Bill Clinton: Want a good economy? Gotta have good, working government


Talking Points Memo billed it as a dig at Rick Perry’s not-grounded campaign platform, but we’d all do well to listen to former President Bill Clinton’s larger point here:  A good economy for a great nation requires a good, working government, regulations and all.

The video came from Azi Paybarah, attending Monday’s breakfast of the International Association of Firefighters convention in New York City, via Politicker NY, from The Observer.

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39 Responses to Bill Clinton: Want a good economy? Gotta have good, working government

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    It’s pointless to argue about the economy with someone who thinks socialism exists in the U.S., too.

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  2. James Kessler says:

    Morgan writes:
    Need to hit the books, Ed. Read up on your Daniel Patrick Moynihan: You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

    You wouldn’t know a fact, Morgan, if it walked up to you and french kissed you. You have never said anything that approaches the level of “fact.”

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Yeah right, I just pulled that out of my butt, sure.

    Mostly, yeah. I confess I’d forgotten about the ill-conceived Federal Energy Administration (FEA)– but you’ve misrepresented how the energy controls came about, and why. Your timeline needs a little work, too.

    1. It was Richard Nixon, the darling of the conservatives, with his neoconservative Treasury Secretary John Connally who imposed wage and price controls — for six months, he said, starting in August 1971. The idea was to try to control inflation. Between mismanaging the war and mismanaging the economy, the conservatives had managed to created what would come to be called “stagflation,” high unemployment accompanied by high inflation, something the economic texts did not anticipate (no one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition Richard Nixon).

    2. The experiment was phased out by April 1974 (Ford became president about four months later). Didn’t do the job. It was Jimmy Carter — sacrificing his presidency — who appointed Paul Volcker to the Fed, and insisted Volcker keep the heat on inflation through the campaign of 1980, because the nation needed to beat inflation. That blew up on us, too — we ended up with Ronald Reagan in the White House. But, as Carter noted later, we got inflation under control, and that was important.

    3. Price controls on oil, coal and natural gas weren’t much under the wage and price controls. But in 1973, OPEC cut off oil exports, and we had the first major oil shock. FEA, which imposed the price controls you worry about, was created by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974. (Yergin is generally much more accurate than that; the PBS summary is misleading for our current conversation.)

    FEA’s chief duty was to collect information about energy production and use, to try to set up the knowledge base needed to figure out what to do to make the U.S. energy independent, or at least withstand the oil shock (one result of the OPEC oil embargo was to drive up oil prices quite dramatically; oil had been about $10 a barrel previously, but didn’t approach that price again for a long time, and then only briefly).

    U.S. energy markets were not roiled by price controls nearly to the extent they were completely upended by the OPEC embargo.

    Energy regulation was minimal, even under the FEA. The most serious controls were on interstate transportation, and that regulation was done by the ICC. Yergin’s book talks about 32 different prices for natural gas. Back in those days, before Kennedy and Carter scotched the ICC, states like Texas had gas pipeline systems that ran completely inside the state and did not touch any pipeline system that crossed any state border. Therefore, the gas in those pipes was unregulated by federal law designed to hold transportation costs and natural gas costs down — and it was sold in Texas at inflated prices. (My recollection is that similar systems existed in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and California). No interstate commerce clause jurisdiction for Congress.

    Need to hit the books, Ed. Read up on your Daniel Patrick Moynihan: You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

    Right. The facts are that Carter deregulated when you accused him of regulating. The facts are that Ford — a conservative Republican — inherited price controls and and the oil shock from conservative, anti-communist darling Richard Nixon (the guy who taught us the hard lesson that we shouldn’t listen to people who cry “wolf! socialist!” loudly and often.)

    I think a fair history of the time shows that the OPEC oil embargo played a much larger role in our energy cost woes than any regulatory missteps. Your claims that Ford and Carter regulated energy to the disadvantage of the U.S. ring pretty hollow when we remember the oil embargo and the rise of OPEC. You’re allowed to cite the creation of FEA and the Department of Energy, but you’re not allowed to forget completely about OPEC, the oil embargoes, and blame the effects of the embargoes on guys who don’t deserve the blame.

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  4. Yeah right, I just pulled that out of my butt, sure.

    Need to hit the books, Ed. Read up on your Daniel Patrick Moynihan: You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

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  5. Ed Darrell says:

    I said:

    Yes, the American economy, the most robust version of a free-market economy in the world, includes actions by the government.

    Morgan replied:

    Your answer as to whether government is part of “the economy” or not is a higglety-pigglety mess from which neither a definitive “yes” or “no” may be gleaned.

    What was it Paul Simon sang? ” . . . a man hears what he wants to hear // And disregards the rest.”

    For another example, Morgan said:

    Nixon, Ford and Carter seized control of the energy market through the government and we had an energy crisis.

    Complete fiction. No one seized control of the energy markets, except, possibly OPEC. When they closed off the oil spigots, there was indeed an energy crisis — but it had nothing to do with U.S. regulation. What Morgan ascribes to Nixon, Ford and Carter is complete fiction, complete fabrication, false 100%.

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  6. So to sum it up, you don’t see things that are there; you do see things, that aren’t there; ideas, in your world, become more credible when Bill Clinton endorses them.

    Your answer as to whether government is part of “the economy” or not is a higglety-pigglety mess from which neither a definitive “yes” or “no” may be gleaned.

    Hey, there’s nothing wrong with you that isn’t also wrong of today’s liberals. It seems this is the kind of stuff that needs to go on, in order to declare the Reinvestment Act worked and we need more of it.

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  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Is the woman a ward of the state? I missed that in the article, if it was there.

    But you did call for intervention. You called for a socialist solution to stop her from exercising her freedoms.

    I noted that.

    I agree that the community has a responsibility to get this woman back on a path of non-destructive behavior.

    I was just surprised to see you abandon your libertarian principles so blithely, and to confuse her libertarian exercises with “socialism”
    as you see it through whatever bizarre filter it is you use.

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  8. Morgan sounds the alarm, that our increased social spending is going toward pursuits not so noble, and not even so sane, in this case becoming the world’s heaviest human.

    Morgan “calls for social action to save this woman from her free-market rights to make herself fat.”

    My goodness Ed, you’re lacking in the discernment to see the important difference between those two scenarios? Really, you’re that blind? It’s like what Upton Sinclair said about the difficulty involved in getting a man to become aware of something when his livelihood depends on not being aware of it.

    You have no idea what a free market is, do you? This woman is not spending “free market” funds on her greases and starches. She’s spending money the taxpayers were forced to give her. Had anyone refused to do so on principle, he would have been subjected to all the penalties that apply to tax evasion, up to and including jail and forfeiture of assets.

    I’ll note that one for the file. When Ed Darrell uses the term “free market” it means nothing, it’s pretty much a throwaway term. Explains quite a lot, actually.

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  9. Ed Darrell says:

    If you were thinking our friend Morgan is a total automaton with regard to politics, you may want to click over to his post here where he calls for social action to save this woman from her free-market rights to make herself fat.

    http://www.peekinthewell.net/blog/the-true-face-of-stimulus-requires-a-wide-angle-lens/#comments

    He’s sorta right — the community really does have a duty to at least wake her up to her shirking her responsibilities to her children. This is much less a problem than the rich failing to bear their share of the revenue-raising burden, and especially the Republican Party’s blindness to the problem. But it’s also pretty clear that he’s misdiagnosing problems, or using the wrong analogies.

    “Wretched excess” is ugly in all its incarnations, from Fatty Arbuckle through Exxon-Mobil and the Tea Party.

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  10. Ed Darrell says:

    Not following, James. I’m really not. If someone has a lot more money than I do, I’m perfectly cool with it. How come the non-jealous guy has to move?

    I’m not cool with the teacher in Dallas paying a much higher percentage of taxes than Exxon-Mobil, and paying a greater total income tax bill than Exxon-Mobil. It’s not fair that the teacher should shoulder a greater tax burden than a company that is making more money than God, the Pope, Warren Buffet, or even Apple.

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  11. Not following, James. I’m really not. If someone has a lot more money than I do, I’m perfectly cool with it. How come the non-jealous guy has to move?

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  12. James Kessler says:

    Tell you what, Morgan, you and your fellow libertarians can all move to that micronation that the founder of Paypal wants to set up in international waters outside San Francisco. You can have your little governmentless/minimal goverment paradise and the rest of us who have managed to keep our sanity will still have the United States that we built without suffering any longer your side’s repeated attempts to destroy this country your side so hates.

    Though of course you’ll have to defend your new country on your own. Don’t worry, I’ll occasionally pray that your new country has a different result then the Ayn Rand/libertarian paradise of Rapture.

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  13. James Kessler says:

    To quote:
    good: Obama and His 21st century “brain trust” are architects of a 9.1% unemployment rate and flatlined economic growth, so let us take more money away from the small businesses and put it under their watchful eyes to see if they’ve learned any lessons from the dismal performance we’ve seen up until now.

    Funny…it was Bush that came up with a near 11% unemployment and they’re the ones that flatlined economic growth….

    Would you like to try again? Or are you going to continue to spout the same bullsh–?

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  14. Ed Darrell says:

    Yes, the American economy, the most robust version of a free-market economy in the world, includes actions by the government. The government has huge influence on markets. Technically, we have a “mixed” economy, which means the government regulates parts of it.

    But that’s the genius, the part that makes it work. Instead of setting wages, or prices, or rents, the government plays referee in the game to keep it competitive and fair. The government’s chief tool to make markets free: Antitrust enforcement.

    Government spending must be included as part of the “market” Morgan will have to agree — otherwise we can’t include crowding out as a government-caused problem when that occurs (if the government is not part of the free market, it can’t be crowding borrower out of the market it’s not a part of, right?). Morgan, I freely confess that I did not take any economics in college, except for a brilliant economic history course at Utah. I had to immerse in econ to teach it years ago, and I had the good fortune of hooking up with the Liberty Fund and Bill of Rights Institute who require heavy and extensive readings for the teacher enrichment sessions they run. But there are basic economics history issues, and basic economics theory that, it seems to me, you’re missing along with the Tea Party. What sort of theory are you subscribing to? Who espouses it, and where is the support for it? Trickle down is dead. It didn’t work, it ran up huge deficits. Keynes is out of favor with conservatives, but for his argument that deficits may be necessary, not for his argument that governments should intervene to prevent disaster (though of course, that intervention may require deficit spending, and Keynes dealt with that in the General Theory).

    I’m wholly mystified that anyone thinks tax cuts can stimulate, at least anyone since Andrew Mellon died.

    If so, then your argument is one for throwing bad money after good: Obama and His 21st century “brain trust” are architects of a 9.1% unemployment rate and flatlined economic growth, so let us take more money away from the small businesses and put it under their watchful eyes to see if they’ve learned any lessons from the dismal performance we’ve seen up until now.

    Slow down, there, cowboy. If Obama is an architect of 9.1% unemployment, that’s genius compared to the 25% unemployment we were racing toward in January 2009. Flatline economic growth is, similarly, brilliant commanding compared to the economic growth line that resembled a rock dropped off of Half Dome in Yosemite, when Obama took office.

    What Obama faced in January 2009 was dramatically worse than what Roosevelt faced in March 1933, by the numbers and total effects on the economy. We didn’t have a bank holiday, and we didn’t have bread lines and soup lines as large, thanks to the stimulus engineered by the Obama team, anemic as it was.

    Considering that House Republicans, and many Republicans in the Senate, have fought each recovery effort tooth and nail, what Obama has done is an economic miracle. I wish y’all would just let him get on with his water-walking act, and quit pulling him down instead.

    Can you offer any evidence that tax cuts have ever worked to right a toppled economy? Can you offer any evidence that taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich has boosted job production, at any time in American history? How about the Panic of 1893? The Panic of 1837? The Panic of 1908? The Great Depression? Stagflation? You argue for a solution that has never worked before, despite being tried many times — and you argue against the only solution that has worked. Trickle down is dead, and so is Reagan. Arthur Laffer’s curve somehow never found any data to support it, and was never published by Laffer or anyone else as a viable economic model.

    Who is the economic adviser for the Tea Party? Madame Joujou from Port au Prince?

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  15. Jim says:

    Morgan,

    You remind me of the black knight in “The Holy Grail”.

    You get into these economic jousts with Ed and just end up looking foolish. All four of your limbs have been hacked off, man.

    Tis’ not merely a flesh wound…

    (IOW, you might want to just go back to defending Caribou Barbie and telling us why she’d be wonderful for ‘Murrica. At least then I thought you actually believed what you were saying…)

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  16. But you never did answer my question: What is an “economy”?

    Are you arguing that an “economy” describes a greater scope than the similar term “free market,” such that government is not part of the free market but it is nevertheless part of a larger “economy”? If so, then your argument is one for throwing bad money after good: Obama and His 21st century “brain trust” are architects of a 9.1% unemployment rate and flatlined economic growth, so let us take more money away from the small businesses and put it under their watchful eyes to see if they’ve learned any lessons from the dismal performance we’ve seen up until now. Put a bigger flea on the dog, it doesn’t matter if the dog gets sicker, the flea will hire the workers laid off by the dog whose health is declining…

    Or are you saying “economy” is the “free market,” but acknowledging government is not part of the free market, therefore government is not part of the “economy” — therefore, the dog actually gets stronger when it is suckled by a bigger flea? Tax the businesses at a higher rate, and they get smarter or something…make bigger profits in anticipation of paying these higher taxes. They’ll hire more people?

    You say I’m agreeing the stimulus worked, so at this point I’m just probing a dishonest or unsettled mindset. Interested in what other glaring contradictions will shake out here…

    Actually, I would argue you just proclaimed stimulus didn’t work. You went looking for an example of stimulus spending working and you do what most liberals do: Roosevelt and the New Deal! They churned the money around and World War II started, and the war ended the recession. So, the kind of stimulus spending you want, PLUS the greatest international conflict the human race has ever known, will produce the results we want. It’s like doing the Macarena in a coffee shop, hour after hour, someone slaps a bag of gold on the counter and that buys a coffee so you say “See, doing the Macarena will pay for coffee.” No, the gold bought the coffee, the dancing was just a silly thing you were doing in the meantime.

    That’s the logical conclusion to draw out of the example YOU provided, Ed. Go back to the books. Take a look at when Sweden pulled out of the worldwide depression. Look up when Germany pulled out of the worldwide depression. By 1939 the United States was still in it. That’s a success? No wonder you like Obama.

    Liberalism is all about defining things as the opposite of what they really are.

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  17. Ed Darrell says:

    Yup, that’s the theory. We just tried it, and here we are.

    That’s the end of our little argument here, right? If not, why not?

    It stopped the hemmorhaging of jobs at the rate of 500,000 a month.

    You agree that it worked — now let’s get another stimulus, one big enough to get the nation chugging along quickly to prosperity. A good economy is the surest path to a balanced budget. Let’s get a good economy.

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  18. Government can make a huge difference, by purchasing construction that we need now on roads, bridges, parks and schools, while construction costs are low and the tax dollar with go farther. Then those construction workers will buy groceries, houses, trucks, gasoline, and other goods — and that stimulated demand, if great enough, will drag us out of our problems.

    Yup, that’s the theory. We just tried it, and here we are.

    That’s the end of our little argument here, right? If not, why not?

    Like

  19. James Kessler says:

    Oh wait I know. You and your fellow right wingers will blithely follow your prophet, David Barton, in being morally depraved douchebags like when he said this gem:

    “If you choose not to advance your life, not to work your tail off, work three or four or five jobs or whatever it takes, if you choose to stay in that lifestyle is that not an indication of an attitude and therefore an attitude, ‘I don’t care about life I don’t care about anything but me, I’m the only thing I care about,’ and that’s why you stay in poverty.”

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  20. James Kessler says:

    Morgan, care to guess how China largely avoided the economic crash that wracked the rest of the world?

    Oh wait…it engaged in a massive spending/construction spree.

    Yeah I know they’re communist and you’re going to be stupid enough to think what they did is a bad idea on that alone…but let me point out for you..the ideological purity that you and your fellow Republicans pull…this “we can’t do anything if some other country did it first” bullsh– is the exact same ideology over reality and responsibility and dealing with problems that dictatorships like China, the Soviet Union and various other “Ideology or death” countries pull.

    Just because some other country does it…doesn’t make it a bad idea automatically.

    If this cutting government spending doesn’t get us out of this economic hole…then what? What are you and yours going to propose then? The same sh– over and over? The same sh– that crashed the economy back in 2008 in the first place?

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  21. Ed Darrell says:

    The trouble with the supply-and-demand is that today’s demand becomes tomorrow supply. Producers, growers and builders “tool up” when they perceive there is an increase in this demand — “perceive” being the key word. Government cannot make much of a difference in the marketplace where consumers already desire the product or service, so about the greatest influence it can have is to generate a phony-baloney “demand” where it doesn’t really exist. Art that consists of crosses dunked in urine, scientific research into the size of gay mens’ penises, corn for ethanol, ugly hybrid cars, etc. Things that people, in control of their own money, aren’t demanding.

    With about 9% unemployment nationally, that translates to something north of 15 million unemployed. That’s comparable to the number of people unemployed in the Great Depression.

    You don’t think that those people wouldn’t be buying gasoline, more groceries, new and used cars, housing, clothes, tools and other goods, if they had jobs? You think they have everything they need and aren’t spending because they’re just fat and happy?

    Desiring the product, and having the money to buy it, are two different things. In economics, “demand” is when people have the cash in hand to purchase. The very definition of “demand” assumes the consumer has the money in hand — no money in hand, no demand.

    Take your talk about desire to Tennessee Williams. We need more demand, not more desire.

    Government can make a huge difference, by purchasing construction that we need now on roads, bridges, parks and schools, while construction costs are low and the tax dollar with go farther. Then those construction workers will buy groceries, houses, trucks, gasoline, and other goods — and that stimulated demand, if great enough, will drag us out of our problems.

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  22. How much were these taxes cut in Roosevelt’s second term? This was when we had the “Stitch in Time That Saved Nine” and Roosevelt truly became the American Caesar; after that, the Supreme Court served him up with whatever he wanted. And yes, that’s when unemployment really shot up. When FDR got everything he wanted.

    And then Eisenhower crossed the aisle and increased taxes; the economy suffered. JFK then crossed the aisle and cut them; the economy grew. LBJ expanded spending on “poverty” programs and the illegitimacy rate went through the roof. Nixon, Ford and Carter seized control of the energy market through the government and we had an energy crisis — an energy crisis that is associated with the seventies, but not with the eighties. Reagan passed tax cuts, and the recession reached a low nadir in ’82 to ’83, but by the time he ran for re-election he was able to re-ask his 1980 question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” The public answered this by giving him 49 states.

    And then we have Bill Clinton’s wonderful economy. Which became wonderful only after he lost Congress to the Republicans. And George Bush’s terrible awful economy…which became terrible and awful with Congress still in the hands of democrats, and became terrible and awful once the democrats regained control of it.

    See, that’s the trouble with cherry-picking the facts. The other guy can do that too.

    But you didn’t answer my question: What’s the artificial demand-stimulus plan that worked, by reaching such a magnitude as to dwarf the New Deal spending? You’re saying World War II is it? That’s where we have to go now?

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  23. Ed Darrell says:

    You must have an example to offer (inferring from your earlier comment about evidence) of demand stimulus working; it must be a rather abundant example that proved to be adequate whereas the New Deal spending was not.

    Where, outside of Prof. Krugman’s cranium, does such an example exist?

    The benefits of New Deal I are very well documented, except in the writings of Herbert Hoover. Roosevelt was not a Keynesian by any stretch in 1932 or 1933, but his experience in New York as governor set a pattern. New York had a lot of work it needed done — roads, reforestation, soil conservation work, waterway and riparian improvements, new bridge construction. He had set up programs to hire the unemployed and put them to work; New York got work performed it badly needed, and unemployed men got work and a paycheck. Roosevelt continued that work from the White House, on a national scale, and it worked famously, but only so far as it went. 25% of the workforce was out of work. New Deal I put perhaps half of those back to work.

    In 1936 the Republicans turned Tea Party. To get out of the Depression, they argued, we needed private investment and less government spending — the old crowding out problem, you know (where government borrowing crowds out private borrowers, and therefore prevents expansion. Roosevelt was hit hard politically, and he stuttered. He agreed to cut the budget, cut taxes, and hope for the best. That promptly sent the nation into the Roosevelt Recession, a double dip brought about by tax cuts that benefited the wealthy (“they’ll create jobs”) coupled with reductions in stimulus spending.

    So, yes, we have an exact analogy that shows stimulus spending works, and cutting taxes doesn’t.

    Roosevelt met with Keynes about that time, and Keynes informed him that he needed to do more goosing of the economy. FDR didn’t listen, alas — and we had slow recovery, even after the 1936 mistakes were amended, right up to January 1942. In ramping up the war effort, huge numbers of the unemployed joined the military, and huge numbers of others were hired by American industries to build the ships, jeeps, guns, ammunition, airplanes and other goods necessary to fight a war. With that massive stimulus — all deficit spending, by the way — the U.S. rose out of the recession like Neptune from the deep.

    Bernanke’s masters thesis is on that period, as I recall — his other big paper is on the failure of the Japanese to spend to stimulate their economy in the 1990s — the “lost decade.”

    After World War II, we continued massive spending into deficits, to pay for the Marshall Plan, to educate and train retuning GIs under the GI bill, and to fight the Cold War. With all that massive deficit spending in the 1950s, the budget was almost balanced at the end of Eisenhower’s administration, and balanced in the early Kennedy administration.

    How many other examples do we need? It’s in all the economics text books. I gather that Tea Parties, and most conservative Republicans are in the Rick Perry mode, having failed economics in college.

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  24. Hey rocket scientists,

    Great job avoiding the obvious, but I’m gonna go ahead and bite:

    Got a great reason to offer why they all have to be worked at the same time?

    Think up above somewhere I made a comment about how history always began yesterday morning for you if you’re a lib. This proves it. Are you rocket scientists seriously under the impression no roads got fixed anywhere before OBozo became President?

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  25. James Kessler says:

    Ed, the Senator who investigated the Titanic sinkings was William Smith of Michigan.

    A Republican.

    You know back when Republicans actually cared about doing [stuff].

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  26. James Kessler says:

    Morgan writes:
    This summer I drove from central California to the eastern half of Washington State, through Highway 97. It took me about 30% to 40% longer because of Reinvestment Act

    Yeah and just think how much longer it would be if the roads weren’t repaired and upgraded and therefor the roads fell apart.

    What? You’re honestly stupid enough to think that roads are a permament thing and never have to be maintained?

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  27. Pangolin says:

    Morgan isn’t clear on the idea that simply driving on roads wears them out and that roads with more traffic require more maintenance.

    There is always a section of I-5 under maintenance and if you want to know what happens when that maintenance is delayed drive through Stockton. It’s a suspension ruining washboard.

    People want the government programs they want but nothing else; until they actually need those other programs. What does a person in New Mexico care about the Coast Guard? Why should an urban person pay for country road maintenance?

    You might as well sit back with the hose and a Pabst Blue Ribbon and yell “get off my lawn.”

    Also it wasn’t the FHA mortgage market that exploded but sub-prime loans pushed by the banks and then packaged into CDOs. The banks collected a fat fee and then sold off the risk to third parties conned by S&P’s bogus AAA ratings on garbage investment products.

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  28. Demand stimulus from the government is, in reality, an anti-socialist solution. And it works. It works best when used adequately. The New Deal was not wholly adequate, it turned out…

    You must have an example to offer (inferring from your earlier comment about evidence) of demand stimulus working; it must be a rather abundant example that proved to be adequate whereas the New Deal spending was not.

    Where, outside of Prof. Krugman’s cranium, does such an example exist?

    The trouble with the supply-and-demand is that today’s demand becomes tomorrow supply. Producers, growers and builders “tool up” when they perceive there is an increase in this demand — “perceive” being the key word. Government cannot make much of a difference in the marketplace where consumers already desire the product or service, so about the greatest influence it can have is to generate a phony-baloney “demand” where it doesn’t really exist. Art that consists of crosses dunked in urine, scientific research into the size of gay mens’ penises, corn for ethanol, ugly hybrid cars, etc. Things that people, in control of their own money, aren’t demanding.

    Maybe the “t” is the mistake — it should be called “simulus”; it simulates a demand where one doesn’t really exist, and this is where the harm is inflicted on the free-market system. Here in California we have a glut of housing caused by years of frenzied construction as the FHA mortgage market exploded. Yesterday’s demand became today’s supply, but today there is little demand to offset it because it never really existed. Not to the extent it was perceived in this so-called “free” market. Now we have all these homeowners slashing the asking prices of their homes, again and again. It’s really quite heartbreaking.

    This doesn’t even get into the inefficiencies introduced into the supply lines that actually work, as the market is pockmarked and wilted and mutilated to accommodate this stimulus spending. This summer I drove from central California to the eastern half of Washington State, through Highway 97. It took me about 30% to 40% longer because of Reinvestment Act construction running up through most of the state of Oregon along this route. Back here at home, I’ve been wondering about how it takes around 30% longer for a motorist to make his way from Folsom to Roseville, or to Auburn, by way of Folsom-Auburn Road — Reinvestment Act, again. So you have this infrastructure of roads, the crown jewel of the kind of centralized spending plans upon which Darrellnomics smiles; Obama says we need to stimulate our economy so it all gets worked at the same time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If I ever liked Obama, this is where I’d change my tune. It’s completely idiotic to have all this construction taking place everywhere, or mostly everywhere, at the same time, when putting some pep in the step of the economy is supposed to be the goal. Imagine what happens to overseas trade if all the boats and planes suddenly run 40% slower, and the condition continues for a year or two. Well, that’s what’s happening with trucking right now. And unlike Hurricane Katrina, the situation was brought about by mortal men who willfully decided it should be this way.

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  29. Ed Darrell says:

    Morgan, seeming to me to miss the point:

    Bill Clinton and Ed: To have a good economy you have to have a good (big) government.
    Morgan: When you move money into the government, you move it out of that thing that an “economy” is supposed to be.

    Clinton said “working” government, and I’ll confess that there is no requirement that a working government be big. In fact, size can get in the way of nimbleness when nimbleness is required. The senator who held the hearings on boat safety in the wake of the sinking of the Titanic (and whose name I always forget, drat it) could move quickly because he was wholly unencumbered by having any other senator join him while he had the full authority of the committee’s chair on the issue. He and one secretary traveled to New York, wrote the subpoenas, went to the dock where the survivors were landed, served the subpoenas, set up the hotel ballroom where the hearings were held, took the testimony, asked the questions, wrote the report, and wrote the law (still in effect) requiring adequate life boats and adequate flotation devices, introduced the bill and got it passed — no with actual members working on the issue could have done that, right?

    The point is that government has a role to play. It’s fun to say “government is the enemy,” but it’s wrong. It’s a joke statement, a laugh line — but you can’t run a great nation without a government to perform critical functions.

    Teddy Roosevelt, a good and noble man who current Republicans and Tea Partiers like to scorn, said that government has to be at least “big” enough to stand up to the great trusts who would, otherwise, conduct economic rape on citizens.

    That’s still true. Our system comes closest to a free market for any great and powerful nation in the history of the planet. Key to that is “free market competition,” and key to free market competition is the enforcement of antitrust laws that keep the competitive playing field level and the playing fair. We use that instead of reams of regulations, instead of a soviet, instead of kommisars and commissions — and it works well for the most part.

    Can’t do that without government, effective government. Must it be big, too? If so, then big government is virtuous, too.

    So, then I noted, on a slightly different issue that I had thought was in discussion, that jobs come from demand in an economy, not from an oversupply and maldistribution of money. I said:

    Ed: Oh yeah? The evidence will prove my side is right.
    Morgan: Here’s the evidence, it seems to indicate otherwise.

    To be fair, and accurate, you linked to a press release describing the Open Market Committee discussions last released (July?), which made no statement whatsoever on government spending to create jobs — something that the Fed cannot do, by the way. The press release also said nothing whatsoever about regulation.

    If you thought it made a statement on point, maybe you could clue us all in on what you thought it was that was said there that we didn’t see.

    See, in our free market system, we have this bundle of issues called “supply and demand,” in which government plays a tiny, tiny role. In stimulating demand, by the way, we run opposite to the socialist model, which would have the government owning the means of production and setting production quotas. Demand stimulus from the government is, in reality, an anti-socialist solution. And it works. It works best when used adequately. The New Deal was not wholly adequate, it turned out, but the U.S. was jolted out of the Depression completely when the war effort required government stimulus demand of enormous proportions. Economics in action.

    But Morgan appears oblivious to this history, to this economic theory of free markets. So I said:

    Ed: You don’t grasp capitalism do you?

    Still a valid statement. No economics text, not even from the Chicago Boys who supported Pinochet, says tax cuts will bring prosperity. You’re talking voodoo economics if that’s what you’re proposing, Morgan.

    We’re capitalists here. I wish you’d get on board.

    Like

  30. what a tool says:

    Hilarious! Using Willy as a spokesman for “good government”!

    Maybe he can put in a good word for faithful husbands while he is at it,

    What loony, silly nonsense. One cannot make this stuff up.

    Oh and it is preposterous to say that it is not “Liberal” (read Marxists) fault but businesses “sitting on money”. You people just cannot take responsibly for yourselves. This is just an insane Demcrat talking point. Anyone who thinks that businesses “sot on money” has never run one (Oh, and please do not use top fortune 500 companies as an example. Most businesses are SMEs.)

    “Why? Not regulation. Not taxes. You tell me.”

    What idiocy! Of course a large part of it is just these things. You act like it is a mystery, what s going on. You are just trying to wish them away. You have not the faintest notion of what you talk about. A garbage collector knows more about business and economics than you do. You just echo the talking points you masters feed you. Typical Democrat.

    An other stimulus? What a disaster!. The last one is one of the reasons we are in this mess. They do not work! They are just robbery to make political payoffs. You seem not to understand the simplest things abut the real world.

    He’s a hint Socialism does not work! Government intervention does not work. It is the policies of Obama and the Democrats that are hurting us. Face up to it and stop lying to yourself,

    Like

  31. See G, this is why we only let the crap ferment away for so long before wading in; you’re right, the other side will never be convinced, but there are things to be learned. Fascinating insight here, into DarelLogic in particular and into liberalism in general…

    Bill Clinton and Ed: To have a good economy you have to have a good (big) government.
    Morgan: When you move money into the government, you move it out of that thing that an “economy” is supposed to be.
    Ed: Oh yeah? The evidence will prove my side is right.
    Morgan: Here’s the evidence, it seems to indicate otherwise.
    Ed: You don’t grasp capitalism do you?

    Quicker than you can say “about face!” we’re all done looking at evidence and we’re back at theory. As an entree, with a light garnish of name-calling.

    So. It is to be decided by something called “evidence”…except when it isn’t. I daresay NOTHING in political/economic theory, in all of the history of the USA, has been given more of a fair shot than Keynesian stimulus these last two years. Three, if you count Bush’s S&L bailout. It’s a fail. So…obviously, the thing to do now is hit the reset switch — history always began yesterday — and hey, now us liberals can have the gargantuan spending we’ve been wanting, right?

    You’ll see the “trickle-down has been tried and it’s a flop!” meme gets repeated a lot in these parts. But the same voices never want to say the same thing about the stimulus spending, that’s never tried & found to be a failure, no matter what the evidence says.

    Liberalism is always right, because it can’t admit when it’s wrong.

    Like

  32. Ed Darrell says:

    Ain’t the liberals blocking job creation — who’s sitting on the money? Businesses.

    Why? Not regulation. Not taxes. You tell me.

    In the meantime, another stimulus would be a great deal. Are you worried about jobs? Then you’ll support Obama’s proposals to fix roads, streets, schools, parks and airports, right?

    Like

  33. Guess I’m thinking too much about the jobless. You know, those people for whom the liberals are supposed to have all this compassion?

    Liberals must like ‘em a lot, their policies consistently make more of them.

    I’m thinking’ G is right. You said look at the evidence, I showed you some, and now you still have the same opinion plus you’re a whole lot smarter than me — this, after we examined the evidence and found out your way doesn’t work. Liberalism in a nutshell.

    Like

  34. Ed Darrell says:

    Evidence shows we need to stimulate demand, doesn’t it, Morgan? I mean, didn’t you use Samuelson on Economics in your econ course? He was a favorite of the Chicago school, good friend of Milton Friedman . . .

    Capitalism escapes you?

    Businesses are not expanding because there is no demand. It’s not that they need more money — interest rates would be high if it were that businesses need more money. But businesses are sitting on $1.2 trillion in cash. American Airlines bought a couple hundred Boeing 737s. Google bought Motorola Mobility. But other than those two investments, businesses aren’t investing because demand is not high.

    Troubles in the market? We need a sizable regulator to deal with private companies’ misbehaviors. Lord knows individuals can’t stand up to them..

    Which part of capitalism in the American model escapes you?

    Like

  35. All we really need to do is watch the evidence.

    Oh, okay.

    Like

  36. Ed Darrell says:

    My position hasn’t changed.

    Dave Barry is funny, but the evidence shows that when we the government spends money to put it into the hands of many people, the economy is stimulated. But when that money is put in the hands of a few very rich people, it never makes it to the hands of working Americans, and the economy is not stimulated, at least not so much.

    All we really need to do is watch the evidence.

    Like

  37. G says:

    It is pointless to argue about the economy with someone who believes Socialism works

    Like

  38. Glad you came around to my way of thinking, Ed: Our nation was born in reaction to an oppressive, unaccountable government — born out of a tax revolt. Seems like just yesterday you were denying it because it came out of me, now you’re accepting it because it came out of Bill. The messenger is the message. Hey, whatever it takes for the educator to become educated.

    As for the rest of it, it’s standard Bill Clinton fare, all cooked up for the special appetite of those who feel their way through life without thinking. So it all falls apart when the audience begins to demand what thinking people naturally demand: specifics and definitions. My view says that an “economy” is precisely what Clinton says he wants: A bunch of people from different backgrounds with disparate interests, meeting together, each seeking fulfillment of his own wants and needs, and they end up making more progress in this meeting place than they would’ve, in isolation, even though each man is holding his own incentives to a higher priority than the desires of the others. According to this, it is oxymoronic to say we’re “helping the economy” by leeching money out of it — it’s like saying the dog is mightier when his blood’s being sucked by a bigger flea.

    How do the big-government types define an “economy”? Is that really the argument, that by pumping money out of it you make it stronger?

    “See, when the government spends money, it creates jobs; whereas when the money is left in the hands of taxpayers, God only knows what they do with it. Bake it into pies, probably. Anything to avoid creating jobs. ” — Dave Barry.

    Like

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