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An old friend of mine is a fairly rational guy, but has some blind spots.  In a recent (ongoing) facebook discussion, he posted a reply to something I said with the following claptrap.

I can easily get past the basics, but would appreciate some actual numbers to support arguments against.  

His bit is below the Orange Squiggle of Power:

The economy is not growing because Obama has done three things that hurt job creation from 3 months before he was sworn in,

1. He warned business people that he was not your friend, that he would be coming for your wealth, that he was going to redistribute it to people he likes.

2. He also showed all business people that he would not slow growth of government, he hired 140,000 new federal employees and in fact devalued the dollar by quantitative easing 2 times. This scared many companies into sitting on assets and waiting for a new administration before risking capital in this environment.

3. Unstable regulations and health care costs, no one can price a product, hire and train work forces, when costs of energy and labor are un predicable, and your government is threatening you.

That's all it takes, you need no more than that to destroy a free system. He didn't have to pass any laws, just get in the way, just break the people's spirits, just make enemies with your most productive citizens while courting your least productive. You'll get re elected maybe, but you will destroy all hope.

You can see what he's doing - he's buying into the whole "Government is bad, private business is good" meme, and while I can demolish the basic arguments fairly well just using simple history and google, some details would help.

Thanks!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    psyched

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 08:34:27 AM PDT

  •  You don't really need economic theory (6+ / 0-)

    to demolish those arguments, because they're pretty much entirely fictions, figments of your friend's imagination.

    In the first, Obama has made no such statement.  He has consistently argued that tax rates on incomes over $250,000 should be restored to Clinton-era levels, which you might want to point out are lower than the rates Reagan set them at.  He has never said he would redistribute income to his friends.  If your buddy brings up Solyndra, point out that loan guarantee was offered under standards established by the Bush administration, and that plenty of Republican congressmen have backed similar kinds of loan guarantees -- including for solar companies -- themselves.

    For the second, your pal completely misunderstands the independence of the Federal Reserve from politicians and the nature of quantitative easing itself.  Obama couldn't do quantitative easing even if he wanted to, and Bernanke -- originally a Bush appointee -- began the bond buyback program in order to fulfill his statutory obligation to keep unemployment below defined levels.  The president had nothing to do with it.

    Also, the president has made very clear his desire to restrain the growth of the government deficit.  In fact, he had reached a deal with Boehner in the summer of 2011 to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over ten years, but Boehner -- under pressure from the Tea Party wing in Congress -- walked away from the deal and brought the US to the brink of default.  It was Boehner's irresponsibility that caused Standard and Poor's to downgrade US debt, raising borrowing costs for the US government, increasing the deficit, and introducing more uncertainty into the US economy.

    Regulations, especially in the health care sector, are unstable because the Republicans keep trying to undo legally enacted laws and regulations.  Business is perfectly fine with the ACA, and are simply waiting for the politicians to stop trying to undo it to get on with the business of doing business.

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 08:45:55 AM PDT

  •  He's full of S*&t, and the burden of proof is his. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho

    You can not go around trying to disprove his ridiculous claims.  He will simply come back with more claims and ask you to disprove those.

    1) Ask Him, to show you the numbers that show that the Federal Government has grown by 140,000 since he took office.

    2) Explain to him that it is the Federal Reserve, and not the Executive branch that controls monetary policy, and he better look at the value of the dollar again.  It has been rising against gold and most currencies.

    3) If the government can control energy costs, why did they hit record highs in 2008 and why did George Bush want those record high prices?

    Unfortunately, you are dealing with someone who is irrational and you won't be able to carry on a reasonable conversation with him.

  •  Businesses expand when they have customers. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, FG

    If any one of the three points listed were true, and the businesses had customers, they would be sitting tight on their current assets with facilities running at 100% and/or refusing orders because they could not fill them because they were afraid to expand.  Show me an established business refusing orders for any of the reasons sited (or any other reason, this should be good) and your facebook buddies would have their poster-child for obamafear.

    Ask your friends for their numbers:  how many restaurants can they not get into because they refuse to hire staff and have lines out the door?  How many car dealerships are turning away buyers because their salemen are fully occupied?  How many mines and mills are at 100% capacity and refusing orders?

    and their contempt for the Latin schools was applauded by Theodoric himself, who gratified their prejudices, or his own, by declaring that the child who had trembled at a rod would never dare to look upon a sword.

    by ban48 on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 08:52:33 AM PDT

  •  Actual numbers would not help you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DBunn

    Those arguments are based on emotion, not reason.  He has given you no data to refute, and will likely be unmoved by any data you could provide.

    Obama will redistribute your wealth to people he "likes"?  Government "threatening" you? Breaking people's spirits? And he managed all that even before inauguration day. Your old friend may be rational in other matters, but you are right about his blind spots. This is one of them - using shallow, fear based non-thinking.

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:01:44 AM PDT

    •  Actual numbers help (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DBunn, trumpeter

      The conservative narrative is that government growth under the socialist government of BHO has discouraged private sector hiring. The numbers show just the opposite. Private sector hiring has been pretty good given weak demand from consumers, overbuilt housing slowing or stopping construction, and global weakness and instability, none of which can be blamed on Obama.

      Public sector jobs are the root of the weakness, We know we should have spent more, only teh crazy Republicans f'd it up.

      •  Yup. (0+ / 0-)

        He's not stupid, just misled.  If I can give him something concrete to hold on to, maybe we can reform him.

        I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

        by trumpeter on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:56:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  hope so (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe

          too often, our differences aren't facts, though...it's a matter of getting someone emotionally angry to stop being SURE they are getting SCREWED. If this guy is just certain that, worldview-wide, all progress is an attack on his person and an Obama government only exists to take from good people like him and give to theives who want to burn down his church and eat babies in the chik-fil-a parking lot, well that's the GOP Base and there's not much to be done.

          Is this an election or a buyout?

          by papa monzano on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 10:10:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Point 2 is really the main issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DBunn

    Since Obama took office government employment at all levels has fallen by over 600,000 jobs. Over 500,000 of those jobs where cut after Obama's first year in office when private job growth resumed.

    The private sector has recovered all the jobs lost in Obama's first year. Some 4 million private jobs where lost in Obama's first year, as the effects of banking crisis worked through the economy. Roughly 4.4 million private sector jobs have been created since. This reflects pretty good private sector performance, especially in light of the ongoing drag created by the shrinking government sector.

    This is key. In all prior recessions since 1940 Keynesian economic policies followed by both parties led to increasing government employment to offset the downturn in private growth. Because of Republican intransigence this is the first time we have let the government at all levels take actions that compounded the weakness in the economy, largely because the federal government did not provide sufficient funding to allow states constrained by balanced budgets to avoid deep cuts to education and services. This is the basis for claims that the stimulus was too small to effectively restore the economy. Considered at all levels of government, we followed a contractionary fiscal policy.

    Far from scaring people with devaluation of the dollar, because of quantitative easing the dollar has substantially gained strength during the crisis, as the US is the only major power that has shown anything like a sensible response, and our economy has remained relatively strong compared to all but a few much smaller and resource driven countries.

    Bottom line is that private growth has been pretty good given the weak demand and weak growth abroad. Considering that the crisis originated in overleveraging leading to overbuilding in housing and the unavoidable drop in construction post crisis it had been really good in those areas where business confidence matter. It really is about the failure of government to spend money countercyclically to maintain current jobs and and build infrastructure while interest rates are negative and resources are unemployed.

    e

  •  my answers would be (0+ / 0-)
    1. He warned business people that he was not your friend, that he would be coming for your wealth, that he was going to redistribute it to people he likes.
    Your friend should supply quotes. Obama made a point of not pursuing punishment against the heads of the banks that collapsed the economy. Taxes are the lowest they've been in years for a majority of americans. There has been no national redistribution of wealth, unless you count the bank-fraud which started before obama and continues with the help of republicans.
    2. He also showed all business people that he would not slow growth of government, he hired 140,000 new federal employees and in fact devalued the dollar by quantitative easing 2 times. This scared many companies into sitting on assets and waiting for a new administration before risking capital in this environment.
    That "growth of government" referred to is probably the giant Homeland Security department the Republican adminstration enacted. Quantitative Easing is a FED decision, not Obama. Can I blame Bush directly for all of Alan Greenspan's decisions? Sweet.
    3. Unstable regulations and health care costs, no one can price a product, hire and train work forces, when costs of energy and labor are un predicable, and your government is threatening you.
    the only threats i see are the GOP threatening every LBGTQ person. Threatening every poor person on the safety net. Threatening every union member with unemployment. Threatening every american with less health services. Threatening women with less access to care.
    The unstable regulation and heathcare costs would be stable if the House stopped trying to repeal the law every 5 days. Which is more uncertain: making a law and living with it or making a law then telling everyone it'll probably not be law in a few days, so just hold on....
    As for energy, domestic production of fossil fuels is up, we are trying to get some kind of forward thinking policy in place against a GOP that just wants to see Obama fail, and all the previous administration did for energy policy was ENRON.

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    Is this an election or a buyout?

    by papa monzano on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:55:59 AM PDT

    •  Business's hire because of increased demand. (0+ / 0-)

      Regulations may add to the cost of doing business (a hotly debated point) but they have no impact on hiring. The Republicans embrace policies that have empirically failed. The only real rise in prosperity since 1980 has been for the wealthiest 20%. Republican economic thinking is based on false premises. It fails from the very beginning. For hard numbers look up some of Krugman's columns. He points to very good sources of economic data.

      But the deregulation that caused Enron happen during the Clinton administration. We must own up to the mistakes we make also.

      •  that's true (0+ / 0-)

        i was thinking more of cheney's closed door, super secret energy policy summits that only included industry.

        but yes, we whored out some principles ourselves. glass-stegall repeal (gramm leach) happened on our watch as well.

        Is this an election or a buyout?

        by papa monzano on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 01:40:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You see, dear diarist, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, papa monzano

    this is where I pretty much turn off. Someone who believes what your friend claims to believe in has only one of two options available to assess his mental state, either of which disqualify him from any effort of mine to actually connect with him. Either:

    (1) He's in la-la-land (and thus not worth reaching); or
    (2) He's wilfully lying to bolster his case (and thus not worth reaching).

    Far better to spend your time and effort on reachable people.

  •  "Few of these things happened." (0+ / 0-)

    If they did, provide evidence.

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 12:05:28 PM PDT

  •  If he is rational (0+ / 0-)

    He might like the book I review here. (Hopefully I am late enough in this thread to not be hi-jacking anything.)

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