Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 19, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

CHANGING THE SUBJECT....Fred Barnes says that since there are no actual substantive issues that are going well for Republicans, they plan to change the subject:

House Republicans, for their part, intend to seek votes on measures such as the Bush-backed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a bill allowing more public expression of religion, another requiring parental consent for women under 18 to get an abortion, legislation to bar all federal courts except the Supreme Court from ruling on the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance, a bill to outlaw human cloning, and another that would require doctors to consider fetal pain before performing an abortion.

Well, those are certainly the big issues facing America today, aren't they? And anyway, what happened to the legislation to bar atheist lesbian physicians from adopting cloned children? Are Republicans going soft or what?

Kevin Drum 12:58 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (115)

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Comments

They have to do something to energize their right-wing fundamentialist Christian base or else risk that they will stay home in November. And as Fred notes, they have nothing else going for them.

Posted by: PaulB on March 19, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Fred Barnes, cunt.

Now cross your arms and scowl, cunt.

Posted by: HeavyJ on March 19, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

What I found quite interesting is the complete disconnection from reality of people like Blunt:

One issue that needs to be developed is the economy, according to Blunt. "People take a strong economy for granted. We have to show that this didn't just happen," but is the result of Republican policies like tax cuts. Republican candidates will argue that if Democratic policies had been followed, a strong economic recovery would not have occurred. And job creation--243,000 in February--would have been weaker.

Amazing, truly amazing.

Posted by: PaulB on March 19, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Gays and a lack of worship of blastocysts ARE the greatest threats to America, Kevin! Jesus won't stand for your letcherous, atheistic ways!

$30,000 in debt for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. -- now THAT is something to be proud of -- what a great government we have! And this booming economy!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on March 19, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Can a right to abortion be inferred from a law that requires parental consent for those under 18?

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 19, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

what do you mean, nothing is going right for the repubs? after all, things are going swimmingly in iraq, freedom is on the march all over the middle east. there's hardly a hint of corruption in dc. the deficit is shrinking every day and everybody just loved social security reform. oh, and don't forget: w's approval ratings are still above richard nixon's during the throes of watergate! all in all, a wonderful time to be running for office as a member of the party of lincoln!

Posted by: mudwall jackson on March 19, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

How about those "Chris is my Homeboy" t-shirts? Those are really offensive. I think it's time we see where our Congresspeople stand on that very important issue... perhaps *the* most important issue facing our nation today. Now, more than ever, the nation deserves an up-or-down vote on "Chris is my Homeboy" t-shirts.

Posted by: Patrick Meighan on March 19, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Still as loony as ever, I see.

I suppose you think all those problems are good. I suppose you approve of children being ripped out of their mothers in the third trimester. I suppose you deplore our young children actually pledging their allegiance to our country in schools. I suppose you support the efforts of athiests to suppress freedom of religion in public.

And you wonder why you guys can't win elections?

Posted by: egbert on March 19, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget Poland er I mean Flag Burning!

Posted by: R.L. on March 19, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert, Kevin just loves children being ripped from their mothers! LOVES IT! And that nearly 1 in 5 kids in this country now lives in poverty -- THAT just makes Kevin squeal with delight! Nothing made him angrier than the decline in poverty and abortion under Clinton / Gore!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on March 19, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Change, number in poverty (2003)
Bush II: +4,280,000
Clinton: -6,433,000
Bush I: +6,269,000

THAT really pushes those poor people to work harder!

Kevin, you losers should run on this!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on March 19, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans will ATTEMPT to change the subject, but the subject of public debate is ultimately determined by the MSM. So the success of the GOP's attempt to change the subject depends on whether the MSM takes the bait. If news outlets report on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage as if it's just as important an issue as ballooning deficits, legislative corrpution, instability in the Middle East, etc., then the attempt at subject-changing will have succeeded.

And it will. The GOP knows that a gay marriage fight will get better ratings on the nightly news than all those boring budget numbers and news about countries so far away. The MSM will take the bait.

Posted by: CN on March 19, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Well, there's always this.

Stock market: five-year high

2.3 million more payroll jobs than the previous peak in March of 2001.

Oh, yeah, I know. The economy is riding on debt and bubbles, unlike the great, stable Clinton economic foundations of 1999 and 2000.

One wonders what the economy would be like without Katrina.

Kind of fun watching the media spin this. I have yet to see a positive economic report without a large "but" stuck on the end of it. Reuters in particular is good at this.

That being said, I can think of a lot of things the Republicans should be addressing before that particular laundry list that was quoted.

This, for example, looks promising.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 19, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

When the Dems were in charge a long time ago, they uused to legislate that everything was fine and dandy as long as their people got a governemnt check.

What's different?

Posted by: Matt on March 19, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, there would be no federal defecit sans Katrina. And the economy is kicking ass. Lot of confidence out there, especially among workers and consumers.

And it has been fun watching the liberal media spinning every car bomb in Iraq like it was some big tragedy. America knows we're busy painting schools over there.

Which is why Bush is doing so well in the polls.

Posted by: HeavyJ on March 19, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, there are 2.3 million new jobs since March 2001? That's amazing. There are only about 13 million more Americans today!
And the stock market's at a 5 year high? That's incredible! I mean, never before has the stock market moved up over a 5 year period. It's not as if the Dow roughly doubled every 5 years when Clinton was in office or anything.

Posted by: alex on March 19, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

tbroz -- I'm glad you are here to tell the truth! So many people point out that the S&P 500 is lower now than when Bush took office. I'm sure that everyone is happy that their retirement plans are up a total of one percent in the past five years! People were so spoiled with double-digit increases every year under Clinton!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on March 19, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

another requiring parental consent for women under 18 to get an abortion,

And what about a bill outlawing the right of terrorists to get an abortion? In America, women under 18 won't be able to get an abortion and yet the terrorists will? If we don't remedy this injustice then the terrorists will have won....

Posted by: Stefan on March 19, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose you approve of children being ripped out of their mothers in the third trimester.
That's the Repubs for you. Their motto: we support life until birth.

Posted by: ExBrit on March 19, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

the fool Flanders: Stock market: five-year high

Eh, who was president five years ago? Bush, wasn't it? So isn't this just saying that Bush has after five years merely managed to get back to the zero point he started from?

If I go to a casino with $10,000 and lose it all due to my reckless, irresponsible gambling but then, over the course of the evening, manage to slowly win it all back then I haven't "won" $10,000 -- I'm merely leaving the table with the exact same amount of money I started with, minus the time and effort it took me to reverse my losses.

Fucking moron.


Posted by: Stefan on March 19, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Congress raise the debt ceiling for the fourth time under Bush last week? Fourth time? GOP Congress?

Number of earmarks to spending bills has nearly quadrupled in the last five years.

Fiscally responsible republicans, suuuuure. Is there such a thing anymore?

Posted by: Paul Wall on March 19, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

2.4 million jobs, at say, 40k a year comes to ~100 billion dollars per year, about a third to a quarter of Bush's deficit, ignoring like all good Republicans the enormous surplus he inherited and the money multiplier effect.

Seems to me like we got a raw deal.

Posted by: Boronx on March 19, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

I never thought I would come to miss flag burning ammendments.


Speaking of which, why not add the stars and stripes to the rotunda? That'll get 'em to the polls!

Posted by: Saam Barrager on March 19, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

the fool Flanders: 2.3 million more payroll jobs than the previous peak in March of 2001.

Again, that's the peak he started with, as Bush was president in March 2001. So this is merely saying that it's taken us five years to get back to where we were in March 2001.

Additionally, in order to keep pace with the number of new workers entering the workforce due to population growth, the economy needs to keep adding approximately 140,000 new jobs a month, or approx. 1,680,000 new jobs a year. In five years, therefore, we should have added 8,400,000 new jobs just to keep even with the rising population. 2.3 million more jobs, therefore, isn't a gain -- it's 6,100,000 less jobs than we needed.

And that's not even accounting for the fact that most new jobs that Bush has created have not been in the private sector but are due to the expansion of the dreaded federal workforce.

But it's so easy to lie with big numbers, isn't it, Flanders?

Posted by: Stefan on March 19, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

"...legislation to bar atheist lesbian physicians from adopting cloned children"

Reminds my of an old, old SNL bit. Buck Henry is the host of a radio call-in show, but the phone just isn't ringing. He gets more and more desperate. Finally he says "We're talking about federal money to bus Nazis into your neighborhood to kill your dog...I'm fot it!!"

Posted by: Robert Earle on March 19, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, then it's up to us:

DON'T LET THEM CHANGE THE SUBJECT.

Dem: "The Republicans are corrupt and incompetent."
Rep: "You guys hate Jesus and kill babies."
Dem Rebuttal: "Stop trying to distract the American people from the reality that you have shown yourselves to be corrupt and incompetent."

I mean, we need to sound like Ken Mehlman here. Just say the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

Posted by: jhupp on March 19, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the repugnacans will declare war on sex, birth-control, and wet-tshirt contests, and soft-core pornography.

Just think how much rivetting attention they could get from their constituents as they piously declare human fleshual (spelling mine) expressions to be the downfall of us all.

It's okay to bomb Iraq into a DU dust hell, but not okay for our daughters to seek out safe ways to terminate pregnancies.

It's okay to talk about how having religion should be equated with patriotism, but God forbid any athesists should be allowed to run for public office.


Posted by: Tom Nicholson on March 19, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose you approve of children being ripped out of their mothers in the third trimester.

Yes, mad scientists and deranged doctors in our communities are kidnapping women pregnant in their third trimester, and ripping their fetuses out of them.

It's getting so pregnant women won't leave the house any more.....oh wait.....maybe that is what this is all about!!!

Posted by: jcricket on March 19, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

How about those steroids in baseball players, and why they look even LESS muscular than usual?

Posted by: Pechorin on March 19, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe a newly released movie; begins with a V, is it Victory? will give someone an idea.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on March 19, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't there already a ban on human cloning? Or is this more of that human-animal hybrid stuff?

Posted by: Royko on March 19, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

How about some legislation to force everyone to kneel to Baby Jesus at gunpoint? Let's see the Dems oppose that!

Posted by: grytpype on March 19, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Well, those are certainly the big issues facing America today, aren't they?

listen to egbert, kevin. he's the voice of the rising christianist [sic] fascist movement. the movement that you doesn't get, cuz you're soooo level-headed.

well, v for vendetta gets it, anyway. that's a start.

Posted by: mondo dentro on March 19, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

OT, over at Fox News, they are trotting
the victory of Operation Newspeak/Swarmer. Dozens of AK47s found! Terrorists training manuals found!
60 bad guys arrested!

Gosh, I feel safer already.

Posted by: Paul Wall on March 19, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

I thought the 2006 election was going to be about national security... but I guess that's not working out too good is it, better make it about faith and values and Baby Jesus! And flags too, need lots of flags!

Posted by: grytpype on March 19, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

If Republicans could get behind modern, high-tech chastity belts I think they'd win in a walk.

You know, comfort-enhanced with a sterilizable arpeture for menstruation. And biometrically keyed to only your dad's finger :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 19, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

The top-end models come equipped with the Clitrilizer(TM), a biofeedback electrode system connected to the clitoris, designed to counteract all pleasurable nerve impulses.

The American Taliban -- taking Shariah into the 21st Century!

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 19, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

What is the republican obsession with other people's private lives? Why do they care?

I guess a lot of Flanders out there are bitter that someone is having more and better sex than they are.

Posted by: Paul Wall on March 19, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Kind of fun watching the media spin this. I have yet to see a positive economic report without a large "but" stuck on the end of it.

Well, according to the Wall Street Journal last year:

1) Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are running at or near all-time highs.

2) Corporate tax payments as a percentage of GDP are running at or near all-time lows.

3) Wages as a percentage of GDP are at their lowest levels since the mid 1960s.

So, essentially, the bulk of the benefits from Bush's monetary and fiscal policies have accrued not to wage-earners but to corporate balance sheets.

Yeah, great economy.

Posted by: JAL on March 19, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

From the Fred Barnes' article Kevin linked to:

Mehlman is convinced the emphasis on choice will work.

Man, can that be used against them...I can heard the Dem ad already:

VO: Republicans want to offer you choices this election season. Democrats believe that choice is important as well...

[photo of Delay and Abramoff smiling on some junket]

VO: When it comes to corruption and bribery, the Republicans want you to choose more of the same...

[scenes of Katrina devastation of the Gulf Coast]

VO: When it comes to helping Americans in their time of need, the Republicans want you to choose more of the same...

[text banner with "Debt Interest America Owes to China", actual dollar amount increasing every second, Chinese flag in background]

VO: When it comes to creating government debt that your children will pay, the Republicans want you to choose more of the same...

[scenes of burned out Humvees, Iraqis rioting]

VO: When it comes to failure in foreign policy, the Republicans want you to choose more of the same...

VO: Americans don't want the choices that the Republican Party are offering anymore.

Yeah, it would need some polishing...And there are some opportunities to tweak for individual markets: Port Security in NY/NJ, Weak economy in Michigan, et cetera.

Posted by: grape_crush on March 19, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan have you seen this survey:

http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?jt


It's the Job openings and labor turnover survey or jolt from what i can make of it the economy is flat no movement up or down.

Posted by: Neo on March 19, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

grape~

Sheer genius. I'd say: I Love it! But that is sooooo very declass these days. :)

Nice work GC!

Posted by: jcricket on March 19, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Your talking point:


Repubs = American branch of the Taliban.

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on March 19, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

grapey, jcricket:

Here's my entry in the ad sweepstakes, focusing on national security and warrantless wiretapping:

TOTALLY DEMAGOGIC, REVERSE-ROVIAN DNC AD:

{slo-mo shot of plane crashing into WTC}

Voicover: Four years ago, America was dealt a devastating blow by our
most implacable enemies ...

{shot of jihad types rallying and burning American flag}

George Bush, our Commander-in-Chief, rallied our country in
a shared sense of purpose ...

{shot of W at Ground Zero, in the fireman helmet with the bullhorn}

We liberated Afghanistan from the religious tyranny of the Taliban

{shot of Taliban shooting women in a soccer stadium --
crosscut to feel-good footage of post-invasion
Afghanistan -- schools, grateful citizens voting, etc.}

And then, Bush turned his attention to Iraq ...

{music turns ominous; shot of Rumsfeld on Russert "We know where the
weapons of mass destruction are; they're somewhere around Tikrit."}

George Bush assured us that Saddam Hussein had nuclear,
chemical and biological weapons -- but none were found ...

{sbot of Charles Duelfer press conference " ...
no weapons of mass destruction ... "}

And Iraq now is costing us over a billion dollars a week

{feel-bad Iraq footage of bombings and chaos, sewage in streets}

Now Bush wants to wiretap the al Qaeda
masterminds to prevent another attack

{shot of Osama video}

And all Americans support him in this goal

{shot of Congress applauding during SOTU}

But Bush doesn't want to tell Congress, or a secret
national security court, anything about the program.

{freeze frame of Bush's face on an exasperated expression}

And so did another president, when questioned on surveillance

{morph Bush's face into Nixon's, with a simlar expression}

Today, the stakes are even higher. Tell your legislators
that you support the Bill of Rights for all American citizens.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Now where's my goddam consultant's fee? :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 19, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Changing the subject to social issues could backfire. Bushco is losing conservatives who do not share the social agenda of right wing fundamentalists. In particular, the victories of the anti-abortion right has led them to strip away their pro-life mask and reveal their larger anti-contraceptive agenda.

It is one thing when South Dakota bans all abortions except to save the mother's life. But Americans may draw the line when Missouri votes to "ban state funding of contraceptives for low-income women and to prohibit state-funded programs from referring those women to other programs."

Meanwhile, here in Minnesota, fundamentalist pharmacists are pushing through a bill to give them the right to refuse to fill prescriptions if it "violates their conscience." Today the morning after pill. Tomorrow, oral contraceptives?

There aren't enough fundamentalists to win elections if everyone else decamps.


Posted by: PTate in MN on March 19, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

For weeks I have been saying that the Republicans are going to try to mobilize their fundamentalist base with some kind of abortion related offensive. They just don't have anything else working for them. We need to keep focus on a short list of real issues. Iraq, Katrina, national security, the national debt, the declining middle class, and health care come to mind. I know they aren't as sexy as peeking into every bedroom window in America, but maybe we can trump sex with Republican incompetence. We Democrats need to keep talking about our issues. Stay on message and Democrats will win in a walk.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 19, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

OT, over at Fox News, they are trotting
the victory of Operation Newspeak/Swarmer. Dozens of AK47s found! Terrorists training manuals found!

You forgot the uniforms! They secured some uniforms too!

I mean, don't you remember that this one of the big things they felt they had to mention at first? Until they heard the raucous laughter, of course.

Here they build up the assault to make it sound like another D-Day, and they bring up capturing clothes? What is this? The Macy's vs Gimbels?

Posted by: frankly0 on March 19, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

>I suppose you approve of children being ripped >out of their mothers in the third trimester.

Nobody I know of thinks late term abortions are desirable. They are a matter of last resort.

Progressives advocate full and open availability of birth control measures, family planning and sex education to anyone who wants them. This will dramatically reduce abortions more than any right wing arm-waving and a regression to back-alley abortions.

In the meanwhile, more children were blown to bits by US bombs... but that's ok with the right wing I reckon. Oh wait, maybe there was a FETUS blown to bits too... whoa now, that's different!

>I suppose you deplore our young children >actually pledging their allegiance to our >country in schools.

Yes I do. It's not a voluntary pledge, it's an enforced recitation of an allegiance that a young child can unlikely understand or should be able to voluntarily commit to. A directed, forced or coerced pledge is as meaningless as tits on a boar.

Funny, I'd think devout christians would object to pledging allegiance to a piece of cloth as a form of idolatry.

The nation did just fine for 150 years without it and the founding fathers certainly didn't mandate one.

>I suppose you support the efforts of athiests >to suppress freedom of religion in public.

I haven't seen any laws prohibiting freedom of religion in public. You can pray away all you want.

What is properly restricted is governmentally promoted religious devotions and/or religous monmuents at government facilities and other taxpayer sponsored events and schools.

>"And you wonder why you guys can't win elections"

There is evidence that without ballot and poll tampering, the democratic candidate would have won the last two.

>"Stock market: five-year high"

How comical. So is gasoline, heating oil, medical costs, housing, the national debt, the trade deficit and the price of milk.

Take the above inflation and apply it to your stock market and it doesn't look so good.

However, the good news is that the number of billionaires is at an all time high.

Posted by: Buford on March 19, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

gloating is generally reserved for winners. what are the democrats talking about when they aren't too busy to cower in the dark because somebody whispered the word "terra!"?

Posted by: supersaurus on March 19, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

I hope we've seen the limits to which they will go to promote their party at the expense of just about everyone else, but they never fail to surprise in that respect.

Posted by: clb72 on March 19, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, Democrats will take this as evidence and say, "Goes to show you that the only thing the Republican party has left to offer America is the political paralysis of partisan wedge issues." But in reality, Democrats are doing the same thing with the censure issue.

When it's right-wing yahoo vs left wing yahoo, right-wing always wins. Because unlike the left-wing, right-wing identify themselves with their unwavering commitment to ideology, and are hard-wired to turn right and the rest be damned. In contrast, Lefties are hard-wired to seek understanding and compromise, the very antithesis of ideology. Our particular first-past-the-pole brand of American democracy favors the extremes--and by definition, the right-wing is more extreme than the left.

It is a terrible shame that modern political power does nothing other than care & feeding of their fanatical base. Until we free our Democracy from the tyranny of the two-party system, America will continue to be hijacked by noxious political sects who wrench the wheel at any hint of a "mandate".

The Democratic legacy should be about progressing America towards a better future. But as long as Democrats pine for Republican-like power-grabs, we are steaming full-speed ahead towards disaster.

Posted by: Jon karak on March 19, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, Democrats will take this as evidence and say, "Goes to show you that the only thing the Republican party has left to offer America is the political paralysis of partisan wedge issues." But in reality, Democrats are doing the same thing with the censure issue.

When it's right-wing yahoo vs left wing yahoo, right-wing always wins. Because unlike the left-wing, right-wing identify themselves with their unwavering commitment to ideology, and are hard-wired to turn right and the rest be damned. In contrast, Lefties are hard-wired to seek understanding and compromise, the very antithesis of ideology. Our particular first-past-the-pole brand of American democracy favors the extremes--and by definition, the right-wing is more extreme than the left.

It is a terrible shame that modern political power does nothing other than care & feeding of their fanatical base. Until we free our Democracy from the tyranny of the two-party system, America will continue to be hijacked by noxious political sects who wrench the wheel at any hint of a "mandate". The Democratic legacy should be about progressing America towards a better future. But as long as Democrats pine for Republican-like power-grabs, we are steaming full-speed ahead towards disaster.

Posted by: Jon Karak on March 19, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

I guess a lot of Flanders out there are bitter that someone is having more and better sex than they are.

Oscar Wilde defined Puritanism as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time."

Posted by: Stefan on March 19, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Try selling to the American worker in November that his life is miserable, what with decrease in his real income during the Bush years, increased possibility of outsourcing of his job, evisceration of any pension plan that he might have had, and the looming threat of Social Security going kaput under the guise of privatization.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 19, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

The American public has to get real answers about why we need to spend so much money in Iraq. It's not just about us being there or not, the issue has to become this:

http://nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=182

Democrats and Repugnacans have to explain to us why we are pouring thousands of dollars a second into the hell-hole which we helped create.

Abortion? Gay Marriage? Birth Control permission slips from caring parents? Privatized SS accounts? Prayer in schools? Flag protection bills? All these pale in importance when the true cost of the Iraq War becomes realized (add healthcare costs of DU exposed troops).

Maybe the cost in dollars isn't important.

Maybe the 100,000s killed are a mere blip in history.

Maybe the fact that corporate America has made out like bandits under Bush and Co. isn't enough to fire up the masses.

Maybe the Democrats are wimps.

Maybe what we need is the truth.

(Or, wake up everyone.... isn't it great having a Republican controlled federal government that goes by one creed only; A government for the rich and nothing but the rich so help us god.)

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on March 19, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

The American Taliban -- taking Shariah into the 21st Century!

I prefer calling them the Genitaliban since that is, after all, what they are most obsessed with....

Posted by: Stefan on March 19, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

The top-end models come equipped with the Clitrilizer(TM), a biofeedback electrode system connected to the clitoris, designed to counteract all pleasurable nerve impulses.

Wouldn't showing women a picture of Karl Rove, Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh accomplish much the same thing, but without the waste of electricity?

Posted by: Stefan on March 19, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with the picture of Karl Rove, Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh is that it will give a hard on to women like tbrosz and conspiracy nut.

Posted by: lib on March 19, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

jcricket on March 19, 2006 at 3:22 PM:

Sheer genius.

Nope. Too many typos and not enough IQ points to call it that. I guess the larger point is that if the Mehlman wants to make the 2006 elections a list of single issues, then the Dems need to make sure that list includes more than just gays, God, and gender issues.

Posted by: grape_crush on March 19, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

I desire my Republican party to change the subject, to be sure, back to the topic of a manned Mars mission.

Don't tell me it will cost gazillions of dollars and accomplish nothing. When I studied engineering I was taught that the goal of the engineer to plan the impossible on a finite budget, have that budget cut in half, then still accomplish the goal.

Why do it? Humans do not just represent humans, but all the biota of this planet, all of which could be wiped out in a myriad of scary ways by cosmic events. I think we need to go exploring and take the whole zoo with us. Some things you just don't know where the limits are until you try.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 19, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Dow on January 23, 2001 10650 Close


Dow on March 17, 2006 11279 Close


Avaeraged return for this time:

A WHOPPING 1.15% ANNUAL


Only an idiot will point to this as an achievement.

Posted by: lib on March 19, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Michael L. Cook:

By all means, do all in your power, Michael, to get the national GOP to adopt this strategy :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 19, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

I think they'll lead with that whole human-animal hybred stuff--you know, Dr. Moreau's army of vegan manimals, handcrafted in the House of Pain. Just let Bush get started on that, with an uninterrupted feed from his uh, "Secret Service" radio. Let him talk, and listen for the sound of jaws dropping to the point of dislocation.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on March 19, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know, lib. Did anything of interest happen between those two time periods which would make a full market recovery an achievement?

Posted by: tbrosz on March 19, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

There's one thing I'm always wondering about when reading that Emmanuell is pulling the strings again: Who tf elected this former ballet dancer into this important position? And why tf is he still in it? Because of his great sucesses? Ha!

Posted by: Gray on March 19, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, wrong thread, sry...

Posted by: Gray on March 19, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Nope. Too many typos and not enough IQ points to call it that.

Only becuz this blog doesn't come with a spellcheck. Ha! Don't sell yourself short. The visuals and the thought of the VO are quite good. Quite good indeed.

...and you too, rmck1 -- although I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the consultant's fee, :)

***as an aside, and as I wrote on another thread, what's important is to give the general population of voters a reason to go to the midterm polls. The opinions are already against the incumbency (spellcheck?). We just need to motivate the opinions to get their asses to the polling booths. If today's numbers hold up into November, it's clear that the right-wing fanatics will get blown out of the water if the rest of the voters show up.

Posted by: jcricket on March 19, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know tbrosz.

You just said that Market is 5 year high. The numbers indicate that the claim is laughable.

Perhaps the Mars and Jupiter and Uranus aligned during this time period that makes running in place a 'great' achievement.

Next time you make such a claim, don't forget to add all the qualifiers.

Posted by: lib on March 19, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

lib~

So it's not enough that abortion, contraception, and gays are part of the repub platform. Now you want to make Uranus part of it. Shame. Shame. Shame.

All these bodily issues. It's enough to give this cricket ricketts.

Posted by: jcricket on March 19, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Now as to the number of private sector jobs created during the Bush regime. Here is the key para from here.



In January 2000, when President Bush took office, there were 111,622,000 private sector jobs in the US. Projected numbers for January 2005 are 110,862,000, a net loss of 760,000 private sector jobs. In comparison, in January 1997 there were 101,639,000 private sector jobs -- meaning 9,983,000 were created during President Clinton's second term of office.

tbrosz is full of shit.

You blanket statements about the economic achievements of the Bush regime betray the usual dishonesty of the Repubs, or, worse, a lack of innate capacity to understand and interpret elementary economic data.

Posted by: lib on March 19, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK


We are humans first. Would that the US do a "Berlin air lift" of food into Gaza. There would be no question that it threatened Israeli security, would alleviate possible starvation, and presents us with an opportunity to make a difference...

Posted by: Charles on March 19, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

their right wing 'base' is split 50/50 on Bushco as well..
The self serving RePIGnicans have another subject?
Such As Corruption?
Rubber Stamping?
Deficit?
War?
Lies?
Media Propaganda?
Backloaded Taxes?
Cronyism?
War Profiteering?
Privatisation?
Katrina?
Cheney with a Gun?
Bush with a Pretzel?
Swarmer Backfire?

LOL -Rover aint got Sheeahht

Posted by: Duhbya Doolittle on March 19, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, as one who has lived through four hurricanes, the aftermath does nothing but help an economy. just think of all the roofers employed, shingles sold, plywood sold, advertising placed, people hired etc etc. yeah, there's a dip in employment in the immediate aftermath but that's quickly more than made up for in the months that follow... oh, and that five-year high for the dow, c'mon. it took five years to get back to where it was in the clinton days. new jobs? how does that stack up with the increase in the work force?

Posted by: mudwall jackson on March 19, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I am a lot more involved with the aerospace industry than some might think and there are enticing ways to look at the last frontier as the biggest and best frontier that ever existed. Nothing that I and my friends are dreaming of doing even compares with the Pacific Islanders who navigated that vast expanse in dug-out canoes, navigating by the stars and an incredible ability to sense currents.

If we use our technology of today as thoroughly and expertly as the people who paddled the Pacific, we can go anywhere in this solar system for less money than it costs to manage all the national forests, parks, waterways, and highways.

We have some fantastic technology that is so new that the potential of it when applied to economical spaceflight has barely been imagined.
Forget huge government programs. Before the first quarter of the 21st century has expired private venture capital will explode into the exploration and the exploitation of outer space.

What is there to be exploited? Never underestimate the tourist impulse. We have human beings who tie bungee cords to their ankles and throw themselves off the world's highest structures looking for a thrill. Sixty-year-old women snowmobile to the South Pole. Why? Because they can.

Today a twenty-dollar bill can buy a chip with more memory than every computer in the world in 1960. I believe that before my days are done twenty dollars per pound will put any load into low earth orbit. When this prophecy is realized the Earth will reel with the frenetic human energy released.

Of course, the military consequences of this will be enormous. If any fool can make it into the asteroid belt, any fool can pick out a nice house-size rock and nudge it towards a collision course with our planet. Some of this might be done in an attempt to deliver a mountain of rare metal to a landing on our planet where it can be processed. This will give the U.N. something useful to do, figuring out how and if to permit such deliveries. It may have to figure out how to stop them if the stampede into space is as wild and unregulated as I think it might be.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 19, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

The Dow has not kept pace with inflation during Bush's tenure. If you had your money in stocks, on average, you lost money. You would've been better off leaving it in the bank.

It is beyond irony that Bush spent the first year of his second term arguing that we ought to scrap Social Security in favor of investing in stocks. This is the first president in a generation who hasn't managed to grow the stock market faster than inflation.

Posted by: brooksfoe on March 20, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz is a coward.

Once you post facts that convincingly prove that his assertions are blatantly false, he runs away.

Posted by: nut on March 20, 2006 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

nut:

I have a life. Took my family to a movie. Unlike some people, I don't live on this board, and I don't have all day to sit around swatting flies.

lib:

"In January 2000, when President Bush took office, there were 111,622,000 private sector jobs in the US. Projected numbers for January 2005 are 110,862,000, a net loss of 760,000 private sector jobs. In comparison, in January 1997 there were 101,639,000 private sector jobs -- meaning 9,983,000 were created during President Clinton's second term of office."

tbrosz is full of shit.

You blanket statements about the economic achievements of the Bush regime betray the usual dishonesty of the Repubs, or, worse, a lack of innate capacity to understand and interpret elementary economic data.

As I told someone else, you might better spend your time doing elementary research instead of coming up with insults.

That column you quoted is over a year old.

The latest BLS employment summary for February of 2006 lists 134,789,000 non-farm payroll jobs, of which 21,885,000 are listed as "government."

If you subtract the two, you get 112,904,000 civilian jobs.

From the same charts, from December of 2005 to February of 2006, government jobs increased by 7,000. Non-government jobs increased by 413,000.

Check out the graph on this page. Keeping in mind that the current, February 2006 number of government jobs is 21,885,000, extend that curve two more years, and you tell me which administration appears to have grown the government employment sector more.

In Bush's first year of his second term, January 2005 to January 2006, 1.9 million private sector jobs were created. We'll see how the next three years go.

We'll politely leave Clinton's first term out of this. It was August of 1997 before the unemployment rate got down to where it is now.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 20, 2006 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

Michael:

You can't "land" an asteroid. Mine it out there, where the energy is, and bring the refined products back. Or build things with them out there.

I did a paper once on the metals in one half-mile nickel-iron asteroid. Some quantities of exotic metals in that one rock exceeded known Earth reserves at the time.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 20, 2006 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

what happened to the legislation to bar atheist lesbian physicians from adopting cloned children

All the cloned children were aborted, hence no need for such a bill...

Posted by: E, Nonee Moose on March 20, 2006 at 6:54 AM | PERMALINK

The collapse of the high-tech bubble has naturally depressed stock investment results for most of Dubya's tenure. I would be ashamed to admit how much I lost on that debacle, but shame on me for being such an idiot.

Nevertheless, things are getting better. I believe that the true engine of the American economy is small business, not major corporations, and small busineses tend to be hit much harder by over-regulation and reckless law-making than do large corporations. That is why one tends to see in the strip malls more "chains" of every type of business, rather than mom and pop stores.

Large corporations can hire specialists to deal with every type of government regulation and make sure their local affiliates stay clear of trouble.

Government tends to "mandate" a lot of social engineering legislation that can ruin hard-working small entrepreneurs in an eyeblink. I knew a laundry operator who lost his life's savings because he had a male employee in a protected class who kept pinching female employees on the butt. When he fired the minority male he was sued and the female victims turned around and sued him anyhow. Lost everything. So much for the American dream.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 20, 2006 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

What, they're giving up on the "Somewhere, someone is getting a blow job--and it's not you" point?

Posted by: shortstop on March 20, 2006 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

But Katrina did happen, tbrosz, and as a result we know even more about Bush's heartless incompetence.

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 20, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

Ace: But Katrina did happen, tbrosz, and as a result we know even more about Bush's heartless incompetence.

Good point. Having the gall to mine Katrina for a supposed economic excuse while ignoring the fact that it perfectly illustrated Bush's towering ineptitude and arrogance is, well...the height of Broszosity. HowdoyouthinkhedoesitIdon'tknowwhatmakeshimsofoolish?

Posted by: shortstop on March 20, 2006 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

HowdoyouthinkhedoesitIdon'tknowwhatmakeshimsofoolish?
Posted by: shortstop

He is arrogant and like other trolls, unwilling to learn.

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 20, 2006 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz:Stock market: five-year high

Sometimes I just have to admire tbrosz' chutzpah, if not his intellectual dishonesty.

Yeah, the stock market is at a five-year high. Because the market was at a net negative throughout Bush's entire first term. The stock market has finally started adding value, and tbrosz has the stones to call it a five year high. Technically true perhaps, but highly misleading -- a favorite Republican tactic.

The point has been made time and again -- corporate America and the wealthy are making out like bandits; everyone else is tightening their belts, working like devils because they can't afford to lose their jobs, and praying they don't get sick. But tbrosz has his cushy taxpayer-subsidized job and his tax cuts, so he has his.

Oh, and tbrosz? Let's also not forget the effect of historically low interest rates and the resulting rela estate boom in driving the economy. Unfortunately, the Fed has been raising rates, so it looks like the party's over. Indeed, I read that they're now considering cutting rates again out of fears of a cooling economy. I'd almost favor extending Bush's tax cuts for a few years (not permanently, of course) so that cranks like you can't blame their repeal for Bush's subpar economic performance.

Posted by: Gregory on March 20, 2006 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

And lets not forget the Steroids mention in the SOTU in 2005.

Posted by: ET on March 20, 2006 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

And, of course, the 9/11 attack put a huge hit on the American economy. The airlines suffered terribly the first year post 9/11, plus all the expense of clean-up, indemnifying victims, and rebuilding.

This kind of brings up recent partisan attacks about how Katrina aftermath contracts have been awarded. The federal government tends to award big, sweeping contracts for large geographical areas to the lowest bidder, which is often a huge corporation. The corporation often sends out its own crews and gets to work, but sometimes that isn't efficient, so they sub-contract parts, then the sub-contractor subs out more tiny part, and so on.

This is being portrayed as a big rip-off. Well, let's suppose government just does things the direct way. It hires a whole bunch of GS-7 to 12 bureaucrats who are supposedly wise to modern construction practices and puts these workers in the field to directly hire illegal Hispanic immigrants, who are doing most of the grunt work. All of these unskilled laborers will probably be made government employees as well, starting at GS-1 and rapidly rising to GS-6 or so.

The job eventually gets done, the old-fashioned Roosevelt way. Are all these new federal employees let go, heartlessly given the boot?

Of course not. Is there any real savings over doing things the modern capitalist way? Of course not. Quite the opposite. The only real alternative is for the government to do nothing at all and let the local people deal with their own problems as they will, with lower federal taxes to pay for the privilege of having big brother in control of everything.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 20, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

These religious planks in the Republican platform need to be countered. Not countered by reaching out to our religious authoritarian neighbors by compromising, but countered by Christian and American values of tolerance and compassion, which means pounding the intolerant with accusations of bigotry and hate.

Republicans are hateful bigots, and their platform reflects their belief that Americans are hateful bigots, too. Liberals need to take the offensive and condemn Republicans and the religious base they are trying to appeal to as un-Christian and un-American. Every Republican and every Republican supporter should be accused of being a member of the Westboro Baptist Church

Posted by: Powerpuff on March 20, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Michael L. Cook,

If the true engine of the American Economy is small businesses like your friend's we are really in trouble. We simply cannot grow by doing each other's laundry. The service sector produces nothing.

For the last five years or so the true engine of the American Economy has been the construction industry, fueled by Chinese money hidden as cheap mortgages.

When the construction industry slows down and people have tapped all the equity they have then what will fuel the American economy? What can we sell the world then?

Or will we all get rich doing each other's laundry, cutting each other's hair, and picking up each other's dog poop?

Posted by: Tripp on March 20, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Or will we all get rich doing each other's laundry, cutting each other's hair, and picking up each other's dog poop?
Posted by: Tripp

Don't forget "...delivering one another pizza," as Sen. Byrd remarked after one of Ronnie Reagan's empty SOTU predictions about "a growing economy."

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 20, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

More clap trap coming out of the Discovery Institute - Michael L Cook's post at 8:25 AM contained the "Most Inane paragraph of the day"

"kept pinching" -
"male employee in a protected class"

There is no "protected class" - This is as idiotic as your homophobic comments regarding Brokeback Mountain.

"kept pinching" - WTF is "kept" - Why weren't sexual harrassment-free workplace rules explained to the workers in the first place? One reported pinch and the guy should have been terminated - there is no "protection" against sexual harassment - This conduct created a hostile, intimadating and offensive environment.

If the employer allowed this to happen on a contuning basis, then the female employees were correct in filing suit against him -

Oh, yes, by all means, let us have the "backbone" of America - small Mom and Pop stores, where no health care is provided, mimimum or below wages are paid, general and sexual harassment conduct is overlooked. If you want to run a Mom and Pop and not provide or protect against any of the above, then do NOT hire any indentured cattle to work for you. Work your 20 hour days - It's the American dream - but do not exploit others while creating your "moving on up to the Eastside".

Posted by: thethirdPaul on March 20, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Once again let us look at employment.

Private employment as a percent of total civilian labor force

Dec. 2000 78.8%
Feb 2006 75%


Increase a total number of private jobs Feb 2006 over Dec 2000-- 1.412 M

Except to the rabid Bushistas these are hardly the numbers to be proud of.

Posted by: lib on March 20, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

ET: And lets not forget the Steroids mention in the SOTU in 2005.

The Republicans should make the control of drug use the centerpiece of their campaign. Then we can all get rich testing each other's urine.

Posted by: cowalker on March 20, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

I think the best approach to take versus all the Republican anti-sex stuff is the "it doesn't work" approach.

On abortion, declare your desire to reduce teen and unwanted pregnancies. Point out that under Bush, abortions increased, while under Clinton, they decreased.

On gay rights, point out that being gay isn't a choice, but committing to love and support a life partner is a choice, and it's one that we shouldn't take away.

Point out that the courts seem perfectly well equipped to deal with the Pledge of Allegiance, and shouldn't we be spending time on more important issues?

And do we really need to have the Republicans tell doctors how to do their jobs? After all, they've done such a good job telling FEMA and the military how to do their jobs...

Posted by: Doctor Jay on March 20, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

thethirdPaul:

I agree with most of what you say to Michael Cook, but...

The service sector produces nothing.

The service sector produces no manufactured goods, by definition; it certainly produces utility and promotes economic efficiency by enabling specialization.

Some services (though not, generally, personal services like laundry) produce capital in various forms and thus are very much part of the engine of substantive growth.

Manufactured goods aren't the only form of capital, nor the only vehicle for transmitting utility.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 20, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

lib:

Once again let us look at employment. Private employment as a percent of total civilian labor force

Dec. 2000 78.8%
Feb 2006 75%


Increase a total number of private jobs Feb 2006 over Dec 2000-- 1.412 M

Except to the rabid Bushistas these are hardly the numbers to be proud of.

Number of total payroll jobs in December 2000: 132,484,000.

Number of government jobs in December 2000: 20,804,000

Percentage that are government jobs: 15.7

Number of total payroll jobs in February 2006: 134,789,000.

Number of government jobs in February 2006: 21,885,000.

Percentage that are government jobs: 16.2 percent. An increase of half a percent.

Increase in non-government jobs: 1.22 million (actually lower than your number).

Increase in government jobs: 1.08 million.

Source

Of course, you're welcome to check my math, too.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 20, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

If any fool can make it into the asteroid belt, any fool can pick out a nice house-size rock and nudge it towards a collision course with our planet.

My sources tell me that the Principality of Liechtenstein has been conducting asteroid nudging program related discussions with Al-Qaeda's #2 operative someplace in Africa.

Posted by: tbonz on March 20, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz

My basic point stands.

GWB has an extremely dismal record in number of private jobs created as a percentage of total work force.

To an objective observer your enthusiastic support of this record would appear to be unwarranted.

Posted by: lib on March 20, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever the GOP brings up the former, use the appropriate synomym in response . . . over, and over, and over - just like "Bush lied, soldiers died".

It works.

GOP: . . . constitutional amendment banning gay marriage . . .

The Anti-Marriage Amendment


. . . bill allowing more public expression of religion . . .

The Religious Right's Right to Monopolize Public Debate Bill


. . . another [bill] requiring parental consent for women under 18 to get an abortion . . .

The Incest Perpetrator and Rapist Rights Bill


. . . legislation to bar all federal courts except the Supreme Court from ruling on the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance . . .

The We Can't Convince Americans to Be Patriotic So We Must Force Them to Be Bill


. . . bill to outlaw human cloning . . .

The We Already Have Too Many Tom DeLays Bill


. . . another [bill] that would require doctors to consider fetal pain before performing an abortion . . .

The We Make Up Medical Facts Bill

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 20, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I am working on the development of the ability to nudge asteroids into new orbits using psychic powers alone! The laws of chaos inform us that a very slight push may be all that is necessary.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 20, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I know that in some cases the service industry increases overall productivity somewhat - but it sort of depends.

For example paying someone to clean my house gives me some free time to do something else, but if I use that freed time to lay around and loaf there is no increase in productivity.

And we can't *all* do service work. Someone needs to gather or grow the raw materials and someone needs to refine them into useable forms.

Posted by: Tripp on March 20, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

DID YOU KNOW....During the past 5-years private business has added only 958,000 net new jobs to the economy, while the government sector added 1.1 million jobs. - Manufacturing & Technology News 1/16/06

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on March 20, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

egbert comes up with two of the biggest lies in Rethug "talking points"

"I suppose you approve of children being ripped out of their mothers in the third trimester. I suppose you deplore our young children actually pledging their allegiance to our country in schools."

The whole "partial birth abortion" shibboleth is a bunch of gorilla dust if ever an issue was. I challenge the right to come up with one example of the procedure being used when the fetus was viable outside the womb. The truth is that it is a procedure used only on highly deformed, brainless fetuses to begin with, and only when the mother's life is in danger as well.

And NO ONE on the left wants to stop children from pledging allegiance to our country. What Dr. Newdow and others supporting him want is that they should not be pledging allegiance to God. Return to the original pledge, the one I learned, to "one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Not just for "believers."

Posted by: Cal Gal on March 20, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK
I know that in some cases the service industry increases overall productivity somewhat - but it sort of depends."Productivity" is sort of a side issue, anyhow.
For example paying someone to clean my house gives me some free time to do something else, but if I use that freed time to lay around and loaf there is no increase in productivity.

There may or may not be, given the way productivity is defined; if you would otherwise have done the work yourself, there is an increase in GDP, and, most importantly, there is probably an increase in the subjective utilities of all involved, which is the principal real output of an economy (most other measures being attempts to approximate and quantify subjective utility.)

And we can't *all* do service work.

Depends on how you define "we"; clearly the world is not to the point, technologically, where it is possible for no one on the planet to do manufacturing work, and construction not being automated, you'll need someone to do that in any geographical region. But the proportion of the workforce that can be doing service work is increasing as a natural result of technology, and that's most true in advanced economies. However, too large of a proportion of the workforce employed in personal services is probably a sign of problems of wealth distribution and the creation of a de facto narrow "master" class and a broad "servant" class, even if the society is, de jure, classless.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 20, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

What is most dispiriting is that, of the 100 or so comments here, I saw only a couple that suggest meeting the Republican tactics head on and showing why they are crappy and anti-American policies. If you are a gay American, then the frontal assault on your legal right to protect your family is not trivial, unimportant or diversionary. It's terrifying and visits real harm. The freedom to marry has been repeatedly recognized as a basic human right. We have never amended the Constitution to take away human rights. The Republicans want to change that. The Democrats don't want to make this argument or spend too much energy trying to stop them, they just want to change the subject. What a great success that will be! Just like in the past couple of elections.

Posted by: David Goroff on March 20, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Cal Gal, given that preemies down around 16 ounces are surviving anymore, and that abortion foes seem to have an inexhaustible supply of pictures of aborted fetuses that appear to be larger than that, your point is not well taken.

I can raise employment, eliminate the national debt, cut taxes, reduce foreign control of our factories and other assets, and reduce the possibility of a WMD coming into America in a cargo container, all by one policy. Make me president and I will impose a high tariff on ALL imports into America.

It's not that unthinkable. The USA had high tariffs for our first 150 years. The American South hated them. The industrial North loved them. The first thing that would happen is that money would pour into the national treasury. The second thing that immediately happens is that workers are hired here for "import replacement".

The third thing that happens is that foreign nations retaliate and our sales of airplanes and agricultural products fall off, but we can put aerospace workers into military or space exploration projects paid for by the big tariff revenues. Immigration will probably increase with a tariff (because a lot of Americans who aren't working won't start just because more jobs beckon.) The immigrants will eat more food than they are used to back home. They don't worry so much about having fat kids. They don't want their kids on an aid poster.

Foreign investment in our nation is a direct consequence of our buying too many imports. Foreign banks have to do something with all the dollars, so they come over here and buy up assets. With a high tariff in place, our domestic economy I think would boom, thus causing more dollars to flock home.

Sure, we will stop importing so much oil. That's a bad thing? We will just replace petroleum that much faster with new technology. We can replace imported Mercedes autos, Rolex watches, and Panasonic tvs. Probably those manufacturers would be financing their new American factories themselves.

Make me president and everything will be better! Donations for 2008 accepted now.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 20, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK
I can raise employment, eliminate the national debt, cut taxes, reduce foreign control of our factories and other assets, and reduce the possibility of a WMD coming into America in a cargo container, all by one policy. Make me president and I will impose a high tariff on ALL imports into America.

I think you mean "dictator" when you say "President"; a quick perusal of the Constitution will show that the President of the United States has no Constitutional authority to impose tariffs, as that is an express Congressional power under Article I.

Nevertheless, its a monumentally stupid idea if applied across the board, and would almost certainly not have the effects you claim. While no doubt it would create huge new revenues, those revenues would be offset by the drop in income tax revenues and other collections under existing taxes as business -- export, retail, and otherwise -- tailed off, driven by higher prices, themselves driven by the increased transaction costs. This without considering any retaliatory effects.

Now, I could certainly support carefully selected conditional tariffs as a weapon to acheive free and fair trade; the cost then, to the US and the sanctioned trading partner, is a temporary cost imposed to create an incentive to move to a condition where the benefits of free trade are fairly distributed.

Foreign investment in our nation is a direct consequence of our buying too many imports. Foreign banks have to do something with all the dollars, so they come over here and buy up assets. With a high tariff in place, our domestic economy I think would boom, thus causing more dollars to flock home.

Foreign direct investment would clearly dry up -- but so would domestic investment, as higher consumer prices left less money for anything but essential consumption.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 20, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

cnn poll on the question: Has the Bush administration been effective in handling public relations on efforts in Iraq?

91% say no.

Awesome.

Yes, changing the subject is definitely necessary for the GOP.

Too bad it's too late.

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 20, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Make me president and I will impose a high tariff on ALL imports into America.

It did not work for Hoover and it made the Great Depression great! Not only that, everyone will have to pay higher prices so domestic businesses can have less competition. Open the borders so goods, services and labor can move about freely.

Posted by: Hostile on March 20, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Well, being dictator would be nice, but let's suppose for a moment I convinced the nation voluntarily to go back to a tariff on all imports, except maybe products from Canada and Mexico that are actually produced in those countries. First of all, such a tariff would obviously be a flat tax of sorts, even a regressive tax mostly paid by consumers.

I will argue that, except for clothing, most imported items are not really necessities. We are an agricultural nation, after all, and until very recently produced most of our own clothing.

Can't we get by without Perrier and caviar? Hyundai is a pretty good car, but they are opening a new factory in Alabama already, with even many of the parts being made in USA. I can't buy the argument that investment would dry up because consumers, facing higher prices on luxury items, would put less of their money in the stock market. Heck, most Americans don't save any money already. All the overseas dollars will still come home to roost.

The biggest impact would probably be on imported oil. ANWAR would look really good, as also increased drilling along our offshore areas and gas would probably go to $4.00 per gallon or so, but I don't consider that a bad thing.

Already immigrants are flowing in pretty rapidly. That would continue and they would be able to get better jobs here. I think it's better if the rest of the world depended less on the USA for foodstuffs anyhow and we are going to lose the airplane business and the software exports eventually. Those jobs are already
outsourcing rapidly.

A nice tariff, maybe 20%,I propose is just the ticket.

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Posted by: Hakee on March 21, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

In summation, I maintain that a high selective tariff (excluding Canada and Mexico) would not cause the American economy to collapse because of foreign retaliation against American products.

For one thing, except for agricultural products, many components of "American" made products are being out-sourced already. Our trade deficit has been steadily growing, not shrinking, for that reason. A tariff would instantly reverse the urge to out-source.

For another, it is misguided to say that we can't "get" rich by providing each other service jobs. A service economy is what people enjoy when they ARE rich. I am thrilled to pieces to be able to afford to hire someone to walk the dogs, balance the tires on my third vehicle, treat my lawn with liquid chemical fertilizer, and keep most of the world's terrorists occupied and busy in faraway countries.

Talk about bogged down in Iraq. The terrorists are the ones bogged down in Iraq!

Anyhow, Martin Luther once said that the rich must be responsible for the welfare of the poor, but the poor must provide services that are acceptable to the rich. In practical terms, that means the Katrina refugees now residing near me have to compete with cheap Mexican labor for jobs like roofing and landscaping. There's no getting around it, in the Seattle area you have to hump a lot harder to make enough to live on then maybe was the case in Louisiana.

Service jobs can create wealth, because they free up the well-educated and the highly skilled workers to spend more hours at their specialities.

A very rich person once observed that there is little difference in one's life if you increase the staff of your mansion from four people to twelve people. The enormous difference is noticed when you go from having NO servants to having two or three.

If I had more servants, I could post on every thread likely to be read by influential people (such as yourselves, dear readers.) If that resulted in a high tariff being passed to eliminate America's dependence on foreign oil, French wine, fashions, and perfumes, and all Chinese-made products, I suspect that America would become more "wealthy" in a lot of ways.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 21, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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