There is no future in England’s dreaming

The British are learning just how awesome Hooverism is right now too:

A slowdown in Britain’s growth in the second quarter means that the economy is weaker than thought and has no chance of meeting its official growth target this year.

The eagerly awaited preliminary GDP estimate for April to June showed the economy growing by 0.2%, rather than contracting. Although this was better than some of the gloomier forecasts, it is still slower than the 0.5% growth seen in the first quarter, which came after a 0.5% decline in the fourth quarter of last year. City economists and thinktanks warned that the Office for Budget Responsibility would have to revise down its 1.7% growth forecast for this year.

Will Straw, associate director of Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), estimates the UK will grow by just 1.2% this year.

The weak growth is fuelling fears that Britain could lose its AAA credit rating unless the economy picks up sharply in the third quarter

(h/t tomvox1)

154 replies
  1. 1
    soonergrunt says:

    Mencken was right:

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

  2. 2
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    Woo! I’m living the dream in Austerity-UK right now! 3 advanced degrees and no guarantee of more than min wage work (if that!) when my current temp. contract ends!

  3. 3
    General Stuck says:

    “Hooverism” LOL

    Hoover didn’t pass health care reform and couldn’t hit a 3 point jump shot.

  4. 4
    Bulworth says:

    Taxed Enough Already! Cut spending! Freedom! //

  5. 5
    El Cid says:

    Since reducing all the excess spending, the British economy and people are much, much better off.

    Maybe not by “the numbers”, but spiritually, at least. A certain degree of sacrifice is good for discipline and a reminder that life is precarious and is not under the control of Man.

  6. 6
    Bob says:

    This feels exactly like the run-up to the Iraq War now where all the data was telling us one thing and politicians telling us another and making shit up.

    And once again all the pundits are on the wrong side of this…lots of the sames one who got iraq wrong.

  7. 7
    Freemark says:

    Could a front pager put another link up for the Wisconsin recall campaign. We need to keep our eye on this especially because of things like this.right wing money

    As far as ‘austerity’ measures. Too many people don’t seem to understand that you borrow the $2000 to fix the leaking roof because if you don’t it will cost you $30000 next year to fix the damage.

  8. 8
    Librarian says:

    Considering that the English invented modern government finance, beginning with the founding of the Bank of England in 1694, you would think that they would have figured out what works and what doesn’t work by now. But I guess not.

  9. 9
    PurpleGirl says:

    Don’t the British use “Hoover” as the generic word for vacuum? And hoovering for vacuuming? So does Hooverism relate to being vacuumed up in some way? Not sure where I intend to go with this thought but maybe someone else can play around with it.

  10. 10
    maye says:

    Forgive me if this has already been asked and answered:

    Does Obama really believe in austerity, or, did the White House just lose control of the message and is now being dragged along behind the wagon of hooverism? Or is there some third explanation not in dreamt of in my philosophy?

  11. 11
    Mark S. says:

    Boy the way Glen Miller played
    Songs that made the hit parade.
    Guys like us we had it made,
    Those were the days.

    And you knew who you were then,
    Girls were girls and men were men,
    Mister we could use a man
    Like Herbert Hoover again.

    Didn’t need no welfare state,
    Everybody pulled his weight.
    Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
    Those were the days.

  12. 12
    jwb says:

    Freemark: I was actually shocked to see Walker’s approval rating was still in the mid-40s, not much below Obama’s in WI. I think I saw the poll over at TPM, don’t recall the firm doing it so I can’t say how much they might have the thumb on the scale.

  13. 13
    R-Jud says:

    Well, at least both of the countries I do business in will be equally fucked.

  14. 14
    Mark S. says:

    Balloon Juice is filmed in front of a live studio audience.

  15. 15
    Lolis says:

    It is not surprising Obama has somewhat embraced Hooverism since that is what FDR did too. The question is what Obama will do once Hooverism fails, which he knows it will. It sucks to see politicians do things they know will fail, but that is what happens when Republicans control the House and when most Americans have no understanding of economics. I feel awful for all those people who are suffering right now, including some of my good friends.

  16. 16
    cat48 says:

    @maye:

    The message, but we still need to adjust SS & Medicare b/c if the totals are true, they’ll end completely.

    No one can compete with 24 hr cable & Tehadists screaming the wrong info. People seem to trust him on compromise. So, we’ll see how it all turns out.

  17. 17
    Bruce S says:

    Even Goldman Sachs appears to be debunking the austerity delusion:

    http://titanicsailsatdawn.blog.....rough.html

  18. 18
    RalfW says:

    I simply refuse to believe that slashing spending slashes money from moving thru the economy. If you cut off the water to my kitchen tap, it finds a new, magical tax-free path thru my bedroom, and I still end up wet!

  19. 19

    @TheMightyTrowel:

    My sympathy. Sounds like the story of my life, complete with lots of education.

    I extend my wishes for very high quality of life and at least an adequate amount of material goods.

  20. 20
    Mark S. says:

    Girls were girls and men were men,
    Mister we could use a man

    I guess that generated a MeetRealGUYS ad for me.

  21. 21
    Libby says:

    My new mantra: Austerity Cuts Kill Jobs.

    Thinking of having bumper stickers made.

  22. 22

    The greatest problem we face is that all these “cuts” and “unemployed” and “budget figures” are just huge numbers to the people in the air-conditioned offices making 6- and 7-figure salaries. Most of them don’t know or care about anyone who is affected by these cuts. Slash a billion here. Stop extending unemployment there.

    They are all just numbers. And as big as the numbers get, after a while, with enough $350 bottles of wine, they can go about their merry lives.

    Until these people see faces – faces they know – being seriously hurt by the shit they are causing, nothing will change – if then.

    ETA: For instance, if the first parts of the budget not to get paid were Congressional salaries (I know, it’s unconstitutional), this would have been resolved long ago.

  23. 23
    ppcli says:

    @El Cid:

    Since reducing all the excess spending, the British economy and people are much, much better off….Maybe not by “the numbers”, but spiritually, at least. A certain degree of sacrifice is good for discipline and a reminder that life is precarious and is not under the control of Man.

    I have to disagree with you on your last point, mon chum. There are many aspects of life that are outside human control, that’s true. But as Britain and now the US conservatives are demonstrating, a fundamental truth of existence is that if people are *determined* to completely, absolutely, 100% catastrophically screw up everything in their lives and those of everyone who depend on them, even the full majesty of Divine Providence will not suffice to prevent them from reaching that goal.

  24. 24
    General Stuck says:

    We’re all gonna die

    Might as well panic now

    Whilst the panicking is good.

    You people are depressing, you know that?

  25. 25
    Brachiator says:

    There’s some good news, though.

    Fears that a debt default in the United States will trigger a dramatic loss of confidence in global markets drove interest rates on US Treasury bonds higher than those in the UK on Wednesday.
    __
    In a significant boost for the chancellor, George Osborne, the UK was being seen as a safer haven for bond investors than the US during the spreading global sovereign debt crisis.

    Amazing how some GOP leaders keep insisting that there is no debt ceiling problem and everything will go on as normal even if they fail to do anything.

  26. 26
    Dream On says:

    But in the USA 2011, we are also flowers in the dustbin…

  27. 27
    Elliecat says:

    Freemark @ 7

    As far as ‘austerity’ measures. Too many people don’t seem to understand that you borrow the $2000 to fix the leaking roof because if you don’t it will cost you $30000 next year to fix the damage.

    Too true. Some observers, even a few volunteers, at local food pantries have noted disapprovingly that many of the clients have cars! How can they say they can’t afford groceries if they can afford a car?

    I always wonder about these folks. So is their plan “If I lose my job, the first thing I do is sell the car. Then I sell the computer and cell phone and all my nice clothes. THEN I’ll get down to looking for a new job.”

    ETA: it occurs to me that people who make car payments may be making these comments. Yes, if you lose your job, you may want to unload an unpaid-for car. Car payments are alien to this beater-owning household, so I didn’t think of them.

  28. 28
    Roger Moore says:

    @maye:

    Does Obama really believe in austerity, or, did the White House just lose control of the message and is now being dragged along behind the wagon of hooverism?

    I don’t think he believes in austerity. He does believe that the budget needs to be balanced in the long term, i.e. that we’ll need to pay down the debt when the economy recovers. If he’s lost a messaging battle, it’s about the timing of the cuts. AFAIK, he’s proposing cuts that are far enough in the future that the economy should be healthier by the time they hit. They may still be too soon, but he’s not proposing that we slash everything next year.

    It looks to me as if this is an opinion that Boehner shares, which is part of the reason he’s being stabbed in the back by the Teabagger Caucus. The negotiations going on right now are over long-term cuts that won’t kick measurably for a few years. That’s obviously not enough for the neo-Hooverites, who want austerity now, not a promise of austerity in the future that the next Congress could ignore if they choose. That’s why the Teabaggers are ramping up the calls for a showdown on the upcoming budget even if they get a big cut in the debt ceiling negotiations.

  29. 29
    Mart says:

    Funny how those AAA credit ratings are used to prop up worthless securities that are sold to little people. When the little people’s world turns to shit, the AAA Credit rating is used as a funnel to dump more shit on the little people.

  30. 30
    maye says:

    @cat48: If the teahadists can harnass 24 hour cable and make it work for them, I don’t believe smarter people can’t do the same.

  31. 31
    ArchTeryx says:

    @TheMightyTrowel @Linda Featheringill:

    Yep. Two advance degrees in bioscience here. My second and final postdoc ended in a layoff, and the message I’ve been getting from all my professional contacts for a year is ‘you’re screwed’.

    And I’m too disabled to work at McDonalds. So what now?

  32. 32
    Jay B. says:

    Does Obama really believe in austerity, or, did the White House just lose control of the message and is now being dragged along behind the wagon of hooverism? Or is there some third explanation not in dreamt of in my philosophy?

    Remember, he campaigned as a centrist, which means that anything you disagree with means you just weren’t paying attention to his stump speeches three years ago.

    And since the austerity thing is both a right AND centrist belief, he must actually believe it. Especially since, you know, he’s been pining for a “grand bargain” for six months now. And has repeatedly said he supports austerity measures that will “upset folks” in his own party. And he has handpicked a bunch of other right and centrist assholes for his Simpson-Bowles commission, his Treasury Department and his own economic team.

    So, other than all the things he’s said and done and supported, I’m sure some folks here will tell me how wrong I am.

  33. 33
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Linda Featheringill

    Eh. At least I can still go to a doctor without paying and my birth control is free and easily accessible. Also, i LIKE beans and rice dammit.

  34. 34
    Mart says:

    ArchTeryx – How is your Mandarin?

  35. 35

    In somewhat related news from a few days ago:

    Spanish activists, known as “the Indignants”, have set off from Madrid on a long march to Brussels.
    __
    They are protesting against what they see as governments bowing to financial markets and ignoring the needs of their own people in the economic crisis.
    __
    As they head north, the protesters plan to hold meetings, collecting complaints and proposals as they go.
    __
    snip
    __
    They say they are marching because they are fed up with the way the economic crisis is playing out in Europe, with spending cuts, job losses, and privatisations, while those they blame for the recession remain unaffected.

  36. 36
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @maye #10:

    Does Obama really believe in austerity

    My guess is that Obama is that very-rare beast: a Keynesian who believes that govt policy should be counter-cyclic in both parts of the business cycle, i.e. that we should increase govt. spending during a downturn and cut it back during an expansion. His austerity proposals thus far have come with a consistent theme: proposed cutbacks in spending fall heaviest not immediately but rather several years from now, and my guess is that this is because he anticipates that the current phase of the cycle will be over by then and the time will have arrived to switch fiscal policy from expansionary to contractionary.

  37. 37
    danimal says:

    @28 Roger Moore. Couldn’t have said it better myself. A reasoned and nuanced post that seems to identify the motivations of our national leaders in a realistic manner.

    Which means that half the readers are going to look at your post and say, “OMG, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Obama and Boehner…Obama’s worse than Bush, he’s selling us out!”

  38. 38
    Tuttle says:

    Ever feel as if you’ve been had?

  39. 39
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @TheMightyTrowel:

    Here at Casa Dennis we’ve found that when you tire of beans and rice you can add some variety by cooking rice and beans.

  40. 40
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Mart:

    It’s immaterial, since they like disabled scientists even less in China then they do here. Besides, the Chinese have learned what we haven’t: they keep their science jobs primarily for their own citizens, particularly now that Austerity Forever and a flood of postdocs has all but destroyed the scientific job market in the U.S.

  41. 41
    maye says:

    @JayB: Yes, he campaigned as a centrist, and I expected him to be a centrist. But when the global economy went into meltdown right before the election, and the story of it so resembled 1929, I expected him to pivot and go full tilt FDR. Obviously that didn’t happen. I also believed (correctly) that candidate Obama was first and foremost someone who will always seek consensus. He is hardwired to compromise. It’s in his DNA. Under the right circumstances that can be a good thing. Under the circumstances of the last two years, it’s not a good thing.

  42. 42
    Elliecat says:

    General Stuck @ 24

    You people are depressing, you know that?

    There does seem to be an instinct to let the terrorists win. Whereas my attitude has always been “fuck the bastards, I refuse to curl up and die.”

  43. 43
    cleek says:

    here’s the obligatory link to the Harpers article written three months into his presidency: Barack Hoover Obama: The best and the brightest blow it again.

    it’s about a somewhat different aspect of Hoover: how his brilliance was smothered by his caution and conventional thinking. interesting read, though.

  44. 44
    Brachiator says:

    @Jay B:

    And he has handpicked a bunch of other right and centrist assholes for his Simpson-Bowles commission, his Treasury Department and his own economic team.

    Who should he have picked for his economic team? And I don’t want the typical magical thinking BS of “anybody progressive,” I want you to name names.

    And, since as you note, Obama always ran as a centrist, you either have no problem with him, or did not vote for him, or should never have voted for him in the first place.

    So, I am not going to tell you how wrong you are, just note the irrelevancy of your post if you are in any way disappointed that Obama is not meeting your “progressive” expectations, since this was never going to happen in the first place.

  45. 45
    Lolis says:

    @Tuttle:

    Nope. I think the voters who thought Republicans actually cared about jobs have been had.

  46. 46
    srv says:

    It’s SCIENCE!

    Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society. The scientists, who are members of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer, used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion. The finding has implications for the study and influence of societal interactions ranging from the spread of innovations to the movement of political ideals.
    __
    “When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority,” said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer. “Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.”

    http://scienceblog.com/46622/m.....-of-ideas/

  47. 47
    Paul in KY says:

    Sorta OT, but just received word my application for British citizenship had been approved. Now all I have to do is get up to Chicago & take oath, etc.

    Just in time for the British Empire to run out of money.

    I’m guessing there will be no smoked salmon at the reception.

  48. 48
    artem1s says:

    @Freemark:

    As far as ‘austerity’ measures. Too many people don’t seem to understand that you borrow the $2000 to fix the leaking roof because if you don’t it will cost you $30000 next year to fix the damage.

    that and if you have an economy where the government is 20-35% of the GDP, when you eliminate a huge percent of that, no way are you going to have positive GDP growth in the next fiscal year.

  49. 49
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Patience. Recessions are caused by a collapse in aggregate virtue. Britain simply isn’t good enough to trigger the inevitable recovery — yet. But austerity will take care of that.

  50. 50
    bob h says:

    The US austerity caucus would have us believe that enacting these cuts will cause confidence to surge among job-creators, unemployment to drop, and tax revenues to arise from accelerated growth. When none of that happens, will Mr. Boehner have an explanation? Will anyone in the media ask him?

  51. 51
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Someone be sure and call me on the Austerity Hotline the second that politicians start demanding an austere military and an end to nation-building overseas. Please don’t call for an hour or so because I’ll be out walking the dog.

  52. 52
    Stefan says:

    ETA: it occurs to me that people who make car payments may be making these comments. Yes, if you lose your job, you may want to unload an unpaid-for car.

    And…do what? Start walking everywhere? That’s simply not not an option in most of the country?

  53. 53
    General Stuck says:

    “fuck the bastards, I refuse to curl up and die.”

    At any given point in time, there are a number of battles being waged in governance between people who want one thing, and others who want something else. Some of them you win, others you lose, but most are in the gray area that is democracy where it’s a little of both. And the current one isn’t even finished yet to know the outcome, but we get cool defeatist terms like “Hooverism” and some kind of weird fixation on only the parts we lost on, not the entire spectrum of results.

    Did republicans get everything they wanted? As we hear blathered across the transom, including blogs, that yes, they did. So what did they want? spending cuts or something different, like access to the guts of medicare and the ACA, to lay waste to those programs. They didn’t get that, and is why they are civil warring with one another as we speak.

    I guess I’m a party pooper for the ritual celebration of the agony of liberal defeat, that is the calling card of the liberal activist sliver of the dem base. And maybe some kind of silly for valuing details, and the bigger picture.

    So I see where we are at as a win/lose situation as it stands to play out, unless we default. Then everyone loses.
    The only thing I would call a clear and profound loss and cave would be for Obama and dems to go along with repeating this nonsense again in 6 months. Either way, it’s break time for moi.

  54. 54
    Stefan says:

    And, since as you note, Obama always ran as a centrist, you either have no problem with him, or did not vote for him, or should never have voted for him in the first place.

    It’s a two-party system. It was Obama or McCain-Palin. You can have plenty of problems with Obama and still have voted for him, given the alternative.

  55. 55
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @bob h:

    No and no. The media haven’t bothered to ask why tax cuts haven’t increased revenue so Boehner has nothing to fear.

  56. 56
    Bruce S says:

    #41 – “I expected him to pivot and go full tilt FDR”

    There is no such thing as “full tilt FDR.”

    FDR ran on cutting government spending, became Keynesian after he was elected, cut spending after he was re-elected, pivoted when the depression “double-dipped” in response to bad policy, and wasn’t able to beat unemployment of around 25% until a world war offered the opportunity for ultimate “pump-priming” through massive government spending.

    I have major issues with Obama’s strategy – although I’ll admit not sitting in his chair offers me the privilege of both not watching my hair turn grey under multiple burdens of political and economic fuckitude each morning as I shave as well as making overt noises on the guy’s left flank, which I think offers him more support and ammunition against the crazy than simple applause at his awesomeness. But this romanticization of FDR, with no appreciation of the context, i.e. FDR’s own waffling and relatively modest policies in the face of total economic catastrophe, his control of the legislature, at least at the level of partisan majority, the fact that there were major social movements on the ground “making him do it” – which is pretty much in absence today, excepting the Tea Party’s pressure on the GOP – and the fact that FDR didn’t really succeed in ending the depression until he’d been in office for nearly two terms and that his vehicle was, ultimately, cranking up industry for an even more catastrophic (albeit necessary) global war.

    Nostalgia is a hell of a drug – especially when we weren’t even around first time for the reality.

  57. 57
    Roger Moore says:

    @bob h:

    The US austerity caucus would have us believe that enacting these cuts will cause confidence to surge among job-creators, unemployment to drop, and tax revenues to arise from accelerated growth. When none of that happens, will Mr. Boehner have an explanation?

    Obviously, the answer is that we haven’t gone austere enough. The job creators have gone Galt, and they’re not coming back until we cut the tax rate on their earnings to 0% and eliminate all the government programs like Medicare and Social Security that moochers and leeches depend on. Also, too, the politicians need to publicly praise them for their awesomeness.

  58. 58
    dpCap says:

    @Freemark

    As far as ‘austerity’ measures. Too many people don’t seem to understand that you borrow the $2000 to fix the leaking roof because if you don’t it will cost you $30000 next year to fix the damage.

    No, to many people it means borrowing $2000 so you can feed that family of rabid ‘coons under the porch.

  59. 59
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Bruce S:

    Nostalgia is a hell of a drug – especially when we weren’t even around first time for the reality.

    Reminds me of the exchange in BBC’s “I, Claudius”;

    Chamberlain: The theater isn’t what it was in the old days.
    Poet: The theater never was what it was in the old days.

  60. 60
    Jay B. says:

    Who should he have picked for his economic team? And I don’t want the typical magical thinking BS of “anybody progressive,” I want you to name names.

    Awesome. The single progressive economist he picked quit because she was getting rolled by the plutocratic hacks Obama has surrounded himself with (note that her idea on the stimulus was, easily the right one and she was summarily rejected by Larry Summers before it even got anywhere else). And Jared Bernstein was given some thankless role with Biden, then he too left. Who else? How about James Galbraith? Lawrence Mishel? Dean Baker? Joe Stiglitz?

    No. It’s better to have a bunch of neo-liberals who helped run the economy into the ditch to begin with, instead of people who have largely been right. Because you know, what better vehicle for hope and change than the same old people?

    And, since as you note, Obama always ran as a centrist, you either have no problem with him, or did not vote for him, or should never have voted for him in the first place.

    I have tons of problems with him. But since you evidently think in binary code, it’s entirely possible to vote for someone even though you disagree with some, or even most of his platform, provided you disagree with the other guy more. That and he didn’t always campaign as a centrist. That’s just your guys post hoc explanation for why he has embraced things like neo-Hooverism and continued the Security State.

    So, I am not going to tell you how wrong you are, just note the irrelevancy of your post if you are in any way disappointed that Obama is not meeting your “progressive” expectations, since this was never going to happen in the first place.

    What’s really funny and ironic, in a very tragic sense, is that when President Bachmann is sworn in, you’ll find a way to blame “firebaggers” for the loss instead of the policies and the politics the fucking President enacted.

    He’s supporting ruinous policies. He and most of the Democratic Party are helping the GOP destroy the New Deal. So yeah, with two days left until economic collapse, tell me again his visionary plan for the rest of us.

  61. 61
    Citizen_X says:

    All you cowboys are faggots.

  62. 62
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Bruce S: History needs a notice etched onto it: Warning: Objects in mirror may be smaller than they appear.

  63. 63
    maye says:

    @Bruce S:

    He hired Christine Roemer, an economist known for her expertise on what worked and didn’t work in the 1930s.

    My parents grew up in the 30s.

    I didn’t expect Obama to BE FDR, but I expected he and his freshly-minted brain trust to understand the lessons of the peroiod.

    I did not expect they would get swept up in the right wing propaganda and start acting like they believe it.

    I truly did not expect that.

  64. 64
    Xenos says:

    Maybe this is the wrong thread, but

    Does anyone have a handle on what the Senate Democrats are trying to do by declaring that they will immediately defeat Boener’s bill? I would expect something a bit more subtle from him, like amending it drastically and then having a decent fight in conference committee. Why just up and kill it, thereby taking the blame?

    Unless the idea is to dare Boener to try to pass a bill he does not have the votes for? Because if he can not get a bill passed, the GOP loses the initiative and authority to deal with the whole issue.

  65. 65
    General Stuck says:

    Unless the idea is to dare Boener to try to pass a bill he does not have the votes for? Because if he can not get a bill passed, the GOP loses the initiative and authority to deal with the whole issue.

    He is going to first kill the Boehner bill, then vote on his bill, and dare the senate republicans to filibuster it. If they do, then he can blame them, if they don’t, then the bill goes to the House and if Boehner doesn’t even bring it up as a vote, which is what will happen, then the onus is back on the House.

    Or, to show that dems are willing to have an up or down vote on everything the wingers pass in the House, and they are not willing to do the same with the dem senate Reid bill. Something like that, I suspect.

  66. 66
    Citizen_X says:

    Boy, I quote Johnny Rotten and I get put in moderation.

  67. 67
    Xenos says:

    I thought the debt ceiling bill was in the category of bills that can only originate in the House, so that Reid would not be able to send a new bill back over to the House for consideration, only an amended House bill.

    But if that is not the case, then it is all a matter of timing. Which Reid has a pretty good mastery of.

  68. 68
    PreservedKillick says:

    Unless the idea is to dare Boener to try to pass a bill he does not have the votes for? Because if he can not get a bill passed, the GOP loses the initiative and authority to deal with the whole issue.

    I think this is all reverse psychology. They say they hate it so that the republicans will vote for it, just like Obama came out for a grand bargain when the grand bargain was dead and rotting – so that the republicans get to think they hurt Obama’s fee-fees. Or something like that.

    What happens next is a damn good question. If Boehner cannot pass it, well, that’s it for Orange Man. If he can, then the Boehner bill dies in the senate and the Reid bill either does not get cloture or it goes back to the house to die in flames?

    Then…? We negotiate? Everybody got to say their piece and now we can get down to brass tacks?

    What the fuck is this shit?

  69. 69
    PreservedKillick says:

    Unless the idea is to dare Boener to try to pass a bill he does not have the votes for? Because if he can not get a bill passed, the GOP loses the initiative and authority to deal with the whole issue.

    I think this is all reverse psychology. They say they hate it so that the republicans will vote for it, just like Obama came out for a grand bargain when the grand bargain was dead and rotting – so that the republicans get to think they hurt Obama’s fee-fees. Or something like that.

    What happens next is a damn good question. If Boehner cannot pass it, well, that’s it for Orange Man. If he can, then the Boehner bill dies in the senate and the Reid bill either does not get cloture or it goes back to the house to die in flames?

    Then…? We negotiate? Everybody got to say their piece and now we can get down to brass tacks?

    What the fuck is this shit?

  70. 70
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Jay B refuses to accept that progressive advice can be blocked and even smothered by anti-progressive elements _elsewhere in the government_. Obama could be getting wondrously progressive policy prescriptions daily and have no shot of actually making any of them, you know, _happen_, because of the indisputable presence of non-progressive Democrats in the legislature. Even though it’s been amply demonstrated, over and over and over again, that they exist, that they form bottlenecks, and that they enjoy doing it.

    I’d prefer to see this list of complaints reduced down to the ones that Obama _could_ do without legislative action. Those are the ones that are clearly valid cases of things he could have done but hasn’t anyway. I remember hearing about different appointments to different boards, and Matt Yglesias talking about stuff related to monetary policy, and I’m sure there’s more.

    But the points about why the stimulus wasn’t bigger, why the health care bill wasn’t better, why the financial regulation bill wasn’t better, etc., there’s an easy answer for those, and it has little to do with the ideological leanings of Obama’s inner circle, but very much to do with the ideological leanings of the rightmost edge of the Democratic caucuses in both houses of the legislature.

  71. 71
    General Stuck says:

    I thought the debt ceiling bill was in the category of bills that can only originate in the House, so that Reid would not be able to send a new bill back over to the House for consideration, only an amended House bill.

    That is only the case when a bill involves revenue raising, or tax increases. The Reid bill won’t have any of that.

  72. 72
    Lol says:

    Obama campaign on getting shit done, not empty purity posturing by protest people. And only the deluded Firebaggers continue to pretend that he got a lot of shot done his first two years.

    Obama appears bipartisan because that’s What the public wants. In practice, concessions have only been made to secure votes from conservative Democrats. An because the public loves bipartisanship, Obama publicly portrays concessions to Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman as being to Republicans.

    Can someone name a high profile concession “to Republicans” that Obama has made that wasn’t also a precondition for support from a Democrat?

  73. 73
    Xenos says:

    @PreservedKillick: Indeed, Reid declaring he hates the bill may help it get passed. That then lets the Senate take control of reshaping the bill… or having it die from GOP filibuster.

    Reverse psychology needs a subject who is pretty foolish and compulsive, so that might do the trick.

  74. 74
    General Stuck says:

    Can someone name a high profile concession “to Republicans” that Obama has made that wasn’t also a precondition for support from a Democrat?

    I could be wrong, but I believe the letter from senate dems promising to vote down the Boehner bill was signed by every dem plus Lieberman and Sanders, and even Ben Nelson signed it.

  75. 75
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I did not expect they would get swept up in the right wing propaganda and start acting like they believe it.

    Serious question. Was Hoover’s plan for responding to the Depression to concentrate on reducing spending 5-10 years from now, or to reduce spending immediately?

    Here’s the thing. I don’t think that backloaded plans to reduce spending over ten years qualify as “austerity.” And yet the tenor of comments here and elsewhere seems to suggest that talk of cuts is necessarily talk of _immediate_ cuts. To me that’s what “austerity” connotes. But AFAIK neither Obama, nor Reid, nor even Boehner have been pushing for immediate cuts.

  76. 76
    Poopyman says:

    @srv:

    I choose not to believe that that study is accurate. And you can’t change my mind.

  77. 77
    Jay B. says:

    But the points about why the stimulus wasn’t bigger, why the health care bill wasn’t better, why the financial regulation bill wasn’t better, etc., there’s an easy answer for those, and it has little to do with the ideological leanings of Obama’s inner circle, but very much to do with the ideological leanings of the rightmost edge of the Democratic caucuses in both houses of the legislature.

    It’s a bit of both. Obama is surrounded by technocrats, is a technocrat himself and will accept consensus over daring. While, yes, there is an conservative Democratic element to consider. As well as the institutional drag on change. Obama tried to co-opt them — i.e. giving Max Bachus the reins to drive health care reform, Tim Geithner to run the economy, etc. — to detrimental results. You want to see these things as successes. Maybe from a process point of view, but not an actual one. Sure, it’s amazing, the Democrats passed a health care bill! And it’s a total political failure to date and will be lucky to be implemented by 2014.

    Instead, the idea that we should be happy with these crumbs of suck is laughable. That you are satisfied with this is your problem, not mine.

  78. 78
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Lol:

    Can someone name a high profile concession “to Republicans” that Obama has made that wasn’t also a precondition for support from a Democrat?

    Spot. On. I think you’ve nailed it. From a progressive/left perspective, such concessions are to conservative perspectives and frames — but there are conservatives who believe that shit _within the Democratic party_. Both elected politicians and rank-and-file voters. Once you tease apart the notion that all or even most Democrats are liberals and progressives, the behavior of Democrats as a bloc, as a _party_, becomes a lot more clear. Democratic presidents, regardless of their personal ideologies and ideals, have to cajole conservative Democrats into supporting liberal priorities. That means compromising to the right first within Democrats, and then again whenever you need Republican votes too.

    Obama could be Salvador Allende II and it wouldn’t matter unless Ben Nelson and Heath Shuler et al could be convinced to support that agenda. And they aren’t.

  79. 79
    tomvox1 says:

    Bob @6

    This feels exactly like the run-up to the Iraq War now where all the data was telling us one thing and politicians telling us another and making shit up.

    And in the case of our current, amazingly stupid and self-defeating Deficit Hawk Fever, you can add: the Fed, the European Central Bank, a lot of mainstream economists who should know better, the entire MSM who are incapable of anything more than stenography and, most unfortunately, our Democratic president. Even Pelosi has been into the Kool Aid. Our “leaders” are well and truly through the looking glass, attacking the wrong problem at the wrong time and willfully ignoring all real world evidence of how macroeconomics works that was so painfully learned in the 20th century. And as a result, we are all well and truly fucked.

  80. 80
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Three, or four or five partiesgrammatici certunt — and two labels.

    Confused constantly, with dire consequences.

  81. 81
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Jay B.: There are _degrees_ of satisfaction. My feeling is, in general, that I wish Obama’s major initiatives were stronger and more progressive, but I believe I understand why they haven’t been, and I’ll accept that as something close to the best that can be done for the moment.

    Your view seems to be that you also wish Obama’s major initiatives were stronger and more progressive, so you’re mad about it and intent on staying that way. I don’t see what purpose that serves. It’s like a Cardinals fan still complaining that Don Denkinger missed the call at 1st in the World Series.

  82. 82
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @FlipYrWhig #73:

    Serious question. Was Hoover’s plan for responding to the Depression to concentrate on reducing spending 5-10 years from now, or to reduce spending immediately?

    Hoover’s policy response to the GD was a small and timid version of direct govt relief efforts which FDR incorporated into the New Deal and expanded greatly in size. In the 1932 general election campaign Hoover did not run on a platform of cutting govt spending, if anything FDR ran to the right of Hoover on that subject, saying that he (FDR) would be better than Hoover at balancing the budget by finding wasteful spending to cut.

  83. 83
    FlipYrWhig says:

    This feels exactly like the run-up to the Iraq War

    I think it feels more like the Iraq War circa 2005. Unfortunately, there’s a war on, and we need to figure out an exit strategy, and all the options suck for different reasons, and, whatever decision ultimately gets made, the people who wanted a different course will pounce on the ill effects.

  84. 84
    Bruce S says:

    #62 – I’m a big fan of FDR, but let’s not “posterize” him from the left (like they’ve done to Martin Luther King from the “milquetoast” liberal and hypocritical right ends of the spectrum, to no good effect.)

  85. 85
    Tony J says:

    Doug,

    Libby has it right @ 21. Austerity does indeed kill jobs, but the jobs the Tories want to kill off are Public Sector ones. Their plan was to use the legacy of the financial collapse as leverage to defund the Public Sector in Britain, then use – that – as a lever to sell off all the profitable parts of it to private corporations.

    Where they’re encountering a problem is that the presence of Liberal Democrats in the Coalition forced them to slow-walk the roll-out of their cuts, throwing off the timing so that it’s already becoming obvious that austerity is preventing an economic recovery – before – they’re able to push really deep cuts through Parliament.

    It’ll get worse over here before it gets better. The Tories have an ideological fixation on destroying the Public Sector, it’s in their DNA. Now that they’re seeing the opportunity slip away they’re only going to double down and try to push through more drastic cuts before the Coalition collapses and they have to fight another election.

  86. 86
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ ThatLeft:

    In the 1932 general election campaign Hoover did not run on a platform of cutting govt spending, if anything FDR ran to the right of Hoover on that subject, saying that he (FDR) would be better than Hoover at balancing the budget by finding wasteful spending to cut.

    Whoa, I didn’t know that. Interesting… thanks.

  87. 87
    gene108 says:

    My new mantra: Austerity Cuts Kill Jobs.

    Why? It won’t connect with most Americans. The word ‘austerity’ is not used in connection with the what’s going on right now.

    What is being described is ‘deficit reduction’, which sounds a whole lot better than ‘austerity’. It sounds so much better than ‘austerity’ that I think most Americans will not believe we are subjecting ourselves to ‘austerity’ measures, but rather will support the general idea that we all have to chip in for ‘deficit reduction’ and getting our ‘financial house in order’.

  88. 88
    PeakVT says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: I don’t think belief that counter-cyclic policy is all that rare. It’s just that it is hard to take the punchbowl away. No politician wants to tell the voters that s/he raised taxes or cut spending, and it takes serious party discipline to accomplish both without a pressing economic crisis (which of course is the wrong time to cut or raise taxes). The particulars of our political system make party discipline difficult unless the party is already a victim of mass insanity.

  89. 89
    Corner Stone says:

    Generally, if I want to smell vanilla scented candles I place vanilla scented candles around my location and light them up.
    That way, I get tones and aromas of vanilla scents.
    I don’t, for example, place lime scented candles around me in the thought that some might give off vanilla-esque scents or aromas.
    Almost inevitably, the surrounding environment is going to be full of vanilla scents when I prefer to surround myself with vanilla scented candles.

  90. 90
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Corner Stone : And if you have a partner who wants a different candle scent? Maybe she claims to be allergic to vanilla, even though it’s your favorite, and if you light the vanilla candles she’s going to cough and sniffle for hours, even though you’re pretty sure it’s all in her head, and you just want five goddamn minutes of peace, for fuck’s sake? Still going for the vanilla?

  91. 91
    wrb says:

    TI’ve argued that there would be no default since the treasury would pay the debt and not pay other things. Treasury seems to disagree:

    Officials have said repeatedly that Treasury does not have the legal authority to pay bills based on political, moral or economic considerations. It cannot, for instance, set aside invoices from weapons companies to preserve money for children’s programs.

    The implication is that the government will need to pay bills in the order that they come due. President Obama has warned as a result that the government “cannot guarantee” payments of Social Security benefits or other popular programs. Officials also have disputed the assertion of some Republicans that the government could prioritize interest payments.

  92. 92
    Matt says:

    Question for UK commenters: are there Very Serious Persons in the UK that are looking at the near-strangulation of the economy and announcing that it means MOAR austerity is needed? I haven’t heard of any, but it may just not make the news over here in the US.

    I think we all know that no matter how bad the austerians make it here in the US, there’ll always be morons like Bobo and everyone on Fux Nooz who will insist that more bleedingausterity will save the anemic patient…

  93. 93
    Jay B. says:

    Unfortunately, there’s a war on, and we need to figure out an exit strategy, and all the options suck for different reasons, and, whatever decision ultimately gets made, the people who wanted a different course will pounce on the ill effects.

    Indeed. Who could have foreseen?

  94. 94
    ericblair says:

    The implication is that the government will need to pay bills in the order that they come due. President Obama has warned as a result that the government “cannot guarantee” payments of Social Security benefits or other popular programs. Officials also have disputed the assertion of some Republicans that the government could prioritize interest payments.

    I think it’s going to be more chaotic than that. You’ve got millions of transfers going out, and in my opinion it’s doubtful that many (or any) of the payment systems have the business rules to support this sort of selective or partial process. They’re going to turn off the stuff that they can turn off, and probably go over the debt limit anyways by accident. Then what, I dunno: do some transfers fail?

    From an IT perspective, this isn’t going to be careful surgery; it’s going to be more like crash-landing an airliner.

  95. 95
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Jay B. : You want credit for predicting that Republicans would be assholes? Of course they were going to be assholes. The question is what to DO about it. That’s the war analogy. Of course the Iraq war was going to be a colossal fuckup. Unfucking it is a much harder thing to figure out. No? The Republicans won the House, they’re insisting on cuts, they won’t make a deal without cuts, so the discussion becomes how best to shape those cuts so as to damage people’s lives as little as possible. Saying “Well, maybe Democrats should have tried harder to win that election” is true, and gratifying to say, but it doesn’t speak to what’s going on 8 months later.

  96. 96
    PeakVT says:

    @wrb: SS payments may be an exception if the money goes directly to the SSTF from employers. If the dough passes through the Treasury first, then I don’t see how they could take priority. OTOH, while I doubt there is statutory authority on what to prioritize, there may be implicit authority granted to the Treasury somewhere in the USC.

    But the legalities are probably moot for the reason ericblair points out.

  97. 97
    4jkb4ia says:

    From WSJ liveblog of debt ceiling developments (h/t Nate–this is almost the whole post):

    In Italy, a lackluster government bond auction on Thursday highlighted worries about Western Europe’s debt markets. Meanwhile, the U.S. risks losing its triple-A credit rating as government leaders continue to bicker over deficit reduction only days before an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling.

    “Where would you rather have your money?” asked Edwin Gutierrez, portfolio manager at Aberdeen Asset Management. “Do you really want to be in the lion’s den, or the bear’s lair of Europe?”

    In July alone, emerging Asian countries and corporations issued $40 billion in new debt via investment bank syndicates, bringing the year-to-date total to about $413 billion, compared to $341 billion the same period last year, according to data provider Dealogic. Latin America issued about $9 billion in new debt so far this month, bringing the year-to-date total to $82.2 billion, compared to $68.2 billion for the same period last year.

    [snip]

    The strong issuance is expected to persist as investors are hungry for more. Last week, tiny Sri Lanka’s newly issued $1 billion 10-year global bond was 7.5 times oversubscribed. The Dominican Republic’s reopening of its 2021 bond was also heavily oversubscribed and priced at a yield of 6.95%, the lowest yield for an international bond from the Dominican Republic. Demand for these bonds is so high that large investors are often unable to buy as much of the offering as hoped.

  98. 98
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Missing the point. The president has a preference. When you place neoliberals all around you, you’re pretty certain to get neoliberal advice.

  99. 99
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jay B.: I’m just going to pimp myself a little from that thread:

    We’re witnessing incremental change alright. A slow but sure ceding of rhetorical territory to the conservative lege.
    Where is the pivot point? Where does the argument start from next time?

  100. 100
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Corner Stone, @ Jay B. : There’s a difference between making an accurate prediction about what will happen, stating a preference about what should happen, and articulating a way to make what should happen actually happen. What will happen: dicks will be dicks. What should happen: non-dicks should stop the dicks. Fabulous, we’re all agreed. What should non-dicks _do_ to stop the dicks from being dicks? Acknowledge that they can’t fully stop the dickery but may be able to make it less extreme? Or spend a lot of time saying, proudly, “Hey, look, dicks are being dicks, just like I said”?

  101. 101
    4jkb4ia says:

    Cutting spending now:

    Ezra brings the artillery Both plans cut about $20 billion next year, but because the automatic stabilizers go away the effect is taking $250 billion out of the economy now.

  102. 102
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Corner Stone : You’re missing the other point, which is that there isn’t just one decision-maker unconstrained by the input of others.

  103. 103
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ 4jkb4ia : That sounds bad.

  104. 104
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ 4j : Having read the piece, it seems like Ezra is trying to paint a broader picture, which is great, but he’s including things that aren’t in either deal in his “scoring.” Seems like he should say something more like, taking either Boehner or Reid as a baseline, _and_ taking into account the imminent expiration of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, the combined effect could be a $250B blow to the economy.

  105. 105
    PeakVT says:

    @FlipYrWhig: It’s about $80B in reduced spending and $160B in payroll tax increases. Each will have slightly different multipliers, but the effect will be bad no matter what.

    And Bernanke isn’t going to do anything, and the Chinese aren’t going to revalue the yuan, or be made to, so… Fuck.

  106. 106
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Acknowledge that they can’t fully stop the dickery but may be able to make it less extreme?

    How about not hiring the dicks to repeat all the same thing the other dicks say?
    How about not agreeing with the things the dicks are saying?
    Could we agree to start from there?

  107. 107
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: President Obama doesn’t get to pick his Cabinet? Or the people that work for him that don’t need Congressional review?

  108. 108
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ CS : I know you were talking about the Cabinet and key advisors. I’m talking about all the other chokepoints in the process by which policy is actually enacted.

    I know a lot of people don’t like Obama’s tendency to say versions of this: “Dick has a point about Issue, but where we see things differently is that I would [etc.]” For a lot of people, that becomes, “Holy shit, Obama just affirmed Dick’s core premise! What a sellout!” My sense is that Obama coopts that rhetoric and redirects it rather then affirming it without question. Frex (and this is obviously a made-up bit of dialogue), “When families are tightening their belts, so should the government. But we need to tighten our belts intelligently and without jeopardizing essential investments in [etc.]” That really doesn’t bother me. It bothers some people _a lot_. But YMMV.

  109. 109
    Jay B. says:

    @ Corner Stone

    How about not hiring the dicks to repeat all the same thing the other dicks say?
    How about not agreeing with the things the dicks are saying?
    Could we agree to start from there?

    No. He campaigned as a centrist, see, so he has to set an economic agenda to way to the right of George Herbert Walker Bush.

  110. 110
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ PeakVT :

    It’s about $80B in reduced spending and $160B in payroll tax increases.

    But at least as I understood what Ezra wrote, the reduced spending is in the package, and the payroll tax increases don’t have anything to do with the package — they’re just out there waiting to be renewed or not by some other piece of legislation.

  111. 111
    Jay B. says:

    My sense is that Obama coopts that rhetoric and redirects it rather then affirming it without question.

    Yeah, and how’s that working out? He could, you know, just reject the premise.

  112. 112
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Jay B. : Explain how Fantasy Obama would steer his, and your, ideal progressive economic policy through the gauntlet of conservative Democrats and more-conservative Republicans to emerge intact and uncompromised. I’m curious how that works.

  113. 113
    Brachiator says:

    @Jay B:

    That and he didn’t always campaign as a centrist.

    Let’s cut to the chase here. You’re just plain wrong on this. It is a tiresome fantasy that Obama was a strong progressive or promised progressives a damn thing. It’s not about how he campaigned here and there. It’s about the totality of his campaign. And he was consistent in this.

    And it’s not that you have any substantive issue with Obama’s policy; it’s that you believe in the fantasy that there were progressives whom Obama should have appointed, and who would have all taken the job, who would have brought us all ponies and lollipops.

    I have my own problems with much of Obama’s economic policy, but I don’t see anything that would magically solve every problem just because it carried the progressive label. This is as goofy as the GOP belief that shouting “free markets” in a crowded theater is the same thing as actual policy.

  114. 114
    FlipYrWhig says:

    He could, you know, just reject the premise.

    True. He could say, “This whole discussion of what to cut is mind-numbingly idiotic and entirely out of step with what this economy needs right now, which is another round of injecting capital — yes, government spending, and billions of it — into necessary and helpful projects that bolster the job market.” And his own party would shoot him down for it and tut-tut his big spending ways. And it wouldn’t happen. It would be rhetorically bang-on from our perspective but have either no effect or a harmful effect on whatever economic policy happened to result, because _too few Democrats believe it_. (ETA) And no Republicans, which is kind of important, given that they control the part of the legislature that originates funding, and given that Republican Congresspeople are not about to be swayed by liberal-populist-Keynesian rhetoric.

  115. 115
    sherparick says:

    The beatings will continue until morale improves.

  116. 116
    catclub says:

    ericblair @ 94 I read a posting that was titled something like
    “what to do about the debt ceiling” which suggested just keep writing the checks and let the Federal reserve worry about it. Because they will probably issue free overdraft protection for a good customer. I know that sounds simplistic,
    but it seemed like a good idea at the time ;)

    Maybe I should re-read that article.

  117. 117

    Flip@100

    This has everything to do with the conduct of the 2010 elections. Polling shows (D)s turned out and GOPers really turned out. (I)s didn’t and those who did preferred actual GOPers to almost but not quite GOPers wearing (D). There are a few exceptions. The lesson is that people prefer the actual deal to the almost one. “I’m not as bad as” sucks as election strategy but it looks like (D)s are going that way.

    In 2012 the (D)s will freak at the prospect of GOPerism and turn out for “I’m not as bad as” but that isn’t enough to win an election. Having had a long time to watch the reichward drift I’m not sure I have much enthusiasm for enabling a slower one than a quick one if we’re just going to get there anyhow. Maybe the satisfied “Stucks” will figure it out and I can just quit worrying about it – or giving a good goddam.

  118. 118
    Jay B. says:

    Let’s cut to the chase here. You’re just plain wrong on this. It is a tiresome fantasy that Obama was a strong progressive or promised progressives a damn thing. It’s not about how he campaigned here and there. It’s about the totality of his campaign. And he was consistent in this.

    What does this even mean? He promised a lot of progressive things. Of the things he could control, he fucked away most of them. HAMP — total fucking disaster — being the most obvious. Some of the other things he supported — DREAM act, support for card check, anything to do with civil liberties, transparency, etc. — were progressive in theory and he, for whatever reason failed. Completely. Other things, Gitmo, stimulus, health care were the result of compromise. And they sucked too.

    And it’s not that you have any substantive issue with Obama’s policy; it’s that you believe in the fantasy that there were progressives whom Obama should have appointed, and who would have all taken the job, who would have brought us all ponies and lollipops.

    No, you asshole, it’s clear that I DO have substantive issues with Obama’s policy and I decided to play your stupid fucking game of naming progressive economists he COULD have appointed, instead of sticking with the people who brought us to the brink of a Depression. The goal posts here are on fucking skates.

    I have my own problems with much of Obama’s economic policy, but I don’t see anything that would magically solve every problem just because it carried the progressive label. This is as goofy as the GOP belief that shouting “free markets” in a crowded theater is the same thing as actual policy.

    For starters, it would help if he had a more progressive economic policy. He clearly doesn’t. Making it more progressive would be more helpful than letting Wall St. call the tune. But, yes, your right, it’s fantasy. It won’t happen. And so I’m supposed to support, what, exactly? A compromise plan that only cuts SS benefits a little?

  119. 119

    Jay B @118

    And so I’m supposed to support, what, exactly?

    Quit thinking about what used to be Democratic and start getting with the program of what a decade or so ago used to be GOP. They’re worse, you know … for a few years until they’re good again. I bet you thought there was a reason to not vote for GHWB…

  120. 120

    Chuck@119
    I don’t suppose a decade would fix Bachmann, but Perry or the Mitt?

  121. 121
    PeakVT says:

    @FlipYrWhig: You are correct. But it’s implied in any “deal” that those things won’t be renewed, when they probably should be. I’m not particularly fond of fiddling with the payroll tax, but doing so is better for the economy than no stimulus at all. But it would be better still to raise taxes on the rich and keep the payroll tax holiday. And probably better still to raise tax on the rich a lot, ditch the payroll tax holiday, and spend all of the new revenue on infrastructure. And a pony for me. But…

  122. 122
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Jay B. : “Because Obama did X, which sucks, or didn’t do Y, which would have been great, I’m mad, and I told you, and I was right” is one possible conversation. Nonetheless, we should talk about those things in the spirit of assessing what’s to be done _now_, which IMHO is a lot more interesting. So is arguing about the constraints on what can be done now.

  123. 123

    we should talk about those things in the spirit of assessing what’s to be done now

    Why?

  124. 124
    Jay B. says:

    Nonetheless, we should talk about those things in the spirit of assessing what’s to be done now, which IMHO is a lot more interesting.

    Here’s what’s being done now and literally all of it is insanity. Over the past few weeks, the President has tried to give the GOP almost everything they want, except with some closed loopholes and taxes added. The House summarily rejected it and its leader, despite the hue and cry of a lot of his party, is offering an alternative that is merely cruel instead of overwhelmingly sadistic. The “opposition party” which runs the other chamber countered with a similar plan that’s only less hurtful to the sick and the elderly, but still economically horrifying. The President has repeatedly agreed with the vast bulk of the aims and goals of belt tightening — some of which would be backloaded a little.

    Literally everyone’s approach would make things worse:

    Similarly, authorities such as the International Monetary Fund have dismissed (pdf) the idea that austerity measures would help an economy such as the United States’ in the short term, pointing out that few cases exist where sharp cuts led to fast growth in countries where employment was robust, interest rates were high (so the monetary authorities could compensate for the cuts), and exports were strong — conditions that don’t apply to the United States. More normally, they concluded, “a fiscal consolidation equal to 1 percent of GDP typically reduces GDP by about 0.5 percent within two years and raises the unemployment rate by about 0.3 percentage point.”

    Which is stupid economics, terrible politics and just hateful. Total folly. The President has ceded the game. Any result that comes out of this bargain, grand or not, will be a disaster.

  125. 125
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Jay B. : And, if all that is correct, it would be bad. Now the question, or the discussion, becomes… how is it possible to get something good done instead, in the near term? I don’t have an answer to that, because I don’t think that there’s enough support in the halls of power for doing something good, and I don’t have much faith that the public can be rallied to push for something good either, either by Obama or by grassroots organizing. In the absence of being able to do something good, we’re stuck debating how to reduce the harm.

  126. 126
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    and I don’t have much faith that the public can be rallied to push for something good either, either by Obama or by grassroots organizing.

    How would we know?? They’ve completely abandoned the argument! If in any tiny way they actually thought counter to prevailing narratives, those times have long since past.
    You keep wanting to make this a different scenario, yet all evidence points to the fact that our ability to alter “what’s possible”, if that was ever actually true, is long long long gone.
    How do you mobilize a voterati when the most charismatic leader you have is making the tweaked-but-same argument as the other side?
    We have no wall to bounce off of.

    You keep doing this as we keep sliding ever rightward in thought and deed.

  127. 127
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Corner Stone : I agree that our ability to alter what’s possible is greatly diminished. I think there was a glimmer of a different vision in 2008, but careening from one crisis to another has ravaged it. Now we’re stuck in a feedback loop where the difficulty of doing something better justifies not doing something better. I know that. I likewise find that to be a worrisome development, and I don’t know how to fix it. Hopefully we have some smart people working on it.

  128. 128

    Flip@127

    some smart people working on it.

    Stuck

  129. 129
    jefft452 says:

    Bruce S @ 56

    “… and wasn’t able to beat unemployment of around 25% until a world war offered the opportunity for ultimate “pump-priming” through massive government spending”

    in 1933: 24.9%
    in 1934: 21.7%
    in 1935: 20.1%
    in 1936: 16.9%
    in 1937: 14.3%
    in 1938: 19.0%
    in 1939: 17.2%

    FDR didn’t see 25% unemployment except the day he was sworn in

  130. 130
    Jay B. says:

    I think there was a glimmer of a different vision in 2008, but careening from one crisis to another has ravaged it.

    Are you kidding me? The system was totally a wreck. Wall St. and the Banks practically ruined the global economy, saved only by government intervention. Bush and the GOP were rightly loathed. Obama had the greatest opportunity to fundamentally transform the role of government any President has had since LBJ. Obama was wholly uninterested in it. Instead he tried to bring the GOP aboard. Co-opted Wall St. Went easy on any kind of grassroots momentum or populist talk. We are paying the price right now for political decisions Obama and the Democratic Party made then.

    The crises now were entirely predictable and they are in no small part because of the actions Obama didn’t take in 2009. And so of course we’re now in a position to “be the adults” and mitigate harm by intentionally weakening a shitty economy and crippling government in the process.

    Many people saw it coming since the health care debate. Before that. When he announced that, despite Wall St. nearly taking us down, he was going to appoint good ol’ Timmy from the NY FED as the watchdog of a broken, corrupt system he helped enable.

    But yes, Republicans are crazy. And the Democrats, always 50 steps behind, are losers, if “responsible”. Good God, man.

  131. 131
    Corner Stone says:

    I’m just flabbergasted. Crises are ginned up and used for a reason.
    The reason is so that, “It’s never a good time to do X.”
    Well really? No shit.
    I hope we get a chance to see historians actually write the epitaph in 50 or so years. It’s not going to be pretty.

  132. 132
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Jay B. : You still show no interest in what to do NOW. Even if you’re totally right in every respect, what’s _next_? You never go there. That’s what’s important. That’s what we can control. Every time it comes up, you just gnash your teeth again about things that have already happened. Fine, yes, you’re right, everyone’s a loser and an asshole and no one knows what they’re doing. Now what?

  133. 133
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Corner Stone : The moral of the story is, 40 senators always had the power to grind the entire government to a halt for any reason, but they chose not to use it because they used to fear they wouldn’t get reelected. Now Republicans no longer have that fear, because they have rock-solid tribalist loyalty from their base. It’s like when banks realized that they would make more money from people always owing them money than from getting paid back. It empowered them to try all kinds of toxic bullshit. Democratic politicians don’t have that loyalty — and because they’re all over the map ideologically, they can’t — and so they fear displeasing people, which leads to this constant calculation about how to be inoffensive to the most people, which pushes them to the middle and the right.

    There’s only one important question. How to fix it. Not to keep fighting about whose fault it was that it came to be. It’s too late for that. I don’t have an answer. Do you?

  134. 134
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    How to fix it. Not to keep fighting about whose fault it was that it came to be. It’s too late for that. I don’t have an answer. Do you?

    I love this approach you keep trying on. Of course it’s important to identify whose fucking fault it was.

  135. 135
    Arky Vaughn says:

    I love PJ Harvey

  136. 136
    jefft452 says:

    “I love this approach you keep trying on. Of course it’s important to identify whose fucking fault it was”

    When people say “It’s not time to play the blame game”, It’s a good bet that they are to blame

  137. 137
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ CS : It’s important for what purpose? Presumably to try to figure out what to do right in the future. So, what is that?

    I don’t understand why this is supposed to be a trump card. Let’s say you’re right, and Obama fucked up royally, and listened to all the wrong people, and is making everything worse even as we speak. Now what? What do we do? What do Democrats do? Because high-fiving as the bus goes flying over the cliff because you totally knew it would happen kinda seems like cold consolation.

  138. 138
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: How about not letting those people have a 3rd bite at the apple?
    Or will you defend their choice again when they continue to have power, or are put back in power?

  139. 139
    Corner Stone says:

    It’s hilarious. Why do you think this blog spends so much time castigating McArdle?
    Is it because we should fucking ole her appointment, advice or closeness to decision making authority?
    Don’t you get the simple, basic fact that it’s good to know what the truth is? And judge from there moving forward.

  140. 140
    Corner Stone says:

    Should we let Larry Summers just carte blanch again? Or was the holy fucking hell of a fuss?
    Or when we do will you and Cole et al tut tut us and tell us to stop being whiny firebaggers and get on board because He’s Got This!

  141. 141
    Corner Stone says:

    God damn this pisses me off.

  142. 142
    Jay B. says:

    There’s only one important question. How to fix it. Not to keep fighting about whose fault it was that it came to be. It’s too late for that. I don’t have an answer. Do you?

    Jesus Christ. For the past 18 months or so, many, many people, right here and elsewhere identified the problems, offered what they thought were possible solutions, rendered their garments, gnashed their teeth, phone banked, called their congressmen, signed their petitions, laid out in clear, obvious terms that there’s no negotiating with Republicans and that it’s absolutely necessary to fix the problems they left behind before anything else. Prosecute if necessary.

    Don’t. Worry. I. Got. This. You. Emo. Firebagger. That’s the response. Maybe you’ve heard it.

    Here’s a shorter of the 18 or so months:

    People like Me: Obama is heading for the cliff. Obama has to turn now. Please turn, NOW. OK, we’re going off the cliff.

    People like You: Yes, but what are you going to DO about it? And Lilly Ledbetter. Also.

    It’s a sick joke.

  143. 143
    FlipYrWhig says:

    If warranted, I might still defend some future action by… I guess we’re talking about Larry Summers or somebody? whatever, it doesn’t matter… as something close to the best possible outcome in poisonous, horrible circumstances, or perhaps, more precisely, as the least harmful among competing harmful options. But I wouldn’t likely defend it as what I myself would draw up as the President-for-Life of the Commonwealth of Utopia.

    I keep wanting to go back to the Iraq war as a touchstone. I never supported the Iraq war. I thought it shouldn’t have been started in the first place. I’m not claiming credit for doing so; it was pretty fucking obvious it was a bad idea, and it would have been a bad idea if it had been over in 3 weeks, too. But once that argument was lost, and the country was in a war, and any number of awful and stupid things happened, it seems to me that it is much more important to talk about how to wind it down as best as possible than to keep revisiting how it was a dumb idea in the first place. The only reason to keep revisiting that is to ensure that Kenneth Pollack et al, let alone Laurie Mylroie, don’t get to shape the _next_ war. But that still goes back to the point that the important thing is how to handle the current crisis and avoid the next one, rather than pat each other on the back about the previous one would have never happened if we had been listened to.

  144. 144
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Jay B.:

    People like You: Yes, but what are you going to DO about it? And Lilly Ledbetter. Also.

    I don’t remember ever once saying anything negative about rallying, phone banking, or any grassroots action, so don’t fucking tell me what “people like me” have been saying about that. I think Adam Green’s web/email petitions are useless. And I think I spend altogether too much time actually articulating what I actually think to let you fill in the gaps with a lot of total bullshit that makes you feel more authentically engaged engorged.

  145. 145
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    If warranted, I might still defend some future action by… I guess we’re talking about Larry Summers or somebody? whatever, it doesn’t matter… as something close to the best possible outcome in poisonous, horrible circumstances, or perhaps, more precisely, as the least harmful among competing harmful options.

    No. No! Fuck no!
    This is false, just fucking false.
    President Obama doesn’t have to have Bill Daley or Geithner, or Summers or any of thos fucking people around him. He chose them. For whatever reason, Obama chose them.
    And when you choose these types of people you get these types of outcomes.
    Fuck, just stop bullshitting for one second. President Obama is the boss, he chose these people, he listens to their advice and he moves forward on it.
    God damn. This isn’t fucking hard. Stop playing patty cakes around the real issue!

  146. 146
    FlipYrWhig says:

    You know, fuck it. I think I’ll watch some Project Runway instead of doing this yet again. I’m just saying what I always say. You’ve heard me, I’ve heard you, whatever, nevermind.

  147. 147
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The only reason to keep revisiting that is to ensure that Kenneth Pollack et al, let alone Laurie Mylroie, don’t get to shape the next war. But that still goes back to the point that the important thing is how to handle the current crisis and avoid the next one,

    And by not listening to Pollack, et al we may not have to deal with the next war. Isn’t this obvious?
    Call it out for what really happened and then when someone picks up the phone to call Pollack jump six ways down their fucking ass for listening to him.
    Some bullshit with the economic team.
    The only possible, rational decision that can be reached at this point is that President Obama is receiving the outcomes he desires.
    Period.

  148. 148
    Jay B. says:

    But that still goes back to the point that the important thing is how to handle the current crisis and avoid the next one, rather than pat each other on the back about the previous one would have never happened if we had been listened to.

    The next crisis, if we make it through this one, will have its roots in this one. Everything on the table right now will make things worse, so we won’t avoid a next one. Unemployment will go up, the economy will stagger or stagnate or worse. Republicans will demand more cuts. Democrats will once again ask “how many?” You’ll announce that there was simply nothing the President could do and let’s not bicker over who capitulated to whom.

  149. 149
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ Corner Stone : Look, you fucking imbecile, I know it’s at the END of paragraphs instead of the beginning, and you like to read only until you hit the first tripwire that gets you nice and agitated, but to quote myself:

    The only reason to keep revisiting that is to ensure that Kenneth Pollack et al, let alone Laurie Mylroie, don’t get to shape the next war. But that still goes back to the point that the important thing is how to handle the current crisis and avoid the next one, rather than pat each other on the back about the previous one would have never happened if we had been listened to.

    Plug in Summers for Pollack. I just said what you just complained I didn’t say. For fuck’s sake. Two eyes, one brain, can’t lose.

  150. 150
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Well, it’s either yell at you or bother reading whatever vomitorium ABL has chukked out upstairs.

  151. 151
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Imbecile. Nice.
    You’ve been making a foolish argument all thread, including this silly rejoinder, but I’m the monkey.

  152. 152
    Jay B. says:

    I don’t remember ever once saying anything negative about rallying, phone banking, or any grassroots action, so don’t fucking tell me what “people like me” have been saying about that. I think Adam Green’s web/email petitions are useless.

    Judging by the results, those petitions are only marginally more useless than everything else. But whatever. I’m sure your continual rationalizations of political ineffectuality are far more important than mine.

  153. 153
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Unemployment will go up, the economy will stagger or stagnate or worse. Republicans will demand more cuts. Democrats will once again ask “how many?” You’ll announce that there was simply nothing the President could do and let’s not bicker over who capitulated to whom.

    And you’ll immediately dismiss, once again, the idea that the past few years have shown that very few senators intent on being stubborn _actually can_ wreck absolutely any policy. And that the question of what the president can do to overcome that is actually kind of complicated. And when we talk about the options, you’ll get all huffy about excuse-making and capitulation instead. It’ll be kind of like this, only in the future. Yay.

  154. 154
    Jay B. says:

    And you’ll immediately dismiss, once again, the idea that the past few years have shown that very few senators intent on being stubborn actually can wreck absolutely any policy.

    Let’s not look backwards. It’s unproductive.

    And that the question of what the president can do to overcome that is actually kind of complicated

    .

    At least the GOP paid the price for their obstruction. Certainly Obama and Democrats never let them live it down.

    And when we talk about the options, you’ll get all huffy about excuse-making and capitulation instead. It’ll be kind of like this, only in the future. Yay.

    You’re right. The real question should be is raising Medicare to 67 years good enough or is 70 better?

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