GOP shouldn’t underestimate Obama

July 16, 2010


— In the political marketplace, there’s now a run on Obama shares. The left is disappointed with the president. Independents are abandoning him in droves. And the right is already dancing on his political grave, salivating about November when, his own press secretary admitted Sunday, Democrats might lose the House.

I have a warning for Republicans: Don’t underestimate Barack Obama.

Consider what he has already achieved. Obamacare alone makes his presidency historic. It has irrevocably changed one-sixth of the economy, put the country inexorably on the road to national health care and, as acknowledged by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus but few others, begun one of the most massive wealth redistributions in U.S. history.

Second, there is major financial reform, which passed Congress on Thursday. Economists argue whether it will prevent meltdowns and bailouts as promised. But there is no argument that it will give the government unprecedented power in the financial marketplace. Its 2,300 pages will create at least 243 new regulations that will affect not only, as many assume, the big banks but just about everyone including, as noted in one summary (The Wall Street Journal), “storefront check cashiers, city governments, small manufacturers, homebuyers and credit bureaus.”

Third is the near $1 trillion stimulus, the largest spending bill in U.S. history. And that’s not even counting nationalizing the student loan program, regulating carbon emissions by EPA fiat, and still-fitful attempts to pass cap-and-trade through Congress.

But Obama’s most far-reaching accomplishment is his structural alteration of the U.S. budget. The stimulus, the vast expansion of domestic spending, the creation of ruinous deficits as far as the eye can see are not easily reversed.

These are not mere temporary countercyclical measures. They are structural deficits because, as everyone from Obama on down admits, the real money is in entitlements, most specifically Medicare and Medicaid. But Obamacare freezes these out as a source of debt reduction. Obamacare’s $500 billion in Medicare cuts and $600 billion in tax increases are siphoned away for a new entitlement — and no longer available for deficit reduction.

The result? There just isn’t enough to cut elsewhere to prevent national insolvency. That will require massive tax increases — most likely a European-style value-added tax. Just as President Reagan cut taxes to starve the federal government and prevent massive growth in spending, Obama’s wild spending — and quarantining health-care costs from providing possible relief — will necessitate huge tax increases.

The net effect of 18 months of Obamaism will be to undo much of Reaganism. Both presidencies were highly ideological, grandly ambitious and often underappreciated by their own side. In his early years, Reagan was bitterly attacked from his right. (Typical Washington Post headline: “For Reagan and the New Right, the Honeymoon Is Over” — and that was six months into his presidency!) Obama is attacked from his left for insufficient zeal on gay rights, immigration reform, closing Guantanamo — the list is long. The critics don’t understand the big picture. Obama’s transformational agenda is a play in two acts.

Act One is over. The stimulus, Obamacare, financial reform have exhausted his first-term mandate. It will bear no more heavy lifting. And the Democrats will pay the price for ideological overreaching by losing one or both houses, whether de facto or de jure. The rest of the first term will be spent consolidating these gains (writing the regulations, for example) and preparing for Act Two.

The next burst of ideological energy — massive regulation of the energy economy, federalizing higher education and “comprehensive” immigration reform (i.e., amnesty) — will require a second mandate, meaning re-election in 2012.

That’s why there’s so much tension between Obama and the congressional Democrats. For Obama, 2010 matters little. If Democrats lose control of one or both houses, Obama will likely have an easier time in 2012, just as Bill Clinton used Newt Gingrich and the Republicans as his foil for his 1996 re-election campaign.

Obama is down, but it’s very early in the play. Like Reagan, he came here to do things. And he’s done much in his first 500 days. What he has left to do he knows must await his next 500 days — those that come after re-election.

2012 is the real prize. Obama sees far, farther than even his own partisans. Republicans underestimate him at their peril.

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group. letters@charleskrauthammer.com


Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

The Obama administration got stuck coming behind a previous president that cost taxpayers $11 trillion with a $1 trillion debt as icing on the cake.

NOW along with blowing $11 trillion tax dollars the previous administration left behind about 11 million americans forced out of work through no fault of their own. It was the fault of the government.

" Often, government plays a role in bubbles. The housing bubble was in part generated by the Federal Reserve maintaining low interest rates. Easy money meant readily obtainable loans and, at least in the short run, low monthly payments.

Also, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan denied the housing bubble’s existence—not fraud exactly, but deception that kept the bubble going. (Greenspan, whose view was ideologically driven, got support in his bubble denial from the academic work of the man who was to be his successor, Ben Bernanke.)

In addition, government regulatory agencies turned a blind eye to the highly risky practices of financial firms, practices that both encouraged the development of the bubble and made the impact all the worse when it burst.

Moreover, the private rating agencies (e.g., Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s) were complicit. Dependent on the financial institutions for their fees, they gave excessively good ratings to these risky investments. Perhaps not fraud in the legal sense, but certainly misleading.

And, yes, substantial fraud was involved. For example, mortgage companies and banks used deceit to get people to take on mortgages when there was no possibility that the borrowers would be able to meet the payments. Not only was this fraud, but this fraud depended on government authorities ignoring their regulatory responsibilities.

So, no, a bubble and a Ponzi scheme are not the same. But they have elements in common. Usually, however, the losers in a Ponzi scheme are simply the direct investors, the schemer’s marks. A bubble like the housing bubble can wreak havoc on all of us."

Dollars and Sense

Now what exactly does the repub party have in mind to restore 11 million jobs that went out the window under the watch of their regulatory jurisdiction that which was the Bush administration?

If tax breaks were the key to great paying new employment opportunities the USA would have a huge surplus of jobs no matter what.

Who exactly is going to employ the new 11 million unemployed?

mr_right_wing 7 years, 11 months ago

Just as the Bible predicts the anti-christ*, somehow Ben Franklin predicted barak obama when he said....

"Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants" (...and obama ain't on the God side!)

(* = I am in no way saying barry is the 'anti-christ')

jimmyjms 7 years, 11 months ago

...you're note really saying anything.

zekebb 7 years, 11 months ago

No mr right wing....President Obama is not the "anti-christ" That would be bush, cheney, palin and all the other morons of the teabag party.

TopJayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Not the Anti-Christ, but definatly he is a hard core socialist, or Communist. I know you think I'm stupid. Look at what he has done. Look at how he voted in the Senate when he was there. Look at what he has said before public office. Look at who his associates were, who his mentors are and were.
It really couldn' t be more clear. What we need is good old fashioned gridlock in D.C. Nothing would be better than what is happening now. And get ready for a big depression. We ain't seen nothing yet: Inflation, cap and trade are all around the corner. Interest rates will skyrocket soon. Just likethey did in the seventies.

Get out of the stock market while you still have something left. I am in the process now.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 11 months ago

Hard Core Socialist?

You goofball, repeating a lie only makes you a repeat liar.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 11 months ago

Nah...'hard core socialist' that's you (ivaluecommunistamerica) and your wish for our country.

Obama is a 'soft core socialist'....probably the one gripe you have against him. Otherwise the kool-aid tastes great!!

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

you're only pretty as you feel you're only pretty as you feel inside pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty

same goes for smart

jimmyjms 7 years, 11 months ago

Um, are you not aware that socialism and communism are not synonymous?

So which is it?

"What we need is good old fashioned gridlock in D.C."

This is stupidity on a gargantuan scale. People should remember that: a) Republicans got us into the messes we're in now. b) Republicans have offered zero in the way of solutions. c) Republicans will do the same thing again, if we let them.

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

I've never seen republican legislation, signed by a republican president that forced you to buy a product from a private corporation or pay a substantial fine in the guise of additional taxes.

Liberalism/progressivism/socialism is the problem. Republicans aren't.

Socialism may not be synonymous with communism, but the root of communism is socialism. The line back through Marx is plain.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

No, the Republicans simply don't want to regulate companies or protect the environment, or help those in need.

Anybody who really thinks that one party is good and the other is bad hasn't been paying attention.

thebigspoon 7 years, 11 months ago

Libety, please define for us the term "socialism" before you so blithely fling it about. It would make your arguments much more convincing if you'd define that about which you speak so knowingly. Let's hear it..............

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

I tend to use the loose version which was coined by Marx. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need".

While Marxism and Communism are composed of various other ideas as well, socialism as I use it forms the philosophical basis for the economics of both systems.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

Actually, the definition of socialism is government owned means of production.

fancy80 7 years, 11 months ago

Repubicans and Democrats got us into the messes were in now. Republicans have offered alternative plans, but the guy the "won" won't listen to them, despite his campaing promises of bi-partisanship and transparency. Repubicans and Demoracrats will do the same if we let them. I would suggest to you, Jimmyjms, that you read some bills that Republicans have presented, and listen to your President. Don't base everything you believe off of what you see on CNN and MSNBC.

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

He hasn't reached across the aisle. Will be interesting to see what happens when the super majority wanes.

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 11 months ago

Note the elitist undertone in his handle..."TOP Jayhawk"? Sounds like a Republican to me...

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

I wouldn't put it passed the current administration to "watch" American citizens for not agreeing with their political actions.

What goes around...

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

r u affiliated, registered, certified?

have you ever been a member of the republican party?

have you ever attended party meetings?

can you name others?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) recently introduced the Local Jobs for America Act in the Senate, a piece of legislation that gives Americans exactly what they want: More jobs and the help they need to train for and secure long-term employment.

A companion bill introduced in the House by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) in March has more than 160 co-sponsors.

While most support decreased government spending in the long run, a majority of those surveyed do not see it as a top priority today. In fact, they are less concerned about the federal budget deficit than they are about rising health care costs, the lack of jobs with family-sustaining wages, and the affordability of every day expenses like food and gas.

Three out of four people surveyed said they believe policies that would create more jobs with decent wages and benefits for low-income families are important to them personally. Even more people believe those policies would be good for the economy.

Our poll provides strong evidence that the public would support a boldly progressive agenda from the Obama Administration and Congress that would put people back to work and boost our economy.

And it effectively undercuts the "everyone for themselves" individualism espoused by the Tea Party movement.

Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said they believed the government should play a greater role in creating jobs and training programs, helping to trim health care costs, and combating corporate greed.

It is groups like these who stand to benefit most immediately from legislation like the Local Jobs for America Act. The bill would authorize $75 billion in temporary funds over the next two years to prevent planned job cuts and enable communities to hire back critical service workers who have lost their jobs due to tight budgets. It is estimated that the bill would create or save up to a million jobs quickly in both the public and private sectors and help restore access to vital services.

The bill would also fund approximately 50,000 additional private sector on-the-job training positions to enable workers to acquire core job skills and help local businesses increase hiring. Finally, it would provide crucial funding in our communities to hire additional police and firefighters.

By putting people back to work, legislation of this kind strengthens our economy while also providing support for those in need. Although it will require an initial upfront investment, an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute found that the total cost of the legislation would be offset by $39 billion since the bill would help keep taxpayers on payrolls and reduce spending on unemployment benefits and other safety-net programs.


jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

Fifty-two percent isn't an overwhelming majority - it's barely a majority at all.

Our country is split almost exactly in half on many of these issues between conservatives and liberals.

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

Ok, vote on it, enact it. All our problems are solved then we can relax and enjoy utopia. If government throwing money at something will solve problem immediately then let it rip.

Dream on dreamer, dream on

Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

Keep in mind a prospering america can overcome fear mongering.

What is the repub party afraid? Why do they ALWAYS say no?

Repub are afraid of:

  • A dramatically improved quality of life for all americans

  • Jobs Jobs Jobs for americans

  • New USA industry thus new wealth for america

  • New cleaner energy sources because it would create so many new jobs

  • Improved Medicare Insurance for All = huge tax dollar savings to government

  • Green Collar Industries which produce jobs that cannot be outsourced

  • Repubs fear educated Americans because WE ask questions

  • Losing of tax incentives/tax breaks for the wealthy that actually create tax increases for entire spectrum of the middleclass

  • Repubs should want a dramatically improved quality of life for all Americans but they keep saying NO

  • Repubs should want Clean air, clean water, clean energy and healthy green space scattered throughout America however they always vote NO

  • Face it a dramatically improved quality of life for all WOULD keep them out of control for decades.


Scott Drummond 7 years, 11 months ago

And very sad.

Sadder still: that so many support them.

fancy80 7 years, 11 months ago

if you cut it and paste it enough Merrill, maybe some people here will believe you. Keep on keeping on Merrill!!!

Flap Doodle 7 years, 11 months ago

In other recent news related to the current regime: "...The botching of the Polanski extradition case — or its corrupt quashing — opens yet another vista of the Democratic culture of corruption, an inexhaustible oil spill of moral rot and political turpitude seeping throughout all three branches of the federal government...." http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2010/07/15/why-did-obamas-doj-botch-roman-polanskis-extradition/

thebigspoon 7 years, 11 months ago

You know, Tom, it amazes me that you rant about the stealing or buying of the election, but it never seems to occur to you that not a single vote was forced from a single voter by a single "poll Nazi". Each and every vote was given freely and in good faith. Perhaps if you'd quit bellyaching about how the elecion was "bought", you might come to the realization that the people elected the president. Your argument that all that is wrong now is his fault pales when you accuse the American voter of being so stupid that it was swayed by dollars spent rather than issues supported by the candidates. Obama may not be or have the answer to the pressing issues we face, but--and this is a big "but"--there was no reason whatsoever to follow the previious administrations' policies any longer, and you know it. Complain all you want, but complain about specifics that you can back up rather than emotional tirades that allude to the stupidity of the American voter.

zekebb 7 years, 11 months ago

Hey Tom...come on...what other president in recent history has passed such historic legislation that the GnoP voted against every time? He has done impossible things in impossible times...If we would have had no war with Norway and Sweden, we wouldn't be in this mess...bush did attack them didn't he? Or was it some other country that never did anything to the USA?

cato_the_elder 7 years, 11 months ago

Can America survive Obama? Only time will tell - starting in November.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

Do you mean the way the right-wing has recast Reagan as some sort of great president?

zekebb 7 years, 11 months ago

Yeah...let's all vote for palin and rushbo...that ought to fix things for the gop.

Olympics 7 years, 11 months ago

Have you heard about the New Black Panther Party? No? Well, you must not be watching Fox News, which has spent the last week treating the fringe group as the greatest threat to democracy since... well, since health care reform.

So: Idiots. I trust you're familiar with them? Recently, motivated entirely by their selfless concern for others, they have been very worried about an incident in Philadelphia in 2008, when two members of the laughable fringe radical outfit the New Black Panther Party stood outside a polling place in fatigues and sort of vaguely brandished a nightstick and looked intimidating.

Here are some facts about that incident: The polling place was in a heavily black, heavily Democratic district. Police were called, and the two men were ushered away. No one has come forward to say they were intimidated. The Justice Department—at the time still controlled by the Bush administration—decided not to file criminal charges.


jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

Wow, that's sooo sad, Olympics. Perhaps if you'd have checked the responses the FIRST time you posted this nonsense you wouldn't have repeated the mistake. From yesterday:

Hoooonk!! Thanks for playing, but a number of people came forward to say they were intimidated. Why would the JD even have considered filing charges otherwise? And nice try, but the JD that made the call "not to file criminal charges" was under the present administration. Tha'ts one of the reasons this story has blown up due to the whistle blower who came forward with the reasons behind the case's dismissal. Also, the same individual brandishing the baton has been filmed advocating the "killing of crackers" and their "babies."

And who are you calling "idiots" that are familiar with "them"? You wrote this piece as if you've been glued to FoxNews all week. Self-deprecation, perhaps?

Lastly, there's rarely anything "laughable" about any "radical, fringe outfit", in case you hadn't noticed.

PU, Olympics. That was one dreadful attempt at a post.

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

So if two white guys stood outside a polling place with night sticks and klan sheets, would that be OK with you? I mean, they are just a fringe group and the black voters they kept from voting don't really matter anyway, right?

It sounds like lame rationalism when the tables are turned, doesn't it?

If you had an ounce of integrity, you could stand by a single axiom regarding this: any person intentionally intimidating any legal voter in proximity to any voting place should be charged with a felony. Period. End of story. Color, creed, philosophy, sex, etc irrelevant.

You hypocrites are sickening.

local_support 7 years, 11 months ago

Three Republican POLL MONITORS filed complaints of intimidation but NO VOTERS attested to being turned away.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

Right. So if/when the political pendulum swings back, the republican president and congress can simply repeal what Obama does now.

The real problem with our system that doesn't get discussed very much is that the country seems to be pretty much split in half between conservatives and liberals.

So we go back and forth electing one and then the other, each of whom undoes the policies of the others.

Wouldn't it make more sense, and lead to a more stable country, to try to combine the good ideas from both sides, and reduce/eliminate the bad ones?

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

Any and all legislation that has been passed can be repealed, can it not?

Taxes can be raised and lowered. Departments can be created and dismantled. Deficits can go up and down. Spending can go up and down.

No changes are absolute - not even constitutional amendments, which can and have been repealed.

Perhaps case law and precedent are binding over time and don't change after a certain point, but the Supreme Court has the power to change interpretations and applications of them.

Olympics 7 years, 11 months ago

Nobody killed Indians like good ol' Andrew Jackson. Helluva guy that Jackson feller.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

He wasn't Anointed, he was elected! He is the elected President of the United States of America -- show some respect!

Why do you hate your fellow Americans so much that you wish to dismiss their votes? Why do you hate majorities unless they are in your favor, why do you hate elections, and why do you hate America?

Scott Drummond 7 years, 11 months ago

He was elected (a claim a certain recent "President" cannot honestly make.) A two year campaign by the bought and sold, corporate media has torn in to his popularity with a coordinated marketing campaign. They may well succeed in the mid terms, but have no long term plan or argument for why they are competent to lead. Lots of political ads, however, will be sold.

fancy80 7 years, 11 months ago

time will tell on the "elected" part. There are some very nasty accusations coming out from Democrats on the primary votes. And yes, I said from Democrats. These are not Republicans making these claims. One in particular from Helene Latimer. Oh well, she must be racist, right? Wrong! She is a beautiful woman of color, who also happens to be a Civil Rights Activist. Now, are the accusations true? I don't know. I haven't seen enough evidence to make a definite decision either way, but you might want to slow your roll on the preachy "show some respect" posts.

BigAl 7 years, 11 months ago

Tom, I admit that President Obama worries me. Still, I would far rather go forward with him than relive the President Bush years. And, I think GW Bush was/is a good man, he just made a terrible president and with VP Cheney, this country was headed in the wrong direction. I also think that so far, this current administration has kept us out of an all-out depression.

By the way, anytime you quote Dick Morris, you lose a little more credibility. I wonder why Fox News (Bill O'Reilly) never mentions that Clinton fired Morris for being a scumbag? Instead, O'Reilly introduces him as a "former Clinton advisor". Spinning in the no-spin zone.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

Americans care about the economy not tanking. We care about the problems with health care in this country. We care about making sure that Wall Street doesn't screw us all again like they just did. We care about the environment.

fancy80 7 years, 11 months ago

please enlighten us then, on what Pres. Obama has done for us. We're still in Irag and Afghanistan. We've lost money in our houses and the stock market (401k's), taxes are going up on every level, foreclosures are higher now than ever, people have been out of work so long that we can not keep funding their unemployment, the borders are still under seige. Aspirin will still cost $10.00 at a hospital, so what have we gained? Other than higher taxes? We don't even know who the Republicans are going to put up against Obama. But I know, sure as I'm sitting here, I do not want another 4 year of this crap.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

Would you really be open to hearing about any positive actions of this administration?

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 11 months ago

The Tea Baggers have their own issues (racism) to worry about...

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Patty_Magnus 7 years, 11 months ago

The financial crisis blame-game: have we got it right in just blaming the bankers? At the Feast of the Immaculate Economy – well before the crisis of 2007 and 2008 – there were many guests. Governments keen for endless amounts of cheap money to fund their mighty public sector programmes, homeowners keen for an extra bedroom even though their income didn't quite stretch, central banks who appeared to almost wilfully ignore what was going on under their very noses. And the waiters, of course, the bankers, running around the table filling everyone's glass to over-flowing, whipping everyone up into an ever-increasing frenzy and taking their very nice cut (and cut and cut), thank-you very much. In the blame game that followed it is the waiters who have got the spanking. Of course, if the waiters failed and had to pack up and leave, governments wouldn't get served, consumers would have nothing to eat and the whole system would seize up. So we had to ask all the guests to dip into their pockets for a whip round to save the waiters. And that made us very angry. Is it simply about rumuneration and lending? Or does it go deeper than that? With the Government about to announce the details of the new powers it is to give the BoE, what are the dangers ahead for the finance sector, whether it's from Basel III, new European regulation or the G20? And what effect could that have on the prospects for economic growth? I look forward to your thoughts. – Kamal Ahmed/UK Telegraph

Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

17.8 million citizens need jobs to feed our cookie jars. Jobs will save the economy. Use my tax dollars to hire city and federal government workers. These jobs provide health insurance. Republicans may say no but workers back on the job will say thank you, thank you and thank you. The economy is more important than bi-partianship.

The nations economy unfortunately will require much help directly from my government and my tax dollars. Tax dollars going directly to city and federal employees is a win win and eliminates tax dollars going to high CEO salaries,shareholders and golden parachutes.

Send tax dollars home, that once spent will likely create jobs elsewhere in the community. Jobs for two years will boost this economy. How can this be accomplished?

Put thousands on the federal and city government payrolls in each state. This is better than unemployment checks and Social Services. The economic impact will be felt nationwide which is the objective. Rehab old city streets and sidewalks in older neighborhoods. Offer a 70/30 package. Your/my federal government will offer 70% providing city governments contribute 30%. Fixing old streets and sidewalks adds value.

Rebuild sidewalks = Walkable communities = wellness = better health.

Perhaps the same concept could be applied to the rehab of City libraries and public schools. Believe me there are plenty of jobs here for at least two years. Let’s put your tax dollars and mine to work making money for our communities.

Right now adding or constructing miles of new infrastructure is a tax increase with no way to pay for it. No community can afford this.

No doubt the enforcement arm of many departments were depleted during the Bush-Cheney years. This is not good. The USA needs investigative/enforcement staff to protect our tax dollars, food quality,the environment and our investments. Fill these positions.

Which departments come to mind: USDA, FDA, IRS, EPA, Banking and Loan Industry however there must be more. Government jobs are the best for our economy = less waste.

How can the government feed dollars into Hydropower,Wind and Solar without losing so much to wasteful corporate practices? Put all USA military bases and VA Hospitals on alternative energy. Plenty of new jobs here. Bringing tax dollars home.

Reduce all college loans by 50%.

fancy80 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm trying so hard to ignore you, but my God!!! This is the most stupid thing I have EVER read. Are you on crack, or just a "fringe crack_pot"?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

Why do we americans support those flag waving USA corporations who support the communist government of China?

Shouldn't flag waving USA corporations be supporting the USA government AND USA workers?

Patty_Magnus 7 years, 11 months ago

Be Afraid – Very Afraid: China's Housing Bubble is Set to Blow ... For Westerners, watching China struggling to deflate its giant real estate bubble is like seeing the train rattle around the bend while you're tied to the tracks. Will nobody save us? U.S. fortunes are, of course, hitched to those of the People's Republic, soon to surpass Japan as the world's second-biggest economy. If China's growth stalls, or even markedly slows, we'll feel the pain stateside. One example — a plunge in mainland housing prices would hurt spending by Chinese consumers, damping demand for foreign goods, among other adverse effects. Construction also uses lots of steel, oil and other basic materials. So slowing growth could hurt worldwide demand for commodities. Meanwhile, concerns are mounting that China's real estate bubble is getting ready to blow. Property prices in 70 of the country's larger cities, while still rising more than 12 percent in May, are leveling off. Said Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff today at a conference for Asia investors: "You're starting to see that collapse in property and it's going to hit the banking system. They have a lot of tools and some very competent management, but it's not easy." – BNET.Com

If and when China blows, it may blow up hard. For now, the country looks solid and the civil and judicial repressions that China practices look like business-as-usual. The Chinese government is "tough" and the social compact between the people and the government (we provide prosperity/you don't question our authority) remains in place.

But it is possible that what happened in America and Europe could happen in China? Could real-estate reverse precipitously? Could investors be faced at some point in the future with a nation-wide real-estate market that does NOT go up? Could Chinese growth numbers finally falter and fall in a way that is not recoverable? What would it mean for the West?

What will 1.3 billion Chinese do if confronted with the realization that their economy is not nearly so solid as it seems, but is in fact a Western-style financial bubble? Perhaps this won't occur. Perhaps the Chinese are as clever and industrious as we have been told. Perhaps the Chinese miracle will continue for several decades. Or perhaps not.

jonas_opines 7 years, 11 months ago

The only thing solid about China is the authoritarian facade we've been told about, and it's largely a fiction. (the solidity of it, not the authoritarian part)

Great Wall and Empty Fortress is an interesting read.

ReadingSports 7 years, 11 months ago

-starwars on- Do not underestimate the power of the emperor! -starwars off-


cato_the_elder 7 years, 11 months ago

And, Beobachter, so far we've also survived pinheaded twits like you trying to blame Bush for all of Obama's collectivist schemes that have taken our economy to the brink.

fancy80 7 years, 11 months ago

and without the Clinton regime, Pres. Bush would not have had the problems he had. See how simple it is, to blame it on the guy (or gal) that came before you?

ReadingSports 7 years, 11 months ago

Tange.... Really ... Really...

And I'm missing your unambiguous condemnation of this bit of silliness: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/jul...

Or maybe you're just interested in Godwin violations from one side.


ReadingSports 7 years, 11 months ago

That all you got? A bunch of a libs calling the tea parties racist? Oh there's a news flash. Fail and Double fail.

camper 7 years, 11 months ago

What I'm afraid of is a return to the Republican ideas that created many of the problems now confronting us. Their prescription is often the exact opposite of what is needed. And there is a track record:

The conservative coalition was largely responsible for cancelling many of FDR's New Deal initiatives. This stalled economic recovery in 1937 and produced an up-tick in unemployment and flatened out GDP (double-dip depression if you will). These trends did not reverse until military production (ie a form of government stimulus) increased. For this reason, it will never truly be known if FDR's New Deal policies were effective. This argument will forever be debated by economists and politicians alike.

The Banking Act of 1933 (Glass-Steagall) which countered Wall Street speculation (largely responsible for the 1929 stock market crash) was repealed in different stages from 1980 to 1999. This repeal ultimately came from Republican controlled congress and largely authored by Phil Graham (R-Texas). These deregulatory measures changed the relationship between mortgage lenders and commercial bankers and was largely responsible for the 2008 banking crisis and made the subprime mortgages and consolidated financial investments legal.

I do agree with some conservative ideals, but time after time, some Republican initiatives have proven to be catastrophic and history shows it. I am going to vote accordingly by not allowing them to stall our current recovery, and not giving President Obama a fair chance to lead us through this severe recession.

ReadingSports 7 years, 11 months ago

This particular link would seem to beer out the concern that the anointed one is a socialist. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUvwKV...

But in your infinite wisdom you have decided that is off limits. If you, and the NAACP, ie the DNC, can say the tea party is the KKK then Tom can say that Dems are Socialist.

Or this: http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/09/15/carter.obama/index.html "Michael Steele, the first African-American to chair the Republican National Committee, denied Wednesday that race is fueling protests."

Triple fail! Triple Godwin! And totally dishonest!

ReadingSports 7 years, 11 months ago

Right back at you... ""Racism"—that mindlessly inflammatory term which a certain element is so fond of ignorantly bandying."

So then you admit that Obama still a socialist, just a nuanced one. Or just incompetent. But I guess that makes me an ignorant racist.

I'm not sure you can self-righteously accuse others of Godwin violations when you're so willing to indulge in personal attacks yourself

Whatever, go back to your tangential reasoning, tange. You were better then. Funnier too.

ReadingSports 7 years, 11 months ago

My, my. More put downs!!! You're just a regular Don Rickles aren't you? Or is it Don Knotts? We're done tange.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 11 months ago

The Community Organizer in Chief strikes again. “In the latest stop on his “Recovery Summer” tour, rock star President Barack Obama landed in Holland, Michigan Thursday, insulted its congressman, handed American stimulus dollars to a Korean corporation, and proclaimed Obamanomics a success even as Michigan has lost 94,000 jobs since his Recovery Act was enacted. All in all, another day in the life of an increasingly unpopular president who seems to be living in an alternative universe. ..” http://www.detnews.com/article/20100715/MIVIEW/100715001/1467/opinion01/He-camehe-sawhe-insulted

camper 7 years, 11 months ago

When the writer of this article refers to the President of the United States as a "Rock Star", I disqualify it. It shows ignorance and personal bias. These are some of the filters I employ.

fancy80 7 years, 11 months ago

but you will listen to Chris Matthews (MSNBC) with baited-breath, (while he gets "shivers up his leg") talk about President Obama abdominal muscles...

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 11 months ago

Krauthammer is nothing more than a professional liar and propaganda minister of the Republican Party elite in Washington.

When I come down to a choice of candidates it will be in spite of people like Krauthammer. He definitely pushes me toward the Democrats, but it will come down to issues in the end and if it is close, a tie will go to the Democrats.

I don't relish voting for a bunch of morons, so I hope the Democrats don't blow it.

camper 7 years, 11 months ago

Reading Sports, with all due respect Obama (see Joe the Plumber clip) is only propsosing a modification of the graduated tax rate. I think he mis-spoke when he said revenue over 250k. To my knowledge he really meant 250k net income. The IRS taxes net Income....not gross revenue. The tax increase is applicable only after business deductions in other words. This is hardly socialisim or redistribution of wealth. As an example, your taxes would only be increased (36% to 39%) on income over 250 thousand. Here is the amount of additional taxes you would pay if your Net income were:

300k $1,500 400k $4,500 500k $7,500 1m $22,500

If your business is this profitable, these increases to me would be viewed as a good problem to have. If the Joe the plumber controversy has not been de-bunked, I think it is necessary to provide some more data that will do so. And someone please explain to me, if you can, how a tax cut for those making less than 250k is Socialism. This is actually quite conservative.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 11 months ago

Especially since the well off make much greater use of the public services that taxes support.

ReadingSports 7 years, 11 months ago

Camper, Sure, let me tell you what my problem with the exchange is. I think that he is philosophically a socialist. In a sense, I don't really care what the specific policy is. And it's not like it's some Rubicon in the sand "on this side, you're a socialist, on this side you're not".

The reason that I feel that Obama made a socialist comment, in this case, is the "you need to assist those that come after you". I think that is indicative of a socialist mindset. Sure, I'm a big believer in charity. But this isn't charity, it's redistribution.

Also, there's his involvement in a liberation theology church. I have quite a bit of experience with liberation theology, and I would ...charitably... describe it as socialist. Although that would not be

By the way, it's not exactly a minority view: http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/230874/55-percent-likely-voters-find-socialist-accurate-label-obama

"The latest poll by Democracy Corps, the firm of James Carville and Stan Greenberg, ... ... "55 percent of likely voters think “socialist” is a reasonably accurate way of describing Obama."

There have been other comments, but I'm going to be lazy and not look them up right now.

camper 7 years, 11 months ago

Reading Sports, fair enough. We are not quite in agreement , but you respond kindly. This is what it's all about. May you have a good Friday and good weekend brother.

I'll have to look up Liberation theology because you have piqued my interest. I always have been influenced by the teachings of Jesus and try to lead my life that way but often fail miserably. Tolstoy is the same. His christian writings in later life were the best stuff he ever did, though the critics disagree.

ReadingSports 7 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for listening. Ag has thoughtfully included a link to more information about liberation theology. I would say the Wiki article is pretty good.

I would also refer you to this one for the contrast: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_solas

camper 7 years, 11 months ago

I looked at the link. I'm going to have to come back to it later with a refreshed mind. It seems you are interested in theology, see if you can find a cheap copy of some of Tolstoy's short stories. It is an easy read and quite uplifting. Non-political but revealing because it shows how much people are the same despite the progress of time. Tolstoy has a remarkable knowledge of people, in particular the goodness within all of us.

ReadingSports 7 years, 11 months ago

Actually, very interested in theology. Sure I will check out Tolstory, his stuff might even be public domain.

I would recommend some others back. C.S. Lewis is a good start. "Mere Christianity", and "The Great Divorce". Ravi Zacharias is good on apologetics. Lee Storbel is also good.

Not to mention as a Christian, I hope that you've read the entire Bible. I would recommend Romans in particular, though I think you would like James.

Okay, I haven't posted lately, this new format is wierd.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

The definition of socialism is government-owned means of production.

Charity, or even "redistribution", which is just another way of saying our taxes go to fund programs that help those who need help, isn't socialist at all.

ReadingSports 7 years, 11 months ago

liberation theology, Although that would not mean that he definitely is a socialist. Just that he might be.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

I majored in religious studies, and studied liberation theology a little bit - my recollection is that the main thesis of it is that the church should be on the side of oppressed people rather than the political structures that oppress them.

That's not socialism either.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 11 months ago

Beobachter, Democrats controlled Congress from 2006 on. Democrats (Dodd, Kerry, Obama, Frank) were huge recipients of Freddie and Fannie money, strongly encouraged subprime lending, and opposed all efforts by the Bush administration to rein it in. Registered Democrats outnumbered registered Republicans on Wall Street during Bush's entire administration, and still do. Dodd, Frank, et al. were in bed with Wall Street all the way. The fact that the newly-inflicted financial "reform" legislation is sponsored by Dodd and Frank, both of whom should have been impeached and removed from office for what they did to cause the subprime crisis, is the most hypocritical act yet of the most hypocritical group of charlatans on the planet.

jonas_opines 7 years, 11 months ago

Yes. You, wild rants. Beo's own forays into the territory don't change your own.

blakec 7 years, 11 months ago

Democracy combined with capitalism is a young beast. No one really knows what the *^&# is going on! But we all know how to play the blame game. It is a great distraction.

fancy80 7 years, 11 months ago

ding, ding, ding!!! This is the winning post of the day. None of us really know what is going on. Turn the news to CNN or MSNBC and get one version of the story, turn it to Fox, and get another version. I guess the truth is somewhere in between. I want to start a new station that reports BOTH sides of the story and provides evidence of what is being reported. It will be called WTFKTV. No "opinion" shows with Glenn Beck or Rachael Maddow. And definitely no Keith Olbermann. He can go back to reporting Sports. He was much better at that.

local_support 7 years, 11 months ago

Sadly fancy your new station will receive no ratings either. If you want hard news that is not opinionated you have to hunt for it on the interwebs. Or take in as many news sources as possible and come to your own conclusion.

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

I disagree vehemently

CNN, MSNBC, FOX truth somewhere in between? tangential to real truth at best

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so. (Will Rogers)

Patty_Magnus 7 years, 11 months ago

The number of mortgage-loan applications for homes dropped to the lowest level in 14 years last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, falling more than 3% in one week.

For the week ending July 1, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.58%, according to Freddie Mac – the lowest interest rate since Freddie Mac started keeping track in 1971.

However, if you go back to records before Freddie Mac’s data, it is purported that the lowest interest rate ever was right after World War II, when the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged about 4.7%.

Despite the lowest interest rates in history, there are few takers for home mortgages. Does this tell you something?

7 million unemployed – the number is closer to 8 million or more now. Would you buy a home if you were scared of losing your job? Remember, the down payments are higher now and if you lose your job, you lose your down payment, too.

The key to an economic turnaround and a robust stock market is employment. If there is a demand for employees rather than a demand for jobs, then the rest will take care of itself. The stimulus money has been squandered to keep legacy programs in place and to defer the reduction in municipal payrolls. I also suspect a good portion has been spent pumping up the value of equities so that the bank balance sheets look better.

It has all reached an uncomfortable end – local governments are out of money and even more municipal layoffs are on tap. It will get worse before it gets better on the employment front.

Rather than keeping the money flowing to prevent layoffs over the last 18 months, the stimulus should have been used to create serious new job projects, not as a slush fund for old programs that should have been shelved years ago.

Only half of the stimulus money has been spent and the TARP money is supposedly being repaid by the banks. That should give the government a kitty in the neighborhood of one trillion dollars or more that they could use to funnel into real jobs projects – if they would. And it would make a difference in how deep this next leg down goes. But if history is any indicator the money balance is going to be spent for political re-election efforts, not new jobs.

In my opinion, the best way to buy votes is through the creation of real jobs, not handouts, social programs, pork barrel injections, etc. If this administration would use the TARP payments and the “re-election” balance of stimulus for real jobs projects it would guarantee confidence in the government and real votes when it comes to pulling the lever.

But it seems that today’s politicians don’t think like that. They think this tax money is their private war chest for taking on their opposition and pushing their agenda – when it should be about jobs.

gchawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Patty, actually very good points. The free enterprise system will ALWAYS prevail and prosper better than a government run society. I'm getting pretty tired of the "blame game", the "left" and "right" blaming the other for our current economic mess. The fact is we don't want a country which is run by the government, regulated maybe, but not run.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 11 months ago

Agnostink and Beobachter, a number of reports of how much Dodd, Kerry, Obama and Frank received in Freddie and Fannie campaign contributions were promulgated in 2008, ranking receipt of contributions by members of Congress since 1988. They're easily accessed on the internet. If you've never seen these reports, that's just more evidence of your collective (or should I say collectivist?) ignorance. I suggest that you find one of them and then see whether you have the cojones to admit the accuracy of what I reported. It's all fact, and has never been refuted - because it can't be.

JohnBrown 7 years, 11 months ago

Funny how conservatives are so proud of how their presidents (Reagan, Bush and W) were so careful about reducing the national debt. Unfortunately, it's all not true. Since WWII, the only presidents to reduce the debt (as a % of GNP) were: Truman Eisenhower Kennedy LBJ Nixon Ford Carter Clinton.

Reagan and Bush's names don't appear here.

The only reason O'Bama's name doesn't appear here is because of the Repo's double wammy between 2001 and Jan 2008: spending 4 Trillion more than we had coming in and screwing up the economy. The reprecussions are still with us.

The historical evidence since WWII proves that the national debt ONLY increases when so-called conservatives are in charge.

There is NO EVIDENCE that conservatives truely believe in "COUNTRY FIRST". A better slogan would be "ME FIRST"

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

McCain / Palin would still lose if the election were held again today. Guaranteed. If you or rockchalk believe that anything on the economic front would be any better had the Republicans won, then you are sadly mistaken. Palin is nothing but a quitter, and McCain panders to what ever group he feels will keep him in office. He has served how long in the Senate, and what exactly has he accomplished to strengthen the border? What exactly did the Republicans do to strengthen the border when they were in charge? McCain also hasn't done anything or suggested anything to help Arizona's suffering economy, which still isn't "fundamentally sound."

Guess this is what Republicans get for running their "Anyone but Hillary" campaign too soon.

I personally think the GOP shouldn't underestimate the American voters. Think Americans will actually forget how we got in the mess we are in today? Somehow, I don't think that will happen.

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

It's a good thing we don't get all the government we pay for. (Will Rogers)

Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

Stimulating the economy will require major steps:

Next: * New source for jobs jobs jobs that cannot be outsourced

  • Demand National Health Insurance - this will save tons of money for 95% of citizens and create 2.6 million jobs

  • Increase expenditures in public education and Vocational Technical Training

  • a significant tax break to the middle class - this increases spending and they pay the bills.

  • Stop bailing out Wall Street - That money would be better spent on National Health Insurance or Vocational-Technical education

*Stop the corporate american welfare free lunch program. Local taxpayers get burned : http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

Corporate american free lunch money would be better spent on National Health Insurance,Public Education and Vocational-Technical education

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does. (Will Rogers)

rhd99 7 years, 11 months ago

I am pro economy & anti-socialism. George W. Bush was no where near perfect as President. Obama? Now he's a different story. Anyone who thinks that all this DEBT that we amassed in this country represents change I can believe in, was your kool-aid spiked a bit much? Ya Betcha!

John McCoy 7 years, 11 months ago

Where's Dick Cheney? Before BP you couldn't turn on the TV and not see his scowling face explaining that the President was a fool. Now Cheney has disappeared. Perhaps he could come on one of the Sunday shows and explain exactly who was in his energy policy meetings.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 11 months ago

Shouldn't this headline say, "GOP shouldn't misunderestimate Obama."

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