ChrisWeigant.com

Good Economic News Not Always The Best Political Indicator

[ Posted Monday, April 29th, 2019 – 18:09 UTC ]

When political wonks look at factors which influence presidential elections, one of the most obvious correlations is with how the economy's doing. Economic indicators are a good indication of the mood of the voters, or at least they have been in the past. Of course, as with any attempt to identify causality in the nebulous field of politics, this isn't a hard-and-fast rule or anything, but tracking the economy is a better indicator than most as to whether the voters are in the mood for a change at the top or not.

A more important measure is harder to take, because it's not so much how the large economic indicators (such as unemployment and gross domestic product) are performing that matters to voters as it is their own personal perception of how the economy's doing that matters most. A low national unemployment rate may be a good thing, but if you happen to be unemployed and living in an area with not many jobs (or not many good jobs), then you may not have as rosy an outlook as the numbers might at first suggest. This leads to a large political risk for any candidate, most importantly an incumbent. If you base your campaign on how wonderful the economy is doing, then you run the risk of people deciding you are simply out of touch with their own lives and situations.

Again, such intangibles are hard to accurately measure. In the past three presidential elections, the economy has played a rather large part in the politics of the race. In 2008, the Great Recession started with Wall Street's collapse a few months before people voted. This served to turn the electorate away from Republicans (who were in the White House), especially after John McCain staged the stunt of "putting my campaign on hold to travel back to Washington to personally fix everything." McCain, obviously, could not deliver on this promise, and wound up looking incredibly out of touch with what was happening.

When Barack Obama entered office, the economy was in full free-fall. For the first six months of his first term, things got even worse. When things finally turned around, the recovery was notable for how slowly it happened. The economy bounced back, but it wasn't that big a bounce.

In 2012, the economy had indeed improved since the depths of the Great Recession, but unemployment was still pretty historically high. All the trendlines were moving in the right direction, but not all that quickly. By the economic numbers alone, Obama never should have won re-election. His hands were tied politically, since he couldn't very well brag about fixing the economy when so many people were still suffering. Making the case that things were heading in the right direction, and we would get the economy back to normal eventually was tough. However, Obama once again lucked out with who the Republicans chose to run against him, as Mitt Romney was about as plutocratic as can be imagined (all he really lacked was a monocle and a top hat, really). Time and time again, he proved that the experience of a normal working-class Joe was so far beyond his own personal experience that he was essentially completely clueless about most voters' economic lives. The fact that he made a fortune out of gutting struggling companies didn't help, either.

But, again, Obama beat what the economic projections indicated. Presidents rarely get elected with the unemployment numbers so high, but somehow Obama pulled it off. Obama was very careful not to campaign on "everything's going great," because his team knew how out of touch that would sound to many voters. Instead they ran on "we've still got a lot of work left to do," which is a weaker argument to have to make.

Then in a surprise, in 2016 the economic indicators once again didn't predict who would win -- but in the other direction. By the 2016 campaign, the economy had almost fully recovered, with unemployment back down to historic lows and growth picking up. Such a scenario should have favored the party in the White House, but Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton. What's more, Trump did so in large part by making an economic argument. Trump badmouthed the Obama economy as much as he could, and promised that "as a successful businessman" he would get the economy roaring along once again, and furthermore would do so in such a way as to return America to the heyday of its manufacturing dominance worldwide. Factory jobs would reappear, steel jobs would reappear, and coal jobs would be saved from the evil Democrats. Blue-collar workers would have a champion in the White House who would "drain the swamp" and un-rig the rigged economy so the average voter would prosper in ways they hadn't seen since the 1970s. There was going to be a new pickup truck in every driveway and a sparkling new airport people could leave for their vacations from, Trump all but promised.

Trump, obviously, hasn't fully delivered on such sweeping promises. The economy has been doing well under Trump, continuing the trend that began back in 2009. Unemployment went even lower than the low numbers Obama left Trump. The stock market hasn't tanked under Trump's watch. Growth improved. In fact, almost all the big economic indicators are pretty good right now. Which, of course, Trump loves to brag about.

But running on a good economy is always tricky. If your basic message is that the economy has never been better, then it leaves little room for any one voter to look forward to future improvements. If that voter isn't doing as well as Wall Street, then once again this looks like rosy-tinted out-of-touch optimism. And there are already signs that this could hobble Trump's efforts to run on a great economy.

Trump really only has one major legislative achievement to point to, after being in office more than two years. The problem for him is that Paul Ryan's tax cut was so heavily skewed towards the wealthiest of the wealthy that average people just weren't that impressed by it. This contributed heavily to the Republican losses in the 2018 midterms, in fact. Republicans just didn't really have anything positive to run on except their tax cut, and the public just didn't see that tax cut in a very positive light. So, following Trump's lead, they decided to run on fear of immigrants instead. This didn't work out so well for them, but then again Trump wasn't personally on the ballot. Midterms aren't all that great an indicator of what's going to happen two years later in the presidential election, so there's no guarantee that 2018 will usher in another big blue wave in 2020. But it did show that running on xenophobia itself without a positive economic plan certainly has its limits.

Trump might wind up vulnerable with some of the voters that propelled him to his first win. There was an interesting article in the Washington Post today which pointed out that a clear majority of the public -- 60 percent -- thinks that while the economy is doing well, it is mostly benefiting the wealthy rather than them personally. The numbers are even higher for Democrats and independent voters. This is a continuation of how the public saw the Trump tax cut, in fact -- that it mostly went to the people who didn't need it.

This leaves Trump open to a real populist attack. Populism has usually historically meant a combination of anger at the people (and banks) who are perceived as rigging the economy against the little guy, as well as the uglier side of demonizing the most vulnerable (usually immigrants) for "stealing our jobs." Trump, obviously, has cornered the market on the xenophobic front, because it would be hard to imagine someone more hostile to immigration than Trump. But anger at the fatcats is still pretty strong, meaning a leftist populist might just steal a whole bunch of votes from Trump by making a strong case that Trump has done little or nothing for the little guy and instead has showered all sorts of handouts to big corporations and people in his tax bracket.

The last time around, Bernie Sanders was the one making this case. It would have been interesting (in a political science sort of way) to see Bernie run against Trump, because it would have been an election fight for who could be more populist. This time around, though, Bernie's not the only Democrat making this case. To a varying degree, almost all of the Democratic presidential candidates are making the "rigged economy" case to the voters. Except they're a lot more targeted in who they're railing against than Trump ever was.

So far, the media have mostly concentrated on other core Democratic issues (as well as silly political-rabbit-hole non-issues, of course) when discussing the Democratic nomination race. Issues like the Green New Deal, the concept of reparations for slavery, the question of impeachment, Israel, the Mueller Report, and Russian election interference have been getting lots of airtime and press, even though they're not what is really on the minds of most voters right now. Detailed economic proposals put out by the candidates are largely ignored by the press, because it's so much easier to ask gotcha questions about such non-issues as whether incarcerated prisoners should be able to vote.

When they do ask Democrats about the economy, the media has mostly been doing the Republicans' groundwork for them by obsessing over the word "socialism." Does the candidate claim to be a socialist, or a capitalist? Do socialists want to turn America into Venezuela? How soon can we expect the government to take over the means of production in this country if a socialist is elected? Will America suddenly become the Soviet Union?

Democratic candidates, especially those that don't shy away from the word, patiently explain over and over again that "Democratic Socialism" is different, and that we already have a lot of "socialist" things in America, from our police departments to our fire departments to our military. Medicare already exists, it is not some fanciful notion that a current Democratic candidate dreamed up, in other words. The Republican Party has already gleefully indicated that their 2020 campaign will lean heavily on painting Democrats with as wide a socialist brush as possible. This may backfire on them, but so far this overall GOP strategy seems clear for the 2020 race, up and down the ballot.

But back to those charts in that Washington Post article for a moment. The problem with demonizing socialism these days is that most voters are actually pretty OK with taxing the rich more. Where to draw the line (who is rich versus who is merely "middle-class") is always a problem with this political stance, but overall most people think the economy is still heavily rigged towards those with the most money. They don't see slapping a very tiny tax on stock sales to pay for free college as all that radical an idea, in other words. While the Republicans will be screaming "Socialism!" as loudly as they can, Democrats will be offering different ideas for how to unrig the economy a bit more in favor of the little guy. On issue after issue, people are actually pretty willing to tax rich people more to improve everyone's overall economic situation. Democrats might well counter the Republican argument with: "They call it 'Socialism,' but I call it taxing people like Trump a little more to make everyone's life better, instead of always just assuming that tax cuts for the rich will somehow 'trickle down' to you." Or, more simply: "Tax the rich."

President Trump has been championing the nativist side of populism, which is no surprise since he actually launched his political campaign on demonizing brown people and immigrants. Democrats, obviously, aren't even going to try to out-do him in this regard. But part of Trump's 2016 schtick was to paint himself as an economic populist as well. This time around, Democrats are going to challenge his populist credentials on the economic front while making their own bid for the economic populist voters.

Trump obviously thinks the economy is a real winning issue for him. He might even turn out to be right (there's no telling where the economy will be in November of next year). Normally, a good economy is a pretty strong indication of a second term for a sitting president. But that correlation isn't always perfect. A strong economy is usually a pretty good historical indicator of whether the public approves of the job the president is doing as well, but with Trump this has never been true at all. His job approval hovers in the doldrums between the high 30s and the mid-40s, and has never been over 50 percent for a single day of his time in office. No matter how much the economy improves, his numbers don't budge. They don't go down much either, but that's still a pretty dismally low range.

Trump will be running his version of: "Things are great -- don't change horses in midstream!" But there are voters out there who haven't seen much in the way of improvement since Trump got elected, some of whom are wondering when all his magic promises are going to come true for them -- after all, it's been two years now. Democrats will be challenging Trump for these voters, pretty much no matter who actually wins their presidential nomination. Their challenge will be to paint Trump and the GOP as saying: "This is as good as it gets," while they run on the message of: "Things can get a lot better, and here's how."

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

65 Comments on “Good Economic News Not Always The Best Political Indicator”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Another way to put it would be to say that the Trump administration squandered the growing recovery from the Great Recession by focusing on the most privileged and making the rest of Americans wait.

    And, then, the Democratic candidate could go on to spell out exactly how a Democratic administration would have acted to make the recovery work for everyone.

  2. [2] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "...Democrats will be offering different ideas for how to unrig the economy a bit more in favor of the little guy."

    That's all? Just a bit?

    I guess that all you can aspire to, not as bad.

    More like poopulist than populist.

    Where do you draw the line on who is rich and who is middle class?

    At least you are beginning to ask the right kind of questions.

    Will you finally consider defining a small donor and the difference between a small donor campaign and a small contribution campaign?

    That's an issue the media has not been covering.

    And it is also an issue relevant to the issue of things can get a lot better, and here's how.

    Because all the issues you mentioned and those you didn't as well as the rigged economy all remain unsolved in large part because of the problem of big money infecting our political process.

    How dare you talk aboot magic promises from Trump when the big money Democrats do nothing but make magic promises of their own.

    Democrats pretending they are not running on this is as good as it gets is not a challenge- it's a lie.

    They have been and will be running on Trump is bad and you have no other choice but big money Democrats (translation: big money Democrats are as good as it gets).

    If that is the only this is how they have (and it is) they have nothing.

    Replacing big money Republicans with big money Democrats has not and will not fix the rigged economy because it is the job of big money legislators to legislate and rig the economy in favor of the big money interests.

    An occasional bit does not make up for the massive rigging.

    The only here's how that matters is one that gets the big money out of our political process.

    One Demand may or may not be the here's how that accomplishes all or part of the goal, but it is an idea that many recent political trends indicate could work.

    Since Democrats are offering ideas for how to unrig the economy a bit more in favor of the little guy and you are a Democrat, then it seems you are now obligated to offer the different idea of One Demand.

    Who knows, maybe enough citizens will decide to do their their own little bit to work together with other citizens and in another decade or so the only little bits we will have to endure from the big money candidates/legislators is the little bit of a memory of how bad it was before we got rid of them.

    Back when we didn't have BMI, medicare for all or least a public option, kept doing nothing substantial aboot climate change and pollution. etc.

    Back when the media all parroted party line bullshit instead of offering different ideas.

    Different ideas like let's stop voting on magic promises and start demanding that the candidates take action now to EARN our vote by not taking big money. If they take big money their promises are magic promises, so what they promise they will do doesn't matter because they will only do what the big money donors want them to do- make magic promises.

    So if they take big money then we won't vote for them.

    Basic democracy.

    It's an idea who's time has come.

    It's at least worth a try. At the very least it's worth entering into public discussion and consideration.

    It's certainly more worthy of discussion than which big money party is going to get citizens to believe their lie is better than the other party's.

    After all, if democracy won't work then we had better come up with something else real quick.

    Okay, we already have something else- but we need something that works.

  3. [3] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Why all the hub bub about populism when there's a better option, pie-pulism!

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    A more important measure is harder to take, because it's not so much how the large economic indicators (such as unemployment and gross domestic product) are performing that matters to voters as it is their own personal perception of how the economy's doing that matters most.

    Understanding this is key to beating Trump. No presidential candidate understands it more than Joe Biden.

    Hey, Chris … you aren't advising the Biden campaign, are you? :)

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    Good Economic News Not Always The Best Political Indicator.....

    ....When the POTUS has a -R after their name..

    There.. Fixed it for you.. :D

    When Barack Obama entered office, the economy was in full free-fall. For the first six months of his first term, things got even worse. When things finally turned around, the recovery was notable for how slowly it happened. The economy bounced back, but it wasn't that big a bounce.

    Try telling that to people here. To hear them tell, Obama's economy was better than Trump's...

    But, again, Obama beat what the economic projections indicated. Presidents rarely get elected with the unemployment numbers so high, but somehow Obama pulled it off. Obama was very careful not to campaign on "everything's going great," because his team knew how out of touch that would sound to many voters. Instead they ran on "we've still got a lot of work left to do," which is a weaker argument to have to make.

    Except Obama DID run on an EVERYTHING IS GREAT platform.. Remember the Summer Of Recovery??

    They only reason he got it away with it is because he was black and everyone who pointed out how bad Obama was, was attacked and vilified as a racist..

    There was even a documented conspiracy by Left Wingers to do just that.. Falsely accuse people of racism that don't toe the Obama line..

    Trump, obviously, hasn't fully delivered on such sweeping promises. The economy has been doing well under Trump, continuing the trend that began back in 2009. Unemployment went even lower than the low numbers Obama left Trump. The stock market hasn't tanked under Trump's watch. Growth improved. In fact, almost all the big economic indicators are pretty good right now.

    Indicators that EVERYONE on the Left, including everyone here, claimed would take and nosedive and implode and explode and whatever other bad catastrophe ya'all claimed would happen if Trump were elected...

    I wasn't sure if I had mentioned that before so I just wanted to point it out.. :D

    President Trump has been championing the nativist side of populism, which is no surprise since he actually launched his political campaign on demonizing brown people and immigrants.

    Oh, come on! Let's stick with the FACTS, shall we?? There was no such campaign... The campaign was based on demonizing ILLEGAL immigrants.. Yunno.. The people who kill and rape and murder and assault AMERICAN CITIZENS...

    Jeeesh...

    Their challenge will be to paint Trump and the GOP as saying: "This is as good as it gets," while they run on the message of: "Things can get a lot better, and here's how."

    We have already been shown the Democrat idea of "here's how"...

    It was called the Obama Administration and it was an unmitigated disaster for this country and Americans all over...

    Want proof???

    Want bona fide FACT to support the claim that the Obama Administration was the worst disaster for this country??

    Because Obama gave us the Trump Administration...

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    Democrats struggling for pocketbook message as roaring economy helps Trump

    The economy is on fire right now, and that, more than anything, could be a major boost to President Trump's reelection chances.

    And the Democrats are having a hard time figuring out how to run against this steamroller at a time of 4 percent unemployment and soaring stocks.

    Of course, things could cool off before the election, as many economists predict a sharp slowdown in growth over the next two years.

    But for now, the S&P and the Nasdaq just hit all-time highs, and the newly announced rebound in first-quarter growth, to 3.2 percent, trounced the market's all-important expectations.
    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/democrats-struggling-for-pocketbook-message-as-roaring-economy-helps-trump

    As I said.. The BEST plan of action for Democrats is to cede 2020 and start planning for 2024..

    Because there ain't NO WAY Democrats are going to prevail in 2020....

    Not gonna happen.. :D

    Funny.. I said the same thing about 2016... :D

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    OLD MAN JOE: BIDEN SLURS HIS WAY THROUGH FIRST SPEECH AS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE [MONTAGE]
    ‘The country wasn’t built by Wall St. bankers, CEOs, and hudge ... heh’

    https://caching.grabien.com/c/streams/0605/ycKAgaD-jTZRL6KclZy2yg/1556659952/605726.mp4?key=ycKAgaD-jTZRL6KclZy2yg

    That's just painful to watch... :(

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    U.S. Army veteran charged with plotting to bomb white nationalist rally

    LOS ANGELES, April 29 (Reuters) - A U.S. combat veteran of the war in Afghanistan who prosecutors say plotted to detonate multiple nail bombs at a Los Angeles-area white nationalist rally, seeking to cause mass casualties, was arrested in an FBI sting operation, federal prosecutors said on Monday.
    http://news.trust.org/item/20190430012405-w8t6e

    A Democrat Party hero....

    Pelosi wants to give him a medal.. :^/

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Trump's lack of cooperation with Congress sparks impeachment push in House

    WASHINGTON - Frustration among House Democratic investigators is intensifying after President Donald Trump's refusal to cooperate with congressional inquiries, leading some to privately question whether they should try to pressure Speaker Nancy Pelosi into launching impeachment proceedings.

    The chairmen and members of the six panels investigating the president are increasingly angered by the White House's unwillingness to comply as they carry out their oversight role, according to several House Democratic officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter freely. But that anger extends into the ranks of Pelosi's team as well, according to leadership officials.
    https://www.lmtonline.com/news/article/Trump-s-lack-of-cooperation-with-Congress-sparks-13805488.php

    Like I said.. President Trump's plan is clear..

    Frustrate the Democrats incessantly and goad them into doing something really really stoopid..

    And Democrats are falling for it hook, line and sinker.. :D

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    Beto: We only have ’10 years’ left on Earth if we don’t address climate change

    Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke sounded the alarms on Monday, saying that civilization has only “ten years” left on Earth if no action is taken on climate change.

    The former Texas congressman unveiled the first major policy proposal of his candidacy, which is a climate change initiative that would cost $5 trillion in over 10 years in hopes of reaching zero carbon emissions by 2050.
    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/beto-orourke-we-only-have-10-years-let-on-earth-if-we-dont-address-climate-change

    OH NO!!!! CIVILIZATION IS DOOMED IF WE DON'T GIVE MORE MONEY TO AL Crazed-Sex-Poodle GORE AND RICHARD BRANSON!!!!!

    To think that there are actually people in this world STOOPID enough to buy into this fear-mongering claptrap... :^/

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Global Warming Going the way of Russia Collusion

    We have been hearing this song and dance for several decades now. The global warming chicken littles keep telling us that snow is a thing of the past and we had better get used to it, along with a warming planet.

    In 2000, British newspaper The Independent ran this headline, “Snowfalls are just a thing of the past.” In 2014, The New York Times ran a sequel headline, “The end of snow?”

    Yet here we are, at the end of April, planting our gardens and facing snow in much of the country. If this is evidence of global warming, then Bernie Sanders’s popularity is evidence that the Democrat Party has shifted to the right. Good luck selling that.
    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/04/global_warming_going_the_way_of_russia_collusion.html#ixzz5mZY9wz9E

    Russia Collusion = Global Warming

    Oh whole lotta hysterical fear-mongering with very VERY little fact to support...

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    New York Times Editorial Blames ‘Jewish Schools’ for Spreading ‘Highly Contagious’ Disease

    A staff editorial of the New York Times is pushing an antisemitic trope so vile and offensive that not even Ilhan Omar has dared to utter it — blaming a Jewish community for the spread of disease.

    For better or worse, 2019 is proving to be a year that provides the American public a reeducation in some of the themes of classical antisemitism.
    https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/03/10/new-york-times-editorial-blames-jewish-schools-for-spreading-highly-contagious-disease/

    Looks like the Propaganda Arm of the Democrat Party has an Anti-Semite problem.. :(

  13. [13] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz-
    If you think that beating Trump is all that matters, then you have missed the key to understanding.

    And the key to understanding is to understand that your complaint aboot Trump squandering the recovery by focusing on the most privileged and making the rest of America wait would also be correct if you substituted Obama for Trump in that sentence.

    It is that failure, in a long line of similar failures by the big money Democrats, that got Trump elected in the first place.

    How can anyone lack the basic understanding of this fundamental fact and believe that this time will be different?

    If Joe Biden or any of the Democratic candidates understood this, they would either continue to perpetrate the lie to exploit the problem or make the One Demand commitment to begin changing the dynamic and solving the problem.

    I do believe that Joe Biden does understand.

    But I do not believe you understand the choice that Biden has made as to what to do aboot it.

  14. [14] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale-
    Bernie Sanders aside, the Democrats can't move any farther right without becoming Republicans.

    And there is real proof of that- the Clintons, Obama, Biden, Pelosi, etc.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bernie Sanders aside, the Democrats can't move any farther right without becoming Republicans.

    I disagree.. Bernie Sanders, along with AOC and Ilan Omar and Tlaib waassherfave... THEY are the heart and soul of the Democrat Party in the here an now..

    And there is real proof of that- the Clintons, Obama, Biden, Pelosi, etc.

    Those are all has beens. Relics of the past that the current Democrat Party has left behind...

  16. [16] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M-12

    It has been widely reported that Christian Scientists leaders strongly discourage vaccination among their members. Google it.

    Is this reporting anti-Christian?

    Get a life.

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    It has been widely reported that Christian Scientists leaders strongly discourage vaccination among their members. Google it.

    Is this reporting anti-Christian?

    Are their Anti Semitic tropes that accuse christians of spreading disease??

    No, there are not..

    Ergo, your spewage while entertaining and laughable, is not relevant..

    Get a life.

    Du auch....

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    Are their Anti Semitic tropes that accuse christians of spreading disease??

    No, there are not..

    Correct that to read

    Are their Anti Semitic-esque tropes that accuse christians of spreading disease??

    My mistake...

    CW, my right...... er.... arm.. for an edit feature.. :D

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Don[13],

    Very nice comment.

    I don't think that beating Trump is all that matters. That's why I think Joe Biden is the best candidate, by far.

    I am so looking forward to a robust primary campaign and I can't wait for the debates.

    Hopefully, issues to do with campaign finance reform and what Citizens United has unleashed will be discussed in thoughtful ways.

    But, a pol like Biden is the greatest example of a candidate who works for America and not for corporate interests, despite having represented Delaware for so long.

    For the record, I believe the recovery from the Great Recession would have been infinitely more robust for everyone if congressional Republicans didn't work to prevent it.

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK I am outta here. Double feature of CAPTAIN MARVEL and AVENGERS ENDGAME.. :D

  21. [21] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz-
    It is doubtful or at the very least uncertain that the big money interests at a big money fundraiser for Biden would be making contributions if he was not working for them.

    Delaware has nothing to do with it.

    The recovery would have been more robust if Obama had cracked down on the perpetrators when they were vulnerable instead of bailing them out and not fixing the underlying problems- it's not at all all on the Republicans.

    This little rhyme may help you understand:

    Too big to fail.
    No one in jail.
    The fat cats got bailed
    amid foreclosure sales.

  22. [22] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale-
    If only it were true that they were all relics of the past the Democratic Party has left behind.

    While you can make a case for the Clintons and Obama being from the past (but a recent past- not relics which implies long past) they are not a disregarded past to Democrats.

    But it is hard to make a case that the current frontrunner in the Dem primary and the current Speaker are relics of the past- no matter how much they deserve to be.

    Sanders, AOC, etc. may have some heart and soul, but the big money Democratic party wants nothing to do with it as they are quite satisfied with their artificial heart and soul that is powered by big money.

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Delaware has nothing to do with it.

    Thank-you for that. I completely agree.

    If the Obama administration and Congress had cracked down the perpetrators when they were down, then my retirement savings plan would never have recovered.

    This is a difficult concept to understand, let alone accept, but Wall Street had to be bailed out in order to save Main Street. The financial fire had to be put out and the most unfortunate aspect of that had to be that the arsonists benefited.

    I don't like that any more than you do but it had to be that way in order to prevent a panic and run on the banks, big and small, and a depression that would have been worse and far more reaching than the Great Depression.

    I think the Dodd-Frank legislation went a long way to reel the big banks in and make it far easier to just let them fail if they acted in harmful ways to the financial system as a whole.

    I agree with you that Democrats and Republicans are responsible for creating the environment that ultimately led to the 2007/08 global financial crisis. I also think that Democrats should accept their role and ensure that the necessary regulations that will prevent another crisis are in place and stay in place.

    The one critical factor you leave out of your rhyme is how the average American would have been impacted if the big banks were not bailed out. It is quite conceivable that we would still be in the thick of a destructive depression if the fat cats had not been bailed out

  24. [24] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Liz M

    I question whether your really understand who it was that actually got "bailed out".

    The single largest member of the "bail out" fraternity was AIG (the insurance giant), and they are not even a bank. The next down the rankings were GM and Chrysler, and they are not banks.

    The next ranks were the finance divisions of GM and GE, and they were only sort of "quasi banks", along with Merrill Lynch, the huge stock brokerage.

    The two biggest banks in the middle of the sub-crime mortgage disaster were Lehman Bros. and Bear Stearns, and they were NOT bailed out, they were allowed to fail.

    The hated "Wall ST" group of big banks that most Dems think caused the problem (Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Wells Fargo etc. didn't NEED to be bailed out, they only the middle men, and they MADE money on the sub-prime disaster.

    And as far as 'Main St" (Countrywide Finance, Golden West Finance, Wachovia and half a dozen others) that actually MADE the "sub-prime" loans which they sold to "Wall St" for resale to investors, NONE of them got bailed out!

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yes, you are right, CRS. AIG was the biggest financial entity to get bailed out.

    This was the insurance giant that Elizabeth Warren said could have just been forced into bankruptcy. Ha! This is why she has no business running for president.

    By Main Street, I was referring to people like me who would have suffered terribly had the bailout of AIG not occurred.

    Also, wouldn't you agree that had the big bailouts not occurred there would have been a panic and run on all the banks and the financial system would have collapsed.

    Yeah, I know the car companies aren't banks. :)

  26. [26] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Liz M

    Re: "I agree that the Dems and Reps were equally responsible for the financial crisis . . "

    True, both had SOME responsibility for the sub-prime disaster, especially at the presidential level, but NOT at the congressional level.

    The congresspeople who pushed the sub-prime loans for the poor people and bad-credit people were OVERWHELMINGLY DEMS, in the persons of Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Elizabeth Warren.

    Those three, along with the Main St. lenders (mentioned above in my [24]), all believed that the housing bubble would go on forever, because house prices had not suffered a meaningful decline in any of their lifetimes (75 yrs), and they were afraid the poor folks were going to miss out on their chance for home ownership, and they PRESSURED the lenders to make the sub-prime loans. No Rep congresspeople did that!

  27. [27] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz-
    I guess our perspectives prove the point aboot individual circumstances influencing our perspective.

    My personal experience was the cash for clunkers bailout.

    All the people that got subsidies to buy big gas guzzlers just a few years prior were given more subsidies to junk their cars and buy new ones that got at least 20 MPG (or somewhere right around there).

    My 20 year old car did not qualify for any subsidy to go from 20-28 MPG to buy a new or used car that would get 40-45 MPG because my car already got over 20 MPG- even if I bought a new car when a used car would have been more affordable but wouldn't qualify because it was not new.

    I sure many people that were amid the foreclosures also have a different perspective than you.

    It was a little rhyme. It couldn't cover everything and stay little.

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I agree with you that Democrats and Republicans are responsible for creating the environment that ultimately led to the 2007/08 global financial crisis.

    Please don't misquote me, CRS.

    While Democrats were pushing home ownership, Republicans were against much regulation for the banks, especially in the wake of the repeal of Glass-Steagall which had prevented commercial banks from merging with investment banks.

    Regulation is key here. I'm not sure how far along the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation is in terms of implementing regulatory reforms but I know congressional Republicans are fighting this, tooth and nail.

    So, both parties are responsible but I would argue that your choice of "equally responsible" is not an accurate term when speaking of how the parties address these issues and economic growth in general.

  29. [29] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Liz M

    It was not my intention to imply "equally responsible", especially for the 08 financial crisis. I'd go WAY closer to 80% Dems, 20% Reps.

  30. [30] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M-17,18

    The NYT did not condemn the Greater Jewish People or even the Ultra Religious Jewish People for that matter. It pointed out a specific, non-trivial lack of neighborliness on the part of some ultra religious Jews that are a minority within an ethnic minority.

    The NY Times article (which I have open before me)specifically addressed the failure of ultra orthodox yeshivas to actively evade public health regulations during a measles epidemic that is largely centered within their community...and threatening to break out. Measles is one of the most contagious diseases on the planet. The City has to balance the rights of all its citizens during a crisis.

    The ultra orthodox communities in NYC (and in Israel) have high rates of poverty. They accept public services. They are a part of a broader community which subsidizes them to a significant degree. Their community may be poor, but it is politically very savvy. The ultra Orthodox in Israel have the same strained relationship with modernity and the moderns that live within the Jewish State of Israel.

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    MIND BLOWING...

    If you haven't seen ENDGAME yet, you simply MUST see it in 3D...

    It's probably the closest thing to a HOLODECK you will see in your lifetime...

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Democrats, Trump Agree to Aim for $2 Trillion Infrastructure Package
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/democrats-trump-agreed-on-2-trillion-infrastructure-package-11556640992

    See!!!??

    Democrats **CAN** work with President Trump!!

    Awesome!!!

    I knew they would come around!! :D

  33. [33] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    While the economy overall has stayed strong and in some areas have even improved with Trump in office, the positive effects of the strong economy have not been felt by a good portion of Americans. Rural areas are still struggling while being told by Trump how much better things are for them. Overall, the lower & middle classes took big hits in how much they received from their tax returns this year compared to recent years.

    Bottom line: The economy has stayed strong in spite of Trump’s policies.

  34. [34] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    LWYH

    The only thing that affects the size your tax refund is your W-4 that you file with your employer to indicate how much you want to be over-withheld.

    Hasn't got a DAMN THING to do with the economy or how well you're doing or any such thing.

    Bottom line: Trump isn't the only economic moron in this world.

  35. [35] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Trump isn't the only economic moron in this world.

    Truer words were never written.

  36. [36] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    CRS,

    So Trump’s tax plan has nothing to do with the economy’s health?

    If you can no longer deduct expenses that you could previously deduct, that doesn’t have any effect on your taxes?

    Families getting thousands of dollars less back than they are used to getting from their tax returns — or worse, owing money to the IRS — these things have nothing to do with our economic health?

    Let the Republicans tell their base that none of these things matter because the economy is doing great — we might rid our government of their corruption once and for all!

  37. [37] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Michale [169 from previous column]

    As for obstruction, if you order people to obstruct and they ignore you and you forgot what you ordered, have you committed obstruction?

    Attempted Obstruction...???

    You see a police officer chasing a woman, yelling that she robbed a bank and ordering her to stop. She runs past you, and because you think she was cute, you stick your foot out to trip the officer.

    The officer hits your foot, stumbles, but is able to regain his balance and finally catches the woman two blocks later.

    Do you think the officer will charge you for obstruction even though you did not prevent the woman from being caught?

  38. [38] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Listen

    We're evidently not communicating on the refund thing, and you seem not to understand the whole W-4 form thing. But if you want to maximize your refund, tell your employer to deduct 100% of your income for income tax. That will maximize your refund regardless of how much or how few expenses you can deduct, regardless of how the economy's doing etc.

  39. [39] 
    Kick wrote:

    JL

    Why all the hub bub about populism when there's a better option, pie-pulism!

    There's not enough pie in politics. I like the pie idea! :)

  40. [40] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    25

    Yes, you are right, CRS. AIG was the biggest financial entity to get bailed out.

    Wrong, EM... CRS is wrong as per usual. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were by far the two biggest recipients... in fact, so large that they were bailed out separately via the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

    As for CRS's claims that Goldman Sachs received no bailout, $12.9 billion of AIG's bailout went directly to Goldman Sachs and other financial institutions that were counterparties to AIG's credit default swaps. Anyone interested can Google AIG counterparties to credit default swaps, and there are banks galore... which I would wager by her posted comments that EM is already fully aware.

    Easier than listening to CRS and all his usual incorrect drivel, here is a list of all bailout recipients wherein "Outgoing Bailout Funds" and "Incoming Bailout Funds" are tracked on an ongoing basis by ProPublica.

    https://projects.propublica.org/bailout/list/simple

    The list is easily sortable by clicking on the columns to see the largest recipients, and far from CRS's incorrect information, sorting the "Bailout Funds Outgoing Disbursed" column reveals the facts.

    Bank of America... $45,000,000,000
    Citigroup.......…..... $45,000,000,000
    JPMorgan Chase... $25,000,000,000
    Wells Fargo........... $25,000,000,000

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    This is the problem with commenting on blogs - one usually doesn't say everything that one means. Most times, lots is left out.

    You are right about Fannie and Freddie and how and when the bailout funds were dispersed.

    Just between you and me, Kick, and the four virtual walls, how would you feel about Biden tapping Tim Geithner to revive his role as Treasury Secretary and Elizabeth Warren to head up the CFPB?

    It's a serious question, sort of. :)

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Lots is left out??

    Over and out.

  43. [43] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    34

    The only thing that affects the size your tax refund is your W-4 that you file with your employer to indicate how much you want to be over-withheld.

    Wrong, Stucki. If you could take deductions for multiple items on your 2017 tax return that are no longer deductible in 2018 and beyond, this can definitely affect the size of your tax refund. Unlimited state and local tax deductions are now capped at $10,000 (married), unreimbursed work expenses are no longer deductible, fees for financial services are no longer deductible, advisor fees and tax preparation fees, professional dues, and a long list of other previously deductible items are no longer tax deductible. Job-related moving expenses have been eliminated for virtually all workers except military required to move, etc.

    If you're trying to win an award for the person who posts the most incorrect information, you should know that there's not an award for that, and if there was... enough said.

    Bottom line: Trump isn't the only economic moron in this world.

    Bottom line: As long as C. R. Stucki is alive and breathing, Trump obviously never could be. :)

  44. [44] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick

    I don't dispute much of anything about your explanation of where the money 'wound up', only your personal analysis of how to REGARD the payments.

    For instance, Fannie and Freddy, always quasi-gov't agencies, were by that time fully part of the gov't, so in those cases you are essentially saying 'The gov't paid megabucks of bailout money to itself'.

    And regarding G-S, they received no bailout $ 'FROM THE GOVERNMENT'. The gov't bailed out AIG, and AIG paid their debts to G-S, using their own bailout money.

    And regarding the four biggest banks, The gov't (Sec of Treas) called them on the phone and told them "We're sending all of you Xgazillion $ whether you want it/need it or not, because we do not want to appear to stigmatize the banks that ARE insolvent and need the $. You just take the $, keep your mouths shut, and repay the treasury after the panic subsides", and that is exactly what happened.

  45. [45] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick your [43]

    The reduction/elimination of certain deductibles in the new tax law basically amounts to a tax increase (for the rich, which you should cheer, right?), and theoretically would reduce your refund, 'all other things being equal'.

    However, that still leaves you free to have yourself overwithheld more than enough to offset that amount of refund deduction IF you are dumb enough to WANT to be overwithheld, right?

  46. [46] 
    Kick wrote:

    EM
    41

    This is the problem with commenting on blogs - one usually doesn't say everything that one means. Most times, lots is left out.

    I know exactly what you're saying. Add to that the very real problem that fact checking the misinformation could qualify as a nonpaying full-time job.

    Just between you and me, Kick, and the four virtual walls, how would you feel about Biden tapping Tim Geithner to revive his role as Treasury Secretary and Elizabeth Warren to head up the CFPB?

    Well... just between us, those two picks couldn't be any worse than Herman Cain and Stephen Moore. ;)

    It's a serious question, sort of. :)

    I gave it a serious answer. *shakes head* Seriously, there's got to be some others out there without Biden having to resort to doing that.

    Still, it would be infinitely gratifying to watch the GOP heads explode. Under Donald Trump the GOP has become the largest group of whiney little britches on the planet... that much pathetic white male grievance all whining in unison... constantly. *laughs*

  47. [47] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Mueller sent a letter to Barr complaining about how Barr had portrayed the Mueller report in his letter to Congress. A few days later, they talked on the phone and Mueller complained about Barr calling his letter a “summary” of Mueller’s findings.

    This all took place two weeks before Barr testified to Congress that he did not know whether Mueller agreed with what Barr had stated in his conclusions.

  48. [48] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    44

    I don't dispute much of anything about your explanation of where the money 'wound up', only your personal analysis of how to REGARD the payments.

    It's not exactly "personal analysis" to state the fact that banks received huge bailouts.

    For instance, Fannie and Freddy, always quasi-gov't agencies, were by that time fully part of the gov't, so in those cases you are essentially saying 'The gov't paid megabucks of bailout money to itself'.

    You do realize that "quasi" means "not really," right? Wouldn't it therefore take a special kind of stupid to claim that Fannie and Freddie are "not really" government agencies but were fully part of the government?

    FACT: Neither Fannie Mae nor Freddie Mac are part of the government and still aren't. Fannie and Freddie are privately owned enterprises and are both publicly traded corporations. Sure, they were delisted from the NYSE but are still traded OTC.

    Perhaps you've confused Fannie and Freddie with Ginnie Mae, which actually is owned by the government.

    And regarding G-S, they received no bailout $ 'FROM THE GOVERNMENT'.

    Wrong again, Stucki. Goldman Sachs received $10 billion of the first $125 billion from the $700 billion bailout bill. You could have even looked it up using the link I supplied above, but you didn't. Which begs the obvious question: How could anyone be this stupid?

    The gov't bailed out AIG, and AIG paid their debts to G-S, using their own bailout money.

    What part of "$12.9 billion of AIG's bailout went directly to Goldman Sachs" confused you? I already stated AIG paid Goldman Sachs, but that doesn't change the fact that you're wrong about Goldman not receiving any bailout money and Goldman not needing it.

    And regarding the four biggest banks, The gov't (Sec of Treas) called them on the phone and told them "We're sending all of you Xgazillion $ whether you want it/need it or not, because we do not want to appear to stigmatize the banks that ARE insolvent and need the $. You just take the $, keep your mouths shut, and repay the treasury after the panic subsides", and that is exactly what happened.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. In fact, by the end of 2008, Goldman had snarfed up $34 billion in federal loans. Where were you when this was all disclosed by admission in federal hearings, Stucki? I would wager you were somewhere posting incorrect information on the Internet because you obviously weren't paying attention.

    https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/secrets-and-lies-of-the-bailout-113270/

    THEY LIED ABOUT THE HEALTH OF THE BANKS

    The main reason banks didn’t lend out bailout funds is actually pretty simple: Many of them needed the money just to survive. Which leads to another of the bailout’s broken promises – that taxpayer money would only be handed out to “viable” banks.

    Soon after TARP passed, Paulson and other officials announced the guidelines for their unilaterally changed bailout plan. Congress had approved $700 billion to buy up toxic mortgages, but $250 billion of the money was now shifted to direct capital injections for banks. (Although Paulson claimed at the time that handing money directly to the banks was a faster way to restore market confidence than lending it to homeowners, he later confessed that he had been contemplating the direct-cash-injection plan even before the vote.) This new let’s-just-fork-over-cash portion of the bailout was called the Capital Purchase Program. Under the CPP, nine of America’s largest banks – including Citi, Wells Fargo, Goldman, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, State Street and Bank of New York Mellon – received $125 billion, or half of the funds being doled out. Since those nine firms accounted for 75 percent of all assets held in America’s banks – $11 trillion – it made sense they would get the lion’s share of the money. But in announcing the CPP, Paulson and Co. promised that they would only be stuffing cash into “healthy and viable” banks. This, at the core, was the entire justification for the bailout: That the huge infusion of taxpayer cash would not be used to rescue individual banks, but to kick-start the economy as a whole by helping healthy banks start lending again.

    The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia
    This announcement marked the beginning of the legend that certain Wall Street banks only took the bailout money because they were forced to – they didn’t need all those billions, you understand, they just did it for the good of the country. “We did not, at that point, need TARP,” Chase chief Jamie Dimon later claimed, insisting that he only took the money “because we were asked to by the secretary of Treasury.” Goldman chief Lloyd Blankfein similarly claimed that his bank never needed the money, and that he wouldn’t have taken it if he’d known it was “this pregnant with potential for backlash.” A joint statement by Paulson, Bernanke and FDIC chief Sheila Bair praised the nine leading banks as “healthy institutions” that were taking the cash only to “enhance the overall performance of the U.S. economy.”

    But right after the bailouts began, soon-to-be Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner admitted to Barofsky, the inspector general, that he and his cohorts had picked the first nine bailout recipients because of their size, without bothering to assess their health and viability. Paulson, meanwhile, later admitted that he had serious concerns about at least one of the nine firms he had publicly pronounced healthy. And in November 2009, Bernanke gave a closed-door interview to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the body charged with investigating the causes of the economic meltdown, in which he admitted that 12 of the 13 most prominent financial companies in America were on the brink of failure during the time of the initial bailouts.

    On the inside, at least, almost everyone connected with the bailout knew that the top banks were in deep trouble. “It became obvious pretty much as soon as I took the job that these companies weren’t really healthy and viable,” says Barofsky, who stepped down as TARP inspector in 2011.

    This early episode would prove to be a crucial moment in the history of the bailout. It set the precedent of the government allowing unhealthy banks to not only call themselves healthy, but to get the government to endorse their claims. Projecting an image of soundness was, to the government, more important than disclosing the truth. Officials like Geithner and Paulson seemed to genuinely believe that the market’s fears about corruption in the banking system was a bigger problem than the corruption itself. Time and again, they justified TARP as a move needed to “bolster confidence” in the system – and a key to that effort was keeping the banks’ insolvency a secret. In doing so, they created a bizarre new two-tiered financial market, divided between those who knew the truth about how bad things were and those who did not.

    A month or so after the bailout team called the top nine banks “healthy,” it became clear that the biggest recipient, Citigroup, had actually flat-lined on the ER table. Only weeks after Paulson and Co. gave the firm $25 billion in TARP funds, Citi – which was in the midst of posting a quarterly loss of more than $17 billion – came back begging for more. In November 2008, Citi received another $20 billion in cash and more than $300 billion in guarantees.

    . . .

    Even worse, the $700 billion in TARP loans ended up being dwarfed by more than $7.7 trillion in secret emergency lending that the Fed awarded to Wall Street – loans that were only disclosed to the public after Congress forced an extraordinary one-time audit of the Federal Reserve. The extent of this “secret bailout” didn’t come out until November 2011, when Bloomberg Markets, which went to court to win the right to publish the data, detailed how the country’s biggest firms secretly received trillions in near-free money throughout the crisis.

    Goldman Sachs, which had made such a big show of being reluctant about accepting $10 billion in TARP money, was quick to cash in on the secret loans being offered by the Fed. By the end of 2008, Goldman had snarfed up $34 billion in federal loans – and it was paying an interest rate of as low as just 0.01 percent for the huge cash infusion. Yet that funding was never disclosed to shareholders or taxpayers, a fact Goldman confirms. “We did not disclose the amount of our participation in the two programs you identify,” says Goldman spokesman Michael Duvally.

    Goldman CEO Blankfein later dismissed the importance of the loans, telling the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that the bank wasn’t “relying on those mechanisms.” But in his book, Bailout, Barofsky says that Paulson told him that he believed Morgan Stanley was “just days” from collapse before government intervention, while Bernanke later admitted that Goldman would have been the next to fall.

    Goldman was close to falling, Stucki. A lot of the big banks were flailing just like you do the majority of the time when you attempt to school anyone about anything. :)

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    Mueller sent a letter to Barr complaining about how Barr had portrayed the Mueller report in his letter to Congress. A few days later, they talked on the phone and Mueller complained about Barr calling his letter a “summary” of Mueller’s findings.

    This all took place two weeks before Barr testified to Congress that he did not know whether Mueller agreed with what Barr had stated in his conclusions.

    And no one but the morons at WaPoop have seen this alleged so-called "letter"..

    Funny how that is, eh?? :D

  50. [50] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    45

    The reduction/elimination of certain deductibles in the new tax law basically amounts to a tax increase (for the rich, which you should cheer, right?), and theoretically would reduce your refund, 'all other things being equal'.

    No, it doesn't amount to a tax increase for the rich when the so-called "rich" got the largest percentage tax cuts that far exceed the loss of said deductions. What it does do is increase the taxes on middle class taxpayers where the loss of the deductions exceeds the paltry percentage decrease in overall tax rates.

    However, thanks for your admission that you were wrong when you made the asinine statement that "the only thing that affects the size your tax refund is your W-4 that you file with your employer to indicate how much you want to be over-withheld. Obviously when there are changes in tax laws that affect every single taxpayer filing a return, there are going to be a myriad of things that affect the size of a person's tax refund.

    When deductions are no longer allowable from one tax filing season to another, that would be a "thing" that isn't a W-4 that would affect the size of a person's refund and therefore preclude a W-4 as being the "only thing."

    However, that still leaves you free to have yourself overwithheld more than enough to offset that amount of refund deduction IF you are dumb enough to WANT to be overwithheld, right?

    Quite simply not relevant to your asinine statement about it being the "only thing."

    Bottom line: Trump isn't the only economic moron in this world as long as you're around, Stucki. :)

  51. [51] 
    Kick wrote:

    Russ
    47

    Mueller sent a letter to Barr complaining about how Barr had portrayed the Mueller report in his letter to Congress.

    Of course he did.

    A few days later, they talked on the phone and Mueller complained about Barr calling his letter a “summary” of Mueller’s findings.

    I thought they spoke the day after Mueller sent the letter to Barr. Regardless, Mueller is technically still an employee of the DOJ, and he is a "by the book" type of guy. I do know Mueller has agreed to testify before Congress, but the DOJ/Barr won't allow him to set the date of his testimony; now we know why. We also know why Barr is reluctant to be questioned by a lawyer. He knows he's misrepresenting the entire issue -- in other words, lying. Trump has a lot to hide and therefore so does Barr. They can only slow things down; the facts will inevitably emerge.

  52. [52] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick

    Google "What the two 'Fs' in FANNIE and FREDDIE stand for". A hint - it ain't 'Final'!

  53. [53] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick

    And while you're at it, also ask about the two "Ns".

  54. [54] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick your [50]

    You are denying that the reduction/elimination of certain fed. income tax deductibles constitutes, in and of itself, a tax increase based on your contention that it was not a 'net' increase because the rich also got a big decrease.

    There you've passed beyond dishonesty/bad judgement well into stupidity.

  55. [55] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick

    Re: the financial 'fragility' of G-S when the govt' was forcing bailout $ on all the bankers so as not to cause a run on the insolvent ones.

    As I recall, that's about the time when G-S handed out unprecedentedly huge yr-end bonuses to all employees, was it not?

  56. [56] 
    Kick wrote:

    Stucki
    52|53|54

    Google "What the two 'Fs' in FANNIE and FREDDIE stand for". A hint - it ain't 'Final'!

    I don't have to Google it, old man. *laughs* So you're saying that you believe the use of the word "Federal" in a privately owned corporation's name means they are owned by the United States. That would be hysterical if it wasn't so honking ignorant. Somebody tell Federal Express they are the property of the United States because "Federal." Of course, their name is "FedEx" now.

    And while you're at it, also ask about the two "Ns".

    First off, what two "Ns"? There is only one "N" in FNMA and FHLMC. Are you seriously so stupid that you can't count to one? Same drill as above, though, Stucki; I wonder if National Car Rental knows they are owned by the United States. Are you mental? Scratch that: You are mental.

    You are denying that the reduction/elimination of certain fed. income tax deductibles constitutes, in and of itself, a tax increase based on your contention that it was not a 'net' increase because the rich also got a big decrease.

    Said the idiot who insists there are two "Ns" in FNMA and FHLMC.

    There you've passed beyond dishonesty/bad judgement well into stupidity.

    Said the guy who insists that two privately held corporations that are traded OTC are "fully owned by the government" and who just insinuated that "Federal" and "National" in a privately held corporation's name means they are "fully owned" property of the United States and who insists that multiple laws don't exist when they absolutely and unequivocally do exist.

    Could you please stop posting your lies on this forum, Stucki? You're only embarrassing yourself often and repeatedly. :)

  57. [57] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    55

    As I recall, that's about the time when G-S handed out unprecedentedly huge yr-end bonuses to all employees, was it not?

    No, it wasn't, for multiple reasons:

    * Unprecedentedly means "without precedent," and since huge bonuses had been given out many times before... that makes your statement ridiculously false.

    * Your usage of the words "all employees" is laughable on its face... and that too makes it a false statement. Although Goldman Sachs was famous for it's large bonuses; I have seen and been awed by many of them, but certainly not "all employees" received them.

    * Multiple of the banks and AIG handed out their usual bonuses at taxpayers' expense, and many of the Goldman Sachs employees didn't take the bonuses that people were watching and reporting.

    You are obviously free to prattle on and on about this all you wish, but I'm done here. You're insisting two privately owned publicly traded corporations are owned by the government based on words contained in their names... you also can't count... and you're obviously confused as per your usual. Try to keep up, geezer. :)

  58. [58] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick

    You're right, only one 'N'. And you're gonna use that oversight to justify your denial that the elimination/reduction of certain 1040 deductibles constitutes a tax increase? Pathetic!

    When FANNIE (and I presume FREDDIE) were created (by FDR), they were indeed "Federal" gov't entities, that were later privatized, and later still, taken over again by the gov't to keep from going bankrupt, correct?

  59. [59] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    58

    You're right, only one 'N'. And you're gonna use that oversight to justify your denial that the elimination/reduction of certain 1040 deductibles constitutes a tax increase? Pathetic!

    You mischaracterized my statement in the same way you apparently can't count, moron. Regardless of all that, none of your prattling and goalpost moving changes the fact that you made a clueless statement about the "only thing" that affects the size of your tax refund is your W-4.

    When FANNIE (and I presume FREDDIE) were created (by FDR), they were indeed "Federal" gov't entities, that were later privatized, and later still, taken over again by the gov't to keep from going bankrupt, correct?

    Wrong, wrong, wrong! See right there is your problem, Stucki... you "presume." Freddie didn't exist until 1970, and your ridiculous attempt to move the goalposts yet again in some last ditch pathetic attempt to prove Fannie and Freddie are owned by the United States is still an epic fail.

    Moving the goalposts back:

    For instance, Fannie and Freddy, always quasi-gov't agencies, were by that time fully part of the gov't, so in those cases you are essentially saying 'The gov't paid megabucks of bailout money to itself'. ~ C. R. Stucki

    Fannie and Freddie weren't "fully part of the government" in 2008. Full stop. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were put under a conservatorship of the U.S. federal government in September 2008, but that also in no way whatsoever makes either of them property of the United States. There's nothing you can say that will magically make the conservatorship of the two privately owned corporations known as Fannie and Freddie as being owned by the United States. Fannie and Freddie are public government-sponsored enterprises and public companies traded on the OTCQB as FNMA and FMCC, respectively.

    Now shove off... go crack a book or two.
    You can count to two, right? :)

  60. [60] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick

    OK, so only Fannie was founded as a 100% federal gov't entity during the FDR administrtation. I mentiond that I was just guessing on Freddie. You're such a nitpicker, right?

  61. [61] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Okay, one more time on the 1040 refund. for the benefit of the super-dense.

    If you object to my "only" terminology (and I've already acknowledged that a tax law revision which reduces or eliminates a deduction you've previously been allowed to take will, "ALL OTHER THIMNGS BEING EQUAL", reduce the amount of your 1040 refund.

    However, "all other things" do not have to BE equal! You have, within the parameters of your earning capacity, the ability to have your refund be ANYTHING YOU WANT by, if you are an employee, adjusting the amount your employer withholds, OR, if you're self-employed, by increasing the amount of your quarterly pre-pmts.

    Bottom line, if your current refund is smaller than you wanted, it's NOT because the ass-hole-in-chief phuqued you, it's because YOU PHUQUED YOURSELF!

  62. [62] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Make that [61] read 'THINGS' in place of "THIMNGS".

  63. [63] 
    Kick wrote:

    Stucki

    OK, so only Fannie was founded as a 100% federal gov't entity during the FDR administrtation. I mentiond that I was just guessing on Freddie. You're such a nitpicker, right?

    Back on topic:

    For instance, Fannie and Freddy, always quasi-gov't agencies, were by that time fully part of the gov't, so in those cases you are essentially saying 'The gov't paid megabucks of bailout money to itself'. ~ C. R. Stucki

    There's literally nothing you can post to make the asinine drivel above into a fact.

    FACT: In 2008, neither Fannie or Freddie was "fully part of the government." Full stop.

  64. [64] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    kICK

    I don't recall specifying any exact date when the gov't took over the two mortgage agencies, that's only of concern to nitpickers.

  65. [65] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    64

    I don't recall specifying any exact date when the gov't took over the two mortgage agencies, that's only of concern to nitpickers.

    So to recap: Old man, we were obviously discussing the bailout in 2008. More oxygen to the brain might help you, but I highly doubt it. :)

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