ChrisWeigant.com

The Fall Political Schedule

[ Posted Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 – 16:11 PDT ]

The next few weeks could turn out to be the most important politically in the remainder of this year. Because this may be the last chance Congress has of passing any big or contentious legislation, before politics consumes everything (even more than at the current time). This is due to a combination of factors, but mostly boils down to the congressional calendar and the midterm election season.

Congress is back in session in Washington, D.C. In another few weeks, they'll be taking their traditional five or six weeks off for August. September they'll get back together again, and go through the motions, but don't expect a lot to be passed so close to the actual election. Then, if the past is any measure, they'll all take most of October and the beginning of November off again, to finish campaigning. After the ballots are counted, there may be a rousing lame duck session, and then we'll be into next year and a new Congress.

Because of the extended breaks from working in August and October, and because it's traditional not to get much done (other than scoring political points) in September, the next few weeks are going to be crucial not just for legislation to be passed this year, but also for Democrats' chances of getting re-elected by "running on their record."

So far, there are a few enormous things on this short schedule. The first of which is passing the Wall Street reform bill through its last Senate vote, and putting it on Obama's desk. Majority Leader Harry Reid started the clock ticking on this vote, which will likely be held this Thursday (and which, at this point, it seems like Democrats will win). This can be a keystone issue for Democrats on the campaign trail -- "We stood with Main Street, Republicans bowed down to Wall Street" -- if they would only expend a tiny bit of energy trying to sell their own accomplishments to the voters (which, being Democrats, is always an open question).

Other big issues which could make it through Congress in the next few weeks are the confirmation of President Obama's second pick for the Supreme Court, and possibly the beginning of the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (currently part of a military appropriations bill). Both of these will serve to rally the Democratic base, although opposition will likely also serve to rally the Republican base as well. This will set the stage for October.

After working a few weeks, the exhausted congresscritters will need five or six weeks to rest, of course, which they take every year to escape the miasmal August weather in our nation's capital. The big question is whether 2010's August break will be anything like 2009's. Last summer, you'll remember, was the year of the "Town Halls From Hell." It remains to be seen whether this year will see a repeat of this, since health reform has already passed. Perhaps there'll be angry Tea Partiers this year, or perhaps it was a one-year phenomenon, who knows? Or perhaps the congressfolk learned their lesson and won't be scheduling many town halls at all (another distinct possibility).

But this year, at least, Democrats will have the opportunity to be on offense rather than last year's defensive crouch. If Democrats have delivered Wall Street reform to President Obama's desk, then they will have something positive to report to their constituents when they go home in August. Republicans have painted themselves into the same corner with the Wall Street tycoons, which is not exactly the best place to be politically these days. But only if Democrats can manage to point this out to the voters, of course. In particular, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency is going to be a big plus when Democrats explain just what this new law means to the average American.

September, everyone will creep back into Washington for a month of political hay-making. This, I should point out, is traditional no matter who the "in" and "out" parties happen to be at the time -- they both do it. Right before the election, what will happen is that Democrats will force some politically uncomfortable votes on Republicans. Most of the stuff they're voting on (especially in the Senate) will likely fail. But it will leave a record. This record will be used as ammunition in the last two months of the campaign "Senator Bedfellow voted against raising military pay," or, perhaps, "Congressman Smith actually voted against honoring Mother's Day, just because Democrats were voting for it... does he hate his mother, or what?!?"

Now, I'll fully admit, Republicans are usually a lot better at this game than Democrats. But this time, Democrats hold both houses and can schedule votes on anything they feel like -- which gives them a huge advantage in the political hot-issue sweepstakes. My guess is that Speaker Nancy Pelosi will wind up being more adept at this tactic than Reid, but maybe that's just me.

But don't look for any important, sweeping legislation to pass in September. Except possibly a few budget-type bills which have deadlines for passage (in other words, government checks will start bouncing unless Congress acts), not a whole lot is going to be accomplished in this frenzy of political activity. Don't look for a big energy bill to pass the Senate, or comprehensive immigration reform or anything of that scope, in other words.

October, of course, means everyone goes back on the old campaign trail again. Meaning absolutely nothing will get done, legislatively speaking. Which brings up right up to the election itself.

The most interesting period in Congress this year, other than the next few weeks, may be November and December. This will be the "lame duck session" of Congress, where people who have already been voted out of their seats get to cast their last votes before packing up their offices. If, as just about everyone is predicting, Democrats have smaller numbers after the election, then there may be a last-ditch effort to shove a few remaining things through before the lights go out (again, this is traditional, both parties engage in this sort of thing).

The biggest thing which may make it to Obama's desk at this point is likely to be some sort of cobbled-together energy bill. There's a reason for this -- starting next January, if Congress hasn't acted, the Environmental Protection Agency is going to start regulating carbon. That is a deadline which makes Republicans (and Blue Dog Democrats) tremble in their boots -- because if they don't act, the E.P.A. will. So I expect a flurry of last-minute dealmaking and an energy bill between Thanksgiving and Christmas, most likely. There are other issues which may squeak through during the lame duck session -- perhaps a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal (if it hasn't already been signed into law) after the Pentagon releases their study on how they're going to move beyond this policy, which is due out at the beginning of December. Also a possibility is some sort of bill which would extend the Bush tax cuts which actually did help average Americans (ending the marriage penalty, the hike in child exemption credits, etc.), while taking no action on the tax cuts for the wealthy, which would then automatically expire.

While this entire column may sound a bit cynical, this is the nature of an election year. I have to say that, personally, I've actually been surprised at how much the Democrats have managed to get done this year so far. Normally the "campaign season" encompasses the entire year, but this year health reform was finished, and now Wall Street reform is heading to the finish line as well. Meaning that, already, Congress has been more productive than in normal election years.

But, unless you want to hang your hopes on the lame duck session, the next few weeks are going to define the political landscape for the rest of this year, including the election. To put it another way, if you've got a big pet issue you're waiting to see some action on, it's either going to happen in the next few weeks, or else it probably won't happen at all this year.

 

-- Chris Weigant

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

68 Comments on “The Fall Political Schedule”

  1. [1] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Chris: This can be a keystone issue for Democrats on the campaign trail -- "We stood with Main Street, Republicans bowed down to Wall Street" -- if they would only expend a tiny bit of energy trying to sell their own accomplishments to the voters (which, being Democrats, is always an open question).

    There's one thing that Dems keep neglecting to factor in. That is, the majority of Americans are against more and bigger government. And every "victory" of the Dems, such as the one you site, contains a nice big, fat power grab. More power for Big Brother, by Big Brother. The majority of Americans are so, so, so against that, and it's one of the major reasons we're seeing Indies moving sharply to the Right.

    Nobody on the Left seems to realize this (which I suspect is owed to the Dems' core culture and mindset, i.e., they personally see nothing wrong with bigger, more powerful government, so it never even occurs to them that anyone else could possibly perceive it as negative).

    And that's a really big part of what's gonna bury the Dems on election day, IMO.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    All election year considerations aside, there should be another big Afghanistan/Pakistan policy review be the end of the year.

    And, with only a year to go before the big transition begins, we may be in store for some major changes, tactically and strategically speaking. Beacuse, let's face it, what's happening now is not sustainable.

    By the way, this column sounded decidedly less cynical than they have been sounding of late. In fact, this one sounded downright upbeat. I love it! :)

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    which I suspect is owed to the Dems' core culture and mindset, i.e., they personally see nothing wrong with bigger, more powerful government,

    Correction..

    Dems don't see anything wrong with a bigger, more powerful government as long as it is DEMOCRATS who are in control of said bigger, more powerful government.

    Let the GOP be in control of said bigger and more powerful government and watch the Left scream to high heaven...

    :D

    Of course, the converse is true as well... Which simply goes to prove what I have always said...

    Democrat and Republican are simply two sides of the same pathetic and corrupt coin....

    Michale.....

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris1962

    You really do have to get with the program here. It's not about more and bigger government versus less and smaller government. It's about competent and effective government.

    Unfortunately, it's also about a toxic and dysfunctional media and political culture that has produced a dangerously ill-informed electorate. Which, when all is said and done, is very bad news for the Obama/Biden administration ... and Geithner, too!

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    ...oops ... I meant to say, CB ... old habits die hard, I guess ... :)

  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Chris1962 -

    I understand the point you're making, although I would put it differently. Americans aren't actually against "big government" when it helps them out (see: Bobby Jindal begging for federal assistance, for instance). I see it as a problem of framing, and of messaging. Democrats can go out and say "we cut ATM fees, and credit card fees!" and most Americans would probably think that was just dandy, and not even think in "power grab" terms. But, I have to concede, the Republican message shop is a lot better of a political machine than the Rube Goldberg device which serves as the Democratic message shop. So they may win the framing battle on this one, I'll give you that.

    As for your general commentary on Democrats, I'd frame it another way: some Democrats seem to think that if they just "explain things" well enough, everyone will understand and support them. Drew Westen wrote a wonderful book from the perspective of neuroscience which shows how wrong this thinking is. EMOTION has to be part of the message, and Democrats routinely fail on this front, whereas Republicans have it honed to a knife edge. You'd likely enjoy his book ("The Political Brain") even while denouncing his politics, since almost all of what he has to say is EXACTLY what advertising and marketing does. He just delves into the science behind it, although it is not a technical book and can be read by any layman easily. But this fundamental misunderstanding kills a lot of Democrats' political futures ("We just have to EXPLAIN it one more time!! They'll get it, I KNOW they will!!"), which comes off as condescending and elitist in the extreme. And, more to the point, doesn't really work, for reasons Westen lays out.

    Liz -

    OK, I have a confession, and a sort of mea culpa.

    I have been dealing with massive struggles, both on my part and on the auto repair shop, in order to put my car (with almost 200K miles on it) into perfect shape so it can last another 50K miles. This was AFTER I thought the problem had been solved (I even wrote a column about it), and then AFTER the auto shop thought the problem had been solved -- twice. This has been MUCH more expensive than I thought and has taken MUCH MUCH MUCH more time and energy than I thought (like all my free weekend time, as well as many evenings). So I have been extra-cranky of late, I do admit. It has likely been showing through in my writing, as you pointed out.

    The good news: the car comes back from the shop tomorrow, with brand new head gasket installed (anyone unsure of what this operation entails, ask someone who knows cars, and I guarantee they'll cringe when you use those words...), as well as various other improvements.

    But it's all for a good cause -- next week is "Netroots Nation" where all the lefty bloggers get together (in Las Vegas!) and plot the destruction of the Repulican Party (after exchanging the secret handshake, of course). [Cue lighting, thunder, and evil genius laugh: "MWOO-Hah-hah!"]

    I will get to meet everyone's friend and blogger extraordinaire Matt Osborne in person, which will be one of the high points of the week. Sure, you guys will get a cartoon or two, and some repeat columns, but I betcha I'll return with a new lease on life and a positive attitude once again. And I do sincerely apologize for the gloominess. Once the Wall St. reform passes, I swear I'll begin to cheer up.

    :-)

    And, of course, once the furshlugginer car makes it to Vegas and back without a SINGLE problem. It damn well better, after the time and money I've spent. Grrr....

    Michale -

    OK, I'm not going to let you get away with that without flipping the coin over and exposing its other side:

    Republicans are just fine with a "unitary executive" when they control the Oval Office, but once a Democrat gets in there, it's a "power grab" and a "government takeover"...

    Heh. Heads, they win; tails, we lose.

    "Same as it ever was... same as it ever was..."
    -Talking Heads

    "'Twas ever thus!"
    -Mr. Natural, cartoon creation of R. Crumb

    Liz -

    I am still going formal, and using Chris1962. But then, it took me forever to call you "Liz" and akadjian "David" so it'll likely take me awhile to stop typing "Chris1962," too (for some reason, my fingers don't have a problem typing "Chris"... heh). And I still flinch whenever I remember once making the mistake of calling you "LizK," as it was the first time I was made aware of the rapier-like quality of your wit, and immediately resolved to try to avoid being a target of it ever since.

    :-)

    -CW

  7. [7] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Chris:
    I understand the point you're making, although I would put it differently. Americans aren't actually against "big government" when it helps them out (see: Bobby Jindal begging for federal assistance, for instance).

    I think liberals/progressives are misreading that. Giving aid to the states, such as in the case of a national emergency, like the Gulf crisis, is something the federal government is actually, constitutionally supposed to do. That's not to be confused with the federal government forcing itself upon the states when it has no constitutional authority to do so (such as in the case of the health care insurance "mandate"). So that's an apples-and-oranges comparison and pretty much a moot point, too.

    Democrats can go out and say "we cut ATM fees, and credit card fees!" and most Americans would probably think that was just dandy, and not even think in "power grab" terms.

    I would agree with you if this were any other time in history. But the unique thing about this particular point in time is that in the short period that Obama has been in office, with a super-majority at this disposal, he's made so many breathtaking power grabs that that is, quite literally, what has the majority of Americans alarmed and up in arms. They're watching the country become socialized/nationalized and they, themselves, dictated to (e.g., the health care mandate; sit down and shut up and like it, because this is what Big Brother says is going to happen), and they're helpless to do anything about it.

    They're seeing unelected czars being giving extraordinary power and authority over them (e.g., this recess-appointed health care guy will be in charge of a budget bigger than the Defense Department's, and will be calling the shots on issues that will affect Americans' personal health, and without any scrutiny by Congress, and without having been elected by the people).

    So, to my earlier point, the majority of Americans do not care about ATM and credit fees this election cycle. Rather, they're mortally concerned about the startling amount of power that Obama/Pelosi/Reid have awarded themselves (read: the federal government), and in such short period of time. And these new Wall Street regulations — replete with the creation of yet another new federal agency, which will effectively have the power to seize financial institutions at their discretion — just contributes to the horror.

    And, from where I'm sitting, liberals/progressives, and this administration (with the exception of Rahm Emanuel, I'll hazard a guess), do not even seem to realize it. It's a point they all appear to be completely missing.

    When you see Tea Partiers and conservatives — and even Indies, whose support for Obama has now dwindled down to 38% — talking about "taking our country back," that's what they're talking about. It's not about ATM fees. It's about witnessing, before their very eyes, the equivalent of some kind of foreign army marching in and nationalizing private companies, and handing down edicts/mandates to American citizens, and totally ignoring the will of the people in the process. And it's downright frightening and infuriating to those who have always been anti-big-government to begin with, otherwise known as the majority of the country.

  8. [8] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    "...(for some reason, my fingers don't have a problem typing "Chris"... heh."

    ROFL. I'm having trouble figuring out what to call you. When I type "Chris," I feel like I'm writing a note to myself. I'll probably end up going with "CW," since that's how you sign your own posts. Only you don't seem like a "CW" to me (which reminds me of WC Fields). You seem like a "Chris."

    LOL. Oh, the confusion.

  9. [9] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    next week is "Netroots Nation" where all the lefty bloggers get together (in Las Vegas!) and plot the destruction of the Repulican Party (after exchanging the secret handshake, of course). [Cue lighting, thunder, and evil genius laugh: "MWOO-Hah-hah!"]

    Hahahahaha! Okay, I've got tears in my eyes. Do the Vegas authorities know about this. It sounds like a meeting of mafia dons. 'D

  10. [10] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    "...You'd likely enjoy his book ("The Political Brain") even while denouncing his politics, since almost all of what he has to say is EXACTLY what advertising and marketing does."

    I'm definitely going to read this book. I've long held that there is absolutely no difference — and I mean NO difference — between a political campaign and an advertising campaign. Politicians are products, same as toothpaste, and all require the same things: marketing strategies; advertising budgets; packaging; logo; branding; a "reason for being" and a "point of difference"; competitive copy; TV commercials; direct-mail pieces; research; test-marketing; shelf-life; P.R. campaigns; damage-control campaigns — it's all the same, same, same thing.

    Which is probably why I like politics so much.

    'D

  11. [11] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    "And, of course, once the furshlugginer car makes it to Vegas and back without a SINGLE problem. It damn well better, after the time and money I've spent. Grrr...."

    Two words: Jeep Wrangler. With roll-up windows, 4-wheel drive, and as few electronic gizmos as possible. There's a reason the Army has used that same ol' Jeep forever. It's the most reliable workhorse on earth. Change the oil religiously and that thing will serve you better, longer, than any other vehicle you've ever owned.

  12. [12] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Michale: "Dems don't see anything wrong with a bigger, more powerful government as long as it is DEMOCRATS who are in control of said bigger, more powerful government."

    Everything you said in your post in quite true, but there is — or, at least, is supposed to be — a core difference between the two parties, i.e., Dems advocate big, federal government and Republicans are for small government. Federal power versus states rights. The problem is that elected Republicans/conservatives had lost their way over the past decade, believing their role was to bipartisan, and that "moderate Republicans" were more palatable to the electorate and the name of the game.

    WRONG, as GW Bush and the Republican congress found out the hard way, with all their big spending and fed-gov expansions.

    Hence, the birth of "The Party of 'No,'" and with all credit owed to the Tea Partiers, if you ask me. I don't know if you've ever seen this PBS/Frontline episode, but the part at which the Tea Partiers explode onto the scene quite literally cracks me up. The Republicans never saw them coming and didn't know what hit them:

    http://tinyurl.com/34fshvx

    No need to watch the whole thing. Just start at Part 3, at the 6:55 mark, and watch it through Part 4, at around the 3:44 mark. That says it all.

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    I see that CB has graduated from the same HOW TO RESPOND TO POLITICAL COMMENTARIES school that I graduated from.. :D

    CW,

    Republicans are just fine with a "unitary executive" when they control the Oval Office, but once a Democrat gets in there, it's a "power grab" and a "government takeover"...

    Which is why I find it so ecstatically awesome to be an NPA.. :D It's very liberating not having to toe ANY Party line at all.. :D

    CB,

    (e.g., the health care mandate; sit down and shut up and like it, because this is what Big Brother says is going to happen),

    I cannot recall an instance in the history of this country where the Federal Government forced thru legislation that was of dubious Constitutionality, that was not national security related and that 75% of Americans were against...

    That right there should set off alarm bells in every American's head....

    I'll watch that PBS report and report back.. :D

    Michale.....

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Can I call it, or what!!??? :D

    Robert Gibbs, Barack Obama’s chief spokesman, got into hot water this week for daring to speak the truth – that the Democrats could lose control of the House of Representatives in November. But it could be even worse than that.

    Contrary to pretty much every projection until now, Democratic control of the Senate is also starting to coming into question. While Mr Obama’s approval ratings have continued to fall, and now hover at dangerously close to 40 per cent according an ABC-Washington Post poll published on Tuesday, the fate of his former colleagues in the Senate looks even worse.
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/434315b2-8ea6-11df-8a67-00144feab49a.html

    Michale.....

  15. [15] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Michale: I cannot recall an instance in the history of this country where the Federal Government forced thru legislation that was of dubious Constitutionality, that was not national security related and that 75% of Americans were against...

    That right there should set off alarm bells in every American's head....

    It did. Or at least with respect to the majority of Americans. As usual, most liberals/progressives and moderate Dems don't have any Constitutionality problems with it, but the rest of the country — to the tune of about 60% — sure does. 'D

  16. [16] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Liz: "You really do have to get with the program here. It's not about more and bigger government versus less and smaller government. It's about competent and effective government."

    No, to many Americans, it's very much about smaller government, meaning less federal power over the people and states. Over the decades, the federal government has expanded well beyond the enumerated powers laid out in the Constitution. And there's a big push on the Right (including by Republican/conservative citizens, not just pundits and politicians) to bring those powers back to the spirit and written word of the Constitution. Check out the new hot book: Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century

    Unfortunately, it's also about a toxic and dysfunctional media and political culture that has produced a dangerously ill-informed electorate.

    The MSM doesn't even resemble a press corps anymore, IMO. It's disgraceful to see what the Fourth Estate — granted its own special Constitutional rights and protections — has allowed itself to become, which is little more than a P.R. firm for the Democratic party. Perfect example: This politician didn't even know about the New Black Panthers controversy because the MSM isn't covering it: http://tinyurl.com/23h8k5b

    As for the ill-informed electorate, I owe a ton of that to blogs such as the Huffington Post. I swear the majority of readers over there think its a newspaper, like the Washington Post. I don't believe they even realize that the "articles" they're reading are written by bloggers, not reporters.

    Which, when all is said and done, is very bad news for the Obama/Biden administration ... and Geithner, too!>>>

    LOL. Poor Tim. 'D

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just watched the PBS segment. :D

    I love the story-telling way it explains how things went down.. Pretty kewl.. :D

    Michale.....

  18. [18] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Michale, PBS Frontline always does such a great job with timelines and players, IMO> You always get such a great step-by-step sense of how things went down.

    My favorite is "The Warning," about how CFTC chairwoman Brooksley Born foresaw the threat of derivatives and, consequently, run out of town by Clinton's economic team, who didn't want to upset the swingin', booming 90's economy. Here's a 7-minute clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFnPT-umZxw

    You can see the whole program here: http://tinyurl.com/37z32q7

    [Editor's Note: Chris1962 - This comment was automatically held for moderation, because you included two links. These comments will be approved (as this one was) in time, but if you want them to appear right away, limit yourself to posting one link per comment. Just FYI, as a new commenter here... -CW]

  19. [19] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Chris,
    I'm glad to hear you'll be meeting up with Matt at Netroots. Wish I could be there to meet you both and have a beer. Please pass along my compliments to him, I've already asked the same from him. Not sure if he'll get my request; but since you are the BEST at making your fans feel listened to, please make sure to pat each other on the back for having such good sites. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that your car behaves. It's a shame you don't drive a great red shark, and try not to emulate HST when you meet up :D

    Kevin.

  20. [20] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Chris1962 -

    I offer up, for your reading enjoyment:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2009/06/04/american-motors-general-survives-hummer-sale-to-china/

    No need to tell me the wonders of the Jeep, as you're preaching to the choir. I've never owned a Jeep, but have lost count of how many Ramblers I've owned... with the 3.8 liter engine, which is the exact same thing (different bore/stroke) as the 4.0 liter Jeep engine -- one of the best engines ever made, in my opinion.

    Kevin -

    Sorry, can't comment now, I'm just on my way outside to pump up the air in the tires to around 80 psi. Because they're special test tires... or something... heh heh.

    -CW

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    Sorry, can't comment now, I'm just on my way outside to pump up the air in the tires to around 80 psi

    ((cough))Flubber((cough)) :D

    Michale.....

  22. [22] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Chris W, thanks for the single-link tip. Will do.

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Hey, you never need to apologize for a less than completely positive attitude - least of all to me! I’ve been the poster child for bad attitude, lately. One just never knows what I’ll type out into a comment these days. You’ve got a really good excuse - so do I ... way too many years in a row of paying too close attention to too much political stuff.

    Really, I don’t know how you do it but I commend you for it. Day after day, you consistently produce political commentary of the highest caliber and you happily engage everyone with a friendly tone - or, you bite your tongue! :)

    I hope your furshlugginer car gets you to Netroots Nation Fest ... and back! I don’t have to tell you and Matt to have lots of fun ‘cause you two will show all the others there how it’s done, good and proper.

    Oh, and if you run into the likes of Russ Feingold there, you can go ahead and kick him in the shins for me. Sorry ... see what I mean - you just never know.

    And, yes ... you will want to avoid the wrath of LizK at all costs. :)

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    CB,

    LOL. Poor Tim. 'D

    Indeed.

  25. [25] 
    akadjian wrote:

    And there's a big push on the Right (including by Republican/conservative citizens, not just pundits and politicians) to bring those powers back to the spirit and written word of the Constitution.

    Riddle me this, CB. I remember some similar rhetoric. Where have I heard it before? Hmmm ... sounds like Newt Gingrich and the contract for America. Some great marketing that brought Republicans into power culminating w/ George W. Bush and an all-Republican Congress.

    So why didn't smaller government happen? Republicans had the Presidency and Congress. No Democrats to blame. What did they do? Expanded the role of the federal government to never-before-seen levels of bigness. Expanded Presidential powers. Expanded the deficit. Expanded GOVERNMENT. To us into war to expand the government.

    But more importantly, they changed the role of government. The role of government became to support giant, multinational corporations first, citizens second. It is the essence of trickle down theory. Support the giant private sector and it will trickle down.

    While all of this small government talk sounds great, and it sounded really good to me the first time I heard it, I think it's little more than good marketing. Marketing designed to return and keep pro-corporate politicians in power.

    (NOTE: I'm not singling out Republicans here. There are many, many Democrats who fall into this camp. It's just when you think about the "small government" argument, it's hard not to think of Newt and early 90s Republicans.)

    What will these "small government" forces do if they return to power? I don't see anything different. Return to advancing the corporate agenda.

    They want to:
    - Privatize social security so that your money goes to Wall St.
    - Cut taxes for the wealthy
    - Focus on the oil and gas industry at the expense of alternative energy
    - Privatize highways and waterways

    Don't believe me? Check out the Chamber of Commerce's recent letter to President Obama: http://mfrtech.com/articles/3630.html

    These are the same things they've been pushing since Goldwater. How have they worked out? Great, if you're in the top percentile of wealthy Americans. Not so great for the 97% of the rest of us.

    Now I honestly hope, CB, that you're one of the wealthy benefiting from the conservative agenda. If you are, congratulations!

    But there are a lot of us who believe we need something different than deregulation and welfare capitalism. A government that isn't handing out money right and left to large corporations. A government that plays a role in making sure the largest corporations don't have all the advantages and benefit. One in which small businesses play more of a role. One in which there is healthy competition. A system that benefits everyone and not just the rich.

    While I admire the spirit behind the Tea Party and "small government" crusaders such as yourself (Trust me, I feel the same anger at our government.), I think to myself, we've seen this before. What doesn't make sense to me is why do people want to go down this same road that got us here in the first place?

    I have some suspicions, but interested in your thoughts,
    David

  26. [26] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    David: "...... sounds like Newt Gingrich and the contract for America. Some great marketing that brought Republicans into power..."

    I think we can all expect to see another Contract materialize after Labor Day. (I think we can also expect to see Newt Gingrich run in 2012.)

    So why didn't smaller government happen? Republicans had the Presidency and Congress. No Democrats to blame. What did they do?

    (You're kind of confusing timelines. The Congress came into power under a Democratic president named Clinton, who's got the power of the veto, and a Dem agenda, etc.)

    Expanded the role of the federal government to never-before-seen levels of bigness. Expanded Presidential powers. Expanded the deficit. Expanded GOVERNMENT. Took us into war to expand the government.

    I'm not gonna address the war issue, because IMO the Commander in Chief of this country has the Constitutional right and power to engage us in war — particularly on the heels of having been attacked. There's also so many gross distortions of "facts" and outright spin floating around out there, regarding the war, that I wouldn't know where to begin to argue it, and I view it as an entirely different and separate subject from "big government."

    But as for the expansion of government (the Department of Homeland security, for example, which pissed the small-government-purists off to no end), I'll throw the question back to you: What happened to Bush's conservative support and the Republicans' control of power, as a result? I seem to recall their both having lost it. 'D

    Now I honestly hope, CB, that you're one of the wealthy benefiting from the conservative agenda. If you are, congratulations!

    I'm not one who's against Big Business. To me, Business (and/or people who succeed in this country) are not the enemy. This is the land of golden opportunity, where everyone's free to go for it. And more power to those who make it. I applaud success.

    As for Wall Street — which is not one and the same with Business; it's an entirely different animal and industry — I don't believe in no regulation at all. I also don't believe in too much regulation, which we're seeing now, and which is a fundamental job-killer. Regulation is a fine balancing act. Right now, under Obama, there's been so much of it that Business doesn't know what hit it. It's sitting on $1.8 trillion, wary about releasing it into the economy because they're consumed with how the regulations are going to impact the bottom line.

    And all this regulation is not only impacting humongous corporations but the little guys. Even the farmers: http://tinyurl.com/29cl7ey

    While I admire the spirit behind the Tea Party and "small government" crusaders such as yourself (Trust me, I feel the same anger at our government.), I think to myself, we've seen this before.

    We have seen this before. But we've seen it go off track, primarily due to two things: an unanticipated attack on the homeland and subsequent war, and a moderate-in-fiscal-conservative-clothing named Bush. He angered conservatives, which is evident in his decline in the polls. Conservatives back then (who are today's Tea Partiers) abandoned Bush and also did not support McCain, whom they also saw as a wishy-washy conservative. So "we, the people" haven't changed our agenda any. We still want what we wanted back in the early 90's, and are still determined to get it — now, more than ever, with such things as Big Bro's "mandate" now being handed down. Really? I'm sorry, are we living in Cuba now?

    As for your points about "wealth," I don't even know what defines that anymore. $150K a year, is it now? $200K? I've got news for you: a regular ol' advertising exec in a supervisory position is expected to make that much. So I'm never sure what Dems are talking about when they rail against "wealth." $150K isn't exactly a ton of money in this day and age. I do, however, know that when you're talking about a big corporation, the less you tax, the more the corporation is inclined to invest and employ, both of which are good things for both the states they reside in and the economy in general.

  27. [27] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Liz:

    "Indeed."

    An interesting rundown on Geithner's career, which can also be found at the HuffPo: http://tinyurl.com/33mlprt

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    ... at the 'HuffPo'?

    Give me a freakin' break!

    Seriously.

  29. [29] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    I thought you posted over there. No?

  30. [30] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    P.S. The article is written by the author of "13 Bankers," BTW:

    http://13bankers.com/

    "Simon Johnson and James Kwak provide the best explanation yet for how the smart guys on Wall Street led us to the brink of collapse. In the process, they demystify our financial system, stripping it down to expose the ruthless power grab that lies at its center. If you want to understand how Wall Street captured Washington and how it tenaciously hangs on to that power, read 13 Bankers."

    - Elizabeth Warren, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Chairwoman of the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel

  31. [31] 
    dsws wrote:

    "with brand new head gasket installed (anyone unsure of what this operation entails"

    It's really pretty simple. You just remove the VIN and license plates, and park the car in the parking lot of any establishment you don't like and will never visit again. Then you walk to the car dealer to get the new head gasket plus a few additional parts to go with it, such as those gizmos that go in between the front and rear bumpers.

    Of course there are more complicated and expensive ways of doing it, but I don't know enough about cars to comment on those.

  32. [32] 
    akadjian wrote:

    $150K a year, is it now? $200K?

    CB, if you're making $200k, you're upper middle class. Except you live in NY so this might be at about the poverty line.

    According to the Congressional Budget Office, the average for the top 1% of after-tax income was about $1.3 million a year.

    You're kind of confusing timelines.

    Not at all. Newt and crew rolled out their marketing around '94 and this became the Republican platform. Yes, there was a Democratic President. But when Bush ran in 2000, he ran on a similar small government platform. And at this point, Republicans controlled all 3 branches of government.

    a moderate-in-fiscal-conservative-clothing named Bush

    Now I can't believe I'm doing this, but I'm going to defend Bush.

    He did everything that conservatives wanted from him. Which is, get elected and then follow the corporate agenda laid out by folks like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    First, through tax cuts for the wealthy, then later through direct bailout payments to them.

    In fact, he's still wildly popular w/ many conservatives.

    Now you do bring up a good point about how he fell out of favor with some conservatives. I'd argue that this happened at the point not when he became more moderate, as you mention. But when he truly showed what he stood for. When he truly showed what was behind the marketing. When he bailed out Wall Street. At the point when it became apparent that the conservative agenda is not what they say in their marketing. It not only includes deregulation, no-bid government contracts, and tax cuts for corporations, but also bailouts in a time of need.

    And of course, Bush needed the Democratic Congress for this as well. I say this, not to bash one party over the other, but to say that this widespread philosophy-become-religion that many in both parties buy into called laissez-faire capitalism is the driving principle behind this mess.

    Government by the corporate, for the corporate.

    But the Tea Party is some great marketing.

    Dress up in Revolutionary war clothes. Carry Constitutions. And, like I said, I think they have a reason to be mad, but to want to return to what got us into this seems odd to me.

    It's kind of like how Glenn Beck markets himself as the next Thomas Paine or has a picture of Ben Franklin on his wall. Thomas Paine- who proposed an early version of Social Security. And Ben Franklin, inventor of the library and intellectual elitist (socialist books!).

    To me, Business (and/or people who succeed in this country) are not the enemy. This is the land of golden opportunity, where everyone's free to go for it. And more power to those who make it. I applaud success.

    I do too! In fact, conservatives have to keep the debate going. Because all the progressive believe capitalism won. No one is arguing it didn't.

    It's really a debate between what I'd call "Anything Goes Capitalism" and "Responsible Capitalism".

    A responsible system is able to support a middle class. Everything doesn't go to the top. Small businesses are able to survive and prosper. There is competition. Too big to fail doesn't exist. A free market is a working market, not an anything goes, no regulation market.

    Anything Goes Capitalism benefits the top %1 and it benefits the top .01% even more. Small businesses are swallowed by the whales. Competition dies. The middle class disappears. The largest corporations are able to dictate terms because there is little competition. And the market turns into a 3rd world market where corruption wins you generous government contracts.

    This is what is happening to our country.

    Business doesn't know what hit it. It's sitting on $1.8 trillion, wary about releasing it into the economy because they're consumed with how the regulations are going to impact the bottom line.

    Business is sitting on $1.8 trillion because business thinks the economy is gonna get worse. That's why businesses are sitting on money. What disgusts me most is that the banks are sitting on money. After we gave them $700 billion. They still aren't lending which was the whole purpose of giving them this money to begin with. It has little to do with fear of regulations. But it makes a great excuse. Hell ... for the most part, corporate America is writing the regulations through their lobbyists. I don't know why they'd fear them.

    Whew ... I think I need a drink! Happy Friday folks!

    -David

    p.s. I think we should enact a new law that keeps Republicans out of our socialist national parks and off our socialist highways :)

  33. [33] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    CB[29],

    Sure, I've been known to post the odd ocmment at the esteemed Huffington Post.

    But, aside from a few notable exceptions, they are usually posted in an effort to slam a so-called reporter or blogger of one sort or another for sloppy, lazy and wholly inaccurate reporting that amounts to nothing more than utter nonsense.

  34. [34] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    "In fact, he's still wildly popular w/ many conservatives."

    Out of curiosity, where do you get this from? I'm under the impression that moderate Republicans still like him; not conservatives.

    As an aside, when you talk about "tax cuts for corporations," you do realize that that's ultimately good for the economy, right? Keeping a big corporation's taxes down — they pay MEGA bucks in taxes, incidentally, even when the taxes are lowered — enables them to invest more, and produce more, and HIRE more. That is not a bad thing. Corporations give paychecks to Americans. It's called jobs. Choking a corporation with taxes just encourages them to do business elsewhere. That would be the flip side of a good thing. 'D

    Anything Goes Capitalism benefits the top %1 and it benefits the top .01% even more. Small businesses are swallowed by the whales. Competition dies. The middle class disappears. The largest corporations are able to dictate terms because there is little competition. And the market turns into a 3rd world market where corruption wins you generous government contracts.
    This is what is happening to our country.

    Yeah, because Business is taxed and regulated up the whazoo. Obama — who has suddenly decided that it's a good thing to be pro-business — is currently on a mission to respond to Big Business's extensive list of complaints re: taxes and regulations.

    If you want to kill jobs, just tax and regulate. And that's where we are today, you'll notice, with Business sitting on $1.8 trillion in cold cash, waiting for the Republicans to come in with lower taxes, deregulation, and hopefully a repeal of HCR, which is going to kill the states.

  35. [35] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    But the Tea Party is some great marketing.

    Dress up in Revolutionary war clothes. Carry Constitutions. And, like I said, I think they have a reason to be mad, but to want to return to what got us into this seems odd to me.

    It isn't quite that black-or-white/all-or-nothing. They just want to get back to the fundamental principles of governance, i.e., this country was designed for the states to have the power and the federal government's powers to be curtailed. Over the decades, the opposite has come to be. And as if Bush didn't grow the government enough, which infuriated conservatives, Obama/Reid/Pelosi are just plain out of control with the power-grabbing and the nationalizing and the mandating, etc. That's why people are in the streets, screaming "Enough!" Frankly, it reminds me of back in our Founders' day, when they felt they had no representation in England, meaning no control over their own lives and destinies, and either had to continue just sitting there and taking it or stand up and fight for their rights.

    Tea Partiers feel their rights are being taken away. Here's a video that really says it pretty well, I think. It starts a little slow, but watch it through: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiT3Rj_IUCc

  36. [36] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Out of curiosity, where do you get this from? I'm under the impression that moderate Republicans still like him; not conservatives.

    Maybe that's true, my friend. I just have several friends who will go to great lengths to still defend him.

    It just seems odd to me as his politics were almost exactly what you stated. Give tax breaks to corporations so they can create jobs.

    As an aside, when you talk about "tax cuts for corporations," you do realize that that's ultimately good for the economy, right?

    This is exactly what I've been arguing that the Tea Party stands for. Tax cuts for corporations. Trickle down theory. Incent the wealthy so they can then help out the rest of us. In other words, I don't see how this is different from before. Except for a few Patriot hats. And a lot of talk about our founders.

    The trouble I have with this is that it hasn't trickled down. It's worked well for the top 20%, extremely well for the top 1%, unimaginably well for the top .01% and miserably for the rest of us.

    Here's a good summary from one of the writers on a stock site I hang out on that pretty much sums up my views :
    http://seekingalpha.com/article/213401-cbo-data-on-taxes-and-income-why-i-oppose-republican-policies

    What has happened is that the top %20 percent have managed to take about 10% of the pie from the rest of America.

    So when Republicans say they're against income redistribution, they're incorrect. They are very much for income redistribution - upwards.

    If you want to kill jobs, just tax and regulate. And that's where we are today, you'll notice, with Business sitting on $1.8 trillion in cold cash ...

    Now this is actually some fantastic marketing by conservatives. For the average reader, you'll hear it everywhere. Here is how it works.

    The marketers give you 2 decisions. And 2 decisions only. And they say it's got to be one or the other.

    You either have to lower taxes or we'll lose jobs.

    What I don't get, CB, is that you said businesses are sitting on $1.8 trillion of money. That sounds like a lot of money to me. Why not create some jobs now?

    Let me get this straight, they're waiting for more handouts before they create jobs? This doesn't make sense to me.

    Ok, but let's forget that for a second. How can we guarantee that if we give them more money they'll create jobs?

    Very recently, in fact, we've heard something very similar. The giant banks came crying to us saying that they needed money or they wouldn't be able to lend.

    We gave them the money. They aren't lending.

    So if I'm gonna go down this road of giving businesses more handouts, I'm gonna need more than some promises and magic marketing about how this will create jobs.

    It's kind of like the marketing we heard from the financial sector supporting deregulation: Wall St. can regulate itself.

    Right ...

    They just want to get back to the fundamental principles of governance, i.e., this country was designed for the states to have the power and the federal government's powers to be curtailed.

    Ok. Can you tell me how reducing the federal government's power will help restore our economy and benefit the middle class?

    This is my #1 question that I can't get an answer from my conservative friends.

    I can tell you how it's going to hurt the middle class.

    It's going to continue to redistribute wealth upwards as it has for the past 30 years.

    Would our founders have fought for the wealthy? This is what I find odd about the Tea Party. Our founders fought for equality. For economic freedom from the big corporations of the day. For freedom from tyranny.

    Today's Tea Party seems to me an awful lot like a revolt against the middle class by the middle class.

    I think they have every right to be angry. Because they know there's a problem. But the solution to double-down on a long-shot bet that somehow the wealthy, once we give them more money, are going to turn around and give is back to us, just flies in the face of economic data over the past 30 years.

    Cheers
    David

    p.s. In fact, if there's anything good that I think might come from the Tea Party, it's that people might actually read some Thomas Paine (instead of Glenn Beck). Or some Thomas Jefferson. Or some Alexander Hamilton. Or some Ben Franklin.

  37. [37] 
    akadjian wrote:

    p.s. Great marketing video by the way. Exactly what I'm talking about.

    From the scary Bolshevik-like music, to all the evil-looking pictures of Democrats.

    Returning to trickle down economics and tax breaks for the wealthy is not going to be a very easy sell. Especially with the middle class.

    So you've got to create some villains, bring back patriotism, and convince people that they are the forces of good fighting for something else against evil wrong-doers.

    "America is rising! To take back America for ... the wealthy ... err. I mean smaller government!"

  38. [38] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    David: "What has happened is that the top %20 percent have managed to take about 10% of the pie from the rest of America.

    This is a mindset that I don't even really understand. What do you mean by the rich taking "...FROM the rest of America"? Americans are not entitled to reap the rewards of other people's hard-earned money. That's not how our Constitution is written. Not to mention, that money doesn't belong to the government. It belongs to the people. We are the ones who get to decide — through officials we send to Washington — how WE want our money appropriated.

    In conservative land, people want it appropriated in accordance with the Constitution, meaning that the federal government should use it to build roads, deliver the mail, maintain an army, etc. In liberal land, OTOH, it's supposed to be distributed to every Tom, Dick and Harry who'd like some more money.

    That's the fundamental argument such conservatives as Tea Partiers have with liberals, i.e., the misuse of government funds for things it was never meant to be spent on, to begin with. This country was designed as a bunch of individual states, each with their very own governments and taxes and schools, etc., devised to serve the basic needs of that given state's citizenry. The federal government was never supposed to do anything more than, like, build roads so that citizens could travel from one state to another; deliver mail, so that each state didn't have to deliver a letter from, like, Maine to Texas.

    The federal government is so out of control in terms of size, scope, and power these days that people now seem to believe that the federal government is supposed to function as some kind of overlord that calls the shots for the states. That was never, never, never the way this country was designed to function. (Hence, the reason the HCR "mandate," for example, is destined to go down in flames.)

    We were never supposed to take orders from a Big Brother: the equivalent of a King George. We were never supposed to have a president and a Nancy Pelosi effectively punishing the rich so that people who earned less could enjoy a piece of the rich person's pie, because they were entitled to it. This is, and always was, a nation in which individuals all had the right to make a good life for themselves, according to their own individual talents and abilities and labor. If one person wanted to study harder than the other, and become a big, successful business person, he was going to invariably make more money than somebody who wanted to learn carpentry and make kitchen cabinetry. This country is about making choices, and that does not include, "Well, I choose to be a carpenter, but I'd also like a piece of the rich guy's pie, thank you."

    What the...???

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, I don't really understand all the economic talk...

    But, I have to say that CB's explanation makes a lot of sense..

    Shouldn't it be that those who have the best idea or intellect or do the best of something make better money than say, someone who just sits at home and watch the boob toob??

    Why is someone who didn't EARN it entitled to a piece of someone else's sweat and hard work??

    I don't ask this to be argumentative. Really, I don't. :D

    I am sincerely curious.

    Michale.....

  40. [40] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Michale: Shouldn't it be that those who have the best idea or intellect or do the best of something make better money than say, someone who just sits at home and watch the boob toob??

    Why is someone who didn't EARN it entitled to a piece of someone else's sweat and hard work??

    That's the thing: they're not entitled. That's not even the way humankind works. Which is why the vast majority of Americans reject the notion of sharing their hard-earned money with the sit-at-home boob-tube-watching flunkies.

    That's not to say that societies don't want to take care of their indigent. But there's a big difference between indigent people and deadbeats, who don't make an earnest contribution to society but would, nevertheless, like to benefit from those who do.

    When you have a good look at liberal land, you'll see this entitlement mentality everywhere, from schools that promote students who haven't earned it, to believing that everyone should make the same pay rather than earn "merit" pay and promotions. And in all instances, they feel they're owed something, either from "the wealthy" or the federal government. Students are owed free breakfast at school; African Americans are owed reparations; minorities are owed "points" to get into good colleges; etc. It's everywhere within liberal land.

  41. [41] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Shouldn't it be that those who have the best idea or intellect or do the best of something make better money than say, someone who just sits at home and watch the boob toob?

    @Michale - Agree with you completely and never said anything differently.

    Why is someone who didn't EARN it entitled to a piece of someone else's sweat and hard work?

    See above answer.

    What do you mean by the rich taking "...FROM the rest of America"?

    CB-
    The foundation of conservative economic philosophy is that tax cuts will incent investment which will grow the pie for everyone. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.

    Looking at the data, however, this hasn't happened. What has happened is that rather than growing the pie for everyone, the top 20% have gotten wealthier while the other 80% have gotten poorer. This is simply what the data shows.

    So what happened? The pie didn't grow for everyone. The pie shifted. The wealthy became wealthier. The other 80% got poorer.

    Now conservative marketing explains things this way. The rich are rich because they have the best ideas. The poor are poor because they are lazy.

    I struggle w/ this because there are a lot of wealthy people who never had a good idea or are even good at anything - they simply inherited a great deal of money.

    And, there are a lot of hard-working people out of work right now who would love to be working. But there simply aren't jobs.

    No one is talking about giving handouts to people who sit on couches.

    What I'm talking about is, how do we make sure conditions are right for a functioning economy? An economy that benefits more than just those at the top.

    An economy that benefits those w/ good ideas and who work hard, not just those who started out with money.

    For a working economy, you need regulation. If the financial crisis has shown us anything, it's this. Regulation to ensure fair competition. Regulation and enforcement to punish those who cheat. Regulation to ensure fair transactions. Etc

    And for this, you're going to need government because corporations, like the big banks, will not regulate themselves.

    What would the Tea Party do to create a functioning economy?

    It seems like their belief is: "the market regulates itself." Just get out of the way and watch the magic.

    I'd actually be interested in any party that came up with a good answer to this.

    Republicans haven't said anything new. The Tea Party is trying to take failed conservatism even further. And the Democrats don't do a good job explaining their philosophy.

    Cheers
    David

  42. [42] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    David:The foundation of conservative economic philosophy is that tax cuts will incent investment which will grow the pie for everyone. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.

    Looking at the data, however, this hasn't happened. What has happened is that rather than growing the pie for everyone, the top 20% have gotten wealthier while the other 80% have gotten poorer. This is simply what the data shows.

    If you mean "growing the pie" so that all can then "share the wealth," the Republicans definitely aren't into that "pie" mentality. LOL. The Republicans believe in individuals creating their own wealth; not "the community" feeding off the wealth of others. So I would say that "the foundation of conservative economic philosophy is to cut taxes to help promote investments by Business and more purchases by consumers, which will ultimately help invigorate and grow this stalled economy."

    Looking at the data, however, this hasn't happened. What has happened is that rather than growing the pie for everyone, the top 20% have gotten wealthier while the other 80% have gotten poorer. This is simply what the data shows.

    I don't know what data you're looking at, but a couple of near-meltdowns, worldwide, will most certainly affect the middle class in this country. Everybody got a little poorer — including the rich folks, incidentally.

    Now conservative marketing explains things this way. The rich are rich because they have the best ideas. The poor are poor because they are lazy.

    I struggle w/ this because there are a lot of wealthy people who never had a good idea or are even good at anything - they simply inherited a great deal of money.

    No, the rich are rich because they worked for it. It's all about individualism. In short, the Republicans don't believe that people are entitled to other people's money. It's all about earning your own way through life. Some will earn more; some will earn less. That's just the way life is.

    I struggle w/ this because there are a lot of wealthy people who never had a good idea or are even good at anything - they simply inherited a great deal of money.

    That's their business, not yours. LOL. People are free to make as much money as they wish in this country. This is the land of golden opportunity, remember?

    And, there are a lot of hard-working people out of work right now who would love to be working. But there simply aren't jobs.

    Well, frankly, you can thank the unions for that. They've made it all but impossible to manufacture anything at a competitive price. That's why businesses manufacture elsewhere, so they can cut a profit at the end of the day. It's the unions that are killing industry in this country; not "the rich."

    What I'm talking about is, how do we make sure conditions are right for a functioning economy? An economy that benefits more than just those at the top.

    An economy that benefits those w/ good ideas and who work hard, not just those who started out with money.

    You seem to have a real thing against "those at the top." Meanwhile, those at the top drive our entire economy. They make the investments that fuel our economic engine. Even when you cut taxes for them, they're still paying a veritable fortune in taxes. So they're not the bad guys. When they invest, the entire financial machine starts to chug. Banks provide loans for manufacturers, builders, entrepreneurs, small businesses, etc. The whole idea behind a thriving economy is to keep taxes low so that the wealthy have MORE to put into the economy, and the consumers have more in their pockets to spend.

    What would the Tea Party do to create a functioning economy?

    Cut taxes, for starters. 'D

    It seems like their belief is: "the market regulates itself." Just get out of the way and watch the magic.

    No, it's not. That was Alan Greenspan's belief. Here, watch this and you'll get the whole background of how the meltdown came to be: http://chris11962.blogspot.com/2010/05/frontline-breaking-bank.html

    Alan Greenspan ended up confessing, to congress, that he had been wrong all along (which you'll see at the end of that program). But that wasn't JUST the Republicans who promoted no regulation. Clinton was just as much into the Ayn Rand's "zero regulation" philosophy as Greenspan or anyone. It's just that no one anticipated the hazards of the derivatives market. No one except one lone regulator named Brooksley Born, who tried to warn congress. Hence, the name of the program: "The Warning."

    I'd actually be interested in any party that came up with a good answer to this.

    Well, the Dems just had their shot at it, and with this new legislation they just passed, we're no safer from the dangers of derivatives than we were before.

    Republicans haven't said anything new. The Tea Party is trying to take failed conservatism even further.

    I don't even know what you mean by "failed conservatism." Sounds like more of a tired old talking point than anything. Conservatism has to do with individualism, and power to the states vs. the federal government, and keeping taxes low and spending at a minimum. If conservatives had their way, the first thing they would do is start taking the powers away from the federal government that it was never supposed to have in the first place. For instance, the fed isn't supposed to be in charge of schools and education; the states are. Ergo, conservatives would seek to dismantle the Department of Education and give that power back to the states.

  43. [43] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Cut taxes, for starters.

    Meanwhile, those at the top drive our entire economy.

    Looks like the same old conservatism to me. Cut taxes. Give to the top w/o any strings attached - and then watch them create jobs in China.

    Dismantle the government. Provide corporate handouts. Deregulate. Blame the unions.

    The whole idea behind a thriving economy is to keep taxes low so that the wealthy have MORE to put into the economy, and the consumers have more in their pockets to spend.

    We know. This has been the driving philosophy since Reagan. Give handouts to the wealthy and let them create jobs.

    It hasn't worked. They have created jobs, but they've done it in China. Consumers have not had more to spend. Consumers have less than they ever have before.

    Look at any of the CBO data on income over the past 30 years.

    http://www.epi.org/page/-/old/Issuebriefs/239/figureb.gif

    Or just look around you. Look at all the people shifting into poverty.

    It shows your philosophy working extremely well for the top 1% Not so good for the rest of us.

    *sigh*

    Wouldn't it make sense to look at our society in the 50s or a time of great prosperity, when we had a stronger overall economy, and see what conditions were in place that made it work?

    -David

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    Against my better judgement (WHAT "better judgement?? :D) I am going to jump into the fray.. But I am sure I'll get my had handed to me... :D

    David,

    I struggle w/ this because there are a lot of wealthy people who never had a good idea or are even good at anything - they simply inherited a great deal of money.

    While that is likely true, it is also likely that it won't be true for long..

    Take it from someone who had a LOT (I mean a LOT) of money at one time, but now struggles from paycheck to paycheck.

    If someone is born into money, but doesn't acquire the smarts to continue to make money, then that person will soon be poor..

    "Nature abhors a vacuum"
    -Captain Spock, STAR TREK VI, The Undiscovered Country

    And, there are a lot of hard-working people out of work right now who would love to be working. But there simply aren't jobs.

    And WHY aren't there jobs???

    Because Obama and the Democrats in Congress spent.... WASTED... a year forcing thru (by hook or by crook) that abysmal abortion that is CrapCare.

    The responsibility for the lack of jobs can be laid DIRECTLY at the feet of the Obama Administration. That's not something they (or ya'all) can blame the Bush Administration for.

    Everything that Obama has done since taking office has been to the DETRIMENT of jobs..

    No one is talking about giving handouts to people who sit on couches.

    Mebbe...

    But also, no one is talking about PREVENTING handouts to people who sit on couches..

    Once again, it's like CrapCare. Obama said that CrapCare won't be used to give medical care to illegal immigrants (HE LIED!!! :D)

    We now come to find out that there is nothing in CrapCare to PREVENT medical care going to illegal immigrants.

    And the Democrats don't do a good job explaining their philosophy.

    While that is true, I would also put forth that Democrats also do a crappy job IMPLEMENTING their philosophy..

    CB,

    Well, frankly, you can thank the unions for that. They've made it all but impossible to manufacture anything at a competitive price. That's why businesses manufacture elsewhere, so they can cut a profit at the end of the day. It's the unions that are killing industry in this country; not "the rich."

    Can't argue with that at all...

    Michale.....

  45. [45] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Hahahah. Not at all, Michale. Thanks for sticking around on this outdated post of Chris' to listen to the discussion. And I don't think anyone is handing it to anyone.

    I liked CB instantly because of his sense of humor (similar to yourself). And he pushes me to think about how to explain my views in business terms. This is a good thing - something I think progressives should get better at.

    In fact, looking at my last post I thought of a better explanation. So here's another shot.

    Anyone who has been in business knows that there are basically 2 ways to make money:

    1. You can be the low-cost provider
    2. You can innovate

    Low cost providers are those who take ideas already in place and find a more cost-effective way of doing things. Innovators are those who find new ways of doing things that no one has thought of before.

    Ideally, you want to be on the innovation side of things. Why? Because it allows you greater profit margins and you avoid commoditization. That is, competition is higher in the low cost realm and you are always forced to cut costs. This is what CB is talking about when he talks about unions forcing companies to outsource.

    Basically, if you're an innovator, you can charge higher prices, lead the market, pay your people better, and provide higher benefits. Unions aren't such a big deal. When your product commoditizes, things like high wages and benefits become a problem.

    I think we should lead the world in innovation. This is the type of investment we should be encouraging. This is when everyone wins.

    The trouble is that many of our industries became lazy. They found it easier and cheaper to lobby the government for tax breaks rather than innovate. The auto industry is the best example.

    Rather than focus on building a better car, they focused on cutting costs w/ unions and lobbying the government for handouts. And the investment paid off in the short term for companies like GM and Chrysler but hurt them long term. Ford, by comparison, has done a better job innovating and is in better shape.

    The oil industry is another great example. Rather than focus on developing alternative energy because there is a finite oil supply, they are lobbying the government to open new offshore wells and drill in national parks.

    I believe that we should support the innovators and lead in development rather than providing handouts to these "lazy" businesses. We should also encourage better working conditions, higher wages, and fair competition from other countries.

    Conservative thought has tended to focus on lowering costs for the non-innovators. They believe that in order to compete, we should have to lower wages and benefits.

    I believe the business case is in supporting innovation so that we don't have to lower wages and benefits.

    This is why I feel we rewarded the wrong people in the financial crisis. We rewarded the failures.

    And I see this happening in the energy industry, the healthcare industry, etc. We have done the opposite of encouraging competition, we have given welfare to the dinosaurs.

    Both of you are correct when you say that Democrats have been complicit in much of this. But the underlying philosophy that they've bought into is some version of "trickle down" theory.

    Now I can see elements of the innovation philosophy in Obama's agenda. He encourages things like new energy development, high speed rail, building our tech infrastructure, investment in small business, and even healthcare reform. But I will give you this, and CW talks about this all the time, he has not done a very good job explaining this reasoning. He's not made a very good business case.

    Cheers,
    David

    p.s. I think most people share a similar belief around innovation. But one of the reasons this is a tough sell is that the folks on the handouts have a lot of money to donate to politicians.

  46. [46] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    David: "I liked CB instantly because of his sense of humor (similar to yourself)."

    He's a she. 'D

    "And he pushes me to think about how to explain my views in business terms. This is a good thing - something I think progressives should get better at."

    I’m happy to hear that, David. This is not meant as a slam to you or Dems, but something I've noticed throughout the liberal/progressive world is a tendency to simply, and trustingly, adopt and repeat Dem rhetoric without thinking it through. For instance, this "damn the rich" battle cry (which really amounts to nothing more than class warfare) doesn't even make sense, in an economic sense, when you consider that without those big meanie wealthy folks fueling the economy with their investments, we wouldn't have an economy to speak of. Businesses creates jobs; not the government. Look no further than Obama's attempt to rebuild the economy via the government. Nothing's happening. Jobs are being "saved," but they aren't being created — at least not long-term jobs. The only jobs the government is capable of creating are temporary jobs, like building roads. Problem is, after the road is built — what then? The employees are out of work again.

    The economy is really a very simple, logical machine, when you come right down to it, David: Think of Wealthy Uncle coming to visit Nephew, Wife and the Kids. Nephew asks Wealthy Uncle for money to purchase and refurbish a dilapidated apartment building he's discovered. Wealthy Uncle sees it as a wise investment and hands over the money. Nephew purchases the building (owner and real estate agent profit); Nephew hires construction company (company owners profit); construction company hires a crapload of workers, who all then take paychecks home to their families; Nephew rents out apartments (he starts making a profit); Nephew's Wife, throughout the ensuing year(s), spends Nephew's profit on groceries (store AND food manufacturers profit) and clothes for the Kids (clothing store AND apparel manufacturer profit); and so on.

    And Wealthy Uncle, who's now getting a return on his investment, takes his profit and invests it in somebody else's enterprise. And the profit-generating cycle starts all over again.

    But when the government takes over — as is happening now — and starts taxing and regulating and nationalizing everything that isn't nailed down, investors stop dead in their tracks, primarily because of uncertainty, i.e., they don't know how taxes are going to impact their bottom line in terms of whether they're going to have to lay off workers in order to still cut a profit at the end of the day; or whether the new regulations are going to hamper their company’s ability to even continue operating, competitively, in the global marketplace; or whether they’re even going to be able to continue operating in this country at all. Everything becomes uncertain and tumultuous. (Example: the Bush tax cuts are set to expire, but nobody knows if they’re going to be renewed, or if so, when.) So the fat cats just essentially stop, and cut back their operational expenses, and watch and wait and pray for a new congress to come along and, hopefully, create a good business environment again (e.g., low taxes; sensible, minimal regulation; etc.)

    And that's where we are now. And you can't blame Business for it, either. They have an obligation to the people in their company — shareholders and employees alike. And if their taxes go up, then they have to look for ways to compensate for that loss of money so that their business can continue generating a profit. So they compensate by doing things like raising the prices of their products (which leaves consumers with less money in their pockets); or firing (say) the entire Telemarketing Department and farming that work out to India, instead; or firing across the board, throughout every department, just to ensure that at the end of the year, they’re taking in more money than they’re turning out.

    Business is in business for one reason: to make a profit. If there was no profit to be had, there would be no reason to bust one's butt to build a business. It really is that simple.

  47. [47] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    David: "The trouble is that many of our industries became lazy. They found it easier and cheaper to lobby the government for tax breaks rather than innovate. The auto industry is the best example."

    The problem is, no matter what innovative products they come out with, the unions are still gonna strangle them with labor costs, which is going to drive up the cost of the product, which is going to reduce the number of consumers who are in a financial position to buy them.

    And no sooner does (example) the auto maker come out with the innovation when it's knocked off by competitors. Including those who are manufacturing out of the country, where the labor costs are less. Meanwhile, the American innovator is still strapped with union costs, so in order to offer a competitive price-point to consumers, he has to outsource, just like his global competitors are doing.

    The unions in this country are out of control. They had an important role to play back in the 1930's, but this ain't the 1930's anymore. Non-union workers and merit pay/promotions are the only way this country is going to start manufacturing in the USA, big time, again.

  48. [48] 
    akadjian wrote:

    He's a she.

    Alas, what happens when you assume ... I stand corrected.

    We must still remain mortal enemies, however, as this doesn't change the fact that you're in marketing ;).

    Wealthy Uncle sees it as a wise investment and hands over the money.

    So why does wealthy uncle need a tax break? Or a handout from the government? If it's a wise investment, you'd think he'd do it anyways.

    If the government's going to hand out money, why not just hand it to the nephew with the good idea? ;)

    The issue I see is that the wealthy Uncle has figured out if he slips a few bucks to his local Congressman, they'll rewrite the rules in his favor. Or give him a tax break he doesn't really need. Or bail him out if he goes under.

    The unions in this country are out of control.

    Huh? Really? What are you basing this on? I don't think the unions have had any real power since the mid-80s. Union membership has been steadily dropping to the point that I think it's at about 10% of the labor force. How is this out of control?

    http://media.artdiamondblog.com/images2/UnionDeclineGraph.gif

    The problem is, no matter what innovative products they come out with, the unions are still gonna strangle them with labor costs, which is going to drive up the cost of the product, which is going to reduce the number of consumers who are in a financial position to buy them.

    Won't reducing workers pay also reduce the number of consumers who are able to buy goods?

    And no sooner does (example) the auto maker come out with the innovation when it's knocked off by competitors.

    Now this isn't true, but you bring up a good point. There's a period of time where the innovator holds the lead. It takes time to catch up. Look at the iPod and iPhone for example. But point taken that businesses need to continue to innovate.

    It has to be a cycle of innovation.

    But this, to me, seems like a much better alternative than trying to make our labor force look like China's so that we can compete w/ them on a cost basis.

    That approach is a race to the bottom.

    Why not encourage China to treat their workers better? Why not export workers' rights? Why not build our economy around innovation instead of corruption and stagnation?

    Cheers
    David

  49. [49] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    David: "So why does wealthy uncle need a tax break? Or a handout from the government? If it's a wise investment, you'd think he'd do it anyways.

    Because the less money Wealthy Uncle has to pay TO the government, the more he has to invest IN enterprises, such as Nephew's. And the more that investment activity goes on, the better for the economy, because Business and industry is up and chugging, and Nephew is buying and hiring, and Construction Company is profiting and hiring, and Wife has more disposable income to make more purchases, and so on. Then, when Nephew becomes wealthy from buying and renovating and renting, he too starts investing in the enterprises of other Nephew-like folks out there.

    Wealthy Uncle is the good guy, David! He's the guy kick-starting the economy and continually fueling it. The more successful Wealthy Uncle is, the more business opportunities for entrepreneurs grow, along with staff jobs, and retail sales, etc.

    'D

    Don't worry: I will forever be your mortal marketing enemy. I enjoy that.

    And you're not alone in mistaking for a guy, BTW. Everybody else did, too, including Chris Weigant.

  50. [50] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    "Won't reducing workers pay also reduce the number of consumers who are able to buy goods?"

    No, because while workers may start out at a lower pay scale, merit pay — "raises" that come from doing a better job than the guy sitting next to you — will continuously push a population of those workers up the ladder. And then it becomes a competitive earning environment, with workers trying to one-up each other in order to advance in pay and position. Productivity improves. The work ethic improves. And former-union workers, in fact, are no longer shackled to the terms of a union contract. They can make more through promotions, raises, and other incentives, because their salary isn't contractually capped.

    "And no sooner does (example) the auto maker come out with the innovation when it's knocked off by competitors."Now this isn't true, but you bring up a good point. There's a period of time where the innovator holds the lead. It takes time to catch up. Look at the iPod and iPhone for example. But point taken that businesses need to continue to innovate."

    Yeah, but that's iPod and iPhone: the exception, not the rule. With the level of technology we have today, knock-offs are so much easier to do than ever before. Trust me: I've been in the advertising industry forever, working on every product and service under the sun. No sooner does a manufacturer put "THE FIRST AND ONLY REVOLUTIONARY NEW SO-AND-SO" on their packaging when they have to do a new packaging run, because "THE ONLY" no longer applies; ergo, they can't even legally make that claim once knock-off competitors have introduced parody products into the marketplace. Hell, ya know how long it takes Colgate to figure out Crest's "new & improved" formulation, and duplicate it? About a month.

    "It has to be a cycle of innovation."

    It's always been a cycle of innovation. That's nothing new. "Research & Development" exists in every company, in one form or another. Everyone is always seeking to innovate, because the (short-lived) innovation is what separates them from the competition and enables them to build a powerful brand name and image. They get to be the first one out with it (Nike v. Reebok; Crest v. Colgate; MacDonald's v. Burger King; etc.), with all the knock-off competitors relegated to "me-too" status.

    "But this, to me, seems like a much better alternative than trying to make our labor force look like China's so that we can compete w/ them on a cost basis. That approach is a race to the bottom."

    We don't have to become just like China in order to compete with them more effectively and efficiently. America just has to have a far better ability than currently exists. Companies have to be able to keep jobs at home instead of being forced to farm them out overseas. Believe me, there isn't a CEO alive who wouldn't prefer to have an American telemarketing or teletech force over an Indian one, with workers' accents difficult for American consumers to understand. American companies lose plenty of business. But they just can't afford to pay top-dollar American wages. Introduce a union into it, and forget about it.

    Why not encourage China to treat their workers better? Why not export workers' rights?

    We've been trying to do that for decades. China has actually come a long way in the past half-century. But look at the financial position we're in with China now. We don't have the same bargaining power over them, like we used to. More like the other way around.

    Why not build our economy around innovation instead of corruption and stagnation?

    I don't know where you got the idea that we don't innovate. I mean, that's the goal of every company. The problem (among many) is that we can't compete at the price-point level. And that puts a major damper on the "innovation" business.

    As for the "corruption," I take it you're talking about Wall Street. Watch "The Warning" ( http://tinyurl.com/34ayj6n ) and you'll see that Wall Streeters didn't even realize the dangers of the derivatives market; especially in the case of the housing bubble, with "government-backed" Fannie/Freddie giving a false sense of security. Meanwhile, it was the government people — Frank Raines, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank — who were, themselves, creating the "toxic assets" with Wall Street none the wiser. Wall St. didn't know what hit it when the meltdown occurred.

  51. [51] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Productivity improves. The work ethic improves.

    It slices, it dices, it improves your productivity! It solves all the world's problems!

    The surest sign of marketing is when someone makes a broad claim like productivity improves w/o describing how or w/o any data to support. :)

    Because the less money Wealthy Uncle has to pay TO the government, the more he has to invest IN enterprises, such as Nephew's.

    But you already said that big business is sitting on $1.8 trillion.

    They've got money to invest and they're not doing it. So what we should do is give them more money and somehow this will make them suddenly start investing? In America? I don't buy it. We either get some guarantees or I wouldn't give them diddly-squat more in handouts.

    And how do we pay for these tax cuts for the wealthy?

    Oh ... right, right. By cutting services to everyone else. Their schools, their Medicare, and their social security.

    For tax cuts for the wealthy. Well, at least you're honest. Most conservatives I know try to hide this.

    Too bad "trickle down" hasn't worked. All the data over the past 30 years shows that Uncle Wealthy hasn't created wealth for others. He's kept it in his bag. See previous data links. Is there any credible evidence that shows differently?

    Besides, you acknowledge that it's ok for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. Now you're trying to say that Uncle Wealthy is going to make everyone else wealthier by investing in their businesses. Which are you arguing for?

    We don't have to become just like China in order to compete with them more effectively and efficiently. America just has to have a far better ability than currently exists.

    So what would this look like? Lower wages, less benefits, longer hours, no pensions, no 401k?

    It's starting to sound like a 3rd-world country to me.

    Meanwhile, it was the government people — Frank Raines, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank — who were, themselves, creating the "toxic assets" with Wall Street none the wiser. Wall St. didn't know what hit it when the meltdown occurred.

    Hahahahahah! Just when I thought there was something that couldn't be blamed on the government, you prove me wrong. I should have known better, everything is the government's fault. The earth turning. Super nova's in outer space. ROTFL ... ok, I'm sorry.

    Ok, ok. I'm back. I'd agree that the government made a lot of mistakes in terms of regulation. Both Democrats and Republicans. Repealing Glass-Steagall, for example. But they repealed these rules at the urging of Wall Street lobbyists. So I don't know how you can say Wall Street didn't know what hit it. They'd been urging it. They paid for it. Folks like Goldmann Sachs were even hedging against the subprime market - they bet it would fail.

    These Wall Street lobbyists were lobbying for deregulation, tax cuts for the wealthy, etc. Seems to me the mistake the government made was going along with this (both parties, as you say). But their philosophy seems to be very similar to what you're arguing for. Except you're wearing a tricorn and carrying a Constitution.

    Even with the rebrand, it still sounds a lot like Ayn Rand. Or Alan Greenspan.

    Am I wrong?

    Ayn Rand: deregulation, laissez-faire, give to the wealthy and they will invest, the world will be a better place for all
    Tea Party: deregulation, laissez-faire, give to the wealthy and they will invest, the world will be a better place for all, tricorn hats

    I guess there is a difference. But seriously, I still haven't heard a good explanation how Tea Party economics is different than Alan Greenspan economics.

    Help!
    David

  52. [52] 
    akadjian wrote:

    p.s. CB- how come your website says "Chris11962" and here, you're "Chris1962"?

  53. [53] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    "It slices, it dices, it improves your productivity! It solves all the world's problems!
    The surest sign of marketing is when someone makes a broad claim like productivity improves w/o describing how or w/o any data to support. :)"

    ROFL. Well, hell, David, that's just plain common sense. If Bob and Joe both want the one promotion that's available, they're both going to have to show the boss how much better, and more deserving, they are than the other one. Ergo, the quality of their work — their diligence; their focus; their level of output — is quite naturally going to go up. And the one who does the most impressive work gets the promotion. That's just plain human nature; no data required. 'D

    "But you already said that big business is sitting on $1.8 trillion.
    They've got money to invest and they're not doing it. So what we should do is give them more money and somehow this will make them suddenly start investing? In America? I don't buy it"

    What we should do is give them the certainty they need to confidently begin investing and producing again. These tons of new regulations are going to have a major impact on Businesses'. They don't know what the tax situation is going to be, and the White House isn't saying. So Obama reached out to Business leaders last week, asking them what they need to get going again. Here, this explains it pretty well: http://tinyurl.com/36x3ndz

    Bottom line, Business is now being regulated to death (courtesy of massive big-government legislation that's come out of this administration and congress, such as HCR). And if the Bush tax cuts aren't renewed, Business is gonna have a much heavier tax burden, on top of it all. They're gonna have to scale further back, as a result, to protect their bottom line. That's basically it, in a nutshell. So Obama's been reaching out to them, asking what kind of changes in all these new, massive regulations would encourage Business to move forward.

    The answer, of course, is ALL OF IT.

  54. [54] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    p.s. CB- how come your website says "Chris11962" and here, you're "Chris1962"?

    I started out at the HuffPo as Chris1962. But on other things, like gmail and blogspot.com, Chris1962 was already taken. LOL. So I had to add another digit.

  55. [55] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    David: "Hahahahahah! Just when I thought there was something that couldn't be blamed on the government, you prove me wrong. I should have known better, everything is the government's fault. The earth turning. Super nova's in outer space. ROTFL ... ok, I'm sorry.

    LOL. I hate to tell ya, but the facts are the facts. Watch these three video clips (they're only a couple of minutes long) on my VIDEO page (http://www.chris11962.com/videos/frontline%20videos.html) and you'll see what I mean. View them in this order:

    - Clinton's economic team blocks OTC derivatives regulation

    - Blocking Fannie/Freddie regulation: the timeline

    - Democrats, in their own words, blocking regulation

    That is, in fact, what happened. 'D

  56. [56] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    "These Wall Street lobbyists were lobbying for deregulation, tax cuts for the wealthy, etc. Seems to me the mistake the government made was going along with this (both parties, as you say). But their philosophy seems to be very similar to what you're arguing for. Except you're wearing a tricorn and carrying a Constitution.

    Even with the rebrand, it still sounds a lot like Ayn Rand. Or Alan Greenspan.

    Am I wrong?"

    Hahahaha! I’ll tell ya, I’m getting ready to buy me one of those tricorn hats. One more socialistic power-grab by this administration and I’m gonna be taking to the streets.

    Personally, I’m not from the Ayn Rand school of zero-regulation. The finanacial industry needs regulating simply because they’re dealing with American citizens’ money and can’t be free to take high-risk gambles, such as occurred with the OTC derivatives (which is going to continue to occur, for the most part). But I’m not for over-regulating, like this administration has done. They’ve just gone plain insane with the regulations. Typical, typical liberal/ big-government/control mentality. And it’s an absolute job killer.

    I think I gave you the wrong link before. Watch this one, entitled “Obama talks to Big Business”: http://online.wsj.com/video/opinion-journal-obama-talks-to-business/A85CA2CA-D9B8-4FAE-8016-9D0C67DD7614.html

  57. [57] 
    Chris1962 wrote:
  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK, I need to keep this short, as I have a huge debate over at Oliver's that I PROMISED to address. It's a really kewl debate (Once one dodges the flame-throwers.. :D) about the New Black Panther Party issue.. Feel free to drop in... :D

    Anyways..

    CB

    Business is in business for one reason: to make a profit. If there was no profit to be had, there would be no reason to bust one's butt to build a business. It really is that simple.

    See, now here's where we differ..

    I have ran two businesses..

    One (the LOT of money I spoke of earlier) was a.. ahem... "gray area" smartcard technology firm. I'll leave it at that. :D But it allowed me to test an economic theory that I have always held. That is, if you create and sell something at a lot lower price than competitors, you will make tons more money than your competitors. I proved that with my first business beyond my wildest dreams. To the tune of 3.8 million dollars the first year. I shit you not..

    My second business is one I currently run now. It's a computer repair clinic that specializes in repairing laptops and selling refurbished laptops. In this shop, I do some very unbusiness-like things. Like give away free keyboards and ethernet cables and CRT monitors. I call them "stocking stuffers" (Ever try to fit a CRT monitor into a stocking? It ain't pretty! :D)

    Anyways, I also do a lot of free work like clean out customer's desktops of dust (oh my gods the dust) and minor stuff like that.

    It is doing and giving free stuff like this that keeps me really busy and with lots and lots of customers. Because word has gotten around that I am the computer geek that does great work at a more than fair price and sometimes even for free.. So I have tons of customers and tons of work to keep me busy.

    My point is that I believe that the "Business is in business to make money" mantra is outdated.. I know several competitors in my area that follow that mantra.

    My philosophy is that, I am in business to serve my customers and help people with their computer problems.

    I know, I know.. The logical response to this is, "Then why charge people at all?".

    A man's gotta eat. And have beer... :D

    Anyways, ironically enough, I make MORE money and have MORE customers with that philosophy than my competitors do with their "profit uber alles" philosophy..

    I think that is the biggest problem with business and corporations today. This is why they have such a bad rep with John and Jane Q Public. Because of this "profit uber alles" philosophy..

    Yea, I also recognize the irony that my business philosophy is somewhat Lefty Liberal.. :D

    What can I say? I have always maintained that, with few exceptions I am probably the most liberal one here.. :D

    This is one of those examples of that..

    David,

    Alas, what happens when you assume ... I stand corrected.

    Yup.. When you make an assumption you make an ass out of U and Umption. :D

    The issue I see is that the wealthy Uncle has figured out if he slips a few bucks to his local Congressman, they'll rewrite the rules in his favor. Or give him a tax break he doesn't really need. Or bail him out if he goes under.

    If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading EXECUTIVE ORDERS by Tom Clancy... It's a rocking good CT story, but has some really good business oriented themes as well..

    It will also show why I used to refer to Obama as "Jack Ryan"....

    CB,

    And you're not alone in mistaking for a guy, BTW. Everybody else did, too, including Chris Weigant.

    Which just shows to go ya that we're all a bunch of sexist pigs! :D

    David,

    They've got money to invest and they're not doing it. So what we should do is give them more money and somehow this will make them suddenly start investing?

    I think you are missing CB's point.

    The wealthy don't WANT more money.. Well, they probably WANT it, but they don't NEED it..

    Again, I am the rank amateur here, but I think what CB is saying is that big business wants STABILITY.

    They have to KNOW that they will profit at the bottom line. If they don't know, then they sit on their money until they DO know. And that means no jobs are created.

    What you seem to be saying is that Business should do what is right for the country, NOT what is right for them. They should say, "Damn the torpedoes" and plunge in to the market at warp speed, making all the investments, creating all the jobs but not knowing if they will lose everything, including THEIR company. And if their company goes, all the employees of that company lose THEIR jobs..

    Now, let me say, my idealistic side agrees with you. That is exactly how Business SHOULD act. Put the country before their own...

    BUT...

    CB has the better point, realistically speaking. It's unfair in the extreme for us to expect Wealthy Uncle (How about "Rich Dad"??? :D) to possibly commit business hari-kari just to do the government's job, IE putting stability back into business.

    Until the Obama administration can get off it's arse, ignore it's Leftist agenda and do right by the UNITED States, not just the BLUE States, it's going to be more of the same.

    Until November, at least...

    CB

    If Bob and Joe both want the one promotion that's available, they're both going to have to show the boss how much better, and more deserving, they are than the other one. Ergo, the quality of their work — their diligence; their focus; their level of output — is quite naturally going to go up. And the one who does the most impressive work gets the promotion. That's just plain human nature; no data required. 'D

    Or, to be more realistic, Bob pays someone to break Joe's legs and gets the promotion by default..

    I just GOTTA lay off those crime novels. :D

    OK, I gotta get on to others...

    I'll check back in this thread and I hope ya'all do too...

    Michale.....

  59. [59] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Michale: "My point is that I believe that the "Business is in business to make money" mantra is outdated.. I know several competitors in my area that follow that mantra.
    My philosophy is that, I am in business to serve my customers and help people with their computer problems.
    I know, I know.. The logical response to this is, "Then why charge people at all?".
    A man's gotta eat. And have beer... :D

    Well, Michale, you've got it half right: You are in business to, indeed, generate a profit, which supports my point. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a business; it would be a hobby.

    But you're using customer service as a promotional vehicle to build you business, to attract more potential customers. (A very brilliant marketing technique as a means of growing one's customer base, if I might add.) You're creating a "point of difference" between you and competitors.

    BTW, I know a woman who makes Christmas stockings for computer components (and/or anything; she customizes the stockings to size) . I kid you not. If you want to put some in your shop, and see if they sell, let me know. 'D

  60. [60] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Ok. So let's step back for a second and see if we can come up with a description of the issues we've compiled:

    - Business is looking for stability; they fear that the government is anti-business (they think taxes are too high and regulations are too strict)
    - A balance of regulation is required for a healthy economy
    - Business is in business to make a profit
    - Workers can't find work right now because there aren't enough jobs
    - Workers are facing diminished paychecks, benefits, and prospects
    - Businesses are facing global competition
    - We're still in the grip of a major financial crisis and, at the same time, facing record budget deficits

    Is this a fair statement of the issues? What am I missing?

    Cheers
    -David

  61. [61] 
    akadjian wrote:

    p.s. @Michale - nice business examples. These illustrate very well exactly what I'm describing when I say there's 2 ways business can make money: 1) find a more efficient way of doing something or, 2) differentiate your business from the competition.

  62. [62] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Good list, David. Here's what you're missing. The good news:

    CEOs get ready to spend again
    http://www.chris11962.com/blog/files/f96fd6c0c2fe859700f0bfbcdda38d4f-10.html

    So when you see the economy start to pick up, don't declare that Obama's idiotic Keynesian recovery plan is suddenly working. 'D

  63. [63] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Michale: "Or, to be more realistic, Bob pays someone to break Joe's legs and gets the promotion by default.."

    You're a graduate of the Tonya Harding School of Business, ain'tcha?

  64. [64] 
    Michale wrote:

    CB,

    BTW, I know a woman who makes Christmas stockings for computer components (and/or anything; she customizes the stockings to size) . I kid you not. If you want to put some in your shop, and see if they sell, let me know. 'D

    I might take ya up on that in a few months.. :D

    David,

    - Business is looking for stability; they fear that the government is anti-business (they think taxes are too high and regulations are too strict)
    - A balance of regulation is required for a healthy economy
    - Business is in business to make a profit
    - Workers can't find work right now because there aren't enough jobs
    - Workers are facing diminished paychecks, benefits, and prospects
    - Businesses are facing global competition
    - We're still in the grip of a major financial crisis and, at the same time, facing record budget deficits

    Good list..

    And thru all that, Obama is just fiddling...

    IE Pursuing the Leftist agenda..

    CB,

    You're a graduate of the Tonya Harding School of Business, ain'tcha?

    Somewhat prophetic... Or at least telepathic..

    We lived quite near Ms Harding during the ...err.... "troubles" she had.... :D

    But that aside, THAT was funny as hell!! :D

    Michale.....

  65. [65] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Meanwhile, as Obama and congress endeavor to wreck our health care system so that we can be just like Europe...

    Britain Plans to Decentralize National Health Care.

    Perhaps the only consistent thing about Britain’s socialized health care system is that it is in a perpetual state of flux, its structure constantly changing as governments search for the elusive formula that will deliver the best care for the cheapest price while costs and demand escalate.

    Even as the new coalition government said it would make enormous cuts in the public sector, it initially promised to leave health care alone. But in one of its most surprising moves so far, it has done the opposite, proposing what would be the most radical reorganization of the National Health Service, as the system is called, since its inception in 1948.

    Practical details of the plan are still sketchy. But its aim is clear: to shift control of England’s $160 billion annual health budget from a centralized bureaucracy to doctors at the local level. Under the plan, $100 billion to $125 billion a year would be meted out to general practitioners, who would use the money to buy services from hospitals and other health care providers.

    The plan would also shrink the bureaucratic apparatus, in keeping with the government’s goal to effect $30 billion in “efficiency savings” in the health budget by 2014 and to reduce administrative costs by 45 percent. Tens of thousands of jobs would be lost because layers of bureaucracy would be abolished....
    http://www.chris11962.com/blog/files/e01539971a32651d4c7ba4872d6cfe92-49.html

  66. [66] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Bernanke Supports Extending Bush's Tax Cuts; Would Maintain Economic Stimulus
    http://www.chris11962.com/blog/files/7d74baae70234e12a603087070bd79a8-58.html

    Just sayin'. 'D

  67. [67] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    About those unions...

    Union Costs Crackdown
    Chicago takes steps to stop losing conventions.
    http://video.foxnews.com/v/4287706/union-costs-crackdown/?playlist_id=87937

  68. [68] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the economy has now recovered sufficiently for government to begin to make way for private business investment. http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2010/07/25/geithner-private-economic-investment-needed/?mod=rss_WSJBlog&mod=WSJ_Politics_Blog

    ROFL! Translation: Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease start investing, Wealthy Uncle, or I'm gonna lose my job.

    Meanwhile, gotta love the spin. See, government didn't want private industry investing for the past year and a half, while Big Bro was busily creating jobs. But now that the government is all done weaving its magic, it's okay for Business to start investing again. Hahahaha.

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