been a crime committed yet."  And WMDs:  "We'll wait and see what the Duelfer report says, that'll clear it up."

            They think the people in charge know what they're doing only if they are Republicans, or at least that's my view.  

        •  Well it might be (none)
          If it had ever happened.  I'm not economist, but have lower taxes/higher federal revenue ever happened?

          What about lower taxes/vastly increased federal spending?  What happens then?

          Wait, wait, don't tell me . . .

          we gonna smash their brains in / cause they ain´t got nofink in ´em -- Linton Kwesi Johnson

          by Karl the Idiot on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 02:36:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've got an example of where it has: (none)
            SimCity. Sometimes when you lower taxes, you attract more Sims to settle in your growing metropolis, resulting in higher end-of-year revenues.

            But other than that, I'm stumped.


            I love my country. Can I have it back, please?

            by swilldog on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 04:19:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I believe... (none)
     may have happened under Kennedy.  After all, that's where the "rising tide" line the Reps love so much comes from.  Problem is, they don't understand that there's a difference between lowering the top rate from 90% to 80% (roughtly) and lowering it from 35% to 25%.  To the extent that the Laffer curve ever made any sense (which is minimal, beyond a certain tautological sense), it just isn't reasonable to assume that after half a dozen to a dozen to a score of tax cuts, we're at the same place on the curve.
          •  Well, look at the post-WWII era... (none)
            We still had World War II level tax rates (top rate of 90%).  (Of course, the difference being the excessive loopholes meant that many of the wealthy paid next to nothing)  Kennedy cleaned up the tax code.

            Al Franken had a great line in his book where he said that at least there was something Rush Limbaugh and he agreed on: tax rates should be somewhere between 0% and 100%.

            (Insert Democrat Here) for President in 2008!

            by teenagedallasdeaniac on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:05:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Tell him... (none)
          we'd love to see his data that disproves Advisor Jim's "reality-based numbers."

          You can also remind him that after Reagan's supply side tax cuts in the early '80's it took 17 years just to see one fiscal year in the black.  17 years.

          Finally, forward him the GAO report out today (not exactly written by a commie-liberal-pinko).  The one that says current fiscal policy is unsustainable.

          Have fun!

          •  Data? They don't need no steenkin' data (none)
            It's true - why should they have to prove it?

            You obviously have no idea how the world works.

            Virtue cannot separate itself from reality without becoming a principle of evil.

            by badger on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 03:32:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Supply side works..... (3.50)
              ...and you can prove it. Watch the master!

              Lets assume we have a country with 6% unemployment, an expanding economy, and 4.5% prime. Marginal tax rate is 30%.

              Cut marginal tax rate to 20%.

              Hand waving

              Miracle occurs

              Government revenue thus increases.


              Signature Impaired.

              by gttim on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 08:29:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  current fiscal policy? (none)
            that gao document seems to target social security as "unsustainable" not the tax cuts.  
        •  Extreme supply side example? The 3rd world (4.00)
          And it aint so rich. Oh, sure there is the occasional filthy rich person, but I don't think that is what Republican's mean. Or is it? Another example? The deep South. The states with the lowest tax rates are also the poorest. Try comparing tax rates to various measures of wealth for states and see what you find. Then do it across countries. Gee, its almost as if taxes make people wealthier. But that can't be. Surely millions of tiny independent selfish entities each controlling their own little pile of cash is stronger than a united, organized, group?
        •  AND (none)
          Up = down

          Dark = Light

          War = Peace

          Failure = Success

          Lies = Truth

          .. and the beat goes on sigh ....

        •  In the sciences, "valid theory" (4.00)
          means one that (a) adequately explains a wide range of facts and (b) makes valid predictions of new facts.  Examples:  classical physics (within some limits), quantum physics (within much broader limits), biological evolution, plate tectonics.

          I think our diary author has done a pretty good start on (a).   So let's tackle (b).  

          Going from a 40% tax rate to a 20% tax rate at least doubles your tax base. You need to at least double it to make up for cutting the rate in half -- if you don't, your revenue will go down, and so the theory is invalid, at least for this case.

          20% to 10% at least doubles your tax base.  Again, same logic.

          10% to 5% at least doubles your tax base.  Again, same logic...

          (lather, rinse, repeat)

          "Thank you!  You've lowered my annual tax bill by five cents.  I can double production now!"

          Those of us who aren't swimming in the local Bush League Kool-Aid pool should begin to see a problem here...

          •  What do you mean here? (none)
            "Going from a 40% tax rate to a 20% tax rate at least doubles your tax base. "

            How does doing this double your tax base, it doesn't make sense.

            •  I'm exploring a prediction (none)
              of the supply-side economic argument that's being discussed here.

              The idea is that lowering taxes gives you more government revenue because the economy grows in response.  In order for that to work, your tax base (the economic activity subject to the tax) has to grow at least proportionally -- if the tax is cut in half, the tax base has to double (or more) in order for tax revenue to go up.

              You're right, the results don't make a whole lot of sense, except perhaps at really high tax rates.  That's the point.  A lot of Republicans make this argument without actually thinking it through to its logical conclusions.

        •  top four reasons your boss is wrong. (4.00)
          1. Read a book dumbass - Keynes and communism have nothing in common. Keynes relies on social spending to boost disposable income in an economy. Businesses then ramp up production so this new disposable income will be used to buy their products, thereby employing people again, lifting us out of recession. Keynes RELIES upon the self-interest of the owners of the means of production. Marxism considers this self-interest inherently evil, and imposes a socialist economy to destroy it. There most fundamental and radical assumptions are directly opposed to each other. I can hear the "communism and fascism are the same thing" argument coming out next....

          2. False Dichotomy - Supply-side and demand-side are not two competing philosophies. In fact, they are both anti-laissez-fair (sp?). They both seek to stimulate an economy by pumping money into the system, most likely creating a deficit. One seeks to pay people t perform tasks for the state, military, public works, infrastructure, while the other just gives people the money, expecting them to spend it.

          3. Supply-side economics has already been tried. It is also known as "Reaganomics" (or trickle-down economics), because one president in particular tried it; you get one guess to name him. Hint: died recently.

          4. Reaganomics failed - The fact of the matter is that the supply-side mantra is not heavily argued in academic circles, because the data supporting the theory never materialized. Today supply-side economics is only a political theory used to deflect anti-deficit arguments against tax cuts. It is all rheotoric and no substance.
        •  What an ass hat (none)
          And in both cases, one could argue that Communism/Socialism is an extreme Keynes example.

          No.  No, they could not.

          I don't think the world has really seen an extreme "Supply Side" example.

          He needs to check out the early 1930s.  Good times, good times....

        •  WTF? (none)
          Who the hell said anything about socialism/communism? Do Republicans know ANY other debate tactic than using Strawmen? That's just sad. Nobody said a THING about Communism vs. Capitalism. Is he even reading the same diary? Is he responding to the correct post? Part of the appropriate discussion?


          He who lives in the present, has no knowledge of the past nor vision for the future.

          by DeanDemocrat on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 11:58:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  A valid theory? (none)
          Me being the Yankees center-fielder was a damn valid theory.  A flat planet was a fine theory.  The Earth at the center of the planet, that was a good theory.

          Maybe you could ask Braniac if there is any realtionship in his world between a valid theory and the reality that determines the quality of life for me and my family.

          His argument, by the way, is taken from the Rovian Theory of Reason, and it goes like this:
          If Nothing can be proven as absolute fact then it can be determined that all theories are equal as guesses.  And our guesses are the right ones, because we have the votes.

        •  Except - (none)

          Their other comback will be 'We are in a war, and we  have to spend to support our troops'.

          I've gone around in circles arguing this with coworkers - it's enough to make your brain hurt from the cognitive dissonance.

        •  Lakoff (none)
          Like Lakoff said....

          The facts bounce off and the frame stays

    •  RECOMMENDED (none)
      advisorjim, you are one of the few people whose diaries I have subscribed to.  So far, your two diaries have provided amazing insight into how we can debate those who are not... uh, members of the reality-based community.

      Thank you!

    •  Agree here. (none)
      Recommended and subscribed.

      If this is your idea of a boring diary, I want to see when you cut loose.

  •  Good Work, Former Dittohead! (none)
    Glad to see you in the reality based community.

    "George W. Bush is not only the worst president in American history, he is the worst man who has been President."--J. Miller

    by Yosef 52 on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 01:34:30 PM PST

  •  May a humbly add. (4.00)
    That the "Laffer Curve" designed to explain higher revenues through lower taxation was, according to legend, drawn on the back of a cocktail napkin.  This once again proves what we've all known for a while:

    Friends don't let friends practice macroeconomics drunk.

    •  The Laffer Curve Is True! (4.00)
      But the curve doesn't bend back until taxes go way, way, way, up.  If we were talking about 75 % marginal tax rates, cutting them to 60% very well may increase federal revenue -- or may not -- its an empirical question.    

      The problem with the freeple is that they believe the Laffer curve applies all they way down to zero, i.e. they're morons.  

    •  Yah, and... (4.00)
      as Dave Barry said, "That graph ran the government for most of the Reagan administration before anyone figured out they were holding the napkin sideways."

      You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably. - Jon Stewart to Tucker Carlson

      by eyelessgame on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 03:12:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Zero Percent (4.00)
    In fact, let's lower taxes to zero percent -- that way, the economy will grow, and federal revenue will rise sharply.


  •  Well done (none)
    Mirrors some of the stuff discussed at the latest CAP event, at a panel discussion about their new tax reform proposals:

  •  Blu-bla-blub-bla! Indeed! (none)
    It's either some mindless blathering that 9/11 changed everything or they get mad and walk out of the room. Unfortunately, those are the only choices for these Faux News trogladites when confronted with an adversary armed with the facts.
    •  Actually, I have found that (none)
      when posting to a board with conservatives on it (as opposed to speaking to them personally), or sending them e-mail of things such as the right-wing slap at Bush that appeared here yesterday or the fact that Bush let Zarqawi get away, that they pretend not to have read the post or to not have received the e-mail.

      The silence is irritating because you can tell they're merely dumping your data into inconvenient facts trash can.


      by Doug in SF on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 04:20:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They won't believe even criticism (none)
        from their own kind. And you're right, they don't even read it.

        Reminds me of before the election when I carried on an e-mail debate with the only Republican "friend" (actually, former classmate) I know.

        At one point I tried sending her a list of links to articles and webpages by Republicans and conservatives endorsing Kerry -- you know, Gen. Eisenhower, Bush relatives, conservative newspapers, Bush's hometown newspaper...

        You know what her response was?

        "You're pulling my leg again. I thought the Onion was serious, but you can't fool me twice.
        If you were home you could vote multiple times with all the other Kerry supporters. I say, if you can only vote once, vote Republican.
        PS Don't hate me because I am conservative. Someone has to keep you safe. Go Berlusconi!

        And there was nothing I could do to convince her it wasn't a joke or get her to read the stuff. No way. Hopeless case.

        P.S. Even though I wasn't "home" (I live in Italy), both my son and I did vote, and already had when she sent me that note.

        •  Well, Donna, (none)
          given the barriers thrown up to keep non-military foreign nationals from voting last year, I'm happy that you managed to do it.

          P.S. Can I come live with you?


          by Doug in SF on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 10:13:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you can put up with our own little (none)
            megalomaniac Dubya wannabe Berlusconi, sure!

            BTW, all I know is that we managed to vote (by absentee ballot)... what happened to our ballots once they got over there, I don't know. But luckily NJ, where we're registered, went to Kerry. Actually, I must say that the Election Board people there were very nice. I was already registered, but my son was a new voter and had to register. The process took longer, and it seemed his ballot wasn't arriving. So I called them, and they sent us another one -- no problem. In the end, both copies arrived. (Maybe he could've voted twice, like my Freeper "friend" said!) ;-)

  •  Holy crap... (4.00)
    Now I feel like I'm reading St. Augustine.  You converts are hard core.  Thanks for the info.  I am so tired of the Neocons blaming every economic negative on 9/11 of Bill Clinton.  Let's see what the next four years has in store for us...

    I am a good American and I support the Troops. My car bumper says so!

    by RichM on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 01:40:41 PM PST

    •  Personally I prefer... (4.00)
      to think of myself as the Apostle Paul of the Democratic Party.  True story: I once considered becoming a man of the cloth.  As I was doing my biblical scholarship I decided that I REALLY didn't like Paul.  Here's a guy who didn't know squat about Jesus.  Just walking down the road one day and BLAMMO, he decides he's not only a disciple, but he's the Primo Disciple!  Why is he suddenly the authority on converting people to Christianity!?  

      While I do not consider myself the Primo Democrat, I do get Paul now.  And I get his passion.

      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

      by advisorjim on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 01:48:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hate to say I told you so (4.00)
        Actually, I love saying it. So I will.

        Not to you--but to some other disheartened Kossaks who believe that hard-right-wingers are a lost cause. It's not true. The more extreme a position that a person holds, the further they can swing to the opposite side. It's the lukewarm Laodiceans who are very hard to move permanently one way or the other.

        I recommend Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He explores the way paradigm shifts, such as the Copernican revolution, took hold in the past. At the time, there was no more proof that the earth moved around the sun than there was evidence for the traditional view of an immobile earth at the center of the universe. But as telescopes improved and observations became more precise, people discovered increasing numbers of phenomena that were not easily explained by the Ptolomaic model. Drawings and working models of the cosmos became increasingly complex, with planets revolving in orbits around orbits around orbits, in order to explain the irregular patterns of movement observed from earth.

        Eventually Ptolemy's model became so complex it collapsed from its own weight; or rather, the weight of its contradictions.

        It is precisely this mechanism--the intellectual collapse of conservatism--that will lead to a paradigm shift in the American political scene. In politics these shifts often follow economic disasters or catastrophic losses in war. Our task here is to find a gentler way that will spare America such trauma, if we can.

        What we need from you is even more insight into the specific contradictions that make the right-wing model of the world too cumbersome to survive.

        •  Shift happens? (4.00)

          There's nothing the matter with Kansas

          by Kansas on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 03:34:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, GOD, NO! (none)
          The more extreme a position that a person holds, the further they can swing to the opposite side.

          Does this mean I should avoid right wingers even MORE than I do now? Because I hold an extreme view on just about any topic you can mention (though I am merely lukewarm on recycling); does this mean that I may be more easily swayed to the dark side than my more pragmatic, dispassionate compatriots on the left?

          I am*being sarcastic, but in a good natured way. Your point is well taken, though I would add that there are other variables that  must be present to contribute to a major, polar switch... It's pretty safe to bet that, unless I am lobotomized, *my views won't be softening or changing direction in this lifetime.

          Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

          by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:52:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're safe, I think (none)
            First time you let loose with a string of expletives in Bible study class, you're outta there anyway.

            In any case, you're safe because:

            1. The contradictions are on the other side. There isn't a trove of facts contradicting liberal positions. Right now, there can't be, because liberalism actually encompasses everything from the center leftward, and prides itself on being reality-based. In other words, if you hated charter schools but read a bunch of well-structured, genuinely objective studies showing they work better than other schools for the non-rich so long as X and Y and Z are true, changing your mind about the issue would actually be proof of your liberalism.

            2. You're here. Right-wing cults always try to cut you off from "outsiders," but Kossacks will protect you!
      •  Holy flerking shnit! (none)
        Heh, you aren't the only near-seminary ex-Republican around here.

        My story is close to yours too, except I still don't get Paul.  I think that he was splinter that drove me mad.

        Thank God.  I don't feel so lonely here now.

        •  Well... (none)
          ... the people now in charge make your "normal, run of the mill" conservative feel like a so-called screaming bleeding heart liberal.  I mean... they are so far off the scale to the right that it would take light years at warp speed to get back to the center...
      •  You are (none)
        a breath of fresh air.

        WELCOME !!!

      •  convert vs nonconvert (none)
        As a non-convert (both in my politics and my religion), I still think Paul was a dick.


        Try _that_ with a drunken elephant.

        by spacekitty on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:14:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  the passion of the paul (none)
        the thing to note about paul is that while he underwent a radical conversion, you can see from reading his letters that in many ways he remained the same old saul.  god didn't simply wipe his personality clean and create something inhuman.  no, paul remained the self-righteous vindictive pharisee in many ways.

        but these imperfections made for his unflagging zeal and sense of purpose.  that's how he made such an impact on the ancient world.  if he hadn't got the bug to go out and convert all those goyim,  the way would probably have remained just another jewish sect that didn't survive into the diaspora.  god knew what he was doing.  still does, for that matter.

        with that example in mind, i hope your zeal for the cause stays bright, and wonder if you've thought about whether you should go back with the dittoheads to bring them around, or would get further out amongst the "gentiles" who haven't heard either message yet.  remember - the destruction of the temple is coming...

        l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

        by zeke L on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 08:13:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for saying that about Paul. (none)
        I'm a lifelong atheist and anti-superstitionist who decided a couple of years ago that I needed to learn to "speak" Christianity if I wanted to function politically in C21.  I found that if I stuck to the Gospels, I really had no problem with any of it, aside from the metaphysical crap: if I just read what Christ says about how to live in the world, it's real hard to disagree with.  Jesus was great; it's Paul that was a total asshole.  What a misogynist creep, and as authoritarian as Christ was liberal.

        Sorry: that was off-topic.  But thanks for sharing.

        •  god is awesome. jesus is.... (none)

          "Will we be Coca-colonized?" - L'Humanite

          by jokeysmurf on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 12:04:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You mean.. (none)
          the guy with the sun-stroke on a desert road and had a conversion, who then wrote letters about how you should hand people back into slavery should they run away, and women should shut the fuck up, and that what we today call gay people are evil... is an asshole who betrays the core tennets of Jesus?

          I am shocked I tell you.. shocked!



          Mitch Gore

          Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

          by Lestatdelc on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 12:12:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Hate to spoil the party but... (none)
    Are those nominal or real numbers?

    This is important, because they can just as easily trot out nominal numbers claiming to show the 1981 tax cuts boosted revenues in the 1980s.

    In fact, the best comparison is per capita real numbers, which thus factors out population growth.

    •  Good point (3.50)
      I have to believe it's something of a bell curve. Tax at 100%, no one produces anything so revenues are about 0. Tax at 0%, revenues are still 0. I think there's a time and a place for tax hikes and cuts, so numbers from one particular time and place may not carry the day for all time. Not only that, but as pointed out below, conservatives don't really mind the idea of less money for the government.

      I think a better argument would be that tax cuts are inappropriate in a time of war. It just makes sense to ask more of the home front while we have soldiers in combat.

    •  Reality is as Reality does. (4.00)
      These are absolute dollars not adjusted in any way shape or form.  It's the raw data.  But you've touched on another subject entirely that I'd like to address.

      Reagan's tax cut was really nothing of the sort.  Conservatives argue that Reagan cut the top marginal tax rate from around 75% to 28%, clearly indicating that high income earners saw their taxes go down a whopping 47%!  But there's a chart at that tells a different story.  The story of the `Effective Tax Rate.'  

      Nobody talks about the effective tax rate, and I don't understand why.  The effective rate is the rate that the average taxpayer actually paid.  And what you see is that from 1979 to 1983 the effective tax rate remained effectively unchanged (maybe a few tenths of a percentage point).  

      In absolute terms federal revenues increased every year Reagan was in office except for 1983 where it declined by $17.2 billion.  It was I believe around that point when Reagan more or less admitted his mistake and said we needed another tax bracket.

      So how did the top marginal tax rate decline by 47% and the effective rate stayed the same?  Well, if you remember prior to Reagan's tax reform everything was deductible.  Lunch, dinner, credit card interest, depreciation, you could even deduct losses in excess of what you invested.  You could invest $1,000 in a Real Estate Investment Trust and deduct $100,000 in losses from your income taxes.

      Reagan said "Bulls**t.  You can only deduct interest on your home, and you can't write off more than you invested."  So, yeah, the top marginal rate dropped a ton, but nobody was paying 75% of their income in taxes!  They were cheating the system by using a whole network of deductions.  Reagan put a stop to that.  As a result, a cottage industry that existed solely for the purposes of creating losses (namely REITS and Limited Partnerships) became worthless.  Say what you will about Reagan.  The man had his faults.  But his tax reform plan compared to Bush's tax CUT plan was brilliant.

      Bush's problem (HOO boy are there a lot of those) is that he thought Reagan's plan was successful because it cut taxes.  It didn't.  I just got rid of about a jillion loopholes while remaining revenue neutral.

      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

      by advisorjim on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 02:04:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually Reagan shifted classes to the working (4.00)
        and middle classes, by boosting regressive FICA taxes to build the Reagan Trust fund for Social Security while lowering top marginal rates.

        He didn't lower America's tax bill, he just shifted the burden.

    •  Irrelevant (none)
      All the numbers are the same: raw, non-adjusted. That includes tax revenues as well as GDP.
  •  Supply-Side Economics Has Already Failed (4.00)
    When they first trotted it out in the Reagan years it failed too.  In fact, 99 out of 100 academic economists KNEW it would fail, but they still tried it because it is politically pleasing, not economically successful. Put simply, the economic pie doesn't grow enough in order to make up for the lost revenue.  This is why Reagan Budget Director David Stockman called it a Trojan Horse.  Indeed, taxpayers are still paying interest on the Reagan Administration's debt [Clinton balanced the budget.  He did not pay off old debt]

    The Bushies know this too.  They are trying to destroy government.  This is just their cover story.


    "Every country needs a good lefty. ... We even have some in our country." George W. Bush, 12/1/04

    by JR Monsterfodder on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 01:46:46 PM PST

  •  Im confused.... (none)
    won't a Freeper argue that less Federal revenue is a GOOD thing, since it means (in their minds...not actually) that there is MORE in THEIR pocket?

    I thought less federal revenue was hand in hand with the whole 'less government' idea...

    de-confuse me

    In the midst of life we are in debt, etc.

    by ablington on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 01:48:09 PM PST

    •  But (none)
      Some also hate the "deficit" thing. (Some...)

      Anything by Loudon Wainwright III

      by Earl on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 01:57:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    • (none)
      If the govt has less money, it's not going to run off and cut govt jobs or govt spending first.  The first cuts will be in govt funds and assistance to the states.  When states have less money, whose pockets will the money come from to run the schools, maintain highways, etc?  

      Here in OH, our schools are funded primarily from property taxes.  We see levy after levy every election season because the states, and therefore the local govts, receive less $ from the govt than they estimate or expect.  The freepers never can seem to correlate the local and state hands riffling through their pockets as being a direct result of lowered federal revenue due to lowered taxes.

      So what you save on your federal taxes, you'll end up paying via state and local taxes.

      "But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. --- "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat. "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

      by dnn on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 08:04:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Count yourself lucky... (none)
        that you have a relatively stable revenue source like property taxes. Those are dead-ends because of Measure 5 here in Oregon back in the 80s, so we have to try and balance our state budgets on the more volatile personal income tax to fund schools, etc.


        Mitch Gore

        Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

        by Lestatdelc on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 12:15:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great analysis (none)
    Unfortunately my right-wing father-in-law would be sure to argue that decreased federal revenue was a good thing, because then the government won't have the resources to stick its craw in his business.
    •  It also won't have resources... (none)
      ...To fix a lot of things he takes for granted. Ask him how he feels about potholes, failing electric grids, toxic waste dumps, and the like.

      It's really easy to hate the federal government until it's gone. And then, boy howdy, won't they hate the loss!

      What force or guile could not subdue / Thro' many warlike ages / Is wrought now by a coward few / For hireling traitor's wages. -- Robert Burns

      by lilithvf1998 on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 03:17:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good post (none)
    This is a good example of a more general characteristic of the current state of conservatism.  They adhere to a whole bunch of ideas which are, to them beyond question, but which are in fact not true.  

    The above is a perfect example, but also, they insist that militarily one should always go on the offensive.  Then how come Washington one the American Revolution with hardly any offensive operations and Lee lost the Civil War while invading the North twice.  Maybe, one has to asses the strategic and tactical situation and choose offense or defense depending on the circumstances.

    To the right, it is the rich who create most of the wealth.  Nonsense.  It is those who wish to become rich who create wealth.  Those who have already made it do far less to create wealth than they do on the way up.

    The religious are more moral and honest than the non-religious.  More sexually responsible.  I don't think so.

    And on and on it goes.

  •  You're a very entertaining writer (none)
    Thrill as you find your Republican friends speechless, flopping around desperately gasping for guidance like a mercury-laden sea bass on the deck of the Downeaster "Alexa".  Fair warning:  This post is ridiculously long and technical, but I'll do my best to make it funny...ish.

    Even if the subject were dull (it's not) it would be fun to read.

  •  Here is the one counter argument (none)
    Great post!  The one response that I get to this argument is that the economy WOULD have stopped growing if not for the cuts.  How do you disprove a hypthetical?
    •  Good point, but that's not what I'm arguing. (none)
      There is no way to prove or disprove what effect tax cuts have on the economy.  What you CAN prove is that tax cuts + a growing economy did NOT = more federal revenue.  THAT is where the point lands home for most fiscal conservatives.

      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

      by advisorjim on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 02:07:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't hit me (none)
        Hopefully this post is far enough down the thread that it won't be too offensive, but I just have to say this:

        PRINCIPLE. Not "principal."

        A princiPLE is an idea. A princiPAL is a person.

        Okay. I know. I'm a dick.

        But I dug both diaries today, Jim. Great stuff. Also, NIIIIIIICE reference to a Billy Joel song, pal.

        Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

        by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:56:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Counter-thrust (4.00)
    Michael Moore advocates similar dialogues in the last chapter of Dude!:  Show them how their policies have not led them to their goals -- while showing them that Clinton's policies did lead to their goals -- and they go apoplectic.  

    I have a hardcore neocon friend against whom I have worked such jujitsu.  He used to needle me into political arguments, but now he avoids the topic entirely.  

    As Ed Helms so helpfully pointed out, "the facts have a clear, anti-Bush agenda."  

    And, btw, no one will complain of the length of a post as long as there is substance, as there is here.  Thanks for the pointers!

    Don't let the bastards get you down. - H.S.Thompson

    by btdenver on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 01:59:55 PM PST

    •  Avoiding The Topic (none)
      Winning a few arguments is good until that person forbids politics, a very common tactic.  This extends to other websites, social groups, work, etc.  Everywhere this smark alec wins one or a few, politics ceases to be an acceptable target.  Anyone else notice this? (I just had the terrible thought everyone will say "never seen that happen", and then I will feel very bad).

      I remember from my youth that politics, sex, and religion were to be avoided in polite company.  Is it possible this concept was invented by a Republican, ok political, spin operation?

      Embrace diversity. Not everyone is intelligent.

      by FLDemJax on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 02:51:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No I know exactly what you mean (none)
        Sooo many times I have had a debate with a wingnut and using only facts without propaganda or passion (which I have plenty of) and without espousing my own opinions (which I have even more of) I have torn their arguments to shreds and inevitably, every time that topic becomes off-limits or avoided.  

        Same thing has happened with discussions about religion, abortion, taxes, sex, and how to properly raise children.  All these subjects are supposed to be off-limits which I DO think is just a ploy by those who know their arguments are weak and indefensible.  If you believe strongly in something, you damn well should have very strong reasons for it and be able to support that view in an intelligent debate.  But of course that is asking way too much of freepers and their ilk...

        ''They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

        by I Want My American Pride Back on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 04:36:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i don't know what this means (none)
          but I recently put politics, religion, and sex off limits with my mother. I became insanely angry at her ignorance and outright bigotry that I started becoming too dickish.

          I find I'm not very tolerant of intolerance, circular arguments, and irrational beliefs clung to just so that one's world doesn't come crashing down.

          All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

          by SeanF on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 09:00:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Their own personal hell (none)
            I know many people will disagree with me on this but when it gets to a certain point like you describe I just drop it as you did and write the person off to suffer their fate in hell.  And when I say that I don't mean some otherworldy afterlife notion....I'm talking about their own personal hell where they will someday reap the hate they have sewn, or at the very least, condoned.  

            Now I know we are talking about your mother but I had a pretty awesome moment recently with my own father who for the most part is a leftie but because of his limited experience in life and such, still believes that he can use the n-word as long as he proclaims not to be a racist and has black friends.  Finally the other day, I had had enough of saying to myself "he's family...and I've always been somewhat intimidated by him..blah blah blah" and I said to him "Listen, I am about to have a child and if you want to have any part of my life or the life of my wife and child, I don't ever want to hear you use that word in my presence again, much less in front of either of them".  Man you should have seen the look on his face.

            I have written off many friends and not a few family members whose ingnorance and selfish disdain for the truth have given me no choice but to lose all respect for them, giving me no other reason to have any contact with them.  But this sounds like I am preaching and I do not mean to offend you or your relationship with your mom...

            Just my 2 cents...

            But we have to stay angry and keep objecting. It's like staying awake in the freezing cold. If we sleep, we're dead." - Mary Julia (dKos poster)

            by I Want My American Pride Back on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 01:00:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Awesome post! (none)
    Just one thing: for good measure, could you provide the links with this info?  We can post these on Freep and LGF and let them find out for themselves.

    When you couldn't get a real journalism job, there's Fox News.

    by The Truffle on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 01:59:56 PM PST

  •  The growing economy (4.00) first comment at Dkos. Took quite a while, but this really piqued my interest. So here goes:

    Don't the supply siders usually claim that, while revenues have gone down, they would have gone down even more without the economic growth stimulated by their taxcuts? In other words, without those cuts, the ecnomoy would not have grown by as much, and maybe even shrank, resulting in even lower revenues.

    I don't believe this for a second of course, but this seems to be the response I get when I point out the obvious: cutting taxes to raise revenue is like fucking for virginity...or something like that.

    So how to respond to this defense?

    •  See above, but I'll repeat it here. (none)
      There is no way to prove or disprove what effect tax cuts have on the economy.   What you CAN prove is that tax cuts + a growing economy did NOT = more federal revenue.   THAT is where the point lands home for most fiscal conservatives.

      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

      by advisorjim on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 02:09:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The thing to remember (none)
      The thing to keep in mind is that this effect didn't just happen in the last four years.  Virtually every time taxes have been cut, revenue has gone down, and every time they've been raised, revenue has gone up.  

      Now, you can say that each time, the tax changes have been offset by unfortunately coincidental economic effects, but it gets pretty tough to believe.  In fact, watching someone try to claim that is legitimate grounds for laughter.

    •  Yor response is: (none)
      "Let's not go there.  The facts demonstrate that tax cuts in a growing economy do not result in higher federal income.  Sad to see how each time facts do not support your world view, you need to find a hypothetical reality to back your argument."

      Straight from the reality-based community!

  •  Don't worry about length. The longer, the better! (4.00)
    But seriously, great post man.
    "Thrill as you find your Republican friends speechless, flopping around desperately gasping for guidance like a mercury-laden sea bass on the deck of the Downeaster "Alexa"."

    There have been diaries over the months/years probably five times as long (at least) that have held up pretty well.  I think it just comes down to whatever you are comfortable with, that expresses everything you want to express in a reasonable fashion.

    I liked the bit about the Aug 6th PDB.  It almost felt like we were the only ones who noticed Condi's obfuscation, lies, and squirming.  Hopefully, other rational Repubs (or former Repubs) saw through her duplicity.  All I remember about that day from listening to the media (which I don't do anymore) was all the fawning over her.  I was like .. "but, but, but listen to the words!  What she said.  She's lying.  She's got nothin."

    And of course the supply side stuff.  Good ammo to use.

    I'm not even sure if all of them believe in it.  A lot probably just say "low taxes" just to win votes.  Same deal with "values".  It's all about winning votes and pleasing people in the short term.

  •  Balanced Budget (none)
    Clinton's tax policy also effectively balanced the budget which really helped the markets, etc.

    Remember, not one Republican House member voted for it -- but it worked.

  •  Despite this right left dichotomy (none)
    There ARE sane people in politics. I just happen to believe that more leftist ideas are "correct". But I temper that with the fact that a lot of people aren't sure what leftist ideas really are.

    But you can't argue about some of this stuff. Some stuff works, some stuff doesn't. It's not a question of style, it's a question of being practical.

    •  Leftist ideas? (none)
      Those are what used to be considered moderate ideas.  Balance the Budget before cutting taxes e.g.

      Nowadays what used to be called leftist ideas are called Communist, or in their (i.e., wingnuts') more insane moments, fascist.  Thus hate crime laws are labeled authoritarian restrictions of freedom, etc.

      The sad thing is that the media goes along with the labels.

    •  the balance of power (none)
      One needs two hands for balance. I was in England in the late 60s- early 70s the Labor Party had turned the country into a peasant haven. Tax the rich up to 90% and give the poor subsistence - the iron rice bowl of Mao; the phones, power, transportation all run badly by Government. Till Thatcher came in and redressed the issue. The rich gets out of hand empowering the Rich to the point of slave labor; the left gets extreme in balancing the wealth to the point of draining incentive.
      It's the old yin/yang theory - to be a leftist or a rightist is to just be one sided. The left has to defend the poor but not to the point that the business can not taste a level of greed that impels them into  growth, and business cannot strangle labor to the point that the can't buy products, become homeless or criminal. So I say be a Pantheist with ALL at your disposal.
      •  like when my winger dad used to say (none)
        "the ACLU is a necessary evil." I always liked him ackowledging that something he didn't like was necessary.

        All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

        by SeanF on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 09:06:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  My favorite response (none)
    to right-wingers is to say: "So if I understand you correctly, as we lower taxes revenue grows. So according to you as taxes approach zero revenue becomes infinite. Sure it does."

    The polls don't tell us how a candidate is doing, they tell us how the media is doing.

    by Thumb on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 02:11:38 PM PST

    •  Zero taxes (none)
      Technically, revenue doesn't have to become infinite for their claim to be correct, it just has to increase. Kind of like Zeno's paradox, where you might say "I'm lowering taxes from 2% to 1%" and I say "OK, revenue is up 1%". You then say "I'm lowering taxes from 1% to half a percent, and I say "OK, revenue is only up one tenth a percent". At this clip, revenue never stops growing, but it grows so slowly that it never gets bigger than some finite value.

      The absurdity is reached at the end, where you have zero taxes and positive revenue.  Government receives all its revenue from taxes (or equivalent things like fees, etc.), and receives revenue at the current level, so clearly lowering taxes will at some point be counterproductive since revenue at 0% will be zero.

      That is, unless you count borrowing as income...

  •  I've always been baffled... (4.00)
    by the fact that those who benefit the least from supply-side economics (trickle-down theory, like being peed on) are the ones who support the con-artists who implement it.

    It may be fun to get the well-educated neocon flustered by facts, but it would be more fun to get the working poor and middle class to stop voting based on gay marriage and start getting them to vote on the fact that they are getting pooched by all the rich fat-cats in the GOP who give disproportionately large tax cuts to themselves and their friends, then cut benefits and services to the working poor.

    I guess you can't stop people from being moroons, but we might try and find a way to illustrate to our less money-savy compatriots that every time they elect a republican they are screwing themselves out of money.

    The Meek Shall Inherit NOTHING

    by LickBush on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 02:12:00 PM PST

    •  People may look to the future? (none)
      Well, couldn't you argue that they vote for this kind of thinking because though they're on the bottom NOW, someday (you know, when the economy is better and the government is flush with revenue) they will benefit by being in that higher tax bracket?

      How many people that were in favor of the so-called 'death tax' (inheritance tax) were actually being affected by it or will in their lifetimes?  Right.

    •  Oh, also.. (none)
      This story will only work on FISCAL CONSERVATIVES, most of the plain conservatives that make up the rank and file aren't voting anything to do with money, but are voting for MORALS, don't you know.. :)  They probably just conveniently believe that they will also get a better financial deal by voting for Bushco but don't want to invest a lot of time checking it out.

      They likely also believe the whole Social Security thing, too..

    •  The secret is to /fight/ for them, (none)
      fight for the interest of the lower and middle classes and they will vote for you. Offering them nothing but gay and women's rights ain't that appealing. Unfortunatly, this means you have to double cross your corperate donors and depend on a fickle public who only get involved when things grow dire, I certainly am a great example of that. But, we threw away our real base when we stopped vigorously defending the New Deal. We held the broad middle by making thier lives better, not by pushing NAFTA.

      That's why we need Dean.

      We are all wearing the blue dress now.

      by PLS on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:41:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  asdf (none)
      Have you read What's The Matter With Kansas?

      That book explains why people vote against their own economic interests.  A good read.  

      Closed minds should come with closed mouths.

      by Pennsylvanian on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:43:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diaries (none)
    As a former teenage dittohead, I can see where you're coming from: my conversion came while studying, of all things, hog farms in North Carolina.  Right-wingers tend not to talk so much about external costs and the need for environmental regulation.

    Anyway, can I suggest that you take the time to add links to your data sources?  I fished around and found them, but links to the stuff you're using would be nice.

  •  Hey, can someone tell me (none)
    how you post links and do that 'box quote' thingie.  It's COOL!  And I'm clueless.

    Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

    by advisorjim on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 02:18:41 PM PST

    •  AT YOUR SERVICE! (none)

      First, check out the FAQ. It's got the anseers to some of your questions.

      To link. An example:
      linked text

      A box:


      This we'll save for later!

      Anything by Loudon Wainwright III

      by Earl on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 02:44:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do you use Firefox? (none)
      If so, I highly recommend installing the RPXP Extension. Then, instead of manually typing the <div> codes, you can:

      • Select the text you wish to put in the box
      • Right-click and choose "RPXP Quote"
      • Paste into the diary or comment box

      Like so: :

      how you post links and do that 'box quote' thingie.  It's COOL!

      You can then delete the extra URL if you wish, or move it around, or what have you.

      What force or guile could not subdue / Thro' many warlike ages / Is wrought now by a coward few / For hireling traitor's wages. -- Robert Burns

      by lilithvf1998 on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 03:24:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  links go in square brackets (none)
      With wiki-style formatting, you can label your links and hide the http: junk. Simply put the URL as the first thing inside square brackets, then put your preferred text after it (after a space or a | ).

      Like so:

      [ Daily Kos]


      Daily Kos

      Yesterday we stood at the abyss; today we are taking a step forward.

      by peeder on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 12:26:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You mean THERE WAS NO RECESSION? (none)
    That's essentially the gist. I've never seen these numbers, which contradict the notion of a "terrorist recession." Great work.

    Now, I realize the NERC officially dates the recession to March 2001, but I never realized that the recession was so short-lived that we still had GDP growth for the year. Amazingly many freepers think we are still in a recession--AND that Bush is doing a great job with the economy.

  •  supply side economics (4.00)
    is just a theory
  •  The right-winger argument (none)
    Wouldn't the right-winger in question point to the rise in revenue in 2004 and say, "See! The tax cuts are working! Revenue is going up!" ?
    •  This is a good question (none)
      And no answers?

      2004 seems to blow this whole post out of the water.

      •  Whoa! Didn't realize the 'big dog' ... (none)
        was going to get involved!  I read this original post just before I left for the Grizzlies game (Way to go Grizz!)  I thought I'd addressed that in my post, but I'll explain my rationale here.

        By the time we get to 2004, GDP has increased by over $2 trillion.  Federal revenue, on the other hand, had decreased by $145 billion.  Bear in mind what I said originally.  Tax revenues decreased every year Bush passed a tax cut.  There were no tax cuts in 2004, and the economy grew.   Therefore (and I'd argue proving my hypothesis) federal revenue grew because no one was messing with it.  It only goes down when you actually make a cut.  When you leave it alone federal revenues grow when the economy grows.  

        Unless there was some large and meaningful tax cut 2004 that I'm forgetting about, I think this proves my point rather than disproving it.  

        As Charles Barkley once said, "I may be wrong, but I doubt it."

        Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

        by advisorjim on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 09:43:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Two things I left out... (none)
          My 2004 number is a comparison to 2000 as a base year.  If tax cuts increase federal revenues, and the economy grew by over $2 trillion, shouldn't tax revenues have increased substantially?  Not decreased?

          I also meant to say "with all due respect", but I forgot.  Probably because it's late and I'm tired.

          So, with all due respect, it's late, and I'm tired.  See you tomorrow.

          Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

          by advisorjim on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 10:00:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What about a delayed effect? (none)
          Couldn't the tax cuts of '01 finally kick in during '04?  It takes time for investments to pay back.  

          I see this as saying that lowering taxes will stimulate the economy (some), but that stimulation will not be enough to compensate for lost revenue, so federal revenues will decline.  

          In other words, there is no "free" stimulus.  

          "You beat on this prick enough, he'll tell ya he started the Chicago fire - that don't necessarily make it so!" -Nice Guy Eddie, Reservoir Dogs

          by Subterranean on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 12:36:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Now your touching on (none)
            another problem with the Bush administration, and that is "How long does it take for your stuff to work?"  Note that it didn't take Reagan's tax cuts any time to kick in. ..


            That first column shows federal revenues.  From '81 to '88 federal revenue goes up every year except for '83.  Again, I may be mistaken, but I think '83 was when the largest portion of Reagan's tax cuts 'kicked in.'  Though now I'm fearful I'm just saying something that fits my worldview without having the facts to support it.  Forgive me.  I was a Republican for 13 years.  Old habits die hard.

            But you've said it exactly right.  There is no 'free' stimulus.  Here's another example.  From 1996 to 2000 GDP grew by about $2 trillion.  (Here's a link to a chart a BEA to support this, but you might have to define the chart again for it to work.)


            If you adjust the chart to read annually (not quarterly) and set the date range from 1996 to 2000 you'll see what I'm saying.

            Okay, so the economy grows by $2 trillion.  What happens to federal revenue over that time?  Back to the first table.  You see that federal revenue grows from $1,453 billion to $2,025 billion.  And what didn't we do during that time?  Cut taxes.

            Now take 2000 through 2004.  GDP grows by ANOTHER $2 trillion ($9,817 billion to $11,728 billion).  So, using supply side economics one should expect tax cuts to lead to more than $600 billion in federal revenue, no?

            Turns out, no.  Back to chart 1.  Federal revenues DECLINE from 2000 to 2004 (from $2,024 billion to $1,881 billion).

            So now a supply-sider may argue that without those tax cuts GDP wouldn't have grown by $2 trillion.  In fact, it probably would have shrunk!

            Historically that's not going to hold a lot of water.  From 1940 to present GDP has only declined on an annual basis twice.  From 1945 to 1946 GDP declined by about a half a percent, and from 1948 to 1949 it declined by a about 1%.  

            (I'm sure I don't have to tell you why it's inappropriate to use the Great Depression as a model for what could have happened to our economy.  The Great Depression occurred due to a lack of regulatory restraints on our market system.  You could buy stocks by putting 10% or less down, meaning you could lose about 10 times what you originally invested.  That's never going to happen again in a properly regulated economy.  Another discussion for another day, but I wanted to address it since it's germaine to our discussion.)

            That means the economy grew even after Pearl Harbor, which is the closest thing we've got to an economic comparison to 9/11.  So let's assume the economy DOES decline by 1/2% and then by another full percent.  And why not, let's just throw in another 1.5% in 2004 just for good measure.  This kind of decline has never happend in the modern age of this nation (from 1940 beyond).

            Forgiving the fact that Bush would have been run out on his ear, at that point our nations GDP would have gone from $9,817 billion to $9,525 billion.  That's still a higher level of economic activity than we had in 1999 ($9,268.4 billion), therefore one might assume that tax revenue collected would have been a little higher than revenues collected that year ($1,827.5 billion).

            So let's review.  With an additional $2 trillion in economic activity and tax cuts the federal government was able to collect $1,880 billion.  But if we assume no tax cuts, and an unprecidented economic CONTRACTION we'd have economic activity comparable to a time when federal revenues were $1,827.5 billion.

            Is this starting to look like a zero-sum game yet?

            Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

            by advisorjim on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 08:49:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  hate to be stupid here, but (none)
              as i recall from high school econ, recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth or something like that. are you saying we haven't had a real recession since the depression?
              •  Nope. (none)
                What I'm saying is we haven't had a year-to-year period where GDP declined since 1949.  There have been plenty of recessions.  Let's take a look at 2001, for example.


                So, for 2004 by quarter here's what happened to our GDP.

                Q1     Q2      Q3      Q4
                -.05   1.2     -1.4    1.6

                Most Republicans refer to this as the "Clinton Recession."  From a purely textbook perspective I think you're right.  It IS supposed to be consecutive quarters. I think it is fair, however, to say that 2001 was economically crappy.  But consider this--for the YEAR the nation's actual GDP grew by 0.8%.

                That's what you find pretty much every CALENDAR year since 1949 (unless I've misread the chart).  You can have two quarters of consecutive decline (and thus a recession), but still have economic GROWTH for the year.  Make sense?

                Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

                by advisorjim on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 10:51:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy (none)
        Cause and effect is not clear here.

        In particular, there was no big tax cut in 2004.  With a fixed level of taxation, you'd expect revenue to go up with total economic activity.

        This isn't 100% certain, since some of the 2003 law wouldn't have taken effect fully till early 2004.  But a lot of the 2003 tax cut (e.g. child credit rebates) kicked in immediately in 2003.

  •  It should be noted (4.00)
    It should be noted that what you describe as fiscal conservative is not.  I was raised in a very fiscally conservative home, staunch Republicans (who have since left the party) and the way generations of my family have defined fiscally conservative is simply not spending money you don't have.  Supply side is, like the elder said "Voodoo economics" and bears no resemblance to traditional conservatism or sanity.  While I agree with your post both in content and intention it seems a far beter argument can be made to simply create a budget and live within it.  That is conservatism at its finest.
    •  "Fiscal conservative" (none)
      often meant "living within the government's means", as you've described.  

      However, at least in the last few decades, it's suggested a policy preference for a balanced budget through both lower spending and lower taxes -- especially lower taxes.

      People who want both a balanced budget and high spending can advocate a government that lives within its means, but since it's funded by higher taxes, those people won't be called (and really never were called) "fiscal conservatives".

      Nowadays the "lower taxes" side of things has gotten so ridiculous that W keeps trying to claim the "fiscal conservative" mantle, despite spending like there's no tomorrow.

  •  The story. (4.00)
    Stop borrowing

    The single greatest achievement of the Clinton Administration was to balance the Federal Budget.  This had the effect of taking the Federal Government, the 800 pound gorilla, out of the credit markets.  This made credit for corporations cheap.  The business world didn't have to compete with the low interest rates backed by the "full faith and credit" of the US Government.  They could afford to create new products, build factories and hire labor to make them, build sales forces to market them and make a profit.

    What the hell went wrong?

    Newt Gingrich and his Contract on America.

    •  By creating tax dodges that allowed business to build these new factories in China, America lost out on it's own bonanza.  

    • By rigging the rules for corporate accounting so that the same accounting companies could both prepare and audit the books, and giving the executives "safe harbor" with a simple statement, the stage was set for Enron, WorldCom, et al...

    • "Tort Reform" made it almost impossible for shareholders to bring suit against corrupt corporate management.  Thereby making crime pay.

    In spite of all this, the economy flew high and straight.  So what killed it?


    The tax cuts of  this moronic pResident sent us from budget surpluses to budget deficits.  The largest budget deficits in the history of history.  The 800 pound gorilla is back in the credit markets and he's eating all the bananas.

    So why is the economy recovering now?

    Define recovering.  The corporations are doing great.  But middle class America works longer for less.  In the mean time, America accumulates a crushing debt that threatens the global economy.  If there is any "recovery" going on, it is not because of the tax cuts, it is in spite of them.

    So what keeps the whole shit from falling apart?

    Petrodollars.  As long as the global market for oil only does business in US Dollars, the dollar has some support.  But if oil can be had for Euros, the dollar loses all support.  Game over for BushCo and all of America. Now you know why we went to war in Iraq.

    Al Gore was ready to take us to an economy powered by renewable energy.  If he had, the petrodollar would have been irrelevant.  And now you know what a calamity the 2000 election was.  

    It is no accident that Liberty and Liberal are the same word.

    by Sorceress Sarah on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 03:36:46 PM PST

    •  yup.... (4.00)
      ...and I can't wait for the time 6 months after we have pulled most of our troops when the Iraqi government decides the Euro is a better standard and ties their oil (1/4 of the worlds capacity when fully running) to it.  Should be a banner day in the history of America...


      ''They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

      by I Want My American Pride Back on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 04:45:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  rethugs and interest rates (none)
      I have my own little economic conspiracy theory. The Republicans want the government to be a debtor because they WANT high interest rates.  They own the money and intend to get a hefty return when they loan it.  Why should they be interested in helping the masses and new businesses upstarts to get easy credit?
    •  Another problem with the tax cuts (none)
      is that for the average person, that little bit of money didn't make any difference.

      As I recall, I got $300. In the south, you're lucky if that pays your August electric bill.

      Not to say that I wouldn't be glad to find 300 bucks on the ground, but in today's world, it just doesn't go very far. The money's impact on each individual was negligible.

      Yet for our government, the loss was staggering. Frankly, I felt uneasy about taking the money, when I knew we had a deficit to pay down. I thought, as I would when considering my personal finances, that the government should keep the money in case things got really bad some day. They might need it. To me, the tax giveaways were unpatriotic. People shouldn't ask something like that of their government when money is tight. It's the same as a spoiled, ungrateful child whining for a new bike, when Dad's taken a pay cut at work.

      I believe people should try to live within their means. Why should the government be any different? We need to promote the image of Bushco as fiscally irresponsible, careless with our money, wastrels, whatever frame you like.

    •  You Said It SS! (none)
      And, you put it so succinctly, thank you!  I'm going to cut and paste this into a Word document so I can whip it out at a moment's notice.

      advisorjim, thanks for this diary, it's important that we have some VERY simple ways to discuss important and complex issues like tax cuts with people.  

      "It is what it are and it are what it is." --Larry

      by hillaryk on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 11:01:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This was a terrific discussion (none)
    learned a lot here.

     What a welcome addition.

  •  Reasons behind the Republican model's failure (4.00)
    They used to refer to supply side as "trickle down", but the money isn't trickling down. As the economy grows, real income is down for all but the top brackets. The money is being kept by the wealthiest of the wealthy, instead of going to people that will spend. The wealthy tend to invest or save much of their wealth, hiding it from taxation and keeping it from the marketplace. How can I say that? Isn't investing putting money into the market? Technically, yes, but a dollar spent on a purchase drives the market more than a dollar invested. Add to that the fact that every time that dollar changes hands in the supply chain it can be taxed, while investment money can be hidden from taxation, and you see why the Republican model fails. Top it off with huge loopholes in the tax code which are available only to the wealthiest few you have a recipe for stagnation.

    To summarize: the purchasing ability of the average American has declined, so the growth of the economy is lower than their model says it should be and unspent dollars are hidden from taxation by the wealthiest of the wealthy, meaning lower revenues.

    In conclusion, I will simply point out that there is a difference between income and wealth that Republicans fail to acknowledge or consider.

    "The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government" - Teddy Roosevelt

    by mrboma on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 03:55:17 PM PST

    •  when investing isn't really investing (4.00)
      Isn't investing putting money into the market? Technically, yes, but a dollar spent on a purchase drives the market more than a dollar invested.

      the other part of the problem here is that "putting money into the market" doesn't necessarily do anything for industry.  most of the time when people purchase stock they're simply purchasing it from someone else, not the company that originally issued it.  thus, this money doesn't actually do anything to give the company more capital for building and upgrading factories and the like.  it makes the value of the stock go up a little bit, and thus the whole "market" a small amount, but is not really an investment in the economy.  only purchase of new common stock issues actually get capital back to the company, and that's a very small percentage of the market.

      business-school conservatives like to talk about stock purchases putting money in the hands of industry for capital upgrades, but 95% of the time it's just hot air.  all it does is make other investors a bit richer - see "the bigger sucker theory."

      or more to the point, investment helps the wall street economy, but does nothing for the main street economy.

      l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

      by zeke L on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:56:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I know I just met you (none)
    but can I just kiss your forehead?

    Recommended! Thanks!

    When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and purity of its heart.--Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by rcvanoz on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 03:55:49 PM PST

  •  You have outstandingly good timing ... (none)
    a Winger friend just sent me an email link to the GAO report, absurdly claiming he thinks this is "non-partisan" (i.e., somehow it can be used to bash Dems for the sickly Bush economy, although it's been strictly a GOP show since 1/20/01).  

    These numbers absolutely crucify any notion that the blame is equally divided between the two parties---although I hope national-level Dems take this info to heart and run to the left, for a change.

    Well done, and never mind the length.  Huzzah!

  •  What (none)
    a beautiful paradox.

    I am going to have to reread it so I can watch a republican flop around like a fish out of water and start gasping for air.

    People vote for sunshine, not for gloom and doom!

    by missliberties on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 04:12:57 PM PST

  •  Ronald Reagan Knew Better... (4.00)
    ...that's why when his 1981 tax cut under the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA) caused deficits as far as the eye could see, he proposed the biggest tax increase in American history, the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, TEFRA.

    As the attached chart illustrates and the accompanying study proves, Reagan drastically increased taxes by eliminating cuts that were supposed to take effect under the 1981 ERTA.

    The GOP of today has forgotten the lesson that Ronald Reagan, wise man that he was, learned long ago and that we Republican Patriots - genunine conservatives all (as opposed to the corporate oligarchic poseurs who now run the party) -continue to pursue in our loving memory of him:

    The REAL GOP - or the few of us who remain - believes in Fiscal Responsibility; a responsible, reasoned trade policy; and, a strategic withdrawal from the "World of Wilson", where American troops are deployed in over 100 forward bases, whose "vital interest" to America is questionable, at best.

    We are the true heirs of Lincoln,Taft, Goldwater and Reagan.  George Bush, his neocon pals, and the corporate whores who pass as the Republican "leadership" in Congress are poseurs!

    It merely goes to show how far our beloved party has left us, whored out to the interests of multinational corporate contributors, that I and others should find ourselves posting on a principally Democratic website!

    "The beginning of thought is in disagreement -- not only with others but also with ourselves." - Eric Hoffer

    by Thinking Republican on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 04:17:10 PM PST

    •  Fiscal responsibility (4.00)
      I'm old enough to have been startled by the assertion that "the founding principal of `fiscal conservatism' is supply-side economics". When I was growing up and my grandfather was the heart of the Republican Party, the founding principal of fiscal conservatism was "don't spend more money than you have".

      But I don't think Grandpa (a classic upright Main Street Republican and Wisconsin delegate to the RNC) ever got over finding out that he paid more taxes than Nixon did.

      If I can't dance, it's not my revolution. -- Emma Goldman.

      by DoctorScience on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 04:36:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  God Bless Your Grandpa... (none)
        ...and all the tens of thousands like him who once made the GOP the trulyGrand Old Party.

        For nearly 50 years, from Lincoln to Wilson, the GOP dominated the White House and Congress.  During that period, America experienced the greatest economic expansion in our history; we were, for the most part, at peace with foreign nations(save for the Spanish War); and, we wisely limited American involvement overseas.  We grew; our nation grew; and we ultimately provided the kind of worker benefits - minimum wage laws, the right to ogranize and collectively bargain, the 8 hour day - that created the middle class of the the first 70 years of the Twentieth Century.

        Today's party is more concerned with corporate profits than with citizens.  Ask any Republican congressman if he'll consider voting against the president's trade policies because of the horrible way foreign workers are treated and watch their stunned reaction.  Then, ask them if they would vote against it because of inadequate guarantees of intellectual property (patents, copyrights, and trademarks) and they will say, "Absolutely!".  Their constituency is corporate America; the workers be damned.

        "The beginning of thought is in disagreement -- not only with others but also with ourselves." - Eric Hoffer

        by Thinking Republican on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 04:50:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ah, the good old days... (none)
          of McKinley and the Phillippines, of Standard Oil and The House of Morgan, a/k/a "Robber Barons Are Us."  Pardon me if I'm not buying this rosy revisionist Republican history of the "Gilded Age." Theodore Roosevelt, who I notice didn't make your pantheon of heroes, was the only Republican of the era who gave a damn about workers.
          •  And, oh, yeah... (none)
            Theodore Roosevelt eventually left the Republican party in disgust, didn't he?
            •  I like to think of Teddy as a (none)
              Bull Moose, and not as a republican.  He would probably want to be remembered the same way.

              "You beat on this prick enough, he'll tell ya he started the Chicago fire - that don't necessarily make it so!" -Nice Guy Eddie, Reservoir Dogs

              by Subterranean on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 12:54:31 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Actually.... (none)
              TR (he hated being called "Teddy") is my favorite president of all time, but he was not a "conservative", per se, so he was excluded from the mix.  Indeed, it was Roosevelt who first provided workers with the right to organize; who fists championed the notion of Civil Rights in the workplace; and, who busted Standard Oil.

              But, even with that, TR had more than a blemish - he had deep gouges in his flesh:  he acquiesced to the massacre of the Philippine Insurgents ("kill everyone over the age of 10"); he was a devout imperialist; and, his writings were interspersed with the notion of blacks (and Filipinos) being a genetically inferior race.  I tend to forgive him much of that because of his times, but there is no doubt that he did it.

              As for him "leaving" the GOP: Actually, he did not.  Like me, the GOP left him.  He actually WON the 1912 primary against President Taft, but the power-brokers of the time (the Morgans, et. al.) who controlled the party denied him the nomination at the convention.  But the GOP rank and file - then as now - is much better than the party leadership.

              "The beginning of thought is in disagreement -- not only with others but also with ourselves." - Eric Hoffer

              by Thinking Republican on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 03:13:35 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  TR wasn't perfect. (none)
                But for his time, and for his party, he was exemplary.  Racism was so deeply-rooted in American consciousness of the time, it's probably unfair to tar TR too deeply with that.  The culture simply didn't allow for real respect for darker-skinned races.  Even "good" official references to them were denigrating -- as witness McKinley's concern for our "little brown brothers" in the Phillippines and the general consciousness of the "White Man's Burden."  What TR DID do was invite a black person to the White House for dinner -- and all hell broke loose, Southern papers accusing him of "betraying" the South (his mother had been an unreconstructed Southern Rebel).  He never did it again, but the gesture was huge. It was a first.  Teddy is the only GOP President I admire. And as for the others, whitewash away.  I'm not buying.
                •  It doesn't sound like we disagree on a lot.... (none)
         for the other GOP presidents of this Century, not much to say about them, with these exceptions:

                  Hoover gets blamed for the Great Depression, but even Harry Truman said he wasn't responsible; that "it was created for him".

                  Ike warned us all of the dangers of the "military-industrial" complex that we are seeing in full blossom today.  Richard Perle and the rest of the neocons have consulting contracts with all of the aerospace companies and simultaneously advance the interests of the Israelis in their arms sales; then, the Israelis sell state-of-the-art technology to the Chinese, our most likely future adversary.  Keep those cash registers ringing.

                  Nixon, had he not been a damn fool on Watergate, was on course to become the American Disraeli; the greatest foreign policy president since Jefferson. For all his personal idiosyncracies, the guy was a uniquely political animal; a genius in many respects deeply troubled by his personal demons, paranoia, and insecurity.

                  Gerry Ford, God bless him.  I don't know what would have happened without him to bind us up after the Watergate mess.

                  Ronald Reagan was the greatest president of my lifetime.  To his everlasting credit, he couldn't stand the Bushes; neither could Nancy.

                  Happy to go around again, if you like.


                  "The beginning of thought is in disagreement -- not only with others but also with ourselves." - Eric Hoffer

                  by Thinking Republican on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 12:50:58 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  BTW.. (none)
            My reference to "Taft" in my original text was to Senator Taft of Ohio, who was a conservative, not President Taft, who was a corporatist.

            President Taft, as you probably know, placed a poor third in the race of 1912 - well behind TR.  The Republican rank-and-file split for TR, allowing Wilson the victory (and his disasterous presidency.)

            "The beginning of thought is in disagreement -- not only with others but also with ourselves." - Eric Hoffer

            by Thinking Republican on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 03:21:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  huh? (none)
          we ultimately provided the kind of worker benefits - minimum wage laws, the right to ogranize and collectively bargain, the 8 hour day - that created the middle class of the the first 70 years of the Twentieth Century.

          How can you say that the Republicans were responsible for these worker benefits?

          I come from a staunchly Republican family and they HATED unions - they were filled with evil Commies.  And they couldn't care less about the plight of the "workers".  

          I agree with the rest of your post, though.

          •  Read your history.... (none)
            ...virtually all of the labor reforms came about during TR's Administration, at his strong urging and with strong Republican support in the Congress.  

            "The beginning of thought is in disagreement -- not only with others but also with ourselves." - Eric Hoffer

            by Thinking Republican on Fri Feb 04, 2005 at 04:55:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Political spectrum has shifted (none)
        Or rather, the spectrum has leaped to the right.  Liberals are now nutjobs, Democrats are now liberals, Republicans are now democrats, wingnuts are now staunch republicans, and fascists are wingnuts.

        The GOP of Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and even Reagan is DEAD.  DEAD.  DEAD.  It will never come back.  Religion and corporate interests have molded the GOP into a new beast and hopefully, eventually, the more moderate 'pugs will step into the Democratic party.  Then if the Democratic party gains power, the liberals can slowly work from within to pull the spectrum back to the left.  This probably will not all happen within our lifetimes.

        "You beat on this prick enough, he'll tell ya he started the Chicago fire - that don't necessarily make it so!" -Nice Guy Eddie, Reservoir Dogs

        by Subterranean on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 12:53:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not to mention... (4.00)
      Admitting he made a mistake in Lebanon.  Sure it took 240+ dead Marines, but he had the courage to take personal responsibility for the catastrophe there.  

      Liberalism and Conservativism are both essential to a well-running state, Liberalism to point out flaws and improve society, and Conservativism to put a brake on rash change and preserve core societal values.  This Republican Administration has little in common with Conservative ideals of American noninterventionalism(Republic, not an Empire), American core values (our secular Scripture, the Constitution and the rights within), fiscal prudence (ballooning deficit while wasting money on insane schemes for Medicare, Social Security, and pork-barrel Pentagon spending).  There's a term for that, and it isn't "Conservative," it's "Radical."  

      We are the true Conservatives now, trying to defend the legacy of FDR, JFK, and LBJ from those who wish to tear it down and construct an America in their own greedy self-serving image.

      (Insert Democrat Here) for President in 2008!

      by teenagedallasdeaniac on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:26:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reagan's mistakes. (none)
        Did he ever admit having made a mistake in Nicaragua?
        •  I don't know that he did... (none)
          ...but when Iran Contra took place on his watch, he went before the nation and said "I am responsible".  Then, he fired everybody who had worked behind his back.

          My sense is that Iran-Contra was probably engineered by G.H.W. Bush with the assistance of National Security Advisor Ricahard Allen, Bushie lawyer James Baker, and the rest of the Bush Wing of the Reagan Administration.

          The fact is: Ronald Reagan couldn't stand G.H. W. Bush and chose him as VP only because Gerry Ford turned him down at the last minute at the convention.  Bush was a stand-in, brought into the Reagan Administration only at the urging of Bushie Richard Allen. Allen has written of the circumstances; you can Google it.

          "The beginning of thought is in disagreement -- not only with others but also with ourselves." - Eric Hoffer

          by Thinking Republican on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 03:28:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, I know. (none)
            The fact that he despised Bush is a huge plus for Reagan.  But I will never admire Ronald Reagan; his administration took huge steps toward destroying progressive taxation, the right to bargain collectively (air traffic controllers' strike), U.S. respect for world opinion (Nicaragua, ignoring the World Court), the responsibility of the media to air all opinions on issues and therefore to preserve the marketplace of ideas (as opposed to the propaganda machines we live with now), etc., etc., etc.  What he and his FCC appointees did to media regulation is enough all by itself to put him at the top of the list of all-time lousy presidents.

            All that said -- I do appreciate your willingness to discuss these issues with people here on Kos.  I also appreciate your knowledge of history, though I don't agree at all with your perspective!  It's nice to have a conversation with a Republican who doesn't just accuse me of being a baby-killer and a Nazi before he moves on. In short, I'm glad you're here.


            •  Well, thanks... (none)
              I enjoy popping in here, too.  And I'm eternally grateful to all you Kentuckians - but especially the folks in Lawrenceburg - for that fine Wild Turkey Kentucky bourbon you folks have been producing for all these years.

              If it's any comfort, I don't get along with a lot of the GOP's, either; never have.  (And the Freepers kicked me out and banned me! LOL!) Most of them are miserable human beings with only a small smattering of humanity, but the Dems have the same thing. Politics tends to attract the worst kind of people - certainly few that I would sip some fine KY bourbon with.

              Being the son of a union man myself, I can tell you the ATC firings didn't sit well with me; but, again (as is usually the case with partisan politics) it was the other side (Harry Truman) who took us down that road when he tried to break the railroad unions strike during the Korean War.  Reagan didn't "ban" the right to collectively bargain; he simply asserted the same as his Democratic predecessor did.

              As for the "World Court", well, that's something we're going to be on the other side of.  Old notion it may be, I still cling to the notion of the sovereignty of the nation-state and the world still works that way.  The World Court stuff is that Wilsonian One World Order - a Democrat notion that (by the way) appealed at one time to the Bushies, bigtime.

              You're right on the fairness doctrine.  The country got hosed.  We turn $80 billion of broadcast spectrum over to those little weasels for free, and then demand nothing back???!!!  Well, that's unadulterated horse manure - and the kind of stuff that could only be tolerated in a corrupt political system.  (But we all knew that anyway...)


              "The beginning of thought is in disagreement -- not only with others but also with ourselves." - Eric Hoffer

              by Thinking Republican on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 01:14:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  hear, hear! (none)
        We are the true Conservatives now, trying to defend the legacy of FDR, JFK, and LBJ from those who wish to tear it down and construct an America in their own greedy self-serving image.

        i've been telling people lately that the democratic party is now the conservative party for these reasons.  but i hope it's a big tent!  because conservative still means defending the status quo, and while i'm glad to defend the new deal from the maniacal busheviks, i still consider myself a liberal-progressive libertarian.  IOW, i am not satisified with the status quo and want to move forward.

        and you're right that conservative is not the term to describe today's wrong-wing. but the term is reactionary - somebody who wants to make "radical" change but instead of moving into the future they want to move to an imaginary past.  for the plutocratic wing of the GOP, that would be the robber-baron era of the late 19th century (karl rove specifically wants to replay the mckinley administration sans assassination).  the theocrat wing of the party want to go all the way back to the priest-kings of the bronze age.

        l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

        by zeke L on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 08:33:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thinking Republicans - now there's a (4.00)
      real minority for ya. ; )

      Seriously though - it's nice to see people of various opinions stopping in. Whether they have 'converted,' like AdvisorJim, or not.

      When I'm not busy feeling bitter about the constant right-wing attack on anyone who dares question them, I sometimes mourn the loss of enlightened discourse among the people.

      There is much we can learn from each other.

      I believe that most Americans have more in common than we have differences. And there are many problems, both societal and global, that can't be solved without our full cooperation. But the current political climate makes it difficult to work together. In fact, the Bush regime deliberately cultivates this divisiveness. They figure if they pit us against each other, we will be too busy to notice how they're f***g up the country.

    •  Hey! (none)
      I used to actually enjoy debating policy with you folks!  Really debating.  Didn't always agree, certainly, but we debated.  And we could both see we were both trying to do what was best for America, and could respect that.

      I had thought you'd all been killed off during in the Great Plague of 1994.  Nice to see a few survived, but it might be a good time to think about leaving the old homeland for greener pastures ;).

      Now, I am not a great fan of the late 19th Century, economic growth and all.  In fact, I thought that's what progressives of both parties were trying to grow away from (yes, there used to be progressive republicans, see TR).  Nor am I a fan of Reagan; in fact, I put much of the blame for the rise of these creeps on policies he espoused (anti-union, deficeit spending, tinkle-down economics, anti-tax, anti-gay).

      That said, I sure do miss having an opposition that doesn't want to kill me!  

      "Politics isn't about big money or power games; it's about the improvement of people's lives" - Paul Wellstone

      by nullspace on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 08:53:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fucking awesome diary (none)
    It wasn't too long, and you made it funny. You reached both your goals. :)
    Look forward to your next post.

    "For all his flaws...I have yet to see any Democrat that I trust more, or who has taken more shit without flinching." - Wintermule on John Kerry

    by OxyLiberal on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 04:18:31 PM PST

  •  Good summary (none)
    You should continue the simulated dialogue and take the rest of their philosophies and tricks apart as well
  •  Yes, they will claim the numbers are fake. (none)
    When you say the numbers are from the CBO, they will say "give me the link."

    When you give them the link to the CBO (or the BEA, or the BLS, for that matter) they always come back with, "your link only gave me the site, but what are your search parameters..."

    And god forbid if any of the numbers have been reported in the media (liberal bias!) -- not to be trusted.  

    But if you have the stamina to get past this, yeah, I like to watch them flopping (flip-flopping?) around.

  •  Anytime (none)
    You can post a "long" diary anytime, in my book!

    Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups

    by Catriana on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:17:31 PM PST

  •  Bravo. (none)
    Bravo. Bravo. Bravo.

    I look forward to your next post.

  •  Response (4.00)
    As a Republican about-to-become Independent myself, I can attest to how frustrating it is when you meet people who still claim to believe there is a factual basis for supply-side economics.  When it is your family, it makes you want to hit your head on the wall when you can't get your point across.  I am not being confrontational at all and am simply presenting the facts.  People don't like to experience cognitive dissonance and are therefore often reluctant to challenge core beliefs.

    The facts don't bear it out.  Unless we are dealing with marginal tax rates in the 60%+ range, you are not going to see an increase in revenue from lower taxes.  People often point to how tax receipts rise shortly after capital gains tax rates are cut but that is a short-term phenomenon.  People are selling to take advantage of the short-term tax rates.

  •  trickle down, my ass! (3.75)
    Here's a diary from a while back where I correlated GDP with the marginal tax rate.  The top tax rate may be a three-year leading indicator of the productivity of the economy, with a correlationship of r=+0.77.  When the rich get taxed more, the economy does better.

    It can never be that War shall preserve life and Peace destroy it. -Hobbes

    by intrados on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:14:00 PM PST

  •  advisorjim, (4.00)
    would you please marry georgia10 and have some kids so I can watch them think?


    "Off we go into the Wild New Yonder"

    by NYBri on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:38:21 PM PST

  •  ditto head (4.00)
    I too am a recovering republican and I'm glad that I'm not alone.  thanks
  •  the truth (4.00)
    the truth is the movers and shakers in the conservative moment know that low taxes don't increase tax revenue
    this is what is called a usedful myth.

    rather the true agenda is to 'starve the beast'
    bankrupt the federal government so that is only does two things.

    1. service debt
    2. defense spending
    everything else can be  stopped (social security)
    or handed off to the states (funded by sales tax the most regressive tax there is)

    Send your dittoheads this article from Townhall(a conversative website) by Bruce Barlett
    a Economist in Reagan administration

    Resolution: to set the record straight

    New Year's Day is a time for making resolutions, so I am going to make one today. I resolve to do more in the future to correct the economic misinformation that appears in the news pages of major newspapers. This is hard work because there is so much of it.

    In defense of the media, I should say that the worst misinformation is so deeply embedded that it is really just conventional wisdom. Everybody has heard it so many times before that it is just assumed to be true by reporters, editors and readers alike.

    A good example of this is the myth that the budget deficits of the 1980s resulted from a trick -- some would even call it a lie -- played by Ronald Reagan and a group of supply-side economists. Supposedly, they sold Congress and the American people a bill of goods by saying that the 1981 tax cut would lose no revenue. Based on something called the "Laffer Curve," they are said to have asserted -- on the basis of no logical or empirical evidence -- that there would be such an outpouring of work, investment and economic growth that higher revenues would be collected at lower tax rates.

    This whole story is, of course, complete nonsense. No one in a position of authority ever said any such thing. And even if they had, how can one possibly believe that a skeptical Congress and a liberal news media would allow anyone to get away with it?

    The truth is that every official estimate made by the Reagan Administration, published in the budget and elsewhere, showed large revenue losses associated with the 1981 tax cut. Furthermore, these estimates were comparable to those made by independent agencies such as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

  •  one nitpick (none)
    another great diary, but you've mixed up a couple of terms.

    fiscal conservatism means sound economic policy, including only spending within your means.  that is, not running deficits.  time was, republicans got this and based conservative economic policies on reality-based economics.  that's why nixon could famously declare we are all keynesians now and bush the elder could call out voodoo economics when running against reagan in the '80 primaries.  

    but supply-side economics has taken over the increasingly mislabeled "conservative" movement.  it is now an article of faith, and completely opposed to any notion of responsible economic policy.

    once, fiscally conservative could be claimed to be synonymous with fiscally responsible.  since the people who inaccurately call themselves conservative are the most fiscally irresponsible bunch since... well the last eight decades at least... i'd say the term fiscal conservative is no longer operable, and should be retired.

    l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

    by zeke L on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:38:41 PM PST

    •  You are correct, and I agree... (none)
      That's why I don't consider myself 'fiscally conservative' anymore.  I consider myself 'fiscally responsible.'

      But if you as the average dittohead what it means to be fiscally conservative I think you'd be surprised by the number who say it means they subscribe to 'supply side' economics.

      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

      by advisorjim on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 09:46:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Welcome and HELP (none)
    Welcome to Kos my converted friend.  I'm sure Kos will absolve you of your past sins and welcome you into our fold.  Enough of the mushy stuff, now on to my question.

    It is likely over the next 4 years that Bush and the Republicans will try to make their tax cuts permanent.  We all know ("we" being progressive Dems. and converts like you) that this will only insure that the ultra-rich remain that way at the expense of the country whose debt will increase up to and beyond Argentine "junk" bond status.  However, it is all but inevitable that BUSH and Co.  will try to portray not making the tax cuts permanent as a tax increase, and will attempt to brand any Dem. who opposes them as a tax and spend liberal trying to take money from working Americans and cripple the Country's economic growth.  So my question is, do you have any inside info. or opinions on how best to fight the Republican distortion machine?    

  •  Simpler way... (4.00)
    In response to...

    "cutting taxes make tax revenues go up"

    just say

    "Then why don't we just cut tax rates down to 0%?"

    You'll quickly get them to admit that their rule has a limit, at which point you ask them where that limit is...

    They won't have an answer.

    You simply point out... could it be where the Clnton tax rates were?  After all revenues increase under Clinton, but they'e fallen under Bush.

    And now you have one confused Conservative.

    "If any question why we died, Tell them, because our fathers lied." - Rudyard Kipling, 1918

    by Steve4Clark on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:56:02 PM PST

  •  the other stupid flaw in stupid supply side econ. (none)
    is that if the economy grows, the need for government grows. more regulation is needed. more infrastructure is needed. more money will be need to be spent in defense to defend our greater interest in oil security and so on. more money for social assistance because the price of goods will have been bid up. and so on. so even if federal income went up, need for spending would go up as well. and what are we seeing? a budget that keeps growing, taxes that keep shrinking, and dittoheads, bushites and the rest sticking their fingers in their ears saying "nananana".
  •  The chart we really need to see... (none)
    ...would be a scatter plot with effective tax rates along one axis and adjusted per capita GDP along the other. If the Laffer Curve applied for historical tax rates, it would leap out on such a graph.

    The fact that supply-siders have never produced this graph suggests that there is no Laffer Curve; but I'd be curious to see what the graph looks like anyway.

    Those who don't remember the future are doomed to repeat it.

    by Abou Ben Adhem on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 08:56:10 PM PST

  •  Ha! (none)
    Thanks, I'll remember this with my next neocon troll. ;)
  •  asdf (none)
    "They really think you can cut your income so much that you get a raise."

    Isn't that the Harry Potter Theory of Economics?<snark>

  •  You left out one tiny detail (3.80)
    The fact that Bush's tax cuts go to the top 1% has a lot to do with the fact that we aren't seeing any revenue. Rich people don't spend their money. They just don't at least not the way the rest of us do, not in a way that stimulates the economy. There is pretty much two economies in this country. The rich person economy where the money trades hands between corporations, the stock market and various banks. Maybe toss in a millionaire or two.

    And the blue collar economy which carries this country on it's back! We buy the goods, we pay the majority of the taxes. The top 1% doesn't put the money back into the system and they don't pay as much in taxes (thanks to the tax cuts) as the average joe does. So obviously the money given to them in tax cuts isn't going to go back to the government in the form of tax revenues!

    He who lives in the present, has no knowledge of the past nor vision for the future.

    by DeanDemocrat on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 12:03:29 AM PST

  •  It doesn't matter what you did or believed before (4.00)
    What matters is what you do now.

    Redemption is always possible -- just look at Robert Byrd.  A former klansman, IMHO, his actions in the last decade have more than atoned for his prior sins.

    Of all the Dems and liberals I respect (which is 98%) , there are few I respect more than former Republicans, since they had the courage to change their opinions and possibly alienate their friends to support the ideas they believe to be right.

    Thanks for the tips. :)

    Never wait for miracles.

    by Wanderer on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 02:41:05 AM PST

  •  Well done! (none)
    I was once a Republican too. Then I grew up.
  •  Great diary and discussion: (none)
    I have a question:

    We know that trickle down economics don't work and it is now clear that W's followers and the rethug party in general seem to believe in "faith based economics."  

    My question is:  why is W so determined to undermine (I mean "fix") Social Security?  What exactly is in it for his rich buddies?  We know that W won't raise taxes... he could borrow money to fund "privatization accounts" which would put us in even more debt, or he would have to cut SS benefits.  So, what is driving Bushco to overhaul the SS system -- there must be something that will give his billionnaire buddies a lot of money in their pockets.  How is SS tied into this trickle down scheme?

    •  Easy... (none)
      Current administrative costs of Social Security total about 1% of Social Security's overall budget.  While the mechanisms for private accounts has not been detailed yet (SS reform was proposed by Bush in 1999, by the way--I'm glad he's been charging ahead with an actually plan), while administrative costs for private accounts, if Britain's experience with privatization and 401(k)'s have taught us anything, would eat up about 15-20% of Social Security's budget.  I can't find the report at this early hour, but this essentially amounts to a $940 billion dollar boon for Wall Street money managers over the next 75 years.  

      Meanwhile, I guess I'll have to wait for that trickle.

  •  I want a conservative to explain to me how (none)
    it makes financial since to play Enron Economics with the federal budget.  Anybody can increasingly spend money on their credit card, take out loans, home equity, car, etc. and it would appear to everyone else that "man, the Jones must be doing pretty well. They have a new SUV, a new boat, they're sending Emily to a nice college, and they always are so fashionable."

    But what are they actually doing?  They've increased their material comfort in the short-term at the expense of their financial well-being in the long-term.  Is that not what we've done under the last few Republican presidents--been greedy for short-term interests at the expense of future generations.  Sounds like Enron Economics to me.  

    Supply side economics has only gotten us several trillion in debt under the last few Republican presidents when Clinton had started paying down the debt.  So, pick your devil--fiscal conservatism or greed.  Republicans think we can have both...and Democrats are fiscally irresponsible?  Someone enlighten us with how much debt that Reagan, Bush I, Bush II have accumulated compared to Clinton.  Those numbers are hard to ignore and it should be a campaign issue in 2008.  Especially, considering the recent 10 year anniversary of Republicans taking control of congress.

  •  Heck, compare the accumulated debt under (none)
    Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II compared to Clinton and all of our previous presidents over the last two hundred years...I would suspect you would be very surprised what a few Republican presidents can do to our long-term economic vitatlity...And don't remind me that it's congress that controls the purse strings because I know they do...but the President sets the agenda and has veto power.  Which this president has a problem doing to spending bills.  He sounds like a fiscal conservative, right?  HA!
  •  I hate to rain on the party... (none)
    But wouldn't most fiscal conservatives argue that:

    "lower tax rates = robust economy = less federal revenue = smaller government"

    Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty far to the left, and I definitely don't pretend to be an economist, but I thought their goal was to "shrink the govenment to the size that they could drown it in a bathtub"?  We like revenue, because we see a great value in many government programs...  but they could give a crap about that, right? Profit over people.

    It's obvious that Bush & Co. aren't shrinking the government, and really pissing fiscal conservatives off, but I thought the ideology was "reduce revenue and force the government to shrink, a.k.a Starve The Beast".  So long as the economy is growing at about the same rate as "demand-side economics" would allow, then their madness is vindicated, right?  Of course, assuming "economic growth" is the most important economic variable...

  •  I hate to rain on the party... (none)
    But wouldn't most fiscal conservatives argue that:

    "lower tax rates = robust economy = less federal revenue = smaller government"

    Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty far to the left, and I definitely don't pretend to be an economist, but I thought their goal was to "shrink the govenment to the size that they could drown it in a bathtub"?  Reduce revenue, force the government to shrink.  

    We like revenue, because we see a great value in many government programs...  but they could give a crap about that, right? Profit over people. So long as the economy is growing at about the same rate as "demand-side economics" would allow, then their madness is vindicated, right?  

    Of course, assuming "economic growth" is the most important economic variable...

    As a side note, it's obvious that Bush & Co. aren't shrinking the government, and really pissing fiscal conservatives off...  just like Reagan, the reality is they looooove government programs just as much as us, just not the ones that help people, so they end up with a "reduce revenue, increase spending" combo that seems absolutely disasterous...

    And yet the economy continues to grow... wierd.

    •  Destroying the Superstition of Supply-Side (none)
      Forces the Republicans hand.  They can no longer say that the ultra-rich of our country deserve a tax cut, and oh, by the way, we won't lose revenue and the economy will grow.  They must admit that their policies have consequences--deficits, benefit cuts, etc.  As of today, they do not admit that their policies (fiscal and otherwise) have serious consequences.  And you'd be surprised how many regular folks Republicans still swallow the supply side economic theory as they watch their party give billions upon billions of dollars to the ultra-rich.  These are voters we can, and must, win back.
      •  revenue? (none)
        What I'm saying is I don't think fiscal conservatives claim to increase revenue...  it seems like they intentionally want to reduce revenue, along with the government itself.

        Maybe there's a distinction between "fiscal conservativism" and "supply-side economics" that is getting confused here?

        •  let me clarify... (none)
          My main point was that before Bush's tax cuts, I asked a few fiscal conservatives/supply siders why they could support Bush's tax cuts, when all signs pointed to huge deficits if the cuts went through.  The response, from nearly every one of them, was "the economy will grow becuase of these tax cuts, revenues will rise and there won't be a deficit."

          This is lunacy, and we must be properly armed with the facts to defeat it next time the issue pops up.

          •  So then... (none)
            if they said they supported Bush's tax cuts as long as he was to cut spending to match the loss in revenue, avoiding adding to the deficit, would you see that as a problem?

            Because I think most fiscal conservatives think that's the way it should be... and many less informed ones probably think that's the way it is under Bush.

            •  Not a "problem" per se... (none)
              But that would be the intellectually honest conservative argument; however, intellectual honesty doesn't seem to be a high priority for Republicans nowadays.  Listen, everybody wants lower taxes and more services.  When people get to vote on such matters, they choose as such and fiscal crises occur--witness California's budget crunch and the mandated taxing and service referenda voters have passed through the years.  I would venture--and this would be a good survey idea, if any pro pollsters are hanging around--that a plurality of Americans identify themselves as "conservatives" because they don't like paying taxes, above all other issues.  As Reagan and Bush have taught us, the intellectually dishonest and deeply irresponsible practice of slashing taxes and raising spending is not good for the country in the long term.   That IS what republicans stand for--budget decifits that no mystical supply-side theory will ever erase.  Voters are deeply misinformed as to the reasons behind our current deficits, and we need to make the point, again and again, that our fiscal house is in disarray because of pandering, selfish, irresponsible tax cuts.
              •  I agree with what your saying... (none)
                but can't they just say "Hey, the economy is growing... therefore Bush's tax cuts worked, and deficits don't matter".  Have running huge deficits ever halted economic growth?

                I'm digging into this because these are the kinds of arguments smart conservatives bring to the table, misguided or not.  "Economic growth" is the indicator everyone hides behing to determine policy success, right?

              •  I guess my point... (none)
                is that advisorjim stated "The founding principal of `fiscal conservatism' is supply-side economics--the notion that tax cuts stimulate the economy, and therefore increase federal revenue.".

                It seems to me that the "founding principle" of fiscal conservatism is to stimulate the economy while reducing revenue.  So while he's a funny guy, advisorjim's argument could be a bit of a straw man.

                Of course as you point out many conservatives today are in fantasyland, wanting their cake and gobbling it down in record amounts.  Others are true fiscal conservatives, but look the other way because Bush is closer to their "side".  But that has nothing to do with the underlying philosophy, which is what advisorjim is attacking.

                And like I just pointed out, even the ones in fantasyland can point to economic growth for vindication.

                I'm not trying to be the asshole here, and I love bashing wingnuts just as much as everyone else, but these are the issues we need to get our heads around to win this debate.  And like I said, I'm not an economist, so it's possible that all my assumptions are way off and I'm as wrong as wrong can be...  but it would be nice to see it discussed.

                •  Sorry for the delay (none)
                  And the question you raise is a good one...when do deficits have a negative effect on the economy?

                  In the immediate short term, deficits are generally a good thing for economic growth--it's basically free money pumped into the economy, causing job creation, higher living standards, etc.

                  (sidenote: although there is huge differences in economic impact depending on your chosen brand of spending.  Anti-poverty efforts and tax cuts aimed at lower-income families greatly increases consumer spending--more food, clothing, merchandise, and other basic items that are spread economy wide.  Spending money on corporate welfare doesn't have that same impact--for instance, General Motors was sitting on $8 billion dollars in 2001, and thanks to the retroactive corporate tax cut of 2001, received an $800 million check from the government.  Needless to say, General Motors didn't immediately go out and buy a bundle of goods from merchants across the country.)

                  So, yearly deficits are a good thing in the short term--pumping cash into the economy generally makes GDP rise.  However, the interest paid on the cumulative debt throughout the years, which totaled $160 billion in 2004, generally serve as a drag on the economy, especially as a majority of our national debt is foreign-owned...pumping money into the Chinese economy does little to improve our own GDP growth.  So we basically have one foot firmly on the gas pedal and one foot lightly on the brake with our current deficits.  

                  However--this is where it gets tricky--the larger the debt grows and the more money that needs to be borrowed by the government, the higher interest rates tend to be.  The Federal Reserve doesn't set interest rates for the entire economy--they control one rate, I believe called the Overnight Bank Exchange Rate (or something of that ilk).  The market tends to follow this rate, although only to a certain point--other factors, among them the confidence investors have in the fiscal order of our government come into play.  The disturbing thing about our current fiscal state is that we truly are headed towards uncharted waters--the point at which our debt is so large that neither the Federal Reserves rate cuts nor deficit spending can achieve the effects that they do in fiscally responsible government.  Ominous consequences of runaway debt are runaway inflation, stagnant investment, and a DRASTIC devaulation of our currency as we try to pump out more and more cash to service the debt.  There is no American nor "First-World" precedent for the fiscal state we're plunging deeper into right now--we would have to turn to examples like Argentina as we look into the crystal ball.

                  So that's the trouble with debt in the long term.  I probably made many, many errors as I relied on my college economics training for the above post, but it's a start...thanks for the question, I'll poke around a bit more on this.

  •  Iraq war is another great "annoyer" (none)
    for GOPpies.

    No one can defend the damn mess it turned out to be...

    Sigh... Bush turned US into a banana republic with nukes

    by lawnorder on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 10:28:40 AM PST

  •  No Historical Precedent/Evidence (none)
    For months I have asked Conservative readers on my blog

    Everything You Know Is Wrong

    to provide me with evidence, any historical precedent, where tax cuts have resulted in long-term economic benefit in the aggregate (i.e. the nation as a whole, not just a few rich people). No one has provided me with an answer.

    My cursory research (and I confess I'm neither an economist nor an historian) has not yielded a single instance of tax cuts creating long-term economic prosperity.

    Any help, here? I know Conservatives don't lurk here as a rule of thumb but anyone with a background in economics or history who could enlighten me....


    •  I suspect (none)
      That if tax cuts  were targeted to the middle-class and poor, and did not include the rich, then there would be a stimulus to the economy..

      Anyway I recall from reading Bush's first treasury sec'ys book,(Paul o'neill) that he argued with Bush about the proposed tax cuts... that he suggested Bush had them slanted towards the rich, when if they were to stimulate the economy they should be slanted the other way...

      Dont know if that theory is accurate, tho.

  •  How about (none)
    making this diary into a news article? We publish a small 4 page newsletter at our own expense entitled 'More Common Sense' with a nod of respect to Thomas Paine. It is designed to portray the 'progressive' point of view without attacking neo-com or Republicans but so anyone could pick it up and get some 'value'. Your post is great, funny but would needto be re-written so as not to taunt..but a straight forward 4-500 word article would be great..what say you? We are not online (yet) with the newsletter but it will be sometime this spring. Please respond, Thanks Phil

    But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them. George W. Bush

    by philinmaine on Thu Feb 03, 2005 at 02:35:18 PM PST

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