Long time coming: Current insanity


I get e-mail from a friend on the high desert plains of the Mountain West:

On the other hand, maybe if we hadn’t been so polite for so long, they wouldn’t have had reason to think they could get away with this sort of thing: holding the country hostage to their latest demands.

Fruitcake is illogical, Robot Spock and Fruitcake holiday card

Fruitcake isn't all that's illogical, Robot Spock!

It’s been a long time coming, no doubt about it. You could say it started decades ago, with that famously loopy math: “Let’s balance the budget by cutting everyone’s taxes and spending more on the military! That’ll work!”

Was it ridiculous on its face? Of course it was ridiculous on its face. And here’s the scariest part: Things have gotten much worse since then! The fringe thinking that gave us the Age of Reagan couldn’t even get a hearing now from those who claim to worship him! Too “moderate.” Not “pure” enough.

They’ve got their own loopy math. Twenty-first-century loopy math. And their own economic theories, too — except that they’re not theories, they’re certainties. Matters of unshakeable faith. And since they’re certainties, why waste time listening to anyone else’s views on the subject? Expertise is overrated.

So they’ve got their own economics. They’ve got their own climate science, of course. They’ve got their own history. (Paul Revere, anyone? Slavery and the Civil War?) They’ve even got their own electoral history. (2008 was a glitch. Barack Obama isn’t really president.) What’s next? Their own geography? Their own gravity?

And we’ve let them get away with it.

20 Responses to Long time coming: Current insanity

  1. James Kessler says:

    Morgan writes:
    James,

    Are you saying it’s your vision that the United States economy should look like that of Sweden? Or Finland? Or France?

    Lets see..those economies are doing better then ours at the moment and do far better jobs of taking care of the people of those countries. Now am I saying that our economy should be completely like theirs? No. But for the love of God it wouldn’t hurt the United States and specifically your little party to get it through its God damn head that it’s not the best at everything and that some improvements would be a really good idea. Instead your party is stuck in some myopic past that never really existed just because you’ve scared yourselves shitless and convinced yourselves that everything must remain exactly as it was during that imagined myopic past. Oh and please don’t go claiming that Sweden, Finland and France have socialist economies..they don’t. They have keynisan capitalist economies..which is what the United States used to be until your party decided to change the system so the rich get everything and the rest of us get ****** up the ***.

    Are you saying that its your vision that the United States economy should look like that of Somalia or Ethiopia? Where the rich fat cats have everything and the rest starve and die because there is no functioning government?

    But way to avoid my original question, Morgan, that being your problem with returning the tax rates on the rich to the rates they were under Clinton is what?

    Your party said that by cutting taxes on the rich we would have no deficit, create jobs for everyone and everyone would get ahead economically. Well? Where is it? Because the last 12 years have been the exact opposite of that, Morgan. What has to happen for you and yours to realize that you were wrong? God has to come down here and smack you over the head?

    The richest 10% of the country, Morgan, has 84% of the wealth of this country. What has to happen for you to realize that you are not part of that 10%, you will never be part of that 10% and that you and your family are getting successively screwed over by the fact that the wealth of this country is getting more and more compressed into the hands of the few that you will never be one of? What? Your kids have to be in abject poverty? They have to work until the day they die? They go bankrupt because they can’t afford to pay for you to live in a nursing home in your dotage old age because your party stripped you of your social security and medicare and the insurance company took your money and ran?

    The Republican party has done absolutely nothing of benefit to the middle class, Morgan. Nothing. and they have done nothing that benefits you. They have taken your money and given it to the rich in the form of tax cuts and tax loopholes. And yet like a trained monkey you sit there and cheer them on.

    And now they’re willing to let this country crash and burn just so they can screw over the middle class and the poor more and hand over what little remains of our power and wealth to the chosen few. They are willing to screw you over in the name of their ideological purity. They are zealots and fanatics and you, like the fool you are, don’t realize the sacrifice they’re about to burn…..is you.

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  2. Ed Darrell says:

    With regard to some united vision that the nation should not default, it would be good to reflect the comparative unification of those foreign economies, yes.

    Nikita Khrushchev and Osama bin Laden had dozens of people working to ruin the U.S. economy the way failing to raise the debt ceiling would. Who could have imagined that we’d bury ourselves?

    Oh, yeah: Khrushchev and bin Laden.

    What does that say about the loyalties of the Tea Party?

    Like

  3. James,

    Are you saying it’s your vision that the United States economy should look like that of Sweden? Or Finland? Or France?

    Like

  4. James Kessler says:

    Morgan writes:
    “Make the income tax rate 100% after some income level, and then get a wealth tax started so that those rich people have to get rid of their stuff even if they didn’t make a single dime all year.”_Morgan

    Or the reverse: Lower their taxes to 0% for everything and proceed to take everything from the poor and the middle class and give it to the rich because the middle class and the poor should be punished for not being multimillionaires.

    Oh wait…that’s exactly what is happening by Republican design.

    Noone except you and your fellow right wingers is claiming that the left is demanding that the rich be taxed at a 100% rate, Morgan. Noone on the left is making that demand. Most of us are asking that the tax rate on the rich be returned to the levels they were at under Clinton and held there.

    So the question really is, Morgan, why is it that you are being so dishonest? What is it that you’re trying to hide?

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  5. Pangolin says:

    “Make the income tax rate 100% after some income level, and then get a wealth tax started so that those rich people have to get rid of their stuff even if they didn’t make a single dime all year.”_Morgan

    Sold!!!

    Hoarding by the wealthy is out of control in the U.S. There are millions of vacant houses that are not rented or for sale but merely held off the market to raise prices. There are hundreds of thousands of vacant business and commercial properties that are allowed to blight their communities because their owners are holding out for unrealistic rents. Vacant lots, sidelined machine tools, vast marinas full of boats that never leave dock the list goes on and on.

    The reason these properties stay vacant is that the wealthy have SO MUCH that they can afford to waste their wealth rather than share.

    Frankly, the U.S. was better off when the wealthy faced top tax brackets of 70% or more. Yes, they argue that if we tax them like that they will move offshore to tax-free countries. I’m fine with that; as long as we void their deeds to all properties, stock and patents held or protected by U.S. courts.

    If you are making money in the U.S.; you’ve already agreed to pay your taxes since you are taking the benefits of U.S. citizenship.

    Like

  6. James Kessler says:

    I have a question for Morgan. Read the below including the link and then answer this question: If high taxes kills jobs..then how exactly is it that countries with far higher taxes then the United States have far lower unemployment then the United States? As I asked you before…if lowering taxes is supposed to create jobs…then where are the jobs?

    From: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/07/22/united-states-ranks-at-the-bottom-in-total-taxation/

    The statistics in this article create a problem for Republicans who consistently blame taxes going up as a reason for job loss, and credit taxes going down as a reason for job creation. It turns out that out of all 34 OECD countries, the United States ranks 32nd out of 34 in the world, only 2 countries have lower taxes than the United States, and they are Mexico and Chile. The highest taxed country in Denmark at 48.2% but has an unemployment rate of 4.3% in 2009

    The United States citizens’ total tax bill equals 24% of GDP in 2009. The 2009 statistics is still relevant today, because the US tax code has not really changed overall. In fact the GDP of the United States has actually grown since 2009, thus today’s percentage of taxation to GDP ratio is even smaller.

    Measuring taxation in parallel to GDP is a good analogy because the Republican and conservative argument that every dollar that is taxed is dollar taken out of circulation in the economy, thus halts job growth. This of course is a false premise to begin with, but we will use their own logic in this article.

    The argument that the conservatives use is raising taxes, halts economic growth, but the statistics do not add up if we look at places like Germany, their unemployment according to the CIA world fact book was 7.4% and their taxes per GDP was a whopping 37%, 13% higher than the United States.

    Unemployment in the United States in 2009 was 9.3%, yet our taxes to GDP was 24%.

    Let’s now look at some other countries that are within percentage points of the United States’ taxation. In 2009 Chile’s taxes were 18.2% of GDP and their unemployment was 9.6%.

    In Canada, the taxes were 31% of GDP and their unemployment in 2009 was 8.3%.

    You get the point, taxation has little effect on unemployment or employment. The Republicans are using American’s ignorance of economics to further their agenda.

    Rather than creating a environment that makes it economically difficult to justify leaving this country, through equalizing American labor with third world labor, they have told the American people, taxes are the problem.

    We know better now. As more and more people are beginning to wake up to their scheme, it is getting harder for Republicans to justify lowering taxes. What the Republicans and Democrats need to do is re-write our trade agreements to protect our labor force. That is the real reason for our unemployment.

    One last statistic, Mexico’s unemployment was 5.5% in 2009, with a tax to GDP percentage of 17%.

    Factories moved down there from Canada and the United States, pay them peanuts and sell the goods to Americans, it’s a good deal for the corporate bottom line but a terrible deal for America’s labor force.

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    One Response to United States Ranks At The Bottom In Total TaxationThe Platzner Post on July 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm
    The GOP want to tax the poor and the middle class to support the rich…Oops… that should be “job creators”!!! So where are the jobs??? Smh

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  7. James Kessler says:

    Morgan writes:
    Our experience seems to show the economy really takes off when investment makes the most sense. Not just a question of — how many cents on the dollar do I, the investor, get to take home if & when it all pans out; but how much of a sure thing is it, are the onerous regulations going to be kept out of the mix, can I get some reliable, competent help for a reasonable wage without painting a big target for Washington politicians on my fanny.

    Just to reiterate what Ed said, Morgan, you can give the rich all the tax cuts you want…but unless the middle class and the poor have enough money to buy products and services..the rich ain’t going to invest that money in any job creation. Your party wants to wholesale believe this “trickle down” bit. Sorry, it has to trickle up. Your party is insisting on giving money to the wrong segment of the economy. Your party and its tax cuts to the rich and its redistributiong the wealth to the rich is just going to put this country into an economic death spiral. And you can sit there and deny it all you want..but the last near 12 years prove what I just said to be correct.

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  8. So that’s what you have to do to make the progressive policies look like they might make some sense: I paraphrase you, get all the important points correct, and oh no there has to be some hair-splitting because I was not sufficiently surgically precise. Even if I get the words right but you meant something else, I’m supposed to pick up on that. Meanwhile, whereas I’m supposed to parse your words with a surgeon’s scalpel, you can use a sledgehammer on mine. Where did I say ObamaCare regulates wages? I didn’t; but so great is your hurry to leap to the Ed Darrel patented “everyone who disagrees with me is an ignorant boob,” it’s okay to just sort of stick it in there. Like Palin seeing Russia from her house. We can all imagine the right-winger saying this stupid thing, so why not just sort of make it up?

    Now, how did you figure out I’ve never heard of the French Revolution? I’m still waiting for a good explanation of that one. Tell me, has Thomas Sowell also never heard of the French Revolution? Has Walter Williams never heard of it? You can tell those two guys apart, by now, right?

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  9. Ed Darrell says:

    But the employer deciding it might pay off to try something new? See, this is a distinction progressives cannot seem to fathom: Henry Ford doing that, does not impose a requirement that all other businessmen in the industry do the same thing. It isn’t like ObamaCare. It’s just one guy giving something a shot.

    Yeah, I know you don’t know anything about Obama’s health care reform.

    There’s no order that any health care worker, anywhere, get paid more money. There’s no government control of any hospital. Government stays out of doctor’s offices and the delivery places of all other health services. Government dictates wages for no one.

    It’s just like when Henry Ford raised his wages while selling cars to the government, especially the Army. It’s called free-market competition — but in our republican, in “pure” definitions, it’s known as a mixed economy.

    You don’t have a clue what the health care plan does. There’s not even a tangential relation to this discussion here.

    I do wish, sometime, you’d pick up an economics books, or the writings of economists, and pay attention. Your policies lead to disaster, according to von Hayek and von Mises. Don’t preach what you’re unwilling to do, or unable to do because you don’t know anything about it.

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  10. Henry Ford, that crabby, not-even-crypto-fascist, got an epiphany and raised pay for his auto workers from about $2.50 a day to $5.00 a day. Conservatives squealed like stuck pigs. Such extravagance.

    And here I was believing the “WWRD?” progressives who insisted that conservatives had been recklessly drifting rightward over the years. Here in twenty eleven, I don’t know of any conservatives who’d squeal like stuck pigs over a business owner doubling the compensation he paid his own employees.

    I do know of a few of them who object when a labor union forces the management of a company to do something like that…when the management says this will cause the company to go under…and then it does…and the so-called “workers” end up out of work…and the democrat politicians blame the “executives” for destroying their own company an the democrat voters believe every word of it. That, I can name a few conservatives who’d object to it. But the employer deciding it might pay off to try something new? See, this is a distinction progressives cannot seem to fathom: Henry Ford doing that, does not impose a requirement that all other businessmen in the industry do the same thing. It isn’t like ObamaCare. It’s just one guy giving something a shot.

    See how I did that? I waited for some strong evidence to come in that people in a certain ideology really don’t know something, before I concluded they can’t perceive it. On the other hand, I’m not following why you think I haven’t heard of the French Revolution…you seem to have leaped to that one, again. Tell me Ed, when’s the last time you said something like “I disagree with that guy’s opinions but I believe he might know what he’s talking about”? It makes me worried when I meet a public schoolteacher who seems not to know how to entertain that simple thought.

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  11. Ed Darrell says:

    Our experience seems to show the economy really takes off when investment makes the most sense.

    Investment in those industries that make jobs, manufacturing, high-level service and low-level service, makes sense when demand is high. Giving money to investors, or protecting their hoards, is not a path to investment.

    Higher demand requires that money be in lots of hands of people who will spend it.

    Oddly, a lot of people who claim to be conservative on economics fail to understand this simple supply-demand equation. Investment works best when demand for a product is high and rising, not when consumers can’t afford to buy anything. General Motors became the world’s biggest corporation by building cars for the hoi polloi, as opposed to Bentley, which handcrafts cars for the filthy rich. GM made a lot more millionaires from stock than did Bentley.

    But of course, consumers had to have enough money to buy a car.

    Henry Ford, that crabby, not-even-crypto-fascist, got an epiphany and raised pay for his auto workers from about $2.50 a day to $5.00 a day. Conservatives squealed like stuck pigs. Such extravagance.

    Ford said later it was the greatest cost-saving idea he ever had, except for when he decided to raise pay to $6.00 a day. Ford wanted to prevent unionization of his workforce, and it aided him there. More importantly, it gave him the choice of autoworkers — he could hire only the best. They worked harder and smarter, and his factories became more productive because he had hard workers who worked smart.

    Then there was the benefit he hadn’t thought about. He crabbed for a few days when he had to add an employee parking lot for the cars his workers had purchased — until the marketing bunch bragged to him that the parking lot was full of new Fords. At $5.00 a day, his workers could afford to buy the cars he made — and did. It opened up new markets. Ford realized that “affordable automobile” didn’t necessarily mean making a cheaper car, but could also mean increasing the wages of the common people.

    It’s simple supply and demand. As Krugman often complains, we’d be a lot better off if conservatives would stick to textbook economics. It’s enough to make one wonder if any conservatives have ever read any economics at all. They don’t know Marx, which we can excuse — but they also don’t know Adam Smith, J. M. Keynes, von Mises, von Hayek, Friedman, Buchanan, nor anyone else.

    Investment when consumers will not buy is stupid. Unless you can provide the rich with stupid juice, so they’ll spend the hoards of cash they have, we need to figure out a way to stimulate purchasing by the poor and middle class. Stopping the gross transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class who can save our economic tail, to the wealthy who won’t, is not just good politics — it will save the tails of the wealthy in the end.

    You’ve never heard of the French Revolution, have you.

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  12. If you’re not affecting the receipts by making taxes more confiscatory, then I don’t see the point.

    Our experience seems to show the economy really takes off when investment makes the most sense. Not just a question of — how many cents on the dollar do I, the investor, get to take home if & when it all pans out; but how much of a sure thing is it, are the onerous regulations going to be kept out of the mix, can I get some reliable, competent help for a reasonable wage without painting a big target for Washington politicians on my fanny.

    There’s more to it than just the taxes; Washington’s power to fix things is in serious doubt here, but its ability to screw things up should not be in question now.

    I have a tee shirt I wear on the weekends sometimes that says “If I could have a dollar for every time capitalism was blamed for a problem the government caused, I’d be a fat filmmaker with a baseball cap.” It’s one of my favorites. But, not being as slim as I was in my twenties, I can’t wear baseball caps with it or people think I might be a filmmaker and misconstrue the message. <frown>

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  13. Colm McGinn says:

    The reason socialism can never get a hold in USA, is that every American believes, that rather than being one of a dispossessed and oppressed ‘underclass’, he is a ‘temporarily embarassed millionaire’ *(Dunno who said that first).

    What was the tax rate in 1955? 1965? 1975? Were those successful years (& decades)?

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  14. Ed Darrell says:

    I mean the public is with Michael Moore with that crackpot comment of his about the “wealth” of the rich people being a “public resource.”

    I don’t think so. I think the public is generally against “wealth redistribution.”

    I think most people are slowly awaking to the problems of the wealth redistribution of the past 20 years, in which the upper 5% and the upper 1% have taken so much from the rest of us, at great cost to our nation’s future and our children.

    Was Moore’s comment “crackpot?” I confess, I have no clue what Moore said. I’ve never seen any of this movies. I do know that economists have worried about the imbalance and maldistribution of wealth in the U.S. We now rank as an official banana republic with regard to wealth distribution — a ranking that usually leads to economic calamity in the nations that rank there. An economy cannot be fueled for more than a few minutes by the rich. People who work for a living deserve to enjoy the fruits of their labor, and denying it to them creates social and economic upheaval, sometimes almost spontaneously.

    You can’t resist the power of a tsunami, really — you need to be on higher ground. Our nation needs to be on economically higher ground, where working people get more of the fruits of their own labor. Government policies that assist in the redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich need to be ended. Stealing from the poor to give to the rich isn’t a formula for long term success, especially in a democratic republic.

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  15. I mean the public is with Michael Moore with that crackpot comment of his about the “wealth” of the rich people being a “public resource.” They’re in his corner on that, and you should be too. Go for it. Make the income tax rate 100% after some income level, and then get a wealth tax started so that those rich people have to get rid of their stuff even if they didn’t make a single dime all year.

    I agree with your friend. Quit being nice. Let’s agree to make the election of 2012 all about — is it okay to earn more money than someone else? And let’s see how the public votes on it.

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  16. sotw2009 says:

    Do you mean, Morgan that Diebold did not tamper with their machines? I thought that’s how they ‘sold’ them to politicians. (Y’know, “A few percent here, a few percent there”)

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  17. I like your friend’s thinking, Ed. I think you should take your advice and write to all the democrats in Congress and in the White House to do the same. Strident, uncompromising, shrill, mean, pugnaciously and unwaveringly Marxist. Make that the new tone, then let the country vote on it.

    Remember, if your side loses it must mean Diebold tampered with the machines.

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  18. I recall that was tried.

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  19. Devona W. says:

    How could we have stopped them?
    How about big guffaws of laughter then stopping and saying, ‘Oh wait, were you serious? Really? Then a barely hidden chuckle and eyes rolling.
    Apply to Talking Heads Sunday Morning television, News Channels, and newspaper columnists.

    Like

  20. How could we have stopped them? Can you stop someone from going insane?

    Like

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