Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 13, 2011
POLITICS: The Last To Know

The president jokes - and not for the first time - about "shovel-ready" projects in the stimulus not being actually shovel-ready. It's staggering how little attention you have to have paid to American government before 2009 to be surprised by this.

Obama's inexperience has proven to be awfully expensive. Next time, let's not elect a guy whose first order of business is to spend nearly a trillion dollars on something with no idea how it works. That would be a good start.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:01 PM | Politics 2011 | Comments (29) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I agree Crank. Unfortunately you did work to elect and then reelect Dubya, who spent way more than that. Two wars and a $700 billion dollar bank giveaway. Hmmm, with the new medical coverage laws, you can get help with your amnesia and not worry about a lifetime cap. No worries.

Posted by: Daryl at June 13, 2011 5:33 PM

I'm hoping for change!

Posted by: Lee at June 13, 2011 5:57 PM

Lee, I too am hoping for change. Right now I have about 2 quarters and a nickel.

Posted by: maddirishman at June 13, 2011 9:21 PM

The Stimulus was laden with tax breaks. i.e. it was doomed for failure.
Block your ears if they're sensitive:
TAX BREAKS DON'T CREATE JOBS!!!!

BTW, you should have blocked your ears when the liars and morons told you money moves down in a capitalist society. Other than having it 100% backwards, those morons and liars nailed it.

Posted by: Berto at June 13, 2011 9:53 PM

The stimulus contained none of the kinds of tax breaks that encourage long-term economic activity. Tax breaks to people who pay no taxes, temporary tax refunds...these are just spending programs by another name. You want bang for the buck, you cut taxes on business and investment.

Posted by: Crank at June 13, 2011 10:01 PM

A good start would be not to elect anyone from either of the 2 parties that believe such idiocy.

Posted by: Berto at June 13, 2011 10:03 PM

Crank, the stimulus wasn't a stimulus, it wasn't tax breaks, it wasn't investment. It was shovelling $700 billion the way of a few bankers, most of whom didn't need it, and then kept it, and didn't spend it the way it was wanted to.

FACT: We were attacked by Al Qaeda, and in the heat of the moment, they were demonized and we invaded Afghanistan. Which I agreed with. No question. Except we are still there, when the real job was to attack AQ and the Taliban, drive them out, kill them in when they left (which is where it went south). So we went in great, and didn't leave. And, oops, didn't figure out how to pay for it.

FACT: For whatever reason, Bush's balls, or Cheney's bottom line, or oil (hmmm), we invaded Iraq. We are still there. And also, oops, didn't figure out how to pay for it. Except to cut some taxes, adding two wars and a tax cut to the deficit (which we didn't have until Dubya came along anyway).

FACT: The Great Recession hits. Dubya is on the wave. He might have helped it along, probably sped it up a lot, but it did start with Reagan, then HW and Clinton. And now, with two wars and a tax cut to some to pay for, they hand off $700 billion to the cadre of folks who already helped themselves to maybe a trillion or so already. Picked the bones of the dumbasses like Lehman clean, and went their merry way

So somehow this is Obama's fault. You should love him. He has, after all, made that industry you love so much, the medical insurance industry, so much stronger. Mainly because they are no insuring so much for the 21-26 crowd, who, let's face it, mostly don't need the coverage, but who wouldn't love the premiums?

Feel free to blame Obama for the Stimulus if you at least blame Bush for two wars, a massive money printing scheme, a tax cut, and a mother of a deficit. You guys still need the amnesia coverage.

Posted by: Daryl at June 13, 2011 10:49 PM

Those "spending programs by another name" weren't spending at all. They were another massive giveaway to businesses which have zero incentive to create jobs.
Stop treating business like it's some great altruistic benefactor to the citizenry. It isn't. They answer to their board of directors, not the citizens.
If your business can't afford to pay reasonable tax rates (historically or in comparison to other industrialized nations) while paying workers a fair wage, tough shit. Close shop. If the product(s) and or service(s) are in demand, someone else will swoop in and provide them.

Posted by: Berto at June 14, 2011 1:39 AM

"The stimulus contained none of the kinds of tax breaks that encourage long-term economic activity. Tax breaks to people who pay no taxes, temporary tax refunds...these are just spending programs by another name."

I don't criticize the stimulus on this grounds. Of course they were spending programs, and the infrastructure parts were actually a good idea, even if they weren't ready within 6 months - a year or two was fine given the magnitude of the crisis.

Long-term tax cuts are fine, but the goal of the stimulus was not long term. The fact of the matter is that businesses have not been and are still not hiring, for structural reasons and for low demand. Giving them tax breaks during this crisis would have done little because businesses would not have spend it. This is the classic case were Keynesianism is appropriate: during a severe crisis were no one else is spending.

I don't have a problem with cutting businesses taxes, but the effective rate of business taxes is much lower than the actual rate. You could give businesses a real boost by eliminating the complicated deductions and just lower the rate to the current effective rate. It will help businesses but not kill revenues. This is where I blame democrats for not doing anything - put together and pass a serious bill instead of just talking about it. That and long-term entitlement reform.

Posted by: MVH at June 14, 2011 6:53 AM

My only point about the tax cuts in the bill is to point out that the failure of the stimulus doesn't say anything about the effectiveness of supply-side tax cuts, because the stimulus didn't include such tax cuts.

Posted by: Crank at June 14, 2011 10:40 AM

If we had a Republican president instead of Obama, we'd be in the same boat we are now. There is nothing the government could have done to make this much better. How can we even approach prior growth levels when so much of it was financed by unsustainable levels of consumer debt, some of which was enabled by overinflated property values, which have now collapsed? It defies common sense. Consumers are still paying down that debt, and the foreclosure process has not even run its course, so more pain is coming.

In the face of all this headwind to demand, it's unlikely that tax cuts to businesses would generate significantly more hiring in any kind of short-term, and the tax cuts would not have helped our national debt either. The kind of revenue-neutral business tax reforms as I mentioned earlier would be the best way to help businesses without putting us further in debt, but let's not kid ourselves that this is anything more than long-term reform.

In light of all this, the government's basic role in the past few years was to avoid a second depression, and it at least has done that. Anything else is too much to expect given the circumstances.

Posted by: MVH at June 14, 2011 12:13 PM

Berto and Darryl, sad that you guys are as ignorant as Obama is about the economy. Unemployment when W was POTUS averaged 4.7%. Uncertainty, rising federal debt, fear of higher taxes and regulations are reasons why there is no recovery. Obama and his supporters are in denial and refuse to admit mistakes and take needed actions to help recovery. Payoffs to his political cronies did not help. Crony capitalism is stupid beyond belief. Why do berto & darryl defend Obama's stupidity and try to blame Bush for Obama's failings?

Posted by: PaulV at June 14, 2011 12:16 PM

PaulV,
Too bad you weren't born before January 20, 2009. If you were, you might remember "loony lefty's" like me saying it will take decades to get out of the mess this nation was put in for buying into modern conservative ideology.

Re: crony capitalism. Stay away from Google, you might accidentally search The Carlyle Group/ Iraq or Halliburton/ Iraq.

Posted by: Berto at June 14, 2011 12:33 PM

PaulV,
No blame for Obama sending $9 billion in cash to Iraq which can't be accounted for? You're slipping.

Posted by: Berto at June 14, 2011 12:35 PM

Crank, let's be real. It was not your only point, but to bash the president, while ignoring that this Great Recession was caused, more than by anything, than Republican Ideals. And no, I won't bash Bush for that, even if I should, because:

1. Reagan started the ball rolling with deregulation. And in true Republican fashion, it's all for short term planning, not long. As in business, which looks at the next quarter as long term. As a self employed business person (and it's sobering to have 14 families depend on me, let me tell you), I can't afford to do that. I have to look 3 and 5 years down to survive.

2. GHWB got lambasted for raising taxes. As an adult he knew he had to. And in the short term it did hurt him, which gave us Clinton. Which was fine by me mostly.

2. Clinton did indeed sign away Glass/Steagel. Shame on him. And let's face it, OPEC manipulated us since Reagan, and Clinton did benefit from insanely low oil prices. You see OPEC knows we need to keep our fossil fuel addiction.

3. Dubya. Ah Dubya. The roof caved in on him for sure. Was all of it his doing? Of course not. All the short term Good Time Charlies loved it. And Wall Street and the Banks, all of whom hate any regulation, and the GOP pushes for that, stole over a TRILLION AND A HALF DOLLARS. They made Madoff an amateur. In his panic, Bush gave them another $700 billion. And still never figured out how to pay for two wars, so his solution: Don't count it on the national debt, was brilliant. Stupid, insipid, but made him look only awful instead of a worm.

How do you like fewer regulations now? Think cutting them and taxes will bring industry back? It might, if our workers will work for a dollar a day, and we go back to dirty water and air. Do you all like paying those billions in baggage fees for airlines who want no responsibility for delays, lost luggage, total screwups and all.

Do you like shilling for corporations over people? I don't. Because corporations (wait for it, because it's true) have absolutely no nationalism in them. They are for the company not the country. They will never bring the jobs back here until we are just another third world toilet for them to exploit. Because that is their job. Why are you so big on seeing that this country has no policy on education or energy, my Republican buddies? Think public spending on education doesn't work? City College probably leads the universe in Nobel Prizes (over the Ivies, over Oxford, over Cal Tech). It was free. Paid for by happy taxpayers, knowing how important this all was. What did we as a people do to the GOP that they hate us so?

Posted by: Daryl at June 14, 2011 1:58 PM

Paris Hilton and Anthony Weiner think you jumped the gun on posting that second paragraph without thinking about its actual content.

Posted by: jim at June 14, 2011 2:23 PM

If only we could have elected someone with "executive experience." You know, like Sarah "the British are coming" Palin.

Posted by: Magrooder at June 14, 2011 9:04 PM

Yeah, Palin has discovered the dangers of learning a little more than the conventional wisdom about historical events.

I have yet to see Obama do anything that would make me glad to have him over Palin. At least Palin isn't reduced to blaming ATM machines for unemployment.

Posted by: Crank at June 14, 2011 10:01 PM

"I have yet to see Obama do anything that would make me glad to have him over Palin."

And their you have it folks.
Crank in a nutshell (deservedly).

Posted by: Berto at June 15, 2011 12:42 PM

Does Sarah Palin realize you are expected to serve a full term as President unless you are forced to leave? Oh wait, she was expected to as Governor also. The deal is you serve unless you are elected to a higher office. If she left to be a senator or president or ambassador (Huntsman was right the first time. The President asks, you should say yes), that's part of the deal. She quit, plain and simple.

She got one almost right on Paul Revere. I highly recommend David Hackett Fisher's book Paul Revere's Ride....lots of information on someone we actually know little about. Which doesn't mean she is right on her knowledge of history. Like all TeaBaggers, she actually knows little, and seems sadly proud of it. Example: She kept touting the US being founded as a Christian nation, with religious founders. Which is bullshit, to anyone who knows real history. Is it important? Damn right it is, because when you start a foundation on a lie, you have nothing but quicksand. Or an agenda founded on falsehoods.

Posted by: Daryl at June 15, 2011 2:53 PM

The President's joke does nothing to support your assertion that he was, in fact, surprised. Anyone who really thoguth all the projects were, or for their prupose needed to be, shovel ready, probably thinks Sarah Palin is qualified to be Prseident. Wiat. Oh, nevermind.

As for your link to the Herald, first, it is the HERALD. Second, she had a few facts right, but the gist of her answer is, as usual, hogwash. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-center-for-public-integrity/palin-revere_b_872189.html

Posted by: Magrooder at June 15, 2011 3:22 PM

I was wondering when the defense of SP's deer-in-the-headlights moment in MA was going to arise here as it has in other circles that are furiously scrambling to defend the gist of what she said rather than what she actually said. And it is, as John Stewart noted, that is really the problem. Anyone can bumble stuff up especially in front of a camera but it is the adamant defense of the incorrect down the road and the subsequent blaming of the person asking the question that is so incredibly grating.

Posted by: jim at June 15, 2011 3:40 PM

Obama's been getting killed about his ATM comment, which while not the best example, isn't unique to the left, nor is it necessarily daft. Here is an excerpt from Cianfrocca, for example:

"And old-style free-market purists insist that small business people and innovators need a financial incentive to do what they do, which leads (not logically) to the idea that they should be free to get super-rich because (as a by-product) they create jobs and wealth for everyone else. This idea, which is behind current and prospective Republican policy, may not be 100% true either. A huge amount of current technical and process innovation is aimed at producing more output with less capital and labor input.

What concerns me is that we might be approaching a point where the production of fewer people can meet all of the available demand. . . ."

http://newledger.com/2010/09/is-income-inequality-structural/

Posted by: MVH at June 15, 2011 4:34 PM

Crank,
One more point about the "shovel-ready" projects. Obama could have made a lot more projects "shovel-ready" if they had included one phrase in the law, "notwithstanding any other law." If Obama had been serious about the stimulus, they should have preempted all the federal laws which slow down these projects. But they weren't serious about actually creating jobs.

Posted by: Daniel at June 15, 2011 4:45 PM

Daniel, as a non-regular contributor, you don't know that I never say anything anyone says is stupid. Until now. Because EVERY president is serious in wanting to create jobs. It's how they are re-elected. It's how they go about it that we all disagree.

Posted by: Daryl at June 15, 2011 6:20 PM

The Bamster was serious about creating jobs, just not in the private sector or non-union jobs. The Porkulus $s went to Democratic party contributors and to "buy" votes for future elections. It was just the biggest single pork bill ever passed by congress in a single bill. Now we are totally hosed.

Many thanks the Bamster, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi! Solid Americans all!

Posted by: Lee at June 15, 2011 8:26 PM

Lee, I'm curious. Why no comments about the $700 billion giveaway Bush spent so much effort on? You know, the almost trillion dollars given to the banks by the shovelful with no tracking, and really only a hope they would use it the right way (they didn't, doh). You go on a lot about various programs that were for the most part tracked, money was loaned and gotten back. You didn't like it fine. But what about Bush's giveaway?

Posted by: Daryl at June 15, 2011 9:38 PM

Daryl, probably the reason nobody is responding to this missing 700 billion thing is because you made it up. Or read it somewhere from somebody who made it up.

With the exception of the AIG backstop, all the money Bush authorized has either been repaid or is on schedule to be repaid. You don't know what you're talking about.

But berto, as usual, takes the cake for reviving Internet memes from past decades. Remember this gem?

Re: crony capitalism. Stay away from Google, you might accidentally search The Carlyle Group/ Iraq or Halliburton/ Iraq.

Wake up, sheeple!

*snicker*

Posted by: spongeworthy at June 16, 2011 12:59 PM

We needed to be shovel ready so that we don't get buried in Obama's BS.

Posted by: Lee at June 17, 2011 8:05 AM
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