Mitt’s economic policy: Hair of the dog


As is often the case, Ben Sargent makes vague things crystal clear, in this case, Romney’s economic program:

Ben Sargent in the Austin American-Statesman, Romney's economic hair of the dog

Ben Sargent, in the Austin American-Statesman, May 17, 2012

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22 Responses to Mitt’s economic policy: Hair of the dog

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    This a general comment, not a response to anything posted here.

    The real problem with Romney’s trickle down economics program:

    Ron English design from Boing-Boing

    Ron English is a sticker designer — you’ve probably seen his work before, even if you didn’t know who did it. Now he’s got a book of his designs out, for your purchasing and sticking pleasure.

    (Ron English design, from Boing-Boing)

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  2. I notice this kind of rhetoric always seems to arrive “bare”; standing as emotion-laden rhetoric alone, by itself, without details.

    The tax burden shifted to the middle class? By how much? A massive transfer of wealth, greater than under King John? Really? By how a factor of how many?

    Fair share? What would that be? How come the progressives never say? They want all this emotion aroused but never seem to put any hard numbers next to it.

    Are we talking income, or wealth? There is no wealth tax in this country as of yet; is that what you’re wanting?

    And last but not least, what makes you think a tax on the incomes of those who earn a great deal, won’t eventually creep down to that so-called “middle class”? In fact, can there be any definition for “middle class,” other than “the income bracket of whatever audience is being currently addressed by some hard-left wealth-redistributing politician”?

    Liberalism, lately, seems to be little more than a tedious exercise in avoiding definitions.

    “Bigotry” is merely acknowledging and respecting a right to own property. Wow, that didn’t take long — we’re all the way there. Get the word out, an election is coming…looks like we’re voting on the right to own and keep property.

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    The error in your logic, is in thinking it’s any kind of “transfer” simply to allow someone to keep what’s already theirs.

    There’s no error in your logic. It’s just plain old bigotry.

    What makes the rich more deserving to keep “what’s already theirs” than simply to allow the middle class and poor to keep what is already theirs? The tax burden shifted to the middle class especially, and the poor, to make up the taxes the rich don’t pay.

    Any way we cut it, it created the single most massive transfer of wealth in history — greater than King John’s oppression that spawned Robin Hood, greater than the mining of the poor and merchants done by Louis XVII.

    What sort of twisted morality makes anyone say the rich deserve to keep what they earned, and that the middle class doesn’t deserve to keep what they earned with the sweat of their brows?

    I made no error in logic; there is a flaw in your moral lens. Fair taxes would be a better system, and it would make a lot more rich people.

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  4. To me, it’s difficult to make a case that in the 21st century, anyone seriously thought enormous tax cuts to the wealthy would actually stimulate job creation, instead of functioning as a massive transfer of wealth, from the poor and middle class (especially middle class) to the very wealthy Republican elite.

    The error in your logic, is in thinking it’s any kind of “transfer” simply to allow someone to keep what’s already theirs.

    After that kind of glaring error, anything in your train of thought that could possibly be correct, would be correct only by random chance.

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  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Same ol’ DarrelLogic; “screwing up” means simply doing something Ed Darrell doesn’t like.

    To me, it’s difficult to make a case that in the 21st century, anyone seriously thought enormous tax cuts to the wealthy would actually stimulate job creation, instead of functioning as a massive transfer of wealth, from the poor and middle class (especially middle class) to the very wealthy Republican elite. We had already been through post-WWI Europe. We had seen the results of the disastrous policies of the Harding-Coolidge years, pushed to the ultimate in the Hoover administration when, to “stimulate jobs” taxes were cut on the wealthiest few, resulting in a more rapid accumulation of wealth in the top 5% of wealth holders and resulting in a massive crash of the stock market and all other markets. Arthur Laffer convinced Reagan to go along, but those policies did not produce what they were supposed to produce. Laffer promised to write a paper on trickle-down economics for several years, but when all the evidence pointed the other way, he quietly dropped the topic. .

    There is no economic theory, no economic hypothesis to urge massive tax cuts and wealth transfer to the benefit of the wealthy. Bush dragged us into a real-time, real life economic experiment that was doomed to failure by all theory — and still is.

    I don’t like the economic screwups of the Bush administration because they were stupid. Any high school text would have advised differently, and all the college texts do. Milton Friedman’s texts advise differently.

    You might be right, Morgan. It might not be a screw up. It may have been a diabolical plot by Bush and his top advisors to wreck America.

    Conspiracy theories generally come from losers who don’t want to look at the evidence. The evidence is that Bush didn’t listen to the experts. Sadly, the Democratic-controlled Congress,in the interests of “comity,” refused to blow up that misguided missile. They believed, probably sincerely, that a president, by election, earns the right to enact the president’s policies, even over much wiser objection. We lived through Reagan, after all.

    Cue the country song, “If I’d know then what I know now.”

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  6. He started screwing up from Day 1. The Bush tax cuts were approved in his first year.

    Same ol’ DarrelLogic; “screwing up” means simply doing something Ed Darrell doesn’t like. You need to go back and look at the graph I posted: Things are going alright, right up until Pelosi and Reid take over Congress and thing things go kablooey. That’s the recollection of most Americans, and it’s accurate. It all goes back to 9.27 being a higher number than 5.26. Facts are stubborn things.

    Look at this chart — read it and weep:

    Yes, the chart is right. Government spends more than it takes in. And in the United States, the revenue hovers around 18% of GDP; draw the graph again, go back a great many more years, it remains more or less the same. Taxes go way up, taxes go way down, the trend continues. So Art Laffer was correct. What else were you trying to say?

    Looks like we have to cut government spending. There’s no other way out. Government should live within its means, just like all the households and businesses it taxes. It’s the moderate answer.

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  7. Ed Darrell says:

    How come it took Bush six or seven years to start screwing up?

    It didn’t. He started screwing up from Day 1.

    The Bush tax cuts were approved in his first year.

    The Bush tax cuts refers to changes to the United States tax code passed during the presidency of George W. Bush that generally lowered tax rates and revised the code specifying taxation in the United States. These were the:

    Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA)
    Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (JGTRRA)

    While each act has its own legislative history and effect on the tax code, the JGTRRA amplified and accelerated aspects of the EGTRRA. Moreover, since 2003 the two acts have often been spoken of together, especially in terms of analyzing their effect on the U.S. economy and population and in discussing their political ramifications.

    The Bush tax cuts had sunset provisions that made them expire at the end of 2010, since otherwise they would fall under the Byrd Rule. Whether to renew the lowered rates and how became the subject of extended political debate, which was resolved during the presidency of Barack Obama by a two-year extension that was part of a larger tax and economic package, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.

    It’s a tragedy, in retrospect, that the Democrats did not do to Bush what the Republicans have done to Obama. Had the Democrats simply stopped the tax cuts, job growth, and overall economic growth, would have been greater through the Bush years.

    Had we been paying more careful attention to job growth, we’d probably have seen part of the catastrophe to come. We were distracted by the wars — which Bush kept off budget, to the detriment of our national budget and our children’s futures.

    Had we simply stuck with the Clinton surpluses, the government would have been in a great place to act in 2008, to stop the recession dead in its tracks. Or, alternatively, the surpluses could have been used to pay off the war debts. Had that happened, our national debt today would be about half what it is, and we would have a much freer hand to fix things.

    Any way it’s sliced, the decline started with those tax cuts.

    Look at this chart — read it and weep:

    Federal govt receipts, and federal government payouts, 1971-2021

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  8. Bush’s end-of-administration screw ups cost us millions of jobs…

    Hey Ed,

    I’m interested to see you acknowledge the trouble happened “end-of-administration.” Here’s a question for you. How come it took Bush six or seven years to start screwing up?

    Or let me re-phrase it slightly…

    How come it took a two-term President, who dealt with a Congress friendly to his party for the first one-and-a-half of his terms, into the second half of his second term before he started screwing up?

    As a reminder, although some state governors do enjoy the privilege of a line-item veto, the President of the United States does not; Congress granted the power to the executive branch and then the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional soon after. One might therefore conclude, sensibly, that the leadership of Congress matters somewhat. Yes?

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  9. Ed Darrell says:

    No one is arguing unemployment is low enough.

    The question is, how to employ more people? Bush’s end-of-administration screw ups cost us millions of jobs, and his job creation rate was just a fraction of that. Had it been true that tax cuts to the wealthy would create jobs, job creation should have been robust from 2001 through 2009. Job creation was anemic, the worst since Herbert Hoover, and worse than Hoover on some accountings (statistics were not kept earlier — it may have been the absolute worst in history).

    The job market was in complete free fall when Obama took office, with an average of 400,000 jobs per month disappearing, from October 2008 through March of 2009. The Obama stimulus package stopped that free fall, and on that score alone it must be counted as a dramatic success.

    But there remains the hole we were in, on jobs.

    Obama’s rate of job growth is about double that of Bush. In the private sector, jobs are growing, even pretty well. We’re being hammered now by the stupid job cuts made by Republican legislatures in public employees, in Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio, and a dozen other states. Texas lost more than 10,000 teachers last year — 15,000 have been cut out for the coming school year. Texas has the money to keep the teachers on the job, but refuses to do that, instead calling for “austerity” among teachers (not among millionaires — they got a tax break on yacht sales). Wisconsin’s public employment cuts have more than made up for growth in the private sector.

    So, not only can we not fairly blame Obama for all the anemic job growth, we can see that Republicans — either because they are dangerously stupid, or traitors (stupid is the nicer solution) — have sabotaged America’s economy in 2012.

    There are some delays in getting results in economic actions. I hear your complaint that it’s unfair to say Bush’s influence extends three years into Obama’s term. But that’s the reality. The housing market crashed on Bush’s watch. The banks collapsed on Bush’s watch. That double whammy nearly sank us. Capt. Obama righted the ship and got the bilge pumps going overtime, and kept us afloat.

    We need government spending now to get the economy humming. Private sector spending can’t do it — it couldn’t do it even with a good economy in the Bush years, and it certainly can’t do it with a lack of consumer demand with the nation still in the Bush recession.

    Obama can’t tell Wisconsin, or Texas, or a dozen other states where Republican governors and Republican legislators have enforced recessionary policies on their states, what to do. Under those circumstances, it’s not only unfair to blame the anemic recovery on Obama, it’s inaccurate to the point of being a crass lie.

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  10. Morgan, the day Obama took office the rate was 10%+.

    JK, that there’s a false statement. Obama brought it up to 10.1 by way of that wonderful Reinvestment Act, which took a few months since the unemployment rate He “inherited” from that terrible, terrible predecessor of His was down in the 7’s. Since reaching that Obama-created crest of 10+, it’s gradually dwindled to 8.1 and 8.2, at which time the labor participation rate has been dropping like a stone.

    Participation rate; it matters, it is important. ThinkProgress won’t talk about it.

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  11. Morgan, the day Obama took office the rate was 10%+

    Now unless you’re somehow going to argue that George W Bush wasn’t president at the start of the year in 2009 then you’re claim is nonsense. Look at the rate at the 2009 mark, Morgan. That was the rate of unemployment on day one of 2009. Last time I checked, dimbulb, George W Bush was still president on Jan 1st 2009.

    The fact still is under Bush we went from a low unemployment rate to a far higher one. And nothing you say changes that fact. The economy still crashed under Bush. There were no jobs created under bush.

    Your party’s policies still suck and nothing changes that fact too. Oh and by the way..as for your graph yeah you’re conveniently forgetting that it was still Bush’s budget in place until the middle of 2009.

    All because your party launched two wars it didn’t pay for, cut taxes to the rich that weren’t necessary and gave away all that corporate welfare.

    Sorry, time for you to stop living in your fantasy land.

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  12. JK,

    You’re the one who (quite obviously) is not looking at the graph.

    Bush drove the unemployment rate to 9+? It was never that high during ALL of his eight years. Not even close.

    But Obama’s seen it exceed 10.1.

    Those are facts. They are beyond dispute.

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  13. Morgan writes:
    5.26 is less than 9.27.

    Yeah..Bush inherited a 5.26 unemployment rate and drove it up to 9.27 with his failed economic policies.

    So your argument is somehow benefitting Mitt how?

    If Obama had inherited a 5.26 unemployment rate and drove it up to 9.27 you’d be jumping up and down screaming that Obama is a failure as a president.

    So your lack of intellectual honesty, Morgan, as usual is not surprising.

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  14. Morgan writes:
    – When Obama was sworn in, the unemployment rate was still lower than it has ever been since then;
    – Bush’s average is lower than Obama’s;
    – The highest unemployment rate ever under George Bush, apart from the moment of transfer, is lower than the lowest rate under Obama.

    And yet none of that disproves the fact that under Bush there was no net job growth. Meaning under Bush more jobs were lost then were gained. And Bush had the lowest job creation rate of any President in modern history…including Obama.

    And mitt wants to continue Bush’s economic policies..the policies that drove our economy off the cliff.

    But tell me, Morgan..what do you think giving the rich more tax cuts is going to accomplish?

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  15. Ed Darrell says:

    You tell us: What was job growth under Bush?

    How did that job growth rate compare with every other president in history?

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  16. Ed Darrell says:

    - When Obama was sworn in, the unemployment rate was still lower than it has ever been since then;
    – Bush’s average is lower than Obama’s;
    – The highest unemployment rate ever under George Bush, apart from the moment of transfer, is lower than the lowest rate under Obama.

    All true. Doesn’t change in any way the fact that Obama’s “failure” to undue the Bush employment crash doesn’t mean Bush was a success. Bush inherited a booming economy in a minor dip, with huge budget surpluses in the government. Bush gave away those surpluses to rich Americans. Since then, our economy has been all downhill. The hill has been steepened by two wars, badly executed under Bush, and wrongly kept “off-budget” under Bush.

    What’s your point, Morgan? Yes, Bush inherited a good economy and ruined it. Obama inherited the massive disaster Bush caused, and with the interference and obstruction from Republicans, hasn’t been able to restore everything yet.

    Why in the world would we undo what Obama has fixed? Why in the world would we return to the economic policies that got us into trouble in the first place?

    It’s a tragedy that the Democrats in 2001-2008 did not refuse to implement Bush’s schemes, with the same ardor that Republicans now block the fixes.

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  17. And if you look at the graph more carefully, which apparently you didn’t do:

    – When Obama was sworn in, the unemployment rate was still lower than it has ever been since then;
    – Bush’s average is lower than Obama’s;
    – The highest unemployment rate ever under George Bush, apart from the moment of transfer, is lower than the lowest rate under Obama.

    It’s easy to see why these things are so. Under Barack Obama, starting or growing a business has become something of a gamble on what the regulators and legislators will or won’t do. This was not the case under George W. Bush, during which time the unemployment rate averaged four points less than now.

    I’ve been hearing a lot of this tired trope around the bathtub, that those policies of simply allowing people to make money to help grow the economy have been “tried and failed.” It never has made a lot of sense and it still doesn’t.

    5.26 is less than 9.27. And 5.26 would be pretty sweet right now.

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  18. Ed Darrell says:

    I agree. Bush inherited a 5.26 percent average unemployment rate, and drove it up to 9.27 to give to Obama. Bush got handed a silver spoon, and used it to coke himself up, then gave it away to one of his rich friends.

    You’re right: It’s grossly unfair to Obama.

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  19. Ed,

    5.26 is less than 9.27.

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  20. Ed Darrell says:

    So, Bush wasn’t responsible for his presidency? I agree that he didn’t act responsibly, but that’s not the same thing. Don’t forget, Bush inherited a budget in surplus, with projected surpluses of more than $1 trillion during his presidency — and he managed, by his actions, to turn that around by about $11 trillion, chiefly on the backs of two wars, but badly executed wars on Bush’s part. And while his economic policies took a while to bite, the sorry economy Obama inherited, hemorrhaging 400,000 jobs a month, was Bush’s doing much more than Obama’s. Bush inherited a hilltop palace from Clinton, and left Obama a hole in the ground. Coasting on the Clinton boom, Bush looks pretty good.

    On his own terms, though, he was a disaster, with astonishingly weak economic growth and job creation well before the crash of 2008 — which was much of Bush’s fault.

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