Letters to the Editor

Consequences

August 10, 2011

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To the editor:

It’s good to see the law of unintended consequences is still in effect. Although the tea party folks were unable to starve the government machine and its nefarious functions like Medicare, Social Security, food chain protection, infrastructure repair, environmental protection, education and research by blocking a raise in its debt limit, at least they were able to diminish its credit rating, which would lead investors to quit buying its bonds.

Instead, the bond rates decreased, making government borrowing cheaper, because investors realized that Congress is, and at least for the next 18 months will continue to be, dysfunctional and unable to do anything to help avoid a double dip recession and the safest place to park money is, you guessed it, U.S. Treasury bonds.

This was not terribly helpful for those of us with 401Ks and IRAs, and I’m not sure how pleased the billionaire hedge fund managers, whose 15 percent tax rate the Republicans went to the mat to protect, are today. While saving millions in taxes, they probably lost billions in income. Go figure.

At least the certain benefit of this tea party-led race to the bottom is that Obama will lose his re-election bid — or not. It’s good to see the law of unintended consequences is still in effect.

Comments

JustNoticed 3 years, 8 months ago

Ok, I'll say it. The Republican Party is also a disgrace.

Fossick 3 years, 8 months ago

I wish I'd had the brains or balls to vote for Paul in 1988. Even met the guy, shook his hand, asked some questions. He had good, honest answers.

Then I voted for Bush 41 because it was the Most Important Election of my Lifetime(tm). What a mistake. I didn't miss Bush until his dufus son was elected. And I still don't miss his son.

BrianR 3 years, 8 months ago

The Tea Party has, in fact, been downgraded to KK.

cato_the_elder 3 years, 8 months ago

Highlights from an AP news report in today's J-W:

"But the Fed also said it expects the economy to stay weak for two more years, longer than the Fed had previously indicated. It has already been more than two years since the end of the Great Recession."

"The Fed’s announcement of a two-year timeframe for any rate increase underscored a stark reality: A sluggish economy and painfully high unemployment have become chronic."

"Even counting Tuesday’s gains, the Dow is down 11.6 percent since July 21 — almost 1,500 points."

Barackalypse Now is upon us. American voters lost their collective minds when they voted a clearly unqualified individual with no executive or business experience into the presidency in November of 2008. Whatever experience he has gained has resulted in an economically weakened, lethargic America in which his advisers have told us to come to expect 9% unemployment as the "new norm."

                                              Obama wants to grow government. Others of us want to grow businesses at all levels in order to provide jobs for Americans. Hopefully, wise Americans will choose the latter course in November of 2012.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

News flash, cato-- you austerity hysterians won. The continued recession therefore belongs to you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

"I called it a week ago. "

Self-aggrandize much? Suggestion-- the least you could do is find something grand about yourself to hype.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

OK, if you'll go back to about 10,000 BCE, when chaos was the order of the day.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

You should get a subscription to Fine Cave Living before you go, though.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

You're right-- I don't read that much fiction these days.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

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

Peter Macfarlane 3 years, 8 months ago

Frankly, I haven't seen anything but propaganda in any of these posts.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 8 months ago

Of course. That's because everyone is for their own agenda. I think that's what politics today is all about.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

That's not the same thing as "raising the debt ceiling".

If they had come up with a decent plan, the rating wouldn't have been downgraded, even with a raise in the debt ceiling.

"I've been right every single time and you've been wrong every single time" is a particularly odd interpretation of our conversations.

David Roberts 3 years, 8 months ago

"Coming up with a decent plan" would have involved:

  1. Making real cuts and/or revenue increases. At least 1.7 trillion PER YEAR is needed,
  2. not back loading any deal so that only a miniscule amount of the pain must be felt in the first year or two (while the rest of the deal never really happens),
  3. paying back the Social Security Trust Fund.

All S&P was asking for was 4 trillion over 10 years and the political establishment couldn't deliver even that. Given the reality AA+ was being kind.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

Generally agreed.

Revenue increases, spending cuts, and health GDP growth are the only ways out of our current situation.

But, it's worth noting that only 1 of the 3 rating agencies downgraded the rating, and that these are the same agencies that rated sub-prime mortgage backed securities highly.

And that Treasury bonds are still considered one of the safest investment one can find.

David Roberts 3 years, 8 months ago

So one agency earns a C, the other two are sitting on F's. They better ace the final or they flunk out.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

That's cute.

But, those agencies seem to have the power right now - they're not students trying to pass a course, unfortunately.

BrianR 3 years, 8 months ago

The view through the Special Libertarian Glasses must be spectacular.

windex 3 years, 8 months ago

Really? Because the Shrub raised the debt ceiling 7 times. And I don't remember the S&P having a problem with that.

David Roberts 3 years, 8 months ago

Just because S&P was wrong in the past doesn't mean they can't be right now. They finally capitulated to the obvious conclusion that without substantial structural changes, the US economic system is toast.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 8 months ago

"Just because S&P was wrong in the past doesn't mean they can't be right now." And give a monkey a typewriter and enough time and he'll come up with War and Peace.

BrianR 3 years, 8 months ago

That's not true, enough money can buy almost anything.

Flap Doodle 3 years, 8 months ago

That was certainly proven in 2008. Having the media acting as cheerleaders didn't hurt either.

Brock Masters 3 years, 8 months ago

The Republicans were characterized as the party of no when the Democrats held a majority in both houses for voting against Dem backed bills.

Now, the Dems voted down a Republican backed bill that raised the debt limit. Why is one right and the other wrong?

How can the writer suggest that the tea party tried to block a raise in the debt ceiling limit when the House passed a bill to raise it? Isn't there room for differing views or is it simply agree with me or you're evil?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

They were the party of "no," and the reason they succeeded is because they had sympathetic allies among the so-called "blue-dog" Democrats, which is really just a euphemism for the bribed and bought-off shills for Wall Street.

Brock Masters 3 years, 8 months ago

Of course you're right. I agree with all your posts.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

His point is that both sides of the aisle routinely try to block the other side's agenda.

Is it bad when both sides do it, or only if the R side does?

Brock Masters 3 years, 8 months ago

We will all be better off when we start holding our own party to the standards to which we hold the other party.

JohnBrown 3 years, 8 months ago

Cato said: "Obama wants to grow government. Others of us want to grow businesses at all levels in order to provide jobs for Americans. Hopefully, wise Americans will choose the latter course in November of 2012."

So, how many jobs did Bush create? Answer: Manufacturing lost 2.7 million jobs under Bush.

Why is it is that Republicans, who tanked this economy, are now the experts on how to make it recover? Remember 1937?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

It didn't "burst." Congress went all austerity hysterical, with predictable results.

David Roberts 3 years, 8 months ago

Congress is not familiar with austerity. They are incapable of understanding it. At the core, they believe that exponential growth is the solution, not austerity.

tbaker 3 years, 8 months ago

Still Bushes fault, huh? I wonder if Bush be blamed when Obama loses in 2012?

jaywalker 3 years, 8 months ago

The finger pointing here is comical, but you're all partially right when it comes to assigning blame. The level of discourse seems to mirror our elected officials. Swell. The saddest and most disturbing fact of the matter is that the events of the last 3 years (heck, farther back than that) have proven that our current party system is incapable of running the country any longer. The 'debt deal' is embarrassing and absurd from all angles. Entitlements are gonna continue to strangle the country to bankruptcy and we need to cut spending AND raise taxes, at least in my opinion. How is it we can continue to make the same mistakes? Reagan started this kind of backward thinking when he cut taxes but increased defense spending. And Obama began his tenure by instituting an economic recovery strategy that's been attempted 20 times by other countries and failed miserably every time.
Our officials don't solve problems, they just put them off, or worse- make them worse. "Keep kickin' the can down the road" is a horrible campaign slogan.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

Actually, it would help more if companies started hiring, and making more things here - it's extremely difficult to find things that are "made in America" these days.

But, of course, if's a spiral.

imastinker 3 years, 8 months ago

You blame companies when it's the consumer that makes those choices. If a company makes a product people don't want they go out of business. People will have to be willing to buy that tool box made in the US for $30 instead of the one at Walmart for $20 or nothing will change.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

I said it was a spiral.

But, people have to have jobs that allow them to afford paying extra for American made items as well.

Companies are maintaining record high profits by laying people off, cutting benefits, etc.

imastinker 3 years, 8 months ago

Everyone has an incentive to get the items they want for the lowest cost possible. That's life. That's no different than what you as an employee do when you try to get as high a salary as possible. If you find a better deal you leave and take it.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

Then why would anybody pay more for items made in America?

Even if they had jobs that made it possible for them to do so?

jaywalker 3 years, 8 months ago

You're right, jafs. What's worse is that right now it's been estimated that American corporations are sitting on hundreds of billions of dollars while the unemployment rate still hovers around 20% (don't believe that 9-10% spiel, millions of contractors are out of works and off unemployment charts). A lot of companies are hiring temps only, others are instituting the Pulte model: canning experienced middle management in favor of college grads who'll start at half the price, do much poorer work, but burn out in a year or two and be replaced by their junior frat brother.
Things are sad and scary.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

And as long as they don't make things here, people can't buy American made things.

It's a spiral, as I said.

Also, in order to even be able to consider buying more expensive things, one has to have a certain level of disposable income.

As companies lay people off, and cut wages/benefits, fewer and fewer people could afford to do that even if they wanted to.

jaywalker 3 years, 8 months ago

No doubt President Obama got the ol' flaming-dog-poo on the porch the second he opened the front door of the White House. I'd say things have been spiraling downhill since the Nixon mess. My point was that (and this is purely my observation) the last three years have proven to me that our current party system has become ineffectual at best, counter-productive and dangerous at worst.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Let's get real here. Using the euphemism "entitlement" doesn't describe what it is you're actually endorsing. What you are saying is that millions of people in this country must go hungry, homeless and without access to medical care.

If that's what you mean, fine. But please don't hide behind the word "entitlement."

imastinker 3 years, 8 months ago

Austerity implies they found a way to cut spending. They didn't.

An entitlement is a benefit you receive without having earned it first.

See here:

jaywalker 3 years, 8 months ago

I didn't write 'entitlement' as a euphemism, bozo, but rather a catch-all. As for the last two sentences you vomited - what's wrong with you? I never said nor inferred anything of the kind. There's that porchperson in ya risin' up again.

We need solutions, and our current party system is wholly unable to either come up with any or implement them. Things need to be re-vamped, alternatively financed, approached differently = WHATEVER. But it's a well-documented fact that our current entitlement policies are unsustainable. Having " millions of people in this country ... go hungry, homeless and without access to medical care" would be just as moronic a 'solution' to our problems as cutting out the Department of Defense. Why must you dive to the fringe in every argument? You should run for office, that kind of thinking is all the rage these days. The whole world's watching and waiting to see what we do with the debt ceiling, something that shouldn't have been so controversial, and what do we come up with? Cut 1.6%, don't raise taxes, and don't address entitlements. We just screwed the pooch and everyone else's. If and when China, which holds most of our debt, employs their stranglehold on our economy, it's gonna be way too late.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

"I didn't write 'entitlement' as a euphemism, bozo, but rather a catch-all."

Call it whatever you want, but bottom-line is that we already have millions of people living on the edge. So any cuts to so-called entitlements will result in millions of people going hungry, homeless and without access to healthcare.

If you think that's the middle ground position, and a price worth paying in order to balance the budget, at least be honest enough to call it for what it is.

There are alternatives, of course, but that would hit powerful vested interests where it hurts-- and Wall Street will never let Washington do that.

jaywalker 3 years, 8 months ago

Of course you're right. THAT'S my "middle ground position." And who cares if entitlements will bankrupt the country? Hasn't effected Greece any. Brilliant as ever, bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Entitlements by themselves will not bankrupt the country. As a matter of fact, if we had the political will, we could easily increase the amount of money we put towards taking care of children, the elderly and the disabled, and provide food, shelter and medical care for everyone, AND get something considerably closer to a balanced budget (a fully balanced budget is a really bad idea, btw.)

Of course, we'd have to raise taxes, truly reform the healthcare system, and quit spending as much on the military as the rest of the world combined to accomplish that. Not that the many vested interests that control Washington will ever allow that. So we'll just continue to hear people screaming about "entitlements" while pretending that what they are really espousing isn't hunger, homelessness and zero access to healthcare for millions of people.

At least the Nazis were honest enough to look for a final solution for all the dregs of society they wanted to rid themselves of.

pinecreek 3 years, 8 months ago

'Entitlements by themselves will not bankrupt the country.' Actually healthcare by itself could bankrupt this country. Annual GDP consumption for healthcare in the US is over 17% and increasing by .5% per year. As the baby boomers leave the workforce and get older (and use more healthcare), the costs increase at a faster rate. Between higher utilization, higher costs, longer lifespans, and ever-increasing insurance premiums (due to a variety of factors), you don't even have to consider other 'entitlements' to reach a bankruptcy scenario.

tbaker 3 years, 8 months ago

Thats right Bozo, I'm in favor of ending agriculture subsidies, so that must mean I want people to starve. Your fallacies are so obvious. You don't even attempt to hide them anymore.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 8 months ago

And by the way, Social Security is NOT an "entitlement". It's a system that was government mandated that I was forced to pay into for 45 years of working life. The fact that the government found a way to hijack the trust fund is not my fault. If anyone wants to call it an "entitlement" then ok, I'm "entitled" to draw from it. I paid for it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Sorry, but the Koch brothers are just so much more entitled than you are. If you don't believe it, just ask them.

imastinker 3 years, 8 months ago

What "entitles" you to the fruits of my labor? SSI will be gone by the time I retire!

I hope you enjoy my money! I have four kids to support with it.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

She paid into the system for 45 years - shouldn't she get something for that?

As she said, it's not her fault that the government is raiding the trust fund.

imastinker 3 years, 8 months ago

It's not my fault either.

Sure she should get something, but somebody has to get bit by this. It's a crazy unsustainable system that never should have been implemented.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

And since the rich say we're broke, the poor and the middle class must pay, while they get double-digit returns on their wealth.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 8 months ago

So what? For a good bit of my working life I was a single parent with two children. During that time, my money supported your grandparents. I'm not supposed to get at least some of that back?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

I bet he ended that piece with "nanananana booboo."

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 8 months ago

Nice piece from a FOX owned organ. Yeah...right.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

I would suggest that almost all, if not all, of those characteristics are shared with all other presidents, and perhaps all politicians, with a few notable exceptions.

So, remarkably enough, Obama is a politician - who'd have thunk it?

I told people that while he was campaigning.

heygary 3 years, 8 months ago

Steven,

There is a long-held belief that democracies, in general, are a predictably doomed form of government.

In the year 1787, Alexander Tyler (a Scottish history professor at The University of Edinborough) used an analogy to describe "The Fall of The Athenian Republic" some 2,000 years prior:

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

From my vantage point, Mr. Tyler’s observation has been unsettlingly predictive of the path of our own experiment in Democracy.

In my youth I studied, with gratitude and reverence, the “bondage to liberty” sequence associated with the birth of our country. I believe I have lived through the “abundance to apathy” sequence. Now, as I watch the current Administration attempt to spend its way out of a recession, push forward massive bail out and entitlement programs, and socio-engineer Government intrusion/involvement in to most aspects of our lives, I cannot help but feel that the road to “dependence” has been charted.

Gary

heygary 3 years, 8 months ago

Aren't you clever ... regardless of the source, I suggest the content has merit and is supported by history ... lots of history. Does it make the observation any less true that you can't trace it back to a 16th century document. Try to add some value!

Flap Doodle 3 years, 8 months ago

We're seeing the consequences of electing an empty suit with strong teleprompter skills in 2008. How's that hopenchange working out for you?

KayCee 3 years, 8 months ago

I was 'hoping' the guy wouldn't be elected, but saw the stupidity of voters. He 'changed' things to what I never wanted, and saw the stupidity of his backers.

tbaker 3 years, 8 months ago

Yawn...another hapless ideolog with his head in the sand. The Tea Party is not wrecking the US economy. Wreckless deficit spending is.

nativeson 3 years, 8 months ago

tbaker - Exactly. The Tea party, liberals, conservatives and every other group have ignored an issue that has brewed for decades. Time spent on blaming someone else versus solving the problem is foolish. Facts: Entitlements will be reduces, taxes will go up and the economy will continue growing at a snail's pace until the citizens see that we now live in a new reality.

Corey Williams 3 years, 8 months ago

The only thing funnier than Limbaugh? The people who take him seriously. How many days has he been saying that now? At least give him the credit when you quote him.

jayhawxrok 3 years, 8 months ago

The Tea Party is a fraud, America knows it even if you shutin reps refuse to acknowledge reality.

jayhawxrok 3 years, 8 months ago

Tea Party is still a fraud BornAgainLiar, some facts you just need to step up and deal with.

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