Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:39 pm

Fridmarr wrote:Well I'm not suggesting that they make the windows able to be opened. And as it turns out, some planes do provide the pilot a controlled ability to vent the cabin in such situations. Especially if they don't want to drop the oxygen masks because of the potential fire hazzard.

Look, I think it was a boneheaded thing to say, but not nearly as stupid as some of the comments suggest. Of course, I also heard that the reporter who reported it is saying that Romney was clearly joking, but who knows they always recant that sort of thing.

As to that flight, that was the big windscreen on the front of the plane and even then he wasn't actually blown all the way out, he did survive. I'm talking about the windows on the side of the plane which would require squishing your average adult with forces that I don't think are possible from a pressurized plane. I think the bigger threat is temperature and pressure.


I actually give Romney the benefit of the doubt on this one. And either way, it has been made a mountain out of a molehill.

The way I imagine it, he was talking about it being more effective to air out the plane while it is landed and sitting on the ground afterwards if the windows could open.
The answer to why the windows DON'T open for these sorts of purposes is obviously "because some idiot passenger WOULD open them when he shouldn't".

Regardless, it's not all that important, and we should be discussing substantive issues, not quote-mining for "GOTCHA" moments.

And after all, we shouldn't let one dumb thing Romney said in public overshadow all the dumb things he's said in private. (Lol, sorry, couldn't resist. :P )
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:32 pm

What would be the point exactly of allowing windows to open on the ground? At that point they can open the cabin doors. Maybe I'm just reading into it, but it came across to me that they should be able to vent the smoke in the air so they don't have to make the emergency landing in the first place.

Joking or not, it was still a pretty stupid comment.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:24 pm

Skye1013 wrote:What would be the point exactly of allowing windows to open on the ground? At that point they can open the cabin doors. Maybe I'm just reading into it, but it came across to me that they should be able to vent the smoke in the air so they don't have to make the emergency landing in the first place.

Joking or not, it was still a pretty stupid comment.

I'm sure they'd still have to land, at least they better lol. If I'm in a plane that catches on fire even briefly, I want it on the ground as soon as possible. When I checked I read that some planes do have a way to bring in outside air in a controlled pressurized manner and it can be used to aid with that sort of thing.

I'm pretty doubtful venting the cabin is of much use in a real fire on a plane in just about any situation.

As a joke, the way it was described (apparently he rolled his eyes as he said it) it's certainly not particularly funny, but it's the sort of small talk humor you hear constantly around the office place. Again, I have no idea if that jocular context is true.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:41 pm

Brekkie wrote:Regardless, it's not all that important, and we should be discussing substantive issues, not quote-mining for "GOTCHA" moments.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:23 pm

Fridmarr wrote:I'm sure they'd still have to land, at least they better lol.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I'd want them to land as well, but based on the statements I've read and articles and such, it sounded like that's what Romney was implying.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:36 pm

Brekkie wrote:
Brekkie wrote:Regardless, it's not all that important, and we should be discussing substantive issues, not quote-mining for "GOTCHA" moments.

I appreciate that you're trying to emphasize your statement, but when he continuously waffles on the issues, it doesn't really give much of a platform besides knowing that he is against LGBT rights. So since I've already determined that I don't want him as president, I might as well get enjoyment out of his stupidity.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Sabindeus » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:53 am

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Melathys » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:38 pm

I like what Santorum said in this video better than anything that actually came out of his mouth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js3BYcHmBhE
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Aubade » Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:43 pm

Okay, I laughed WAYY too hard at that Rick Santorum BLR. This Michelle Bachhman one is great.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFB6LQ1- ... ure=relmfu
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:55 am

By FAR, my favorite Bad Lip Reading is the one for Ron Paul. "If you refuse... I'll HAUNT. YOUR. PROSTATE."


In other news: Romney Campaign: "We're going to lose the debates, badly, but ITS, LIKE, TOTALLY NOT FAIR DUDE!"

Talking about how Obama is more experienced in political debates, when Romney has just come out of dozens of them in the Primaries, as well as having had a far longer and more diverse political career, is just kind of silly.
And it's not just that Obama is a far better communicator, it's that the basis for Romney's campaign has been to NOT tell voters anything specific at all.

Every time he tells the truth or gives any real specifics about his plan, it hurts him. By keeping everything vague and as hand-wavey as possible, he's served as kind of a Candidate Mad Libs, where you can basically just fill in the blanks with whatever YOU imagine the correct answers are and project that onto Romney, who glowing describes how his un-described plan will create a rosy future which solves everything the moment he takes office.
When forced to commit to specifics, such as bringing Ryan aboard effectively signalling that he espouses the Ryan plan to reform (i.e. Cut) Medicare, it jars people out of that Create-Your-Own-Candidate comfort zone and inspires backlash.

But you can only ride anti-incumbent feeling so far.
Many voters are dissatisfied with Obama, but they want somebody with a well-designed and developed PLAN, and Romney doesn't really provide that except some non-specific assertions that we need more tax cuts for high-earners (a group he just HAPPENS to belong to) and less regulation (of industries he just HAPPENS to get most of his income from), which is the same formula that Republicans have been trying to pitch for years. Voters have short memories, but they DO remember that the actions taken during the Bush (and to a lesser extent, the Clinton) administration which are perceived to have led to the recession were big tax cuts for the wealthy and extensive deregulation of the financial industry. So saying that more of the same will be the silver bullet rings pretty hollow.
Maybe there is a case to be made for tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation, and maybe those things are positive, but it sounds like a one-size-fits-all-situations GOP sacred cow, not a directed solution for the economy that people (particularly the grass roots Tea Party and the Libertarians) are looking for.


So going into these debates, Romney really doesn't have any potential winning strategy to pursue.
The way I see it, there are several possible scenarios:

1) Romney narrates the present economic situation, without making any particular specific assertions other than "Things Are Bad", and kind of wink wink nudge nudge at viewers that this is, by implication, Obama's fault by framing comparisons to the peak point during the Bush administration prior to the collapse.

The problem with this is that Obama can counter with the true observation that things are consistently trending better over the past 11 months (unemployment steadily going down, growth and job creation climbing at a steady rate despite cuts in public sector jobs, the market un-fucking its self). We aren't back in the black compared to pre-crash yet, but it's headed in the right direction.
So trying to convince viewers that "Well, yeah, but you didn't fix things fast or well ENOUGH!" is kind of an awkward argument to make in a debate format, no matter whether that assertion is true or false. It would look too much like whining, as well as be conceding that Obama's programs have had an impact.


2) Romney just paints a picture of an entirely different, and contrasting, reality from anything Obama says, and claims that all Obama's statistics are lies and propaganda.

This is probably the best chance Romney has of pulling out at least a draw, and seems to be the strategy his campaign is tending towards (they've issued several statements and articles laying the groundwork for a "Obama is lying about everything! All that stuff about us being in recovery? Don't believe it!" narrative).
If this happens, the liberal-leaning FactChecker sites will declare all of Romney's claims to be bologna, and all the conservative-leaning FactChecker sites will declare all of Obama's claims to be similarly bunk, and no one will be quite sure who to believe.

The problem with this strategy is that it doesn't transfer very well to the following debates about issues other than the economy. In particular, in debate over social issues and Foreign Policy he'd get thrashed if he tried it, since people perceive these issues to be more black-and-white. It's pretty hard to try to convince people that Osama Bin Laden isn't dead or that Libya isn't a democracy now or that open service by homosexuals in the military has had a negative impact on anything by just throwing a lot of confusing statistics at them like you can with economics.

3) Romney approaches the debate like an attack ad, and tries to spend the whole time discussing Obama's record in order to cash in on anti-incumbent frustrations.

This would work, if it were ANYONE but Romney attempting it. But Romney's notorious flip flopping shoots himself in the foot here.
If Romney brings up Obamacare, all Obama has to do is thank him sincerely for the inspiration.
If he fear-mongers about guns, Obama can casually remind him about his assault weapons ban he signed into law in Massachusetts while bringing up the multiple gun regulations that he, Obama, has gotten repealed.
If Romney brings up the Auto-Industry Bailout, he's trapped in a corner by the fact that he, Romney, was against it, and yet it undeniably worked.
Accusations of crony-capitalism with Solyndra will ring hollow coming from a technocrat like Romney from a corrupt state like Masssachusetts. Similarly, Obama's love for green energy is safe from attack due to Romney's past support for carbon tax legislation.
And any mention of abortion or homosexuals will easily spin out of control and make him look like the religious loony caricature liberals and women fear.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


In my opinion, Romney will fail because he is trying to simultaneously serve too many masters.
That's why he has been straight-jacketed into staying so vague; if he commits to anything coherent either way, he will piss somebody off. Attempting to marry small-government fiscal conservative libertarians, with trickle-down supply side economics technocrats, "spread freedom because 'MERICA" neo-cons, and "I just care about stopping abortions and homosexuals" evangelicals, has not been pretty. In particular, the libertarians and the technocrats are almost diametrically opposed, by definition.
So he can't lay out a detailed Ryan-style Grand Plan for the country; it would get picked apart. So instead of making his own Ryan-Budget, he just got Ryan himself; the clear intended message being "I do HAVE a plan! And it will work, TRUST me! Just elect me here real quick and I'll tell you all about it, but I swear it's gonna be great!".

A good example is a comparison of the two candidate's positions on Energy Policy; something I think anyone would agree is of critical importance and deserves serious thought by any candidate.

The President's Plan, a 44 page document broken down by topic, is thoughtful, diverse, and balanced. It does a good job of being focused around ideas which are key bipartisan consensus points; such as the benefit of exploiting the Natural Gas boom (which not only helps our energy independence from imported oil, is also better for the environment because, no matter how you look at it, Natural gas is replacing Coal. And Coal is far worse.). Obama has trouble with branding though, and has not done a good job of communicating his ideas or properly using PR to make Americans aware of the effects his policies have been having.

Romney's Plan, on the other hand, is fundamentally unserious. The document spends most of its time attacking Mr Obama, without paying much attention to the fact that in the hypothetical scenario where Mr Romney gets to be president, Mr Obama would be out of office. This is a 9-page document that devotes 3 pages to an essay from Jim Talent, a former senator from Missouri, who boasts that America is the "Saudi Arabia of natural gas".

The contrast is striking, and holds for pretty much any issue you examine.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


So what would be a winning strategy for Romney?

I think he would have had more success if he had branded his image as "Scrooge McRich Guy who HATES waste", and embraced the Small Government movement. There's a developed widespread school of thought supporting that worldview, it contrasts nicely with Obama's strategy and is attractive to independents, and doesn't look like a mere mindless continuation of the Bush Policies perceived to have gotten us into this mess in the first place.

His 47% comments fit in nicely with this strategy, believe it or not.
Obama has made the repeated pitch that "times are hard, and the wealthy need to pay their fair share". This handed Romney the opportunity to point at the lower classes and go "Ah, but so do they!", and use that as justification for supporting large cuts and restructuring of entitlement programs, and for making the tax code more regressive.
He can't do that while simultaneously advocating for tax cuts for the rich, however. Cuts for the wealthy at the same time as gutting social programs for the poor looks like plutocracy and favoritism. Cuts to programs across the board, while keeping taxes static, looks like responsible belt-tightening. It also sets up the democrats to look like the selfish, self-interested, milk-the-system-at-the-expense-of-society ones if they try to fight it.
Last edited by Brekkie on Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Sat Sep 29, 2012 3:09 pm

Brekkie wrote:Lots of stuff
For the most part I agree with that, in spirit probably all of it. There's a few things I'd like to add and address.

First, I don't think this election ever had a reasonable chance of not going to the incumbent, and I think that was true before Obama got elected. It would be amazing for any politician to take office in the situation that this president did, and lose a re-election bid, outside of something catastrophic happening. To add to that the cult of Obama, and it's pretty much impossible for Romney win. In fact, I don't think if the republicans felt that this election was winnable, that Romney would be their nominee.

Brekkie wrote:Many voters are dissatisfied with Obama, but they want somebody with a well-designed and developed PLAN, and Romney doesn't really provide that except some non-specific assertions that we need more tax cuts for high-earners (a group he just HAPPENS to belong to) and less regulation (of industries he just HAPPENS to get most of his income from), which is the same formula that Republicans have been trying to pitch for years. Voters have short memories, but they DO remember that the actions taken during the Bush (and to a lesser extent, the Clinton) administration which immediately led to the recession were big tax cuts for the wealthy and extensive deregulation of the financial industry. So saying that more of the same will be the silver bullet rings pretty hollow.
...

I think he would have had more success if he had branded his image as "Scrooge McRich Guy who HATES waste", and embraced the Small Government movement. There's a developed widespread school of thought supporting that worldview, it contrasts nicely with Obama's strategy and is attractive to independents, and doesn't look like a mere mindless continuation of the Bush Policies perceived to have gotten us into this mess in the first place.

Perceived (emphasis mine) is the big word there, because the top part of that comment block is simply not at all true. There was nothing, frankly, that immediately led to the recession. Certainly no significant deregulation, in fact the worst thing there was the reclassification of mortgage backed securities, but that occurred during Clinton, and it was really only a secondary affect that spread into the financial sector.

Tax cuts leading to recession? That's just nearly impossible, even if you carve out just those that went to the wealthy (which is unfair anyhow), but there's really only two possible ways for that to occur.

A. It accompanies a large drawback in government spending, and we know that did not happen.
B. it massively increases the deficit. That also didn't occur, at least relative to our existing debt.

Besides they were put in force about 7 years earlier, so that wouldn't qualify as immediate. In fact, after these cuts GDP continued to rise, unemployment dropped, rose, and dropped again, on the heals of some tough unemployment years. Also of note, total taxes taken in also actually increased (03 was the only year it was lower than any year in the previous administration) significantly over those years. The truth is, we have, for a very long time propped up and leveraged ourselves on the housing market. That occurred equally across 5 different administrations, and a big part of that (prevailing interest rates) isn't under the control of politicians.

There's nothing Romney can do to battle that, he can argue his economic vision, but that's a debate that has mostly been decided. This is a perpetual problem for republicans because they have a much harder time controlling their message. (Also, Obamacare will cut Medicare for about 200billion over 10 years, and those cuts were included in the fiscals analysis by the CBO). Just look at how effective the Bain Financial comments have been, you can see them in this very thread, but a quick trip to factcheck.org refutes most of them. Several democrats even at one point chided Obama for them, but it does't really matter, they have been effective and they have stuck.

If Romney could create an image as Scrooge McRich guy, I think you are right and he'd have some success with that. The problem is, he can't because as you point out, his own record hurts him.

I think there is only one real area where he can take on Obama, and that's on leadership. Obama is easily the worst leader we've had as president in my lifetime, which dates back to Carter. I posted on this in his opening days of office as the initial stimulus plan was just forming. I think the worst thing that happened to Obama was winning such a huge majority in both houses. He didn't know how to handle that, he blamed his opposition relentlessly (which in an of itself is a significant leadership problem), but expected them to work with him. The truth was, he didn't need a single one of their votes for anything, it was holdouts in his own party that were really his obstacles. He basically told the republicans that their policies got them into this mess, that the american people fired the lot of them during his election cycle, and they need to jump on board his train. He never extended an olive branch, he never gave them anything at all that they could go back to their constituency with, he ignored them and chastised them at the same time. Then the mid term election cycle hit, and his team got wiped out of power, and now he's stuck. He's sleeping in the bed that he made.

Romney on the other hand, was a republican governor in a pretty liberal democratic state. By all accounts he did a pretty fair job, he worked well with the opposition party, and passed his own landmark healthcare legislation. But in order to make the leadership argument stick, he's got to quit being a douche and somehow chip away at Obama's charisma, both are herculean tasks, and the latter may not even be possible.

In the end, it wouldn't matter, there is just too many obstacles to climb, many of which he continues to create himself. That part is because as you point out (well not directly, but in so many words) the republican party is an absolute shit storm.

The religious right is an absolute fucking anchor, and the media loves to latch on to them as a representation of "conservatives". They completely botched the environmental movement to the point that somehow conservatives are openly treated as anti-science. They lost a secondary education system that at one point following vietnam and the draft was anti government and anti corporation, and now it's pro big government anti corporation because the republican party was unwilling to reasonably look environmental policy as anything more than scientific hogwash. So they made their bed too, and they needed a tea partyish group (until they morphed into another version of the religious right) to fix things, but it hasn't happend and I don't expect it too until they keep getting their clock cleaned and abandon these notions that stop them from picking up any sort of culturally positive perception.

At the end of the day most of this is outside of Romney's control, and really his just a placeholder anyhow. The things in his control he hasn't handled well, and the debates are sure to be a debacle. I'd be amazed if the results are anything less than a landslide.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:42 pm

Thank you for the correction; upon re-reading my wording I didn't phrase that the best.
I didn't mean to imply an ACTUAL causal relationship between the Bush tax cuts and the recession, just the perception of one.

At any rate, if we are intellectually honest, calling them the "Bush" tax cuts is kind of a misnomer. When Obama renewed them, he took ownership of them, so they are just as much the "Obama" tax cuts as they are Bush's. He was right to do so, of course, under the circumstances in which he did. But credit/blame where it is due.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Paxen » Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:43 pm

From where I'm standing, a fundamental reason, if not the fundamental reason, for the crisis is this: The boom of the mid-2000's was fueled by the US consumer economy going full steam, but the consumer demand that drove it all was financed by credits and debts. Any profits the US got from their part of the trade balance increasingly went to the top 1% (or fewer). Effectively the megarich stopped paying decent wages and lent the middle class money to make the wheel turn instead, because middle class demand is what drives the world economy. When that collapsed, everything else collapsed too.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:50 pm

Brekkie
I thought that was the case in fact I almost said that I didn't think you were saying that but I wasn't sure. So basically, I took up a lot of space and said pretty much nothing that you hadn't, though airing some of my frustrations with the republican party was therapeutic.

Paxen
I'm not sure how the rich factor in. A lot of those loans were given by publicly owned institutions, they were asset based loans (homes were used as collateral) , and the value of those assets (even those owned by the top 1%) all went tits up. The lenders essentially took a bath too. Some got bailed out, some went under.

And median household wage spiked during the dot com boom, dropped a bit climbed again, actually reaching pretty high right before the crisis (adjusted for inflation). I just don't think there's a strong relationship there. It's really just a matter of the culture we had of leveraging our personal property based on the fact that it always seemed to appreciate in value, and when it started depreciating, that house of cards came down.

If you're saying the rich weren't as affected, well sure but that's a red herring. People with means are always going to be least affected as a group by something like that, and on the flip side they'll always gain the most during prosperous times. It's one of those "99%" arguments that is useless.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby aureon » Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:44 pm

I basically agree with most of what you said, but still, there's a couple of major points to be debated.

Fridmarr wrote:
Tax cuts leading to recession? That's just nearly impossible, even if you carve out just those that went to the wealthy (which is unfair anyhow), but there's really only two possible ways for that to occur.

A. It accompanies a large drawback in government spending, and we know that did not happen.
B. it massively increases the deficit. That also didn't occur, at least relative to our existing debt.

Besides they were put in force about 7 years earlier, so that wouldn't qualify as immediate. In fact, after these cuts GDP continued to rise, unemployment dropped, rose, and dropped again, on the heals of some tough unemployment years. Also of note, total taxes taken in also actually increased (03 was the only year it was lower than any year in the previous administration) significantly over those years. The truth is, we have, for a very long time propped up and leveraged ourselves on the housing market. That occurred equally across 5 different administrations, and a big part of that (prevailing interest rates) isn't under the control of politicians.

Well, tax cuts just worsened the problem which ultimately leaded to the depression: Overproduction.
Enriching the higher shrines brings more investment and less spending, for even more overproduction.
Wasn't the sole cause, or perhaps not even a major one, but to say it had no responsibility at all is quite debatable.
A crisis this long is triggered by something (Oil shock + housing bubble burst), but then keeps going due to worse underlying issues (In this case, overproduction and sticky prices/wages, and if we want to go there, misallocation of talent and capital into non-producing zero-sum schemes such as derivative markets, but that's.. debatable again)

The deregulation didn't happen under Bush (we've seen it going since Reagan), but more than that, what was needed in the wake of electronic fast-communication explosion was the regulation of shadow banking, which didn't happen. And yes, that responsibility was Bush's.
Of course, i highly doubt Gore or Kelly would've done that, either. But "tu quoque" isn't a valid justification.

I think there is only one real area where he can take on Obama, and that's on leadership. Obama is easily the worst leader we've had as president in my lifetime, which dates back to Carter. I posted on this in his opening days of office as the initial stimulus plan was just forming. I think the worst thing that happened to Obama was winning such a huge majority in both houses. He didn't know how to handle that, he blamed his opposition relentlessly (which in an of itself is a significant leadership problem), but expected them to work with him. The truth was, he didn't need a single one of their votes for anything, it was holdouts in his own party that were really his obstacles. He basically told the republicans that their policies got them into this mess, that the american people fired the lot of them during his election cycle, and they need to jump on board his train. He never extended an olive branch, he never gave them anything at all that they could go back to their constituency with, he ignored them and chastised them at the same time. Then the mid term election cycle hit, and his team got wiped out of power, and now he's stuck. He's sleeping in the bed that he made.

The truth is, this is the first time that Filibuster became standard operating procedure. Not counting Lieberman, Obama had filibuster-proof majority for less than six months.
Sure, he could've rushed more in those six months, but telling anyone that there wasn't a ridicolous amount of scorched earth opposition from the GOP is laughable.
Even before i actually sit down and studied what had happened in America in the last years, the whole debt ceiling debate over anything makes one notice that something is wrong in the GOP's idea of "compromise" and "politics".
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:18 pm

The Bush administration gained office with a big budget surplus left over from Clinton's management.
They promptly spent it through the Medicare prescription drug entitlement, and the Bush tax cuts which disproportionately favored high-earners.

This isn't necessarily bad.
The GOP argument has been and continues to be that our tax rates do not occupy the optimal point on the Laffer Curve. Specifically that we overshot, and are taxing too much, and with a non-optimal distribution. That's a reasonably defensible argument.

The Laffer Curve basically predicts that if you cut taxes by X, government revenue will obviously decrease by X, but there will be more economic activity because people will have more money. Due to there being more economic activity, overall people will be making more money, and as a result pay more in taxes, even at the now-lower rate. This increase in tax revenue is Y.
If Y would be greater than X, than you are taxing at too high a rate, and should cut taxes. This would be both good for the population, good for the economy, and good for government revenue.

The Laffer Curve specifically talks about optimizing government revenue treating taxation as if were a business, essentially looking at the population as a resource to be "farmed" in the ideal way to maximize "profits". If you start to try to factor in what is best for the PEOPLE or the ECONOMY at the same time, things can get confusing.
If you go the the logical extreme, the more you cut taxes the more happy everyone will be and the more economic activity will increase. So cutting taxes by 100% would bring maximum happiness and maximum economic activity, assuming somehow that it occurs in a vacuum where all government spending and programs and services continue as normal.

When the Bush administration spent the Clinton surplus on the tax cut and the Medicare prescription drug benefit, and was then suddenly confronted with the expensive War on Terror, there were faced with the problem that they had to pay the bills for two occupations with no corresponding increase in revenue. They didn't want to back out of the tax cuts or the Medicare program, nor did they want to find any new sources of funding.
So they just borrowed, and covered up how much the war was costing by not including it in the budget, but instead periodically going to Congress for rubber-stamp one-time "Contingency Operations funding". Effectively the entire war was deficit spending within the Federal budget, they just refused to call it part of the budget and take responsibility for it.

When conservatives talk about how "Obama massively increased the deficit" compared to Bush, a big piece of that claim is really just that the Obama administration finally added the War on Terror to the official budget and properly accounted for it and how much it was costing. The remaining deficit spending by Obama have been recession-countering TEMPORARY tax cuts (for example the Making Work Pay tax credit, which was allowed to expire after 2 years) and one-off stimulus.

The difference between Bush deficit spending and Obama deficit spending is that, in macroeconomics, you are SUPPOSED to deficit spend during a recession, and then pay down the debt when times are good. But Bush's administration did the opposite, increasing the debt during good times, and leaving Obama with no choice but to continue increasing it during the bad times he inherited. This is why it is not inconsistent to consider Bush's deficit spending irresponsible, but Obama's to be OK. It's not partisanship.

Until recent decades, taxation was viewed as a relatively uninteresting way to pay the bills. Republicans and Democrats disagreed over exactly what money should be spent on, but after consensus had been reached there was a general understanding of the necessity to match taxation to the spending level that had been determined as necessary.

More recently, the Republican party has committed to a different tactic entirely, called "Starve the beast". They view Democratic programs such as the social safety net as unacceptable, but instead of arguing against them on their merits have instead started to combat such programs by making them unaffordable through irresponsible accounting.

The goal goes something like this:
-GOP leaders make an unbreakable commitment to NEVER raise taxes
-When the GOP is in power, they quietly deficit spend and increase the debt to set up further deficit spending in the next administration to look profligate
-When the GOP is not in power, they point at the deficit, the debt, and then at the social programs and demand that the only responsible thing to do is cut them in order to balance the books.

"Starve the beast".
There's a reason why Democrats are always complaining about having to do the hard work to clean up Republican financial messes.




As for Obamacare contributing to the deficit, I really am not sure on that. Conservatives claim doomsday scenarios where it costs huge sums of money. The CBO and the Obama administration, as well as independent think tanks and hospitals, seem to think it will be a wash and break even as revenue neutral. I don't know enough about the guts of the law or the relevant economics to have an informed opinion myself.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:28 pm

He never extended an olive branch, he never gave them anything at all that they could go back to their constituency with, he ignored them and chastised them at the same time.


For the record, it was the House Republicans, Boehner and Ryan in particular, who sabotaged the Grand Bargain which included modest tax increases ONLY on high-earners, and $2 of spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases.

The Tea Party Republicans killed it with their mantra of "No Compromise". The Democrats sacrificed all their sacred cows, and the GOP was willing to give them nothing in return.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:13 pm

aureon wrote:Enriching the higher shrines brings more investment and less spending, for even more overproduction.
Wasn't the sole cause, or perhaps not even a major one, but to say it had no responsibility at all is quite debatable.
A crisis this long is triggered by something (Oil shock + housing bubble burst), but then keeps going due to worse underlying issues (In this case, overproduction and sticky prices/wages, and if we want to go there, misallocation of talent and capital into non-producing zero-sum schemes such as derivative markets, but that's.. debatable again)

The deregulation didn't happen under Bush (we've seen it going since Reagan), but more than that, what was needed in the wake of electronic fast-communication explosion was the regulation of shadow banking, which didn't happen. And yes, that responsibility was Bush's.
Of course, i highly doubt Gore or Kelly would've done that, either. But "tu quoque" isn't a valid justification.

Overproduction is pretty debatable and certainly I would think that the effects of the US tax cuts would be pretty inconsequential on a global production scale for whatever value you assign to the overproduction issue as a whole.

I think saying that deregulation wasn't an issue (which is what I said), is fairly different than saying a certain set of regulations could have helped. So what I think you are finding debatable is not something that I did say. In other words, I'd agree that some regulations on the subprime market could have helped, I'm simply saying that there wasn't particularly problematic deregulation under Bush.

I don't think subprime regulation in 2000 would have prevented things, but yes we probably would not have been as leveraged nearly as far. Subprimes ballooned in the early/mid 90s, and I really do not think that even if the Bush administration wanted to reign them in that he could have, because they were happening disproportionately for minorities, and any attempt to stop them would have racial implications in congress.

aureon wrote:The truth is, this is the first time that Filibuster became standard operating procedure. Not counting Lieberman, Obama had filibuster-proof majority for less than six months.
Sure, he could've rushed more in those six months, but telling anyone that there wasn't a ridicolous amount of scorched earth opposition from the GOP is laughable.
Even before i actually sit down and studied what had happened in America in the last years, the whole debt ceiling debate over anything makes one notice that something is wrong in the GOP's idea of "compromise" and "politics".
It certainly is not the first time it was SOP. Bush found it pretty regularly with his judicial nominations...I think it reached double digits. However, the filibuster proof majority doesn't really matter to my point, and I'm aware it only existed for a short time. Obama had a handfull of GOP votes for the stimulus which is when he lost control with his divisiveness and he's never made even the smallest effort to do anything about it.
The debt ceiling debate was hardly one sided if you want to talk about things that are wrong with compromise and politics. It's amazing what had to be at risk to get a bi-partisan bill passed on any contentious issue in this administration (70% Rs and 58% Ds voting for it). Scorched earth on one side, zero level of compromise on the other...they just beget each other. There's no right side there, but there is a leader who has done much more to cause it than to solve it.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:44 pm

Brekkie wrote:The Bush administration gained office with a big budget surplus left over from Clinton's management.
And I bet republicans would counter that it wasn't from Clinton's management but rather it stemmed from their management being the first time in 40 years that they had control of congress. Remember the whole republican revolution and all that.

Starve the beast isn't meant to be accompanied by increases in deficit spending or some conspiracy to bring down the government. The idea actually has quite a bit of merit because you will never get congress to not spend their expected revenue. Bush took a lot of shit over Plan D, in fact it was part of what brought about the tea partiers, in theory deficit spending was their primary aim and many of them (at least early on) chided Bush. Keep in mind their initial focus in elections was on republicans who they felt were not pushing for corresponding spending cuts.

I do think Obama gets a bit of a pass on his deficit spending...to a point. The various stimulus packages have been pretty big and of bleh effectiveness. He also, as you point out now takes ownership of the Bush tax cuts, at least on the part for income earners of less than 250k (all of it for a little while), but that comprises about 75% of the cost if I remember right.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Paxen » Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:00 am

Starve the beast: "Government doesn't work, and here's how we'll prove it"
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:35 am

Here's the problem I have with fiscal conservative ideology:

When I look at government spending, I start from the goal, and work backward.

I evaluate proposed government programs by the following criteria:
1)Is it something worth doing that betters society?
2)Is it something it appropriate for government to be doing, according to the Constitution?
3)Is it something that government is capable of doing more effectively than alternatives, such as private businesses, or that government assistance would complement through a joint effort?

If a program meets all three criteria, I add it to the list of things I want my government to do.
When I've done all my evaluating, I tally up the cost of everything on my list. That is the price of government. I then figure out the most effective way to raise that revenue through taxes.



Fiscal Conservatives look at the problem from the opposite direction. Their process seems to be something like:

1)How much money am I comfortable being taxed/the government having?
2)The government has that much money to use as best it can.
3)Anything more than that is "big government", and must be cut at all costs.


I don't like this. It seems to say "cut things that are worth doing and make society better and that only government is really capable of, for no other reason than my arbitrary discomfort with big numbers".
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:32 am

Brekkie wrote:Here's the problem I have with fiscal conservative ideology:

When I look at government spending, I start from the goal, and work backward.

I evaluate proposed government programs by the following criteria:
1)Is it something worth doing that betters society?
2)Is it something it appropriate for government to be doing, according to the Constitution?
3)Is it something that government is capable of doing more effectively than alternatives, such as private businesses, or that government assistance would complement through a joint effort?

If a program meets all three criteria, I add it to the list of things I want my government to do.
When I've done all my evaluating, I tally up the cost of everything on my list. That is the price of government. I then figure out the most effective way to raise that revenue through taxes.



Fiscal Conservatives look at the problem from the opposite direction. Their process seems to be something like:

1)How much money am I comfortable being taxed/the government having?
2)The government has that much money to use as best it can.
3)Anything more than that is "big government", and must be cut at all costs.


I don't like this. It seems to say "cut things that are worth doing and make society better and that only government is really capable of, for no other reason than my arbitrary discomfort with big numbers".

Meh, that's a slippery slope. I don't think people are particularly good at accurately describing the logic of those that they are ideologically opposed (especially as it turns out, when the left attempts to understand the right). I think we should tread very lightly here, or the thread could quickly get out of hand. Further, when you say fiscal conservatives, that term covers a rather broad set of beliefs.

I'd argue that your first list explains the more main stream fiscal conservatives fairly well, although there would be something there dealing with the level of government (ie. local/state/federal) with a preference towards better accountability in that regard, and a notion of fiscal stewardship all around. Of course, the first item on your list is incredibly subjective too, and can be molded to fit about anything from either perspective.

Your second list seems silly to me and doesn't follow any logic path that I've really ever come across. I don't think it's accurate at all. I believe we ran into this issue pretty frequently in a previous thread (or maybe earlier in this thread?) where you were articulating your perception of conservative ideals.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:13 pm

Presidential debates ongoing. Should be somewhat interesting to watch.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Klaudandus » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:24 pm

Skye1013 wrote:Presidential debates ongoing. Should be somewhat interesting to watch.


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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:10 pm

Debate drinking game:
Take Two Big Gulps If...
•One of the candidates says the word "marriage"
•One of the candidates says "equality"
•One of the candidates says "civil rights"
•One of the candidates mentions "Defense of Marriage"

Take One Drink If....
•One of the candidates says the word "Arizona"
•One of the candidates says the term "DREAM act"
•One of the candidates says the term "Deferred"
•One of the candidates says "Job Creators"
•One of the candidates says "Small Business"

BONUS RULES:
•Chug Your Drink If... the term "47%" come up
•Chug Your Drink If... either of the candidates says the whole terms "marriage equality," "traditional marriage," OR "a man and a woman."
•Toast the person to your right if someone says "Obamacare"
•Toast the person to your left if someone says "Romneycare"
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