Posts Tagged ‘barack obama’

Seriously. Just stop.

[Obama] is also open to a bill that would avert the sequester for as little as two months.

Just cancel the goddamn thing. Or just implement it. Or do anything other than this. Constant, monthly fiscal fights and unceasing budget uncertainty prevent anyone from doing anything.

Oh, that’s the point, isn’t it?

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Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday which is more important than watching the SOTU, so I’ll preview it for you.

Obama: Jobs, economy, immigration, guns, shit congress won’t let me do, thank you and God Bless America.

Rubio: We won’t change our policies but we’ll try to be nicer to the brown people and also not say rape as frequently. And Obamacare is bad mkay.

Paul: (unintelligible)

Now you can go drink.

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These are not the words of a president serious about cutting the debt. Cutting “waste” in government isn’t going to get you anywhere near what you need. And the president needs to get serious about the burgeoning long-term costs of Medicare. That requires real honesty about real future sacrifice – not blandishments about how we might be able to bend the cost curve slightly.

Can we, please, get something other than typical deficit-scold group think? Andrew seems to think that all we need is more seriousness and more sacrifice and then we’re golden. He decries the President’s desire to raise additional revenue as not serious because it won’t raise enough. Well, OK, I agree it won’t raise a whole hell of a lot. But previously Sullivan complained that the President wanted too much (relative) revenue! 

I would ask how much, specifically, is thecorrect amount? 

More importantly, I would ask how much deficit reduction, specifically, is the correct amount? 

We’ve already done $2.4 Trillion. But I guess that’s just not enough serious sacrifice for the deficit scolds. They won’t be happy until, well, they will never quite say. Is stabilizing the debt to GDP ratio sufficient? We can do that with another $1.2 Trillion. Obama’s “not serious” revenue ask gets us half way there. 

Alas, we will now continue our charade of THE DEFICIT WILL KILL US ALL MORE AUSTERITY NOW I’M VERY SERIOUS AUSTERITY NOW! followed by AUSTERITY WILL KILL US ALL! (remember the fiscal cliff?) and then back again. 

If you’re having trouble making sense of the Very Serious beltway opinion on fiscal matters, its because it doesn’t make a goddamn bit of sense. 

Sullivan finishes:

If you want to go small, Mr President, and leave the real debt cutting to your successor, that’s your prerogative. But it is not the change we believed in. Or voted for.

Well, actually that’s exactly what we voted for. Obama made no secret of his desire to squeeze revenue out of the rich via sunsetting the Bush tax cuts for only high earners and via closing Mitt Romney’s favorite loopholes. In fact, it was the entire premise of his campaign. Voters overwhelmingly rejected Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s (conflicting) versions of austerity for Obama’s “balanced” and minimally austere (by comparison) approach. 

I don’t ever recall Barack Obama running on a platform of “serious” austerity. Sullivan has been lamenting Obama’s failure to “embrace Bowles-Simpson” for two years, a lamentation that made as little sense then as now. On spending, Obama actually has (very nearly) embraced BS (in terms of net amounts, if not line items). On revenues, he never intended to. He’s made that abundantly clear for almost two years. 

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And if Obama pretends that we can resolve this by revenues alone, he is part of the problem, not the solution.

What part of the past 2 years makes Sullivan think that Obama favors revenue without spending cuts? Was it that Obama has enacted nearly 75% of the spending cuts called for by Bowles Simpson, and basically none of the revenues? Or the part where the federal workforce has declined more than any other time in history save for the post World War II draw down?

Are we talking about the same guy?

Save me, Jeebus!

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Apparently yesterday we got a shiny new re-authorization of warrant-less wiretapping. I agree with Drum’s take:

Glenn [Greenwald] thinks that liberals have largely given up criticizing this stuff because we now have a Democratic president in the White House rather than George W. Bush, and I suppose that’s part of it. But a bigger part, I think, is simply that it’s all become so institutionalized. Back in 2004 and 2006, we were outraged because this was all so new. Today, after fighting and losing, it’s just part of our brave new world, along with 3-ounce bottles on airplanes, unreviewable no-fly lists, and cops who demand to know what you’re up to if you start taking pictures in public places.

As a country, we’re now divided into two parts: those who aggressively support things like warrantless wiretapping because they’re consumed with fear, and those who don’t but have given up trying to fight about it. There’s hardly anyone left still willing to tilt at this particular windmill. It’s sad as hell.

Yep, that sounds about right to me. A lot of people cry “hypocrisy!” over this because, in their view, liberals only ever cared about this issue insofar as it was politically expedient to use it as a cudgel against Bush but now that our guy is in the West Wing it is politically expedient to ignore it. Maybe that’s at least partially right but I entirely agree that the bigger issue is that it’s just the new normal. 

My reasoning for thinking this is simple: liberals just plain suck at the whole “rally ’round the flag” thing that conservatives are so good at. Anyone who paid even passing attention to political commentary in 2012 should have noted this. As an example, take Barack Obama’s performance in the first presidential debate. It was widely regarded as horrible, and the left wing pundits were tripping all over themselves to scream their heads off about what a disaster it was and how terribly Obama performed and ITS GAME OVER, MAN! I’m pretty sure Andrew Sullivan was on suicide watch. 

But can you imagine the conservative response had the tables been turned, and it was Mitt Romney who performed poorly? They would have been lining up to explain why actually he did wonderfully and Barack Obama is a pushy, un-presidential asshole for treating the kindly, good-hearted Mitt the way he did and anyone who says otherwise is all just part of the liberal media Chicago establishment anyway so who cares. Every. Single. Pundit. These guys get their marching orders and off they go. Kevin Drum calls it the hack gap because liberals, for better or worse, just suck at it. They just can’t pull off that kind of united front. 

So the idea that we’ve all just decided to drop an issue that was once so important out of political expediency just isn’t a good enough explanation. I do think its an important issue and liberals really should keep fighting on it, and I’m sure the Greenwald cynicism is a part of it, but a much, much smaller part. Liberals are by no means blameless here, but I just don’t buy it, not completely. 

And on that note, that’ll do it for 2012. Happy new year, everyone! Posting should resume sometime next week, provided we survive the fiscalcliffpocalypsemageddon. 

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Happy Birthday!


When I started this blog, I fully expected to write a couple posts and then forget about the whole thing within a week.

One year and 425 posts later, here we are. I’m pretty surprised I’ve kept writing it, and even more surprised that people are actually reading it. Certainly many more people than I would have ever expected, so thanks for reading! I’ve learned a lot by writing this, and I hope maybe you’ve learned something by reading it.

Just for the hell of it, here are the top five most popular posts:

  1. The Fake Story of an Incredibly Bad Economics Professor… Debunked!
  2. Corn Ethanol Does Not Increase the Price of Food
  3. Quantitative McRib-ing
  4. Net Employment Has Increased Under Obama
  5. The Inequality of Opportunity

And of course extra thanks to the folks behind The Gravel Kraken, for inspiring many of the year’s posts, and for a year of good argument.




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Four More Years


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