I did get the chart to come up, finally. I saw that you faulted the Congressional Budget Office for the interpretation of the data (by close to 20%) after quoting them as the non-partisan source. I suspect That their figures were in fact accurate but the Washington Times may have had something to do with the interpretation. If I am wrong, I am sorry.
If you are the messenger, you should rest assured; I would never shoot you, though if there are any coconut cream pies about during your more fanciful sallies, you might think to stay out of pie range.
And what is that, you ask?
Pie are squared, of course. The corners are sharper that way.
Facts are things one must adapt to after appropriate evaluation. Weapons of Mass Destruction; Yellow Cake Uranium; Saddam and Osama, terrorist allies forever; the atom bomb from Bagdad. Some truths are a little less robust than others and perhaps questions need to be asked, don't you think?
When the democrats were saying that this was coming and things needed to be done well in advance of this contretemps on the hill, Republicans were whistling or humming loudly with their fingers jammed in their ears up to their elbows. They were in major denial that there was any problem with the economy, even though it was clear enough for an economic idiot like me to see several years back, and to be writing about as long as I've been contributing to these pages. Had some attempt been made to address the structural problems at that time, this sort of thing wouldn't — or let's say "might not" — have been necessary. The problem was not unpredictable, and in fact was predicted. One thing it was not was sudden.
There is something I find ironic about all of this. In other situations, such as the battle against global warming, when told there may be price tags involved or even certain hardships endured in the name of this endeavor, the battle cry was "We're doing it for the children! We need to do it for future generations." However, here we have this stimulus package which everyone with more than one gray cell knows may be an immediate band-aid but will lead to something very detrimental in the future and I must suppose that the battle cry has changed to "to hell with the children. We need this now and they will have to shoulder the burden themselves."
When was it that I first suggested that somebody had to pay the Mastercard bill, Mike?
I said that eventually somebody would have to, and that our kids were already going to be footing the bill. It was only going to be growing larger. If I remember correctly, you challenged me; you thought the economy was fine, and the outlook was great, and that I was simply trying to spread doom and gloom to win an election.
I'm open to being corrected on details, if I don't have things exactly right here. I believe the gist is accurate.
The Mastercard bill hasn't gone down since, only up. It turns out that the management of the economy has been something of a problem for much of the last 25-30 years —including, if it makes you feel better, much of the Clinton era, when the economy was run in too conservative a fashion—and we've got to dig our way out now, or dig our way out of a deeper hole later on.
The choice made consistently over the past several administrations has been to wait until later. Thus, here we are.
I don't know why you tossed in the remarks about Jimmy Carter. I disagree, but have no wish to fight.
Personally, I believe Obama is misrepresenting claims to the American people, and doing it on purpose. Aside from the destruction of the country, he has also made claims in every speech he has given lately about the situation he has created which was cause by eight years of failed policies. Even you Democrats out there have to recognize that as completely inaccurate. The housing crisis, the loan crisis, the fall of Fannie and Freddie have roots that occurred well before the past eight years and you all know it. He is doing his best to mislead the public and shift as much blame as he can to the right, which means he is doing little more than just playing politics with the situation. I had hoped for more from him.
While you can see that I believe that the current crisis had it's roots well before the previous administration, and you can see that I even went so far as to lay some of the blame at Clinton's feet, you should also note that I believe it went back further than that. While Clinton did some things I don't like economically — NAFTA, the way it's being run currently being at the top of the list — you should note that Free Trade has been one of the Republican dreams for years, and that the Republican congress was solidly behind it, while the Democrats gave Clinton at least something of a difficult time because the unions were giving them a tough time. The blame still rests in large with Clinton.
I will not go into the various antics of prior Republican administrations at this point. I leave for the airport soon for another trip east.
I will say that when Clinton left office, he left us with a fairly stable economy and with a projected surplus. Pretty solid.
In eight years, the last administration seems to have worked hard to dismantle as many public sector activities as they could and to turn the various watchdog responsibilities of the government over to the industries which were supposed to be watchguarded. Logging, environment regulation and quality, military procurement and support, health procurement turned over to the drug companies. And so on. This is part of the Republican anti-government agenda.
Allowing people with an anti-government agenda to govern has never made a lot of sense to me, by the way. It's like putting the folks at the Hemlock Society in Charge of the psychiatric Hospitals. But then I only have one vote.
Oddly enough, after eight years of being run by the anti-government party, the government looks like it's been in the hands of suicidal maniacs bent on showing the country that government doesn't work. To my mind what this shows is that putting people who want things to fail in charge of an important enterprise is a recipe for disaster.
So you see, you can't really blame the Republicans for doing what they promised when they were elected in 2000, to bring private enterprise into government. We should blame ourselves for not understanding that once we brought private enterprise into government, that they would be in business for themselves and not for us, and they wouldn't care how large a debt the country would run up, so long as they made an obscene profit without necessarily delivering the proper goods. After all, we sold them the right to regulate themselves too, and they seem to have found a way to profit from that as well.
Sincerely yours, Bob Kaven