Being Broke = Going Galt

You have to read this to believe it:

But then in mid to late June, along came the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy. The Democratic triumvirate’s intent to starve the nation of energy, regardless of the consequences, and newly minted presidential nominee Barack Obama’s designs on punitively taxing 5% of the nation’s most productive in the name of redistributing money to everyone else, both became crystal clear. As a result, paraphrasing what I wrote at the time, businesses, investors, and entrepreneurs responded to the trio’s total lack of seriousness by battening down the hatches and preparing for the worst.

They haven’t stopped, which is why the POR economy is now the POR recession as normal people define it. It is also why tax collections have taken a dive.


Through March 31 of last year, according to the Daily Treasury Statement, “individual income and employment taxes not withheld,” which are largely payments made by the self-employed, partners, and those in S corporations whose income flows through to individual tax returns, are down about 13%, or almost $15 billion, from a year ago. These not-withheld taxes are what drove last April’s all-time collections record, which is definitely not going to repeat itself.

It’s clear that quite a few ordinarily industrious people “went Galt” months before the tea party movement even came into existence. As a result, fiscal 2009’s deficit could come in closer to $2 trillion than to the Obama administration’s estimate of $1.75 trillion, or even the Congressional Budget Office’s $1.85 trillion.

The title of the piece is “Tax Receipts Plummet as Americans ‘Go Galt.'”

You have to kind of admire the mental gymnastics that piece took. The author ignores the fact that the recession started in December ’07, instead blaming it on Obama/Reid/Pelosi in the summer of ’08, and then ignored that recession when considering tax receipts have dropped and attributed that to people “Going Galt” instead of, you know, the worldwide recession.

And you know what? As stupid as that piece is, you can guarantee some wingnut will repeat it. Why? Because it has numbers in it, so it must be true. That is a veritable dissertation compared to the movement that brought us Liberal Fascism.

*** Update ***

I’m John Cole, not Juan Cole, you fricking clown. I was a member of PJM from the beginning. You’re attributing quotes to me that were made by a completely different person. Can you get ANYTHING right? Those things you are linking to at Anti-war and Zombietime- WERE NOT WRITTEN BY ME. THEY WERE WRITTEN BY JUAN COLE, A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSON.


Always the Victim

Glenn has a great post up documenting the nonsensical whinging of the modern right about being victimized by, well, everyone and everything, that is well worth a read. A snippet:

The predominant attribute of the right-wing movement is self-victimizing petulance over the unfair treatment to which they are endlessly and mercilessly subjected. Last week, C-SPAN broadcast a Commentary Magazine event that almost certainly set a record for most tough-guy/warrior nepotism ever stuffed onto a single panel, as it featured William Kristol (son of Irv and Gertrude), John Podhoretz (son of Norm and Midge), and Jonah Goldberg (son of Lucianne). Jihadis around the world are undoubtedly still trembling at the sight of this brigade of Churchillian toughness.

Exemplifying the deeply self-pitying theme of the entire discussion, Jonah continuously insisted that conservative magazines are so very, very important to the political landscape — indispensably so — because conservative voices are frozen out of mainstream media venues by The Liberal Media, so that poor, lonely, stigmatized conservatives can only get right-wing opinion in places like Weekly Standard and National Review. In between Jonah’s petulant laments about how conservative opinion cannot be heard in The Mainstream Media, Bill Kristol talked about his New York Times column and his Washington Post column, John Podhoretz told stories about his tenure editing The New York Post Editorial Page and Charles Krauthammer’s years of writing a column for Time and The New Republic, and Jonah referenced his Los Angeles Times column. None of them ever recognized the gaping disparity between those facts and their woe-is-us whining about conservative voices like theirs being shut out of The Liberal Media. So important in conservative mythology is self-victimization that they maintain it even as they themselves unwittingly provide the facts which disprove it.

It is worth noting this is nothing new, and it is surprising how often they go to the well with the victim schitck. In response to a close election in NY-20 last night, Newsmax blares the following headline:

“NY GOP Moves To Block Franken-Style Vote Grab”

Got it? The incumbent Republican Senator of Minnesota, Norm Coleman, wasn’t just unpopular to such an extent that he could not win a three-way race. That would not be an acceptable frame for the permanent victims. Instead, we are alerted that the election was “stolen” in a “vote grab.” Also notice this sets the stage for Republicans doing whatever they want in NY, because they have to, otherwise they will be victims of the Murphy/Democratic cabal. Tedisco, with his dozens of years in the Assembly and huge network of supporters and insider knowledge of the system just doesn’t stand a chance against the Murphy machine. It would be funny if they weren’t serious.

Yesterday, the following piece circulated the right-wing blogosphere:

A lawyer involved with legal action against Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) told a House Judiciary subcommittee on March 19 The New York Times had killed a story in October that would have shown a close link between ACORN, Project Vote and the Obama campaign because it would have been a “a game changer.”

Heather Heidelbaugh, who represented the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee in the lawsuit against the group, recounted for the ommittee what she had been told by a former ACORN worker who had worked in the group’s Washington, D.C. office. The former worker, Anita Moncrief, told Ms. Heidelbaugh last October, during the state committee’s litigation against ACORN, she had been a “confidential informant for several months to The New York Times reporter, Stephanie Strom.”

This is the mother lode, isn’t it? It is the whine equivalent of the superfecta. The liberal NY Times, ACORN, the Democrats, and Obama all conspired to steal the election from John McCain. John McCain wasn’t doomed by the fallout of decades of Republican rule. He wasn’t doomed by his poor performance in the debates, his choice of an idiot for a running mate, or his ridiculous response to the financial meltdown. No. Instead, we learn that the Republicans lost because a “game-changer” was suppressed by a liberal cabal of evildoers designed to keep the man down.

You are probably laughing, but what you don’t understand is that these guys actually believe this.

What Happened to Ruling From the Gut?

For people who spent the last eight years swearing that polls didn’t matter, right blogosphere seems awfully giddy about this latest Zogby “poll” stating that Obama has fallen to a 50-50 approval rating. Nate Silver points out that this poll is complete garbage and about as useful and reliable as the polls on the People magazine website asking whether you would rather spend a weekend with Britney or Lindsey.

Here is Gallup, which I think is the gold standard:

I don’t know why these guys keep latching on to Rasmussen and Zogby other than that they really are just interested in not only creating, but staying in their own reality. Rasmussen and Zogby will keep telling you what you pay them to tell you, but it doesn’t reflect what is actually going on in the real world. It is sad, really.

The Geithner Plan

The reviews are in on the leaked Geithner plan, and we are going to do something different here for a change. We are not going to listen to people who have been wrong about everything, and instead are going to listen to people who have been more right than wrong. The administration might learn from this approach. First up, Yves at Naked Capitalism:

And notice the utter dishonesty: a competitive bidding process will protect taxpayers. Huh? A competitive bidding process will elicit a higher price which is BAD for taxpayers!

Dear God, the Administration really thinks the public is full of idiots. But there are so many components to the program, and a lot of moving parts in each, they no doubt expect everyone’s eyes to glaze over.

Calculated Risk:

With almost no skin in the game, these investors can pay a higher than market price for the toxic assets (since there is little downside risk). This amounts to a direct subsidy from the taxpayers to the banks.

Oh well, I’m sure Geithner will provide details this time …


The Geithner plan has now been leaked in detail. It’s exactly the plan that was widely analyzed — and found wanting — a couple of weeks ago. The zombie ideas have won.

The Obama administration is now completely wedded to the idea that there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the financial system — that what we’re facing is the equivalent of a run on an essentially sound bank. As Tim Duy put it, there are no bad assets, only misunderstood assets. And if we get investors to understand that toxic waste is really, truly worth much more than anyone is willing to pay for it, all our problems will be solved.

If this were a medical emergency, it appears it would look something like this:

The Illness- reckless and irresponsible betting led to huge losses
The Diagnosis- Insufficient gambling.
The Cure- a Trillion dollar stack of chips provided by the house.
The Prognosis- We are so screwed.

If these guys are right, this will be the undoing of the Obama administration. Better enjoy this four years, libs.

Zombie lies never die

No one could have predicted that former Bushies would use a discredited Charles Krauthammer piece to bolster their anti-stem cell arguments:

A few days before Obama announced he was abolishing Bush-era limits on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, Bush supporters who frequently appear on TV received an e-mail from an adviser saying: “I wanted to send you the following two documents on President Bush’s record on stem cell research: 1. a Bush White House fact sheet on President Bush’s record of advancing stem cell research in ethical, responsible ways and 2. a November 2007 Washington Post column by Charles Krauthammer, ‘Stem Cell Vindication.’”

Here’s what two scientists wrote a few days after Krauthammer’s column appeared:

Since 1998, many strategies for addressing sanctity-of-life concerns have been pursued. While commendable, these efforts remain preliminary, and none so far has suggested a magic bullet. In the same way, the recent tandem advances in the United States and by Shinya Yamanaka’s team in Japan are far from being a Holy Grail, as Charles Krauthammer inaccurately described them. Though potential landmarks, these studies are only a first step on the long road toward eventual therapies.

Krauthammer’s central argument — that the president’s misgivings about embryonic stem cell research inspired innovative alternatives — is fundamentally flawed, too.