Miss Me Yet?

Hattip to Allahpundit at HotAir. A PPP poll for Ohio shows that by a 50-42 margin Buckeye voters would rather have Bush in the White House than Obama.  Bush of course remains quite unpopular, but this poll demonstrates just how unpopular Obama and his policies are becoming outside of true blue enclaves.

We’ll start rolling out our Ohio poll results tomorrow but there’s one finding on the poll that pretty much sums it up: by a 50-42 margin voters there say they’d rather have George W. Bush in the White House right now than Barack Obama.

Independents hold that view by a 44-37 margin and there are more Democrats who would take Bush back (11%) than there are Republicans who think Obama’s preferable (3%.)

A couple months ago I thought the Pennsylvanias and Missouris and Ohios of the world were the biggest battlegrounds for 2010 but when you see numbers like this it makes you think it’s probably actually the Californias and the Wisconsins and the Washingtons.

First the obligatory disclaimers:  it is a long way to November, don’t get cocky, 24 hours is a lifetime in politics, etc, etc, and so forth.  Having said all of that, I do believe that this calls for a guilty pleasure of mine that I reserve for this type of occasion:

110 Responses to Miss Me Yet?

  • I do believe that this calls for a guilty pleasure of mine that I reserve for this type of occasion

    I should hope you feel guilty after embedding an Abba performance…

  • That is worth at least 50 Hail Marys by itself John Henry!

  • This is good news. I do miss Bush, very much. Many are seeing Bush in a different light today then when he was president — in a more positive light.

  • Yeah, what’s not to miss? Increasing poverty rates, falling real wages, number of uninsured up, budget busting fiscal policy (war, tax cuts, Medicare part D each cost more than any of Obama’s initiatives and none were paid for). And then there is torture, war, codpiece diplomacy, global hatred against the US. Tax cuts for the rich, subsidies for energy companies, lax regulation, cronies and hacks instead of professionals, politicization of the Justice Department. Oh yeah, bring this guy back.

  • And just think Tony, he is more popular than the empty suit you voted for. Better luck next messiah.

  • But Don.

    That’s a 1970’s number.

    Is that why its a “guilty pleasure”?

  • No it’s a guilty pleasure Don because it is bad music and I love it anyway as I discussed in this post:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/07/25/waterloo/

  • For those of you who listened to Obama’s speech tonight, compare and contrast:

  • I know it’s odd to pick on just one of the idiotic things coming from Tony’s screed, but this:

    subsidies for energy companies

    is just odd. Yes, because before George Bush, energy companies never received subsidies. Yes, that evil crony capitalism. It’s a good thing that we ended that practice under Barack Obama. I mean, it’s not like his administration is trying to single-handedly prop up the wind and solar industries.

    But that’s the thing. Most of what Tony complains about can be said fourfold for the Obama administration. I mean, politicization of the Justice Department? Hello, black panthers. Cronies and hacks in the administration? Two words: Katherine Sebelius. and Joe Biden. And so many more.

    But don’t be upset with poor Tony. All that hope and change, and what has really changed?

  • You’ll have to do better than that, Paul. Lets leave aside the phony Fox News/ Koch brothers controversies (black panthers? give me a break!). Let’s focus on the economy. Again: falling real wages, rising poverty, rising numbers of uninsured, massive unfunded fiscal loosening. And let’s focus on foreign policy – war and torture. Torture. Did I mention torture?

  • One can only imagine the meltdown Tony will be in election night this year. It is difficult for a hard core supporter of Obama to watch his administration plumb new levels of ineptitude and failure. For those seeking comic reading, you might wish to read Tony’s endorsement of Obama and a fisking of it by TAC’s Michael Denton.

    http://forthegreaterglory.blogspot.com/2008/08/obamas-minion.html

  • Paul: “All that hope and change, and what has really changed?”

    Not enough. We still have war, and there is no accountability for complicity in the torture regime. We still have the domination of politics by monied interests, the theology of American exceptionalism, and refusal to stand up to Israel. We still have the most unequal society since the Gilded Era, and unions still have insufficient power to protect workers. We have no immigration reform. And we have no real chance of putting a price on carbon emissions, meaning that the suffering of the poorest countries of the world will continue.

    But it is still infinitely better than Bush, or hypothetical McCain. We have universal health care and the first reforms to curb the rise in healthcare costs. We have financial sector regulation – weaker than it should have been, but significant (judging by Wall Street outrage). And how about, in unison with an international effort coordinated by the G20, saving the world from a second Great Depression? And yes, while monetary policy did the heavy lifting, increasing public deficits (combined automatic stabilizers and discretionary stimulus) compensated for the calamitous collapse in private demand. This is basic economics, but Republicans have a history of not understanding basic economics. And then there is the direct financial sector interventions (recapitalization, asset purchases, guarantees, stress tests) that restored stability – in many cases, too lenient on the banks for my liking, but God help us if McCain and Boehner had been taking these decisions.

    I suggest you simply thank Obama and continue in the security of your economic lives!

  • The empty suit’s speech was better than I thought. But, of course Obama avoided giving Bush credit for the surge’s success, especially when he opposed the surge. Obama does not have much of knack for displaying charity to his opposition especially when he was wrong about the surge.

    Mornings Minion,
    You certainly are infatuated with “torture”. Although, maybe you should since “torture” or EIT’s saved lives more than once during the Bush administration. So, white voter discrimination at the polls is okay with you?

    Gee… Under Obama now we’re experiencing high unemployment, looking forward to multiple tax increases across the board, rising medical costs due to Obamacare, and he wants to pass Cap & Trade to make your energy bills skyrocket.

    OH! Joy! What More Could a Citizen ask for? (sarcasm)

  • Yeah, what’s not to miss? Increasing poverty rates, falling real wages, number of uninsured up, budget busting fiscal policy (war, tax cuts, Medicare part D each cost more than any of Obama’s initiatives and none were paid for). And then there is torture, war, codpiece diplomacy, global hatred against the US. Tax cuts for the rich, subsidies for energy companies, lax regulation, cronies and hacks instead of professionals, politicization of the Justice Department. Oh yeah, bring this guy back

    Until I got to the tax cuts for the rich, I was trying to figure out if Minion was talking about Bush’s or Obama’s term.

    Minion, seriously. Obama’s foreign policy has been from a Catholic perspective atrocious. Maybe it would have been better than McCain, but considering the willingness of Obama’s administration to assassinate citizens and some of the other decisions of his administration, it is very difficult to find a significant foreign policy decision that Obama has made that Bush would not have made. Indeed, he appears to plagiarized it.

  • We have universal health care

    So is your favorite flavor of kool-aid grape or lemon? I would think grape because it’s kind of like wine and that’s not so bad. But yeah, that’s a great thing to hang you hat on. I mean, it’s not like it is already leading to exploding premiums, economic uncertainty, and oh and that whole selling out of the unborn. But of course we both know that’s not much of a concern of yours.

    Anyway, nice dodge of my point, as always Tony. I know it’s tough, what with your guy crashing and burning to the point that George Bush – the guy that you so loathe and detest – is more popular than Barack Hussein Obama. Mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm.

  • Italics off.

  • Wait a minute, is this the same MM who assured us a year back that the GOP was finished as a major political party, and would instead remain a regional rump party in the South only.

    Suffering from a little bit of unfulfilled expectations, are we?

    Well, it doesn’t surprise me that MM think Obama was still the best choice. If Obama nuked Iran and invested the entire US budget in cheese curls, he’d still be sure that any Republican would have been worse — since they’re all eeeeeeevil nihilist dualists.

    The key thing, given we live in a republic, is that most other people are a little more cognizant of reality.

  • eeeeeeevil CALVINIST nihilist dualists.

  • Also, correction on MM’s rant: We do not have universal health care, even in 2014 when the health care bill actually goes into effect. Obama’s bill was only planned to reduce the number of uninsured, not eliminate it. And that’s according to its own projections, forget what actually ends up happening…

  • Dear God, Teresa, you cannot do evil so that good might come of it. Even if torture saves lies, it is intrinsically evil, which means it can never ever be defended. Ever. If you are even suggesting otherwise, you are stepping into some very dangerous territory, and become no different from an abortion supporter. You can quibble all night taxes and spending. You might be fundamentally wrong, but you are not stepping into a moral abyss. But defend torture, and that’s exactly where you are.

  • You have a point, Michael, but at least the torture has stopped. And I fully believe a McCain presidency would be conspiring with the odious Netanyahu regime to foment war with Iran. Fundamentally, the GOP needs war and violence to lubricate its electoral engines.

  • Do you have some evidence that the torture has stopped? This would be good news indeed, but although I have heard promises that it will stopped, I have not seen concrete steps towards eliminating torture. I am afraid I am a bit skeptical; after all, we don’t know what goes on in hidden locations.

    As far as Iran, I don’t think so. Popularity is the key for McCain, and people didn’t want another war. Right now he’d be trying to solve the economy and ignoring everything else, just like Obama. If the economy were different, maybe, but America’s appetite for war is gone now and McCain aims to please.

    War and violence might help the GOP’s electoral engines, but the current outlook on the cycle suggests that they don’t need them.

  • Fair enough, let’s see what the CBO said then, shall we? It will reduce the number of uninsured by 31 million, and make sure that it becomes affordable to all, with premiums falling in the individual market quite substantively, with more modest falls in the large and small employer markets. Overall, the deficit will reduced by $130 billion, testament to the delivery system reforms, Of course, you won’t hear this on Fox News.

    And let’s not try to use the unborn as a weapon here, again. As you well know, the pro life protections embodied in this act are far superior than anything in the private market today. But don’t let me stop you using the unborn to push forward a liberal economic agenda.

  • Is it just me, or is it REALLY, really amazing that even though Obama just declared the effective end of the nation’s longest war since Vietnam, very few people I know seem to care, and that STILL isn’t going to save the Democrats from electoral disaster in November, nor is it likely to stop Obama’s downward spiral in public approval?

  • Fair enough, let’s see what the CBO said then, shall we?

    Oh, they said that, yes. But only when given some highly unrealistic assumptions they were forced to work with. Let’s not buy the bridge in Brooklyn, shall we?

  • Fair enough, let’s see what the CBO said then,

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh it’s so cute that you think that those numbers are even remotely realistic.

  • It really boggles the mind that the dominant opinion here is that Obama was the inferior choice in 2008. Given everything that has happened on the economy, it truly beggars belief! Good night!

  • I would stick with the American history and political philosophy, Paul. The economics of health care isnt really your thing.

  • And seriously, while I know that it is doubtless true that you believe McCain and Netanyahu would be forming all sorts of evil and wily plots together — that does not mean that those of us who are more realistic need have similar suspicions.

  • Awwww, looks like Tony A doesn’t like being confronted by reality. Well, toodles, Tony. I’m sure your buddies at VN will comfort you in your delusions.

  • It really boggles the mind that the dominant opinion here is that Obama was the inferior choice in 2008. Given everything that has happened on the economy, it truly beggars belief!

    Heavens to Betsy! You’re right. If we’d had McCain in we might have not had a big enough stimulus, and unemployment might be over 8% now!

  • MM,
    Just because Leftist human rights organizations call something to be “torture” doesn’t make it “torture” in reality. Pulling fingernails or burning parts of the body is torture but EIT’s are not torture. Try reading a little from Dave Armstrong on this issue.

  • To all:
    As I’ve said previously on this topic, and even my Father in law agreed, “At this point, I miss Bill Clinton!”

    MM,

    How can you *POSSIBLY* say that this bloodthirsty pro-abortion monster is better than Bush?

  • By the way, regardless of one’s definition of whether waterboarding or any other practice is “torture” (and the hairsplitting by Republicans on this one always smacks of the same hairsplitting done by pro-aborts), torture was a non-issue in the 2008 election.

    George W. Bush was not running for office in 2008, though Obamanation supporters would have us think that.

    In fact, the only Republicans who supported waterboarding, etc., were voted out of the primary.

    Palin has never said anything on this issue one way or the other.

    McCain is against torture. He lost some “street cred” for opposing the thing about the CIA guide, merely because he felt that the way to reform the CIA and the Army was to reform each one directly.

    Barr opposes torture, and so does Baldwin. So using torture as a voting issue in the 2008 president election was a non-starter.

  • Exactly, GodsGadfly.

    In fact, the only torture supporter running for President in 2008 was the guy who thought it was okay to leave babies to die alone in a closet.

    You know, the one Tony supported.

  • Teresa. Waterboarding is torture. Prolonged sensory deprivation is torture. Cold cells are torture. Stress positions are torture. These have always been recognized as torture, including in law. I have a funny feeling that if Al Qaeda or the Iranian revolutionary guards captured some Americans and subjected them to exactly the same treatment, you would cry torture. But to claim it’s only torture if the other side does it is the most odious form of moral relativism. Let me repeat – you are following a line of reasoning that defends a grave intrinsically evil act. And remember, Gaudium Et Spes puts physical and mental torture up there with the very worst sins.

  • Because Gadfly, the man you loathe so much is not directly responsible for a single abortion. The man you love so much gave the order to torture and began a gravely war that led to, at a minimum, hundreds of thousands of people dead, wounded, or displaced. It is pellicidly clear as to who has the most blood on his hands.

  • Technically, it doesn’t put them among the “very worst sins,” it lists them among things that are “intrinsically evil,” which means they can never be done justly. Intrinsic evil is the nature of the act and does not have to do with its sinfulness, which is bound up in the knowledge and motivations of the actor.

  • Could you possibly be suggesting, Darwin, that unemployment today would be lower under a McCain presidency? That’s pretty bizarre. I would love to hear the logic behind that one!!!

  • For example, one of your colleagues, Henry Karlson, a while back did a piece on lying as an “intrinsic evil.” He made some good points, but he conflated “intrinsic evil” with “mortal sin.” An action that is always wrong–intrinsically evil–may not always be mortally sinful, as you liberals like to say about contraception. Actions that are normally mortally sinful are not if the person lacks sufficient knowledge.
    Some acts which are intrinsically evil are merely venial sins. Again, referencing Karlson’s piece, if a parent tells a child a “noble lie” to explain a difficult concept or avoid a meltdown, that *may* be an intrinsically evil act, but it’s still a venial sin.

  • That’s pretty bizarre. I would love to hear the logic behind that one!!!

    Why is it any more bizarre than just assuming that it would have been worse absent the stimulus or other actions taken by the administration? You have offered no evidence or proof that President Obama and his minions in Congress have taken any action that directly led to enhanced economic output. You have simply asserted it as though we are to take your assessments as Gospel. Sorry, no thanks.

  • “It really boggles the mind that the dominant opinion here is that Obama was the inferior choice in 2008. Given everything that has happened on the economy, it truly beggars belief! Good night!”

    What beggars belief is that the social and intellectual world that you inhabit is so tiny that you can’t see the range of possible perspectives on economic and social issues.

    Seriously Minion, you need to leave the echo chamber you spend most of your time at over there and explore the world a little more. It’s good that you come here to be put in your place now and again, but you should go out and learn some more.

    You might discover that this president is at least as widely reviled as Bush ever was. You might also discover that his economic polices aren’t really that drastically different. They both work with the same set of Wall Street executives, they both use the government to protect powerful economic interests.

    You might finally figure out that the pathway to a moral economy is not through increasing the power of the state, but increasing the freedom of the people to do good – to create jobs, to save money, to discover and meet each other’s needs through voluntary cooperation.

    You might also figure out that it is the empty promise of the state to “take care of” everything from poor people to education and health care that is what creates the very individualism, indifference, apathy and consumerism that you believe government intervention must be used to addressed.

    You might learn that the assumption that, sans an interventionist economic regime, people will simply let the poor and vulnerable rot in the streets indicates a view of human nature and sin that is far closer to Calvinism than anything “economic liberals” with a Christian conscience believe.

  • Agreed, Gadfly, and this is why I noted torture’s rather high rank in Gaudium’s list of shame. But intrinsic evil is still the correct rebuttal against those like Teresa who claim good was done, as the objective of the act remains evil and thus can never be defended,

  • Paul, again I think you are getting a bit of your depth here. This is what I do. The overwhelming consensus is that without the emergency actions undertaken, the situation today would be far worse. You forget that in the last quarter of 2008, the specter of a second Great Depression was all too frighteningly real.

    As door quantification, this is obviously difficult. Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi estimate that without the package of monetary, fiscal, and financial sector policies, output would be a whopping 6.5 percent lower, and 8.5 million more people would be jobless. Looking narrowly at the stimulus bill, the CBO estimates that It raised real GDP by between 1.7 and 4.5 percent and increase the number of people employed by between 1.4 and 3.3 million. Now, we can argue that this was too small or not effectively targeted, but this does not give any comfort to the GOP side – a McCain presidency would have gone for something dramatically smaller, and chosen tax cuts, which is not very effective stimulus.

  • I see your Waterloo and raise you an improved Mamma Mia via Clive James.

  • I am sorry Robert H, but I have no choice but to respond with Dancing Queen.

  • My apologies to good music lovers everywhere who will now need a mind wipe after viewing this thread.

  • This is what I do.

    God help all.

  • As for the misnamed stimulus bill, it had virtually zero impact on the economy:

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/04/26/news/economy/NABE_survey/

    What it actually did was to allow states and municipalities to use fed dollars for road and other construction projects and transfer their funds to other areas, putting off the day of reckoning for getting their fiscal house in order, and that had virtually no impact on unemployment.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=9527995

  • “This is what I do.”

    Malpractice?

  • I like to shake the hand of the guy who assembled the “Miss me yet?” poster. It’s almost like he posed for the occasion.

  • The overwhelming consensus is that without the emergency actions undertaken, the situation today would be far worse. You forget that in the last quarter of 2008, the specter of a second Great Depression was all too frighteningly real.

    Perhaps the consensus at Vox Nova. While it is clear that actions had to be taken, it is not clear the money spent was spent as prudently as it needed to be. Indeed, a more thought out stimulus might have actually stimulated something. As it is, the money’s spent and no one my age can find a job. Hard to imagine it getting much worse, and there are no more arrows in Obama’s quiver. Obama had his chance and his money to save the economy, and he botched it.

    As far the benefits of healthcare reform, I’ll believe it when I see it. It’s not an accomplishment until it’s actually accomplished.

  • “It’s not an accomplishment until it’s actually accomplished.”

    Perhaps this is Obama’s (and Morning’s Minion’s) “Mission Accomplished” moment.

  • Blaming Obama for the economy is pretty foolish. Left-wing friends of mine did the same with Bush when he was elected, given that we had a slight downturn due to the one-two punch of the dot com bust and 9/11, both of which were out of Bush’s control. Partisans should remember that the massive Wall Street bailout was engineered under Bush, not Obama, and if I had to guess, I’d say that Bush may very well have done something similar to Obama’s stimulus package. After all, Bush is no fiscal conservative by any means.

    (I’m also of the opinion that if Gore had won in 2000 we would have entered a war against Iraq sooner than under Bush. Why? Because Gore most likely would have held onto most of the Clinton-era advisers who had been drawing up plans for invasion for years, and almost did launch hostilities in 1998.)

  • Could you possibly be suggesting, Darwin, that unemployment today would be lower under a McCain presidency? That’s pretty bizarre. I would love to hear the logic behind that one!!!

    No, MM. I just don’t think it would have been any worse. The only things that have happened which I find it pretty persuasive actually helped the economy are things that would have occured either way or occured before Obama came into office: the original Wall Street bailout (which may have avoided a wider banking collapse, though I don’t find the counterfactual 100% convincing there anymore) and monetary policy which either administration would have followed.

    I find it staggeringly unconvincing that the “stimulus” bill actually did much to improve the economy — especially because rather than a direct stimulus into immediate spending much of it was a dump of spending the Democrats had been wanting to do for a long time anyway (a good deal of which still hasn’t been spent.) If anything, it’s possible McCain would have got money into the economy faster as I imagine he would have been persuaded to support some sort of immediate “tax credit” which would have hit the consumer economy in the short term — though I think it would probably have been a bad idea.

    I think the Detroit bailout was a staggeringly bad idea, though it’s possible McCain would have been persuaded to do the same. And cash for clunkers and the home purchase subsidies both appear to have been total empty calories in terms of helping spur a long term recovery.

    So no — while I don’t think Obama has done anything to make the economy much worse than a McCain presidency would have, I really don’t think he’s done anything to make it better either.

    I think the magic ability of politicians to make the economy better is vastly overrated.

  • I think the magic ability of politicians to make the economy better is vastly overrated.

    This is really among the most bizarre assumptions in MM’s writings. He seems to think that Presidents have magical economic powers – that Clinton deserves credit for the prosperity of the dot-com boom (but not the bust – that was Bush’s fault!); that Bush caused the financial crisis in some way that made the Fed, Congress, and millions of Americans blameless; that the fiscal stimulus must have had positive effects because Obama wanted it too. From someone who should know better, it’s pretty amazing to see him making ridiculous causal economic claims any time it might provide an additional argument in favor of Democratic politicians.

  • Concur with the problems on the stimulus part. Work on our state Childhood Coordination committee. Stimulus passed 2/09. Got our first check 9/09. First money still wasn’t spent until 12/09. What is that, ten months. Still a lot of the money unspent due to all the red tape and figuring out what to spend it on. A total mess.

  • You miss a few crucial points. Martin Wolf of the Financial Times keeps pointing to something important – the huge shift in the private balance between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2009, from a deficit of 2.2 per cent of GDP to a surplus of 6.6 per cent. If that huge shift had not been counterbalanced by an increase in public deficits, the implications would have been diasastrous.

    Nobody is also noting the clear liquidity trap, when monetary policy has reached its clear limits, with short-term interests rates hovering around zero. This is precisely when fiscal policy works without crowding out.

    It seems that most of you are not quibbling with the idea of stimulus, but the size and composition. It is clear that it should be been bigger and more targeted toward what works, especially since a double dip seems likely, and with unemployemnt higher than projected. But look at the CBO’s numbers. It is patently clear that the stimulus had a huge impact on unemployment and without it, the situation would be far worse today. You forget that when we want to boost demand quickly, the quality of the project is not the essential issue. To slightly paraphrase Keynes, having somebody dig holes in the ground and cover them up might stimulate the economy more than invesment in high speed rail that takes years to put into effect.

    What works? Again, there is a great deal of consensus. Multipliers are highest for infrastruture investment and social safety nets. They are lowest for tax cuts and tax credits. I believe a major problem with the stimulus, in terms of adequate bang for buck, was that almost half of it took the form of tax cuts.

    There is an even greater problem. What really matters from a demand management perspective is the total government deficit. And what we see is loosening at the center being neutralized by tightening at the states, which (given legal requirements) are running severely procylical fiscal policies. In my view, this is having a severe negative effect.

    Oh, consensus? Sorry to burst your bubble, but it is the overwhelming consensus among serious thinkers, governments, and central banks. In fact, I can count on one hand those who claim stimulus was counterproductive – I can think of the Polish finance minister and the Bundesbank, which still thinks inflation is Germany’s number one problem (and some of the ECB who share the German view)! I don’t even count Republicans here, as I’m restricting more sample to the adults in the room, to those who think seriously about economic problems. Republicans are not in this category, where the dominant view is that cutting spending in the deepest recession in 60 years boosts growth, and tax cuts work exotic magic.

  • What works? Again, there is a great deal of consensus.

    No, there ain’t.

  • The appointment of Sonia Sotomayer and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court make Obama the most damaging president of our and our childrens’ lifetimes.

  • So in other words, the stimulus was better than doing absolutely nothing but probably worse than paying people to dig holes and fill them. Well, that makes me feel a lot better about Obama’s stimulus. I feel so so silly for not joining those serious thinkers in voting for Obama.

  • Of course people have been claiming its been working even before a good part of the money was spent. So let’s stop spending it if its worked so well (there is still some unspent.) And let’s put to an end talk about more stimulus.

  • >It seems that most of you are not quibbling with the idea of stimulus, but the size and composition. It is clear that it should be been bigger and more targeted toward what works, especially since a double dip seems likely, and with unemployemnt higher than projected. But look at the CBO’s numbers. It is patently clear that the stimulus had a huge impact on unemployment and without it, the situation would be far worse today. You forget that when we want to boost demand quickly, the quality of the project is not the essential issue. To slightly paraphrase Keynes, having somebody dig holes in the ground and cover them up might stimulate the economy more than invesment in high speed rail that takes years to put into effect.

    I’m not necessarily quibbling with the idea that stimulus could work in some conditions in some times and places, no. I’m quibbling with whether Obama’s stimulus achieved much of anything in this particular situation — and if it did so to any degree to which a hypothetical McCain set of actions would not have. I don’t have to deny that stimulus might work somewhere (or might even have achieved something in our economy) to deny that Obama’s had much of any impact on keeping our economy from being worse than it is.

    Also, I think it’s arguable that Keynes’ classic hole digging wouldn’t achieve that much in a modern economy such as that of the US. The issue is, in order for the stimulus spending to really kick start private demand, you need people to imagine that it will continue. In the 30s, doing WPA work wasn’t that far from what a lot of workers would have been doing anyway, and it also helped to smooth the transition from agricultural to industrial labor which was going on at the same time. (After all, the depression had effectively hit agriculture well before 1929.) We no longer have an economy that works that way, so even if you could get people to come out and dig holes and fill them in again, it wouldn’t fool people into thinking the economy was back on track and returning to normal spending patterns. Instead, they’d be struggling to put money away for the expected crash when the public funds ran out.

    Frankly, in that sense, a McCain plan which involved more basic tax credits might have been as or more efficient. (And before you get worked up about multipliers, keep in mind that a good deal of what actually got spent of the stimulus in the first 18 months was the tax credits. So if anything Obama did worked in regards to stimulus, it was arguably tax credits rather than spending.)

    Oh, consensus? Sorry to burst your bubble, but it is the overwhelming consensus among serious thinkers, governments, and central banks. In fact, I can count on one hand those who claim stimulus was counterproductive – I can think of the Polish finance minister and the Bundesbank, which still thinks inflation is Germany’s number one problem (and some of the ECB who share the German view)!

    Given the relative condition of our economy and Germany’s at the moment, are you sure your “consensus” is really in that big a position to throw stones?

  • What relative to Germany? Here is the picture:
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/24/what-about-germany/

    Germany, but the way, despite the rhetoric, implemented a sizeable fiscal stimulus. But if you really to see a country were stimulus worked big time, look to China.

  • So you said that Germany dissents from the overwhelming consensus (which I’m not convinced is actually all that overwhelming outside of your own policy circles) but then the refutation of the claim it would be okay to follow Germany’s policies is that Germany has seen roughly the same percentage changes in GDP as we have over the last couple years (while maintaining significantly lower unemployment). Hmmmm.

  • Also, in re China, given that China has an economy at a very different place from ours, I’m not clear at all that the claim that stimulus works there means it is a great idea here.

    And again, the basic fact it’s hard for your argument to avoid is that whether you and Krugman think a much larger and somewhat different stimulus would have been a good idea or not — Obama’s stimulus as it in fact existed pretty clearly didn’t have much of an effect either way (except perhaps via the tax credits) because of the way it was structured and the type and timescale of spending. Thus it’s hard to argue we would have been in a different place with McCain.

    That’s okay. You can continue to love Obama anyway. You wouldn’t be yourself if you didn’t. You just can’t expect the majority of the rest of the country to do the same because they don’t have your precommitments.

  • The different between China’s stimulus and the U.S. stimulus is rooted in each’s broader economic situation. China is in the stronger position, thus her “stimulus” will be perceived to work. Look at Japan: all their stimulus resulted in a lost decade, but they are STILL in an overall better position than the U.S. thanks to their citizen’s savings rate. These nations can AFFORD and ABSORB the costs (economic AND political) of stimulus, much in the same way Americans endured the Hoover and Roosevelt “stimuli.”

    So, no, Mr. Bush, I do not miss you. Nor do I miss your predecessor, nor will I miss your successor, and so on and so forth.

    I simply don’t understand why we are so opposed to the pain of economic contraction. Wouldn’t we be better off working towards ridding ourselves of the losses and malinvestment, over entrenching the behaviors that resulted in the collapse?

    Tragic.

  • Actually, the person that we can “thank” for this financial fiasco is Lyndon Baines Johnson who started the GSE’s (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) which caused this economic downturn. This is another instance of government entities trying to compete in the private sector and then screwing up, and then in turn ends up screwing the American people.

    Here is my post on this subject:
    http://teresamerica.blogspot.com/2010/08/marxismsocialismliberalism-fail.html

  • Obama-worshipping marxists masquerading as catholic pedagogues can have their beliefs/biases, they cannot fabricate what happened nor what is happening.

    Mainly, they are irrationally irritated that us idiots, us NASCAR-loving retards, us God and gun clutching nitwits are awakening up to the fact that Obama has nothing but bull crap and that’s the way things are falling … apart.

    Right, keep castigating Bush for the same stuff Obama and his moron minions are doing ten times more intensely. If these acts were so bad, why is the obagenius repeating them at warp speed?

    This especially irriates the left elites. America won the Iraq war (despite Obama, Biden and all of them voting against funding our soldiers and repeatedly asserting the war was lost and they tacitly preferred genocide), liberated 25,000,000 people and established a democracy despite the left’s best efforts at preserving tyranny.

    Re Chiner: Don’t look now but they may be developing an unprecedented (among obama-worshipping morons) housing boom that may turn into tragic economic bust.

    You read it here.

  • MM,

    Your Krugman reference made me laugh.

    :)

  • Here is an example of why we must stop FOX News. It reports right-wing propaganda against our leader – Obama.

    Fact: Obama is trying (a judge stopped him) to end oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico – so what if 130,000 people go broke and the prices of gasoline and home heating oil go through the roof – he can blame Bush!

    From FOX:

    “Today, even though President Obama is against off shore drilling for our country, he signed an executive order to loan 2 Billion of our taxpayers dollars to a Brazilian Oil Exploration Company (which is the 8th largest company in the entire world) to drill for oil off the coast of Brazil! The oil that comes from this operation is for the sole purpose and use of China and NOT THE USA! Now here’s the real clincher…the Chinese government is under contract to purchase all the oil that this oil field will produce, which is hundreds of millions of barrels of oil..

    We have absolutely no gain from this transaction whatsoever!”

    Wait, it gets more interesting.”

    Guess who is the largest individual stockholder of this Brazilian Oil Company and who would benefit most from this? It is anti-American BILLIONAIRE, George Soros, who was one of Obama’s most generous financial supporter during his campaign.”

    “If you are able to connect the dots and follow the money, you are probably as upset as I am. Not a word of this transaction was broadcast on any of the other news networks!”

    The facts are confirmed in a Wall Street Journal article. No way!! Wait!!! WSJ is owned by Murdoch!!! Gotta be lies!!!!!

    When they tire of blaming Bush they have their fall back position: call them all RACISTS!

  • Since we are talking music and economics, allow me to pull us out of the 70’s and into the 21st century.

  • Tito:

    Yeah, I kept hearing “Paul Krugman is the embodiment of Catholic social teaching” go through my head when I was reading MM’s comment.

  • Darwin, Germany dissents from nothing. The Bundesbank is a major opponent of any fiscal policy loosening. Merkel makes a lot of noises about fiscal retrenchment, but if you look at the numbers, Germany implemented a pretty sizeable fiscal stimulus in 2009. Another amazing fact is that Germany managed to avoid any increase in unemployment during the crisis, which can be traced to its subsidized short-term work program.

  • Teresa, I’ve been refuting these arguments for years now. On the Community Reinvestment Act, the idea that poor people and minorities are to blame for the crisis. Three points. First, the CRA dates to 1997, while the crisies relates to the first decade of this century (and Bush even watered down the CRA in 2004). Second, the CRA is restricted to banks and thrifts that are federally insured, while most subprime loans were issued by mortgage originators outside the jurisdiction of the CRA. Third, the most dangerous lending was made precisely by those entities not subject to the CRA. In fact, as central bankers like Ned Gamlich and Janet Yellen have noted, the CRA has been quite prudent, with impressively low default rates.

    Now, onto the GSEs. Again, you have a problem with timing – why no crisis for the past 40 years? Of course, you can point to problems with the GSEs, and I might even agree with you, but you cannot say they are responsible for the crisis. Why? Simple facts. At precisely the time of the subprime boom (2004-08), the share of agency securization fell sharply, while the share of securization by private players rose precipitously – and this is where the problem arose.

    Honestly, you have a hard time accepting that the market was at fault here. The Church has no such problem. The pope has pointed to greed, pure and simple.

  • A “consensus” that excludes the ECB and any Republican is a strange sort of beast.

  • Honestly, you have a hard time accepting that the market was at fault here. The Church has no such problem. The pope has pointed to greed, pure and simple.

    Did greed not exist prior to the first decade of this century?

  • BA,

    You’re not thinking about this right. Greed was of course at fault, but greed requires a catalyst in order to cause catostrophic economic results. Bush was of course that catalyst. Indeed, such a catalyst that home prices began to spiral to unrealistic levels back in the 90s in anticipation of his arrival on the scene.

    The lesson here is, do not elect Bush! This will cause greed to wreck the economy. Even now that Bush is no longer available to run for office, you must not elect someone just like. All Republicans are just like him. If you elect them, then greed will suddenly fission and consequence will be dire.

    You have been warned.

  • “Stay out the Bushes!”

    At least the left is staying on message, even if it’s a message the vast majority of voters – who have moved on – don’t really care about.

    Ironic that Move On and its ilk can’t seem to follow its own advice and … you know … move on.

  • Wow. I actually agree with Minion on the CRA. It originally goes back even further to 1977. No bank was EVER forced to make an unprofitable loan.

    But equating “the market” with “greed” is absurdity, it is nonsense.

    The easy money policies of the Federal Reserve encouraged reckless economic behavior. A truly free market does not tolerate recklessness, because it does not subsidize failure. I don’t disagree that greed was involved, but it was facilitated by government.

    Don’t you get it? People who are willing to work hard and honestly for their money prosper in free markets. It is those who turn to government for special favors, or who look to get something for nothing, or who live beyond their means, that are the greedy ones.

  • Wow. I actually agree with Minion on the CRA. It originally goes back even further to 1977. No bank was EVER forced to make an unprofitable loan.

    If it makes you feel better, I agree with Minion on the CRA as well (although I wouldn’t agree that no bank was ever forced to make an unprofitable loan; perhaps you just mean that the loans in question weren’t guaranteed to be unprofitable, as opposed to this just being more likely?)

  • Do you have some evidence that the torture has stopped?

    It’s kind of charming that a grownup could possibly be so naive as to think that our government or any government that ever will exist could be trusted if or when it claims not to torture.

  • On the Community Reinvestment Act, the idea that poor people and minorities are to blame for the crisis.

    Wrong, at least so far as our particular discussions went. The idea concerned the war on lending standards, which began in earnest with the 1992 Federal Reserve Bank of Boston report: “systemic underwriting issues relating to the treatment of African American and Hispanic borrowers.” And so policymakers got with the mortgage industry to change their practices and “redouble” efforts to better serve “under-served” communities. To take one of many examples: Countrywide’s ‘House America.’ Seriously, go look into that lending program. It was a wild ride for a while, with ideology in the driver’s seat.

    Such consequences were a big, and a hugely under-reported, story of our financial and housing crisis. Not the only part of the story, no of course not. But this part, so uncomfortable to think too much about, served “diversity” for a while and everybody got rich for a while, all the time feeling great about themselves and giving out lots of awards to one another.

    Cheap and easy credit – when we should have been requiring at least 10 percent down, and when we should NOT have been looking at credit offering rates as evidence of “racism,” but at default rates as evidence of racism (where there were no gaps, by the way).

    In other words, you cannot understand what happened without looking at this big issue that you so casually and ideologically dismiss.

  • I cannot believe that you guys are all arguing about which banking bill caused our economic crisis, when the banking bills have nothing to do with it.
    Both socialist and capitalist economics depend upon population growth. The presumption is that there will always be more people to work and produce, and more people to buy stuff.

    This crisis was predicted by Human Life International in 2003. They sent an appeal to President Bush to ask him to repeal NSSM-200, with a detailed rebuttal of the document, and statistics showing how the US’s worldwide population control agenda had destroyed the economies of countries like the Philippines. They predicted that there would be a worldwide economic collapse by 2008.

    Of course, they’re not the first. Pat Buchanan has been saying for years that depopulation was going to cause our economy to implode, as has Archbishop Chaput. That’s not counting the Popes.

  • A sustained population decline presents a severe problem for a society, not population stasis.

    It would have to be an inventive piece of economic theory which would have demographic factors as generators of the real estate bubble, the decay of lending standards, the proliferation of mortgage and asset-backed securities, and credit default swaps.

  • A “consensus” that excludes the ECB and any Republican is a strange sort of beast.

    And large swaths of the population of professional economists to boot, whose complaints about public spending crowding out private spending and the size of the multipliers derived from public expenditures have not been confined to obscure academic journals. Implicitly outside the consensus also is the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which showed production levels stabilizing in the Spring of 2009 before any stimulus could have had its effects.

  • The idea concerned the war on lending standards, which began in earnest with the 1992 Federal Reserve Bank of Boston report: “systemic underwriting issues relating to the treatment of African American and Hispanic borrowers.”

    I believe that a war typically involves two opposing sides. Banks were generally quite happy to lower lending standards and to seek out underserved communities, for the simple reason that doing so was making them a lot of money. If that severed “diversity” then that was just icing on the cake, but it would have happened anyway even if our society didn’t give two figs about the diversity idea (e.g. Spain).

  • BA,

    You are completely correct. But the reason the “diversity” angle is important is because it gave large-scale PC cover to both the banks (who were happy to speculate so long as prices were rising) and the government (as Clinton and Bush and Obama are of one accord here: let’s “expand opportunity”!).

    This is why I despise such corporatism and value-transferrence: governmental and big business elites have a lot of tools – including “serving the underclass” – to make out like bandits.

    In the meantime, small business – the very backbone of our economy – gets hammered time and time again.

    To put it crudely, it’s the top and the bottom verses the middle, and things could get ugly – especially since we have imported so much cheap labor and exported so many manufacturing jobs. Our elites deserve contempt.

    MM and other leftists: you care about the poor? Join the chorus to stop destroying middle class wages. Start with severely restricting immigration.

  • Jonathan,

    Why do banks need PC-cover in order to make loans? I don’t see it.

    And immigration isn’t destroying middle class wages. George Borjas’ data shows that immigration actually *raises* the wages of high school graduates (and he is at the pessimistic end of the scale when it comes to immigration).

  • for the simple reason that doing so was making them a lot of money.

    About 8% (by value) of the sum of residential mortgage debt was of the subprime variety. If I am not mistaken, the banks involved in subprime lending (Washington Mutual the exception) curtailed their subprime business in 2005; AIG also ceased writing credit default swaps on mortgage-backed securities derived from subprime infected pools. If what I have read is correct, ALT-A loans were not, ‘ere 2001, all that prone to default. The primary problem was the unwarranted inflation of prices, which affected all classes of loans.

  • The banks do not PC cover in order to make loans, although such cover was helpful when the speculation bubble was going. That was not my point. The point was that the banks (especially those backed by the government and those wishing to be granted permission to grow larger) were happy to use the mantra of “expanding opportunity” to destructively expand credit. There were perverse incentives. These things are not terribly disputable: 1). there has been a massive lowering of credit standards 2). one big, underreported factor was the PC-laden homeownership drive, covering quite a lot of people who should not have received lines of credit 3). The whole big ball of speculation came crashing down.

    Is this “blaming minorities?” Well, I blame the banks, the government, and those (many of them minorities, many of them not) who took out such loans. This is what I mean by the destructiveness of the big business / big government nexus – it’s bad for those that save and don’t speculate by taking on massive debt loads that may not be paid back.

    As for your link, we could trade links and studies all day long. But my argument would have extremely strong anecdotal evidence excluding all links and studies. From the fact that teenagers have essentially dropped out of the labor market (their entry-level jobs replaced by whom?, even as I grant the point most would rather be indoors) to the raft of news articles over the past decade about a rush of applications to processing plants and other manufacting jobs after verfication checks open up positions.

    These folks (and God bless them, I would want to leave many of those countries too) do depress American wages. Now, they aren’t taking our information-based jobs, so it’s easy to say, “who cares?” I don’t mean to suggest you don’t, but many don’t, and we all should. A sample:

    http://blog.al.com/bn/2009/05/immigration.html

    http://www.cis.org/node/1582

  • The point was that the banks (especially those backed by the government and those wishing to be granted permission to grow larger) were happy to use the mantra of “expanding opportunity” to destructively expand credit.

    And my point was that banks didn’t need to use mantras about expanding opportunity in order to expand credit. Sure, it’s a nice thing to talk about, but the credit expansion would have happened even if diversity was something nobody cared about.

    As for your link, we could trade links and studies all day long. But my argument would have extremely strong anecdotal evidence excluding all links and studies.

    Ah yes, who needs data when you have anecdotes.

    George Borjas is the most prominent anti-immigration economist around. If even his data shows that immigration actually raises the wages of high school graduates, what are the chances that you actually could provide “links and studies” showing that immigration was destroying middle class wages? Not high, I suspect.

  • Since when does George Borjas qualify as an ‘anti-immigration’ economist? He has been an advocate for controlled and targeted immigration and I believe has produced data showing immigration is injurious to certain classes of workers.

  • MM and other leftists: you care about the poor? Join the chorus to stop destroying middle class wages. Start with severely restricting immigration.

    No comment from me. Just wanted to draw people’s attention to this.

  • “Ah yes, who needs data when you have anecdotes.”

    Data is built by observing a pattern of incidents and anecdotes, and the (many) stories from the processing, farming, manufacturing, and service sectors about expanded labor driving down wages is sufficent evidence for me.

    And as for your data and your studies – that is all well and good, but the informed opinions of right-liberal / libertarian economists does not mean they are well done, complete, or correct. To take your example of Borjas – from my second link, as elsewhere, Camarota (among others) has highlighted work that contradicts a positive or net neutral impact upon wages (see footnotes 20 to 24).

    Again, we trade studies and numbers all day long. But then again, our jobs are computer-based. What about those actually in the field of manual labor? Let’s be like Cesar Chavez and do what’s in their best interests – advocate for high wages.

  • I think you need to build a bibliography and review the studies comparatively rather than dispose of statistical studies in favor of journalism.

    As is, I doubt when you add it all up you are going to find that immigration is injurious economically to the population in aggregate. I think you will find (and I believe Borjas has found) that it is injurious to native unskilled labor. Thomas Sowell has been among the critics of free immigration and his concern for this social stratum is part of that.

    There are, of course, non-economic problems with mass immigration as a social policy.

  • Art Deco,

    Stasis is bad for the economy when the economy is based upon constantly making *more* houses and *more* cars, to sell to an ever-increasing population. The US had its economic prosperity in the 50s-early70s because of the “Baby Boom.” It started on a trend of presuming that people would continuously need bigger houses and more cars. Then the women went into the workforce because of the Pill, and there was theoretically more money to throw around, and while people started having smaller families, they had more “money.”

    Then these small families grew up, and the kids grew up immature because of the perpetual immaturity granted by the “Sexual Revolution.” So the aging Boomers have had to support their twenty-something stoner offspring, and the generation that’s supposed to be picking up the weight on the economy is playing video games.

    Meanwhile, our “service economy” is based upon taking resources from Third World nations. As someone in the Philippines said a few years ago, “How can overpopulation be our economic problem when we are an agricultural economy?” Countries like the Philippines, which provide food for the rest of the world, are depopulating and losing the workforces which are supposed to be growing the food. Less workforce means less agriculture.

    This means less food, so more starvation in the Third World, and higher prices for food in “first world”.

    The magic tricks you’re talking about in the finance and banking industries only delayed the inevitable which should have happened in the late 1990s.

  • Data is built by observing a pattern of incidents and anecdotes

    No, it isn’t (the old saying “the plural of anecdote is not data” would seem to be applicable here).

    Do you understand how you might be able to find a couple of examples of people losing jobs to immigrants even if the overall effect of immigration was to increase wages?

    the informed opinions of right-liberal / libertarian economists does not mean they are well done, complete, or correct.

    Is Borjas a right-liberal/libertarian economist? I’m sure that would be news to him. I cited him because he is the most prominent economist who take a pessimistic view of immigration. The fact that you would dismiss him as a libertarian (while simultaneously citing other portions of his research that don’t contradict what I said) is curious.

  • Godsgadfly,

    You seem to be assuming that productivity per worker is some kind of constant, which it’s not. The United States, for example, produces more food today than it did in 1900, despite the fact that far fewer people work in agriculture now than did so in 1900. Likewise, manufacturing output for the U.S. is roughly triple what it was in the 1970, despite there being fewer Americans employed today in manufacturing.

  • GodsGadfly:

    One can think of a sense of well-being as being derived from phenomena in the economic and non-material realm. The latter is not derived from technology and may advance or recede in a fashion that can be described but not anticipated.

    The former can be understood as have components readily measured (e.g. manufacturing output) and those not (domestic labor not subject to market transactions). The component of well-being manifest in production advances for a number of reasons – increase in the size of the pool of labor, increasing investment borne of deferral of gratification, technological adaptations, and refinements in the division of labor. Neither technological adaptation nor refinement in the division of labor are dependent upon ever-increasing population.

    The improvement in this aspect of well-being is not necessarily expressed in a larger number of units of merchandise or in merchandise of larger size. It may be expressed in improved quality of merchandise (my thirteen year old car being more reliable than any new car my father bought prior to 1975), in more leisure, in conveniences (comparing here the oil furnace I have with the coal furnace my grandfather tended in the winter time), in personal attention, in greater efficiency in the use of inputs, &c.

    Meanwhile, our “service economy” is based upon taking resources from Third World nations.

    I have to say, I have absolutely no clue as to what you are referring.

    Countries like the Philippines, which provide food for the rest of the world, are depopulating and losing the workforces which are supposed to be growing the food. Less workforce means less agriculture.

    1. The United States is a net exporter of food stuffs.

    2. The population of the Philippines is not declining.

  • I’m well aware Borjas is not a libertarian, but the conclusions you seem eager to attribute to him (even when that CIS report, among others, details how he thinks immigration hurts wages) are common libertarian-flavored arguments. Well, the wider borders crowd right and left is wrong, and the studies we could trade now I’m willing to bet will come to increasingly recognize this – perhaps through the lens of widespread community disunity, as has happened with David Frum.

  • Ladies and Gentlemen;
    I have enjoyed your discussion very much but would like to see it framed in the context of Catholic teaching, dogma, etc. not political left/right/libertarian idology. I can get political based discussion almost anywhere but it is much more difficult to get intellectual Catholic based reasoning on current events or political schemes. Thank you.

  • Art Deco,

    You have no idea about sweat shops? Rice production?

    Yes, the population of the Philippines is not “declining,” but that’s not what the person was saying: he was saying that it was ridiculous to say they needed to reduce their population to improve their economy.

    In any case, instead of nit-picking my meager translation of it, why not read HLI’s analysis? Or Pat Buchanan’s _The Death of the West_?

  • Blackadder,

    I’m presuming that you need workers in order to produce *money*. If twentysomethings are sitting in their parents’ basements playing games and making inane comments on the internet instead of generating income, how can they possibly be contributing to the economy?

  • In any case, instead of nit-picking my meager translation of it, why not read HLI’s analysis? Or Pat Buchanan’s _The Death of the West_?

    Time is short. I could do that, but neither are going to produce an analysis of the situation that is not derivative (or if it is original, it is likely to be completely cockeyed). Although I am aging badly in this respect, I can still read academic research in economics and geography with some degree of critical engagement as well as syntheses produced by people for whom this sort of study is their vocation. As for coming to an understanding of the normative aspect, that is much more difficult for someone with my background. I have never heard either Mr. Buchanan nor the directors of HLI are in the business of providing good secondary literature to the social encyclicals, &c.

  • You people sicken me and make me ashamed to be a Catholic. The Bush admisnistration was a shameful disgrace to our country and democracy everywhere. He bought his way on to the ticket, smeared and created lies about his own party members (McCain) stole both elections and did everything he could to undermine freedom and liberty in his 8 dreadful years. If Obama has failed in anything it is to bring the Bush criminals to justice and stand up to the cancer that is the republican party.

  • “If Obama has failed in anything it is to bring the Bush criminals to justice and stand up to the cancer that is the republican party.”

    Ted, November 2 this year is going to be extremely painful for you. Great!!!!

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