2012: Suddenly, A Historic Election?
Published on: August 12, 2012
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  • He’s often dubbed a “numbers guy.” Unfortunately, many of Paul Ryan’s numbers are irrational, negative, or imaginary.

  • Corlyss

    Don’t think the country is ready to confront the about the sacrifices people will have to make to reign in government spending at all levels. The voters have shown no signs of being willing to sacrifice their own benefits, which is what it will take. All the Dems have to do to win this election is get the Republicans in a position of “educating” the public and it will be a walk off for Obama.

  • SC Mike

    In describing the RR approach it’s more precise to use the phrase “tax rate” for the cuts they envision. Overall their goal is to recognize Hauser’s law for the fact that it is: “no matter what the tax rates have been, in postwar America tax revenues have remained at about 19.5 percent of GDP.”

    Note that this sounds like a restatement of the Laffer curve and it is a connection. But while the Laffer curve is a theoretical insight, Hauser’s law is a solid fact, see the article linked above for the damning data.

    Among the conclusions than can be drawn is that one increases tax revenue by increasing the GDP. That argues for lower tax rates to stimulate growth while the taxman taketh 19.5% of a larger pie.

    Hauser’s law also implies that raising tax rates reduces GDP, thereby reducing tax revenue. You still collect your 19.5%, but it’s from a smaller pie.

    If you really want to strangle growth, keep all tax rates where they are and add a VAT. This is a trick we learned from the old country. Works like a charm.

  • Captain Kirk

    This ain’t rocket science folks…the ‘Special Interest State era’ is about to end. It will either be turned back by rational voters or by economic collapse created by the weight of competing interests as they destroy the national treasury. Fortunately Romney has recognized this and picked a budget hawk as a running mate. Dems may be licking their chops but the truth here is they are in a lose – lose situation. If they lose the election it will mean the public has repudiated the ‘blue social model’…if Obama wins the election, the blue social model will only collapse faster.

  • Laka

    Buy now, pay nothing for six months! Boy, did that ever sell a lot of TV’s! Everybody loves that great feeling of being able to take home the goods.

    But now that TV isn’t so shiny anymore, and the bill is about to arrive, and one way or another, you’re going to have to pay for it.

    Lots of people know that sinking feeling, too. Mom and Dad aren’t buying stuff for you anymore. You buy it, you own it, you pay for it.

    The Blue Model is no payments for 30 years instead of six months. The Blue Model is someone else will pay for your stuff, not Mom and Dad, maybe, but it’s those rich people who will. More realistically, your kids will have to pay for the stuff you bought.

    Christmas is over and the January bills are in the mail. The message inside isn’t going to say “This is an effort to collect a debt.” It’s going to say “That green paper you used to send us isn’t worth anything anymore. We’re done supporting you bums.”

    When this happens to real people, they make a decision: Either they resolve never to be in that situation again and start to budget themselves, or, they continue the behavior that makes them face the bill collectors over and over. Which one of these decisions did you make? Which one is the Blue Model?

  • jd

    Does anyone remember the old Paul Newman movie Slap Shot?
    The movie was made in 1977 before Reagan was President.
    In the movie, the players start doing crazy things that mkes the team popular and the team starts to make money.
    Unfortunatly, the owner bought the team to Loose Money for Tax Purposes.
    What people discovered after the Reagan Tax Reform was – When it became less expensive to pay the taxes than to shelter the money, people paid the Taxes.

    That’s why Hauser’s Law works the way it does.

  • Tom

    Just to short circuit the inevitable (and because I honestly don’t want to read either of these two again, seeing as they repeat themselves over and over in increasingly long posts), let me sum up what thibaud and Jacksonian Libertarian will likely say in the comment section:

    Thibaud: Romney’s going to lose because Paul Ryan’s budget will destroy the middle class and the American people know it, America needs to be more like the Netherlands, Sweden, and Canada and go to a single-payer health care system, the Tea Party will destroy America’s power if it is allowed to be in control, the blue model’s problems are all in the implementation, and WRM is clueless about domestic politics.

    Jacksonian Libertarian: Romney/Ryan will save the country and move us back toward the capitalistic system that made the USA great, and Obama must and will be defeated.

  • mlindroos

    > But if both parties are offering a
    > clear vision of their values, I’m
    > not yet sure that either party has what
    > the voters want most. From the Democrats,
    > they want some idea about how the entitlement
    > state and the blue social model more
    > broadly can actually be preserved.

    Sounds like Paul Ryan has just made their task a lot easier… Ryan/Romney have decided to put their cards on the table, and they are: massive tax cuts for the rich and massive [non military] spending cuts affecting government services that the middle/working class voters have grown accustomed to. I hear Bill Clinton is going to play a major role at the Democratic convention in North Carolina. Is there a better spokesman/attack dog for responsible but moderate tax hikes and welfare reform?

    It is certainly true there are no easy answers out there. But the Clintons (assuming Hillary and Biden swap jobs, which remains far fetched but not impossible) have a good track record dealing with anxious white working class Democrats and centrists. I expect the Obama campaign will pivot toward the political center now since Romney/Ryan will pursue a policy of “fierce conservatism”.

  • Preston Pate

    The battle has been joined. The stalemate in Congress demonstrates the incompatibility of the competing Democratic & Republican points of view. One side needs to win so that we as a country can move on to try and address the deep structural problems that have accumulated over the years. Whether you are talking about Social Security, healthcare, agricultural subsidies or even defense spending, I personally feel that we have have grossly over-promised what can be provided given current revenues. Unless this can be brought to heel, we enter into a legitimate discussion about to re-order society in a way that allows us to achieve the most good with the resources available. We will be left with financing our current standard of living by mortgaging our children’s future. This is an immoral bargain. All the campaigning to this point amounts to sniping and skirmishing. By selecting Ryan, Mr. Romney has chosen the field of battle. While this may not be enough to ensure victory, it represents a huge tactical advantage that President Obama will have a hard time neutralizing.

  • Wes

    The adults versus the children.

  • Laka

    Hey everybody, Tom’s erudition just fulfilled any possible further discussion, so everybody, just shut up.

  • Brazilian

    Hey, Felipe, stick to your “Sao Paulo elite” phantasies – it seems you’re the one thinking irrationally…

  • Rovi

    “Intellectuals (and I suppose that also includes low lifes like bloggers)”

    How true, blogging has become lying and hoping for followers.

  • Douglas6

    The Democrats’ problem is not only that they can’t explain how “to pay for all the programs they want to protect and extend.” It’s that they have no program to promote economic growth. Every Democratic program is based on leveling, on sharing the wealth. None are based on creating wealth. Indeed, wealth creators are the new Enemy of the State. We’ve now seen where that takes us – to permanent unemployment in high double digits (counting as we should all those who have dropped out of the labor force) and no future for scads of young people.

    Free market capitalism may suffer from booms and busts, but at least it produces economic growth. We would be much better off with the Hong Kong model (or the 19th century American model) versus the Greek or Spanish model.

  • Ron

    Boils down to the American way or that of Prez Zero

  • Edmund Burke

    This analysis sounds a lot like the one preceding the Walker recall. It turned out there that the Dems were both not very enthusiastic and not solidly opposed to Walker. I also don’t think Romney has to offer a persuasive alternative to Obama; when the current NFL coach has gone 0-16, you want a new coach, period. The Dems “people like getting free stuff” is as old news as the pre-94 claim that “they don’t like Congress, but they love their current Dem representative” (also disproved in 2010). 40% of even *union households* voted for Walker; a majority of the entire electorate are *not* (as the Dems fervently believe) lazy, stupid bums who just want a government check or food stamps. Mencken might disagree, but Obama will lose (and worse than Carter) because he has *underestimated* the work ethic of Americans.

  • cacrucil

    “Electorally, there is one more way in which the Ryan selection looks smart. Unless the campaign goes very badly awry, Ryan is likely to strengthen the GOP ticket among Catholics and in the Midwest..”

    In your dreams Mead. The Catholic Bishops – who the GOP love when it comes to abortion – totally trashed his budget. This choice indicates that Romney is losing; if he thought he was going to win, he would have picked someone less controversial.

    Take heart though. The economy is going to continue to stink regardless of who is elected, and thus by the end of the Obama Presidency, the Dems will be in ruins. It seems like our problems, which are driven by an anemic growth rate and high unemployment, are here to stay regardless of who is elected. Our budget deficit wouldn’t be as big a deal if we could increase economic growth, as fmr. President Bush 43 has said recently.

    I really believe that being out of power is a blessing for the GOP. If Romney wins, everyone will hate him as much as they hate Obama within a few years. The USA is becoming like a South American country with an all powerful elite, a small middle class – which is chiefly comprised of people in the non tradable sector – and a large and growing group of people with low wage jobs, no job security, and no retirement savings.

  • Eric from Texas

    I’ll disagree with WRM on this one. One of the biggest issues, one that he has repeated a number of times in other essays but seems to be missing in this analysis, is how the Dems plan to adjust to a more decentralized, competitive world of the 21st Century. The libertarian impulse of the Tea Party fits into this new world – that the “top-down, trust us, we’re experts” approach to social and economic policy is an inept, wasteful anachronism – but I’m not sure the political class as a whole has grasped the implications. At least the Republicans are willing to discuss the reality of what can’t be sustained will fail, and that rewarding individual initiative does benefit all. The President might win the election by default, but he’ll be in deep trouble when trying to confront the massive unintended consequences of Obamacare and the lame attempts to revive the corpse of the Blue Social Model, without leveling wth the public about the tradeoffs ahead.

  • Dwight

    OMG! I’ve been trolling some sites trying to get reactions to Ryan’s selection and all it is is name calling and talking points. This looks like a real site where folks aren’t name calling. How refreshing!

    My hat is off to you all!

  • “For the Obamians… Bad, selfish people have dismantled the regulations… reckless rich nincompoops have driven the national economy… into the ditch.”

    I wish you hadn’t attempted to put these wrong-headed and mean-spirited insults into the mouths of people who never said them. Certainly Obama never said fiscal conservatives were “bad people” or “rich nincompoops”.

    Other than those lines, I thought this was a pretty fair-minded presentation of the ideologies involved.

  • EscondidoSurfer

    All Romney/Ryan can do is stop the momentum of the blue state model and return to the rule of law. That is enough for me. No Congress will make big, necessary changes until they are forced to-when the wheels fall off and they have no choice.

  • Kris

    “Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, ‘How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!'”

    Time for the American people to speak.

  • Ed Luszcz

    Hey, trickle down economics are the ones that work. Markets always work, and ONLY markets work. Enabling the rich powers the middle class, period. Second it’s “An Historic”, not “A Historic”. Look it up.

  • Phil

    Beautiful words. And if all goes well, predictive as well. But I see three problems: voter fraud, financial event, and war. The list of things that could also impact this election is long. Do fifty percent plus 1 of the people really feel entitled to government benefits regardless of cost? The price of gas itself could turn the election.

    I guess they could be called externalities, to be ignored. But I think not.

  • Glenn and Katy Koons

    Ryan gives adult mature Americans reality, facts, stats. BHO and Joe plus Dirty Harry give Americans perks, hoping for more takers and non-producers so that hard decisions will not have to be made until these leftists tear down American free enterprise and punish us enough so we are really really equal to every other 3rd world nation. Frankly, We will take facts over lies and smears and vote Romney-Ryan and every conserv Pub we can even though we live in the soviet republic of Ca. You know, the state Bama loves because it now represents his vision of lostness.

  • Andrew P

    This pick does more than make the election a direct competition between opposing ideologies. It also moves it away from personal combat. I have been expecting Obama to fulfill the meme he has been broadcasting in ads that “Romney is a tax felon”, by actually indicting Romney and locking him up without bond before the election. In other words, doing exactly what Putin did to Khordorkovsky in 2004. Now that the election is a head to head philosophical contest, and with a heavy hitter like Ryan as Veep, locking Romney up could actually diminish Obama’s chances of winning. Also, Obama will be convinced he can win the philosophical argument directly, and this sould dissuade him from heavy-handed Putinesque tactics.

    Of course, if the polls turn very badly against Obama in October, he might pull the Putin tactics out of reserve and use them.

  • Nov2012 will be a referendum on whether the looter/plunder out number the worker/saver. I am taxed to imagine that looters outnumber us.

  • Bob Alou

    It’s quite depressing to read the readers’ “Comments” section both here and under similar articles.

    There’s no way that many of these commenters ever took “Econ 101”.

    I guess that’s what our current leadership is counting on.

    Three groups:

    1). CEOs; big business; the rich;
    2). Private sector workers;
    3). Government.

    It’s not 2 and 3 versus 1. That’s Obama’s “class warfare.”

    It’s 1 and 2 versus 3. Government lives off 1 and 2 and can’t live any other way because government only consumes and does not produce.

    1 and 2 ARE the private sector. If you tax 1, group 2 pays when they go shopping – right? Higher taxes on Costco are paid for by Costco shoppers. All taxes fall on labor.

    Obama wants us to believe 2 and 3 are on the same side battling a ruthless 1. But it’s really 1 and 2 (private sector) versus 3 (government). Yep. It’s that simple folks.

    I’m certain Obama and his advisors know the economic realities here and are counting on electorate stupidity to win.

    You simply can’t have the government take money earned by the private sector and then spend it with any expectation the economy will improve. Want proof: Look at the last four years and the last $5 trillion.

  • sjl2112

    Edmund Burke – how I wish you were correct. I wouldn’t extrapolate from the Wis. results. They merely reflect the limited stakes.

    The Federal Government is the real sugar daddy and he will not be repudiated by the huge mass of Dependents and big-Government hustlers who constitute the new Majority.

    Captain Kirk above has it right. The Left can pass all kinds of laws, but it cannot repeal the law of compound interest. $15 Trillion of debt is a lot of money. It’s $100,000 per working American. Half of those working pay no Federal income tax.

    So we owe $200,000 per Federal tax-paying, working American. Getting past all the rhetoric and B.S., it’s just that simple. Who the hell is going to pay?

  • Eric F

    Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare are consuming a larger and larger percentage of federal and state budgets. Democrats approach is do nothing. At least Republicans are offering solutions.

  • PBC

    Just reaffirms a California v Wisconsin showdown this November with more fireworks than the London Olympics. Which direction/choice do you the voter choose? California or Wisconsin? If you choose wrong, the creditors will have their vote in the near future.

  • Ellen K

    From the squealing on the morning talkers, it’s evident that the idea of having someone who not only has a background in economics, but who has depth of knowledge on why and how the Obama economy has failed is a solid hit. It may not be the “smart” choice, but frankly I think many many people are tired to death of being told how “smart” or “popular” or “fair” various decisions are when they do little but make the economy worse. As someone who has watched her husband struggle for two years in an economy where men over fifty are not wanted, I am ready for real change and fresh ideas. Bring it on.

  • charla

    Good article, but some typo “Indeed, the more widely Dems denounce Ryan as an extremist, they more they undercut the very telling line of attack that Romney is a man without convictions who will say and do anything to get elected.”

  • R. L. Hails Sr. P. E.

    Too many working Americans are unemployed, lost their house, lost hope, expect no change, and are clinging to their guns and bible. Obama will lose, his track record stinks. Ryan will not be a big factor until he becomes VP, and maybe not then.

  • thibaud

    Giggle. Mead at his worst. Let’s take note of the fantasies and fibs in this post, one by one:

    1. Mead: “There are other constituencies with a stake in the status quo.”

    That would include Congressman Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, WI, which has a stake in federal highway appropriations and federal funding for melanoma research. A huge stake, one that Rep. Ryan architected.

    2. Mead; “The more this looks like a gutsy, bold and ideological choice, the more Mitt Romney looks like a bold and principled leader rather than a flip flopping politician.”

    Utterly ridiculous. Romney argues that only someone untainted by Washington can lead the country out of its hole – so he chooses someone whose ENTIRE CAREER has been spent in Washington!

    Mead says Romney’s selection of Ryan shows he’s not a flip-flopper. This comes just two days after Romney’s own spokesperson defended Romney’s entitlement healthcare program – the very type of program that Romney’s running mate says is immoral and should be scrapped.


    3. “stable employment at good wages for most people in the US… For Obama and Biden, that kind of America is what Frank Fukuyama called the end of history…”

    Except that Mr Fukuyama, a serious intellectual who avoids shallow ideological drive-by riffs of the sort that Mead specializes in, has pinpointed Norquist and his dimwitted acolyte Ryan as exactly the problem with today’s GOP. Ryan-Romney represents the last gasp of an intellectually bankrupt, unserious, Norquist-whipped GOP.

    4. “Who is Mitt Romney and what does he stand for? The answer is that he is a business-oriented, pro-enterprise Republican who stands for limited government, budgetary discipline and entitlement reform.”

    Except the RECORD – both Congressman Ryan’s own relentless pork-mongering and candidate Romney’s repeated backtracking and hypocrisy – shows that these two are not for “limited government.”

    Ryan has steered federal economic development funds into his economically-declining district. He voted for the expansion of Medicare Part D. He grabbed federal money for highways and infrastructure and cancer research for his district.

    Why? Because, in contrast to his foolish and extreme, Ayn Rand fantasy, THAT’S HOW GOVERNMENT SHOULD WORK!

    Which is why Romney, when asked by TIME’s Mark Halperin whether he would slash spending as president, said “Of course not!”

    Unless unemployment gets significantly worse, this election is over.

    Romney needed to run the tables on EVERY one of Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa. With this desperate choice of a lightweight extremist who wants to end Medicare as we know it, he has already kissed goodbye Florida for certain and probably several other of the battleground states as well.

    Heck, he may even lose Arizona and New Hampshire. The only question now is whether Ryan-Romney will even break 200 Electoral College votes.

    And a good thing, too, for it will force sane, sober, non-extreme Republicans to step up and take back the party from lightweight hypocrites like Ryan and madmen like Grove Norquist.

    This election will force the GOP away from the adolescent Ayn Rand-worshippers’ cliff.

    That’s wonderful for America. God bless Congressman Ryan and Governor Romney!

    And break out the champagne for President Obama’s second term.

  • Dave L.

    If Obama wins I’m leaving the country, because this country will never be the same again. It’s that simple. I have never been so frightened about America’s future in my life…and I lived through the extremely frightening time of the Carter Administration. Obama is Jimmy Carter on steroids, without apparently any of Carter’s inherent personal decency. There is absolutely nothing decent about Barack Obama and he will destroy this country if by grievous misfortune he is reelected.

  • thibaud

    Wait till women voters learn that Congressman Ryan’s abortion views are so extreme, so nutty, that he actually defines an implanted egg as a human being with a right to life that must be vigorously protected by law enforcement.

    In other words, the GOP vice-presidential nominee would criminalize in vitro fertilization. Plus various forms of birth control.

    Are you people joking?

    Do you think American women are stupid?

    Or do you think you can somehow hides this from them, and cast a spell on Team Obama so that they don’t mention this absurd, over-the-top, nutcase position on one of the most important decisions that a woman and her partner or husband will face?

    Are you insane?

  • thibaud

    “someone who not only has a background in economics, but who has depth of knowledge on why and how the Obama economy has failed is a solid hit.”

    Ryan is a clown. His budget is a complete joke, which befits the intellectual output of a man who not only does not have a serious “background in economics” but also has no ability to reconcile his (politician’s) grasp of how economically-depressed communities like Janesville WI benefit from federal largesse with his adolescent, Ayn Rand-influenced fantasy of how government functions in a $16 trillion complex industrial democracy.

    Ryan’s ludicrous budget is a direct contradiction of everything that Governor Romney, and candidate Romney, has stood for. He would shrink discretionary spending to such a level that his own favored federal agencies – the ones whose sugar he has funneled to his own hometown, in the many millions – would have to shut down.

    Ryan’s numbers don’t add up. And his own tax plan would leave tax-dodging hedgefund and PE scammers like Romney paying a grand total of 0.82 of their income in taxes!

    Team Obama vs Ryan-Romney is like Basketball Team USA vs Estonia.

    Unless unemployment spikes – v. unlikely between now and Nov. – this one won’t be close, folks.

    “Game On”? More like Game Over.

  • Gary L

    I chuckled at the your term of “Fordist” – I just re-read Huxley’s Brave New World (BNW) for the first time in about 20 years, so “Fordism” is on my mind. Huxley’s vision of an ultra-efficient Blue-World Model that worshipped “Our Ford” (or “Our Freud” as he called himself when he chose to speak upon sexual matters) as its deity is as timely as ever. Our friends on the Left never tire of invoking imagery from Orwell’s 1984, a Stalinist satire which they transmogrify into the archetype of the Right/Reich-Wing Totalitarian mindset


    – but they aren’t as apt to mention BNW, and I think the reason is obvious: The Left cannot possibly regard BNW as a prophetic warning; for them it is indeed a genuine Utopia whose citizens enjoy total sexual freedom, but are otherwise strictly relegated in every other phase of their life by wise and benevolent overseers to serve the great societal good. COMMUNITY. IDENTITY. STABILITY should be (but of course aren’t) as well known (and as strongly mocked) as “War is Peace – Freedom is Slavery – Ignorance is Strength.”

    In a 1946 preface to a new edition of BNW, Huxley wrote,

    As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase. And the dictator….will do well to encourage that freedom. In conjunction with the freedom to daydream under the influence of dope and movies and the radio, it will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate.

    If Huxley had only thrown in a little gay sex, and substituted the Internet for radio, his prophetic vision would have been 20/20.

  • lobeeonly

    This race comes down between the takers and the makers. With almost 100 million Americans receiving some kind of Govt assistance, this makes it hard for RR to say we must reduce spending. This is not the America of 1980. Fear of losing such income make its almost impossible to win and the Democrats will drive that point home, for sure

  • thibaud

    #7 Tom – “Thibaud: Romney’s going to lose because Paul Ryan’s budget will destroy the middle class and the American people know it”

    Ryan-Romney will lose for the following reasons:

    1. Americans hate his absurd plan. When it made the central issue of a campaign – as Team Obama, with the help of foolish GOP conservatives, will now do – Ryan’s ridiculous, over-the-top, financially-senseless plan caused the GOP to lose one of their safest congressional seats.

    2. Ryan’s ridiculously extreme plan for Medicare will cause Romney to lose a state that he absolutely must win, Florida. Without Florida, Romney loses, period.

    3. Ryan’s absurd abortion stance has received next to no scrutiny or attention from either the press or the public. It will now. Ryan would criminalize in vitro fertilization and several forms of birth control. His abortion stance is utterly ridiculous, and when Team Obama highlights it for women voters, they will be appalled. This will doom Ryan-Romney in the suburbs of metropolitan areas in Virginia and Ohio, making those two states, where he trails by a good margin, even more unlikely for him.

    4. Ryan’s ludicrous, adolescent tax proposals will put Romney’s own tax dodging and underpayment front and center for the voters. Specifically, Ryan’s plan, by eliminating taxes on capital gains and interest, would result in Romney the tax dodger paying even LESS in tax than he already does – about 0.82% of his income in recent years! Team Obama will have a field day with this absurd and amateurish policy proposal of Ryan’s. ROmney will be tied up in knots trying to defend it. It will force Romney’s refusal to release his tax returns onto the front burner – this will certainly be the subject of multiple questions during the debates – and will likely elicit the kind of weaselly, arrogant, clueless evasions that define Romney the candidate.

    Ryan’s abortion nuttiness and Romney’s tax evasions will likely come to define this campaign for the voters today and for future historians.

    Game over. Pass the champagne.

    God bless Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan!

  • cleo48

    The election? Of course it’s historic. We aare choosing between a Marxist and an American. Which one do you want to be? Only one way to go. And one outcome. Good luck.

  • KellyinBoston

    Oh, for God’s sake. He went to “Miami University in Ohio”. This is where rich kids who have drug problems or who can’t otherwise get into good schools go. If they can’t get into SMU. This guy is toast.

  • Kris

    [email protected]: “Our problems, which are driven by an anemic growth rate and high unemployment, are here to stay regardless of who is elected. … I really believe that being out of power is a blessing for the GOP. If Romney wins, everyone will hate him as much as they hate Obama within a few years.”

    This analysis of yours has an interesting corollary: if Romney is elected and then adopts moderate, play-it-safe economic policies, he loses. Therefore, he should go all-in. Romney choosing Ryan might thus be an indication that he agrees with you! 🙂

  • JDC

    The fundamental question votes will hsve to decide in November is whether capacity or consumption is engine required to grow our economy at this particular point in time. In my opinion capacity favors the Republican and consumption the Democrat.

  • jeannebodine

    Math, how does it work?

  • illiteratechimp

    A well thought out essay.
    It seems like the ds and the rs are having two different conversations.
    The dems are afraid of losing the new deal
    And the fiscal republicans fear cronyism.

    What comprimise can we come to?

    Of course the social conservatives just want gov out of the way- who needs washington when you have jesus? Blechh

  • Bill Adams

    “African-Americans benefit from both government hiring and government spending.”

    Which doesn’t remotely compensate for the youth unemployment and educational disenfranchisement (courtesy of the teacher’s unions) of the Blue model. But if you won’t reach out to them, how will they know?

  • Rebecca in ID

    Very interesting article, thank you.
    I think there is a typo…
    “he believes that there is much, much more than government can do to make our country richer and our society more just.” should read “he believes that there is much, much more *that* government can do…”

  • Million

    For all those claiming that the Democrats aren’t willing to do what it takes to “fix” the Blue Model, a better way to look at things is re-read the headlines from the 2011 debt ceiling debate. Basically, nothing went anywhere because the Republicans refused any tax increases. The Democrats refused to budge, because they don’t trust the Republicans to fix something they really want to dismantle.

    I guess my point is, saying the Democrats aren’t serious about reform ignores the likelihood they are just jockeying for position. If you’re going to fix something you care about, you’ve got an incentive to make sure it’s your choice – not the people who want to throw it away.

  • anfield

    To stoop down to KellyinBoston, whose username is clearly pretentiously meant to imply he/she went to an Ivy without dropping the H-bomb, and his/her disgustingly condescending waste of comment space (and yes, this kind of is too, but I just couldn’t let it go)… You know, I forgot that at Harvard, they don’t admit students who did “a little blow” when they could afford it. Oh, right… they do. But these glib personal attacks don’t offer any real ideas do they? And besides, Truman didn’t even have a degree and he became VP and president. That is all from me on the petty bull front. Hopefully people keep the empty rhetoric and straw man quips in the garbage where they belong, and dismount their high horse while they’re at it. We are finally at a point this election where we can have an earnest, substantive debate on actual issues. And there is some good back and forth on this page. Keep the honest dialogue going!

  • Tom

    And I failed. Nuts.

  • Lavaux

    Too many middle class Americans are suffering because the economy contracted and refuses to expand fast enough. The feds are spending trillions of dollars to tide the middle class over but have busted the treasury to do so. This is not a sustainable situation, so what’s gotta happen is that the economy grows fast while the spending slows fast. Romney/Ryan will make this happen. A vote for them is a vote against four more years of Obama exploiting the financial crisis and Great Recession to fundamentally transform America.

    There, that’s a nice pitch that explains the generalities of what’s going on to low-info voters and entitlement thumb-suckers who care more about their reality TV shows and entitlement checks than they do about their fellow man or country. Our fate is in this lot’s hands – boy, isn’t democracy splendid?

  • “I have been expecting Obama to fulfill the meme he has been broadcasting in ads that “Romney is a tax felon”, by actually indicting Romney and locking him up without bond before the election. In other words, doing exactly what Putin did to Khordorkovsky in 2004.”

    I wish we had a direct reply option!

    Andrew P., great minds think alike. I’ve been saying I hope Obama goes full Mugabe on Romney and takes him out in handcuffs. I do like your no bail option, lol.

    I think Romney has called Obama’s bluff with the Ryan pick.

    Obama has failed. Does anyone really think he’s got any kind of plan for improving the economy? Does anyone really believe that raising taxes on “the rich” will improve things? If you do, vote for O, if not, pull the lever marked R.

  • Sam

    Democrats think they can balance the budget on the backs of the job creators. But they will only break their backs, and in the end, fund the Federal government for a mere 4 days.

  • Ben

    You left out growth.

  • ounceoflogic

    The author left out one key piece of the o’bama plan. Taking money from “The Rich” (as defined by o’bama to be more and more of the middle class) and giving that money to “The Needy” (meaning: Likely Democrat Voters). Aside from the fact that The Rich already pay an inordinate share of taxes. And aside from the fact that The Rich don’t have enough money to balance the budget – even if the Dems take 100%. The o’bama plan removes all incentive to achieve the American Dream and, without the American Dream, America is no more. Maybe that’s the actual goal of the Blue Model?

  • Eurydice

    To me, the interesting thing here is not whether Obama or Romney will be elected, but how the undercurrents of the Tea Party have brought about a landscape in which talking about fiscal conservatism might not be political suicide. Of course, economic realities have kept the public focused on this issue, but mostly in a personal way. Now, the Romney choice has brought the subject front and center and a bazillion experts are lining up to talk about it 24/7. This discussion won’t just affect the presidential election, but all the other races, from congress down to village librarian. And once the public starts thinking about something, it’s very hard to make them stop.

    It’s also amazing (and slightly infuriating) to me that, with all this time and money and with the advantage of incumbancy, the Democrats have not been able to frame this race any better than “Evil Billionaire vs At Least I’m Not an Evil Billionaire.” They wasted a pantload of money only to end up with somebody else setting the rules of the debate. And now they’re all going to fall into line – on Meet The Press yesterday, Axelrod was crowing about how Obamacare had cut some gazilliondy billion dollars from Medicare. Pretty amazing. Ok, rant over.

  • Rene 591

    My biggest problem with Ryan is the only thing that goes up in his budget is defense sepending and interest. both need to come down. to me that is a non starter. both Republicans and Dems are part of the problem not part of the solution. reduce defense spending by 40% to cold war levels and as the previous guys said-hair cuts for investors as there is no way with compounding interest that 20 trillion gets paid

  • Nathan

    I agree with Mead on the essentials – we should thank Romney for making this election a (relatively) clear choice for the American people. October and November should be interesting.

  • Tom Mulrooney

    You have certainly provoked much commentary with this essay! Maybe you are right about Messrs. Romney and Ryan having an effective program for growing the US economy and providing enough benefits for the masses to keep them quiet while the rich get richer.

    But I thought we were trying to “get to Denmark.”

  • arnonerik

    Unfortunately, what Obama is doing is not the normal “blue social model”. What is the game changer here is the crippling debt which will very soon make our economy unsustainable. No money other than debt service equals drastic cuts in all areas of government including our vaunted “safety net”. Life will not continue as it always has when we are faced with currency devalueation, rampant inflation, and economic and social collapse. “It can’t happen here!”, is wishful thinking. We don’t need pollyanna articles telling us it is the same old same old when it is clearly not.

  • Anthony

    Partisanship aside, our future (both fiscal and domestic) lies in a robust (growth and jobs), productive balance of competition and cooperation in an interconnected country and society. Now, getting there requires more than fractious politics, economic division, and general shortsightedness. We have more concerns than November’s election though its denouement will gratify some.

  • njns

    Excellent essay by Prof. Mead, followed by a mostly fair-minded and adult conversation in the comments section (though I must give @Tom credit for presciently describing @thibaud’s childish rants.) If the choice of Ryan means that we’re going to discuss the fundamental issue of 2012 — Less vs. More Government — like grown-ups, then Romney has done a great service to America.

    If we as a country decide to go with the red model, we need to identify exactly what services and entitlements that the poor and middle class will have to do without, understand what the deep societal implications will be, and decide as a nation if we are willing to make those sacrifies.

    If we decide to go with the blue model, we need to decide how precisely we are all going to pay for it, now and going forward, with the full understanding that “the rich” cannot come anywhere close to footing the bill all by themselves.

    This is a watershed election. I know which side I lean towards. However, I sincerely hope that whoever wins, wins sizably. We need to deliver a mandate. Both the red model and the blue model are preferable to the current off-purple model of Getting More Government While Paying For Less.

  • RHD

    cacrucil: “It seems like our problems, which are driven by an anemic growth rate and high unemployment, are here to stay regardless of who is elected. … If Romney wins, everyone will hate him as much as they hate Obama within a few years.”

    This is hardly the time for head-in-the-sand foolishness, similar in its way to the sort of things lefties were saying at the end of Koch/Dinkins time in NYC. It turns out that the City wasn’t ungovernable, that decline a la Detroit was not inevitable, and that with a change of direction at the top, better days were still ahead. But that is a lesson every generation has to learn for itself, and then (once learned) to act on it by taking responsibility and fixing what’s broken while preserving what makes it all worth while.

    There is no law of thermodynamics that makes “an anemic growth rate and high unemployment” permanent or even the new normal. On that point, both sides agree. As for solutions, Obama’s approach is more of the same — more gov’t spending, more gov’t ‘investment’, more gov’t control, less individual responsibility, don’t sweat the deficits whle we create a more equal and secure future. Romney/Ryan are offering a very different approach — less gov’t spending, less gov’t ‘investment’, less gov’t control, more individual responsibility, worry about the deficits so that we can create a freer society with equal opportunity and greater security for all.

    It’s hard to see why anyone would pick the Obama approach, but there are plainly many who do. And, for all the talk about how important this election cycle will be, it’s a disagreement that will continue until America arrives at a stable consensus that, by the weight of many elections, forces the losing side to adjust in order to stay competitive. That’s not likely to happen any time soon.

  • Dutch 1960

    I want some of what thibaud is having. Must be some powerful stuff!

    All the bla-bla-bla about policy details. Really, it looks to me like a job performance referendum on the incumbent. The incumbent’s strategy is to marginalize the alternative, which is what the bla-bla-bla, parroted by the MSM, is all about.

    The incumbent loves the gig, lots of adulation and free stuff, and set for life, to boot. The policy details are really irrelevant, just a matter of saying or doing something to get everyone off his back for a while. Make it up as you go. Heck of a way to run a government, and the long term results are exactly what is to be expected. Hope the grown-ups win this one.

  • thibaud

    Outlawing abortion and criminalizing in vitro fertilization is “less government.” Right.

    Paul Ryan is the most overrated career politician in this country. His free pass from a compliant media will now come to an end.

    Ryan-Romney will not get more than 200 EC votes. This election was Romney’s to lose, and he’s going to lose it – by a wider margin than anyone could have imagined.

    Nice job, folks.

  • thibaud

    Discussing Ryan’s ridiculous tax proposal “like a grownup” entails asking him to tell us just which deductions he will eliminate. He’s never even offered one example.

    As this Congressional staffer relates, the GOP’s game plan for decades has been to huff and puff and posture about middle class entitlement cuts – and then back off when they actually come to a vote. Ryan himself did so when it came to Medicare Part D. At the same time, GOP congressmen have consistently voted to slash taxes on the wealthy, which is why deficits soared under Reagan and George W Bush.


    Now this sometime advocate of vast entitlement program expansions is now going to face real scrutiny of his tax plan.

    The absurd, half-baked Ayn Rand fantasy plan that would slash Mitt the Artful Tax Dodger’s tax rate to below 1%.

    Poor Republicans. The evisceration hasn’t even begun.

    Team Obama will make mincemeat of these two lightweights, who will no doubt whimper all the way home with their tails between their legs, whining about “unfairness.”

  • Eurydice

    @thibaud #66 – “This election was Romney’s to lose.” Really? This sounds like there’s nothing positive Obama can do to win reelection. And I’m not sure which of the compliant media is over-rating Ryan, the general reaction I’ve seen in the papers and press (if he’s mentioned at all) is that he’s kind of a nutcake, but sincere. But then, I live in Boston.

  • thibaud

    #57 Eurydice – “It’s also amazing (and slightly infuriating) to me that, with all this time and money and with the advantage of incumbancy, the Democrats have not been able to frame this race any better than “Evil Billionaire vs At Least I’m Not an Evil Billionaire.” They wasted a pantload of money only to end up with somebody else setting the rules of the debate.”

    ‘dice – You’ve got it backwards.

    The GOP wanted this race to be a referendum on the incumbent’s economic record.

    Now it’s going to be a policy choice. This is an extraordinary coup for the incumbent, one that no one on either side expected and that many GOP operatives thought couldn’t possibly happen if their side showed even basic competence.

    Romney’s stupidity and stubbornness certainly deserve most of the credit for this astonishing turnaround, but Team Obama has played it well.

    They defined Romney quickly for the voters, and Romney was happy to help.

    His bizarre refusal to release his tax returns, his constant whining and weaseling, his farcical performance on his foreign trip: all of these helped cement the view of the man as the opposite of his self-created myth of a cunning operator and happy warrior.

    And now Romney has handed Obama yet another gift, by elevating this lightweight who hasn’t endured any real scrutiny or testing on the national stage – and by making the race a contest between adolescent Ayn Rand nuttiness and grown-up, real-world pragmatism.

    So a race that was going to be about the unemployment rate is now going to be fought over Medicare – and also, for many suburban centrist women voters, abortion rights!


    Eurydice, the outcome depends on the decisions of maybe 5% of the electorate in a handful of states. We’re talking about swing voters in central Ohio, northern Virginia, central Florida: non-ideological, primarily middle-aged and older centrist voters who, prior to Mitt the Twit and his Boy Wonder’s arrival on the scene, were very nervous about the economy and the nation’s direction.

    And now these people are being asked to vote for a duo who will trash Medicare in order that Mitt Romney and our other oligarchs’ absurdly low tax rates can go below 1%.

    Oh, and so that the Boy Wonder can have a crack at criminalizing birth control and in vitro fertilization.

    Has the GOP lost its mind?

    Didn’t they learn anything from the upstate New York by-election last year?

  • rog

    0bama is one and done, his falure will soon be complete.

  • Outlawing abortion and criminalizing in vitro fertilization is “less government.” Right.

    It does not involve allocation of factors of production. It does involve amendments to state penal codes in pursuit of justice. Any decent person recognizes abortion as a grave evil.

  • DavisJohn

    Paul Ryan may be the only serious politician in Washington who is not ignoring the fact that we have a serious fiscal problem. We know that Obama has been a horrendous failure. We are stuck in a long term slow growth economy with high unemployment and budget deficits as far as the eye can see. If we continue down the Obama path, there will be no middle class; all of us will be poor. And inflation is going to devalue the dollar to the point where our standard of living is sunk. Our currency will be useless like those of other countries that have gone down this path. We need some bold changes like the ones that Ryan has been courageous enough to propose.

  • Jim.

    Congratulations to Romney for his move to unite the GOP. It’s his election to lose, now.

    Thibaud’s comments would be more interesting if he could either a) point to a “swing” constituency that wasn’t already going to vote for Obama anyway, or b) get over the assumption that everyone thinks as he does. These are both fallacies common to Leftists that think themselves “moderate”.

    Professor, could you link another of those articles pointing out how winning the electoral college but not the popular vote happens seldom enough that the horserace is pretty near irrelevant? Add to that a few articles that track an incumbent’s chances vs. his approval ratings (hint: Obama’s numbers don’t put him in with the winners) and you start to see that being too clever by half isn’t all that perspicacious.

    If thibaud must keep telling himself comforting Leftist talking points to maintain his equanimity, let him do so without bothering the rest of us with his sound and fury.

  • Peter M. Todebush

    ‘The equal distribution of the productive wealth of a nation by some just means’. The tug of war between ‘creating’ wealth and ‘distributing’ wealth. Right now (for the fourth year) we are ‘distributing’ $1.2 trillion more than we are ‘creating’; this has a European ending. The ‘private’ sector pays for the ‘public’ sector, and right now it can NOT afford the payments. The ‘private’ sector creates wealth; the ‘public’ sector transfer wealth. The entitlements cannot be fixed; they have to be reformed (it’s the math); everyone 55 and older keeps what they have; everyone under 55 converts from ‘defined benefit’ to ‘defined’ contribution with a government ‘premium’ support plan.

    Economic growth is the answer, but that comes from the ‘private’ sector which Obama demonizes. You can NOT tax yourself to prosperity, particularly in an underperforming economy, with an output gap in excess of $1 trillion and inadequate ‘aggregate’ demand.

    When Obama was in Silicon Valley last fall he had this exchange with T.J. Rodgers, CEO of Cypress Semiconductor. ‘You make more money than you need’. Rodgers responded, I personally and my company make more money than we need, but we invest that money and over the last 10 years we have created 40,000 jobs. Now, if we had sent that money to Washington what results would you have achieved? It is like ‘Capitalism’ without ‘Capital’.

    Obama had another exchange with Steve Jobs, who was lamenting the lack of engineering skills in U.S. production employees. Jobs said an H1B green card should be attached to every Masters and PHD degree conferred by U.S. Universities; we educate them and they are forced to return home where they start companies and compete against us. Obama said ‘that is an immigration problem’ to which Jobs said My god, you’re President’.

    The economic proposals of the Democratic/liberal base have nothing to do with the ‘private’ sector. Their focus is on ‘pork, patronage, transfer payments and a 20 year wish list of unproductive investments’. The rating agencies will accept deficits directed at ‘economic growth’ driven by private sector investment and employment that expands the pie and increases the tax paying base.

  • ian

    A few impressions:

    It is easy to demonize someone like Ryan when you don’t see him in person. He’ll be out there front and center during the campaign and it will be interesting to see how well the ‘extremist’ labels jibe with how he comes off personally.

    I welcome having a discussion about our long term fiscal problems. I don’t get the impression that Obama really cares about the deficit. I think his recent insistence on increasing taxes on the 1% have more to do with electoral politics than fixing the deficit. He had a good start at a bi-partisan fix with Simpson-Bowles and he passed on it. It just doesn’t look like it is one of his priorities. Putting Ryan in the race is going to force the discussion back onto this topic.

    It’s going to be hard for Romney to remain the star of the show on the ticket with Ryan there – he just doesn’t have the same charisma.

  • thibaud

    Jim. – no equanimity here. I’m delighted. (You should probably go long on the gun stocks, btw, as Obama’s a cinch to win, and the gun nutters will send those companies’ shares soaring as they did in 2009. Buy $RGR below $37 if it dips. Don’t say I never did anything for you, Jim!)

    Jim, you say, “Point to a “swing” constituency that wasn’t already going to vote for Obama anyway”

    Easy: 1) older voters and 2) moderate suburban GOP women.

    Seniors voted 59-41 for the GOP in 2010. Now they’re in play. The AARP’s poll from a week ago shows this lead has narrowed to being within the margin of error.

    As go the seniors, so goes Florida. Florida was a GOP-leaning state before Romney was nominated. It’s unlikely that Ryan-Romney will even be competitive in Florida.

    As for moderate suburban women, how many of them realize that Ryan Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) sponsored a radical bill that would give fetuses full human rights from the moment of fertilization? Even socially conservative voters in Mississippi rejected this nutty proposal.

    Wonder what moderate GOP women in Fairfax County VA and suburban Philly and Cincinnati will think of this?

    What will they think when they find out that Ryan voted multiple times to strip women of abortion rights, including scrapping funding for federal family planning programs and repeatedly voted to stop women in the military from using their own money to pay for abortions at military hospitals?

    Or that Ryan also supported a bill that would have allowed hospitals to refuse to provide a woman emergency abortion care, even if her life were endangered?

    Do you really think that a significant number of these educated, previously pro-Romney voters are going to support a ticket that allows such a nut to get so close to the White House?

    Keep in mind that because of a fawning and compliant press, Ryan’s adolescent nuttiness – the Ayn Rand stuff, the upside-down tax proposal, the Catholic seminarian’s view of abortion rights – has escaped notice by the general public.

    No more. Seniors and educated, suburban, moderate GOP women in OH PA VA and FL are going to be appalled by this man.

    Romney could have chosen Rubio to bolster him in FL, or McDonnell to do the same in VA. Instead he scored an own goal.

    This one will have GOP operatives arguing for years. Worse than McCain’s choice of Palin.

  • thibaud

    You seriously want this election to be about Medicare, a ludicrously upside-down tax proposal, and _abortion_?!

    Are you guys out of your minds?

  • Mango

    Thibaud, given your comment 67 and others, I am surprised that you are retreating from your repeated predictions that a Romney-Ryan ticket would get no more than 100 EC votes. Why have you suddenly decided that they’ll do twice as well?

  • R.C.

    Hauser’s Law really is the important datum, here.

    Romney and Ryan may not themselves even acknowledge it, so unpopular is this empirical observation. But it’s real. It has a century-long record behind it. No matter what you do, no matter how you increase or lower taxes, the proportion of American GDP that gets converted into tax revenue (when averaged out over a given 10-year-period to smooth out spikes and dips) is always a bit over 19%.

    Change the tax rates all you want. Do outrageously stupid things with them. You’ll hurt a lot of people by doing so, but the one thing you wont change is how much revenue, as a percentage of GDP, you’ll collect. It’ll be 19% (-ish).

    So it’s stupid to raise taxes to raise revenue. It’s stupid to lower them to raise revenue (or, for that matter, to decrease it). HOW BIG YOUR GDP IS IS THE ONLY DAMN THING THAT MATTERS.

    The sole goal of tax policy ought to be to generate a steady and sustainable increase in GDP, using whichever tax rate (high, low, whatever) will do that. (Hint: Probably not high.)

    The Prime Directive of budgetary policy is to make the outlays sum up to less than 19-ish % of GDP.

    And the reason why no one should be able to doubt that we’re headed off a cliff is that government spending, depending on whose estimates you trust, is planned to increase to 40%+ of GDP over the next 20 years or so. Entitlements alone, along with the cost of financing the entitlements part of the deficit, will be over 30%.

    (And our Chinese Credit Card is maxed out already.)

    I don’t think a lot of people grasp how “draconian” the cuts will have to be. So let’s spell it out:

    You can’t get any more than 19%-ish of GDP as Federal Revenue. Let’s round up and say 20%.

    Entitlements are going to be 30% if left unreformed.

    That means you need to reduce entitlements by 10% just to get entitlements ALONE under the 20% threshold. “Alone,” meaning, if you don’t want to bother having a military, a judiciary, or any of that other non-entitlement crap that governments sometimes indulge in. And “10%,” meaning, “10% of GDP.”

    Some folks don’t get that last bit. Let me reiterate: Entitlement spending, unreformed, is rising to 30% of GDP by mid-century. But Federal revenues, in toto, are 20% of GDP. So to get just the entitlements to not require deficit spending, you need to get them to drop by 10% of GDP.

    Not 10% of Entitlement spending. 10% of GDP.

    “But that’s if Entitlement spending rises 30% of GDP,” you say. Yes, Exactly.

    “10 is one-third of 30,” you say. Yes. Exactly.

    “So, saying we need to reduce Entitlement spending by 10% of GDP doesn’t mean we need to reduce the benefits by one-tenth; it means we need to reduce them by ONE-THIRD,” you say.

    Yes. Exactly.

    “Holy s***,” you say.

    Yes. Exactly.

    Anybody who thinks that Ryan and Romney, or for that matter, a ticket of Charles Martel and Otto von Hapsburg (pardon the anachronism), is right-leaning enough or politically powerful enough to SOLVE the deficit time-bomb is kidding themselves. Nobody can reduce entitlements by that much. It will never happen. A soft landing is out of the question.

    The question, rather, is will we have a hard landing or an only somewhat hard landing. The latter is what we’ll achieve under a Ryan-Romney direction; the former under anything to the left of it.

    It’s not that Obama is unserious and Ryan/Romney is serious. It’s that Obama is either buffoonishly oblivious or diabolically suicidal, and Ryan/Romney is seriously trying to look serious about making a small dent in a problem about which no-one, yet, has managed to be entirely serious, because making the whole electorate vomit with horror doesn’t win elections.

  • Kris
  • Sea2shiningc

    I would love to see what “thibaud” was saying before the 2010 elections…seems like he’s a “wisttful wisher” instead of a prognosticator…This election will be “shellacking squared”…country is fed up with this losing administration.

  • Corlyss

    “2012: Suddenly, A Historic Election?”

    No. Ryan’s choice almost guarantees Obama’s re-election.

    For Ryan to make an impact, he has to convince rent-seekers who dominate the federal expenditures there’s a national emergency that they have to make sacrifices for. Since so few have even a small idea of how much their lives depend on federal monies, both obvious and inobvious, the majority are waiting for others to declare what they will sacrifice for the common good. No one will go till someone else has gone first. Educating the voters is a thankless task. I mean, really thankless. Voters are not going to reward Republicans for figuring it out; they’re going to punish Republicans for even suggesting that they might have to give up some of what they get.

  • SC Mike

    #74 — Peter M. Todebush — is entirely correct, his analysis — the blue model does not work, economic growth is the answer, and the way to achieve that with the US economy is to cut tax rates — is congruent with WRM’s and those economists who are not insane.

    Yet the problem we face is that the ignorant media trumpet their guy, the Big O, and insane economists. Thus R&R have a hard row to hoe, while O&B can coast along with the hoes doing the rowing, as it were.

    I noticed today (Monday) that the Big R, Romney, does not have a snappy comeback on the Medicare question that will pop up at each event. Hey Mitt, get the three-line answer from Little R, then pair it with “Obama cut $700B from Medicare” and you’re golden. Got it?

    From his speeches today it’s clear Obama is going the full redistributionist route in term two, so if he can’t be stopped in November, say good bye to the American Experiment.

  • rpirrie

    I am liberal but I don’t just want to read the New York Times. I want both sides of the issue. I am therefore not going to try to score a point, but ask a few questions, upon which I sincerely invite comment:
    –How do the policies and actions of the previous administration fit into these arguments?
    –How does the diverse spectrum of human needs fit into a point of view which lays the blame for the economy’s ills on a one dimensional notion of people just wanting handouts? In other words, is receiving help from the government really that bad, in all cases?
    –How do other aspects of the overall budget (such as military spending) fit into this larger picture?
    O.K., so maybe I am making a point. Nevertheless, I’d like to hear some intelligent thought on the culpability of people besides Obama and “welfare bums” for our admittedly dire situation.
    Seriously, I’d love to sit down with one of the conservative commentators here and hear their side of things. But please, do me a favor and don’t just shoot me down or tell me I’m the problem.

    Obama isn’t the devil. But then, neither are you guys.

  • No matter who wins the election this time, the next two years will be brutal. I can’t imagine anyone, even Obama, wanting the job when the chickens of the last fifty years come home to roost. It won’t be pretty when the entitlements run out of money and when angry people can’t get from the governments, local through federal, what they’ve been trained to expect.

    Dependency on government will mean nothing when there is no money…even borrowed Asian money. China is running up debt against their own treasury, not unlimited. Plus, the Chinese economy is slowing more rapidly than expected.

    We earned this disaster. We’ve gotten so smug that we have failed to recognize our limits. Eastwood was right: “A man’s got to know his limitations.” We were like an actor who got a great movie or two and expected it was always gonna be that way.

    It’s not.

    The issues here are huge, maybe insurmountable, but we have to try. The old ways aren’t working.

  • thibaud

    Interesting that, aside from Kris, there don’t seem to be any women commenting on this thread.

    No wonder that the men here are oblivious to the huge vulnerability that is Ryan’s reactionary, almost comically unserious (implanted eggs are humans? WTF?) abortion proposals.

    You can bet dollars to donuts that Team Obama will blanket the major media markets – suburban DC/No. Virginia, Philadelphia, Miami, Tampa/Orlando – with ads aimed at independent and moderate Republican women that highlight Ryan’s fervent wish to criminalize abortion.

    Unless unemployment gets worse – not likely – it’s game over, gents.

    And no, it’s not going to be a “serious” national debate.

    It will be all attack ads, on abortion/tax/medicare, all the time. All thanks to the GOP’s deeply unserious pair, the precocious 12 year-old and his clueless tax dodging sidekick.

  • The Romney/Ryan ticket thing must have struck a nerve, or something. thibaud stopped taking his lithium.

  • Jim.


    Seniors in play? Thibaud, Ryan bends over backwards to emphasize that his plan will not in any way affect how the federal government spends money on people 55 or older. (That’s why I keep calling it too far to the Left). To put seniors into play, Obama will have to lie. Not once but twice… once when he talks about Ryan cutting SS / MC, and again when he talk about what ObamaCare does to them.

    Suburban women? Thibaud, Ryan’s position on the rights of the unborn doen’t go far past George W’s… the man who banned federal money for stem cell research.

    (Come to think of it, W talked about trying to reform Social Security during the 2004 election too.)

    Thibaud, your head is stuck in a partisan world where GWB could never have won in 2004. The fact that he did highlights the biases in your predictions.

    If George W could win in 2004 and the TEA Party could win in 2010, Romney / Ryan certainly has a good shot in 2012. With Obama’s favorables in the “unlikely to be re-elected” range and his policies causing protracted unemployment, it’s better than just a good shot, it’s very likely that we’ll have a president Romney in 2013.

    Previous to his VP announcement, I could only in good conscience encourage self-identified moderates to turn out for Romney. (Most, like Mead, declined to endorse… so much for the “swing votes get behind the moderate” theory.) Now I can with integrity encourage Conservatives as well.

    This country’s Center is to the Right of the chattering classes– and well to the right of you. I suspect you’re going to be repeating Kael’s Quandry, come November.

  • apoorboy

    We’ve been running on steroids for years. Borrow, borrow, spend, spend. Haven’t won many games, but allows us to keep playing. Sooner or later the steroids will have to stop, if it’s not Romney/Ryan it may just be the death of the patient via Doctor Obama.

  • thibaud

    Jim – you’re in denial. Romney cannot win without Florida. He can’t win without running the tables on ALL the battleground states.

    And now he’s put Florida, a strongly Republican state, in jeopardy for himself, and made his already-diminishing Ohio prospects even more remote. Virginia will be extremely tough for him to win as well.

    Romney’s chances of winning these states’ swing voters with a running mate who wants to privatize Medicare and criminalize abortion are next to zero.

    Lee Dodson – it’s the GOPpers who need to take their meds. After choosing the worst presidential candidate since Mike Dukakis, your side has outdone itself with the worst vice-presidential candidate since Dan Quayle.

    Unbelievable good luck for Obama.

  • Sue

    #87 thibaud:
    I’m a woman. I’m one of those “moderate suburban GOP women” who lives in a blue state (New Jersey). Ryan’s beliefs on abortion are entirely consistent with his Catholicism, a faith common to many white “ethnics” in the Northeast who also do not like abortion. He won’t be in a position as Vice President to pass laws restricting abortion anyway. As a mother, I am frankly more concerned about my daughter’s and grandchildren’s fiscal futures than about abortion law at this point. Don’t assume that just because someone has a uterus, abortion is the top issue at all times. Women do care about other things, you know.

  • thibaud

    Jim – here’s that other GOP wunderkind, Reagan’s OMB Director David Stockman, weighing in on Ryan’s “fairy-tale budget plan” that is “devoid of credible math or hard policy choices” and that “couldn’t pass even if Republicans were to take the presidency and both houses of Congress.”



  • thibaud

    Sue- what do you make of Ryan’s weird belief that a fertilized egg is a human with full human rights?

    This view of Paul Ryan’s is extreme, so outlandish, that even the hard right anti-abortion pols in Mississippi hedged on it – before the voters in Mississippi sent it down to defeat last November, by a vote of 59 to 41.

    Why are we taking seriously a crusader against zygote homicide?

    Who is this guy?

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Dear Moderator
    While I don’t object to people quoting me and in fact would like to encourage the practice, I do object to commenters putting words in my mouth which I have not said.

    In “7. Tom says:

    August 12, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Just to short circuit the inevitable (and because I honestly don’t want to read either of these two again, seeing as they repeat themselves over and over in increasingly long posts), let me sum up what thibaud and Jacksonian Libertarian will likely say in the comment section:”

    And Tom goes on to put words in my mouth with:

    “Jacksonian Libertarian: Romney/Ryan will save the country and move us back toward the capitalistic system that made the USA great, and Obama must and will be defeated.”

    I never said this and would like it removed. I also think comments like this are foolish, if Tom doesn’t agree with me, let him say why so the issue can be discussed. And if he doesn’t like reading my comments, then why doesn’t he just NOT READ my comments.

    Jacksonian Libertarian

  • Tom

    @Jacksonian Libertarian: Perhaps I should have rephrased that, but may I point out that it was not only you who was referenced in that comment?

  • thibaud

    Jackson – quit whining. Far too much of that these days from Romney and his supporters.

    Re. Ryan’s “seriousness,” so now his first stop on the trail is a pilgrimage to the Sands casino to kiss the ring of corrupt gaming mogul Sheldon Adelson.

    Now the rationale for Romney’s choice of this Dan Quayle redux is becoming clear. It wasn’t Romney’s choice at all.

  • thibaud

    Ryan is largely unknown to the public. Those who do know him disapprove of him by a margin similar to the only other VP candidate they heartily disapproved of – the Wonder from Wasilla – but there are still some 60% of the public who told Gallup they either “don’t know” him or “have no opinion” at this point.

    Which means that Team Obama will do to Ryan exactly what they did to his hapless sidekick: define him before he can introduce himself to the public.

    While Ryan’s truckling before the Godfather in Las Vegas, Team Obama’s finalizing their attack ads. This clown will not even know what hit him.

  • thibaud

    Nothing but anxiety and dread among GOP operatives, who privately refer to the Boy Wonder as “Sarah Palin with a PowerPoint presentation”:


    In more than three dozen interviews with Republican strategists and campaign operatives — old hands and rising next-generation conservatives alike — the most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election….

    [GOP strategists] are worried that Romney was on track to lose anyway — and now that feels all but certain.

    “…Romney-Ryan can run on principles and provide some real direction and vision for the Republican Party. And probably lose. Maybe big,” said former President George W. Bush senior adviser Mark McKinnon….

    Joked another: “The most popular phrase in Washington right now is: ‘I love Paul Ryan, but …’”

    The most cutting criticism of Ryan is that Ryan isn’t ready to be president — or doesn’t come across as ready…. “He just doesn’t seem like he can step into the job on Day One,” said the strategist, who professed himself a Ryan fan.

    And that’s just what it does to the Romney-Ryan ticket. Forget how it plays in close House and Senate races.

    “Very not helpful down ballot — very,” said one top Republican consultant.

    “This is the day the music died,” one Republican operative involved in 2012 races said after the rollout.

  • JES

    Thibaud: you are clearly no strategist. Have you ever read Sun Tzu? The fact that the Democrats and “unnamed GOP sources” are throwing out such overblown statements leads me to believe the Democrats are actually quite terrified of Paul’s selection. This is a classic deception tactic in warfare: make the other side think the opposite of what you believe. The GOP is confident that this is a positive game changer, but by downplaying expectations and leading the Dems to believe that they are nervous about Ryan, it gives the Dems a false sense of security. The Dems are terrified of Ryan, but by putting out there they want to run against him, it attempts to rattle the GOP into thinking they’ve made a mistake. Think about it: why would true GOP operatives put out statements that Ryan is a mistake? Clearly there is a strategic element to it. Why would Dems put out there they want to run against Ryan, and let the enemy know of their plans?

    I am an independent voter in a solidly blue state, so I’m not picking sides here. I think both sides are strategically smart, and they are both following the Sun Tzu playbook to a T. It’s clear the Dems are nervous about Ryan and the GOP is confident. The question is, who is right and who is wrong? Only time will tell there.

    Ironically, by repeating the “anonymous GOP sources,” you are actually doing exactly what the GOP wants. Spreading their message of false propaganda as a way fo instilling false confidence in the Dems. Think about it- no Republican is going to NOT vote for Ryan just because some unnamed operative is “nervous” about him. If anything, it will rally the base to make sure they get out and vote for him.

    For a guy who acts confident in what he knows, you sure don’t seem to understand much, but I’m pretty sure the GOP operatives are more than happy to have you unwittingly on their side.

  • Manuel Rodriguez

    “Many of Ryan’s numbers are irrational, negative or imaginary.” Liberals often make generalizations like this. How about an example or two?

  • thibaud

    First the GOP strategists revolt at the choice of “Palin with a PowerPoint.”

    And now poor John Boehner’s facing down a rebellion from scared-stiff GOP House members up for re-election this year.

    Don’t cry, John. It’ll be over before you know it.


  • thibaud

    JES – you’re misinformed. Paul Ryan is the answer to the Dems’ prayers.

    They know exactly how to attack him, and they are already doing so, with both barrels.

    Keep in mind what our almost entirely-male discussion here ignores, that Ryan is * also * vulnerable because of his abortion ideas that are so ridiculously extreme that not even socially conservative Mississippi voters would support them.

    At a minimum, he will be forced to go way off message and defend his definition of in vitro fertilization, birth control and miscarriages as manslaughter. At the most, he will have handed the Dems a stick with which to bash him in suburban precincts where enough moderate women can be peeled away from the GOP to prevent R-R from having any chance at winning statewide.

    Again, Romney needed to win EVERY swing state. If he loses any one of FL, VA, or OH, he loses. Barring a huge change downward in the economy, or complete incompetence from a Dem operation that is famous for its discipline and ruthlessness, this race is over.

    No wonder that GOP insiders and congressmen are panicking now.

  • JES

    Nope, still not buying it.

  • JES

    Anyone who says a presidential political race is over before the end of August has no understanding of politics at all. Go read some strategy books (start with Sun Tzu) and some history books (LBj’s biography is a good one) and I’ll look for you again when you start posting some sensical thoughts defendable through positive rather than normative science.

  • thibaud

    JES – see you around. Say hi to Mark McKinnon for me if you see him.

    And to Steve Schmidt, Mike Murphy, John Weaver or any of the dozens of GOP pros who are aghast at their party’s astonishing incompetence.

    Worst presidential pick since Dukakis.
    Worst veep choice since Quayle.

    I feel your pain.

  • Ilya Moliver

    Chopping off just 15% of the colossal military budget (that’s more wasteful than any social program) for the next year and closing a quarter of the US military bases abroad (with no tangible damage to the national security) and raising taxes on the millionaires and billionaires to 45% (which won’t change the economic bracket they belong to, anyway) will pay up for deficit of all social programs combined and more for many decades to come.

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