Obama’s Attack On Romney Enters Phase II

As a few rather clever journalists (Jonathan Chait and Greg Sargent come immediately to mind) have long foretold, the President’s reelection campaign has begun “Phase II” of its anti-Romney strategy.

Phase I was to highlight Romney’s politically problematic career at Bain, as well as his opaque finances and tax filings. The goal: Lodge in undecided voters’ minds a portrayal of Romney as hyper-wealthy, detached, and consummately self-interested. Above all else, Chicago hoped low-information voters would see in Romney an unreflective beneficiary of a system whose inequities and hypocrisies would only worsen under his stewardship.

To sum it up by repurposing one of Reagan’s most celebrated lines, Romney’s not the solution — he’s the problem.

WMR

But Phase I lacks most of its electoral potency unless it’s linked together with Phase II: Depicting the “Path to Prosperity” (a.k.a. Paul Ryan’s budget) as the public policy manifestation of The Romney Problem, turning the Ryan budget into the Romney-Ryan budget. Quite reasonably, Obama and other Democrats will argue that a vote for Republicans is a vote for making the “Path to Prosperity” a reality. Yet as it’s always been, this de facto shadow budget remains extremely unpopular. Considering that much of the plan’s real cuts remain TBD, it’s only likely to grow more so with further public scrutiny. (Romney would no doubt prefer we discuss it in quiet rooms.)

In fact, the Obama campaign has found that the public hates Ryan’s plan so much they don’t believe it’s real. That’s why Democrats have spent so much time attempting to define Romney in voters eyes as someone who actually would implement this almost comically plutocratic agenda.

So here’s what the President will say today in the do-or-die state of Ohio, using the extremely felicitously timed new Tax Policy Center report on Ryan’s budget as pretext to hammer Romney as an unreserved class warrior:

President Obama on Wednesday plans to attack Mitt Romney’s tax plan as benefiting wealthiest Americans at the expense of middle class families.

The president will make his charges at a campaign event in Ohio, the latest push from the president’s re-election campaign to depict the Republican challenger’s economic philosophy as exploitative.

According to excerpts released from the campaign, Obama plans to cite a new report from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center that concludes the a tax plan similar to the one proposed by Romney “would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.”

“The centerpiece of my opponent’s entire economic plan is a new, $5 trillion tax cut,” the president plans to say. “A lot of this tax cut would go to the wealthiest 1 percent of all households.  Folks making more than $3 million a year — the top one-tenth of one percent — would get a tax cut worth almost a quarter of a million dollars… But it gets worse.  Under my opponent’s plan, guess who gets the bill for these $250,000 tax cuts?  You do.” […]

“[The Tax Policy Center] found that if Governor Romney wants to keep his word and pay for his plan, he’d have to cut tax breaks that middle-class families depend on to pay for your home, or your health care, or send your kids to college,” Obama said. “That means the average middle-class family with children would be hit with a tax increase of more than $2,000.

“But here’s the thing — he’s not asking you to contribute more to pay down the deficit, or to invest in our kids’ education,” he continued. “He’s asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a tax cut.”

Tangent: I’d note that Obama isn’t merely arguing that Romney’s plan serves wealthy and divergent interests, and allowing the voters to make their own inferences about how these interests also happen to be Romney’s own. Rather, Obama is explicitly arguing that Romney’s looking to in effect take money out of the 99 percent’s pockets in order to further stuff his. By this point in the election, we’re all quite used to hearing Obama use this kind of take-no-prisoners rhetoric — but I’m still continually amazed that this is the same guy we saw in 2008.

Anyway, after weeks and weeks of “Are the Bain Attacks Working?” stories, it’s only now, with the introduction of the Romney-Ryan budget, that we can begin to search for evidence. If voters believe the “Path to Prosperity” is actually real, and that a President Romney would actually sign it, then this election becomes a choice between dueling plans for the future rather than a simple up-or-down vote on Obama’s performance thus far. In that scenario, Obama almost certainly wins.

 

[x-posted]

105 replies
  1. 1
    Steve LaBonne says:

    The evidence is already showing up in the swing-state polls, in several of which Obama has just hit 50% for the first time.

  2. 2
    Ben Franklin says:

    The goal: Lodge in undecided voters’ minds a portrayal of Romney as hyper-wealthy, detached, and consummately self-interested.

    Two=edged sword. The avg voter thinks he can be rich; everyone can be rich. Dislodge that notion first. It sounds too even-handed to work. I think Quinnipac’s recent polls showing Obama ahead by 3-4 pts in Fla, Penn and Ohio shows the negative ads are working.

    Time to double down. Don’t let Romney up from the stompfest.

  3. 3
    shortstop says:

    Just coming here to say what Steve LaBonne said.

  4. 4
    flukebucket says:

    I am sure that if the Obama machine continues with the “Mitt’s father would surely be ashamed of his son” attacks Mitt will eventually pop a cork and say something that will make kiss my ass seem like a Romper Room statement.

  5. 5
    Another Halocene Human says:

    FDR for a new millennium.

    I’ve seen the phase II ad they bought on Hulu (it’s 60 seconds long, I think). It’s awesome.

  6. 6
    4tehlulz says:

    I’m hoping for a phase where Obama wraps Mitt the Albatross around the necks of the Congressional GOP.

  7. 7
    Thoughtcrime says:

    The Von Romney Failing Circus is going down in flames.

  8. 8
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @4tehlulz: Hear, hear.

  9. 9
    Steve LaBonne says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    Time to double down. Don’t let Romney up from the stompfest.

    +1000. Don’t ever, ever let him get off the mat and back on message, even for a day. He can be damaged beyond repair even before the Thug convention if the Dems keep executing as well as they have so far.

  10. 10
    Culture of Truth says:

    Ruth Marcus declares it the Worst Week Ever for Obama

  11. 11
    D0n Camillo says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    The avg voter thinks he can be rich; everyone can be rich.

    I wonder if that’s still true? I get the sense that the housing crash and the Great Recession may have cleared away a lot of those visions of future wealth especially among boomers in their 50s and 60s. Also, all the financial scandals. LIBOR just being the latest, have helped to show just how rigged the whole game is against the average player.

  12. 12
    japa21 says:

    @4tehlulz: I expect that to come after the convention. Unlike 2010, when many Dems ran away from Obama and paid a steep price, I think you will see a lot of joint campaign appearances with Dem candidates specifically wrapping the two (Romney and the GOP in Congress) together and putting the blame on the GOP for the recent slowdown in the recovery.

  13. 13
    Gravenstone says:

    FYWP eated my post. Guess I played too many games within the editor.

    I simply suggested changing the last quoted line to read, “He’s asking you to pay more so that people like him can pay less.”

  14. 14
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I think it would make a decent commercial to say directly that the Republican economic plan is so appalling that decent people refused to believe it — but it’s all too real. Then hammer the specifics. Don’t shy away from banging what the focus groups didn’t get, just take a two-step approach and go meta. It’s so bad it’s almost literally unthinkable.

  15. 15
    burnspbesq says:

    Worth noting that Ben Bernanke just voted. For Romney.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html

  16. 16
    WereBear says:

    When I heard about that focus group; the stuff Republicans actually do now are so over-teh-top crazeeeeeeeeee! that when I try to tell people that is what they are doing… it sounds too crazy for them to believe.

    It makes me look like the crazy one.

  17. 17
    amk says:

    And the best part is while obama+biden team concentrates on openly attacking exposing the secretive mittbot, the first lady is playing her role excellently in a more subtle way, unlike the queen ann. The hubyy+wifey team are targeting two swing states separately today while the mittbot needs his queen ann to hold his hands on the campaign trail.

  18. 18
    Culture of Truth says:

    Think of it like a professional athlete. A lot of people look at these guys and think, boy if I had that talent and money, I wouldn’t waste it, I’d buy my mom a house, maybe get a fancy car, but I’d save most of it, and visit sick kids in the hospital and be a good role model. Some well paid athletes are revered because they do these things, some are despsised because they don’t. It’s not the money so much as how they live.

    Romney is like one of those athletes no one really likes unless he’s on your team, and even then he’s kind of jerk.

  19. 19
    shortstop says:

    @burnspbesq: This is a surprise?

  20. 20
    jibeaux says:

    It’s a wonderful one-two punch.

    As cynical as I’ve gotten, I remain bewildered at the simultaneous facts that 1) snopes has an article debunking the myth that the ACA will require human microchipping (attn Politifact: they found it to be “false”.), and 2) people nevertheless can’t believe that Republicans, who have not exactly made a state secret of their love for rich people and disdain for everyone else, would actually craft tax and spending policy that reflects that.

  21. 21
    wrb says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    That is a very good idea. The ad writes itself.

  22. 22
    Brian R. says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    The avg voter thinks he can be rich; everyone can be rich.

    Remember when Al Gore pointed out that the vast majority of Bush’s tax cut plan would benefit the top 1%? They did a study at the time that showed about 20% of Americans thought that they were already the top 1% and another 20% thought they would be soon.

    There’s nothing quite as exceptionally American as a wildly inflated self-image.

  23. 23
    shortstop says:

    @jibeaux: Re 2), I can never quite believe just how deep the tribalism goes, and how tightly they’ll hang on to their empirically discredited beliefs to maintain their deeply cherished self-identity.

  24. 24
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Culture of Truth: You know I don’t see the connection between bad money sense and being a jerk.

    Your last sentence could easily apply to Roger Clemens. As far as I know he’s doing just fine financially, but, boy, that guy was an asshole.

  25. 25
    amk says:

    @Culture of Truth: A good analogy.

  26. 26
    catclub says:

    @Culture of Truth: Other words for Obama is winning. keep doing what you are doing.

  27. 27
    Culture of Truth says:

    I imagine a Ted and Louise or whatever their names were sitting around a kitched table reading the Ryan plan. “Can you believe what’s in this plan?” “Look at this on page 100” “I can’t believe Mitt Romney wants to do all this, he seems like such a nice guy” [ shakes her head ] “He seems like rich guy Louise.” [ sighs ]

  28. 28
    Ben Franklin says:

    @D0n Camillo:

    I don’t know. The DREAM continues to be cast as available to all. They want the Joe Plumbers of the Country (unemployed, no contractors license) to believe the Rich should be worshipped as the Ruling Class of European derivation. The wealthy replace Dukes, Counts and Kings. I’ve seen no change in the electorate, in that regard

  29. 29
    gex says:

    @D0n Camillo: Strangely, all the conservative white boomers I know DO think that corporations and the wealthy are sticking it to them. They still think that taxes and redistribution are bad. Because THEY pay taxes. And THEY don’t consider any of the benefits they receive from government as redistribution that works in their behavior.

    The greed of those inthis generation that led to pension slashings, 401ks, and stock market bubbles via their beloved deregulation isn’t suddenly going to point the finger at itself.

    ETA: They all complain about the lazy jobless and can’t even realize that in 2008 a ton of people became jobless NOT due to simply wanting to scam the rest of us.

  30. 30
    Zach says:

    “Gov. Romney, if your tax proposal had been law in 2010 and 2011, how much money would you have personally saved?”

    Why’s no one asking him this question?

  31. 31
    amk says:

    Aaand Nancy smash piles on via twitter

    Your GOP Congress hard at work: “60 House Bills to Name Post Offices, Zero To Fix Mail Service.” http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/po.....l-service/

  32. 32
    jibeaux says:

    @shortstop: Funny because as soon as I saw that and thought “who could possibly even in this country be gullible enough to believe that?”, someone commented to say that she had just gotten that email, with a header that basically said “I don’t verify these, I just forward, don’t tell me if it’s wrong because I don’t care, I just send them for fun.” Just to reiterate, this is a chain email warning people that they’re going to have report for a required microchipping, and the prelude is “it doesn’t matter whether or not this is true, or in the alternative I plead that it’s funny.”

  33. 33
    Zach says:

    Or more succinctly, “Gov. Romney, how big of a tax cut do you propose to give yourself?”

  34. 34
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Steve LaBonne:

    Did you (or anyone) hear what Ron Paul got for abdication? I had hoped he would create trouble at the Convention.

  35. 35
    gex says:

    @WereBear: THIS.

    I had a friend who told me she thought I was over the top talking about what the anti-gay people in this country were about.

    Then the calls for camps and executions came without a really big pushback, and now I have a standing invitation to live in their attic.

    And that sounds crazy too, but you know what? Crazy shit happens. Crazy people do crazy things. I see no point in ignoring all the signs of some sort of crazy catastrophe so I can be surprised when it happens.

  36. 36
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Brian R.:

    Low info voters, and one-issue voters; the bane of our Republic

  37. 37
    Trentrunner says:

    Obama’s October slogan should be:

    Do you want Obama’s 2nd term or Bush’s 3rd?

  38. 38
    catclub says:

    @burnspbesq: “And Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress last month that the Fed is prepared to take further action if unemployment stays high.”

    That further action will happen only if Romney is elected.

    So what is over 8% for the past three and a half years?
    THAT is “stays high”, but gets no action.

    Re-appointing Bernanke was an own goal by Obama.

  39. 39
    shortstop says:

    @jibeaux: I’ve had that same infuriating response from in-laws when I answered their chain emails…before they stopped forwarding them to my humorless ass, that is. It’s not bad enough that they’re energetically spreading total bullshit; they insist on being free from being criticized or held accountable for it by strident libruls.

  40. 40
    Peter says:

    I think that Obama’s use of “people like him” is telling. The Republicans have tried for years to cast Obama as an alien, and I think Obama has finally decided that two can play at that game. I suspect we’ll see fewer references from Obama about how his plans would raise his own taxes (enough to demonstrate that he’s acting from principle, though) and more about Romney the “unreflective beneficiary” (great phrase) of the policies he is pushing.

  41. 41
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I think there might be a connection, but in any case my point is the average fan does not necessarily resent great wealth, even when given to people who are extraordinarily lucky, play a game for a living and are paid by your ticket purchases. If you’re not a complete jerk about it they’ll say ‘hey good for Derek Jeter’ with his $100 million, even as they complain about rich overpaid athletes.

    Romney has not lived up to his luck or riches; instead he seems intent on scheming for more for himself and his rich buddies.

  42. 42
    burnspbesq says:

    @shortstop:

    Actually, yes, it is. Bernanke knows as much about the causes of the Great Depression (and, by extension, about how to keep the current economic situation from becoming a Second Great Depression) than anyone who has ever lived. It continues to be hard to fathom why he isn’t acting. Theories include assimilation by the Borg Fed staff and culture, fear of retaliation by Congressional Republicans, and something akin to Stockholm syndrome.

  43. 43
    Redshift says:

    @Brian R.: Don’t forget inability to do math. There’s a reason why Obama talks about “people who make over 250K” rather than the top X%. To figure out if you’re in or near the top X%, you need information about what everybody makes. Every person already has enough information to figure out if they’re making more than a given amount. (They may still be unrealistic about how likely they are to get there, but “being a millionaire” is always a more distant goal and harder to fool yourself about than just making what you assume rich people make.)

  44. 44
    Steve LaBonne says:

    @Ben Franklin: I haven’t seen anything anywhere about a payoff to Ron Paul. I just think that some of his more delusional enthusiastic supporters too easily forget that he’s a Republican and not some kind of Perot-like independent. It figured he would fall into line if (as is in fact the case) he didn’t have enough delegates to mount any kind of real challenge under the rules.

  45. 45
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Steve LaBonne:

    The evidence is already showing up in the swing-state polls

    I’m not a fan of “swing-state” polling, because it’s mainly a way for pollsters to differentiate themselves. Either poll nationwide or do individual state polls.

    I said during the debates that the “your dad would be embarrassed by you” is going to be the jabby, stabby attack on Mittens through election season.

  46. 46
    shortstop says:

    @burnspbesq: It’s the lack of action that’s not surprising, silly; no one should be flummoxed by this latest, given his history of ignoring history. Any or all of those theories (and similar ones that have been discussed to death) are good possibilities, but the last thing that should be shocking you at this point, Charlie, is Lucy Bernanke pulling away the football again.

  47. 47
    Steve LaBonne says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: I’m taking about polls in individual states. I probably should have phrased my statement better, because I don’t like the kind of poll you’re talking about either.

  48. 48
    wrb says:

    someone commented to say that she had just gotten that email, with a header that basically said “I don’t verify these, I just forward, don’t tell me if it’s wrong because I don’t care,

    Who has time for tax policy with all the serious evil stuff Obama’a up to?

    I never get chain mail but got one today.

    Buff guys who can speak foreign (in one case identified as Russian!, someone who could tell informed the author. These guys could speak both good Russian and good American, and to do that they would have to have been started before age five, the expert explained), Some have been seen on firing ranges. One gun had a red star on it. Obama is importing Russian communist special forces who are organizing in Colorado while we are jabbering about fucking budgets.

  49. 49
    burnspbesq says:

    @catclub:

    Re-appointing Bernanke was an own goal by Obama.

    Disagree for a variety of reasons. See comment 42. Bernanke is the right guy in the right place at the right time, if he would just get his thumb out and do the things he knows are necessary. In addition, there is no reason to believe that anyone that you would consider “better” than Bernanke could have been confirmed.

  50. 50
    Redshift says:

    @Zach:

    Why’s no one asking him this question?

    Because almost no one is being allowed to ask Romney questions.

  51. 51
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @burnspbesq: We are in a liquidity trap, what can the Fed do? Monetary policy is not the answer, fiscal policy is.

  52. 52
    gex says:

    @shortstop: I tend to tell them, as the tension is about to max out, that I love this country, and I respect America. I believe in self government. And I don’t mind them disagreeing with me. But I absolutely hate that they decide what to believe based on what MAKES THEM FEEL GOOD (the thing conservatives always blame liberals for championing) regardless of whether or not it is true. And that is how THEY choose to completely disrespect everything America stands for as they decide to deliberately become misinformed and then express their ignorance through government via their vote.

    It never wins them over. But I secretly hope the rest of the cc’ed get something to think about.

  53. 53
    Paul says:

    RM should be dismissed from the world.

  54. 54
    Redshift says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: Swing-state polls are individual state polls. Several of them are done at the same time, but the results are reported by state; if they were reported as an aggregate, they would indeed be completely useless (as most national polls are.)

  55. 55
    shortstop says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    I’m not a fan of “swing-state” polling, because it’s mainly a way for pollsters to differentiate themselves. Either poll nationwide or do individual state polls.

    Um, why? National polling means zip in terms of how the election is decided, and all but a handful of states’ electoral votes are fully accounted for and will not change. The polls to which Steve and I (see my link above) are referring were done individually in Pennsylvania (never really a swing), Florida and Ohio. There are quite a few individual polls in other swing states where Obama has been running anti-Bain ads (Iowa, Wisconsin, etc.) that also show Obama with an improving lead.

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    Above all else, Chicago hoped low-information voters would see in Romney an unreflective beneficiary of a system whose inequities and hypocrisies would only worsen under his stewardship.

    There ain’t no such thing as “low information voters,” and certainly not large numbers of voters who will vote against Romney because of fancy narratives in which he is shown to be “an unreflective beneficiary of a system whose inequities and hypocrisies would only worsen under his stewardship.”

    The election is not a referendum on the benefits of capitalism. Or even on how Romney got his money groove.

    Voters will choose the person who they believe will help them the most.

    @Ben Franklin:

    RE: The goal: Lodge in undecided voters’ minds a portrayal of Romney as hyper-wealthy, detached, and consummately self-interested.

    Two=edged sword. The avg voter thinks he can be rich; everyone can be rich. Dislodge that notion first.

    Hmmm. Good point. And so far, the Democrats seem to be a good job of hitting Romney on the issue of Bain and his unreleased tax returns, and also pushing the message that Romney’s policies would not do anything to help the average citizen who was not already a millionaire.

  57. 57
    shortstop says:

    @burnspbesq:

    In addition, there is no reason to believe that anyone that you would consider “better” than Bernanke could have been confirmed.

    That’s absolutely true.

  58. 58
    jibeaux says:

    @shortstop: I’m kind of sad no one sends me these. I would reply all in full-on freakout mode and offer to help anyone who needed it with passports to leave the country, surgical assistance in removing the implant, and encrypting their bank information provided that they of course gave me their bank information (the microchip, naturally, would be tied to your bank account. I am not making that up.)

  59. 59
    gbear says:

    @Trentrunner:

    Do you want Obama’s 2nd term or Bush’s 3rd?

    ..on steroids.

  60. 60
    shortstop says:

    @jibeaux: If this happens, all I ask is that you do it in person and get video.

  61. 61
    jibeaux says:

    @shortstop: Sure thing. Just need more crazy relatives….

  62. 62

    @Zach:

    “Gov. Romney, if your tax proposal had been law in 2010 and 2011, how much money would you have personally saved?”
    __
    Why’s no one asking him this question?

    You can bet that somebody on Obama’s team has already run the numbers for Mitt’s 2010 return so he can trot them out at an opportune time. One more reason Mitt doesn’t want to release his tax returns.

  63. 63
    retr2327 says:

    “Romney’s not the solution — he’s the problem.” Isn’t that the closing message (unspoken. but printed) on the ad with Romney singing?

  64. 64
    shortstop says:

    @gex: Funny old world, isn’t it, when the party that can’t get over the 60s–and insists on still thinking of all of us as DFHs embracing if-it-feels-good-do-it philosophy–has turned out to be the tribe of having its cake (and nothing but cake) and eating it, too, while we keep trying to get some political vegetables down their throats.

  65. 65
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Brachiator:

    I think the Wealthy button has been wisely used. It’s always the outsized aggrandizement which makes folks uncomfortable (elevator for his car) and it has not been effectively countered.

  66. 66
    catclub says:

    @burnspbesq: How about Paul Volcker? Is the Senate (2009 version) going to reject him?

  67. 67
    Culture of Truth says:

    I literally made a wingnut’s head explode when I pointed out he was engaging in politically correct, feels-good do-it, bleeding heart, wishful thinking politics like he accused liberals of doing.

    First he was speechless, then he started sputtering, then his head exploded. Bits of skull and brain matter everywhere. What a mess.

  68. 68
    aimai says:

    @D0n Camillo:

    I agree with Don Camillo because, a) he’s my favorite fictional Catholic Priest and b) I think he’s right. A whole lot of people do not believe they will ever become rich anymore. A lot of older white guys know they won’t have time. Anyone under 30 really knows it because they don’t even know if they will ever have a job at all, let alone a house.

    aimai

  69. 69
    PopeRatzo says:

    After four years of unrelenting attacks on him personally and his administration by the Romney wing of the Far Right, I can absolutely understand the President’s strategy.

    What a boon to the US it would be if once and for all guys like Paul Ryan/Ted Cruz/Marco Rubio/Chris Christie/Mitt Romney were exposed for who they really are and their economic plan exposed for what it would do to the American people.

    I really hope the President doesn’t go soft on these attacks. I don’t only want to see Romney defeated, I want to see the entire 21st century Republican agenda unveiled as the enemy of the people of the United States. A stake through its heart.

  70. 70
    catclub says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Ask yourself this, if inflation were 8% and unemployment rate was 2%, would the Fed figure out that they could do something?

    The Fed has a dual mandate. They just ignore half of it.

  71. 71
    catclub says:

    @Brachiator: Imagine a ‘compare and contrast’ between the scrutiny of Clinton and the Whitewater land deal, and all the stuff the Mittens is hiding.

    If it was important to know about Whitewater (and better before the election than after), then it is important to know about all of Mitt Romney’s shady deals.

  72. 72
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @aimai:

    A whole lot of people do not believe they will ever become rich anymore.

    Even more reason to protect their little bit of nothing against the browns, the lazies and the illegals.

  73. 73
    liberal says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    Pretty much agree.

    There’s lots of talk about all sorts of unconventional things the Fed could do; one leading one is change expectations by targeting “nominal GDP”.

    But at the end of the day, interest rates are already really, really low, and I don’t see how monetary policy alone is going to put stuff in people’s wallets.

  74. 74
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @catclub: Why don’t you tell me what the Fed can do? The interest rates are as low as they can be. What other power does the Fed have? Corporations and banks are sitting on a huge cash cushion. We need some one i.e. the Government to spend on building infrastructure, or as Keynes said digging ditches and filling them again. Unfortunately that’s not something the Fed can do by itself.

  75. 75
    liberal says:

    @catclub:
    Misses the point.

    It’s easy for the Fed to do something about inflation: jack up interest rates.

    In the current environment, the Fed has injected all sorts of liquity into the system. But the Fed can’t force all that stuff into people’s pocket where it can be spent.

    I’m not saying I know this to be true for certain, but the onus of providing evidence is on the people who say it could be.

    Krugman thinks the Fed should try, but my impression is he’s taking a “it can’t really hurt, and maybe it could help” attitude.

  76. 76
    trollhattan says:

    @Redshift:
    Admittedly, who wants to be yelled at by a staffer who looks like he leads a middle-school preppie mafia?

  77. 77
    Catsy says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    I really hope the President doesn’t go soft on these attacks. I don’t only want to see Romney defeated, I want to see the entire 21st century Republican agenda unveiled as the enemy of the people of the United States. A stake through its heart.

    QFTMFT.

    This is the silver lining in the Fibonacci sequence of insanity from which the Right has been increasingly become inseparable, and why the influence of the Internet on the life of the average American is generally to our benefit. These clowns are demonstrating to more and more Americans what their real agenda is every time they ratchet up the crazy.

    Republicanism is a cancer of ignorance and hate that needs to be exorcised from the body politic of America, forever discredited.

  78. 78
    JoyceH says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    The avg voter thinks he can be rich; everyone can be rich.

    I’ve always said that based on the way some people vote, it’s obvious that too many people in this country believe that they’re going to become rich – and they’re never going to grow old.

  79. 79
    Ben Franklin says:

    @JoyceH:

    and they’re never going to grow old

    They want to go to Heaven, but they don’t want to die.

  80. 80
    wrb says:

    In the current environment, the Fed has injected all sorts of liquity into the system. But the Fed can’t force all that stuff into people’s pocket where it can be spent.

    I don’t know enough about the regulatory limits, to be positive, but it has seemed to me that the Fed has some unused power to intervene in the mortgage markets and to pump money into the main street economy. I’d be curious why these wouldn’t work.

    The Fed buys toxic assets from banks and sells them at a discount.

    Why not buy mortgages, massively, and write down the interest rate to something closer to the rate at which the Fed can borrow? This would inject huge liquidity into the economy at the local level, as people re-purposed the money with which they had been paying their mortgages.

    The Fed pours money at very low rates into a few major banks. That money can come with stipulations.

    Why not open that spigot to small banks and credit unions with the stipulation that it be loaned within their communities?

    Unconventional, but we are facing a radical, unconventional crisis.

    Of course people will argue that this isn’t perfectly fair, but is anything that the Fed does?

    Wouldn’t everyone benefit from the better economy that would result?

  81. 81
    Brachiator says:

    @catclub:

    Imagine a ‘compare and contrast’ between the scrutiny of Clinton and the Whitewater land deal, and all the stuff the Mittens is hiding.
    __
    If it was important to know about Whitewater (and better before the election than after), then it is important to know about all of Mitt Romney’s shady deals.

    I thought that Whitewater was a bunch of bullshit. Still do.

    I don’t know whether Romney is hiding any shady deals. I do know that his refusal to release his tax returns is arrogant and obnoxious. And whether or not there is anything significant in his returns, Mittens is certainly reinforcing the perception that he is hiding something.

    And right now, as long as he is giving the Democrats a hammer, they might as well hit him over the head with it.

  82. 82
    liberal says:

    @wrb:
    That’s the only thing I’ve been able to think of—something along those lines.

    But there are lots of complicated legalities. First, the Fed isn’t allowed to buy anything it wants to. Second, there are third parties (investors in mortgage-backed securities; various banks; etc) whose parochial interests might be aligned against such a move.

    I’m not saying it wouldn’t work, or that it’s not worth trying. Rather, that at best it would be politically/bureaucratically/legally difficult. The conclusion being that it’s reasonable to say “The Fed should try to do more” but maybe not so reasonable to say “It’s an enormous crime that the Fed isn’t doing more.”

    The best way to fix things would perhaps be to just hand thousands of dollars of cash to every resident of the country. But that’s a fiscal action.

  83. 83
    wrb says:

    @liberal:

    It isn’t wrong to say “It’s an enormous crime that the Fed isn’t doing more.”

    Maybe they can’t act on every good idea, but they can do more.

    It isn’t Bernanke’s fault.

    It isright to say that the Fed won’t do more because of the make-up of their board and the fact that the major banks get to appoint the majority of its members.

  84. 84

    @Ben Franklin:

    Two=edged sword. The avg voter thinks he can be rich; everyone can be rich. Dislodge that notion first.

    How about “Romney’s plan will not only make him even richer; it’ll keep you form ever getting ahead, much less rich.” ?

  85. 85
    bemused says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    I’m listening to Randi Rhodes and she just said she doesn’t care if Mitt is rich, she cares that he is a douche. I second that.

  86. 86
    catclub says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: They could say: we will continue to buy bonds until inflation is at 4% rather than 2% and GDP growth is back on its target rate.

    Instead, they say: we are pretty happy that inflation is at 2% and will make strenuous efforts to keep it at or below 2%.

    If they stick to a 4% inflation target, people will decide that buying now is better than waiting, and getting zero interest on their bond holdings. More buying is better.

  87. 87
    catclub says:

    @Brachiator: I thought Whitewater was bullshit, too. But the people who are defending Romney’s secrecy are the same people who thought Whitewater was a BFD, who did argue that it was important, and that the public has a right to know about it.

  88. 88
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Duh, I just got it – Obama is forcing Mittens to defend a tax hike. Think what you want about his policies but Obama is awesome as a politician.

  89. 89
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @bemused:
    Agreed.

    I don’t necessarily begrudge Mitt his financial success so much as how he acquired his vast fortune. He made money off of destroying American companies and putting Americans out of work, and hiding his money overseas to evade taxes. He is about as un-American as you can get.

    If he was some kind of parallel universe Steve Jobs, running a company that actually made things, it would be a different story.

  90. 90
    RaflW says:

    My one idiot right wing friend on Facebook yesterday bemoaned Obama’s “Chicago style politics.”

    He then went ballistic when I pointed out that that meme comes from Fox News and the Romney campaign. “Oh, noes, I’m an independent!”

    Anyway. What I took from his blathering is that Obama has taken the gloves off. And that shocks a lot of conservatives (oops, independents! [wink]).

    When I hear Chicago style now, I’ll think Phase I/Phase II and know it’s a 1-2 punch that no GOPer ever thinks a Democrat can throw.

  91. 91
    Patricia Kayden says:

    What makes me laugh are all the people who are appalled that Obama is running a “negative” campaign. Like Romney/Rightwing SuperPacs have been running an angelic campaign. Right.

    Keep them on the ropes, Obama. Don’t let up. It’s about time that Dems threw some punches.

  92. 92
    PatrickG says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    It would be strangely poetic to have the ad format that helped sink health reform in the 90s be used to defend an expansion of health care today (albeit indirectly).

  93. 93
    burnspbesq says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    We are in a liquidity trap, what can the Fed do? Monetary policy is not the answer, fiscal policy is.

    And fiscal policy isn’t going to happen as long as Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell have anything to say about it. So what’s the answer?

  94. 94
    El Cid says:

    __

    The goal: Lodge in undecided voters’ minds a portrayal of Romney as hyper-wealthy, detached, and consummately self-interested.

    I don’t see how you could do that, given Romney’s warm, likeable, folksy, generous style and clear gift of gab.

  95. 95
    burnspbesq says:

    @catclub:

    How about Paul Volcker? Is the Senate (2009 version) going to reject him?

    Coinflip, at best. If you need Lieberman, Nelson, and Lincoln to cut off a filibuster and actually get to a vote, you are in deep doo-doo.

  96. 96
    JR in WV says:

    If the Fed was to stage dual interest rates, say 1% on funds loaned out to small business and, oh, 4% on funds hanging on in a money market fund or other cash equivalent, does anyone think lending might accelerate?

    Maybe?

    And if funds now tied up in banks’ balance sheets were in use by small business to expand into new markets, develop and produce new products, identify new customer market segments, would employment improve?

    Maybe? Just somehow get… better?

    I think there’s a lot of things Bernanke could do, but as has been mentioned, he is a Rethuglican, and probably won’t do anything that would help a Democratic candidate for President, lest he damage his ability to get way richer than he already is, ya think?

    Hey, why is Rethuglican indicated to be a mis-spelled word???

    FSM, a guy can’t coin anything here, anymore!

  97. 97
    Joel says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Technically, the Fed could make interest rates negative. But the interest on bonds is already negative. People are paying the US Government to keep their money safe. Strange days.

  98. 98
    Joel says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Technically, the Fed could make interest rates negative. But the interest on bonds is already negative. People are paying the US Government to keep their money safe. Strange days.

  99. 99
    Joel says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Technically, the Fed could make interest rates negative. But the interest on bonds is already negative. People are paying the US Government to keep their money safe. Strange days.

  100. 100
    burnspbesq says:

    @Joel:

    Yes, but can they do it three times in less than a minute?

  101. 101
    Bill Arnold says:

    @burnspbesq:

    And fiscal policy isn’t going to happen as long as Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell have anything to say about it. So what’s the answer?

    They will be supportive of any fiscal policies that will result in net negative job growth. Their focus is on jobs, as they’ve said. (The true believers will believe as usual that any policies that liberals hate must be good policies, including economic policies. The smart operators know better.)

    I don’t see a solution, other than for Democrats to win big in the fall. And maybe change the Senate rules on cloture.

  102. 102
    rikyrah says:

    @Brachiator:

    I don’t know whether Romney is hiding any shady deals. I do know that his refusal to release his tax returns is arrogant and obnoxious. And whether or not there is anything significant in his returns, Mittens is certainly reinforcing the perception that he is hiding something.

    I heard a Democratic pundit use the ‘E’ word for the first time with regards to Willard.

    ENTITLED.

    that it seems, he feels ENTITLED to the Presidency.

    HALLELUJAH.

    yes yes yes

    more of this please.

  103. 103
    mainmati says:

    @Steve LaBonne: Agreed but Obama’s going to have to do much better than 50% in those states since there will be serious voter suppression and even voter fraud attempts in those states (all Republican run). This is the GOP electoral Rubicon after all.

  104. 104
    mainmati says:

    @Bill Arnold: Agreed, except that gerrymandering and stupid people guarantee a majority Gooper HOR. The Senate is very much up for grabs but the Dems could still hold on yet but it will be so close that there will be no likely prediction until the actual election.

  105. 105
    Rabble Arouser says:

    @rikyrah: Entitlemitt.

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