Everything The So-Called Tea Party Thinks It Knows Is Wrong

The so-called tea partiers love to say Obama is a failed president, using the one mind and one voice they all share. They claim he doesn’t know anything about how our country works or how our economy works, but they never really say specifically what proof they have that he doesn’t know how either works.

Being a Constitutional scholar and editor of the Harvard Law Review and all, I’d say Obama knows more about our country than all these so-called tea partiers with their one mind and voice—put together.  So that lays that assertion to rest.

But what about the economy? A trickier issue to address—but let’s go ahead anyway.  Yes, unemployment at a fictional 8.3% is high, but Obama for the most part has no control over it.  You see, over a year ago he sent a comprehensive jobs bill to John Boehner, the Speaker of the House.  And what action has Boehner taken on it in over a year? Nothing. Zilch.  Or he might have taken the action of stuffing it in a lower desk drawer and locking it up, or he may have round filed it.  Accidents sometimes happen.  Boehner preferred the Republican jobs plan to Obama which is…well, we don’t really know what it is because it’s never been put down in writing.  It’s more of an oral tradition type of thing, where the lore of this Republican jobs bill is handed down from the elders to the so-called tea party Congress members who refuse to consider it anyway. So it’s more of an idea than an actual bill.  But based on the research by independent economists, the Republicans’ job idea would do little, if nothing, to create any jobs.  As for the jobs plan of their supposed presidential nominee Mitt Romney, well, we don’t know? He’s all about creating jobs but has yet to specify how he would do it. For a possible clue, see the Republican economic idea a few paragraphs below.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/republican-jobs-bills_n_1687647.html

But since this is a story reported by that lefty digital rag The Huffington Post, so-called tea partiers will poo poo it as partisan, even though non-partisan economists all agreed on the results.  The Obama plan could put a million unemployed people back to work, which isn’t nearly enough, but it’s more than the Republicans would do.

As for the economy, the Dow closed at 13,168.60 today.  The NASDAQ closed at 3015.86, and the S&P closed at 1401.35. On January 20, 2009, the day Obama was sworn into office, the Dow closed at 7949.09; the NASDAQ at 1440.86, and the S&P at 805.23—all three indexes had fallen sharply from the day before. So, looking at today’s numbers, for those in the so-called tea party who are math-challenged, the higher numbers indicate that the stock market averages are almost twice as high (more than twice with the NASDAQ).  This would indicate a far stronger stock market than the day Obama took office, which means the money guys who decide and control these things think that Obama’s doing a pretty good job, considering that he’s doing it all alone and despite the obstruction of the Congressional Republicans.

As far as the Republican economic idea? Again—nothing in writing. And again, their supposed presidential nominee Romney has not detailed any specifics for his economic ideas.  But give it to the Republicans and their oral tradition where they have to keep concepts simple to avoid a game of Telephone when handing their lore down from one generation to another.

The Republican economic/jobs creation idea has two simple components:  1. No taxes on the rich and corporations.  2. No regulations on business.

That’s it. Simple to remember and to pass on to the young so-called tea partiers. Except how do no taxes on the rich and corporations and no regulations on business create jobs? The Republicans and Mitt Romney will get back to us on that one AFTER the presidential election—trust them.

So, we’ve got a sitting president who’s a constitutional scholar AND has a jobs plan and a fairly good economy seeing as how he’s done it all himself.  Not saying I agree with all of Obama’s economic policies, but they’re nothing that another massive stimulus and jobs plan wouldn’t fix.

When you look logically at the Republicans’ economic/jobs idea logic doesn’t look back at you in return. If you lower or eliminate taxes on the rich and corporations, how do you replace all that lost revenue? You can’t because the middle class only have so much they can give from their mainly minimum wage jobs and unemployment benefits.  George W. Bush lowered taxes and by the time he left office the economy was bleeding 700,000 jobs a month. And I already told you where the stock market was.  That bleeding has stopped and has even been reversed under Obama, but any president can only do so much with the entire Republican-controlled Congress against him.  And make no mistake—the Republicans control both chambers by a majority in the House and by filibuster in the Senate.  John Boehner, his boss Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell are the three men responsible for the 8.3% fictional unemployment rate while the stock market thrives in spite of their best efforts to drown it in a bathtub along with the federal government.

Of course the so-called tea party will believe nor accept none of this—but there is one way both could be achieved.  How do I get this blog post on Fox?

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Paul Krugman Keeps It Simple For Stupid People

I’m going to borrow a phrase from Paul Krugman’s excellent book. “End This Depression Now!”: “Your spending is my income and my spending is your income.”

Yes, it’s that simple.  So when John Boehner claims “We’re broke” and insists on cutting federal government spending, when President Obama buys into this, when the banks refuse to lend out money, when  the Irish and British governments but themselves on an austerity diet, when Angela Merkel of Germany puts the monetary  screws to Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc., they’re all missing that obvious, simple point.  In order for people to spend money, they have to have money.

So with this simple logic, how illogical is it for Boehner and the Republicans to insist on cutting unemployment benefits, food stamps, cash aid, Social Security, government spending on infrastructure repair, public works projects, light rail and high speed rail projects, and for Republican governors to refuse to accept federal funds for these projects? The answer is incredibly as well as stupid as well as venal.  Boehner’s and the Republicans’ only objective in cutting spending (and the deficit) is to keep unemployment high and GDP low so that Obama is held to a mere four years in office.  Yes, it’s that simple.

In any recession or all-out depression, the only way out is to put money into people’s pockets so they can go out spending—and saving—thus infusing cash into the economic system, which is like filling up a car’s gas tank with fuel so that it can run at top speed for another several hundred miles (or charging up your Chevy Volt to get another 50 miles down the road).  The only reason why the 2009 $787 billion Obama stimulus package was not nearly as successful as it would have been is that it was substantially lower  than the $1.8 trillion that his former chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisors Christine Romer insisted that it should have been—at a minimum.  Think of it this way: if someone hands you $50 or $150, which amount will enable you to buy more stuff?

It’s in vogue for right wing economists to denigrate John Maynard Keynes. That’s because his theories work and theirs don’t, and those right wing economists aren’t working for people, they’re working for corporations who are people too, my friend. They’re working for the Kochs, for the Murdochs, for the Adelsons, for any filthy lucre-rich old white guys you’ve got.

“Your spending is my income and my spending is your income.”  The simple, basic truths in life have a beautiful symmetry to them.  Boehner and Merkel can probably not be taught that the less money government infuses into its economic system, the less money people will plow back into it.  This notion of austerity totally forgets the concept of profits, which is what helps a market grow.  You grow or make something for $5 and sell it for $10, you’ve got $5 more to re-invest in your business or perhaps you take that profit and spend it at someone else’s business, which means they need to buy more product and hire more people to sell it, and more people are hired to deliver the products and more money flows on down the line. And this is what Obama was saying if you look at his complete, in context statement about small businesses not growing by themselves. There’s a whole bunch of interdependencies going on, and infrastructure, security, utilities, and what I’ve already mentioned are all part of it.

I know that people who watch and listen to Fox will never get economic theory but this is a simplified as I can make it. The Republicans and right wing economists, heads of state like Merkel all want to protect a small, wealthy class by keeping as large a class of other people poor.  Poor people do what they’re told so that they don’t lose what little they have.  Poor people look up to wealthy people because they have to be touched by the hand of God to have become so rich. Poor people worship rich people, until that worship turns to envy, which turns to resentment, which turns to anger, which turns to revolution, which results in the overthrow of the ruling class and the redistribution of wealth. Well, mostly anyway.

But we don’t need to take it as far as all that.  Just repeat the simple, friendly mantra to your Fox fan friends and maybe they’ll get it along with all of you: “Your spending is my income and my spending is your income.” Thank you, Paul Krugman.

The (Un) Liberal Media

Talk about your corporate media bias against Obama, notice the opening line of the ABC OTUS story posted on Yahoo:

http://news.yahoo.com/boehner-charges-ahead-contempt-resolution-holder-155737438–abc-news-politics.html

“After a last-ditch appeal by the White House fell flat Tuesday…”  It’s a carefully worded partisan statement by writer John Parkinson/ABC OTUS News to make it appear that Obama is flailing and impotent against the might of John Boehner.  Look at the headline:  “Boehner Charges Ahead on Contempt Resolution for Holder”.  No flailing impotency on Boehner’s part there.  And the final, cliché partisan comment: “The contempt resolution passed out of committee strictly down party lines…” See? Politics as usual.  Not a word of the backstory to the whole thing to put the contempt witch hunt in perspective.

This is a textbook example of how the right wing-controlled corporate media controls and frames the message to the uneducated voter.

The End Of Austerity

http://www.thomhartmann.com/blog/2012/05/socialist-wins-french-presidency-and-greece-likely-quit-eurozone

With the victory of the Socialist candidate Francois Hollande over French President Nicholas Sarkozy, it signals the beginning of the end of right wing-imposed economic austerity programs around the world. Germany’s Angela Merkel, as head of the strongest economy in Europe, has been leading this austere assault on the not-so-strong economies of countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland in return for loans with which to pay their bills.

Problem is, the poor and middle class don’t like essential services getting cut, and certainly don’t like having to pay higher taxes to get their countries back in the black while those who caused the flow of all that red ink get tax breaks and bonuses while shoveling all their cash into hidden offshore tax havens.

Like all economic conservatives, Merkel and her ilk believe the only in austerity for the poor and not themselves. Someone name one government perk Merkel has eschewed as Chancellor of Germany. OK, time’s up and you couldn’t anyway. Same goes for every member of the legislative bodies throughout Europe and the United States. With them, it’s do as I say because I don’t have to.

Throughout economic history, austerity has never worked to balance budgets because, despite the lies told by those heads of state, and the Republican Party here, cutting spending to social programs never balances the budget—never.  Anyone who tries to balance their household checkbook knows that when expenses exceed income you must do two things: cut discretionary spending (spending on luxury and fun items), and bring in more money.

On a national level, the discretionary spending on fun and luxury items are the tax breaks for the rich and the corporations, subsidies on things like oil and corn, and defense. The savings from doing just those few things would not only balance the budget but to a long ways toward paying down the deficit.  In a time of depression, which the US is currently in, common sense and historical precedent shows you INCREASE spending on essentials like repairing infrastructure, job training and creation, and social services. You put spending money in the pockets of the poor—you don’t take it away. You spend money on preventive health care which is much cheaper than paying to treat illness. You spend money on regulatory agencies because it’s much cheaper to prevent a coal mine or an offshore oil rig from blowing up than it is to bury the dead and clean up the mess.

And the thing is, regular people don’t like to have to do without while the rich guys do as they please.  John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Paul Ryan most likely dress in $2500 Armani business suits bought with taxpayer dollars, fly first class with airfare paid for with taxpayer dollars, and eat in the finest restaurants and stay in 5-star hotels, all paid for my taxpayer dollars; well, except for the times when lobbyists pick up the tab, so maybe not as many taxpayer dollars are being spent as we think.

Globally, people have had it with this austerity crap. They’ve rioted in Greece and London, and the Occupy movement has taken hold worldwide as well.  People are finally asking for their piece of the pie instead of looking through the window at the rich eating all of theirs.

The election of a Socialist leader in France might just presage the conservatives being tossed out every else where there are truly free elections. It could also happen here in the United States.

It’s the New World Order, all right.  It’s just not the new world the political conservatives had in mind.

Fiddler On The White House Roof

Did President Obama just play the Republicans like a honky tonk fiddle?  According to Lawrence O’Donnell on his MSNBC show “The Last Word”, Obama is the best budget negotiating president in history.  He allowed John Boehner and Eric Cantor to come up with the monumentally stupid concept of the Super Committee, made up of 3 House Republicans, 3 House Democrats, 3 Senate Republicans, 3 Senate Democrats, and co-chaired by a Republican and a Democrat.  Everyone but the Republicans could see the train wreck deadlock coming: 12 committee members divided equally be political party. 2 equal and opposing teams mandated to cut the budget deficit by $1.5 trillion.  Where was the tie-breaking vote? Because it was obvious there would be a 6-6 deadlock, well maybe not if pseudo Senate Democrat Max Baucus defected to the other side like he was wont to do (which in this case he didn’t). The President wasn’t allowed to sit on the committee nor Vice-President Joe Biden, as he would serve as the tie breaker in his capacity as President of the US Senate. And it could have been Cantor (Boehner was definitely not the brains of the House outfit) or Reid who came up with the poison pill section triggering a $900 billion down payment January 2013 (safely after the 2012 elections) should the committee stalemate on its November 23, 2011 deadline with an additional $1.2 trillion in budget cuts to follow that.

So, while all of us liberals were wringing our hands and cursing Obama’s name for agreeing to this budget compromise in return for the Republicans voting to lift the debt ceiling last August, we missed the secret smile on his face as he signed the bill into law saying, “Bring it” and then sat back and played the waiting game.  And the committee did not disappoint him. It crashed and burned.  Half of the $1.2 trillion in the budget deficit reduction would come from defense spending cuts. Republicans despise defense spending cuts as much as they despise tax increases. So, the Republicans immediately started making noises of rescinding some of the automatic cuts.  Obama’s response was firm and swift: “My message to them is simple: No. There will be no easy offramps on this one.”  I was surprised he was able to stifle the giggle and maintain his stoneface.  Obama said he will veto all bills that would reverse the cuts. And then, he plays his hole card: he’s going to give Congress another chance to pass his American Jobs Act. This after Boehner has gone public with barely discernible grunts about possibly maybe seeing the necessity to increase tax revenues somehow. The AJA just happens to include modest tax increases on the wealthy.

So despite the attempted spin by Fox and Congressional Republicans to blame it all on Obama and the Democrats, America can plainly see that once again it was the Republicans who dragged their feet and brought the merry-go-round to a stop by refusing to raise taxes on their 2% masters. American liberals will remember through clenched teeth that Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid program cuts were on the table—but perhaps unclench them upon learning that the automatic trigger and the AJA spare those programs.

So, chalk up another victory for Obama, to stand beside the killings of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, and the liberation of Libya from Muammar Gaddafi. But no time to take a victory lap because next month both the payroll tax cuts and extended unemployment benefits expire and opposing their extensions if the Bush tax cuts aren’t also extended will be the next line in the sand the Republicans draw. So, Obama will be returning to the poker table, and we’ll see if he still knows how to hold ‘em or if he’ll fold ‘em.

Lord Boehner

In olden days, Boehner’s story would have been told as a Shakespearean-like play. Coddled rich boy grows up in his Lord father’s castle, dreaming of being a Lord himself someday. He serves as an officer in his father’s army and eventually inherits Dad’s lorddom. He joins forces with another lord’s army and together they go off to wage war against the King. Boehner quickly finds out he’s not Lord material, suffers a devasting loss after his soldiers turn against him and depose him from command. He limps back home, only to find out his people don’t want him back as Lord either. He opens a small tavern in town because when he’s drunk around drunken people, life isn’t so bad. The end.

Boehner’s a classic example of someone who’s ambition overreached his abilities. Had he been content to stay a regular garden-variety Congressman, his job would still be secure, possibly but not probably after the 2012 elections. But, he HAD to be Speaker Of The House. One of Clint Eastwood’s famous movie lines was “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Boehner obviously didn’t, but President Obama and Eric Cantor both obviously did. They each gave Boehner enough rope to hang himself, although Obama kept offering to use the rope on himself. Boehner lived up to both their expectations and now his political career hangs there, turning slowly in the wind. This really wouldn’t have made a very good play because everyone in the audience could already guess the ending before they took their seats. But, fortunately for America, the sequel to Lord Boehner, Lord Boehner II, The Fall of Lord Cantor, is the same exact story with the same exact ending. Republicans never did have any new ideas.