published Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Tea Party madness

The disturbing retreat of the stock market the past few days, barely skirting the official bear market boundary before Tuesday's iffy rally, has been more than enough to prove two core points.

One is that no-holds-barred political extremism -- like the garrote employed by Republicans' hard-right Tea Partiers in manufacturing a slow-motion, confidence-shattering political crisis over the specter of a government default -- actually can do severe damage to the economy and to the confidence of investors on which it relies.

The second is that a positive approach to job creation -- the tonic needed to revive economic growth from the nearly static eight-tenths of 1 percent this year -- should not have been allowed to play second fiddle to near-term deficit reduction. It should have been front and center all year.

The tragic irony is that it would have been the top priority if Tea Partiers and the Republican majority in the House of Representatives had not hijacked the jobs agenda, handcuffed Congress, and engaged in a counter-productive assault on near-term pump priming and smart job-growth strategies.

Their insistence that the $14.3 trillion national debt (and any near-term increase that will occur until the economy kicks in gear and regenerates lost tax revenue) must take absolute priority is self-defeating on its face. In fact, every backward fiscal policy they embrace is self-defeating in terms of reducing the long-term debt, restricting new economic growth and resulting tax revenue, and lowering costs to federal and state governments for unemployment and health-care aid.

Eroding investor confidence in the dollar by creating a fiscal crisis, for example, risks raising the interest cost that Treasury must pay on new bond issues to Treasury to service the government's 30-year accumulation of debt. A 1 percent increase in the yield on Treasury bonds, for instance, would add $1.3 trillion to federal debt right away.

Likewise, demanding cuts in already minimal social programs will just make life harder for many American families by raising their cost of living and diminishing their discretionary consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of economic activity. Indeed, it is the higher cost to government of economic contradiction -- the enduring ripples from the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and the nearly 8 million jobs shed then -- that still haunts the economy. Sending the nation back to deeper austerity won't reverse that. It will just aggravate the problem and stall recovery.

What ails the American economy is not the cost of Social Security: Its current trust fund surplus could easily be extended for many decades by incremental tweaks and by ending its salary cap for high earners, whose prosperity depends on a broad and healthy middle-class.

Nor is Medicare or Medicaid the core source of our national debt. Indeed, a bona fide national public health care program -- i.e., Medicare for all who would choose to pay that premium -- would drive down overall health cost to the far lower per-capita rates that all other industrialized nations pay for universal care. It would also force private insurers, the pharmaceutical industry and ancilliary providers to compete by streamlining and reducing extravagant executive overhead.

Closing corporate tax loopholes, restoring equity in a progressive tax rate (the nation's wealthiest 1 percent now pay the least percent of taxes they've paid in 80 years) and investing more in clean energy, education and job training and job creation incentives, would do wonders for the economy.

There's no need for a doomsday mindset, not unless our so-called job creators keep off-shoring the nation's jobs. There is just a great need for vigorous, forward-looking leadership, and truth-telling about the corporate shills and Wall Street cronies that the Republican Party has become while scamming the public with so-called family values to camouflage policies that would grind America's marginalized middle-class into the dust.

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dabbscr said...

First off the Tea Party is a small minority in the republican controlled house. Obama and his administration has controlled both the house and senate and not to mention the white house since he took office until Nov 2010. He had time to get his job growth up, create these so called jobs the "stimulus" was supposed to create with his "czars", and cronies. Its not like the republicans or tea party could block anything until Nov. 2010. Not to mention the Obama Care that got rammed down our throats, behind closed doors and dirty deals, Oh- that he said he was going to show on C-Span and didn't--. And to mention that Obama is the one that cut 500 Billion out of Medicare, remember, "we will have to pass it to know what is in it" (Polosi). It was reported on the news that if they raised the debt ceiling that America would loose their AAA rating, well guess what, thats what Democrates wanted, and it happened, AA. Republicans wanted more spending cuts, and no taxes. Sorry but never seen poor people hire people. Instead of cutting stupid stuff like money sent for animal studies or other crazy things, Obama chose to cut defense spending and many people out of a job there? Tea party people support the Constitution, smaller government, and want to be home of the free and the brave. Why is it so hard for Liberals and Democrates see that? As as Obama stated in one of his numerous speeches that people like him who could afford to pay more, should...well why don't he finish out his presidency with no pay, since he can afford it. As far as Social Security, Medicare, Medicade goes, it needs reform. When you keep giving free stuff to illegal immigrants it will eventually go broke. Reform needs to come by way of Arizona, Georgia, and Alabama with their immigration laws. If the feds can't do it, let the states do it. Go Tea Party!!!

August 10, 2011 at 2:55 a.m.
EaTn said...

In the past few years govt spending has expanded to about 25% gdp and govt revenue has shrunk to about 15% gdp. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see the problem is two fold, and until both spending and revenue are addressed the debt and jobs creation will keep sinking. Bush's wealthy tax cuts proved that was not a long term job creation solution.

August 10, 2011 at 7:22 a.m.
Livn4life said...

Here are two core points: 1)Democrats blame everyone else but themselves for problems in the US economy even when everything points to their major part in them 2)The national media plays right along with them. Blaming the Tea Party effort for the blundering that is our federal government is one of the most outrageous things to come along in awhile. When the next hurricane hits, the Democrats will blame...who else... the Tea Partiers. And EaTn just has to remind us it's about Bush, it's about Bush...sickening!

August 10, 2011 at 7:51 a.m.
timbo said...

When I was doing my last consulting job as a "hired gun" to straight out the production problems of a manufacturing concern, we had done everything we could think of to change our employee base. Training, management changes, more money, etc. to get our operators to stop making mistakes. We thought somehow that we weren't providing them with the tools to be successful. One day we had a staff meeting lamenting more problems when one of the managers said, "Maybe their just too stupid to get it." I said, "Maybe they are." We then tested them and found that there were lacking in the intelligence and education to understand a complex technical job. We replace the problem people and guess what? The problems diappeared.

After reading Harry Austin latest diatribe about the tea party, we need to ask that same question about the ultra liberals, "Are they just too stupid to get it?" I think the answer is yes.

I am not talking about raw intelligence here but they have something in their brains than makes them accept fantasy over logic no matter the data saying otherwise. That makes them collectively stupid.

Part of this is the brainwashing they have had at the ivy league universities by liberal spouting Keynesian economic hogwash. They also have this attitude that they are superior and look down on anyone who bases their attitudes on experience or logic. Part of it is the stupidity that is perpetuated by a union mentality that the "man" is evil and exploiting the poor worker. In the end is is a national socialism that says that the government knows better about everything and we just need to give ourselves over to the "almighty" god-like government bureaucrats and everything will be hunky dory (sic). Again, basic stupidity.

The last thing is know-nothing people like Austin with a forum to spout stupidity with no practical knowledge or experience to back it up. Austin was a reporter, no degree in anything practical or a business background to be able to have any relevant opinion. In other words he is like the myriad of lawyers, union officials, professors, and government bureaucrats who are in the same boat. So when he makes light of the "so-call job creators" in a condescending manner it just shows his and liberals over-all stupidity and why we can't let them ruin this country.

August 10, 2011 at 8:06 a.m.
EaTn said...

l4l-- the fact is we are still living under the Bush wealthy tax cuts, due to Obama partly to blame. It's apparent they did not and are not creating overall wealth, a reduced debt or a mass of jobs in this country. Spending and taxes must both be addressed to stabilize our economy and put folks back to work.

August 10, 2011 at 8:09 a.m.
EaTn said...

timbo--when I was in management in manufacturing we discovered that the workers often knew more than management about what was the best methods to get the job done. We implemented many of their suggestions and let them become part of the team. The problem with right-wingers is that in general they think they are smarter than the average. Most successful companies have recognized the need for all to share ideas and rewards, and sooner or later so will this country.

August 10, 2011 at 8:16 a.m.

Hey, EaTn, you Democrat suck up. You're sickening! I'm not wealthy and the lower tax rates helped me. They weren't tax cuts for the rich, they were lower rates that helped anyone who works. What's wrong with you Leftwing crackpots. Obama is the issue. Bush is not POTUS anymore. Obama blew it and blew it an blew it. You want to know how to create wealth, LET PEOPLE KEEP THE MONEY THEY EARN. STOP RIDING THEM AND SQUEEZING THEM SO A FEW CAN GET ENTITLEMENTS. DOPES!

August 10, 2011 at 9:49 a.m.
MickeyRat said...

timbo posits about the ultra liberals, "Are they just too stupid to get it?" I think the answer is you don’t what you’re talking about. Why is the VAST MAJORITY of college professors, intellectuals, philosophers, scientists, designers, engineers etc. liberal?
I suggest you read limric’s raging essay from Clays August 6th cartoon ‘The Handout’. Chapter one: August 6, 2011 at 8:46 and chapter two: August 6, 2011 at 8:55. IF YOU DARE!! But being a conservative, you may be - “just too stupid to get it.”

“Never doubt that a small group of reactionary, xenophobic, corporately-manipulated citizens can change the world."

August 10, 2011 at 10:07 a.m.
timbo said...

MickeyRat.....You just proved my point. This is the kind of stupidity I was talking about. The policies you espouse implemented by both parties have gotten us in this mess. Do you really think that when debt is a problem, increasing your problem is the answer. This is not just stupid, it's crazy.

August 10, 2011 at 1:55 p.m.
Leaf said...

Well, of course while it's true that the average liberal has a higher IQ and level of education than the average conservative, the real difference is fear. There is a part of the brain in conservatives that reacts more strongly to fear stimuli. Hence the saying, "A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged." That also explains why conservatives have more hatred, because people hate what they fear.

August 10, 2011 at 5:10 p.m.
timbo said...

Leaf......if you liberals are so smart, why did the conservatives have all the money ? By the way, intelligence without drive, logic, creativity and willingness to take a risk is basically useless to society. Evidence of this fact is in most the liberals ' posts in this newspaper . in your honor, I am going to get all of my employees in the parking lot tomorrow in a circle and tell them to create wealth . I'll let you know how that turned out . maybe I can get a couple of college professors , a community organizer or 2, an editorial page editor, and a couple of government bureaucrats to help out . I wonder how many jobs they'll create .

August 10, 2011 at 7:11 p.m.
librul said...

Conservative had all the money because they believe greed is good.

August 10, 2011 at 7:36 p.m.
EaTn said...

timbo---when you get all your employees (ever how many, if any) together in the parking lot and ask them to create wealth, then they leave you and your big right-wing ego sitting there staring at an empty parking lot--see how much wealth you can create without them.

August 10, 2011 at 9:04 p.m.
timbo said...

EaTN.......ego has nothing to do with it . I was just describing the truth . if you pay well ,and provide insurance you don't have any problems getting and keeping employees . the problem is you and your buddies don't want to hear the truth . you know you need people like me to provide tax revenue and jobs and that's why you hate US so much .

August 10, 2011 at 11:32 p.m.
timbo said...

Librul.......why in the world is wanting to excel at your job ,and provide financial security for your family and provide employment for people like you greed?? you people are so wrong it is scary . I can't understand how the liberal mind works . it is almost like a mental illness or a religious fanaticism believing in some fantasy or fairytale . I don't care want you doubt or don't doubt .

August 10, 2011 at 11:41 p.m.
328Kwebsite said...

With these flaccid and thoroughly bibliographed responses, I can't imagine how the Tea Party got its extremist public image. An overwhelming majority of Americans support a tax increase for the wealthy and a decrease in government spending.

There's one thing missing from the editorial about the Tea Party's madness: their anger. We've seen the entire time that they are angry. They don't know what to do besides break out the magic markers and posterboard and yell at somebody about their opinions on public policy. It's clear: Republicans funding Tea Party events, like Tennessee's own GOP support for Chattanooga's Tea Party rallies, are about exploiting angry people who don't know better.

These poor people have been turned into a rude franchise whose main purpose is to do the dirty work of the Republican party. While the Tea Party may contain a handful of Libertarians, notice how little of their ideas get incorporated into policy. Instead, wealthy Republican finaciers keep them on a leash just long enough to trash President Obama and other Democrats, without causing the paying Republicans any trouble.

The Tea Party will be used and discarded once their utility as a rude franchise expires. The Republicans will simply stop paying them.

August 10, 2011 at 11:59 p.m.
dabbscr said...

328Kwebsite...if you want to know how Tea Party got its "anger", go back up to the first comment on this post and read what I wrote the first time, then maybe you will "get it". Tea Party people support the Constitution, smaller government, and want to be the home of the free and brave. You do realize that 50% of people living in this country don't pay Federal Taxes and 13-16% of those are on food stamps, so instead of raising taxes for the job creators, why not find those 50% and make them pay taxes and stop giving government handouts to every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Jane just because...that's what liberals do!!!!

August 11, 2011 at 4:45 a.m.
hambone said...

Well hell then timbo, lets try more tax cuts.

Maybe sometime in the future, way down the road Supply Side Economics will work!

August 11, 2011 at 6:45 a.m.
timbo said...

Hambone .....don't know much about "supply side "but how is that 800,000,000,000 dollar stimulus working for you?

August 11, 2011 at 8:44 a.m.
hambone said...

It worked fine for me ,timbo, I got an increase in take home pay right off the bat.

It worked good for Ms Bachmann too, her district got millions.

And have you seen the picture of Eric Cantor cutting the ribbon on the rail project in his district?

August 11, 2011 at 9:34 a.m.
timbo said...

hambone .....I thought you liberals weren't selfish . ,I guess as long as someone else is paying for your fun it's okay . not only do the rich vote their pocket books it seems that liberals do the same thing . that means you are an evil as the people you criticize . want a hypocrite .

August 11, 2011 at 10:35 a.m.
hambone said...

Your very wrong timbo, I want to put all tax codes back to the 2000 rates. I don't think you can call that selfish or hypocritic.

It will make everyone pay their share, give the government revenue to use to create the jobs that all the tax cuts didn't!

August 11, 2011 at 12:55 p.m.
timbo said...

Hambone...So you and your liberal buddies decide what, my "share" is. I am doing the same thing. I am trusting my conservative buddies to tell me what is "fair." I don't trust Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the community organizer in charge to tell me what is "fair."

Most conservatives would agree on taxes except for one little problem. The dems would spend the extra money on their social engineering boondoggles. If the libs would sign a bill that says all savings and extra revenue go towards the deficit and the deficit only, you could sell a tax increase. The dems won't go for this because they are a collection of special interests with which votes are bought by giving away my money to people who don't even pay taxes. They should just call themselves the "Free Stuff" party. The problem is that it isn't free because someone else's money is confiscated and given to someone else.

August 11, 2011 at 1:17 p.m.
hambone said...

Cutting government spending is what Hoover and the repubs of the time tried after the crash of '29.

How'd that work out? Not too good! I feel that I'm in a good position to survive another depression, but I don't want to see it. How in the world can anyone think that cutting government spending right now will do any thing but put unemployment on the fast track to another great depression!

August 11, 2011 at 2:57 p.m.
BCL33 said...

Timbo, as an Ivy League educated liberal, you have insulted me beyond belief. Before you start spouting off about how simple everything is, and how only real world experience pays off and theories and academic studies are junk, please brush up on one of my favorite academic studies known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. I think it represents you fairly well. Your diatribe had no semblance of evidentiary support and relied entirely on name-calling.

While I understand how people such as yourself could hold such resentment to truly educated individuals who can back up their sentiments with evidence and theory, I don't believe it's constructive to the dialogue as a whole. In fact, to use one of your favorite words, I think it's "stupid." So please, for your benefit and for the benefit of others, look up the ego bias known as the Dunning Kruger Effect and learn your place.

As I've said before, there are reasons I won't have farmers performing open-heart surgery. There are reasons I won't let a bus driver fly an airplane. The same goes for informed discussions on economic policy. Those who cannot support themselves with fact and knowledge have no business spouting their so-called "opinions."

We like to say in the United States that everyone has the right to free speech, but I would like to add that we all have the duty to use it responsibly. Your comments, as divisive and ignorant as they are, are a breach of that duty.

August 11, 2011 at 4:52 p.m.
fairmon said...

The government cannot give anyone anything without taking it away from someone else. The government cannot spend on anything without taking the money from someone. Evey dollar the government takes is one less dollar people have to spend and increase demand. Every dollar government takes is one less dollar available for capital investment. An increasing debt results in the government taking more out of the economy to service the debt.

A 3.7 TRILLION budget with 2.4 Trillion revenue leaves a 1.7 trillion annual deficit, 46%.

1-Waste, fraud and duplication is reported to be around 29% of the current deficit.

2-Unnecessary regulations and loop holes require an additional 13%

3-Fix these two problems and reduce the 17% of real unemployment (U6) to less than 6% and revenue exceeds needs and could reduce the debt unless congress used it for more social engineering and vote buying.

Why will these things not happen? Both parties are bought and owned. They may lose votes and campaign contributions.

August 11, 2011 at 5:25 p.m.
BCL33 said...

Harp3339. You obviously failed economics. Government spending is attributable to something called the "money multiplier." The number of times a dollar changes hands intrinsically increases the value of the dollar, and even moreso in service economies such as the one the US has developed. A dollar the government takes is usually reissued to government contractors who then pay their employees who go and buy something else. It's not like the government is hoarding dollars, if anything they aren't collecting enough...

Again, read my above statement and see if Dunning-Kruger applies to you!

August 11, 2011 at 5:49 p.m.
chet123 said...








August 11, 2011 at 7:27 p.m.
dabbscr said...

to BLC33.."if the number of times a dollar changes hands increases the value of a dollar", then why has the value of the dollar decreased.

to CHET123...there is no argument that the poor don't pay taxes. the argument is that 50% of Americans don't pay any taxes at all.

August 12, 2011 at 1:06 a.m.
timbo said...

BCL33....what you suffer from is an arrogant elitism that because of your "advanced" education gives you the right to rule over the rest of us. Ivy league schools basically educate two parts of society, lawyers and financial people. They create a self-appointed elite that feels it is entitled to rule over the rest of us. You hide behind theory and shaky evidence to defend a luke-warm socialist "theory" that has failed time after time.

If you are really interested in logic and evidence then the only explaination I have is that people who adhere to your style of thinking, when all the evidence is to the contrary, are probably stupid. If you have another explaination like mental illness or brainwashing I am open to it.

Let's look at the evidence of you arrogant eliteism. This quote, " the Dunning Kruger Effect and learn your place." So I should "learn my place" by letting educated ignorance that you espouse rule me.

The evidence of my "diatribe" is that I and people like me are a success and people like you probably inherited money or work for a university in which you pontificate about how you know everything but can't seem to put it to work for you. (Those who can't, teach.)

I also have an advanced education but, thank God, it is not from an Ivy League school. Instead, I got a practical, technical education which I applied to make a living and create jobs for some of the people you think of as serfs.

Your other quote, "As I've said before, there are reasons I won't have farmers performing open-heart surgery. There are reasons I won't let a bus driver fly an airplane. The same goes for informed discussions on economic policy," is exactly what I meant about people like you. YOU ARE THE FARMER AND BUS DRIVER. Your type are the ones that created junk bonds, Fanny, Freddie, the pyramid scheme known as the stock market, Keynesian theory, Quantitative Easying (twice), national socialism economic policy, etc.,etc., etc. You, like Obama, don't have the depth of experience it take to actually build something or run things.

So if I offended you, who cares. You and your bunch should apoligize to the rest of us for putting us through this crap. The reason I used the word "stupid" is because liberals fit the definition. Stupid: Continuing to use failed methods over and over again with the same result. That is exactly what you are advocating and I am not falling for it. Your just a member of an over-educated idiocracy which thinks is is smarter than every one else but only smart in that you have learned to take advantage of the system.

By the way, I will compare brain pans with you anytime.

I'll just bet that Dunning and Kruger were Ivy Leaguers.

August 12, 2011 at 11 a.m.
talkthetalk911 said...

Wow!!! For an uneducated person like myself i have certainly enjoyed the back and forth on this issue. My simple mind does not allow me to process high pay grade economics..hence the reason im a poor person i guess. What do try to do is try to approach issues with simplicity. I was hoping someone could educate me though. Wasnt the Constitution written to not only establish laws of the land but to set guidlines of what the gorvernment can and cannot do? Wasnt it at the time written to limit the "mighty" power of the governemt and leave the powers to the states and the people? The only real decisions that i see that the "people" get to make is how they can cut an expense to pay bills (at least at my home). I am tired of government "leaders" thinkning they know whats best for me and my family but here again my simple mind, the more people that have to rely on the government to help them the more power they have.Yes i do lean toward the right but i also know that it has been both democrats and republicans that have been making the decisions for what they think is best for America. There is an entire website devoted to oddities of people visiting(shopping) at Walmart i look at some of these people and think my gosh..are these people registered voters? No wonder. Thats my two cents..hope im not taxed on it.

August 13, 2011 at 10:29 a.m.
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