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Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Trump Calls for $500 Billion Infrastructure Stimulus
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  • QET

    Yes, exactly. See, it’s stuff like this that disqualifies Trump, not his immigration stuff.

    • f1b0nacc1

      See the next piece on TAI (“Can the Supreme Court Survive the Next Presidency”) for why this doesn’t disqualify Trump. I don’t like Trump, and I share your disgust at this sort of profligate stupidity, but the SCOTUS is crucial…lose that, and NONE of the rest will matter.

      • QET

        Maybe. The problem is, can we really rely on Trump to appoint right-minded justices? Again, since we know the sort Hillary will appoint, voting for Trump is a rational, calculated and acceptable risk. But it is still a roll of the dice and not a certainty.

        • f1b0nacc1

          True enough, and I stress that I am NOT defending Trump. In this case however, he has provided some specifics about who he *says* he favors for the job, so we can at least assume that there is some reason to believe that he wouldn’t be as bad as HRC. If you assume that that everything that Trump says is an outright lie, then there isn’t much I can respond to, since you have already made up your mind. I don’t have a ton of faith in Trump, but typically when he provides specifics, he has at least made a pretense at sticking with his word. Remember, unless he simply wants to party in the White House, you have to assume that at some point he will need to get some cooperation. Lying 100% of the time will rather quickly undermine any chance of that.
          I am not unaware of how problematic this election is, but if I compare the certainty of what HRC stands for versus the possibility that Trump won’t be as bad, my choice isn’t all that hard. Perhaps this is nothing more than how many bullets do you want to use while playing Russian Roulette, but it is foolish to suggest that there is no difference between 1 bullet and 5. I wish we had a better choice, but the time for that particular wish was months ago, and it is too late now. We have the choice between Trump and HRC….I don’t have any real qualms about how I choose based upon that.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You keep telling us you don’t like Brownback and you don’t like Trump. I think you’re bullsh*tting yourself AND the rest of us. You defend everything substantive about either or both of them. All these disclaimers and qualifiers in your posts are BEYOND silly, you know?

          • QET

            You are assuming that an argument against the argument a #NeverTrumper makes amounts to a positive endorsement of Trump. That is not the case, either logically or substantially.

          • FriendlyGoat

            “Substantially”, the 2016 Republican platform is full of fringe-level nonsense and mumbo-jumbo trickery. You needed “the Donald” to help get it to its present state of ridiculousness. Saying you don’t care so much for him while embracing the rest of the party’s present-day position paper just doesn’t convince me.

          • Dale Fayda

            Tens of thousands of Democrats protested HRC’s nomination in the sweltering heat of Philadelphia, whereas nothing of the kind happened at the RNC.

            Huge numbers of Sanders’ supporters refuse to vote for her: http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-dem-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/04/sanders-supporters-not-vote-clinton-221642. If that’s even partially true, how many millions of Democrat votes will that cost her? The chairwoman, the CEO and assorted other big-wigs of the DNC just resigned in disgrace over revelations that they essentially rigged the Democrat primaries for HRC, used racist slurs in describing their own voters and a lot of other tawdry stuff.

            Over 70% of Wall Street donations in this election cycle had gone to Hillary and just over 5% to Trump – how does that sit with you?

            Additional Wikileaks email dumps about Hillary are likely in the works – hard to make her look any more corrupt than she already is, but may happen.

            Looks to me like there are MILLIONS of Democrat voters who “don’t care” for Shrillary, but will vote for her anyway, because Trump or whatever. You yourself have repeatedly stated your preference for Sanders, but plan to vote for Hillary based on her “agenda”, even though she is clearly the most corrupt female politician in American history. So what’s so hard to understand about QET’s position on Trump?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Mrs. Clinton is not making bizarre policy pronouncements into a world megaphone on a daily basis. Mr. Trump is. That’s just to be an irrelevant detail for conservatives, I suppose.

          • Dale Fayda

            No, she’s just up to her neck in criminality, corruption, graft, cronyism, incompetence and mendacity. It’s remarkable that a single politician can be THAT dirty and that much a failure in everything she’s done, it really is. Other than that, she’s a peach.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Really? I don’t like Trump’s boorishness, and I don’t care for Brownbacks social policies…what is hard to understand about that? As far as some of Trump’s policies (his position immigration, for instance), I have some issues, but I am far, far more comfortable with his position than I am with HRC’s. In a similar manner, while I think that Brownback has done a very poor job cutting spending, I like his position on taxes.
            The key here that I don’t demand (or expect) a politician to be perfect, and even when I can see serious flaws with a given politician, I understand that the dynamics of the system require choice. I can make that choice without having to adore the choice I make….that is what adults do, after all.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Your second paragraph is what we say about Hillary Clinton, of course.

            At the national level this time, Republicans have produced Donald Trump as the nominee, skipping over the Santorum-Walker-Bush-Jindal class of candidates and the Romney and McCain types too. On the left, we see this as something having gone very wrong with Republicanism itself and its supporters. We think that your platform has gone crazy (yes, I have read most of it) and that nothing holds it up anymore except the nut fringe which elevated trash-talking Donald.

          • f1b0nacc1

            And you will note that I have not suggested that most Dems are doing anything other than what you describe by supporting HRC. I don’t attribute it to bad faith, stupidity, etc., yet you seem to feel that the exact same reasoning (by your own admission) is evidence of bad faith….

          • FriendlyGoat

            We have to admit that the various antics and pronouncements of Trump—–taken together—-are far outside the norm of anything seen in recent serious politics. We are going to build an impractical wall, carry out deportations impossible without a Gestapo, give away the tax code but spend more in infrastructure, lay off millions of people while supposedly creating jobs, insult women and minorities, rattle any and all sensible world leaders, celebrate Putin, establish religious tests.
            I mean, the sum of the rhetoric is batsh*t crazy. None of it is backed up by any credible plans. It’s all “Trust me. I’m Donald Trump.”

          • f1b0nacc1

            When did I say that I believe ANYTHING you list above? I have said repeatedly (and as is my wont, at great length….grin…) that I believe only that Trump will be a better chooser of SCOTUS justices, and even that I condition rather heavily. In point of fact I have said that I do NOT believe that Trump will get any (or almost any) of his agenda through congress, as the Dems would block him out of tribalism (note, you can blame the GOP for the same thing with Obama if you really feel the need to engage in ‘whataboutery’), and the GOP wouldn’t support him because he is a buffoon. So now, I am not supporting any of that drivel, and I have said so enough that even you (who obviously do read my posts) should know this.
            In point of fact, it seems to me that ignoring what you couldn’t not possibly be unaware of (unless your reading comprehension is even worse than I assume it to be, which strikes me as highly unlikely not to mention difficult in the extreme) is bad faith. Please, find my quotes supporting Trumps policies as such (not simply in comparison to HRC) with some expectation that they will be implemented…I will happily respond.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I understand you favor conservatism in general politics so I will not try to talk you out of it. And without calling “you” bad faith, I’ll just say that I think there is a problem with the support for Trump being based on those supposed “new voters” BELIEVING the promises he almost certainly cannot get through Congress. To a degree, the same problem existed with Bernie Sanders. But we didn’t nominate our “fringe” guy. The Sanders people will mostly be coming to center-left Mrs. Clinton and your party is stuck with either supporting “the whole Donald” or 1) sitting out, 2) going to Gary Johnson, or 3) voting for Mrs. Clinton (grin—–it ain’t totally loony.
            Michael Bloomberg, Mark Cuban, Warren Buffett and Meg Whitman are already publicly “there”.)

          • f1b0nacc1

            I am waiting for the apology for your comment accusing ME of bad faith…

            Regarding ‘normalizing’ Trump…please, show me who (especially among conservatives) is suggesting that Trump is either ‘normal’ or desirable as a candidate. There are some, to be sure (I repeat, I am not one of them, and I challenge you to find some evidence that I am), but the overwhelming majority of conservatives (as opposed to new voters or otherwise alienated voters looking for populist, hardly a group unique to the Right) regard Trump as little more (often less) than a necessary evil in the face of the much greater threat of HRC. Were the circumstances reversed, and you had Bernie Sanders to defend while the GOP was running someone as obnoxious to you as say, Scott Walker, I suspect you would be making the same calculus, and I certainly wouldn’t blame you for it. Your “three choices” (Trump/Johnson/HRC – I find it interesting that you didn’t mention Jill Stein…are we already airbrushing her out?) really mean “Trump or Clinton”, as a vote for a third party candidate from a voter who ‘ordinarily’ would vote Dem or GOP is simply a vote for the opposite party.

            Bloomberg is quite comfortable with HRC, and I am hardly surprised…after all, by his own admission he was only a Republican as a matter of convenience (he couldn’t win the Dem primary in NYC) while Meg Whitman is a classic RINO if there ever was one. Cuban strikes me as largely apolitical, and Buffet has been a big statist from the word ‘go’ anyway’ (how do you think he made his money in the first place?). You could have mentioned George Will. or virtually anyone at National Review, but that would have undercut your argument that conservatives are ‘normalizing’ Trump.

            This isn’t a situation that almost anyone (I do NOT mean to offend numerous people both here and elsewhere who genuinely support Trump…I don’t share their confidence in him, but reasonable people can disagree) is happy with, but the choice is clear enough. As Winston Churchill said when asked how he could support Stalin vs Hitler in WWII (and yes, I know I use this quote often!), “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favorable reference to His Infernal Majesty in the House of Commons”

          • FriendlyGoat

            The evidence is that you are supporting him while trying to excuse yourself for supporting him. As for apologizing for a term YOU first brought up here (bad faith), uh, no.
            My personal feeling is that the claims of conservatism have been less than “good faith” for 35 years, but you didn’t invent them all personally.

          • f1b0nacc1

            As for supporting him while trying to excuse myself….so you are a mind-reader now? I have made my motives on this (HRC + SCOTUS) plain for months here online…what else do you need?

            Regarding your opinion of conservatism, since you have already pointed out repeatedly that you fundamentally reject what conservatives and libertarians stand for, your opinion of what the movement is (or who is involved with it or how they are involved) really isn’t terribly relevant. I am not passing judgement over those involved in liberalism (which I hold in lower regard than you do conservatism…but that is a different subject), but even then I certainly don’t purport to suggest that because those worthies don’t meet my standards that your embrace of them is dishonest…

            Regarding the ‘decline of conservatism’ … coming from an advocate of a party that includes Bernie Sanders, it is a bit rich. This is a guy who in more enlightened times would be standing on a streetcorner mumbling to himself while mothers snatch their children away to a safe distance. He is YOUR problem though, you deal with him….

            As for Trump…I don’t know how many times I need to explain this to you…I don’t like the guy, he was my last choice (just behind Huckabee, which should give you some idea of how little I care for him), and if the Dems had come up with anybody more acceptable than HRC (and that includes Sanders) I might actually have considered sitting it out. They didn’t, and I live in a swing state, so I will grit my teeth and vote for him. I am not sure why you think I need your ‘forgiveness’….I describe how little I care for him simply because (in a thread you choose to enter) I was talking with a reasonable person who I (incorrectly) felt was ‘disqualifying’ Trump based upon some loose talk.

            You have an interesting habit here of attacking the motives of those you disagree with. I disagree with you, and don’t think you are terribly bright, but I don’t dispute that you honestly believe the nonsense you spout, and in fact believe yourself to be acting according to your principles in doing so. You may be deluded and silly, but you are honest, which is why I engage you in conversation. It seems sad to me that you are unable to reach beyond your own prejudices to consider that someone who disagrees with you might in fact do so for reasons other than simple malice.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The big fibs of conservatism, to me, are on these repetition themes which have been cycling around conservative circles.

            1) The public sector does not make or do anything worth having. Only private-sector free enterprise produces real value.

            2) Therefore we need “small” government. We don’t know or won’t tell you what will be cut off to make government lose weight until it’s in our “operating room”. We’ll let you think it’s a little belly fat (while we get elected), but it’s probably what liberals believe are more like arms and legs. You know, health care, education, elder programs, stuff like that.

            3) Tax cuts create jobs. To pay for the tax cuts, we will cut spending (on jobs) and lay off millions of people who now have more security and benefits than we prefer. (You may assume those jobs will be half replaced by a new call center in your town—–maybe—-depends on how many “incentives” you give to the call center company.)

            4) There is no man-made effect on climate change.

            5) All unions are bad and must be weakened or outright killed.

            6) Because there is a chance that maybe 100 illegal votes have been cast by illegal aliens in recent years, we will change state voter laws in ways that might knock 1,000,000 Democrats out of voting across the country. If you’re 90 and have been voting in your county for six or seven decades—-go find your birth certificate. Otherwise, we can’t tell you from an immigrant.

            7) Obama was probably born in Kenya. Nah, that didn’t work.
            Obama almost certainly is a Muslim.

            There’s more, as you know. You won’t call a crock a crock, but I will and I do. If you don’t feel this should be a “personal” matter, you can always just stop debating me on this stuff.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Actually I strongly agree with #1-6 (or at least the real arguments, not the cartoon straw men you cite), and don’t care about #7. if Obama was born somewhere else, or if he was born in the heart of the US, he is still an incompetent narcissist and an awful president. Of all the possible reasons to object to him, #7 strikes me as the most trivial.
            Regarding the point I made (which wasn’t the one you responded to), whether or not you wish to accept it, there are plenty of people who honestly believe #1-6 (as I do), and aren’t lying or trying to harm anyone. You may think that they are fools (trust me, we return the favor), but that is irrelevant…they do believe what they are saying and can make their arguments based cogently. They might be wrong, as you might be wrong, but that doesn’t make them evil, acting in bad faith, etc. That you feel the need to ignore this and resort to ad hom arguments about the honesty of the individuals involved speaks volumes about the character or your arguments. There is nothing at all personal about debating the various ins and outs of given issues….that is both positive and useful. Deciding that any disagreement about those issues beyond blind adherence to some Manichean truth is by definition dishonesty is simply silly.
            I am willing to engage in debate with anyone who has ideas, and that includes even you. When you decide to argue that disagreement with your religious beliefs is de facto evidence of bad faith, you have stopped arguing and started to assert. Do you honestly see that as useful?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, I believe that the retention of #1 – #7 as “truth” is actually disingenuous for anyone with the capacity and willingness to examine whether they even CAN be true or not. I could excuse some conservatives for not knowing any better, but it’s hard to excuse those with enough capability to know better—-if they looked.
            That’s why, as I told you before, I think most of the conservative mantras are invalid and have been for decades. (“Obama is a Muslim” has only lasted one decade. Voter ID even less).
            Soooo—–if you go on with believing stuff I think is disingenuous, well, I don’t know what to say to you other than “you’re stuck in bad faith” or “we really shouldn’t be pursuing this together” (again, for the second, or third, or fourth or fifth time).

          • QET

            We are saying the same thing, I think.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Likely we are, I believe that my original comment was a response to the phase ‘disqualifies’ in your comment. As long as the SCOTUS is up for grabs, it is difficult for me to imagine what would disqualify Trump.

          • QET

            Right. I should have said “tends to disqualify”.

          • f1b0nacc1

            And in that, we absolutely agree….forgive my pedanticism, it is the stigmata of too much time in academe (grin)….

      • seattleoutcast

        Maybe this ideological impasse will result in Congress or the states ignoring some rulings of the SC and take their usurped power back. I think one of the reasons these appointments are so crucial is because SCOTUS has far more power than it is supposed to have.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Perhaps so, but such struggles are rarely pleasant to live through. Remember, in the scenario you envision, the levers of power will be firmly in the hands of the Dems (and HRC specifically), who aren’t known for their adherence to any particular principles other than raw power to the victors. You also assume that Congress would win…
          It is always better to live AFTER the purifying struggle, than DURING it…

          • seattleoutcast

            I do foresee the federal government limiting funds to states who refuse to play along. Are there any states up to this? What would Washington and Colorado do if the feds put their thumbs down on those states’ marijuana laws?

            I think that is one reason why Texas is taking back their gold. It would help them survive the lean times.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Of course Congress has the power of the purse, but what happens when a president “with a pen and a phone” simply bypasses them? Obama did that with the exchanges, and Congress, fractured and impotent, refused to stop him. Short of the mass death of all Democratic congressthings (devoutly to be wished, but ultimately unlikely), it is unlikely that the Legislature would or even could act to stop an ambitious president backed by a compliant court.

            Oh we can imagine lots of ugly scenarios, but as I said earlier…living through the struggle isn’t nearly as much fun as looking back on it…

          • Boritz

            Texas recently limited the operation of some abortion doctors and clinics. The limits were struck down by the courts and the clinics were back in business. What would refusing to play along entail in this case? Padlock their doors? Is there any doubt federal troops would be deployed if the state defied the ruling?

          • seattleoutcast

            I don’t know. Will Washington back down if they were told to shut down the pot shops? We’ll see. But if a few states start putting up a fight, more will follow. Frankly, I don’t see it happening because the populace will scream the second their creature comforts are sacrificed for a little bit of liberty, and that is saddening.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Interesting scenario. Federal troops to defend an abortion clinic might be a step to far even for the current Dems, though I doubt it. The real question is how far would the state (in your example Texas) be willing to go? It is one thing to send Federal Marshals (likely the first step in a state/fed confrontation), but would the feds (or the state) go the next step and actually use force? Even a victory (for either side) would discredit the leadership on both sides, and likely lead to even more radical action taken.
            Keep in mind that Federal resources are limited, and the government isn’t entirely unitary. This could spin out of control very, very quickly, and in all sorts of unpleasant (and unforeseen) ways…

  • seattleoutcast

    Let’s begin by repealing the Davis-Bacon Act. That will save a ton of money. The last time labor costs for a publicly funded project was below prevailing wages was probably the 1950s.

  • Greg Olsen

    Trump has taken a page from Larry Summers’ secular stagnation hypothesis. The idea is that the reason we have a “new normal” in the developed world is a failure of demand. Savings are too high and investment is too low because of demographic changes and the amount of investment required to create value. Software has changed the equation. When value was in things, you had to invest in factories to make things. When the thing is virtual no such comparable level of investment is required. (I would add that affluence has also raised the consumption of entertainment and similar diversions at the expense of things.) Government borrowing can substitute for the lack of demand only in the short run because the bill always comes due because it steals consumption from the future, unless you fund it in such a way that the debt is destroyed, like selling treasuries directly to the Fed, who by law recycles interest back to the Treasury, or the debt is perpetual.

    There is a tremendous maintenance deficit in public infrastructure–sewers in America’s cities are 100+ years old now, bridges are at risk of falling, highways are crumbling, etc. But as TAI has pointed out over and over, in the United States public spending on infrastructure is highly inefficient. Nor should it be treated like helicopter money with a Keynesian multiplier greater than one. Most reliable estimates is that the multiplier is closer to 0.8. So unless Trump is able to seize power like an autocratic Latin American caudillo, suspend regulations by fiat, ban public unions, the proposal will fail.

  • Fat_Man

    It is OK. Tommorrow he will have some other flatus vocis. It will be an equally meaning less noise. There is no call to waste electrons analyzing anything Trump says. He says everything, and he waits until he gets a reaction.

    • adk

      Very true. And typically he gets a reaction when he insults someone and they respond.

      As for the substance of his “proposal”, whatever happened to the last one trillion stimulus that was supposed to fund a lot of “shovel ready” infrastructure projects?

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