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Sometime over the last few weeks Republicans started to use the phrase "generational theft" to describe the stimulus bill.  I found this particularly interesting considering supply-side economics started the idea of massive government debt issuance.

Let's start with Reagan.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, he never balanced a budget -- despite the fact he was a "fiscal conservative".  As a result, total debt outstanding increased from $1.2 trillion in 1981 to a little under $3 trillion in 1989 (the year of his last budget).  Here's a graph of total debt outstanding under Reagan's leadership:


Bush I continued the trend.  He was a "fiscally responsible" Republican.  He never balanced a budget.  And total debt outstanding also continued to increase.  It increased from 3.2 trillion to 4.4 trillion at the end of fiscal 1993 (the last Bush I budget).  Here's a graph of total debt outstanding under Bush I's leadership:


And then there is Bush II -- another "fiscally responsible" Republican.  He never balanced a budget.  And according to the Bureau of Public Debt, total debt outstanding increased by $500 billion/year starting in fiscal 2003:

09/30/2008 $10,024,724,896,912.49
09/30/2007 $9,007,653,372,262.48
09/30/2006 $8,506,973,899,215.23
09/30/2005 $7,932,709,661,723.50
09/30/2004 $7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2003 $6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2002 $6,228,235,965,597.16
09/30/2001 $5,807,463,412,200.06
09/30/2000 $5,674,178,209,886.86

So when we hear Republicans talk about generational theft, well, they know of what they speak.

Originally posted to bonddad on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:57 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Reagan's reat theft... (167+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ed in Montana, Odysseus, ogre, pHunbalanced, IndySteve, Debby, Sherri in TX, billlaurelMD, atomic, jakbeau, ThirstyGator, sparky22, freelunch, object16, mataliandy, opinionated, 88kathy, Cassandra77, Euroliberal, MD patriot, pdrap, otto, marchmoon, thingamabob, Jesterfox, Pangloss, wader, TexDem, oldjohnbrown, BmoreMD, Sychotic1, snakelass, lcrp, Schup, walkshills, bwintx, McJulie, side pocket, Silverbird, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, Josiah Bartlett, rmx2630, dakrle, Julie Gulden, rapala, ExStr8, bloomer 101, 3goldens, Tinfoil Hat, NoMoreLies, Ckntfld, SherwoodB, KnotIookin, JohnB47, basquebob, Brooke In Seattle, Turkana, Gary Norton, reflectionsv37, Spoc42, mojo workin, EdlinUser, GreyHawk, Ice Blue, blue jersey mom, ivorybill, FunkyEntropy, Marcus Junius Brutus, FightTheFuture, xaxnar, DisNoir36, Showman, danmac, Do Tell, myboo, Themistoclea, deha, fromer, greenearth, gatorcog, buckinfuzzard, SingerInTheChoir, doingbusinessas, sarayakat, high bitrate, Jbeaudill, lynneinfla, revgerry, expatyank, Leap Year, mapman, Nulwee, DBunn, JohnnySacks, marykk, high coup haiku, Cronesense, BR Janet, Loudoun County Dem, godislove, Outrider, Ticonderoga, Jimdotz, DWG, sfbob, Theden, Canyon Lefty, Seneca Doane, misreal, cececville, edbb, Hens Teeth, mconvente, zerone, minerva1157, LucyMO, Calamity Jean, TomFromNJ, pamelabrown, Cassandra Waites, mofembot, PMA, xysea, BYw, msdrown, Mad Season, Radical Moderate, humanunit, Johnny Venom, ryangoesboom, satanicpanic, prettygirlxoxoxo, Bule Betawi, jaf49, CanyonWren, slaney black, SantaFeMarie, DrFaustus, MingPicket, mkor7, zackamac, eyeswideopen2008, Losty, jfromga, Skex, cityvitalsigns, ZAP210, p gorden lippy, leftywright, chrome327, wvmom, FrankCornish, Ronald Singleterry, DailyDrew, addisnana, Toon, Onomastic, CornSyrupAwareness, NamelessGenXer, FeloniousMonk, msazdem, grannyboots, the national gadfly, CoExistNow, leftymama, UtopianPablo, whoknu that the money he spent didn't build much of value.

    A big debt isn't bad, if we also leave our children better infrastructure.  But Reagan's tax cuts were given to Yuppies, who gave them to Germany in return for BMWs and Benzes.

    Well, those cars are all rusted now...but if we had build high-speed rail instead, that money would still be paying dividends in productivity and energy savings.

    It's not what we spend. It's what we spend it on that counts.

    •  Big debts are bad to leave your kids.... (10+ / 0-)

      No matter how good the economy is.

      If Liberals really hated America we'd vote Republican

      by exlrrp on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:27:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Really? (23+ / 0-)

        I think that is a rather simplistic view.

        And note that the diary gives the amount of debt in simple dollar amounts.  If you look at debt versus GDP, don't you get a different picture?

        You can call me "Lord Bink Forester de Rothschild."

        by bink on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:53:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Debt allows for an artificial expansion... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          object16, exlrrp

          of the monetary supply, so it can have some good sides, but there's no need for us to build up such massive deficits when so many huge problems need to be confronted.

        •  My statement was..... (12+ / 0-)

          "Big debts are bad to leave your kids No matter how good the economy is."

          (Actually I meant to say no matter how good the infrastructure is.)

          Wow---I can't see how anybody would disagree with that---how can anybody think its good to leave your kids a big debt? Even with a good infrastructure? you must have a really complicated view.

          Basic things ARE simple, like: don't leave your kids a big debt, no matter the circumstances. A debt is a negative thing: we're committing a chunk of our income for repayment or actually, we're committing a HUGE chunk of their income for years to come. And they don't get a vote on it----thats why its a ripoff..

          Why would anybody think debt is good? Thats a real repuiblican view, to my way of thinking---certailny they increased the debt to record heights. A large part of our current financial problems is that our country, both nationally and individually, has run up too  much debt and, like MAnhattanman says, we got too little in return. And now that more than one bubble has burst we as a country, both nationally and individually, are having a hard time paying the monthly nut. Is that fair to say?  Is this too simple to get?

          When you look at debt vs GDP you see that our nation is paying more and a larger percentage than ever for debt and debt service while our GDP has been declining. This is analogous to a homeowner having an Arm reset higher and higher while his hours keep getting cut at work. And when he gets laid off? what then? Lots of Americans are finding out.At least theyre in a nice house, even tho its being foreclosed on.
          And when our national income declines, as it is now---what then?

          Clinton left with a $127billion surplus: that was good
          Bush left with a $1.2 trillion deficit 4 times the highest Democratic president's highest.: that was bad.
          And the reason it was bad is that he's passing one hell of a lot of debt down for our kids to pay off, as he did throughout his presidency.

          Just my opinion, simple as it is.

          If Liberals really hated America we'd vote Republican

          by exlrrp on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:21:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I Know (12+ / 0-)

            But monetary and budget policy is a bit more complicated than this, especially when you control the world's reserve currency.

            You can call me "Lord Bink Forester de Rothschild."

            by bink on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:33:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  exlrrp wins this one blink (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              object16, Jbeaudill, DBunn, crystalboy, ZAP210

              exlrrp didn't say debt is bad, he said big debt is bad to leave your kids. This means big even relative to GDP. This means big even in the future. Debt is not bad in of itself, I've gone into debt twice to buy two different businesses and each time it was a smart investment.

              But leaving big debt to your kids means big interest payments. And since public debt never seems to get paid off, this means big interest payments forever. Monetary and budget policy is complicated, but big debt is a big permanent problem, no matter how complicated you make the debate.

              •  Definition of "big" (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                ... seems to be close to the heart of this failure-to-agree.

                One way to define "big" might be: nominally a much larger debt, but one that sets us up for a level of growth that makes repayment easy, or at least possible.

                Another possible definition: "big" means whatever level of debt is so great that it can never be repaid, and in fact becomes the thing that prevents healthy economic growth.

                My personal view: I'm not that worried about debt per se. I see it as an aspect of our unsustainable financial system, which earns that characterization because at some point it must map back onto our real economy, which itself is unsustainable due to ecological limits. The debt crisis is a consequence of how we do our real economy and our financial system. At some point we have to overhaul both of those, or else how much somebody supposedly owes somebody else will become exceedingly irrelevant.

                If our borrowing is invested to some important degree in solutions to our core sustainability probems, then I think it's essential to do. If we don't solve those problems, then the amount of debt that we do or don't have doesn't matter much.

            •  I don't think it needs to be. (8+ / 0-)

              Sure its more complicated---the homeowner in foreclosure can't just print more money like the government can.

              I think overcomplication of the system is a very big part of whats wrong. I think over complication of the system brings things like derivatives and debt/credit swaps--- paper instruments that way over value an asset. I think overcomplication of the system is what leads to bloated executive pay and bonuses. I think overcomplication of the system pluus greedis what lead to the "subprime mortgage" busness.

              Basic Rules of business and physics don't get suspended when things get more complicated. When an entity's liabilities are more than it's assets and expected income, that  entity is in a bad way, a negative situation.

              I am a retired business owner and I know that you don't REALLY need a lot of credit to run a business, or a government if you have a substantial reserve and/or savings. If you can supply your own working capital, you don't need to borrow much and what you borrow for is long term, like real estate, things that have value: not leveraging your way into more debt, which is what the banks did..

              thats why I believe the republican's "Cut taxes first last and always" plan is such a ponzi scheme: the rewards are all out front while later generations get stuck holding the bag. When Bush cut all the governmental income out front, in the first part of his administration, that immediately doomed the US to never have a surplus again---which we needed to pay down outstanding debt. republicans think short  range "get the profit out now"---Democrats think long range, whats best for the future. the stimulus debate proved that.

              And you still haven't shown how passing huge debt down to our kids is other than a negative thing. that REALLY takes some overcomplication

              If Liberals really hated America we'd vote Republican

              by exlrrp on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:09:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Over-simplifying as bad as over-complicating. (24+ / 0-)

                A macro economy is not a micro economy.  Treating the two as if they're identical is like taking your kids to the vet because "humans are really just animals."  The vet might get most of the medicine right, but the part that's wrong....

                The general rules of debt are: (a) the term of the debt should not exceed the term of the benefit; and, (b) unless it's a system-life-or-death emergency.

                Issuing 20-year Treasury bonds for infrastructure that, with proper maintenance, will last 50 years is a good investment.  Your kids will pay part of the interest, true, but they and their kids will also get the benefit of the infrastructure.

                And in an emergency such that the entire nation faces collapse if the government does nothing, a simplistic "no long-term debt" approach misses the point.  I'm not saying that necessarily applies here.  A big part of the problem is that we don't know where the "bottom" is on this.  That's a topic I'll be exploring in a Morning Feature this week.

                •  think TVA, built on debt (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mataliandy, expatyank, NRG Guy, NCrissieB

                  The next generation inherited the debt, but it also inherited a massive, green energy source, thousands of miles of streams and rivers in conservation areas, rural electrification, and, therefore, the means to produce their way out of the debt at a level of civilization not possible without the substantial public infrastructure outlay.

                  Big debt is not necessarily a bad thing to leave, as long as you also leave some hefty and useful collateral to go with it. Big debt for bombs and cash dumped in Iraq is bad debt - nothing but death and destruction to show for it. Big debt for tax cuts to the wealthy is bad debt. Nothing to show for it, again. Big debt for - I said TVA, but as others have done, insert your favorite benefical infrastructure here - good stuff ain't necessarily bad.

                  Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

                  by p gorden lippy on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 01:51:25 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  By your logic an investment in a college (16+ / 0-)

            education that involved accruing debt would be a bad thing to do to your children.

            Thing is that that investment should pay off in the long run.

            The debt issue isn't as simple as you make it out to be.  Some debt investment ultimately pays off well beyond the cost of the interest.

            I'd say risking some debt in an effort to make sure that there is something left for your children is better than just throwing up your hands saying "there's no money left so we're just gonna have to live with an economy in decline!"

            •  In Reaganomics there is no long run (16+ / 0-)

              just the next dividend.

              F#@k this Congress and the limos they rode in on!

              by MinistryOfTruth on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:24:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Um, well, there ARE other alternatives (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Silverbird, Jbeaudill, xaxado

              "By your logic an investment in a college education that involved accruing debt would be a bad thing to do to your children...."

              I'm not following your logic
              I (and my exwife) financed our son's college education completely so I know a little about this particular topic. it was our goal to get him tbrough college without any debt at all because---SURPRISE!!---- We thought that would be a good thing, to launch him into an adult life free of debt. I'm kind of just old fashioned that way.
              . We worked real hard to do this, went without on some things we would have liked. We did NOT refi our home at all for this.

              I know other people who went  10s and 10s of thousands of $$$$ to get their kids educated and some of them made really great  careers out of it and some are currently steaming lattes in Starbucks. Was that a good investment for them? Thats up to them to answer. The investment of time and effort to get my son through college without debt was worth it, I know that.

              I'm not the type of person who just throws up his hands on any occasion so I'm not going to go there. But I want to say this: as a general priniple its better to live within your means. Thats for ANY entity: person, business or government.
              You can't repeat: can't_ borrow your way to prosperity. What else has the last 8 years of Bush  and Borrow and Squander republican rule taught us?

              If Liberals really hated America we'd vote Republican

              by exlrrp on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:51:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not everyone can earn enough to (14+ / 0-)

                put their kids from college without going into debt.  The fact that you could puts you in an elite group.  My Mom and Dad did the same for me.  I happen to appreciate the fact that they made that investment and the sacrifices they did to make that happen.  I really, really appreciate it.  But they could do that - barely - but they could because they had the kinds of jobs that allowed them to do that.  In addition, my Mother insisted that I was not to take a job while school was in session to defray costs - she told me that my "job" was to get a good education and that was to be my focus.

                But I had friends in college who did not have that luxury who were great students and have gone on to be extremely productive individuals.  I am glad that they invested in their future not only for them, but also for our society in general.  As far as I'm concerned some of them were a way better investment than I was in terms of scholarship - lol.

                So I hope your kid appreciates your efforts as well as how lucky he is that you could do that for him.  Not everybody is born into families that can pull that off.

                •  Wow - your mother could be me (4+ / 0-)

                  I too have told my 19 year old that his job IS his education right now (although my hubby disagrees).  Our goal is to get him a start in life without any student loans, but that may be a pipedream if the economy keeps going this way.

                  Your mother raised a smart person!

                  •  Funny story... (10+ / 0-)

                    I suggested to my Mom that it might be a great idea for me to take a year off like many of my friends were at that time.  She simply said, "The money stops the year you are supposed to graduate.  It is up to you if you want to pay on your own after that."  LOL.  It took about a week for me to figure out that trying to earn the money for tuition alone with my job prospects would suck.  I graduated in four years.

                    •  Ok, I have to meet your mom (0+ / 0-)

                      I told my two oldest that the offer expired 6 months after their graduation date from high school.  I told them that if they took a year off, they would not go back.  I am sorry to say that I was right with the older two although my 28 year old has now gone back to school.

                  •  Another thing about the job school thing. (10+ / 0-)

                    I saw a story this morning on CNN about students who are struggling to stay in school right now.  The reporter said that some kids were working three jobs to stay in college.  That made me think of my Mom's rule - which she ultimately softened on when I found a job in my area of study that I could get paid for doing whilst also being able to study a bit.  

                    But anyway if a kid is working three jobs, how much studying can they realistically be doing?  Unless they are geniuses with photographic memories they can't be getting a lot out of their academic experience if they spend that much time just trying to pay to be there.  That's something that we as a society really need to address in my opinion.  I'm all for hard work, but school is work and it is important to give students the time to study and do their school work rather than short-changing them by forcing them to focus on a ton of other stuff that is unrelated to their academic experience.

                    •  Speaking from personal experience. (4+ / 0-)
                      I am one of the few who can say that they paid their own way through college.  I worked 25-40 hours a week every one of the four years I attended UIUC.  My grades suffered for it, and I finished with a solid B average.  I had no social life.

                      -7.75 -4.67

                      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

                      There are no Christians in foxholes.

                      by Odysseus on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 11:48:43 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Part-time on campus job is not a killer (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    I found that having a job on my schedule enabled me to focus, and given that I often had to be to work at 8:00 a.m., it helped defray the "party instinct" so I never got in trouble either.

                    "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." - Thomas Paine

                    by Mister Gloom on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:44:35 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  asdf (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mataliandy, inclusiveheart, Toon, Dretutz
              education that involved accruing debt would be a bad thing to do to your children.

              Not only that, but any Federal grants/money invested into k-12 school would be explicitally forbidden.  After all, investment in all cost no profit system can only lead to ruin, right?

              After all, if these kids really want to learn, they'll teach themselves.  Heck, privitize the school system while we are at it, then we'll have a real company on our hands, none of this free riding that occurs.

            •  College at this point is probably borderline (0+ / 0-)

              A lot of college graduates today actually end up in quite poor paying jobs.  When you compare the cost of college to the benefit, it actually may not be such a no brainer as to whether it is worth it.  

              Don't like XOM and OPEC? What have YOU done to reduce your oil consumption? Hot air does NOT constitute a renewable resource!

              by Asak on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:55:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  It has nothing to do with your kids, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Silverbird, forgore

            these massive debts will become due well in time for you to pay for them.

          •  Debts, in fact, aren't always bad (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            What if you went into debt to start a business, and the business was very profitable.  Then you died and your kids were left the debt, but also the business.  In time the business would grow and the income would be used to pay off the debt.  Alternatively you could have not started the business, had no debt, and your kids would live in poverty, but with no debt.  

            This is a contrived example, but it goes to show that there is more to the equation than just "debts are bad".  Debts can be good, if they are used for profitable purposes which produce more income than the interest on the debt.  

            Infrastructure spending is one good use of debt, because the infrastructure can allow for greater economic growth.  That assumes it is necessary infrastructure that serves a purpose, like mass transit, which will help us reduce our oil consumption and our green house gas emissions.  If it's just some bridge to nowhere in Alaska, then it is in fact a waste of money.  

            If Bush had left us with a massive green energy complex, along with that debt, then it would be fine.  Since we basically flushed the money down the toilet to give tax breaks to the wealthy and destroy two countries, it is not (even a bridge to nowhere would arguably be better than that).  

            Don't like XOM and OPEC? What have YOU done to reduce your oil consumption? Hot air does NOT constitute a renewable resource!

            by Asak on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:53:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  But you forget.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mataliandy, Toon


          Spending+More Spending = Fiscal Responsibility

      •  On the other hand, a guaranteed (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mataliandy, xaxado, Toon

        stream of income from debt instruments flowing into a trust fund is an excellent way to guarantee that your heirs in the next generation won't forget you.  Indeed, a trust fund is an excellent way to reward your friends at the bank and the foundation's board of directors and let them represent YOUR interests as they distribute the quarterly dividend checks.  It's a great way to insure that the dead hand from the grave continues to be influential.

        We need to stop thinking of social relationship as bilateral and realize that what counts is the social and financial network of mutual interest.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:52:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Debt can be useful if it is tied to (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Debby, opinionated, crystalboy, LucyMO, Toon

        a robust infrastructure of roads, waterways, airports in working order and with regular maintenance.

        There are bagels in the fridge

        by Sychotic1 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:28:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Big debts (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, Jbeaudill, xaxado

      end up crowding out private investment and ingenuity.  They are universally bad no matter how they are created.  The problem with the Obama stimulus is that it basically is trading a trillion dollars+ of debt for but a year or two of faster growth (the economy would have recovered without this stimulus and may have recovered better).

      •  Borrow and Spend Republicans create hollow govern (22+ / 0-)

        ment while enriching the Corporate Aristocracy with tax cuts for the wealthy, while gutting the functions of government through privitization.

        This is are only simplistic policies the Republicans can think to offer us, even in the face of economic disaster when 36 G.O.P. Senators voted for a $3.1 TRILLION tax cut as a substitute to the Democrats Stimulus Package. No sitmulative spending in the Republicans package but pleaanty of borrowing.

        nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it. - Barack Obama

        by Lefty Coaster on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:01:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This isn't an us vs them argument (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          it's a debt vs no debt argument.  Just because the Republican's did something doesn't make it ok for us to do too (actually it should be the opposite considering how wrong they have been).

          •  Yes, but... (17+ / 0-)

            all debt isn't equal. Going trillions of dollars into debt by giving tax cuts to the wealthy isn't the same as billions into debt for creating infrastructure and jobs.

            At least I hope not....

          •  no it's not and it hasn't been for a long time (11+ / 0-)

            We know full well that there are circumstances when running a federal debt is a good thing. Just as sometimes it's a good thing for businesses and individuals to run a debt.

            Infrastucture projects are a particularly good example of good debt. Why should a freeway have to be paid for in a single up front lump sum? It's not like it has to be rebuilt every year. They tend to last decades with minimal maintinence and provide revenue enhancing utility to the over all economy.

            The interstate highway system is 50 years old and we here alive today are still enjoying the benifits provided by it. So how exactly is it unreasonable to extend the payments for that resource over a couple decades?

            All debt is not the same and you claiming it is does not make it so.

            •  It's not unreasonable for capital projects (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, Sparhawk, Jbeaudill

              to be debt financed.  It is unreasonable to debt finance tax cuts/credits and also unwise to debt finance a project just because it's shovel ready.  We have a transportation bill that is specifically for the debt financing of highway type projects.

              •  Oh, I see (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Brooke In Seattle, Skex

                You just want to parcel this out slowly in little increments.  That's not supply side economics - that's DRIP DOWN economics.

                Must be nice to be so financially secure that you can tell everybody else to go to hell!

                We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

                by Mary Julia on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:05:34 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Once again it depends (12+ / 0-)

                This stimulus bill exists largely because past frugality in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy has left our infrastructure in sad shape.

                As far as tax cuts go it depends. Tax cuts for the wealthy are generally a bad idea save for times of extreme plenty, Tax cuts for the poor and middle class are generally stimulative and a good thing under pretty much all economic conditions.

                It all comes down to what people do with their money. 100% of the economy is based on consumer spending don't listen to any nonsence figure that quotes less. Because all the rest is about supporting consumer spending. So any money that people spend is a positive economic input. People are running up debt because their pay has not kept pace with expenses any additional income that goes into their hands is going to get put back into the economy.

                So tax cuts to someone who is living paycheck to paycheck are good for the economy and will stimulate growth.

                Tax cuts to the wealthy do not because investors don't invest just because they have money. They only invest when they anticipate a good chance of a return on said investment. That's why the Bush tax cuts were a bad idea and no small part of what got us into this mess. These rich bastards had all this extra money and since there was little activity in the consumer sector of the economy they put that money into the equities  markets leading to the speculative balloons that are the most visable symptom of the current crisis. (which by the way didn't start with the collapse of the subprime market)

                In fact what most people are veiwing as the economic crisis is nothing more than the most visable symptom of a larger underlying crisis.

                Most of these people in forclosure didn't buy houses that were excessive for their economic situations the prices were driven to unreasonable levels do to speculation.

                Everything happening today in the economy is a direct result of excessive hyper accumulation of wealth in the hands of a relatively small number of extremely wealthy individuals.

                This along with the disfunctional levereaged banking system led to inflation on the money supply (with the corosponding loss of dollar value) whith out a like increase in the number of those dollars in the hands of the average worker.

                This meant that the average worker got all the negatives of inflation (higher relative costs of goods) with out the mitigating factors (pay increases)

                So these poor people in California ended up competing with wealthy speculators for the same homes. Since these speculators were flush with cash they were putting abnormally high presure on pricing in the area.

                I've seen these half million dollar homes in the Bay Area they wouldn't go for 100k here in Austin and the average pay for workers isn't that much higher there than it is here.

                What really needs to be done is some serious tax increases on the investor class we need to drain the swamp of all this excess capital in the hands of such a small number of predatory bastards.

            •  I know it sounds like nitpicking here, (5+ / 0-)

              and it's a little off topic.

              And I fully groove to selective-debt-for-infrastructure = public good; less progressive taxes = more investment in dubious, speculative markets = public bad. It's as plain as the nose on your face at this point.

              But can we please stop talking about freeways as though they were a good investment? Say "hospitals" or "schools" or "light rail" or "high speed transit" or "pedestrian communities" or "wind power."

              If we have an ounce of sense as a species, cars and trucks will be lighter by 80% in ten years time. And 3/4 of the people who currently drive will be walking and taking mass transit, happy and healthy. New freeways constitute excuse and encouragement to not make that so.

              "I gave my life to Jesus and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" Jesse Showalter

              by ZAP210 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:15:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I live in Texas (3+ / 0-)

                Cars are not an option out here they are a necessity.

                I'm all for more efficient vehicles I'm all for lighter vehicles and a pedestrian community sounds wonderful.And yes lets get our power from somewhere other than fossil fuels.

                But light rail aint gonna to move the goods that people need, it isn't going to get the food into the rural areas and it's not going to get me to work on time unless I'm interested in spending 4 more hours of my day commuting.

                I have a 20 mile drive to work every day and if I lived closer my wife would be stuck with that drive instead of me.

                To give you an idea of the scale we're dealing with down here if you were to leave Beamount at sunrise and drive the speed limit on I-10 you'd not make it to El Paso before dusk. I'm in Austin the nearest other major city is us is San Antonio at 90 miles Dallas and Houston are each about 300 miles away in opposite directions. A visit to my family in the Panhandle is 9 hour straight through drive at something north of the speed limit.

                Some form of indiviidual vehicle is here to stay they might get lighter more efficeint and run on somehting other than Dinojuice but Plains trains and busses aren't going to cut it to move people around out here.

                •  You're in Austin? (0+ / 0-)

                  :waves from the far northwest corner of Travis County:

                  We are moving into Williamson next month -- lucky us! But that will at least put me on a bus route from which I can reach downtown Austin.

                  You are right, however, about how long the commute is. Last time I rode the bus from near the Travis Co. Democratic HQ out to where I live, it took me four hours and three buses.

                  "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

                  by Brooke In Seattle on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 11:51:14 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  /wave (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Brooke In Seattle

                    I live in Welsbranch and I work down off Ben White and 35 also got two kids in day care so gotta be able to pick them up as well which makes public transport or even car pooling impractical. Also knocks out riding my motorcycle (if crazy cage drivers werenot enough already)

                    Williamson county eh? sucks to be you ;-)

                    •  /wave (0+ / 0-)

                      We live in Brushy Creek.  Voting's more entertaining here.

                      Over the years I've watched transit and residential development grow together in Portland OR and now in Dallas.  You can't impose light rail on an existing suburban metropolis, as you've noted.  But if you build rail in a logical place, commercial and residential projects will be built along it, as in the Portland to Gresham line.  In Dallas, apartments and shopping along the DART line are booming.  The Trinity Railway Express lets folks live in Tarrant County and work in Dallas.

                      The suburban communities of New Jersey and Long Island were made possible by the existing rail there.  

                      Sooner or later our current car lifestyle is going to be unaffordable for most people.  Maybe a year, maybe 10 years.  We almost got there with $4 gas last year.  Be nice to have a transit infrastructure under way.  

                      Even Right Wing Round Rock is looking at rail to connect Dell to the Cap Metro Red Line.

                •  My misunderstanding. (0+ / 0-)

                  Spent enough time in the sticks to accept highways as necessary rural infrastructure.

                  Always took "freeways" to mean inter-urban/suburban expressways. Webster says -

                  "2  : a toll-free highway"

                  "I gave my life to Jesus and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" Jesse Showalter

                  by ZAP210 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 12:45:02 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  "If we have an ounce of sense as a species" (0+ / 0-)

                  Well there's your first mistake...

        •  Taxes are anathema to those who rely on (12+ / 0-)

          dividends and interest for their income because the relationship between tax collection and government spending is direct and provides little or no opportunity for the financial sector to take a cut in the form of interest payments on bonds.

          "borrow and spend" is good for those who lend.

          How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

          by hannah on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:57:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Only in the long run (7+ / 0-)

        If we had continued to produce surpluses and lowered the debt over the past 8 years the Obama stimulus plan wouldn't be be a problem.  (I don't think we would have this problem in the first place if Bush had done that, but that is a different issue)

        When there is ALREADY a massive decrease in private investment - like there is now - a massive influx of government $ is a good thing for the short term.

        The problem comes when there is good times like in the '80's and '00's and there is Republican President who spends like a drunken sailor in a whore house.  Then when things go bad and the government is needed to prop up the economy for a short time the drunken sailors get on their fiscal high-horse, shake their fingers at the Democrats and hold up their noses in disgust. is shrinking

        by AppleP on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:12:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Please prove that Talking Point. (21+ / 0-)

        "Big debts end up crowding out private investment and ingenuity".

        Maybe so, but why, exactly is this bad?

        It is only bad if we accept the premise that private investment is better (or even more "ingenious") than public investment.  Check your premises!

        The speculation that private investment is better than public investment is wrong. There is no evidence for it. No peer reviewed studies. No numbers, no facts. It's a right-wing talking point that is based on nothing.  It has the same credibility as an assertion from Atlas Shrugged overheard at a cocktail party, repeated by a Fox News anchor, and spread in an e-mail chain by somebody's crazy aunt.

        Look at what "private" corporations spend on CEO salaries and then tell me that you think that they know how to "invest" money.

      •  Really? And you know this because? n/t (0+ / 0-)

        "Not the truth in whose possession any man is, or thinks he is, but the honest effort he has made to find out the truth, is what consitutes the worth of man."

        by Lying eyes on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:54:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And you can prove this? (7+ / 0-)

        (the economy would have recovered without this stimulus and may have recovered better).

        You can provide links to people of the stature of Krugman or Stiglitz, who say no stimulus was needed?

        Member, The Angry Left.

        by nosleep4u on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:15:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here's a link to Biden's econ advisor's report (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Link to report

          It shows that all the stimulus is doing is shifting the graph to the left by about 18 months.

          •  Nice try. (12+ / 0-)

            That report says no such thing as the "the economy would have recovered without this stimulus and may have recovered better".

            First, it assumes we're already close to peak unemployment. That's a best-case scenario and is highly unlikely.

            Second, look at the graph in the report. It predicts that without the stimulus there would be no recovery for years, and that's already in its own best-case scenario!

            And what happens if we're not in that best-case scenario? CRUNCH.

            Hint: people here really do know how to read reports.

            Member, The Angry Left.

            by nosleep4u on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:56:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I read the report (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              and yes it does imply recovery, otherwise the two unemployment rates wouldn't meet on the graph around 2012.  Also, this is the most stimulus friendly report I found (I used this to illustrate my point instead of a heritage foundation report).  

              •  How clever of you (0+ / 0-)

                "...I used this to illustrate my point instead of a heritage foundation report..."

                Your point is nonetheless invalid as you're obviously taking the wrong thing away from what the report clearly states...No Stimulus=Recovery uncertain.
                As for using that heritage foundation tripe, they won't even acknowledge that there's a problem right now. This is merely a "slowdown" in the always upticking capitalist nirvana that is our economy.

                The one day you'd sell your birthright for something, birthrights are a glut.

                by miamiboats on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 01:38:42 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  That's a bunch of nonsense (17+ / 0-)

        Yes eventually the cycle would naturally reverse and the bust would return to boom. The cyclic nature of economies is hardly a new observation.

        The problem is that real people suffer through these market corrections. The whole point of the New Deal and the programs put in place by FDR were to smooth those dips and pumps so that we had a far more stable economy.

        Yes in the long run the economy would self correct and go back up, but as Keynes pointed out almost a century ago "in the long run we're all dead"

        This idea that it may have recovered better is just more supply side nonsence. The largest economic expansion in the history of the world came out of the exact sort of spending that you are bad mouthing now.

        The hands off approach that you and your fellow supply siders champion has, both times its been tried in the past 100 years, lead to economic catastrophy.

        And while we're waiting for the "invisible hand" to do it's magical mystical thing, real people are loosing their homes and lively hoods, real children are missing meals, medical care and educational opportunities.

        History has shown your supply side theory to be nonsense that just doesn't work for people. That same history has shown that it is effective for a government to generate debt to increase spending and prime the economy.

        The real problem is that the supply siders decided to run with the "it's ok to run a deficit" side of the situation but refused to recognized the flip side that when the economy is doing well it's time to pay off the debt.

        That's why the Bush tax cuts were so horrible. Not because it's good to take money out of the economy through taxes (though sometimes it is) but because that money should have been used to pay ongoing expenss and to pay off the excesses of the past which would have left us in a much better position today to be able to run a large short term deficit.

        Instead we're in a situation where we have to kick start the current economy and instead of being able to fully realize those dividense we're going to have to take a substantial part of any returns and use it to service the excesses of the past.

        •  I am not talking supply side (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I am talking about letting the economy get sorted out and back to a natural state that doesn't contain things like inflated house prices or industries that can only survive with government help.  

          As to that long expansion you referenced.  It wasn't created by the WPA and CCC, but a combination of WWII (which destroyed all other manufacturing and gave US products brand dominance) and the protections FDR put in place (unemployment, SEC, Social Security, etc.).  The spending wasn't what gave us the boom.

          •  Actually, that's not exactly correct. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            By 1940, both Canada and Britain had emerged from the Depression in terms of full employment. The US didn't until 1942.

            And as far as that goes, Germany had recovered economically by the late thirties.

            Personally, I suspect it was a combination of war spending and rationing that lead to the postwar boom. People had been forced to save enough of their earnings through forced rationing to ignite demand after the war ended.

            •  Germany (0+ / 0-)

              Germany had "recovered" by massively redirecting money to military spending.  Even leading Nazis admitted, although not publicly, that there would have been a complete crash by around 1942 or so if something big didn't happen (i.e. conquest and subjugation of massive territories rich in resources and slaves to exploit).

              Government can't restrict free speech, but corporations can? WTF

              by kyoders on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:54:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  You are exactly parroting off supply side drivel (8+ / 0-)

            The public works projects put in place during the new deal did put people back to work period that was a very important part of kick starting our economy. WW2 and the destruction of most of the rest of the industrial capacity of the planet did help us attain dominance after the war but the expansion itself was largely due to the infrastructure put in place during and imediately after it. You know the highway system, all the factories where we built the tanks and airplanes all those skills that were gained and turned to civil use after said war.

            But this idea that jobs programs didn't do anything to help the economy is nothing more than right wing propaganda an attempt to undermine the legacy of a demcoratic president who ended up so popular (because of those programs) that they passed a constitutional ammendment to prevent a repeat performance.

            Because here's the fact you can talk economic theory until the cows come home none of that does any good for us poor smucks out here in the work force who have to feed our families pay our mortgages and keep the power on. We need jobs and the bills don't stop the hunger doesn't subside and forclosures aren't put off until the economy gets sorted out and back to a "natural" state (as if there is any such animal).

            •  The America of 1932 could not... (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mentaldebris, Bluehawk, yann, Jbeaudill, Skex, Toon

              ...have fought WWII successfully, but the America of 1942 could and did.  Roosevelt's programs did more than help those families with all their possessions piled on their old Model Ts.  They made America much stronger.  

              Industrial production during the '30s.

              And after the War, Roosevelt's policies and programs helped fuel the Long Boom that lasted until Reagan took office.

              Regarding debt for infrastructure:  Leaving debt to your kids is not bad as long as you also leave them the house you bought with that debt.  If you borrowed to spent annual vacations in Las Vagas, that debt would be a problem.

              (This assumes that you didn't buy the house during a bubble.  But there's no bubble in infrastructure labor.  If anything, it's more affordable now.)

              The America that Roosevelt created was able to rapidly pay down the massive debt from WWII, once again, until Reagan took office.

          •  Amazing (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TJ, Josiah Bartlett, NoMoreLies, Toon

            You sound EXACTLY like George Will. In fact, this argument was the one he posed to Krugman on This Week not too long ago.  You must be a devotee of his.

            We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

            by Mary Julia on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:03:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The U.S. economy has no "natural state." (10+ / 0-)

            The U.S. is 5% of the world's population consuming 25% of the world's resources.  There is no "natural state" for that.  The "natural state" would cut our median family income from $50,000 to about $16,000, and we'd work for about the same wages they do in China.  The difference between that "natural state" and what we have is a function of government action or inaction, no matter how you slice it.

          •  Market (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bluehawk, xaxado, UtopianPablo

            economics does not work in times of financial crisis.  If you allow institutions to collapse you get in a downward spiral that is increadably difficult to get out of.  

            The numbers re the great depression do not support your second paragraph.  Here are the GDP growth rates for the New Deal:

            1. 17%
            1. 11%
            1. 14%
            1. 9.6%

            The economy retreated in '38 because FDR tried to balance the budget.  It resumed in '39 and '40 (which is before the War).

            The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

            by fladem on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:29:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Intersting that you left off 33 (0+ / 0-)

              Because as I am sure you know the recovery started then without essentially any stimulus other than confidence from FDR's election.  So we have absolutely no way of measuring the impact that the New Deal spending programs had vs the recovery that was already taking place off of the obscene bottom put in in 32.

              •  Recovery in 1933 ??? (0+ / 0-)

                SilverOz, Roosevelt had to declare a bank holiday in 1933 in order to stave off a complete collapse of the banking system.

                That's not a recovery by any standard.

                •  Look at the numbers (0+ / 0-)

                  Not only does the NBER date the recession (29-33) ending in March of 1933 (the same month FDR was inaugurated), but the GDP was up huge in 1933 as well.

                  •  Do you EVER (0+ / 0-)

                    check with actual data before blurting out right wing economic nonsense?

                    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

                    by fladem on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:58:14 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yes, we know that GDP was increasing in the (0+ / 0-)

                      2nd half of 33, well before any spending done by the government took effect.  Confidence is a huge part of economics and that confidence was bolstered by FDR's presence and his immediate actions with the banks as Yann discussed below.  

                  •  SilverOz... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    fladem, NoMoreLies, Skex

                    You're arguing that the economy had begun recovering naturally by the time FDR took office, due to purely to his popularity.

                    However, at that time:

                    "...the banking situation throughout the Nation was becoming so acute that only immediate and drastic measures could save the banks from having to close their own doors. Increasing lines of depositors were withdrawing their funds in gold or gold certificates. A proposal was made to give authority to the Treasury to deposit Government funds directly in any bank—but the Treasury did not have sufficient funds to deposit."

                    If there was a recovery in 1933, it was purely from the actions FDR took to stabilize the banking system.

              •  No (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pangloss, NoMoreLies

                You don't know what you are talking about.

                GDP Growth
                1930 -12%
                1931 -16%
                1932 -23%
                1933 -4%

                The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

                by fladem on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:55:00 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  I Can Guess You and Yours Are Doing Fine (0+ / 0-)

            Two incomes possibly, or at least one very secure income?  Certainly not exposed to the risk of losing your health care or a foreclosure.  Able to ride out whatever economic carnage that might sweep your neighbors under the bus as you peer out the window while they get rolled underneath.

            Sorry for the crit but sounds too much like my fellow 20-something workers who have never beel laid off and feel pretty protected right now where we work.

          •  You seem somewhat... comfy with the bad economy (0+ / 0-)

            "I am talking about letting the economy get sorted out and back to a natural state that doesn't contain things like inflated house prices or industries that can only survive with government help..."

            Banker, are you? Got a little of that ol' Treasury scratch from last fall when no one was counting it?

            Real people can't wait for your cute theories to maybe possibly perchance have an opportunity to pan out. Even at best, you're likely only 50% on and that will leave millions destitute.
            But your precious free market will live on, eh?

            The one day you'd sell your birthright for something, birthrights are a glut.

            by miamiboats on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 01:44:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I don't (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ssgbryan, ManhattanMan, yann, Mad Season, Skex

        think this comment:
        "Big debts end up crowding out private investment and ingenuity. "

        has any empirical basis.  It is a theory that is largely notable by the inability to prove that it is correct.  

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:22:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Logical extrapolation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          big debts = big debt services = more taxes or lowered useful spending = lowered private investment.  It's not rocket science.

          •  No, it depends ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            on what that money is being spent on.

            The US had an extremely high level of debt as a proportion of GDP after WWII.

            However, some of that debt had lead to the creation of new technologies and industrie. Leading to higher economic growth, and thus higher tax revenues in general.

          •  umm ... who paid for WWII? (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pangloss, Silverbird, Wilberforce, yann, Skex

            Your argument is essentially that the New Deal (government deficit spending) prolonged the Depression ... but World War II (government deficit spending) ended it?

          •  Right wing economists (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            yann, Skex, sethtriggs

            have been trying to prove that for years with no effect.

            There is no empirical basis for the statement, particularly when there is slack capacity in the economy.

            The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

            by fladem on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:56:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What part are you arguing (0+ / 0-)

              I am not saying that deficit spending won't help us in the short term, but that it hinders the long term (the same exact arguments that have been discussed here for years when Bush was building huge deficits).  If the debt service increases (and it will), it has to be paid for with either cuts in spending (unlikely) or tax hikes.  If you raise taxes (to pay for debt service, which is getting us nothing) then you prevent that money from being invested privately.  There are no empirical studies because it is common sense.

          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
            big debts = big debt services = more taxes or lowered useful spending = lowered private investment.

            Four equal signs don't make it logical, proof, or right.

          •  Agree to some extent. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            yann, Skex

            Big government debt (1) crowds out money that could otherwise be used for private investment, which may lead to rising interest rates if money for private investment becomes scarce (i.e., if competition for borrowed funds drives up the price), and (2) adds debt and debt service to the federal budget that needs to be paid off with taxes at some point.  This is why running up big government debts during relatively good times is utterly stupid.  (I'm looking at YOU, Ronald Reagan and G.W. Bush!)

            But during down times, running public debt is not so bad.  Competition from the private sector for borrowed funds is quite low (there are very few private economic endeavors that are profitable right now, meaning demand for borrowed funds for private investment is very, very low), so crowding out private investment and raising interest rates is not a great concern.  Government spending, however financed, is vital during down times, to boost overall GDP/aggregate demand and, frankly, to help folks who would otherwise be starving in the streets.

            And yes the debt needs to be paid off with taxes at some point, and it will be when the economy improves.  That's all right, because raising taxes when the economy is strong is a good idea.  Two chief reasons: (1) higher progressive income taxes stifle speculative behavior that can lead to asset bubbles (and, eventually and inevitably, crashes) and (2) higher taxes raise revenue for rainy day funds and the like that the government can spend on infrastructure, unemployment benefits, etc., during down times (of course, when things turn around, we will need to pay off our past indiscretions).

      •  Gee it's that simple? (0+ / 0-)

        "...the economy would have recovered without this stimulus and may have recovered better..."

        Why didn't someone tell the President about this?
        Got any hot stock tips from that crystal ball?

        The one day you'd sell your birthright for something, birthrights are a glut.

        by miamiboats on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 01:26:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The whole point is the lack private investment (0+ / 0-)

        necessitates having the government fill some of the gap left by the lack of private money moving through the economy.

        nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it. - Barack Obama

        by Lefty Coaster on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:16:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The tax cuts were the least of the theft (9+ / 0-)

      To "win" the Cold War, Reagan wasted billions on antiquated military expenditures, such as out dated tanks and pie in the sky (literally) thinking like the Star Wars project.  Not only were these expenditures wasteful, but they sucked funds from research that could have gone into the smart weapons that did not come to be until the Clinton administration.  And, all that mothballed equipment does wonders for the environment...

      Freedom of religion is freedom FROM religion.

      by DailyDrew on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:06:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Both the tax cuts and the unnecessary (11+ / 0-)

        military hardware allowed the Rethugs to crowd out spending on important domestic issues. It was part of Grover's drown the government in a bathtub model. what did they want to do this? Because they know that popular social programs, like universal healthcare, would create another generation of Democrats, just like FDR's New Deal did.

        •  Social Issues Are Messy - Not Like Tanks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mad Season

          Tens of thousands of worker drones going into work day after day pushing the green buttons on CNC machines, shuffling paperwork, etc. doing the same thing day after day to produce the same thing day after day (tanks, aircraft engines, whatever).  The money machine chugs along like clock work while everyone trudges through their lives in a perpetual state of cognitive dissonance.

          Contrast that to treating a pool of 55 year old diabetics with cardiac complications and you see my point.  Nothing works as expected for each person.  Some respond to one treatment, others respond to other treatments, some live, some die.  It's messy and non-determinististic, the enemy of simpleton legislators and techie's.

      •  Then the Pentagon got stuff they didn't even (0+ / 0-)

        ask for because said stuff was built in powerful congresscritters' districts.

        A jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn (D-TX)

        by Ice Blue on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 11:44:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  After the Berlin Wall Fell... (0+ / 0-)

        there was a bit of media discussion around "was it worth the cost?"

        I remember some rightwing thinktanker boasting about how "winning" Cold War was the greatest gift we could give to our children.

        They wouldn't mind taking a few decades to pay off a debt that gave them a world free from the threat of nuclear war, free from third world conflicts with communist proxies, free to grow and prosper under the banner of capitalism.

        ... I'm going to cry when I'm done laughing.

        BushCheney Inc. - They lied to me, they lied to you, they lied to our troops.

        by jjohnjj on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:25:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Obama economic team = analysis paralysis (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silverbird, xaxado

      If any of these ‘posers’ ran a F500 company ( including Obama ) I wouldn’t invest a nickel.

      NATIONALIZE the zombie banks NOW !

      Meanwhile China is preparing to open a new phase in its race for the world’s resources by using its huge currency reserves to buy foreign oil and gas companies.

    •  3rd Generation of Theft from Labor (19+ / 0-)
      The GNP has more than doubled since 1973, but the median per hour wage hasn't gone up at all since then.  In essence that means trillions and trillions of dollars flowing to the top 1% of the nation year in and year out for decades.

      That's 35 years since 1973.  That's two generations of theft from the working class.

      The root cause of the meltdown is the failure of wages to keep pace with growth in GNP - creating a top heavy society.  

      This creates deflationary recessions and asset bubbles.  All that money looking for reasonable returns can't find any because demand is either soft or declining. So then money starts flowing into consumer loans or flooding the few sectors where returns are decent, creating bubbles.  

      These conditions were evident in the 2001 recession. At that point the proper remedy was demand side economics.  Unfortunately Bush pored the coals on supply-side and moved another $11 trillion over to the supply-side of the ledger. He covered his tracks by borrowing trillions from east Asia at discounted rates, creating for a short time, added purchasing power. But eventually the bills come due, and when people with declining wages can't pay it, then demand finally craters and drags down the financial system with it.  

      The money for fixing our economy is still there. It's just sitting on the supply-side of the ledger and needs to be moved back over to the demand-side.

      My back of the envelope calculations tell me at least $14 trillion need to be moved over from the supply-side of the ledger to the demand-side of the ledger, and maybe as much as $25 trillion.  

      That may sound like a lot, but it will hardly make a dent in many of these peoples wallets - it is truly hard to imagine just how much the top 1% of this nation has accumulated - they'll whine and complain, but they won't feel a thing because it's still only a fraction of what they have aqnd as they lose it from one pocket it's flowing back into another through a recovered economy.

      Generational Theft?  

      The Republicans must be assuming that we are going to borrow the money to pay for the economic fix.  

      How quaint of them.  

      They, meaning the supply-side rich, are going to be taxed, and taxed heavily, before all this is done, at almost Eisenhower era tax rates. And you know what?  Their life styles won't even notice the difference.

      This is not evident now, but, like the 'nationalization of the banks',  it will increasingly become so soon, simply as a matter of necessity.

      That's the temporary fix. The real fix will be the implementation of institutional arrangements that assure that wages rise with GNP.  

      And for desert, we must implement new anti-trust laws that will not allow firms to become too big to fail.  

      •  Here here (5+ / 0-)

        You've hit the nail on the head.

        I've been ranting for years that there was too damned much wealth accumulation in this country.

      •  Shorter Wonder Moron: (6+ / 0-)

        "If consumers don't have money, you can't have an economy."

        All the investment incentives in the world won't do any good if there are no customers for the products of the companies that receive the incentives (like cap gains tax cuts or TARP money).

        All of human history has been an effort to transfer wealth from working people to the aristocracy.  It's what the British East India Company was up to with their tea monopoly.  It's why we had the American Revolution.

        These guys have re-created the "landed aristocracy" that our Founders so feared, and we are suffering from it.  

        The good news is that all it takes is a few changed laws, banking, labor, and tax laws, to make all our lives better.

        •  Supply-Side Concentrated Wealth in history... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Supply-Side Concentrated Wealth caused or contributed significantly to the fall of Ancient Egypt's New Kingdom, Rome (See Nobel Laureate Douglas North's Wealth and Change in Economic History, pgs 100-115), Pre Islamic Mecca (Islam is in part, a reaction to concentrated wealth), Byzantium, Medieval Japan, Hapsburg Spain, Bourbon France, Romanov Russia, Manchu China, Nationalist China, Coolidge/Hoover America and is the primary cause to the current Melt down.  

          The last two brought to you courtesy of the Republican party - and yes they caused the Great Depression which lead directly to the rise of Hitler, World War II and the Holocaust, so yest they also get partial credit for causing the holocaust.

          •  I had read about Rome (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Wonder Moron

            falling in part because wealth was so concentrated by the time that the Huns crossed the Danube that there were few left with enough stake in the empire to defend it.  

            I wasn't aware of all those other instances.  Great list.

            I think what's happening now is that they're letting us have enough creature comforts to keep us content.  But they're greedy enough to make the margin very thin.

            If enough people have a place to live and a job they're not going to rock the boat.  But then when something like this crisis happens, it throws more of us onto the wrong side of the divide, and we do something radical, like electing an African-American or advocating for a return to Roosevelt era policies. Or wanting to let people join unions.  Or ensuring access to healthcare and education.  

            The American Romanovs should be nervous.

            •  The Case of Rome is informative (0+ / 0-)

              According to North, Wealth and Power became so concentrated that 6 senators owned half of North Africa.  Even it you allow that the province of North Africa was roughly Tunisia today, that's still remarkable. Some historians blame the collapse of Rome's commercial economy, but as you pointed out, that's the same thing - when wealth concentrates, mass consumption evaporates. The Donald Trumps of the world can only buy so many cars and eat at so many restaurants.

              North says that the wealthy and powerful used their influence to avoid paying taxes.  The Roman Legion still had a tactical edge but it had thinned. So Rome needed to field a larger armie. Despite controling the entire resources of western civilization, they lacked the political will to field an army large enough to defend itself.  What's striking to me is that the wealthy and powerful, the people with the most to loose with the collapse of the state (a state that recognized property rights) were also unwilling to fund the state.  

              The Japanese case was identical, except no invasion, as it's an Island nation. The state lost the means to field a police force. Aristocrats hired their own protection, until eventually the protectors realized that they could just take the aristocrats money. That lead to a 200 year dark age.  

              Most of the cases are just a variation in theme, but I would say that in Hapsburg Spain, Bourbon France and Romanov Russia the funding of military actions stressed the situation - In 1914 Russia was in the midst of economic industrialization, and given another 10 or 20 years of further development would have bypassed its revolution. Russia's economic development did not recover for decades, and it's agriculture productivity under communism never ever reached the productivity that it had in 1914.  

              I don't think there's a consciousness of what they are doing.  I think it's like Rome or the Byzantine case, they are just greedy and aren't worried about the consequences.  

              It is a recklessness that defies any explanation. The history is there - it's consistent.  Each of the cases I describe can be debated, but taken collectively, the consistency begs for presumption as the cause.  

              Because of this, when Bush was re-elected in 2004, I felt, with certainty, that the nation had committed suicide.  2004 was the point of no return and even then the meltdown might have already been baked in - I think the time to reverse policy was in 2001 recession sent the signal to do so. 2004 was the last chance we had to be able to definitively pull out of the dive we are in.  

              We are still sliding down the elevator shaft. There is still no signs yet that we've reached a floor on this slide.  

              It's very possible that we are seeing the end of modern civilization, or modern America.  The political will to 'soak the rich' is not yet evident.  

              This much is certain to me, 35 years of "feed the rich, starve everyone and everything else" must be reversed.  

        •  re: (0+ / 0-)

          The good news is that all it takes is a few changed laws, banking, labor, and tax laws, to make all our lives better.

          The bad news is I have my doubts there is anyone in Corporate/Wall Street bought and sold DC with the political courage to ram through those changes (and they will need to be rammed through).  I see half-measures so far and sadly, I expect to continue seeing half measures.

          Inside every cynical person is a disappointed idealist.-George Carlin

          by mentaldebris on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:48:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Antitrust laws are fine (0+ / 0-)

        we just have to enforce the ones we have, and go back to interpreting them the way they were interpreted from 1930 through the 1970s.  When Reagan came in he brought the Chicago school of antitrust analysis with him, which thought that antitrust was antiquated and a drag on the natural functioning of the markets.  Court opinions on antitrust changed radically as more and more conservative judges were appointed.  In fact, it has become almost impossible to prove an antitrust case of any kind other than price fixing.

        But if you want new antitrust laws that spell everything out and remove the ability for judges to interpret them, I'm cool with that too.  You are definitely right that if our antitrust laws had been enforced, we would not be facing the "too big to fail" problem.

        •  Peter Drucker in 1950s: Bust up GM (0+ / 0-)

          Drucker suggested that GM should have been broken up during the 1950s as competition in the auto industry was disolving.  However Ike had GM execs in his cabinet.  So nothing doing. By 1961 GM was an organizational hair ball so as to make busting up very difficult.

          Japan has 8 car companies for half the market and one hundredth the amount of paved roads.  The competitiveness they have at home makes U.S. markets easy pickings. The oligopoly that matured in the 1950s has kept the U.S. auto industry from becoming truly competitive - and by that I mean where they can export product in volume.  

          •  You nailed it (0+ / 0-)

            I cut my antitrust teeth with "The Bigness Complex" by Walter Adams.  His major point is pretty much any industry, other than natural monopolies, function much better with more competitors.  This leads to more innovation, more price competition, etc.  One of his big examples is the auto industry, and he makes pretty much the EXACT point you do.

    •  China prepares to buy up foreign oil companies (0+ / 0-)

      while Obama illustrious economic team considers throwing more taxpayer $$$ to zombie banks.

    •  Reagan also built Trident submarines (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle

      and wasted countless billions on defense, which Republicans have never thought should be counted as part of deficit spending.

      My signature doesn't need to mock Bush any more.

      by thefretgenie on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:17:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And the 600 ship navy (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silverbird, xaxado, Mad Season, Skex
      Which never quite got to 600 ships.

      The ultimate disposition of military equipment is either to get blown up, or to rust away. When we spend our money on military hardware, we're kissing that money goodbye forever.

      This article is instructive.

      So often we hear economic justifications for military spending. It creates jobs, it stimulates the economy, and so on.

      It's a lie, and economists have known it's a lie since at least 1850.

      So you KEEP ON pointing out that spending money of things which ultimately lose their value, or which fail to provide enough value to enough people, is wasteful. Too few people understand that.

    •  Why do you hate Freedom? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And why do you want the Terrorists to win?

      If Jesus saves, He'd better save himself From the gory glory seekers who use His name in death.... -Ian Anderson, Hymn 43

      by high bitrate on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:38:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, like everyone else, I will use your comment (5+ / 0-)

      to reply.

      Let's start with Reagan total debt outstanding increased from $1.2 trillion in 1981 to a little under $3 trillion in 1989


      RONALD REAGAN 1981-1989

      National debt 1981 was $997,855,000,000.00 (rounded off)

      National debt 1989 was $2,857,430,960,187.32.

      Not doubled but TRIPLED. Give the moron his due.


      01/20/2000 $5,706,174,969,873.86

      01/20/2009 $10,626,877,048,913.08

      America's biggest export is good-paying American jobs.

      by 0hio on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:15:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yep, He Did Housing In Too (6+ / 0-)

      A $60,000 house under Carter cost $1,000 a month because of high interest rate.  After Reagan, the same house costs $120,000 but at lower interest was still $1,000 a month.

      The difference being the weight of the debt anchor and the difficulty of coming up with twice as much of a down payment.

      That greasy haired matinee idol moron also gutted social nets and handed the funds and more over to the military industrial complex to build things even more useless than rusted BMWs and Benzes.

    •  There is good debt...and bad debt (0+ / 0-)

      Cars, disposable items, and things that rapidly deteriorate, lose value, or are of ephemeral usage are usually things one should pay for using cash, as the debt payments will outlast the use value of the goods . Long lasting, durable infrastructure that one plans to live in or use a long time, is the best to run up debt, if you have to pay for it on credit. A well-built home, well-constructed infrastructure such as rail or roads built to European 40yr longevity standards, things that will still exist and be useful after the debt is paid off.

      The last three Republican administrations failed the good debt criteria in spades. Debts for war, accelerated depreciation of shoddy commercial infrastructure, and tax cuts that fueled irresponsible speculation in casino gambling financial markets are all bad debt, as the benefits of these items are now gone and we will be paying for them for years to come.

      "There's a bailout coming, but it's not for me, it's for all the creeps watching the ticker on TV"-Neil Young

      by NoMoreLies on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:09:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't blame BMW and Benz (0+ / 0-)

      But Reagan's tax cuts were given to Yuppies, who gave them to Germany in return for BMWs and Benzes.

      My 1980 300TD doesn't have a spot of rust on it.  It has 375,000 miles on it and runs like a Swiss clock.  The Germans can't help the fact that they make superior automobiles and auto enthusiasts purchase them.

      Americans may be greedy pricks, but we do know quality and style.

    •  Beyond that, it has moved the nation's wealth (0+ / 0-)

      into an increasingly smaller cabal, while the rest of us fight for scraps.

      This notion that a few "smart" people are "naturally worth more" because they are so "smart" (i.e. managed to get themselves into positions to skim off large flows of money) was bankrupt from the start.

      My years of raving that corporate execs hauling away vast sums of money from "public" corporations, along with more and more "created profits" (accounting magic) and the rubber stamp approval of Boards (who all sit on each others Boards, and are all complicit in the same bankrupt concepts) has been nothing short of THE LOOTING OF AMERICA for the past 20 years, doesn't sound so "extreme."

      I'm more tolerated at parties.  But my house is worth less.  

      If people actually figure out what's been going on, I'll take the trade.

  •  So true! / p.s. error (6+ / 0-)

    p.s. your Bush I graph isn't showing -- we are seeing a repeat of the Reagan graph in its place.

    But I agree.. for the GOP to use the phrase "generational theft" is like Ann Coulter complaining about "hatefulness" on the liberal side.

  •  And always with the short two or three (3+ / 0-)

    word slogan.  Generational Theft - Freedoms not Free - Joe the Plumber etc etc.... ad nauseum.....

  •  Hopefully, we getting smart and won't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra77, chrome327

    fall for it this time.

    "Big boss ain't so big, just tall, that's all."

    by TheFatLadySings on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:16:44 AM PST

  •  Republicans Have Hit a Potentially Rich Meme Lode (22+ / 0-)

    They're back onto their original Reagan era foundation of jealous rage.

    Remember the Republican Revolution took over in the stagflation years when we had to finally start paying for the Vietnam war, and oil price shocks were hitting the country.

    Never mind that it was largely conservative policy that put us in that fix. The conservative meme was that llllibrulls were taking YOUR tax money and giving it to undeserving slackers.

    Every element of their present pushback is on the same theme. There's enough of it that I'm thinking they must have focus tested it.

    With Obama already talking budget balancing 6 years earlier in the cycle than we did in the 1930's (figuring that FDR didn't even take office till 3 years later in the cycle than Obama did), this recovery can be prevented from ever starting. Even FDR was able to be talked back into Depression by starting to rebalance budgets in 36-7.

    I'm aware of Obama's strong numbers but this present push is really only days old. It bears watching, it's worked before. And apart from Obama, we still have much worse communicators than we had the last time it worked.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:21:16 AM PST

  •  Supply side economics IS generational theft (9+ / 0-)

    The Republicans "one size fits all circumstances" taxcuts scheme is a generational Ponzi Madoff scheme.
    Why they go on pretending that the way to get the country out of debt is to cut taxes is beyond me. It didn't work under Reagan, under Bush I or Bush II either. What 8 years of suppply side economics taught us is that taxcuts DON'T pay for themselves.
    Taxcuts don't increase government revenue anymore than abstinence teaching cuts the birthrate.  All they do is pass government debt down to future generations----THAT'S generational theft!!

    If Liberals really hated America we'd vote Republican

    by exlrrp on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:24:09 AM PST

    •  Actually they can, sometimes.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Tax cuts don't increase government revenue anymore than abstinence teaching cuts the birthrate.

      Actually they can, but only in rare conditions: where capital is avoiding an underdeveloped economy because the taxes are so high they devour any return on that investment.  In that circumstance, lowering the tax rate attracts the capital that can develop the underdeveloped economy, and the economic growth may be enough to offset the lower tax rate.  If the pie gets gets 3x bigger, a 1/4 slice of the bigger pie is more than a 1/2 slice of the smaller pie.

      I don't think those conditions applies here, nor do they apply in most of the cases where the GOP says "cut taxes to increase revenues."  The GOP talk as if the conditions are always true, and in fact they are the exception rather than the rule.

    •  When the tax cuts go mostly to one group (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silverbird, Brooke In Seattle

      its not exactly generational theft, its the current rich stealing from the middle class's children.

      Blackwater is changing its name to Xe.

      by Toon on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:29:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bush 1, IIRC actually ended up (0+ / 0-)

      raising taxes and lost the election because of it.  Well, he probably also lost because he had the bubbly personality of a turnip.

      Inside every cynical person is a disappointed idealist.-George Carlin

      by mentaldebris on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:54:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republican's generational theft (5+ / 0-)

    has been going on for more than a generation now.

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:25:14 AM PST

  •  Freidman/Reaganomics is dead, (12+ / 0-)

    We need to make sure we keep it buried.

    The Free Market works in the Jeffersonian world of yeoman farmers and small businessmen. Ever since the late 19th Century The Free Market is the most dangerous thing in the world. Its a license to steal for financial insiders.

    You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

    by FrankCornish on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:30:31 AM PST

  •  I am so sick of their lies. (6+ / 0-)

    This should be posted on C-SPAN any time they get up to speak about budget excesses.

    I'm sick of GOP SOP!

    by xysea on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:30:46 AM PST

    •  God, you and me both. I can't stand to watch news (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sabredance, xysea

      programs because of their constant snakeoil shakedowns. I get enough of their crap here via outrage, but at least I can comisserate with like-minded folks. On the teevee the bubbleheads just nod in their bovine complacency. Incredible the extent to which they are allowed to lie with absolutely no challenge...and on CNN, CNBC, etc.

      Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

      by CanyonWren on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:30:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The major consequence to all this is that (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BmoreMD, sabredance, SilverOz, Losty, chrome327

    China owns us.  SOS Clinton asking China to continue to invest in Treasuries.

    China's Dollar Dilemma (registration required).

    Yet if China has few options but to keep buying US Treasuries, it can still try to turn its investments into some sort of leverage. Think-tanks close to the government have been given the task of devising concessions that China can seek in recognition of its bigger role in international economic affairs. Zha Xiaogang, of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, has published an "economic wish-list", which includes a relaxation of US restrictions on exports of sophisticated technology to China.

    RebelCapitalist - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.

    by dennisk on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:35:39 AM PST

  •  Can't the Republicans be right and hypocrites (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    at the same time?  We all know that Republicans are prone to hypocrisy, but that doesn't make them wrong in this case.

    My fear is that this stimulus is not an efficient use of funds and that it also is not going to improve the economy quickly enough to justify it's debt over the "do nothing" option recovery that would come anyways (Obama's econ advisers even put out their own unemployment estimate that showed only about a percent difference in peak and only about a year gain back to full employement).  

    •  Dude, the world economy is falling off a cliff (23+ / 0-)

      the "do nothing" option recovery that would come anyways

      Nobody has seen anything like this since 1929.  Actually nobody has ever seen anything quite like this before.

      moderation in everything ... including moderation

      by C Barr on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:54:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let me guess you were born after 1982 (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, ManhattanMan, G2geek

        We have seen similar declines in both the 1981-82 and 1973-75 recessions.  This could get worse, but so far it is comparing in line with those 2 very deep recessions.  Let's not blow this out of proportion in an effort to feel historically relevant.

        •  The world financial system is falling (11+ / 0-)

          like a house of cards.  We are entering a new world here.  I'm not blowing this out of proportion.

          moderation in everything ... including moderation

          by C Barr on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:03:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  This from a guy (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mary Julia, greenearth, satanicpanic

          who, IIRC, was positive a year ago that a recession was impossible.

          •  Here is my 2008 prediciton diary (0+ / 0-)

            and as you can see I was somewhat optimistic, only calling for a 50% chance of recession, but did say that if interest spreads get out of whack we will likely see a deeper recession, so no I wasn't exactly positive last year, let alone saying that recession was impossible.


            •  You might want to junk any notions of (0+ / 0-)

              your prescience.  Or recognition of reality.  The US economy was in a recession in late '07 and in '08 you opined that there was only a 50% chance of a recession.

              In '05, it was clear to me that the downturn when it hit would be big and sudden:

              Or is it just that all the negative factors have yet to coalesce and impact our economy?   Like Katrina, will those factors organize swiftly into an economic storm of a magnitude we can’t imagine?  

              Or maybe we have truly constructed a Cyborg economy and it is completely indestructible.  And only pessimists like me would read that and think of the unsinkable Titanic.          

              What FDR giveth; GWB taketh away.

              by Marie on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:15:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I was born before 1982 (18+ / 0-)

          My senior year in high school, lunch was $0.35.
          My first year of college, tuition was $254.00

          Then catsup Reagan came in and stopped all that "wasteful" spending so he could lower taxes on rich people.

          The real generational theft is the loss of the ability of average people to do more than live day to day.

          The only people who are happy with their health insurance plan, haven't used it yet.

          by Hens Teeth on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:19:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Can you back that up with stats? (0+ / 0-)

          All I've heard from anyone is that this is the worst downturn since the Depression.  Why do you call those two recessions similar?

          •  Job losses divided by labor force (0+ / 0-)

            1973-75 - .024
            2008-09 - .023
            1981-82 - .021

            And it's nowhere near the levels we got to in the 50's.  So let's not get those depression comparisons up just yet.

            •  I did not know (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mary Julia, chrome327

              that recessions are defined by exactly one employment figure.

              •  What do you want to use (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk, ManhattanMan

                Because we are nowhere near the depression in any statistic that I know of.  GDP?  Not even close.  Bank failures (as a percentage of banks)?  Nope.  What do you want to use.  

                Wait, I have one.  Bloggers who think that we are close to the great depression.  I bet that one would work.

                •  We're not even (7+ / 0-)

                  near the end.  There are still commercial real estate loans that are going to go bust and take their securities with them.  Construction, loans and sales have all fallen off a cliff, and the bubble for both housing and commercial real estate were faaaaar above historical standards.  We still have a long way to go down, so we'll see.

                •  Come on, SilverOz (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  You ought to know as well as anyone that it's the trend that's worrying.

                  No, we aren't at Depresssion level stats yet, but on the other hand we've had:

                  *a worldwide housing market crisis that lead to a
                  *a large, prolonged drop in the stock market that shows no signs of recovery.

                  Both of which have lead to:
                  *world-wide banking crisis in which prominent economists are now calling for the nationalization of US banks.
                  *drop in shipping activity worldwide.

                  All of which can lead to a deflationary spiral which would take us into Depression territory.

                  It's worth keeping in mind that the true depth and severity of the Depression wasn't apparent until 3 years after the Wall Street crash.

                  And even then, there were people who persisted in Pollyannish thinking, believing that putting on a happy face and refusing to face reality would make things better.  

                  There's a time and a place for cheerleading. But eight years of that has been more than enough, I think.

            •  How are you defining that? (0+ / 0-)

              By the U6?  Or by the "politicians ass covering special" U5?

              "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." - Thomas Paine

              by Mister Gloom on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:57:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  The Reagan Recession... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...of 1982 peaked with over 10% unemployment. We are not there (yet).

            Even if we do get Great Depression unemployment, the suffering will not be as bad. We have more technology and fewer people living near subsistence.  It could get unpleasant, but we won't see malnutrition like we did in the 1930s.

            That doesn't mean we should sit still and do nothing today, though.  We just don't need to panic.

            •  Actually, I think we are at 10%, the government (11+ / 0-)

              is just using the most conservative unemployment number U3. The U6 unemployment number has us at 13.9 as of January.

              •  Add about 3% minimum (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mary Julia, gatorcog, Toon

                to any number tossed out by the government. that's what's considered full employment with standard job flux of people moving position and leaving the work force for education or other purporses.

                The governments unemployment numbers only count those collecting unemployment benifics which automatically discounts anyone who's a part of the full employment job flux. It also doesn't count the chronicslly unemployed because it drops people from the rolls once they cease recieving benifits even though that doesn't mean they've found employment.

                •  Wow, are you wrong (0+ / 0-)

                  I am going to put this in bold caps so everyone can see it:


                  •  Never let it be said that I won't admit when I'm (0+ / 0-)


                    Hell I'll even look up a source and link it rather than simply asserting it.

                    Of course none of this measures underemployment or how much actual earning power has decreased for most Americans.

                    You are still wrong about just about everything else you've commented in this diary.

                    Your naive belief that the market will somehow return to a "natural state" is based on nothing more than blind faith in the religion of Free-market fundamntalism.

                    Our current problems are just the start of this collapse which was caused not by large deficits or government spending or even poor regulation of the financial markets but by mechanisms that allowed obscene concentrations of wealth. Primarily a tax code that taxing work rather than wealth, and favors capital over labor.

                    •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

                      the bls covers underemployment, it's in U-6.  And of course we do measure actual earning power (see real median wages).  

                      And I am going to assert that I am correct.  The economy is out of whack and needs to get back to "normal".  This includes such things as house prices continuing to fall until they are affordable, people to start saving 8% of their income like they used to (even as late as the late 80s), and the government getting back to running a balanced budget.  Nothing in the stimulus is going to fix those things and thus while it may give us a temporary blip of upward GDP, in the end it will fail because we got out of whack with the "natural state".

                      •  There is no such thing as a natural state (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Marie, Toon

                        The economy is a man made thing. We make the rules underwhich it operates it which affect its behavior.

                        Pretending that there is some sort of natural mechanism controlling things is what got us into this mess in the first place.

                        It's based on a number of incorrect apriori assumptions that just don't jive with reality.

                        The problem is that many economists are no such thing. As Doug Dowd so accurately pointed out most so called economists only study this fictional entity the "Market Economy" I say fictional because their vision of it only exists in their collective imaginations.  They also ignore all other potential economic systems.

                        If you really want to get down to it the "natural state" of the economy is non-existence.

                        The economy as it actually exists is a complex interaction of human nature, human needs and artificial rules of behavior twisted in with some fundamental physical realities.

                        It is a truism that I hold that if ones base assumptions are innacurate then one can only be right by accident.

                        Your assumption that the economy has a natural state is false. Even if one pretends that the artifical economy has a normalized state the reality is that we know that that state is not stable. The normalized state of an lightly regulated market is to instability.

                        Another flaw in the unregulated market economy is that it tends to concentrate wealth. This is an artifact of this construct. In capitalist systems capital tends to accumulate the holders of capital then use that capital to protect itself and accumulate more.

                        What we are seeing today is the end result of the sorts of short sightedness you are pushing.

                        What would happen if we let those homeowners get forclosed on and offer them no assistence? The banks get the equity they get the property and when the dust settles they may not have their fake over leveraged mystery paper but they will own the hard asset.

                        The small and midsized companies and employers will go out of existence and a few mega-corporations will remain and they will have even more wealth. Since the rest of us will be destitute those at the top will have even more relative wealth (even though their actual dollar worth may be lower) because wealth is relative.

                        It's the opposite of what supply side clas warriors try to assert. Wealth is a zero sum gain. A multibillionaire does negatively affect the value of what others have. Because you have to compete for goods and services with that billionaire. You have to compete with him for your house. The very fact that he has so much money compared to you makes every you need cost more. Because a dollar represents the total economic production of society as a frantion of the total money supply massive concentration of wealth really doees make the poor even poorer.

                        Debt spending may not be the best way out of this mess but right now it's the only way to start. Sufficent debt and people will start getting nervous sufficient anger and people may actually start to demand the actions that really need to take place.

                        Which is a leveling of wealth. The super rich need to be striped of their ill gotten gains. But that would never get past our do-nothing congress or the millionairs club in the senate.

                        So for now the stimulus is what I see as a bare minimum to stave off total collapse of our system until political will to do what is needful can be generated.

                        Finally on measuring underemployment seems the Bureau of Labor Statistics disagrees with you

                        Is there a measure of underemployment?
                        Because of the difficulty of developing an objective set of criteria which could be readily used in a monthly household survey, no official government statistics are available on the total number of persons who might be viewed as underemployed. Even if many or most could be identified, it would still be difficult to quantify the loss to the economy of such underemployment.

                        •  Let me define (0+ / 0-)

                          "natural state" as you seem to be hinging on that.  I really mean normal or historically normal state (you know affordable housing and savings to name a couple things).  You cannot prop up the economy while ignoring these factors for too long.  

                          •  Fine then I'll reiterate (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Marie, yann

                            The normalized state of a capitaliastic market economy is cyclic boom and bust.

                            What we are looking at today is not an aberration of the economy it's just one extreme of that normal cycles. That's how FDR saved capitalism he listened to Keynes who told him how to blunt those peaks and dips in a way that we had a more or less stable economy.  So that recessions would be shallower and shorter and the booms would be lower and shorter as well.

                            That's was the whole point behind deficit spending with Keynsian economics. You prime the economic pummp when times are rough to keep the recession short and rebuild a surplus through progressive taxation when things are booming to put the breaks on the sort of artifical exuberance that creates bubbles.

                            This coupled with a strong labor movement which kept wages at a decent level and a highly progressive taxation system which helped to avoid accumulation of wealth and a strong social safety net keep prop people up during rougher times led to a more or less stable economy for 40 years until Reagan and his supply side baffoons came along and started wrecking the whole system.

                            The only reason this whole stack of cards survived as long as it did was the information revolution which a short time distributed some wealth back down into the hands of some working stiffs in the form of good high paying jobs for geeks who then went out and spend it. But Greenspan and Bush killed that with the help of congress and the H1B visa.

                            Now unless some great new technology explodes onto the scene that will change everythign we're going right back to your "normalized" state and it's going to be painful as hell and if we do what you propose it's probably going to be deadly.  

            •  We have to do something (0+ / 0-)

              about growing inequality, or things won't get better for most people.

              Remember how they kept telling us between 2001 and 2007 how strong the economy was, that we'd made a great recovery from the 2001 recession? Most of us knew better. As long as the rich keep skimming off all the profits for themselves and leaving the rest of us nothing, our economy will not recover.

              "There -- it's -- you know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --GWB

              by denise b on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:47:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  It's still a prediction (0+ / 0-)

            They're predicting that it will become the worst since the Depression, but we're not there yet.

            "There -- it's -- you know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --GWB

            by denise b on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:41:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I was born in 64 (6+ / 0-)

          And this is way bigger.

          There are bagels in the fridge

          by Sychotic1 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:33:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Nope... (0+ / 0-)

          this level of decline combined with job loss (the 70s decline in particular was stagflation but job loss was more minimal).

          Heck, people Who Were Alive Then (and working incidently) say that this was worse than the 80s or 70s decline

          "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." - Thomas Paine

          by Mister Gloom on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:56:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Why are you assuming that... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, cotterperson, chrome327

      ...any recovery will come quickly?

      From start to finish, the Great Depression lasted over a decade in the US. Even with the New Deal priming the pump.

      As for your fear of inefficiency, let me reassure you. If we're at the point where there is serious talk of nationalizing part of the US banking system, any money spent will be better than doing nothing at all.

      Unless you're prepared to wait 10+ years for the economy to recover on its own.

      •  looks like Krugman is growing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        more insistent about bank nationalisation.  Somehow the thought of the government running the banking industry does not fill me with confidence.  I hope he and his school of thinking know what they are advocating. The thought that it will be my tax dollars instead of private sector dollars that keeps the ship afloat is not terribly comforting.

        •  Well, I'd say that's part of the problem. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, UtopianPablo

          Private sector dollars aren't keeping some of the ships afloat.

          And as far as government running banks goes, I'd say considering that some of them are likely insolvent, any job the government would do would be definition have to be better.

          Letting a bank like BoA fail is about the easiest way to start a run on the banks that I can think of it.

        •  Oh, I don't know... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Marie, yann

          the thought that private sector funds may have been instrumental in tanking the banks doesn't give me a lot of confidence in the private sector.

          Nationalization of banks? I wonder whether nationalized banks would work the way Credit Unions work. After all, if our Government owns a bank, doesn't that translate into us owning the bank as well?

          It isn't shameful to vote your own self-interest instead of the interests of multi-national corporations--iceman

          by fumie on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 11:36:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I would imagine so, that is usually (0+ / 0-)

            what 'nationlization' means, that the taxpayers own the bank.  Hving been brought up in the UK immediately after WW2 when the entire nation was pretty much nationalised i don't have a great deal of confidence in the ability of any government to run anything efficiently.

            Don't forget that banks do a great deal more than just hold your money on deposit. They are the engines of crdit, owning the credit card industry, the mortgage industry, the small business loan industry.  If they don't make a profit they run at a loss and that loss would need to be made up by taxpayers money.  

            The same goes for the health system in the UK, which although it is free it is also not what Americans are used to. Even though I am firmly in favour of a limited national health service for those who caanot afford private care.  Any kind of nationalised health service becomes by definition, a two tiered service.

    •  Seriously, SilverOz (8+ / 0-)

      How is the economy going to recover on its own?

      How do you see that happening?

      I have been unemployed for two years now, and can't seem to find a job no matter where I look. Part of it is that my industry -- publishing -- has been decimated by the failure of the media of late and by sending large chunks of it overseas, and part of it is my age -- over 50.

      When is the economy going to recover enough that I will find another job? When is the economy going to recover enough that I can get a job that pays a living wage in the field I have trained in and worked in for my entire life?

      What shall we do?

      How do you seriously see the economic "recovery" coming about for people whose entire industries have been outsourced or off-shored or the wages reduced during our working lives? Which companies will hire those of us over 50 and pay us a living wage for the 15 years that most of us will have to work to qualify for Social Security -- if it's there? How will I retrain for it, when I'm in default for student loans I got to pay for college to improve myself so I could get a better-paying job?

      I want to live in your world. I want to know when I will be able to live like a normal person in the United States of America again.

      The social contract is BROKEN in this country. Until it is restored, and companies lose their corporate personhood and the government begins to look out for its citizens again, we are never going to recover.

      I don't necessarily think the stimulus is going to work either, because people like me get nothing. I see no benefit to me personally. There are many like me out there. I believe there will be some jobs created, but they are going to be physical labor or IT jobs, or they will go to people who already HAVE jobs. I know this because the majority of jobs will be created in the private sector and I can't get hired in the private sector. They've been rejecting me for two years now.

      I think the majority of the jobs should be government jobs, with relaxed hiring practices to expedite employing those who are long-term unemployed. There should be jobs of all types and pay rates, including those for the disabled, older workers, and women. I fear most of the jobs will go to young men, once again leaving us out.

      How would YOU have done the stimulus? Would you have provided for people like me or just let us drag along until the economy "recovered" again?

      I look forward to your answer.

      "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

      by Brooke In Seattle on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:11:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  MIsunderstanding (11+ / 0-)

    The problem is that people think that government debt is the same as personal or business debt, it's not.

    There are two important differences:

    1. Government debt never has to be paid off, when some portion of it matures it can just be rolled over into new debt with a further out maturity date
    1. If tax revenues are not enough to pay off maturing debt the government can just print money to make up the shortfall.

    There is also a special case for the US in that the dollar is the world's reserve currency so that the US can stick it to other countries when it expands it money supply without the same risks of revaluation as is currently happening, say, with the ruble.

    So there is really no point in worrying about whether the deficit is growing, there will be no generational shift. Did you feel the burden of paying off WWII or Vietnam war debt? I don't think so.

    What is important is what the borrowed funds are being used for. And this has been pretty consistent since 1945, regardless of the majority party at the time. The answer is that half the discretionary funds are used for militarism. Bush has pushed this up to 54% from Clinton's 50%.

    Military spending does not improve health care, nor schools, it does not repair roads or rail, it does not fund R&D except as it relates to weapons and it shifts the best minds from socially creative work to instruments of death.

    The military is the unacknowledged fourth branch of government and commands the largest portion of the funds. It is part of the permanent, invisible, shadow government that persists from one administration to the next. Notice that Obama has already stated that he is planning to increase military spending by another 8%.

    When half the tax revenue is being squandered on foreign adventurism and F22's and other unneeded hardware you end up with a society where essential services are underfunded and the infrastructure falls apart.

    Fretting over the size of the budget is a distraction which also plays into the hands of the conservatives, who are happy to agree with you and demand a cut in social services to "balance" the budget.

    Here's a nice graphic to show where the money goes:
    Federal Pie Chart

    •  Most of this post makes sense to me, but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wilberforce, satanicpanic

      I thought that this

      just print money to make up the shortfall

      was a recipe for massive inflation.  Am I wrong?

      •  No (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wilberforce, gatorcog, satanicpanic

        No, you are right. The same people who claimed there was no bubble forming are now claiming that the massive printing of money now going on will not cause inflation.

        One doesn't have to go back very far to see how this played out the last time. LBJ wanted to fight the Vietnam war without paying for it, so he borrowed the money. The result was the runaway inflation of the Carter period with interest rates reaching 17%.

        The parallels to today with Bush (and perhaps Obama) fighting two wars also without paying for them. The current slump may be delaying the onset of inflation, but just remember it was only a year ago that oil was $140.

        Why anyone would think that resource shortages won't push up inflation again as soon as demand picks up remains a mystery to me.

        I think the smart money is fearful of inflation which is why there is almost no long-term borrowing going on. Just look at bank CD rates. You get essentially the same rate for a six month or five year CD. The banks don't want to risk long-term commitments. The same is true with Treasury notes (mostly a year or less) and the large amount of money kept in money market accounts which have maturities of 90 days or so.

        This is the other reason that government debt is not important. When it gets too large governments just allow for inflation and get to pay it off with cheap money. It's an irresistible option which is why every government uses it eventually.

        •  Currently I see massive deflation b/c no one is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          buying anything. Or to be more pricise there are (many) more sellers than buyers.

           I've been selling stuff on ebay as a last attempt to keep from going broke, but now things are falling so fast that I have no idea what they will be worth in a week or two's time frame--some things I track have lost 2/3 value, others just 1/3 or so.

          I can see eventually this trend turning if inflation goes haywire BUT only if wages or access to credit keep pace.  And there's the problem.  And I see nothing in Obama's plan(s) that will either raise wages (to do that would need to creat massive amounts of well paying  jobs) or free credit, since such a huge part is tax breaks and trickle down policies.

          Can we have inflation while wages go down ?  

          I don't know the answer.

          "The military industrial complex not only controls our government, lock, stock and barrel, but they control our culture." - Mike Gravel

          by Wilberforce on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:52:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Can't compare our obligations to post WWII (0+ / 0-)

      Our future obligations including entitlements like social security and medicare (which we will need when we retire) make our debt obligations as a percentage of GDP much higher than after WWII. Besides, in the decades after WWII, our debt was not growing exponentially like it has since 1980.

      We pay almost as much in yearly interest on or debt as we pay for the military, so if the cost of the military is getting to be a problem, then so is the cost of our debt interest, and the latter will be much higher in another ten years.

    •  I agree with all this except it seems that (0+ / 0-)

      the Euro will soon be the world's reserve currency, if it isn't already.

      "The military industrial complex not only controls our government, lock, stock and barrel, but they control our culture." - Mike Gravel

      by Wilberforce on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:36:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans = Say 1 thing, Do another. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Generational theft? Try economic collapse! (7+ / 0-)

    If we don't recover the economy then our children and their children won't have much of an economy with no jobs, shared housing, heat by wood burning stove, etc.

    You borrow when you believe that the net long term gain is significantly positive.  The stimulus package is a gamble, but the alternative, to do nothing, is so bleak that one could reasonably expect a relative gain by running a deficit now.

    On the other hand, there was no good reason to run a deficit in the Reagan-Bush-bush years. It was a bad bet, driven by ideology.

    The Republicans are looking to create a difference with the Democrats. They are trying to create a reason to vote for them, since they are "different". This is the usual dishonest bloviating by them and needs to be called out.

    Barack is trying to walk too many tightropes in this as he is pushing bipartisanship and criticizing the Republicans for not cooperating at the same time. I'd recommend calling out the Joe Biden attack dog.

  •  Great book: "The Man Who Sold the World: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Toon

    Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America"

  •  So that makes Clinton's debt 1.2 billion? (0+ / 0-)

    Is that right?  

    If so, that's just an amazingly crazy number.  

    OTOH, the conservative response will always be that it was the Republican congress that did it, and that it wasn't as bad as all that for Bush II because he really only raised the debt until 2006. After that it was all the responsibility of the Democrats in congress.

    "It means I'm going to get a hot dog."

    by otto on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:33:59 AM PST

  •  Off Topic about Obama's deficit reduction (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Julia, satanicpanic

    I saw that Obama  made the claim that he will be cutting the deficit in half.  He would do it by increasing taxes on the wealthy and getting out of Iraq.  

    This was announced after the new accounting plan which includes Iraq in the budget.  

    I think that was pretty wise.  There will be an immediate and obvious reduction when we leave Iraq, because Obama chose to change the accounting plan in a way that would initially cause a negative effect.

    "It means I'm going to get a hot dog."

    by otto on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:36:14 AM PST

  •  The real definition of a fiscal conservative is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Julia, MinistryOfTruth

    someone who foregoes buying baby formula for their infant in order to buy more guns and ammo.  That's pretty much what Reagan's policies were all about.  Big military spending at the expense of the people they were supposedly going to protect with all those arms.

  •  Object lesson for Conservatives (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckinfuzzard, MinistryOfTruth

    like Joe Scarborough.

    If you are really a conservative, Joe, then what the f**k are you doing decrying "the new welfare state," as you call it? You already got yours.

    This new debt would be money for the general population, for the workers, not specifically for the elite wealthy like you and your ilk.

    Too damn bad for you that we get a piece of the pie this time, a**hole!

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

    by ezdidit on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:56:46 AM PST

  •  A very good point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, misreal

    but it doesn't erase the fact that our children will have to clean up this mess.

  •  GOP accuses WWII's 'Greatest Gen' of 'Gen Theft'? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TracieLynn, Mary Julia, Sychotic1

    Did I miss that?  Were we like, broke in the 1950s and 1960s when all the young folks whose parents 'blew' all that money for the New Deal and WWII had to pay off the 'generational theft' of, erm, the 'greatest generation'?

    No, because it was the opposite.  In part the investment of those previous years and the savings of war bonds led to the longest sustained boom in U.S. economic history, right?

  •  What they really mean is (4+ / 0-)

    they're being stopped from stealing.

    Cue WineRev: when republicans complain about Democrats doing X, you can be sure the pukes are planning X in spades.

    Member, The Angry Left.

    by nosleep4u on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:12:25 AM PST

  •  Tax breaks the most wealthy have got for the past (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, buckinfuzzard

    couple of decades is the true "theft" example. Time for them to pay through the nose.

    "Media is a word that has come to mean bad journalism" Graham Greene

    by gereiztkind on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:14:21 AM PST

  •  A better term is Multi-Generational Theft (4+ / 0-)

    We are in the third decade since Reagonomics, and besides, our grandchildren will have it even worse than our children.

  •  The Super Rich can go $%#& themselves, tax their (4+ / 0-)

    Super Profits and tell them it is this or the pitchforks.

    If they don't BELIEVE in taxes, tell them it works the same way the devil does and taxes sure do believe in THEM.

    Tax their Superprofit hard and build schools in poor neighborhoods. 30 years of that ought to begin to even things out a little.

    It's just a start

    F#@k this Congress and the limos they rode in on!

    by MinistryOfTruth on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:23:47 AM PST

  •  CSI: Generational Theft Unit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, BigDuck, sabredance
    The Network is proud to announce the newest member of the CSI family, CSI: Generational Theft Unit, which will begin airing in Fall to document the endless crimes that never happened except in the Freeperdonia's matrix.

    The pilot episode will investigate a research grant for 112 billion dollars to genetically modify bees to make them bi-sexual, which is a part of the secret gay agenda to turn insects metrosexual.

    Another epsidoe will delve the 44 billion allocated to study the economic benefits of forcing motorists from all 50 states to start driving on the opposite side of the road like they do in the UK. The twist here is that this a secret ploy by the Rothschilds to indoctrinate Americans into rejoining the UK, which is actually a front for the anti-gun lobby for once America has fallen for this nefarious scheme the Queen will suddenly reveal that guns are illegal in the UK!

    And in a special holiday episode--guest starring Kelsey Grammer and Drew Carey, two of the greatest actors in the conservative world--the team will plumb the depths of depravity when they follow the 12 billion dollar money trail that leads them to a research facility where derange psychiatrists tell straight people that they are mentally sick and that there is a cure for their disease, which includes satanism, sacrificing puppies, drinking ones own urine at breakfast, and watching an endless loop of Kathy Griffin's My Life on the D-List.

    And be sure not to miss the exciting two-parter, guest starring Joe the Plumber as a super spy disguised as a lowly non-unionized electrician, where the team discovers a ninety billion dollar contract designed to help endangered birds to migrate by capturing and then driving the birds in Rolls Royces and Hummer limos to their destinations. SPOILER ALERT: During the shooting of one of the scenes Joe the Plumber did his own electrical work on the trap he had designed to capture Nancy Pelosi, a limited edition Prada handbag sitting atop of an electric chair, but was accidentally electrocuted when he licked an exposed wire to see if it was live. The writers are scrambling to re-edit the ending so unions can be blamed for his demise.

    Krusty the Klown Brand Klassic Signatures

    by Carl Brutanananadilewski on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:30:46 AM PST

  •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Julia, fhcec, Wolf10

    I put this phrase into context with California and the budget crisis.  The tax revolt of the late seventies is what started the Generational Theft here.  They don't get that they've already stollen so much.

  •  Generational theft. (8+ / 0-)

    All of the deficit spending and tax cuts since the reagan years have been financed at least partly with the Social Security surplus.

    From the years 1984 to 2002 the US government had collected 1.7 trillion more in social security taxes than it paid out in claims.  By 2006 this surplus had ballooned to 2.4 trillion in excess SS taxes.  This is 2.4 trillion in excess of all claims paid to widows, retirees, orphans and disability benefits

           Whenever I hear talk of "entitlement " reform I think of this surplus which was withheld, after taxes, from my paychecks for all those years and I get more than a sneaking suspicion that the SOB mouthing the phrase "entitlement" doesn't want to pay back the 2.4 trillion they have borrowed so far. That is "Generational Theft".

    CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. A. Bierce

    by irate on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:56:57 AM PST

    •  The Social Security surplus is our deferred (0+ / 0-)

      wages. We were told to save that part of our wages for the time when the boomers would take more money than the workers should have to pay. We have saved that since 1983, twenty six years.  

      We didn't have a choice, we had to pay an extra amount from our wages because it was part of Greenspan's bill, that became law.

      The younger generations will need Social Security too or they won't get to retire or will have a grim retirement.  They will end up supporting the government's lush and early federal and state retirements, the military, the judges, the firemen and policemen.  They can retire early, but the average worker would work until they were 70, if the elites have their way.

  •  Any numbers on Carter? (0+ / 0-)

    Before I take this info and go into battle with Conservatives with it, I'd be curious to know what this looked like during the only other Dem to have held the office besides Clinton in the last 40 years.

  •  Bondad, you are so great. If you didn't exist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    you have to be invented.

  •  Just because Bush was running the printing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, Wilberforce

    press full blast, how is that an excuse for Obama printing money at full warp speed?

    With your economic prescriptions of bailouts we will soon need wheelbarrows full of money to buy groceries.  

    Obama made a huge mistake in picking Geithner and his band of merry men to run this thing.  It is very worrisome.

  •  GOP'ers're only "fiscally conservative" when it's (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, 3goldens, UtopianPablo

    the Dems that are in power.  When the GOP'ers are in power, it's "responsible" for them to drain the Treasury by giving boatloads of money to defense contractors and at the same time cut revenue flowing into the Treasury by giving tax cuts to the rich.  Then when there's the inevitable deficit, they pretend to fix it by cutting social programs for the only people actually paying taxes.

    •  Don't know who I was quoting, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but, on the back on an envelope I threw out after doing my taxes,  I had written, "Free Markets lead to Communism."  Now I finally see the connection all the people who feared communism dreaded us noticing.  Their abuse makes people want strong governments that are responsive to its citizens.  I am quite ready to embrace some form of Democratic Socialism.

      I want betters schools, Single Payer National Health Care, restoration of the U.S. Constitution, and repeal of the Patriot Acts and and the octipus that is Homeland Security, and no use of American troops unless the continental United States is threatened. the elites...actually believe that society can be destroyed by anyone except those who lead them? - John Ralston Saul -

      by Silverbird on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:58:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  we already have some form of socialism for 50 yrs (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        public schools and fore most, social security is socialism, isn' it? Social security even has the word social in it!

        In pure capitalism, there should be no public schools and no social security.

  •  Put a graph in for Clinton. The debt was a real (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    iBlue, Toon

    win for Clinton that no one ever seems to talk about.  A minor tax increase on the upper brackets and voila, balanced budgets with a plan to pay off the national debt by 2010!!  Remember that?

    It's one of the few things he did well, and right, considering his DLC roots.  funny how that is so seldom talked about.

    The 4 boxes of Democracy: The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the ammo box. The 4 G's of survival: Gold, Grub, God and Guns.

    by FightTheFuture on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:21:07 AM PST

  •  Supply side aside, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Tom Leykis has lost his radio gig, having been fired on Friday. The "Professor" of Leykis 101, ol' Tom was notorious for providing young men advice on the most effective techniques for getting laid. Among the Professor's helpful hints were "lie to her", "get her drunk", and "if she doesn't put out by the third date dump her and go looking for someone more accommodating".

    It is always a shame when a misogynistic lowlife loses gainful employment. If this is the beginning of a trend and Howard Stern next bites the dust, who will paint strippers' breasts a festive shade of green on Saint Patrick's Day?

    Danny Bonaduce was also fired by CBS Radio, so he goes back to waiting for that much-ballyhooed but mysteriously elusive Partridge Family reunion.

    Nice combine performance by Penn State's Deon Butler, cruising to a 4.38 time in the forty. That sprint should lift the slot receiver's status from late to mid round consideration.

  •  Can You Post the Numbers/Graph for Clinton? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'd like to compare/contrast the president they tried to label "tax & spend" to these supply-side "borrow & spend" morons.

    "Of all the preposterous assumptions, nothing exceeds the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed."

    by skeezixwolfnagle on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:32:28 AM PST

  •  If GOP wants to talk about 'generational theft'.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Silverbird, misreal

    ...then by all means, let's talk about generational theft.

  •  Generational theft has a libertarian bias. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Wolf10

    It assumes that each person gains and losses independent of every other person. In truth people often act as families, parents spending resources to make children more successful, children supporting parents as they get older.

    Blackwater is changing its name to Xe.

    by Toon on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:36:41 AM PST

    •  The Zero-Sum Economics Fallacy.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925 a real hangup for Libertarians.

      There never is a zero sum game - just as most economic trends have "win-win" points on the way up, they also have "lose-lose" scenarios on the way down.

      If Jesus saves, He'd better save himself From the gory glory seekers who use His name in death.... -Ian Anderson, Hymn 43

      by high bitrate on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:41:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Would you charaterize (0+ / 0-)

      the last 30 years as being a period of full investment in the education of the next generations?

      I don't.

      Let the mega banks fail, restore depositors, and watch smaller, regional banks flourish! NO BAD BANK! (for the love of God, Barack, it's not that hard!)

      by Paul Goodman on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:35:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Like Willy Loman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Silverbird

    I am worth more to my kids dean than alive. But alive, I am to them a constant source of irritation and that's priceless!

    The frog jumped/ Into the old pond--/ Plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:39:10 AM PST

  •  This was a disaster. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Clinton and Greenspan deserve credit for getting this under control.  

    So, why do it again?  

  •  I hope those who have the ability will be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    tapping into the unfiltered speeches and panels, many of them broadcast over the three CSPAN channels plus CSPAN radio, that are being made available during this week of economic and financial summitry in Washingon this week.

    This is an excellent opportunity for people to wean themselves away from the 'cable chatter' and try and understand what the administration is planning and how they plan to implement the recovery of the global economy, especially when it comes to the housing component and the possible 'nationlisation' of banks and what that will mean to American society..

    It is a delight to listen to the various republican governors, all over the place in their winter summit meeting, especially Mark Sanford of South Carolina who still spouts the old discredited items such as seeding the mall and providing TV converter boxes to the poor as examples of fraud and waste in the stimulus package.

    This is an excellent opportunity to cut through some of the noise and understand the reality with a minimum of rhetoric.

    Might save all of us a little time ploughing through diaries advocating this plan or that plan. Let's try and   understand the plan we have instead of the plan we want.

  •  Thanks, but I hope this isn't news to anyone. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, misreal

    29 years of GOP lies about fiscal discipline should have sunk in long ago.

    Cheney admits it to Paul O'Neil

    What did you do with the cash Joe?

    by roguetrader2000 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:57:16 AM PST

  •  Short...but brutal (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Paper Cup, misreal, RustyCannon

    Bondad, good stuff as always.  You can be like a ninja sometimes, just make the right cuts with your katana, nothing more, and you slay another conservative beast.

    corporations interpret "loyalty" the way a prisoner might interpret "dropping the soap"

    by Johnny Venom on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:05:37 AM PST

  •  I find it more than a little amusing (5+ / 0-)

    That the generation that grew up under movement conservatism is pissed off at movement conservatism. The Reagan-Bush era did more to make young people hate conservatism than any liberal could ever have accomplished.

    Theft is precisely what they've been up to.

    It's unfortunate that we had to go through wars and recessions and Constitution-shredding to get that perspective appreciated, but I'm quite confident there's no putting the cat back in the bag on this. The GOP leadership is a bunch of thieves. That's really the best way of dealing with them, as an organized crime syndicate.

    And I think more and more of our Democratic leadership is either becoming comfortable with this realization, or being replaced by others who are.

  •  I remember when Ross Perot ran (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, Dave925, Silverbird, 3goldens, iBlue

    He bought his own 30-minute primetime television infomercials, and he had these charts that were pretty simple to understand.  I guess they have to be idiot-proof when you're talking TV viewers.  But I digress...

    One of his huge talking points was the nation's $3 trillion debt.  It was shocking, really.  And it ain't nothing compared to today's shameful number.

    The party is over in this country, folks.  We can not continue to live above our means, either individually or as a collective nation.  Better get used to it.  When President Obama said things will get worse before they get better, he wasn't kidding.  He "gets" that much.

    The "getting worse" part?  Hasn't started to happen yet.

  •  let me understand you point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because the Republicans clearly engaged in generational theft on a grand scale, its OK for Democrats to do it as well?

    •  No, and you know is not "theft" when (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you invest funds in a way that provide for greater growth in the future. Public investment in roads, bridges, education, energy and efficiency, health care, etc. are just what produces a foundation for greater growth. Tax cuts and other consumption-based debt produces nothing in the future.

      Got it now??

      •  I hope you're not referring to the stimulus bill (0+ / 0-)

        which was far to o light on infrastructure. We will need at least 2 more such bills just to make up for its failings.

        1 for alt. energy, and one for old school infrastructure.

        Obama has been too timid.

        Let the mega banks fail, restore depositors, and watch smaller, regional banks flourish! NO BAD BANK! (for the love of God, Barack, it's not that hard!)

        by Paul Goodman on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:29:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with you in concept (0+ / 0-)

        Unfortunately, the current stimulus bill has very little to do with public investment. It ends the welfare reform started by Bill Clinton, hands out some $200 billion in tax rebates. Less than 10% of the total bill is the kind of investment you are refering to.

        The bill was all about politics and had very little to do with policies. Its one of the reasons why the stock market has sold off so sharply in recent days. It is a very clear market vote of no confidence.

  •  National Debt Graph (3+ / 0-)

    US national debt, as a percentage of GDP, in adjusted dollars, repug versus fiscally responsible leadership:

  •  to be fair... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, LynneK, RustyCannon

    you won't find many republicans who characterize GWB as "fiscally responsible."

    though they'll call themselves that while still agreeing with all of bush's tax cuts and war spending.

    when republicans talk about "fiscal responsibility" they are quite clearly just talking about "cutting taxes."

    "I don't think they're going to be any more successful in 2010 or 2012."
    -Yes On 8 co-manager

    by jethropalerobber on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:09:30 AM PST

  •  More a case of cross-class theft! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, RustyCannon

    What the Republicans want is to fund the government on the backs of the middle and lower classes, without the upper class having to pay their fair share.  So when they try to complain about future generations having to pay for today's spending, you can bet that they don't mean the next generation of the rich!

    We have enough wealth already - what we need is prosperity!

    by richBixby on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:40:25 AM PST

  •  Reagan and the savings and loan scandal: jackpot! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "I think we finally hit the jackpot", reagan was overheard saying on an open mic as he signed the deregulation of the savings and loan industry.  

    the Gop learned the art of looting the govt. under reagan. You and I picked up the tab for their grand theft to the tune of $350 billion dollars and still paying...

    all i know is the money disappeared and we paid for it.  yes, indeed, they hit the jackpot.

  •  For every debt that is created... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pangloss, RustyCannon, Skex

    ...there is also an asset created, thus there cannot be an intergenerational transfer of just the debt (the assets get transferred as well). The problem is that Chinese children will hold the assets and our children will hold the debt. We need to raise taxes on the super rich to begin to get the budget deficit under control.
    Ninety percent of the population don’t have the resources to keep the consumer economy going, nor to save enough to provide for their economic security.

  •  I got into the economy in the 70's via a real job (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigDuck, RustyCannon

    and I've seen how we've been slow-boiled since then, and especially since Reagan, and since NAFTA and 'free trade.'  

    Generational theft yes, but it started way before now.

    In the 70's we had rampant stagflation---the rule was: "if its not selling for 20 dollars, it may as well not sell for 50," and so housing went way up, along with everything else.  

    We've been totally scammed this past eight+ years, with the culmination being our current situation.  Millions of working Americans have been struggling for decades to get ahead, to send their kids to college, and to cope with layoffs, losing health care, and everything else we can all list.

    Time for a massive reboot, but it's going to be exceptionally painful, as it seems to me that we are having to suddenly 'achieve parity' with the global network of cheap labor, no benefits, and the effects of outsourcing our labor and manufacturing and also our agriculture.  We can't all be doctors, or movie stars or Wall Street brokers, can we?  

    •  We need those "side agreements" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that were promised by the NAFTA proponents.  And they should apply to all imports.  If you make goods under bad labor conditions, or poison your workers, or poison your consumers, or poison the air or water, you get to pay a nice tariff that makes your goods as expensive as USA goods produced under our environmental, labor, and consumer protection laws.  

      That way we won't have to "suddenly 'achieve parity' with the global network of cheap labor."  Letting these abusive countries into our market under favorable terms is like letting someone into your boxing match with a horseshoe in his glove.  

      "Free Trade" exploits workers on both sides of the pond.  We need fair trade that puts USA production on a level playing field without sacrificing the laws that protect us.  

      Wal-Mart has to buy from China.  If they didn't, they'd be at a competitive disadvantage with companies that do.  If we level the playing field, then Wal-Mart can afford to do the right thing.

  •  Republicans are now officially (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Goodman, LynneK, RustyCannon, Toon

    the party of Palin, they party of ignorance.

    They  have nothing left but to lie about history and hope correctly that the Americans who vote for them are too illiterate to know the difference.

  •  Supply side "economics" is a discredited theory (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Goodman, LynneK, RustyCannon

    that refuses to die. There is no evidence to support the hypothesis and most empirical studies have shown it to be faulty.

    Bushco. has committed the most generational theft in a generation. To fund two wars and pad the pockets of his cronies.

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

    I don't know alot about the stock market but BJ's are off 36%. So stay positive and kill every political discussion you walk into because you don't/can't handle the trash talking.
    I'm homeless and the economy is looking good from where I sit. It's just a matter of time at this point. Go Mockbama, Go!

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