America’s Spending Open Thread

An open thread as we all enjoy a serene debt crisis weekend!

43 Responses to America’s Spending Open Thread

  • Don the Kiwi says:

    I suspect this brinksmanship will have an eleventh hour resolution.
    But if not, Then what?
    Could this crisis bring down the Obama administration?

    The crisis is certainly having a major effect in financial markets around the world, not the least down-under here on the fringes of civilisation. All our exports are traded in $US, and with the $US weakening, the $NZ is at record high levels against the $US and is causing huge problems for our exporters who are the drivers of our economy, and economic recovery frome the recession – which didn’t impact on us too badly. But our people going on trips overseas, and importers are loving it, but it is having the effect of a rather undesirably large trade deficit.
    What is surprising is that the $NZ is at record strength against the $AUS as well – I think that is because the $AUS is linked so strongly to the $US, but the Aussies hardly felt the recession – their economy is booming.

    So the world is waiting with bated breath. Maybe a collapse and a fresh start may not be a bad thing. But its too complex for me – I am after all, just a simple man. :-)

  • Art Deco says:

    Could this crisis bring down the Obama administration?

    We do not have a parliamentary administration, so he stays in office for a full term until he dies, resigns, or is deposed by Congress. This last would require a two-thirds majority of the Senate, which his party controls. The 2d option would require a capacity for shame which (one suspects) eludes him. As for the first, no President under the age of 63 has ever died in office of anything but an assassin’s bullet.

  • RR says:

    At this point I’m hoping for no deal. Nobody comes out ahead politically but the Tea Party Republicans will probably suffer the most. We need to remove that tumor.

    On a related matter, I’m hoping that the GOP gets pledge fatigue and follows Jon Huntsman’s lead who said, “I don’t sign pledges — other than the Pledge of Allegiance and a pledge to my wife.”

  • G-Veg says:

    We are a cancer? We didn’t create this mess. It was profligate spending that set the stage. It is hardly accurate or fair to blame that on those elected to trim that spending. That almost all of them are freshmen reps makes your dig particularly idiotic and ill conceived.

    I’m not all that upset. Our government works only when it is divided; when the Executive and Legislative branches tussle. This is good! This is the conversation that We the People should have had BEFORE we threw away 2 trillion dollars. Frankly, it was the unimpeded access o power that created this mess.

    No, RR, I am content to have legislators fighting for their beliefs. This is the government of America, not the Kremlinesque government of Pelosi and I’m lovin it!

  • T. Shaw says:

    ROTFLMAO :lol:

    The demagogues and their dishonest media henchmen are spinning like tops blaming Republicans for approaching default. They cannot ( dem compromise: “my way or no way”) to agree to the GOP bill for two reasons.

    One, because it doesn’t push out the debt ceiling past the 2012 election. They are vulnerable due to their excessive spending and the deficit. Two, they cannot keep political power if their cash/graft flow is cut; e.g., the FAA is now shut down b/c the GOP cut wasteful Fed grants to airports in NV and in a few other states each equivalent to the AK “bridge to nowhere.”

    The debt ceiling probably will be raised and near term default temporarily avoided. Unless they strong-arm the rating agencies, ratings will be downgraded. Worse, we will see Greecification of the USA due to galactic levels of spending and concomitant insolvency.

    The cartoon says that in a way even a PhD in Social Justice can (but refuses to) comprehend.

    Yesterday, Gallup Poll: Approve Obama 40% (34% of Independents). Disapprove Obama – 50%. Tells me 40% of respondents either believe its the government’s sole function to provide for them, or are, one way or another, living off government largess.

    Of course, for desperate dependents and the ideologues (obama-worshiping imbeciles and idiot congress critters) they keep in power any disagreement is evil and/or pathological.

  • RR says:

    A united Congress with a president from the opposition works well. A divided Congress does not. You usually get pork-filled bills. Now that earmarks aren’t allowed, we just get stalemate.

  • G-Veg says:

    My wife and I had about 20K in credit crd debt at one time. It had built up over the first seven years of marriage.

    A little for furnishing a house, a bit for repairs, some appliances, etc. The kids’ needs made it worse… And always, always a reason why we needed to have such and such now.

    It wasn’t until we ran up against our debt limit that we stopped making excuses.

    I feared we would never get out from under and, worse could not imagine living without access to more credit. What if we needed diapers or medicine and my check was spent? What if an appliance broke or we needed to travel for a wedding or funeral or something? So many excuses…

    But my salary IS enough. Not having access to credit has forced us to be more judicious. It has made us more the people we were meant to be, the careful stewards of those things God, in His infinite mercy, gives us.

    Five years after reaching our credit limit, we have only about 8 thousand of that debt left to pay.

    What is missing from this debate is a sense of the justness of our obligation to pay our debts.

    We borrowed money, some for critical things, some for frivolous. Now, we are saying that our salvation lies not in paying our just debts but in taking out more at whatevee terms we can reach. Like the failing nobles of Enlightenment Europe, we are begging… BEGGING the worl to take our paper in exchange for durable goods and services; knowing full and well that we have no intention of paying ot ourselves and no concern for whether our progeny will pay it or weasle out of it through trickery, theft, or bankruptcy.

    A more dishonorable and shortsighted approach is hard to imagine.

  • Mrs. Zummo says:

    I’ve got a question (from someone with almost zero financial knowledge). If we pass a balanced budget amendment, does that mean the government could no longer issue bonds? Until recently these were good conservative investments. Would they disappear? I like the idea of a balanced budget amendment, just worried about the repercussions.

  • T. Shaw says:

    I dunno. War bonds? There probably would be a feature to fund wars; emergency operations; buildings, highway systems; etc.

    I think states issue bonds to fund long term infrastructure improvements like bridges, roads, schools, tunnels. I believe they must (like you and I when we took out mortgage loans to buy our homes) must have a plan (tolls, incremental revenues, etc.) to repay the bonds with interest.

    Is state and local government debt something about which to worry?

    Nuveen a major mutual fund conglomerate selling shares in state, county, municipal (SCM) tax-free mutual funds (that buy and hold such debt securities) just obtained (shareholder vote) authority to make loans to SCM gov units that can’t pay per terms: (I think) very dangerous because the loans could be less recoverable than the past due bonds.

  • RR says:

    G-Veg, if you believe in the justness of paying debts, you must necessarily be for raising the debt ceiling. Going forward we need to reduce spending but right now we cannot pay our debts without raising the debt ceiling. It is mathematically impossible.

    The TPR’s rejected a $4 trillion bipartisan deal that lowers tax rates because according to Grover Norquist even broadening the tax base is a tax hike. Now we are guaranteed to get a much worse deal. Reagan is yelling from his grave, “Take the deal, you idiots!” Tell me again why anyone would support the TPR’s?

  • G-Veg says:

    RR, You are going to have to do a better job explaining your position. I’m not getting it.

    It sound like you are saying we have to borrow more to pay our debts now, i.e. more debt is good because it is necessary for debt reduction… Which does not, on its face, make sense.

    I am willing to try to understand. Don’t be afraid to use a few bytes. I’ll give it as fair a hearing as I can.

  • T. Shaw says:

    :grin:

    We have Detroit, Greece and Illinois to show us the United States in a few years.

    RR: There you go again. But, this rant is refreshing. Usually, you people lecture us on just exactly what God is yelling about in Heaven.

  • Mike Petrik says:

    RR,
    I do not think you are correct. There is a difference between legal debts and political expectations. We do not need to raise our debt ceiling in order to pay our debts — not even remotely. Basically, the budget is composed of (i) interest and principle payments on debt, (ii) entitlement expenditures, and (iii) discretionary spending (i.e., government services ranging from the military to the Department of Education). Items (i) and (ii) are not legal debts at all, and entitlement cutbacks as well as government employee layoffs or salary reductions would probably actually firm up our credit rating. The reason that S&P is threatening a downgrade has nothing to do with the debt ceiling drama as such. No informed person believes that the US is in danger of defaulting on its bonds if the debt ceiling is not raised. Instead S&P et al are very concerned that the US is running a worsening structural deficit and eventually (i.e., in the long-term) may experience difficulty in repaying bondholders. The GOP is using the ceiling as an opportunity to negotiate exactly the kind of deal that is necessary to reassure S&P et al.

  • Art Deco says:

    A BBA is useless. Look at Illinois. There are so many ways around it that all it does is make politicians more creative.

    It can be gamed to a degree, but it is not useless. The balance sheet of the states is far better than that of the federal government.

  • G-Veg says:

    Not to nit-pick but wouldn’t we expect the states to be better off since they have abrogated their responsibilities and passed off the costs o the federal government?

  • Art Deco says:

    Not to nit-pick but wouldn’t we expect the states to be better off since they have abrogated their responsibilities and passed off the costs o the federal government?

    Transfers from the federal treasury amount to about 20% of state and local expenditure. I believe they have amounted to 3% or 4% of domestic product for forty years or more, which is to say they were an environmental feature of fiscal policy-making prior to our recent economic unpleasantness. (Enormous federal deficits were not).

    The transfers in question were to fund federal initiatives various Administrations (most notably Lyndon Johnson’s) wished to channel through the states and localities. States and localities certainly lobby to defend such subsidies. I am not sure why you interpret that as having ‘abrogated their responsibilities and passed of the cost…”.

  • Art Deco says:

    My wife and I had about 20K in credit crd debt at one time. It had built up over the first seven years of marriage.

    That’s the problem here. People fancy public finance is equivalent to household finance.

  • RR says:

    Here’s what’ll happen if the debt ceiling is NEVER raised:

    The federal government receives about $200 billion a month in tax revenue. It spends about $330 billion/month. On 8/3, Social Security checks are supposed to go out but there won’t be enough money. Barclays says there’s enough money for this week’s checks and so we have until 8/10. Either way, soon we would need to cut spending by 40%. Non-defense discretionary spending is only 20% of total spending and includes things like the FAA, border patrol, DOJ, and VA. So even if we create domestic anarchy, we still need to cut entitlements and/or defense. Cutting all of defense gets us close. That means not paying troops anymore and contractors would have to donate supplies. Personally, I think it’s immoral not to pay current troops what you already promised them. In the long-run, we would have a truly volunteer army working for donations. Or we can cut all of Medicare+Medicaid or all of Social Security. For something like 20% of the elderly, Social Security is their only source of income. That means, they’ll all have to live off donations alone. Remember we already cut all discretionary spending so there is no welfare. Personally, I want to abolish these entitlement programs and replace them with tax credits but that still requires money.

    If we manage to cut spending by 40%, we still have our existing debt to deal with. We will have enough to pay the interest but not enough to pay the $500 billion/month in principal. The Treasury can reissue debt as it matures but since there’s no way that $200 billion can pay $500 billion, investors will demand higher interest rates for the risk of default. The interest rate will increase indefinitely until there’s not enough to pay the interest itself. At that point, there is no choice but to default. Even if the debt ceiling is eventually raised, if it’s after interest rates have gone up, we will have had to pay more interest in exchange for nothing.

    I’m all for cutting spending and shrinking government but we can’t in the short term without defaulting on our debt. We need to continue borrowing until revenue can pay off the principal. You can’t pay $500 billion with $200 billion!

  • G-Veg says:

    I derailed with fedarlism comment. It is related to the subject at hand because there is much that the federal government does that should be done, if at all, by the states. That is a different battle for another day so I retract the omment.

    As to the theory that public finance and personal finance are insuffiiently similar to carry over principles, I am not convinced.

    You make a bold claim above but you offer insufficient explanation for me to know if I agree or not. I fail to see how life experience is not relevant to the analysis of public policy, for, if it is, then we better get cracking on producing Philosopher Kings to rule us.

    I Have learned to avoid unnecessary debt and nothing I’ve read coninces me hat that life lesson is inapplicable to the present discussion. Without formal economics training, I am relying primarily on the analyses of The Economist, The Philadehia Inquirer, Fox News, The American Caholic, and on-line resources on Keanes and Hayek. If this isn’t enough for me to reasonably analyze the problem, our Republic is doomed.

  • RR says:

    And now it’s all moot. Now let’s criticize the TPR’s for what they did wrong. The deal is $2.1-2.4 trillion in cuts and probably no revenue increases. That’s just depressingly inadequate. The plans that the TPR’s rejected were in the $4 trillion range. $3.5 trillion in spending cuts and $500 billion in revenue increases. The revenue increases would not come from higher tax rates. In fact tax rates would fall and flatten. Instead the revenue would come from eliminating deductions. No rational conservative rejects a deal like that. I’ve read legitimate criticisms of the plan from the right but they were about likelihood of adoption, not the goals themselves.

  • G-Veg says:

    RR, Thank you for presenting as clear a statement as I could have asked for. I’m off to bed but will mull your statement on the ride in on the morrow. Pax, G-veg

  • RR says:

    I will also add that by failing to reach a deal on tax reform, the TPR’s have guaranteed a tax hike next year when the Bush/Obama cuts expire. Completely irrational.

  • T. Shaw says:

    What lying liberals call tax reform are tax hikes.

    Sure and you’re not increasing rates. You’re decreasing the amount of our earned money that big government will let us keep.

    Philosophical divide: obama-worshiping geniuses want political power concomitant with big government/social democrat welfare state.

    We the hobbits want prosperity.

    The deficit would resolve itself if 15,000,000 people had private sector jobs (taxes take $$ from the private sector) and the GDP was growing at better than 0.4%.

    But, due to Obama’s job killing politics the US likely is falling back into recession.

  • Art Deco says:

    Sure and you’re not increasing rates. You’re decreasing the amount of our earned money that big government will let us keep.

    The various and sundry deductions and exepmtions are subsidies for particular economic sectors. Economic efficiency is enhanced by excising the subsidies.

    Again, federal tax collections as a proportion of gross domestic product are at a 50-odd year low.

  • j. christian says:

    entitlement cutbacks as well as government employee layoffs or salary reductions would probably actually firm up our credit rating

    If they don’t kill the economy first. There’s a difference between spending cuts done gradually with deliberation as part of a strategy, and gov’t spending dropping off a cliff overnight because we can’t borrow to pay for all of our discretionary spending. Maybe they need to watch that Douglas Holtz Eakin video again, but the Tea Party doesn’t seem to understand that difference. Sure, we wouldn’t default, and we’d probably pay seniors their SS and Medicare payments to the extent possible. But everything else would dry up instantly – millions of people effectively not paid (read: unemployed) overnight. That’s not sticking to conservative principles, that’s insanity.

  • Art Deco says:

    but the Tea Party doesn’t seem to understand that difference

    That an irate citizen holding up a hand-painted sign misunderstands issues for which he does not have everyday responsibility is to be expected. That a bloc of sixty-odd federal legislators behaves as if basic arithmetic is beyond them, behaves as if competing interests holding institutional trump cards can be blackmailed or ignored, and behaves as if the consequences of bad stewardship are naught if they wish them to be naught is most distressing. The thing is, ordinary political processes have been unable to translate the inchoate resistance to the Democratic Party into constructive efforts at public policy. Is it our institutions, our political culture, or both?

  • G-Veg says:

    With respect, aren’t we being unfair to the Tea Party Republicans?

    A deal was reached. The process was messy and the results are mixed but that is how this is supposed to work. This back and forth, as unpleasant as it is, is proper for a republic.

    I thought a lot about RR’s comments and re-read the thread several times.

    I am out of my element and lack the competence to determine good fiscal policy. I do not understand why principles of thrift and fiscal responsibility that are essential to the my family’s financial health are inapplicable to discussions of fiscal policy. I have followed, as much as I have been able, the competing policy views and see merit in both, though I favor Hayek.

    This realization troubles me for I am not a dumb man and am fairly tuned in to current events. That I am not competent to determine what is good for our country is a problem because my meagre skills and knowledge is representative of a meaningful portion of our citizens. Since our representatives, at all levels, are drawn from just such people, it is likely that many of them also lack the knowledge and skills to discover good policy.

    This is to say that Art Deco and the other persons with expertise in these matters have to lead us by the nose and, meaning no disrespect, I am not one who likes to be led like a pack horse, which is what I’m feeling like right now.

    For all of their expertise, the experts have led us to what seems like an unsustainable debt, an economy that produces almost nothing, and a dollar that the world is trying to discard as a basic currency. Joblessness abounds. Real inflation is on the rise, though hidden through accounting tricks. Our cities are in shambles, our roads and bridges are failing and there is no money to rebuild them, and the largest generation in history is moving into a retirement that will impoverish the generations that come after.

    Forgive me for pointing it out, but the experts don’t seem to have done all that well.

    Despite all of this, we are attacking 40 or so Tea Party Republicans and 10 or so Blue Dog Democrats for insisting that incurring more debt be accompanied by an honest attempt to curb expenses.

    Maybe they are wrong. Maybe they are just as dumb and ignorant as I am – latching onto ideas from their experience like “only buy things for which you have money,” “don’t buy things for which you have no need,” or “the first step to getting out of a hole is to stop digging.”

    But it must be fair to ask what the deal would have looked like if the House GOP leadership, the Senate leaders of both parties, and the White House had been left to their own devices. Do you honestly believe that the establishment that incurred 3 trillion in debt in five years would have hesitated to incur more without making any effort to address the debt itself?

    I may be uncomfortable with the stock index but I’m pretty comfortable with the Constitution.

    The Framers understood full and well that the interests of many parties collide in a political sphere and that divided power and conflict within that sphere preserves the liberty and security of those outside of that sphere. What we saw this last month in Washington was a thing of beauty. It was raw and honest and loud. It was the kind of debate that is supposed to be occurring every single time a complex issue comes up.

    For all of our ignorance, we pushed the establishment to do what it absolutely didn’t want to do – discuss and debate. This month harkens back to what our brothers did in Boston on December 16, 1773 and I am proud to call myself a Tea Party Republican because of it.

  • Art Deco says:

    G-Veg, I am not an expert. However, I can do basic arithmetic.

    It is certainly necessary and proper (barring a banking crisis or a war of national mobilization) that the rate of increase in outstanding public debt be less than the rate of increase in nominal gross domestic product (capital investments in public works being of scant importance at the federal level). The Republican caucus in toto has been implacable in their opposition to any tax increase. Extra-parliamentary TEA partisans (and about 10% of the House Republican caucus) have insisted the debt limit not be raised. The question at hand is thus whether or not you attempt to repair public finances by an abrupt 40% cut in federal expenditure.

    It is a reasonable inference from the experience of the last two years that those who said that fiscal stimulus via public expenditure would prove to be weak tea were correct. However, you are all proposing an abrupt 10% cut in aggregate demand. Even with a weak multiplier, that will result in a severe recession, perhaps half-again as that suffered in 2008-09. Said recession will injure tax collections. Ergo, you will still have a deficit (but no authority to borrow).

    I had a discussion in a forum just like this some days ago where I offered the following:

    1. You cannot welsh on federal debt service;
    2. Benefits to the elderly are properly cut gradually on a cohort-by-cohort basis, because those benefits have been incorporated into their long-range planning and they have a limited capacity to adjust.
    3. These things being the case if you want to get by without a tax increase, you have to cut the share of domestic product allocated to everything else by about two-thirds.

    His response was: go ahead and do it. After a run of caterwauling about the splendors of Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts (not acknowledging that the federal tax take is now a lower share of domestic product than was the case in 1984) and the terrible burden of federal taxes on small business (I think federal excises and payroll taxes claim about 3% of the revenues of unincorporated businesses), he was willing to demobilize two-thirds of the military in the midst of a war and can two-thirds of the customs and border constabulary rather than accept one dime in tax increases. Attitudinizing and foolishness are not worth a pitcher of spit.

  • Dale Price says:

    “Attitudinizing and foolishness are not worth a pitcher of spit.”

    I have to admit, though, it is bleakly humorous: folks who see the Hand of Alinsky everywhere have adopted the “Burn, Baby, Burn!” mindset of Saul’s comrades.

  • G-Veg says:

    Attitudinizing… I had to look that up.

    Hand of Alinsky… I had to look that up too.

    Having looked them up, I confess that I don’t get their relevance to the discussion at hand. I don’t care all that much about some other commenter on some other blog. Unless you are saying that I am like that commenter, in which case, I need a citation to know whether you are correct or not. Of course, you may be saying that only those Tea Party Republicans in Congress are like the commenter that you had the dispute with but, then, while I’m not offended on my own account, I admit that I don’t know whether your analysis holds up without a citation.

    Did the commenter make a complete ass of himself and did you route his arguments again and again? I’m willing to take your word for it that you did but, again, I don’t know why I should care.

    Your comments about the economic impact of a default are mirrored by many others in the mainstream media, in government, and in the blogosphere. I am must accept, at least temporarily, as reasonable what is said by many and which I cannot dispute by experience. It is insane to insist on a position merely because it is in opposition to what the majority holds as true.

    However, I don’t think the Tea Party was as you describe them. The opposition to raising the debt ceiling was on account of there being, at least initially, no effort to deal with the underlying causes of our debt. The President’s Grand Bargain failed because it included 800 billion in new revenue but no specificity as to where that revenue would come from. I truly believe that the President might have gotten that deal if he had been specific since the Blue Dogs would certainly have come over and many of the non-Tea Party GOP Members would have crossed over if specific taxes had been balanced against specific cuts… Only it wasn’t. True to form, the establishment of both parties assumed that they could craft yet another meaningless bill and then work out the details later.

    And that is the point that you haven’t addressed.

    The Tea Party Republicans are only “terrorists” as Biden described them or the idiots and posers that you describe them to be if their purpose WAS to drive the US to a default. But that never was their stated purpose. The question remains… If you believe, as you say you do, that debt reduction is necessary, do you believe that the establishment of the major parties would have crafted a deal to reduce our debt without being pushed to do so by fiscal conservatives? If so, then you can call the Tea Party whatever you wish because you are part of the problem. If not, you are being terribly unfair to precisely the group that made the policy you favor into law.

  • Art Deco says:

    No, it was not you, and I do not expect you to care about the arguments I have with third parties.

    I was merely offering an example of the sort of thinking that forms the matrix within which these Republican members of Congress operate (and appears to reside in the heads of some of them): uninformed about historical tax burdens, uninformed about the coarse distribution of appropriations, and insouciant about the consequences of what they are (implicitly or explicitly) advocating. They have taken their stand and they’re sticking to it. Regrettably, their stand does not derive from even a cursory study of what the government does and does not do. It derives (best I can see) from a lump of resentment about their personal tax payments and a somewhat potted understanding of the economic history of the 1980s. It is not concerned with the relationship between ends and means or even any ends beyond ‘no tax increase’.

  • G-Veg says:

    But, isn’t the “starve the beast” idea a pretty old one? The view that government, particularly the federal government, will never limit its power, size, or consumption voluntarilly, has been floating around for a long time. The wastefullness of TARP and other programs over the last five years has given, at least in my opinion, reasonable men good and sufficient cause to conclude that the government will spend, spend, spend, and spend so long as the credit limit can be raised. Isn’t it a good thing to have a couple dozen representatives in Congress who refuse to feed that bloated hog we call the federal government?

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    “Detroit, Greece and Illinois.

    Throw in New Orleans in that mix, they make Baghdad look peaceful.”

    Well, if Greece-style or Detroit-style or even New Orleans-style rioting/looting breaks out in Springfield, let me know, ’cause I sure haven’t seen it. Our state employees — even the unionized ones — seem to be much better behaved than those in Greece, or even in Wisconsin, because despite recent attempts to rein in their pay raises and benefits (yes, serious attempts to do so have been made, by a Democratic governor, no less) I see no indication of massive civil unrest breaking out in our capital any time soon. At least not until the State Fair Twilight Parade starts :-)

  • RR says:

    The debate can be analogized to personal finances though there are important differences.

    The federal government cannot stay alive and pay the minimum on its credit card payments so it’s needs to default or borrow even more. In personal finance, the choices are bankruptcy or taking out another credit card. Cutting spending alone is not an option because you can’t cut enough right now to pay creditors. If you can create a budget surplus over time (e.g., because you’re moving into a smaller house next month or getting a raise), it would be wise to take out another credit card to avoid immediate bankruptcy.

    The government has more control over its finances than individuals because it not only controls spending but also revenue. So as long as there’s a chance of a budget surplus in the long run, it makes sense to avoid default now.

  • G-Veg says:

    RR, That makes perfect sense. I think the final product accomplished this. Perhaps what I have been missing is the critique that the Tea Party Republicans won’t consider taxes to increase revenue.

    I understand why tax increases seem important. Honest men can disagree about this point without offense though. In the context of this last month’s debates, the refusal to accept unspecified revenue increases in exchange for an equal amount of unspecified spending cuts, does not seem unreasonable.

    The agreement reached seems to vindicate the position that the original Grand Bargain was not the only possible remedy. Since the Tea Party position is reasonable, it cannot be that we are too far from the mainstream to have a legitimate position at the table.

    I liken it to the position of the Anti-Federalists: though they lost, their contribution was substantial and, but for their dogged insistance on the enshrining of individual and states’ rights in the Constitution, we would be a very different nation. Similarly, the mere presence of uncompromising fiscal conservatives in the debate has already produced a better agreement for digging ourselves out of this hole.

  • Dale Price says:

    G-Veg: I was referring to Art’s third party debate partner, not you. And to more than a few of the comments I’ve seen on conservative websites, courting financial chaos with relish.

  • G-Veg says:

    My wife subscribes to Free Republic. I have mixed feelings about the content. They do a pretty good job of calling commenters on racist, xenophobic, and otherwise anti-social stuff but it is definately a “consumer beware” environment since there is little attribution and the back-and-forth can feed an unhealthy “slash and burn” mentality to politics and economics. If you are thinking of that stuff, I’m with you. But then, it isn’t meant to be taken as representative of any particular political group or body.

    I appreciate those websites as a bastion of free speech as it was meant to be: raw, candid, unvarnished, “pure” in the sense that it gets to the heart of the writers’ feelings and such.

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