Tell me again why I’m working

A couple of readers sent this along: Obama to order lenders to suspend mortgage payments for a year for the unemployed. When Obama was elected Rush Limbaugh caught flack for saying that he hoped his policies would fail. I said essentially the same thing but you’ll have noticed I’m not Rush. Point was, give the Democrats everything they want, let them impose every crazy environmental regulation they ever wanted, push the NLRB to crush corporations, and in short, bring on the people’s paradise. Those of my persuasion were convinced that these policies would destroy the economy, not rebuild it, and it was our hope that maybe then people would see the bankruptcy of the liberals’ ideas.

No such luck. They’re still blaming Bush and taking no responsibility for what they’ve done. I despair – I think Americans may just be dumb enough to believe it.


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39 responses to “Tell me again why I’m working

  1. Cos Cobber

    Where can we go to form our capitalist utopia? Shall we overrun New Zealand? They have less than 5 million people, so it could be ours rather quickly.

    You should start building our boat now in your front yard.

  2. So well said, Chris.

    Obama spoke this morning (right before the final shuttle launch that he opted to shutdown yet made no mention of) talking about the economy. Chapter and verse, same old same old……tax the rich. Ugh.

    Get the bum out.

  3. Walt

    Dude –
    When did you start working? What kind of job did you get? Do you have a secretary, you dog? Is she a hottie?
    Fill me in on the details and send me your new contact data.
    Your Pal,

  4. Al Dente

    You have yet to say a single word about Emma Watson’s dress at the Harry Potter premiere! What kind of blog is this?

    And you call us dumb?

  5. You need to get out more. Seriously.

  6. Cos Cobber

    CF, you really need to built a boat in the front yard and tell the world that you are preparing a ship to sail the world as a refugee looking for economic opportunities. You could be the first American to seen washed ashore in a distant land. Oh what good tv news it could make.

  7. And have you seen this news? Right up your alley. And I mean, the message from your Dem legislature IS “up yours.”

    This’ll be real good for Connecticut. Even the dead may rise to leave the state.

  8. JRH

    EOS is upset that Obama shut down an expensive government program, then rails at him for his excessive spending. (And EOS, check out yesterday’s interview with two NASA astronauts, where they acknowledge that the shuttle program has become more expensive than the benefits it provides:

    Chris is upset about help for unemployed homeowners. Someone who only got their news from this blog would think that government employment has shot up under Obama, when precisely the opposite is true.

    I’m just curious, and I mean that sincerely — what is your folks’ preferred solution? Is it really the case that you think more tax cuts at a time when Americans’ tax burden is at an historical low is the key to job creation? Is it cutting corporate taxes, at a time when firms have record amounts of cash on hand?

    Count me as honestly perplexed.

  9. Cos Cobber

    JRH, Your a smart cookie, you have seen the statistics. You could raise the top rate to 100% and we’d still have an enormous deficit. Obama is simply resorting to class warefare to distact the nation and apease the masses. Isnt that obvious to you? Obama doenst have a clue as to how to fix the economy and the republicans have only slighty better ideas. Only time and a few long term fixes to the federal budget will our debt laden economic ills (ie fix entitlements).

    Otherwise, broadly speaking its difficult to stoke an economic, but its easy to smother it.

  10. Monsieur JRH: On est dans un beau pétrin.

    Yes, more tax cuts to corporations and “the wealthiest one percent”. The liberals have had their chance to prove us conservatives dead wrong. And you failed, miserably. Shovel ready jobs were a crock, union members need only apply. Obama’s stimulus program found that for each job created, taxpayers coughed up a stunning $278,000. Employment at 9.2%. Thanks stimulus, another great job.

    And if you see going to space as nothing more than “an expensive government program”, then heaven help our future scientists and aviators.

    Keep Obama president and this is what currency you will be trading. Good luck.

  11. JRH

    As an addendum, EOS: here are the president’s remarks you referenced above. You claimed he focused on taxing the rich. I don’t know where you’re getting that from — but it’s clearly just not what he said. Obama Derangement Syndrome is proving to be a disease far more resistant to factual remedies than Bush Derangement Syndrome ever was.

    What did this Guevara-like Marxist radical prescribe for our ailing economy? A five-year industrial plan? Moving the peasants into collectivist farms on the outskirts of our major cities? Hmm, actually, 1) infrastructure investments along the lines of noted Communist Dwight Eisenhower, 2) patent reform (not exactly ‘workers of the world unite’); 3) free trade agreements — I put that one in italics because he’s taking on opponents in his own party and pushing something favored by the business lobby and Republicans (as well as more trade-friendly Democrats).

    As for taxes, the president talked about extending the payroll tax cut. This is the same president who extended the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy last December. The idea that his speech today amounted to “Chapter and verse, same old same old……tax the rich” is just nonsense.

    I’ll paste the link here again. I challenge you to find the “chapter and verse…tax the rich” stuff in there. Ain’t gonna find it:

  12. Inagua

    Greg – Many thanks for the link. Liberalism has rarely been so amusing.

  13. Anonymous

    This program bothers me a little less since the borrower is required to make up the deferred payments (or I suppose they could walk after the year is up).

    This program would have outraged me if I wasn’t so damn tired of all the BS of the last 3+ years.
    Principle reductions on loans where the borrowers are neither in default nor have they asked for assistance.

    Boy, I am just loving that 0.00000000000125% interest on my savings though. 😦

  14. Swanton

    Funny business, economics. We ordinary folks don’t have the answers but the run it up the flag pole approach to solving the financial mess doesn’t instill a heck of a lot of confidence in us.
    Every month job figures come out. Every month they miss analysts’ expectations. Every month the previous month’s figure are revised.

  15. Anonymous

    JRH – check your facts….just a few nuggets to chew on. During the Obama administration, the following has happened:
    Federal workforce has grown by more than 274,000 — or 15%
    Deficit up from $400B to $1.4T
    Debt up from $900B to $1.9T
    Revenues about equal
    Unemployment still at 9% or 16% if you count those who have quit looking

    SOOOOOO… MUST cut spending! The revenue has been about the same for the last few decades. It’s the runaway spending that is the root cause of the problem. The rest is noise.

  16. anonymous

    @JRH: You know Obama is doing a bad job when the NYT proclaims: Job Growth Falters Badly, Clouding Hope for Recovery.

    In the article, the author says “Economists were stunned” and “there is little expectation of anything other than a prolonged slog for the United States economy.”

    Still perplexed?

  17. Anonymous

    Inagua, ACE links to another not-so-funny story of libs.

    Democrats attempted to pass HR 495 which didn’t make it out of committee but they did get the funding added to the 2009 stimulus bill.

    $10M for project gunrunner/fast and furious/gunwalker. 😦

  18. Retired IB'er

    Obama is an idiot when it comes to anything to do with numbers (except political donations it would seem).

    This moron thinks he could’ve/should’ve done “more” intervention on the housing front. What makes him truly dangerous is the lesson he SHOULD’VE LEARNED is that intervention was the WRONG policy. Instead, he concludes he should’ve DONE MORE.


    From his Twitter town hall:

    In his Twitter town hall yesterday, Barack Obama made a couple of surprising responses to questions about his regrets over the last couple of years. First, Obama said the extent of the housing-market slide surprised him, and then said that his administration hadn’t done enough to stop it:

    President Obama made a rare admission of a policy misstep Wednesday, acknowledging that his administration failed to provide enough support to struggling homeowners and recognize the scope of the nation’s housing crisis.

    Despite predictions by Obama’s advisers that the housing market would rebound by now,real estate prices are falling once again. And the administration’s efforts to push banks to modify the mortgages of families who missed their monthly payments have been widely criticized as lacking. …

    “The continuing decline in the housing market is something that hasn’t bottomed out as quickly as we expected,” Obama responded.

  19. Peg

    Literally all of the programs that our government has dreamed up to “help real estate” has done nothing of the sort. At best, it has stayed where it might have been otherwise, and there are good arguments that these actions actually have made it worse – all the while piling up more and more debt for us.

    No argument from me that it is chock full of flaws, but let the market do its work. There is no other easy solution – and allowing this to happen will at least get us on course to have a recovery when the market judges it is ready to do so.

    The government cannot mandate away gravity nor can it legislate that 2+2=17. Let buyers and sellers find an equalibrium on their own – and eventually, the recovery will happen.

  20. HG

    JRH, it is really the case that I think more tax cuts at a time when Americans’ tax burden is at an historical low is the key to job creation. It is cutting corporate taxes, at a time when firms have record amounts of cash on hand that will have the largest multiplier to economic activity. Let’s leave aside whether “tax burden is (really) at an historical low” since I think it is not the key question. I do not have my college Economics 101 book in front of me but I am confident if I open it up, somewhere in the first few chapters it will introduce the concept of the supply curve, where S (supply) can be illustrated as a curve where quantity (Q) is a function of price (P). Specifically in that case, we could elaborate and say that supply is a function of the net price to the supplier, or price minus cost (P – C). I think we would be remiss not to include taxes in our cost calculation. A reduction in taxes results in an increase of (P – C) and a greater willingness of producers to supply the market with goods and services at a given (pre-tax) price. As a practical matter, the tax reduction will be shared among producers, consumers and the new labor hired for both the direct increase in production and the secondary effects of the greater disposable among laborers and consumers. If you can provide a logical explanation why increasing taxes will increase GDP, I would be interested. Alternatively, if you can offer an example where higher taxes resulted in a robust economy, I would be interested to learn about that example.

  21. fred 3

    I hope our icbm missle defense systems our up to date.

  22. JRH

    Again, you guys are talking about class warfare and claiming the president is trying to push some kind of massive tax increase — there’s just simply no truth to this assertion.

    EOS, you said the president’s speech this morning was about taxing the rich. Presented with clear evidence that he said no such thing, you’re left without much of an argument. You really think lowering the already-low marginal income tax rate on wealthy taxpayers, and slashing business taxes at a time when firms are sitting on massive cash reserves is the thing to do to create jobs? Find me the economic consensus that says that will work. It’s just insane.

    Anon @ 1:51 throws out some numbers while being pretty clearly ignorant of their context. The president was handed massive deficits on the day he stepped into office — there was a bit of a financial crisis preceding his inauguration, if you don’t recall. Before he was even sworn in, the nonpartisan CBO was forecasting deficits of more than $1 trillion — tax revenues evaporated in the wake of the crisis, and TARP funds went out before Obama was sworn in. The recession caused the deficit, not the other way around: tax receipts vanished, automatic stabilizers went up (unemployment insurance payouts, increased use of public services like Medicaid triggered by more and more middle-class people becoming eligible for the program with evaporating incomes caused by job losses).

    Anyone who is complaining about our deficits while celebrating the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts is a massive hypocrite. These combined to be the number one policy contributor to our current deficits. EOS’s mockery of the stimulus (unemployment is still bad, so the stimulus must not have created jobs) just flies in the face of independent economic analysis. Here are three names: IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisors and Moody’s. Their view? The stimulus was responsible for roughly 2.5 million jobs.

    “All they’ll do is blame Bush.” I can already hear CF’s refrain. Chris, if the deficit and debt really bothers you, you have to apportion a good amount of the blame to the president who cut more than a trillion dollars worth of taxes without any accompanying spending cuts; who signed a multihundred billion dollar Medicare expansion that was entirely deficit-funded and contained absolutely zero cuts of any kind; and who insisted on paying for both wars as supplementals to a Pentagon budget that is now more than double what it was at the end of the Cold War at a time when our country does not face an existential threat.

    All this ranting is more about a visceral hatred for the president than it is about any kind of sober economic reasoning. Seriously, EOS? More upper-bracket and corporate tax cuts is your answer to the deficit and jobs crisis? The old Republican Party of fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets would groan to hear those words.

  23. JRH

    And to lowercase anonymous @ 1:51, who cites the NY Times story — buddy, did you read it?

    First sentence of second paragraph: “With all levels of government laying off workers…” This is sending the jobs number downward, but isn’t public sector layoffs exactly what conservatives want?

    Nice job cutting that second quote out of context, too. The “prolonged slog” you mentioned? Here’s the whole sentence: “Most analysts are not yet forecasting an outright slide back into recession, but at a time when President Obama and Congress are focusing on spending cuts, Europe is in financial crisis and even China’s growth is slowing, there is little expectation of anything other than a prolonged slog for the United States economy.” See? The austerity measures you and your friends are urging us to embrace even more extremely are what economics are saying will cause the unemployment crisis to be prolonged. You guys are pretty unbelievable at citing speeches or articles and then deliberately misconstruing their entire point.

    From the same cited article: ““Stimulus is fading, and we still have plenty of problems left over from the popping of the bubble,” said Mr. Shapiro. “So it’s going to be a touch-and-go, or a very sub-par, situation for a very long time.” By the way, Mr. Shapiro isn’t a liberal congressman from Vermont, he’s Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc., an economic research firm.

    Obama called for a payroll tax cut and more free trade, and you guys are saying he called for taxes on the rich. This is a bizarre, upside-down world interpretation of spoken English.

    Wonder what the chief economist of the Manufacturers Alliance, an industry-funded trade group, fingers as the culprit?:

    Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist of the Manufacturers Alliance, a trade group, said that consumers who had been delaying purchases of cars, washing machines, refrigerators and other big equipment that breaks down over time would eventually start buying again as they paid down debts accumulated before the recession.

    “Spending was severely cut during the recession,” Mr. Meckstroth said. “Now, the longer you wait, the more pressure there is to make purchases. You can’t postpone some things indefinitely.” Hmm…sounds like a crisis caused by insufficient demand.

    I’d be pleasantly surprised by any kind of response that didn’t resort to ad hominem, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  24. Anonymous

    Obama’s media always says they are surprised by the jobless numbers. You can go back to each month and check. It is a simple media sleight of hand in how they report the news to favor Obama’s policies. It’s done in many other subtle ways.

  25. JRH

    Yeah, Anon @ 4:52, really good for Obama to have the media say they’re surprisingly bad numbers…if they were really in his pocket, wouldn’t they say, “These are surprisingly good?”

    Even your five-cent conspiracy theories don’t make sense!

  26. Anonymous

    Obama and the media talk about shared sacrifice – all Americans must share the burden of our debt. OK – then raise taxes on all Americans. Raise the tax from 0% to 2% on the 47% of Americans who pay no federal taxes. Raise the tax 2% on the rest.

    Still won’t fix the problem. Best way to fix….get more Americans working so they can pay taxes and reduce spending. Reduce the unemployment by 5% and you’ll have more revenue than at any time in history. Problem is Obama has increased spending more than any time in history.

  27. Anonymous

    Where is the retort to JRH?

  28. Let’s take a trip down memory lane..since 2001, massive tax cuts, two unfunded wars, an unfunded prescription drug benefit, no regulation, a near depression, and yes, Obama walked into this. And yes, he inherited it. All these people who are screaming about the deficit, consider this: If you voted for Bush twice and remember these facts, you can criticize Obama if you admit your shame for voting for Bush in 2000 and 2004. I will leave the economic wizard McCain out. Considering all the facts JRH has presented, I now want to see these right wingers admit their shame in front of all of us.
    What is killing this country now is the housing mess…it is what lead us out, and for all the reasons we know about, it is not happening. Quite frankly, we are in a fix. Solutions, anyone?

  29. Inagua

    Anonymous – Thanks for the link. I did not know that Gunrunner was part of the Obama Stimulus. I am amazed that the mainstream media basically ignores this story. Can you imagine the coverage if Edwin Meese or John Ashcroft had ever done anything this stupid?

  30. Yes, Bob, we can thank the Democrat slush fund/wealth redistribution/retirement scheme of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in league with Acorn and over-zealous bank regulation for the run-up in the now exploded housing bubble. All of these are Democrat-fed and feeding beasts of the highest corruption.

    And Wall Street? Yes, they made out pretty damn well in the mess, and paid the Democrat politico friends off with 75-80% (vs. Republicans) campaign contributions over the last several campaign cycles.

  31. JRH, I for one appreciate your opposite (to this blog, anyway) views. I really have no clue how to get out of the mess we’re in. I only know this:

    I am anxious for Congress and Wall Street/bank CEOs to live as my husband and I do — WITHOUT A JOB, though we are college graduates with many years of business experience; WITHOUT HEALTH BENEFITS because premiums are too costly; WITHOUT SAVINGS because since 2008 we have been paying the mortgage with it to keep a roof over our family’s head.

    I am anxious to figure out how to pay for my daughter’s college — a mere $9,000 at a local state university — a fortune for us.

    I am anxious to figure out how to get her there and back when I can’t afford the gas or boarding.

    I am anxious to figure out how to put food on the table.

    I am anxious for the crooks who put people like me in this position to go to jail and have all their money taken away.

    Mostly, I am anxious for the empty suit that is Obama (whom I supported) to disappear. At this point, I’d like to see a benevolent dictator run this country, someone who isn’t beholden to anybody but his own desire to make things right.

    I fear I am anxious for too much.

  32. Daniel

    The administration always says the stimulus created or saved 2.5 million jobs. Most of those were government jobs that were saved by the transfer of federal money to the states to pay existing employees. It didn’t work to actually create private jobs that would grow the economy. Just kept the great sucking sound of government alive. But guess what? QE has stopped and the government will be forced to cut. Buckle up and pop some corn. This is going to be interesting.

  33. Anonymous

    Solutions (a menu): exit Afghanistan and selected other imperial commitments; lower the corporate tax rate to 12%; leave personal tax rates unchanged; raise the S.S. and medicare age immediately by a year, going to 5 years; radically expand immigration, especially from the civilized cultures (e.g., Mexico, East Asia, India) not heavily infected by the terrorist worldview; enact a 10% across the board cut / layoff of the federal budget & workforce with one year’s severance pay to give them time to get their footing. (Make that 100% for selected departments.) Repeal the goddam health care bill which even the communists on the left of the Democratic Party must admit is a mess. Arrange for re-education for the benighted souls who believe in a centrally planned market.

  34. fred 3

    Will you Idiots please stop asking the federal govt to create jobs!

    “”In 1965, LBJ announced a “War on Poverty” and in the 46 years since then we have spent literally trillions of dollars on trying to improve the plight of the poor. The result? An 80% illegitimacy rate, a 60% abortion rate (which I suppose might eventually accomplish LBJ’s goals) and, last I noted, the poor are still with us. JRH’s answer? Pour in more money!

    We’ve spent trillions to improve public education, courtesy of the NEA. The result? 2% of hispanic high school graduates in Buffalo are deemed ready to perform at a college level (NYC’s poor are at 12%. Studies of Head Start have shown that after two year’s enrollment, graduates know exactly one more letter of the alphabet than their peers. JRH’s response: Pour in more money!

    Job training programs have consumed millions, if not billions of dollars in the past 50 years and are universally acknowledged to be failures. JRH’s response? More! More!

    Obama just spent, by his own administration’s calculations, $287,000 on each job they claim to have created. I want one of those jobs!”-CF

    The only jobs govt could and should create are those that compliment the private sector like Eisenhower push on infastructure in the 50’s-fred3

  35. fred 3

    Delving Eye: Maybe you’d want to reconsider Ron Paul.

  36. Walt

    Dude –
    I really tried to stay out of this discussion. Because I really find it boring. The good news is, you picked up two new real readers!! JRH, dollarbill, HG – ALL THE DREADED HIRAM!! That drivel writing moron. But you have two new ones, so you are up to six!! Congrats my friend.
    Anyhows, I am bored, so here are the answers.
    The Federal Government is here to protect our borders, and our National interests. That means go to war when we have to, and if we have to, make sure we kick ass. That is it. Don’t tell us what to eat, what light bulbs to use, and what we can and can’t do. That is none of your business. So Department of Ed? BYE BYE!! Education is local and community based. EPA? SO LONG!! Up to the States. Department of the Interior? I don’t even know what the frig they do. Let the states manage the interior. WE MUST have a massive downsizing in Federal spending, and they have to stay focused on one thing. Protecting the citizens. All the rest can go. It really can. Don’t even get me started on the Post Office, Fannie and Freddie, and all the other hundreds of billions of dollars.
    Then, we get rid of cash. I told you this before. On welfare? You get a debit card. It pays the rent, utilities, and food. Not lottery tickets and booze. Plus with no cash, you eliminate the mafia, drug trafficking, bank robberies, and political bribery, which is why it will never happen. Crime goes down, waste goes down, and honest taxpayers pay less, because the cash economy is gone. A win win. And the able on unemployment do some sort of community service. A day a week as a hospital volunteer, or work at a school. Have them do SOMETHING to contribute to society. Because we all should, anyway. Especially if you are on the dole.
    We need term limits. For sure. And real ethics rules. They are held to a lower standard of ethics than those they govern? HOW ASS BACKWARDS IS THAT!! AND WE ALLOW IT!!
    And if you don’t pay taxes, you don’t vote.
    This is all common sense stuff, and I have a lot more. I could solve all the state issues as well if you want. Just let me know.
    Your Pal,

  37. @fred 3, I wouldn’t mind Ron Paul, but unless he can outwit the draconian election process, he — and any other honest candidate — doesn’t stand a chance. That’s why I’m looking for a benevolent dictator.

  38. Second-to-last liberal standing

    ” Obama Derangement Syndrome is proving to be a disease far more resistant to factual remedies than Bush Derangement Syndrome ever was.”

    Ha ha ha ha. Very well-put, JRH.