ChrisWeigant.com

Après Ryan, Le Déluge

[ Posted Wednesday, April 11th, 2018 – 16:22 PDT ]

It's been a good week for quoting French kings, it seems -- and it's only mercredi! First there was Donald Trump's petulant response to his private lawyer (and reputed "fixer") getting raided by the feds: "It's an attack on our country, in a true sense." Many compared Trump's equation of his own personal legal troubles with an attack on the country at large to King Louis XIV's famous statement: "L'état, c'est moi." For Louis, this statement (essentially: "I am the state") was in large part true -- but not so much for Donald Trump. Trump (thankfully) is not an absolute monarch, so for him to say a federal investigation of his lawyer is "an attack on our country" is laughable, at best.

Today, however, the quote that sprang to mind was not from the Sun King, but from his great-grandson, Louis XV, who was known as "the Beloved" and ruled from the age of five years old until his death (which happened 15 years before the revolution that forever changed the whole "the king is the state" concept of French government). Louis XV (or possibly his mistress, reports vary) is said to have predicted: "Après moi, le déluge" ("After me, the flood"). Since his successor's head was forcibly removed from his body (by the device named for Dr. Guillotin), this turned out to be a pretty accurate prediction.

Nowadays, of course, not only is the state not Trump (not by a long shot), but political revolutions don't end with actual severed heads. Which brings us, in a roundabout way, to the news that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will not be running for re-election. After Ryan, there will be no political "flood" (since political terminology has moved on a bit), but there may indeed be a "wave" -- or even (as the more optimistic Democrats are predicting) a "tsunami." Rather than be drowned by it, Ryan is paddling away as fast as he can. This, of course, also gives rise to another rather damp metaphor, that of rats fleeing a sinking ship.

Ryan is not the first such rat to leave, of course, in anticipation of the Democratic waters rising. There have already been an unprecedented number of Republican House members who have decided to spend more time with their families (as it were). This makes the Democrats' job a lot easier, of course, since winning an election for an open seat is always easier than dethroning an incumbent. [Or perhaps, what with all the royal quotes, I shouldn't so casually misuse the word "dethroning."]

Ryan does not leave behind much of a legacy. He was one of the original "young guns" of the Republican Party, profiled in a book of the same name. Of these three "new generation of conservative leaders," Eric Cantor was primaried out of his House seat by a Tea Partier, Paul Ryan is voluntarily stepping down as speaker and quitting Congress before what is shaping up to be a brutal midterm loss, leaving only one -- Kevin McCarthy, who in all likelihood will step into Ryan's shoes as the leader of the Republicans in the House.

Ryan was initially portrayed as an uber-wonk who understood the federal budget better than his peers and who was willing to put Ayn Rand's "every man for himself" economic theories into practice, by slashing the safety net into ribbons. Ryan would tame the deficit, we were told. Ryan alone could do it, because he understood it so well. Indeed, Ryan was portrayed as the only possible savior of the House Republicans when John Boehner voluntarily stepped down from the job, which is what persuaded Ryan to accept the speaker's gavel in the first place.

So what is Ryan's actual legacy as speaker? He got a single major bill passed into law, in his (so far) two-and-a-half years as the leader of the House. One bill -- that's it. This tax cut, combined with all the budget bills Ryan presided over, will explode the deficit in a sea of red ink. The Congressional Budget Office (the official non-partisan "scorers" of the budget) just announced that because of the Ryan tax cut and the recent budget bill, we will return to trillion-dollar annual deficits many years earlier than previously forecast. By 2020, we will be running thirteen-figure deficits once again, as a direct result of Ryan's so-called leadership. Here's another way of breaking this down, from the Washington Post:

He became speaker Oct. 29, 2015, shortly after the gap between spending and revenue had contracted to $438 billion. The following year, the deficit grew to $584 billion, and then again to $666 billion in 2017. The deficit is expected to top $800 billion in 2018, and then eclipse the $1 trillion mark in perpetuity after 2020.

The article also points out the hypocrisy both Ryan and the entire Republican Party went through in the same time period: "Ryan's obsession with these issues were no longer shared by other conservative leaders, particularly after President Barack Obama was no longer in office." Deficits don't matter when they're red-blooded Republican deficits, in other words.

All of this is important to remember, because Ryan is still relatively young (he's only in his late 40s). Meaning there is an excellent chance he'll be back on the national stage at some point, probably with a presidential bid (perhaps in 2024?). This is almost certainly why he's throwing in the towel now, so he can say he announced his exit before many other things which are now looming on the horizon come to pass: the 2018 midterms, Robert Mueller's final report on Trump, and the possibility of impeaching a president (which would begin in the House, of course). Ryan is attempting to get out before he can be blamed for any of that, in other words. In his eyes, he'll be going out on top, with a huge tax cut for the wealthy as his sole legislative legacy.

However, his decision to sit out the remainder of his term means that Ryan may wind up with the blame for a big midterm loss anyway. If a big blue wave does happen, you can be sure the Republicans will be looking around for someone (anyone!) to blame, and Ryan will be a very handy target. The GOP will claim that the uncertainty of Ryan's exit meant a lack of enthusiasm on the part of both big donors and base voters, hence the whole thing may be laid at Ryan's feet anyway. It won't be: "after me, the deluge," but instead: "because of Ryan, the Democratic tsunami." So, right before Ryan exits, he may have that to add to his legacy, too.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

71 Comments on “Après Ryan, Le Déluge

  1. [1] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Sure enough, a huge tax cut "for the wealthy", because they're the only ones who pay the taxes in question.

  2. [2] 
    Paula wrote:

    Well, if Ryan gets blamed I won't shed tears for him, although he certainly doesn't deserve the entirety of blame - assuming the Blue Wave does manifest. And I think it will.

    Hopefully the GOP corruption that is being laid bare, step by step, will taint him for the rest of his life and destroy any chance of a political comeback.

  3. [3] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    What hardly anyone has mentioned when dissecting the probable reasons for Ryan's announcement and the reasons that he might have for making it (save for the obvious fact that he's presided over the least effective House majority in history), is that Ryan inherited what Boehner called (as he headed for the exits) an 'ungovernable' caucus.

    Once upon a time the job of Speaker of the House was THE plum job in DC, a job that many said was more powerful than the presidency itself. The Speaker is third in line to the presidency, and in complete control of the nation's expenditures. Past Speakers like Lyndon Johnson, Sam Rayburn, Bob Dole, Tip O'Neill and even Newt Gingrich could, and did, negotiate with presidents of both parties on a peer-to-peer level. Even discounting the aggravation caused by the 'ungovernables', that's a lot of power to just walk away from.

    But as Ryan (and Boehner before him) came to realize, the landscape of Republican politics has shifted. Republicans don't look to their leadership for cues anymore - that mantle has been picked up by Fox News which, if we're to believe one recent defector, has become a 'cult of personality' centered on Trump, who seems to take his own cues from the foreign-owned news network himself.

    Indeed, not since William Randolph Hearst pushed America into the Spanish-American war a little over a century ago has a single non-governmental entity wielded so much influence over US policy making.

    As it stands now, if Ryan really wants to influence the direction of the national debate on the GOP side, he needs to take the job of executive producer for "Fox and Friends". That would at least have more effect than his unheeded entreaties to his fellow lawmakers to 'work together' towards big goals.

  4. [4] 
    Paula wrote:

    [1] Stuck: Always remember, when you snark about "who pays taxes" - the same folks so very favored by the tax heist are the same folks doing all they can to keep wages flat and keep millions of working Americans in poverty. The working poor, I believe, would be happy to pay taxes if they could actually afford it - if they actually made living wages, etc.

    Keeping up with costs of living etc. and/or paying minimum wage as it was in the 1970's, min wage would be over $20/hour.

  5. [5] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    It is doubtful that the GOP corruption laid bare will have much effect on a comeback for Ryan or Republicans as it has not been a problem in the past.

    All the Republicans have to do is the same thing the Democrats corrupted by Big Money have done which is to wait out the cycle. When the Big Blue Big Money Wave sweeps the Big Money Democrats into control and their corruption is laid bare then the Republicans will ride the their own Big Money Red Tide back into control.

    The Flag has three colors, so why is our politics always Red or Blue?

    Isn't it time that White America had a turn? We need a movement for White America to show it's power!

  6. [6] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Paula [4]

    Your ideology blinds you to the laws of economics and to an understanding of how the real world functions.

    The price of labor (which determines the wages of the "working poor", to whom you refer), is determine by the laws of supply and demand, the same way the price of bread and butter in the grocery store is determined.

    As long as people are free to leave any job where they consider themselves underpaid and offer their time and skills to other employers, NOBODY, rich or otherwise , has the power to control the price of labor in the marketplace.

    The reason those "working poor" don't earn a "living wage" is because they don't have the talent or the skills to hold productive jobs, NOT because the rich people are too greedy to pay higher wages.

  7. [7] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    The reason those "working poor" don't earn a "living wage" is because they don't have the talent or the skills to hold productive jobs, NOT because the rich people are too greedy to pay higher wages.

    Allow me to decouple that hybrid: wages and taxes are not the same, save that both appear on the same paycheck form. Taxes are levied to pay for government.

    Wages are not levied, they are due to the workers that have earned them. You'd apparently put all of the onus on the working poor to improve their wage situation, when in fact wages are affected by a universe of factors, including waivers of federal regulation, union power, comparative advantage (i.e., what other countries' wage basements are), industry collusion, resource allocation, local education opportunities, bus and train systems, and the world economy, just to name a few I can think of off the top of my head.

    While it is true that no social system would be necessary if the free market were 100% efficient at providing sustenance to the elderly, crippled, very young, or very stupid, it became evident (particularly following the Great Depression) that the market did NOT provide for the non-employed, so a system was set up to be a 'safety net' for those unfortunates. It is that system that, in order to avoid taxes (i.e., social responsibility) the right has chosen to attack.

    Unfortunately for Republicans, a pattern has emerged which allows us to track the viability of these competing philosophies: the last two Democratic administrations saw economic improvement over the course of their presidencies, the last two Republican administrations saw gradual economic decay. This administration is off and running to repeat the mistakes of its predecessor Republicans, despite assurances from Trump during the campaign that he was Not going to make those specific mistakes (cutting taxes for the rich and going after safety net programs). Too bad he didn't listen to his gut on that one.

  8. [8] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Balthy

    When Chris (and all Dems/Libs) repeat the liberal shiboleth decrying "TaxCutsfortheRich", and I point out that there is no other kind of tax cut, because only the rich PAY these taxes, we're talking exclusively about the federal income tax.

    Your [7] appears OK in its own right, but non-responsive, or "Non Sequitur" as the Latins say.

    I understand the need for social programs to support those unable to support themselves, but that's beside the point of whether or not (income) "TaxCutsforthe Rich" are good or bad.

  9. [9] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    I understand the need for social programs to support those unable to support themselves, but that's beside the point of whether or not (income) "Tax Cuts for the Rich" are good or bad.

    No it's not, it is the point, because Republicans want to pay for those tax cuts by slashing social programs (rather than by bringing down the cost of those programs by reducing the cost and improving the effectiveness of healthcare delivery, as the Democrats would do).

    What happened? Republicans used to dote on budget matters. But this tax bill - the singular accomplishment of Ryan's tenure - not only blew a giant hole in the budget, but also was such a big sloppy kiss to their contributors that it got the nickname "the donor boner bill".

    This has nothing to do with the theories of Hayek, or with conservative philosophies. It rather approaches naked corruption, or at least a willful disregard of party reputation.

    How, for instance, does the repeal of state tax deductions fit into conservative economic theory? Some Republicans admitted that the measure was put in for blatantly partisan reasons, not on the basis of any political principle.

  10. [10] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Sorry, didn't mean to put that all in bold print.

  11. [11] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    1

    Sure enough, a huge tax cut "for the wealthy", because they're the only ones who pay the taxes in question.

    Sure enough, same BS, different day "for monotonous trolls" because they're the only ones who comment on the blog in question.

  12. [12] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    1

    Sure enough, a huge tax cut "for the wealthy", because they're the only ones who pay the taxes in question.

    Sure enough, same BS, different day "for monotonous trolls" because they're the only ones who comment on the blog in question.

  13. [13] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CRS-
    The working poor do pay income taxes, they just call them social security, unemployment, medicare taxes, etc.

    "A rose by any other name is still a rose."

    The huge tax cut for the wealthy is most likely because they are the ones making the campaign contributions.

  14. [14] 
    Kick wrote:

    Paula
    2

    Hopefully the GOP corruption that is being laid bare, step by step, will taint him for the rest of his life and destroy any chance of a political comeback.

    Two words: Sealed indictments.

    No further comment. :)

  15. [15] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CRS-
    I also disagree with your assertion that the working poor don't earn a living wage because they don't have the skills or talent to hold productive jobs.

    If an employer could do a job that doesn't require skill themselves or have the job done by their skilled workers then they wouldn't hire an employee to do the unskilled job.

    Think of it as a running back or receiver scoring touchdowns and a quarterback throwing touchdowns. They are productive. The offensive linemen rarely score touchdowns but by doing their job they allow the skilled workers to be productive.

    The unskilled job is the floor which is a living wage. The skilled worker gets to negotiate for higher wages based on their skills and the demand for those skills.

  16. [16] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    The there is no I in team should not mean there is no INCOME for unskilled workers.

  17. [17] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    That reminds me of a joke:
    What do you name a kitten born with no eyes?

  18. [18] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Don H Your [13] final paragraph, "The huge tax cut . . , etc."

    Worth noting that the wealthy campaign donors (who are "the ones benefiting from the tax cut"), were also the campaign donors at the time the tax being cut was originally enacted. Howcum their influence didn't help then?

  19. [19] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Don H Your [15] 2nd and 3rd Para, "Think of it as a running back . . .etc."

    Re my [6], 2nd para. That principle is true of the price of ALL labor, skilled AND unskilled, (meaning both are set by the law of supply and demand.) It's just that for the unskilled, the supply is far greater, and the demand is far less, but exact same principle.

  20. [20] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CRS-
    How do we know that the Big Money influence didn't help them then?
    It is possible that when the tax was originally enacted it could have been higher than it was on the wealthy but wasn't because of their influence at the time.

  21. [21] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CRS- (19)-
    So are you saying is that just because an employer can use the supply and demand model to justify paying an unskilled worker less than a living wage for a job that the employer needs done the employer should be able to pay that worker less than a living wage?

    That people that work at jobs that do not require special skills do not deserve a living wage?

    We place limits on the supply and demand model when those in a position to take advantage of other people use the supply and demand model to try to do that.

    For example, if a lumber yard normally charged 30 dollars for a sheet of plywood and raised their price when a hurricane approached to 75 dollars a sheet, they would be charged with price gouging.

    If they spent a little extra money to get extra plywood delivered and had to charge 35 or 40 dollars a sheet they would not be charged with price gouging.

    A basic living wage for any job no matter what the skill level is just the government doing it's job to make sure that those that control the supply of jobs do not abuse the supply and demand principle and use it as an excuse to steal labor from those people they hire to do the jobs they need done.

  22. [22] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    I’ve been saying from the very start that Ryan was leaving in order to avoid the stain that Trump’s indictment will place on the entire GOP when it finally drops. He’ll disappear nationally for a few years, then in about ten tears he will get started on his road to the White House. He’s going to try his hardest to separate himself from anything to do with this presidency in the hope that the public’s memory isn’t that great. He’ll always be “Lyin’ Ryan” to me!

  23. [23] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Don H.

    I realize that a utopian world is a wonderful dream, but we've gotta live in the world of reality! In the real world, the laws of economics rule, and utopian concepts such as "living wage" "fair/unfair", etc. scarcely exist.

    If the lumber yard ordered in emergency plywood at premium prices and outrageous freight expense in anticipation of the hurricane and the hurricane never showed up, would the customers who refused to buy the high-dollar plywood be charged with reverse price gouging?

  24. [24] 
    Paula wrote:

    [21] Don: "A basic living wage for any job no matter what the skill level is just the government doing it's job to make sure that those that control the supply of jobs do not abuse the supply and demand principle and use it as an excuse to steal labor from those people they hire to do the jobs they need done."

    Yes.

  25. [25] 
    Paula wrote:

    [22] Listen: I just hope Ryan doesn't succeed in avoiding the stain on the GOP as all this unravels. He knew about Russian interference and sat on it. I hope he is exposed for the complicit traitor he is.

  26. [26] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CRS=
    It has nothing to do with utopian dreams. The prohibitions on price gouging exist in the real world and so does government. The reason we have government is to make sure that the laws of economics are not used by those that would use the laws of economics to take advantage of other people, so we make laws to try and achieve a balance between the different people in different circumstances and positions of power and the laws of economics which are not actually laws, but are theories.

    Customers would not be charged with price gouging for refusing to buy any plywood offered at a reasonable cost that covered the extra expense.

    But the government could give the lumberyard a credit to help the lumberyard in recognition of the effort made by the lumberyard to help their community in a time of emergency.

  27. [27] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Paula [24] (And Don)

    Nobody "controls the supply of jobs", for gawdsake! Anybody who wishes can create a job or any number of jobs, right?

  28. [28] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Don H. [26]

    Believe it or not, crazy as it seems to Dems/Libs, there is NO LAW AGAINST "PRICE GOUGING"!!!

    Such a law would be unenforceable, because "price gouging", like beauty, lies only in the eye of the beholder!

  29. [29] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Don H.

    There are indeed a great meny economic theories in the world, (many of which are wrong), but there are actually some economic laws that really ARE laws,, (meaning you cannot repeal, or even avoid them.) For the most part, those are the only ones I choose to deal with here.

  30. [30] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    28

    Believe it or not, crazy as it seems to Dems/Libs, there is NO LAW AGAINST "PRICE GOUGING"!!!

    Old man needs to crack some books.

    https://consumer.findlaw.com/consumer-transactions/price-gouging-laws-by-state.html

    Such a law would be unenforceable, because "price gouging", like beauty, lies only in the eye of the beholder!

    *LOL* If only you knew what you were talking about. :)

  31. [31] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick

    Sorry, I should have specified FEDERAL law.

  32. [32] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CRS-
    And when an economic theory or law causes harm then we put a limit on the application of that law or theory to protect the people that are harmed by application of the theory or law. Just because the theory or law exists is not a reason or even an excuse to accept the harm it causes.

    Preventing the harm is dealing with reality in a productive manner rather than a defeatist manner.

  33. [33] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Don H.

    Don't know that I can think right off hand about any economic law that "causes harm", but if there is or are such, the most you could possibly do is transfer the harm to somebody else. If that constitutes a "defeatist manner", so be it.

    Thinking about the principle of 'miss-allocation of resources', such as building houses for millions of people who couldn't possibly afford them, which created the housing bubble and the mortgage defaults, which in turn led to the banking/financial crisis or '08.

    The results of that disaster would have normally been borne by the banks and those who invested in the mortgage-backed bonds. Instead, we bailed them out and transferred the losses to the taxpayers, but we didn't eliminate any of the losses, we just shifted them.

  34. [34] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    CRS

    Thinking about the principle of 'miss-allocation of resources', such as building houses for millions of people who couldn't possibly afford them, which created the housing bubble and the mortgage defaults, which in turn led to the banking/financial crisis or '08.

    I’m sorry, but are you really taking such an incredibly idiotic stance or was this meant as sarcasm? No one built houses for millions of people who could not possibly afford them!!! Why would anyone finance a builder who stated that was their intention? The banks deserved to pay the penalty for their behavior, and lots went under while the biggest banks profited and got even bigger after the bailout! The banks should have never approved lots of the mortgages that they did. People who aren’t very educated about financial matters trusted the banks to tell them whether they truly deserved the loans they were given; and the banks failed to properly do that.

  35. [35] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Listen [34]

    Sorry, no "idiotic', no "sarcasm". If nobody built houses for millions of people who couldn't (really) afford them, why did all those millions of houses end up being foreclosed, and why did the banks, the investors and the taxpayers lose $billions?

    The "why they did it" is because everybody in the chain, the builders, the buyers, the banks, the investors, a couple presidents and most congressmen, all believed in the fiction that because the price of houses had not undergone a significant decline in any of those people's lifetimes, that they never would again.

    To the surprise of everybody (except Dr. Burry, John Paulson, and Goldman-Sachs), it turned out that the laws of Supply and Demand had actually NOT been repealed!

    The rest is history (but it's history that you and most Dems/Libs do not understand.)

  36. [36] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    what WAS repealed was glass-steagall by Gramm–Leach–Bliley and president clinton in 1999, ending regulations that had until then prevented systemic risks such as mortgage backed securities from tanking the global economy. saying the economic crisis was caused by building or selling houses is like saying the atom bomb was caused by radioactive uranium - sure it was a key component, but it had always been present and was not the driving force behind the disaster.

  37. [37] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    poet

    Nobody is saying "building and selling houses caused the financial crisis." It's not even true that the mortgage-backed bonds caused the financial crisis.

    What caused the financial meltdown was lending mortgage money based on the erroneous presumption that there was no longer any such thing as a 'bad mortgage', because if the borrower defaulted, the house could always be re-sold at a profit, and the mortgage paid off with the sale proceeds.

    Surely you understand the difference, right?

  38. [38] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    31

    Sorry, I should have specified FEDERAL law.

    Okay... but that still doesn't absolve you from the utterly nonsensical and asinine proclamation that "such a law would be unenforceable" since there are dozens of such laws imposed in 35 or so states in America, including the one you live in. :p

    :)

  39. [39] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick [38]

    It would be illuminating for you to research exactly how many cases have ever been prosecuted under these state laws.

  40. [40] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    39

    It would be illuminating for you to research exactly how many cases have ever been prosecuted under these state laws.

    It would be illuminating for you to crack some books and stop posting BS. :)

  41. [41] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick

    It always saddens me when Dems/Libs characterize the reality of economic facts which conflict with Lib ideology as "BS", but saddest of ALL is, it never surprises me.

  42. [42] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Nobody is saying "building and selling houses caused the financial crisis."

    @CRS,

    that's exactly what you wrote, in [33]. poor allocation of resources didn't passively go unnoticed, subprime mortgages were solicited on purpose and their risk intentionally masked to exploit naive investors, even after insiders realized the mortgages would fail.

    JL

  43. [43] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    poet

    As long as house prices rose in perpetuity, sub-prime mortgages were risk-free, because if the borrower defaulted, the house could be resold at a profit, and the original mortgage paid off with the proceeds. There was no risk to be masked, right?, or so everybody thought.

    And damn near everybody expected that they WOULD appreciate in perpetuity, because nobody in the game had ever seen prices decline in his lifetime.

    All that wisdom you know have is only 20-20 HINDsight!

  44. [44] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Oops - Make that "know" read 'now'.

  45. [45] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    41

    It always saddens me when Dems/Libs characterize the reality of economic facts which conflict with Lib ideology as "BS", but saddest of ALL is, it never surprises me.

    Do itty bitty words "sadden" you? Is the "saddest of ALL" your lack of surprise? Well, boo hoo.

    In addition, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that I'm a "Dem/Lib" and that you and I were having some kind of liberal ideological discussion about "the reality of economic facts" when in fact:

    1. You said there were no laws against price gouging and that if such laws did exist they would be unenforceable.
    2. I correctly characterized that ridiculous and utterly nonsensical misinformation as "bullshit" because it is a fact that there are price gouging laws in 35 states, including the one you live in.
    3. You responded with the ridiculous confabulated comment I quoted above.

    If you're reading "lib ideology" or anything more into our conversation than the simple facts enumerated above, then you have correctly characterized yourself as "sad." :p

  46. [46] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick [45] Re Your "1. You said there were no laws . . ."

    Please stop misquoting me. I said there "IS NO LAW" (singular). ."

    I was clearly discussing U.S. federal law. I couldn't care less about state laws, foreign laws, etc. The individual state legislatures are notorious for passing meaningless 'Feel Good' laws that are de facto unenforceable.

    If you'd stop "boo hooing" and wipe the tears from your eyes, perhaps you could read more clearly.

  47. [47] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Balthasar [3] -

    Yeah, it's pretty astonishing to see speaker after speaker walk away from the job, that's for sure.

    Interesting you should mention WRH, though. While writing this, I really wanted to add a reference (right after the Barry Goldwater thing) to one of his descendents -- William Randolph Hearst III, maybe, or even IV? I forget, he was one of the younger generation in the 1980s, and the SF Exmainer ran an editorial from him calling for the legalization of marijuana. This was in, like 1987 or so (+/-3 years). This was still in the "Just Say No" era, mind you, so it was an incredibly bold stance to take, at the time.

    Even more ironic was that the original WRH was one of the seriously bad actors in the whole saga of marijuana (and hemp) becoming illegal.

    But I looked into it, couldn't immediately find the editorial reference, and decided it was too much research for half a paragraph, at best, in the article.

    Which is why you bringing him up is kind of eerie...

    -CW

  48. [48] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Don Harris [5] -

    Isn't it time that White America had a turn? We need a movement for White America to show it's power!

    Careful, there, buckaroo...

    C. R. Stucki [6] -

    If that were remotely true, then we certainly wouldn't need a minimum wage or anything, right? Unfortunately, it's not true. Luckily enough, Union membership is on the rise...

    Heh. Couldn't resist.

    Balthasar [7] -

    Well said. Even Paul Ryan eventually abandoned his Randian "the safety net is a hammock" idiocy...

    C. R. Stucki [8] -

    Balderdash. I've explained to you previously how "you can only cut taxes for the rich because they are the only ones who pay them" is nonsense. Everyone down to almost the poverty line pays federal income taxes, and there are MANY MANY ways to adjust those taxes to benefit the lower three (or even four) quintiles of wage-earners. That's if -- as you do not -- you start from the premise of "let's lower taxes on the middle class and working poor" and not "let's provide $X trillion in tax cuts.

    Sure, if you want to cut an enormous amount (in absolute value) of taxes, you'd have to eventually cut wealthy people's taxes. But if you start from a different premise, you don't have to cut rich folks' taxes one thin dime. It's all in the priorities, not in the absolute value of the total tax cuts.

    Just to throw one (more) example at you: "let's cut the tax rate for the BOTTOM three or four tax brackets by 5% each" would provide a whole lot of tax relief and barely impact the wealthiest taxpayers at all (it would impact the taxes they paid on the income they earned in those brackets, of course, due to the progressive nature of the brackets themselves, but it'd be a minimal cut overall for them, while maximizing the cut to those who top out their earnings in those brackets).

    Argue honestly, and I'll take you more seriously. Argue "tax cuts for the wealthy spur investment and free up capital" and we can have a debate, for instance. But repeating "you can't cut taxes without slashing taxes for the top earners" over and over, and I'm just going to start ignoring your arguments, because it just ain't true, sorry.

    Don Harris [16] -

    Hell, yeah! And also, let's get a working wage for the cheerleaders, too! And let them unionize!

    Sorry, got carried away... it's a long time 'til football season, I realize...

    Heh.

    [17] -

    OK, I'll bite. What DO you name a kitten with no eyes?

    ListenWhenYouHear [22] -

    2024. That's my best guess. He'll be back...

    C. R. Stucki [28] -

    BZZZZZZT! "Thanks for playing..."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_gouging#Laws_against_price_gouging

    As for federal/state, laws are enacted in jurisdictions that need them. Florida gets lots of hurricanes, has seen lots of actual price gouging, and therefore enacted anti-gouging laws. Seems in accordance with the Tenth Amendment to me...

    nypoet22 [36] -

    Excellent point, thanks.

    C. R. Stucki [46] -

    Or perhaps you could state your ideas in full, rather than weasel out of being proved wrong later on.

    Price-gouging laws exist. You stated they didn't (or "it didn't"). Reality intervened, proving you wrong.

    Admit it like a man, or like a liberal who concedes a point, rather than digging in to an increasingly-bizzaro-world interpretation, as conservative weenies usually attempt to do.

    Are you sitting down? Are you ready for my ultmiate insult to your right/leftification of your own obvious error?

    Arguing "there is no law" is somehow different than "there are no laws" puts you squarely in the camp of someone you'd probably rather not be compared to. Because, just like Bill Clinton, you are reduced to arguing over "what the meaning of 'is' is."

    Ooooh... SNAP!

    Heh. Couldn't resist, sorry.

    -CW

  49. [49] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Chris

    About 3 yrs ago as I recall, something wiped out about three-quarters of the honeybees in the country. Overnight, the price of honey went up close to 300%.

    Where were you and Kick and the state "anti-gouging" laws then??

  50. [50] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    CRS,

    Unfortunately, your credibility here is at zero and going backwards.

    But, you know that and, sadly, it won't affect your contributions.

  51. [51] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Price gouging law tends only to apply to goods and services that are necessary. Honey may be tasty, but it's not very hard to get by without.

  52. [52] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Chris

    Certainly it would be possible to adjust the tax code to forego the 2% of all fed. income taxes collected from the bottom 50% of U.S. taxpayers. I've never intentionally disputed that, nor have I ever even advocated against it.

    My only objection to the std. Dem/Lib shibboleth of "tax cuts for the rich' is the implication that cutting fed. income taxes for the only people who pay fed. income taxes is somehow unfairly depriving the poor of their fed. income tax cuts. They already received their share when they were virtually exempted from the whole program.

  53. [53] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Liz M.

    You need not remind me that the principles of the science of Economics (aka 'the way the real world actually works') have no credibility with Dems/libs. It was ever thus, and I don't really expect it ever to be otherwise.

  54. [54] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    poet

    Yeah, that "necessary" thing belongs in the same area of the Lib lexicon with "fair/unfair" and the rest of the plethora of 'feel good' adjectives.

  55. [55] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Oh, you misunderstand, CRS.

    It is only YOU who has no credibility here.

    But, there is a simple exercise you might decide to entertain. And, that is to go back over your comments from the beginning and carefully read all that you have wrote.

    Perhaps, only then you will see the errors of your ways and realize the benefits of correcting them ...

  56. [56] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    C. R. Stucki-

    Here are the last 10 years of of wholesale honey prices.

    Could you please point out the 300% overnight increase?

  57. [57] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Bashi

    My only connection to honey prices would have been be at the retail level. I recall they took a big jump when all the news hit about the bees dying, but it may have been a temporary phenomenon.

    Liz M.

    Sorry, I reviewed, no errors found!

  58. [58] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    C. R. Stucki-

    How convenient. Right above the chart I linked to is a link to the retail prices of the last 10 years...

  59. [59] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @crs
    The difference between needs and wants is a pretty basic concept in economics, not at all a liberal or "feel good" distinction. There may be some ambiguity but price gouging laws tend to apply only on the need side of the line.

  60. [60] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    CRS,

    Sigh.

    I wasn't talking about the errors in your comments but rather the errors of your ways, as I clearly stated.

    Would you like to try again?

  61. [61] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW
    48

    Price-gouging laws exist. You stated they didn't (or "it didn't"). Reality intervened, proving you wrong.

    Admit it like a man, or like a liberal who concedes a point, rather than digging in to an increasingly-bizzaro-world interpretation, as conservative weenies usually attempt to do.

    I know, right!? And Stucki has now doubled and tripled down on his utter nonsensical proclamation that such "law"... which obviously is a term that is not necessary singular and/or limited to a single law... would be unenforceable, and now he's simply down to the "conservative weenie" (props CW) predictable move of arguing semantics and definitions... in which case -- since he wants to go there -- he still loses the debate of definitions because federal antitrust law does indeed exist and has for over a century to protect consumers from coercive monopoly and entities engaging in "price fixing," which Stucki can predictably split hairs and insist is not the same as "price gouging," but "who are we kidding" since that's merely an argument over definitions wherein federal antitrust laws and state laws to prohibit "price gouging" aim to ultimately serve the same end of reasonable prices for consumers, although one from the perspective of marketplace competition and the other from directly protecting consumers from ridiculous price inflation during crisis events.

    The fact is, the United States, the federal government, the state, the deep state, our Uncle Sam, etc. does indeed have law(s), regulations, statutes, etc. that protect consumers from greedy asshats/entities attempting to set the price of goods, services, and/or commodities which overcharge, inflate, fix, gouge, etc., which antitrust law includes but is certainly not limited to:

    * The Sherman Antitrust Act - 1890 bipartisan law enacted to prevent the artificial raising of prices by restriction of trade or supply, among other regulations
    * The Clayton Antitrust Act - 1914
    * The Federal Trade Commission Act - 1914

    As to Stucki's nonsensical statement that such law to prevent "price gouging" would be unenforceable and is somehow a "liberal" ideology, witness deep red Texas where Hurricane Harvey spawned multiple actions against entities who engaged in price gouging during the crisis, and it's not remotely a "liberal" Texas Attorney General who is doing the enforcement.

    As for the enforcement of federal antitrust law to protect citizens from greedy entities:

    Antitrust Enforcement and the Consumer

    "Many consumers have never heard of antitrust laws, but when these laws are effectively and responsibly enforced, they can save consumers millions and even billions of dollars a year in illegal overcharges. Most States have antitrust laws, and so does the Federal Government."

    ...

    "The law does not condemn all agreements between companies, only those that threaten to raise prices to consumers or to deprive them of new and better products. But when competing firms get together to fix prices, to rig bids, to divide business between them, or to make other anticompetitive arrangements that provide no benefits to consumers, the Government will act promptly to protect the interests of American consumers."

    https://www.justice.gov/atr/file/800691/download

    And since Stucki is an "old dog" seemingly averse to cracking a book or learning a "new trick" or a damn thing from anyone, it would behoove him mightily to at least take the time to read a concise pamphlet and discover something that might mitigate his ridiculous practice of posting "conservative weenie" (props again) bullshit in the comments section of your most excellent blog that he trolls regularly with the same repetitive misinformation in monotonous fashion. :)

  62. [62] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Bashi

    I just returned from my local Kroger affiliate, and I happened to see a 12 oz bottle of honey for $4.79. Label said "orange blossom", so maybe that justifies something in excess of clover honey, but it wasn't too long ago when $4.79 bought a quart of honey, at least where I live.

  63. [63] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Liz M.

    Yeah, well there will never be any shortage of "errors in my ways" where Dems/Libs are concerned. You guys DEFINE philosophical differences as "errors in ways", right?

    Poet Re 'needs vs wants'

    Yeah, maybe not inherently Liberal or conservative terminology, but certainly nebulous and arbitrary.

  64. [64] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    49

    About 3 yrs ago as I recall, something wiped out about three-quarters of the honeybees in the country. Overnight, the price of honey went up close to 300%.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong... 75% of honeybees in America were not wiped out in 2015 or any other year for that matter, and the price of honey in America did not triple "overnight."

    At this point, you've lost all credibility and should really stop digging and further to cease and desist in your pathetic attempts at "recall" since your ability in that regard has now proven defective on multiple occasions.

    Where were you and Kick and the state "anti-gouging" laws then??

    I can't speak for CW, but I was busy killing the honeybees that made the unfortunate mistake of flying into my backyard... just kidding. In 2015 when the "bee-pocalypse" that began in 2006 was being discussed in Washington, D.C., data tracked by the USDA illustrated the fact that U.S. honeybee colonies had actually hit a 20-year high the previous year:

    https://tinyurl.com/y7a4txxh

    Which begs the obvious and predictable question: Where were you?

  65. [65] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Can scarcely believe you nit-pickers want to argue on a political blog about the price of honey, as opposed to the laws and principles of economics that may have had an effect on the price of honey.

    It would be FAR more productive for you to research or discuss WHY there is no (national) "anti-price gouging law", as opposed to whether some infantile state legislators have passed such a law.

    Of course, I'm aware that would cause you heartburn when you figured it out, but a little heartburn beats the hell out of egregious economic ignorance when it comes to the welfare of the country.

  66. [66] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    65

    Can scarcely believe you nit-pickers want to argue on a political blog about the price of honey, as opposed to the laws and principles of economics that may have had an effect on the price of honey.

    As JL already correctly informed you in 51 and 59, price-gouging laws wouldn't apply to the "price of honey." In addition, I can scarcely believe the asshat who fabricated statistics about honeybees and utter nonsensical outright lies about the "price of honey" is taking issue with those addressing the topic he broached in the first place in yet another lie-filled comment.

    Speaking of "egregious economic ignorance," I'd say that any idiot who kept insisting that the wealthy are "the only ones who pay the taxes" isn't quite the self-appointed authority on "economics" that he believes himself to be.

    It would be FAR more productive for you to research or discuss WHY there is no (national) "anti-price gouging law", as opposed to whether some infantile state legislators have passed such a law.

    It would be FAR more productive for you to research or discuss WHY you seem overly obsessed with fabrication and digging your proverbial hole bigger and deeper. As I already stated in no uncertain terms in 61 above, federal antitrust law does indeed exist and has for over a century to protect consumers from coercive monopoly and entities engaging in "price fixing," which you will predictably split hairs and insist they are not the same as "price gouging," but "who are we kidding" since that's merely an argument over definitions wherein federal antitrust laws and state laws to prohibit "price gouging" aim to ultimately serve the same end of reasonable prices for consumers, although one from the perspective of marketplace competition and the other from directly protecting consumers from ridiculous price inflation for essentials during crisis events.

    The fact is, the United States, the federal government, the state, our Uncle Sam, etc. does indeed have law(s), regulations, statutes, etc. that protect consumers from greedy asshats/entities attempting to set the price of goods, services, and/or commodities which overcharge, inflate, fix, gouge, etc., which antitrust law includes but is certainly not limited to:

    * The Sherman Antitrust Act - 1890 bipartisan law enacted to prevent the artificial raising of prices by restriction of trade or supply, among other regulations
    * The Clayton Antitrust Act - 1914
    * The Federal Trade Commission Act - 1914

    Antitrust Enforcement and the Consumer

    "Many consumers have never heard of antitrust laws, but when these laws are effectively and responsibly enforced, they can save consumers millions and even billions of dollars a year in illegal overcharges. Most States have antitrust laws, and so does the Federal Government."

    ...

    "The law does not condemn all agreements between companies, only those that threaten to raise prices to consumers or to deprive them of new and better products. But when competing firms get together to fix prices, to rig bids, to divide business between them, or to make other anticompetitive arrangements that provide no benefits to consumers, the Government will act promptly to protect the interests of American consumers."

    https://www.justice.gov/atr/file/800691/download

    Of course, I'm aware that would cause you heartburn when you figured it out, but a little heartburn beats the hell out of egregious economic ignorance when it comes to the welfare of the country.

    So we've already established that itty bitty words "sadden" you, and now I take it that words will equally cause you "heartburn" and that you naturally assume... like you generally do... that what you're personally experiencing at your local Kroger affiliate and the acid regurgitation into your esophagus in Podunk, Idaho, is exactly what's happening nationwide, and in your perpetual state of self-aggrandizement you believe what you've experienced personally is somehow connected to the "welfare of the country."

    Talk about "feelings" adjectives, what with all your "sadness" and "heartburn," you seem to be holding your own in the "feelings" department, pal. Hypocrisy, thy name is Stucki. *LOL*

  67. [67] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    By your own terminology in the box above, anti-trust laws target agreements (collusion) between companies which aim to reduce or eliminate competition in order to raise prices to consumers.

    So, when Joe's lumber Yard of Anytown FL raises the price of plywood when he hears that a hurricane is coming, with whom is he colluding? How is he eliminating competition?

    I know, you don't really care if he's breaking anti-trust laws or not, you just know he's a greedy bastard and surely he should be prosecuted, right?

    Again, for Dems/Libs, it's always "We prefer to live in a dream world because the world of reality is just too cruel", right?

  68. [68] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @CRS,

    you're the one who brought up the price of honey as an example, so it doesn't make much sense to criticize those of us who demonstrated why it doesn't apply. anti-trust laws were created to protect the basic, inalienable rights of the citizenry; yknow, life liberty, pursuit of etc. etc.? joe's lumber yard is price gouging because an impending natural disaster has increased demand, which has in turn made lumber scarce. without it lives and homes are in danger of being lost, so it has become a need rather than just a want. although a moderate price increase is merited, at some point people's right to keep their lives and homes outweighs joe's right to make a profit. dont like it? take it up with the founders.

    JL

  69. [69] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Poet

    Who gets to decide what's "moderate"? We can just add 'Moderate' to 'Fair', 'Unfair', 'need vs.want', 'Price Gouging' and the whole rest of the list of nebulous, arbitrary terms which serve to explain why this sort of liberal 'feel-good' crap renders such state laws meaningless, and explains why there is no federal law against "price gouging".

    And what happens when the anticipated hurricane changes course, and Joe's Lumber Yard has to sell his big plywood inventory at a loss? Shouldn't all the homeowners in town be prosecuted for 'Reverse Price Gouging'? Doesn't Joe also have those "inalienable rights"; yaknow, life, liberty, pursuit of, etc.?"

    Unfair??, take it up with the founders! Oh - never mind, the founders were smart enough to recognize the insanity of the standard Dem/Lib attitude toward trying to define what's 'fair', what's a 'need', what's a 'want', etc.

  70. [70] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    if the hurricane changes course, joe has already sold a great deal more lumber than he otherwise would have, at a somewhat higher price than he otherwise could have, and made a handsome profit without breaking the law. the alternate scenario you've attempted to paint does not exist. perhaps you haven't lived in florida before a hurricane, but i have, and there is not a surplus to be found.

    as for fairness vs. unfairness, need vs. want, moderate or immoderate, they are decided by the judicial branch - that's the entire purpose for its existence. the framers decided that too. It's in Article III.

    JL

  71. [71] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    67

    I know, you don't really care if he's breaking anti-trust laws or not, you just know he's a greedy bastard and surely he should be prosecuted, right?

    No, you don't really know much about me or anything, for that matter, as you've proven on this board multiple times. In fact, you just made up a fictional character and named him and are now insisting you know how I feel about said person who only exists in your fantasy.

    Again, for Dems/Libs, it's always "We prefer to live in a dream world because the world of reality is just too cruel", right?

    You tell me, old man. You're the one making up fake people and pretending to know how I feel about them. I'm still not a "Dem/Lib," no matter how many times you pretend that I am. It demonstrates a special kind of stupid for you to lecture me or anyone else about the "world of reality" when your posts are regularly full of misinformation and outright fabrication.

    You said there was no law against price gouging, and rather than admit you were wrong about that, you're still busy fabricating more shit and making your proverbial hole deeper and wider, as if making up more stuff is going to somehow erase your earlier stupid. It won't; stop digging.

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