Vote Your Pocketbook

Matt Yglesias chooses the day before the election to posit:

I think it’s a very tough call, but Romney would probably be better for short-term growth.

This would be a douchey thing to do even if it were, you know, good analysis. But it isn’t. Good analysis that is. It is definitely a douchey move.

Matt’s argument is basically that Romney is more likely to have larger deficits than Obama and that the Fed is biased toward providing looser money for Republican Administrations. And, also too, the House GOP won’t blow up the economy if Romney is President.

There are solid counter-arguments on all three fronts. Romney would be likely to give us tax cuts paired with significant austerity. Deficits would rise by virtue of slowing growing rather than deficits providing the spur to more economic activity. Putting more money in the pockets of millionaires while gutting social spending and putting public sector employees out of work is not a recipe for economic growth.

In terms of the Fed, they are already committed to open-ended quantitative easing. So it is hard to see how much looser they are liable to go. The zero-bound still operates for GOP Administrations.

Finally, the notion that the House GOP will play nice with Romney is absurd. They will push for maximalist goals, essentially the Ryan budget, and anyone who thinks that is a recipe for growth is, I would argue, not really considering the case closely.

I don’t often quote Fox Business, but here they nail it:

Thanks to their pro-business approach and the anemic recovery, Republicans would seem to have a clear path to grab the economic mantle heading into the 2012 race for the White House.

However, history actually shows that the U.S. economy, stock prices and corporate profits have generated stronger growth under Democratic administrations than Republican ones.

According to McGraw-Hill’s (MHP) S&P Capital IQ, the S&P 500 has rallied an average of 12.1% per year since 1901 when Democrats occupy the White House, compared with just 5.1% for the GOP.

Likewise, gross domestic product has increased 4.2% each year since 1949 when Democrats run the executive branch, versus 2.6% under Republicans.

Even corporate profits show a disparity: S&P 500 GAAP earnings per share climbed a median of 10.5% per year since 1936 during Democratic administrations, besting an 8.9% median advance under Republicans, S&P said.

Here is the reality: The rich will get richer under Romney. They will also get richer under Obama. But under Obama the rest of the country might have a shot to see their lot improve as well.

It really isn’t that hard. This isn’t a tough choice. This isn’t about who is better on the economy vs. who is better on social issues. Obama is better on both.

There are two groups of people who should be voting for Romney: white supremacists and theocrats.

But if you’re gonna vote your pocketbook, it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, the reality is the history strongly suggests that voting for a Democratic president is the smarter play.

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55 replies
  1. 1
    SparkleMotion! says:

    Shorter version of Yglesias:

    I’ve run out of things to say, and I want to continue to pretend to be a clear-eyed iconoclast, so derp derp derp.

    Such predictable hackery. So sad to see what Slate has become.

  2. 2
    Brachiator says:

    It really isn’t that hard. This isn’t a touch choice. This isn’t about who is better on the economy vs. who is better on social issues. Obama is better on both.

    Yes, this is pretty much it.

    It’s funny how even supposedly smart pundits cling to the myth that Republicans are good for the economy.

  3. 3
    Zagrobelny says:

    Lord save us from the idiot contrarians at Slate. They are like the idiot at the dinner party that likes riling people up in the safe upper class neighborhood, but won’t bring his act down the road to get beat up being an asshole in a shitty neighborhood. If this is the liberal media, I’d rather watch Fox. No, I take that back, even as bad as they are, I’d never rather watch Fox.

  4. 4
    Boots Day says:

    Yeah, I saw that column this morning and thought it was awful. Tellingly, it doesn’t describe a single Romney program that might increase growth, aside from running deficits. But if a Romney administration slashes government spending, it’s going to throw an awful lot of people out of work and could very easily tip the economy back into recession.

    But hey, our tax rates will be a couple percentage points lower. Woo-hoo.

  5. 5
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Did Yggles get into Megan McArdle’s stash o’ stupid again? Neither of them is cute anymore.

  6. 6
    And Another Thing... says:

    Matt Yglesias is one of the most overrated bloggers on the web.

  7. 7
    zattarra says:

    Combine this with his piece on how price gouging in NY/NJ is the appropriate thing to do right now in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and it just confirms how big a glibertarian douchebag Yglesias really is. Dude really needs to move into my old neighborhood in Brooklyn that’s underwater right now. And then give him President Romney and see how quickly he squeals.

  8. 8
    Andrew says:

    This is the same mentality that in public companies elevates this quarter’s profits over long term business success. Enron did that exceptionally well, and a lot of their investors enjoyed a great deal of short term growth.

    But who cares about short term growth if the long term suffers? That’s the real response, imho.

  9. 9
    Robin G. says:

    With friends like these…

  10. 10
    mai naem says:

    Fuck Yglesias. I actually think Hurricane Sandy is going to provide the stimulus needed for the economy. I know there’s going to be some initial decrease in productivity but I think it will be made up quickly. I also think Bloomberg and Cuomo will force Obama et al into coming up with something to do with the coasts and we are talking the whole Atlantic Coast not just the northern part of it.

  11. 11
    Catherine says:

    Yeah, Matt Yglesias, the guy who was initially for the war because hippies.

  12. 12
    LanceThruster says:

    What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength our gallant and disciplined army? These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of those may be turned against our liberties, without making us weaker or stronger for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of those around you, you have lost the genius of your own independence, and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises.

    Honest Abe argues against a Romoney presidency.

  13. 13
    Citizen_X says:

    @Brachiator:

    It’s funny how even supposedly smart pundits cling to the myth that Republicans are good for the economy.

    OTOH, we seem to have–amazingly enough–finally sunk the “Republicans are good on national security” myth, so who knows?

  14. 14
    Culture of Truth says:

    People who know me know I have a special contempt for Matt Y, beyond what he deserves. I am unfair in this regard, since it’s unlikely he could be as bad as I imagine him to be. Or at least that was true.

  15. 15
    Roger Moore says:

    Romney will be better for the economy than Obama in the short term because he’ll start a war with Iran, and war is the only kind of stimulus the Republicans will support.

  16. 16
    Culture of Truth says:

    Hack is hackish

  17. 17

    I realized this year that voting your pocketbook — or more generally, voting your own personal interest — is a dereliction of your democratic duty. We all need to vote for what we want as a society, not what we want as individuals, though there is usually considerable overlap there.

    But if I’m voting to make life worse for a large group of people just so that I can make a little more money or pay a little less money, I’m a pretty irresponsible steward of self-rule.

  18. 18
    shecky says:

    None of you knuckleheads actually read any further than that line by Yglesias, did you?

  19. 19
    Joel says:

    @SparkleMotion!: Slate was always there. Remember that Mickey Kaus was one of their first.

  20. 20
    Schlemizel says:

    If you actually read what he writes he has a valid point. Do I wish he had chosen a different way of putting it? Hell yes. But people who only look at the one quote get a really slanted view of his piece. I don’t read him often because he has become pretty vapid but lets work on his real faults instead of fretting about inartful page filler

  21. 21
    Eric U. says:

    I have lived through too many idiot republican presidents to think that they are good for the economy or for business. All you have to do is look at the historical chart of unemployment to see this. Yes, it looks cyclical, but for some reason the cycle goes down when a Republican takes charge. Funny.

  22. 22
    pluege says:

    There are two groups of people who should be voting for Romney: white supremacists and theocrats.

    whoa, this is all social issue side of the equation – where’s the economic side?
    romney’s biggest constituency are the plutocrats. Even though destroying the American worker and the necessary safeguards of government regulation for the Earth and society to survive is the worst things that plutocrats could be doing to the economy, the greedheads can’t seem to get away from their greed obsessions, insisting on make life even more miserable for the poor, the working class, and lower middling classes, while sucking the lifeblood out of society.

  23. 23
    jl says:

    It’s cute, it’s quirky, it’s contrarian with a humongoid caveat (that overall the headline point is not very important, the argument weak, and overall GOP will probably suck) right below the perhaps semi plausible short term prediction (with a very conveniently undefined forecast horizon) that will not make topline quotes of the piece.

    So, I say MY is earning his keep at Slate and churning out reliable analysis product.

    Overall, the key phrase of the piece is “Yet insofar as I have to guess”

    Edit: One might wonder why Mr. MY feels he has to insofar as to guess, but that might be uncivil, and who am I to question quality analysis product? I am a rabid ideologue, ie, nummer cruncher.

  24. 24
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Like the vast majority of Slate staffers I’ll be voting for Barack Obama on Tuesday for the usual liberal reasons. I like my marriage equality, my legal abortion, my environmental regulations, my financial assistance for the poor, etc. This was not a hard choice for me, and I don’t imagine any federal elections being a hard choice for me for the foreseeable future since the partisan alignment on those topics is very firm and individual candidate attributes are much less important than party affiliation for these purposes.
    __
    But as I also said, strictly with my Moneybox hat on, I think it’s a very tough call, but Romney would probably be better for short-term growth.

    Yglesias has as much training in economics as McArdle. Probably less.

  25. 25

    @SparkleMotion!: So sad to see what Slate has become.

    But soon, they’ll have Phil Plait, so don’t nuke their servers altogether.

  26. 26
    Smedley the Uncertain says:

    Shorter Yglesias, Frum inter alia: Extortion wins!! Only Rmoney can pacify the ignorant inmates in the congressional asylum.

  27. 27
    Paul says:

    Matt’s argument is basically that Romney is more likely to have larger deficits than Obama and that the Fed is biased toward providing looser money for Republican Administrations. And, also too, the House GOP won’t blow up the economy if Romney is President.

    How soon people forget. The House GOP did help blow up the economy during the Bush years. Where was Yglesis in 2008? The GOP ran the House between 1994-2006. All the deregulation etc passed the House.

  28. 28
    Sayne says:

    There are two groups of people who should be voting for Romney: white supremacists and theocrats.

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  29. 29
    les says:

    Is Yglesias 2 yrs old? From 2000 to 2010, we ran the Romney economic plan, ver. 1; and got the worst economic performance, on nearly every measure, of any decade since WWII/depression. Christ, I know he’s seldom swayed by evidence in the finest glibertarian style, but this is fuckin’ ridiculous.

  30. 30
    Zelma says:

    If Romney wins I’m going to pull more money out of the stock market. So far I managed to pull most of my money out right before the dot.com collapse in 2000 and in the early summer of 2008. (I’m a historian; the past does not repeat but it can be a guide.) On Wednesday, if Romney wins, I’m going to move all my gains since 2008 out because, pace our supposed financial elites, the markets are not stupid. They know what Romney’s policies will do to the American (and world) economy. They understand that turning policy over to the economically illiterate Rethugs will lead to. We are facing a double dip.

    Does anyone know how hard it is to emigrate to Ireland? Or England? Canada is too cold.

  31. 31
    Tomolitics says:

    The saving grace about this is that Yglesias influences exactly no one’s vote.

  32. 32
    Stuart_b says:

    “if you’re gonna vote your pocketbook, it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, the reality is the history strongly suggests that voting for a Democratic president is the smarter play.”

    So true, but I think the Republican appeal for business is that while Democratic administrations are better for business in general, even better for small business in general, for an already successful small business a certainty of losing less of your gross to taxes and wages trumps the possibility of making more in the first place–since more money to be made encourages new competitors or larger businesses to enter your market.

  33. 33
    Paul says:

    @les:

    Yes, indeed. We ran the Romney plan between 2000-2008 and the SP500 dropped. Since Obama took over, however, the SP500 has increased about 75% last time I checked.

    I have no clue why anybody who cares about their pocketbook, their job, their 401k would want to vote Obama out.

  34. 34
    El Cid says:

    Well, you could easily get bubble-generated growth if the new Preznit pretty much promises that no financial regulations will be enforces, so, Casino’s open, boys!

    So, that would be a form of growth. And I’m sure that while that bubble formed our nation’s Big Thinkers would celebrate Romneyryan’s brilliance, and when it collapsed it would finally prove that Obama had left us on the wrong path.

  35. 35
    General Stuck says:

    deleted wrong thread

  36. 36
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    A libertarian is a liberal who was mugged walking home from Megan McArdle’s house.

  37. 37
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Smedley the Uncertain:

    Shorter Yglesias, Frum inter alia: Extortion wins!!

    That was my thought, too — “Hey, if they’re going to block everything Obama wants to do, we’d better go with Romney to protect our tax cuts.”

  38. 38
    Brian says:

    This is why i stopped reading Matt when he moved to Slate. He thinks too highly of himself now and all he has done is go the way of Chuck Todd and Bobo…. Just parrot some vapid and seem reasonable.

  39. 39
    Lojasmo says:

    @shecky:

    Why the fuck would we?

    1) Slate
    2) Matty Y.

  40. 40
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brian:

    He thinks too highly of himself now

    Now? I’m pretty sure he was born that way.

  41. 41
    Lojasmo says:

    @Zelma:

    canada is too cold

    BC is nice.

  42. 42

    Yes, indeed: When you choose to eat the seed corn, you will have a merry little feast.

    Fuck anyone depending on next year’s harvest, I guess.

  43. 43
    Bill Murray says:

    @Paul: The SP500 has more or less no relevance to most people’s jobs and pocketbooks and many don’t have 401ks.

  44. 44
    Craig says:

    In terms of the Fed, they are already committed to open-ended quantitative easing. So it is hard to see how much looser they are liable to go.

    Really? Because I can think of dozens of ways for them to loosen monetary policy. The Fed can buy old bicycles, day-old lotto tickets, fingernail clippings. The Fed can print as much money as it wants, and do with it almost anything it wants, until Congress passes a law pulling back that authority. Dream bigger.

  45. 45
    JasonF says:

    Dear Mr. Yglesias:

    I feel that you should be aware that some asshole is signing your name to stupid blog posts.

    Very truly yours,

    JasonF

  46. 46
    fasteddie says:

    Yglesias used to be interesting. Now he is just a Mickey Kaus impersonator. Sucks.

  47. 47
    contessakitty (AKA Karen) says:

    Why did I think he was liberal?

  48. 48
    hoodie says:

    Yglesias should stick to barber deregulation.

  49. 49
    slippy says:

    I remember watching the 2004 elections play out while reading Slate. It was after I realized that the entire rag was operated and staffed by the biggest “centrist” douchebags ever that I logged off of Slate for the last time.

    Matt is both stupid, and fucking wrong.

  50. 50
    joel hanes says:

    > Yglesias

    Dead to me since more than a year ago.
    Should be treated as he treats his comments section.

  51. 51
    NCSteve says:

    Who could have foreseen that Yglesias going to Slate would make both of them even more douchey than they were before? Shocking, really.

  52. 52
    Rathskeller says:

    @shecky: No, I read the whole thing. It is vapid and uninteresting and wrong on so many levels that it is a virtual parfait of wrongness, going down, down, down. It shows no awareness of the tension between the right-wing GOP and a president Romney. It doesn’t mention the Ryan budget, and its economy-killing astringency. It doesn’t mention Romney’s 47% speech, and the implicit threat that a Romney presidency would be about fucking poor people, who deserve nothing.

    Instead, it treats Romney as some generic, business-oriented executive who would magically give the economy a short-term boost with his wondrous captain of industry powers. It is not about someone with his actual bona fides, which is of a competent executive who specialized in corporate raiding, then an indifferent governor who mostly specialized in vetoing bills and watching them get overridden. It’s one of the hackiest things I’ve read in days, not counting Peggy Noonan’s soft little turds. Honestly, I’ve read more intelligent and insightful things about American politics from foreigners.

  53. 53
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    Stupid is as stupid does. Or, rather, writes.

  54. 54
    Tim I says:

    What the fuck happened to this guy. He used to have a brain, not a great, big brain by any means. But not one that would produce ridiculous gibberish like this.

  55. 55
    Alex S. says:

    Eh, I think the article is ok. It just misses the part where republican policies cause a bubble, environmental damage, stagflation, unemployment and a decline in the stock markets in the long term.

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