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October 21, 2012 11:50 AM The Failure of the Liberal Idea Machine

By Ryan Cooper

I was talking to a colleague in the office the other day, critiquing the first presidential debate. He was talking about how Romney’s responses were all organized around the theme of jobs, and Obama needed to calibrate his answers similarly. He suggested the lack of maintenance of the Bush years as a theme, something along the lines of how for 20 years we did nothing about spiraling cost of healthcare, didn’t fix our education system or rotting infrastructure, and made no investments in renewable energy. I pointed out that he could also organize around the idea of economic stimulus, Keynesian or otherwise, that being the whole point of the Recovery Act, which prevented depression.

“People don’t want to hear about more government spending to hire a bunch of bureaucrats,” he replied. “Trust me, they just don’t.”

I assume my colleague, who is a lot more experienced than me, is probably correct about general belief. But I got to thinking, and more and more I believe this is an enormous problem. Because on the straight economics, all those policies about fixing long-term problems, while worthy in themselves, are totally irrelevant to the question of creating jobs in the short term. In an economy with weak demand and a slack labor market, there are two ways to create jobs: Keynesian fiscal stimulus (government spending) or monetary stimulus through the Fed. Those are the only games in town, and if Democrats don’t convince people they work, the Republicans certainly won’t.

This is why I get so frustrated when progressives like Steve Benen buy into the deficit cutter’s frame:

To add a little historical context to this, over the last four decades, only two presidents have reduced the deficit this much, this quickly: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama…
Obama, whether the public realizes it or not, has a record he can brag about when it comes to deficit reduction — very few president in American history can boast about having inherited a massive deficit, then cutting it by nearly a fourth in just one term.

Dean Baker explains what this means in practical terms:

That is why those of us who believe in national income accounting and arithmetic praise the budget deficits every day of the week. In the short-term there is no alternative way to drive demand. The folks pushing for lower budget deficits are calling for less growth and more unemployment.

In other words, all that deficit cutting is a major reason the unemployment rate remains so high. If it were a lot bigger, Obama would probably be cruising to an easy re-election on a rising tide of prosperity.

To his credit, Steve does admit that deficit reduction may well be a bad thing, “but for the purposes of political conversation, such an argument is probably a non-starter; the public has come to believe a deficit that’s getting smaller is good news.”

The problem with this kind of reasoning is well explained by David Dayen:

The public has come to believe the wrong thing, and if Democratic partisans refuse to straighten them out on it, there’s no way to change that mentality. Partisans who use the deficit data to bolster the case for their party consign the country to continuing austerity and will make it impossible for government to carry out the functions of progressive policy, or to stimulate the economy when the need arises. It’s an extremely dangerous game.

This confusion about deficit spending and economic stimulus has a very long pedigree. Hoover was a fanatical deficit cutter, and FDR’s first vice president, Jack Garner, ended up trying to sabatoge Roosevelt’s presidency in part over balancing the budget. Fast forward to 2011, and witness House Blue Dogs complaining about Obama’s lack of deficit reduction. As Yglesias points out, this is directly at odds with their electoral interest:

Democrats in marginal seats have the most at stake in short-term macroeconomic fluctuations. Liberal Democrats aren’t going to lose their seats no matter what happens, but [Blue Dogs are] at risk. The problem here, which has been a problem from the beginning, is that lots of members of congress genuinely don’t believe in Keynesian economic prescriptions and nobody’s managed to persuade them.

Emphasis mine. So maybe the economics of stimulus is just too intuitive, and the logic of cutting the deficit too intuitive, to ever gain traction in the mainstream discourse. Still, the Republican propaganda machine has seen remarkable success driving coverage of total nonsense. It seems worth a shot to get people talking about the actual economics of jobs.

And by the way, when voters got to pick the questions in the last debate, not a single one was on the deficit.

@ryanlcooper

Ryan Cooper is a National Correspondent at The Week, and a former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @ryanlcooper

Comments

  • SecularAnimist on October 21, 2012 1:10 PM:

    Ryan, if you were talking to your colleague about the economic stimulus of the Recovery Act, his response that "people don’t want to hear about more government spending to hire a bunch of bureaucrats" was a complete non sequitur.

    The Recovery Act had nothing to do with "hiring a bunch of bureaucrats". On the contrary, it had everything to do with putting more money into the private sector economy.

    The false claim that the Recovery Act was about "government spending to hire a bunch of bureaucrats" is nothing but a dishonest Republican talking point, and you should ask your colleague why he is repeating it.

  • Davis X. Machina on October 21, 2012 1:17 PM:

    And by the way, when voters got to pick the questions in the last debate, not a single one was on the deficit.

    Even when they do, it's famously not about the deficit.

    The problem is the the median persuader -- in Randy Steve Waldman's memorable phrase -- is not the median voter.

  • matt w on October 21, 2012 1:25 PM:

    There's a potential correlation-causation problem here. It's true that if the government were to take certain steps to run larger deficits the economy would be better. (I mean things like hire more teachers, increase safety net payments and aid to middle-class families; GOP-style tax cuts for the rich will just lead to rich people sitting on big piles of cash instead of aiding the economy.)

    But that doesn't mean that "all that deficit cutting is a major reason the unemployment rate remains so high." It's possible that the reason the deficit has gone down is that the economy has improved from where it was when Obama took over. That's certainly how Clinton eliminated the deficit. Cutting deficits for its own sake is a bad thing now, but good things will cut the deficit. (Which is part of the reason why austerity scolds are stupid or evil; their favored policies will actually make the deficit worse, by destroying the tax base.)

  • c u n d gulag on October 21, 2012 1:35 PM:

    The problem lies in how well deficits have always been sold to the media influencers as a country-killer.
    And how they, in turn, sell it to the morons in the public.

    Reagan and Bush created massive deficits.
    Alan Greenspan, and the rest of the Austrian/Chicago austerians, demanded that Clinton pay for the excesses of the past two administrations.
    And Clinton bought into it.

    Bush was Uncle Ronnie and Daddy on steroids. Hell, his chickenhawk VP even said that 'Reagan proved that deficits don't matter."
    And now, again, the Austerians, call for deficit reduction. Now that a Democrat is in charge, DFFICITS MATTER!!!
    And sadly, Obama's buying into their bullsh*t, too

    This deficit bullsh*t is always used to keep Democrats in check.
    They get called 'tax and spenders.'
    But at least they have the decency to tax.
    All the Repulicans do spend, spend, spend.
    And then bitch when the next Democrats can't pay off their bar bill fast enough.

    I'm really starting to hate this stupid country.
    I'm tired of dealing with a tsunami of feckin' idjits from sea to polluted, oil-slick-shiny, sea.

    If I could get a job outside of this country, I'd leave in a nano-second.

  • square1 on October 21, 2012 1:35 PM:

    SecularAnimist makes a good point about the flaw's in this colleague's thinking.

    I'd also add that I have little respect for people who spend their time worried about what the public "wants to hear about" as opposed to what the public needs.

    In the spring of 2009, the public needed a large stimulus package. Even if it weren't immediately politically popular (and I don't agree that it was the voters who had little "appetite") for a larger bill), the President didn't have to face public accountability for nearly 4 years.

    From an electoral standpoint, Obama could have pushed for and passed a larger stimulus, laughed his ass off as the unemployment rate dropped, and then won in a landslide re-election.


  • golack on October 21, 2012 2:17 PM:

    Republican talking points fit on bumper stickers....

    Their lies, but still they fit on bumper stickers...

    Ok, tweets are the new bumper stickers...

    Gov't isn't the roads and bridges that have been built are repaired--it's the delay caused by construction, or the speed limits when I want to go fast, or the traffic jams, or...

    No one ran a deficit clock under Bush, Cheney said the deficits didn't matter and MSM stopped talking about them. Why it was even unpatriotic to mention that the wars cost money, let alone trying to find a way to fund them.

  • emjayay on October 21, 2012 2:29 PM:

    What's supposed to happen, according to Keynes, is that when things are going OK the government puts money in the bank. Then when the business cycle tanks, you spend it to right things. Pretty simple actually. The problem left for Obama was that during good times or bad the Republican policy was to cut taxes as a cure-all. And then to ignore huge spending on pointless wars and drug programs.

    So besides handing Obama an incipient depression, Bush and Republicans had already spent the cure. But post-partisan look to the future not the past Obama never made any of that clear to the low information/denialist crowd. For the good of the country he didn't want to make any Republicans feel bad about themselves and thus not cooperate with him. That worked out real well.

    By the way, I think the Bush saving Wall Street deal was probably wrong. Instead of sending them billions, they should have just been allowed to collapse. Who cares. So finances would be frozen for a while. Wherever that actually mattered could maybe have been addressed directly. The (enormous)profit motive would have them figuring out a way to regroup. In other words, Wall Steet/banks should have eaten the whole thing, not had their coffers refilled by the rest of us.

    I think Iceland did something like that. Then we would also have less deficit and less pressure to not stimulate. I haven't seen much written about this from economists, but I do remember one, probably conservative economist on NPR at the time recommending doing nothing.

  • g on October 21, 2012 3:06 PM:

    For the good of the country he didn't want to make any Republicans feel bad about themselves and thus not cooperate with him.

    I'm not sure I agree with the basic crux of this comment, but I find it ironically echoing a major false Republican talking point about Obama's foreign policy.

    They accuse him of not "wanting to make any Mulsims feel bad about themselves," and they assert that this makes them more willing to harm us.

  • Davis X. Machina on October 21, 2012 3:38 PM:

    But post-partisan look to the future not the past Obama never made any of that clear to the low information/denialist crowd...

    If they're low information/denialist, what's the point? Style?

  • Denise Kocourek on October 21, 2012 4:19 PM:

    There is nothing wrong with getting more efficient, which is what Obama's done. And grown the receipts.

    And why, in all that's holy, is Tim Geitner not financing the debt with 20+ year Treasuries???? That gives us a chance to outgrow it before interest bites us in the ass.

  • Neildsmith on October 21, 2012 4:33 PM:

    I don't know where this mythical demand has gone but retail sales are well above pre-crisis peak. Industrial production has recovered as well. I certainly hope Mr. Cooper is not advocating we recreate the terrible housing bubble just to make those who bought at the peak whole again. I suspect that what we have today is a much more natural version of economic activity than anything we had before the crisis. Rapid technological change, free trade, and globalization have all changed our economy permanently.

    http://economistsview.typepad.com/timduy/2012/10/buyers-remorse.html

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on October 21, 2012 5:26 PM:

    square1: Obama would have had to fight tooth and nail against those who brought his own caucus to a "supermajority". Against all reason, as the article alludes to, centrist Democrats are convinced that if they support disastrous Republican policies but do so halfheartedly the electorate will reward them for their evenhandedness.

    In a sort of idealized, but not totally idealized, world the Dems would have started in January 2009 running a media offensive (yes, including paid ads on the evening news) explaining what Keynesianism is, why it's economic consensus, and why the federal budget is not like a household budget. I realize that most voters don't care a flying damn about this stuff in off-years, but a little spending could go a long way toward changing the terms of the debate.

    It would also have been nice if Martha Coakley hadn't been an appallingly inept politician, so that the wimpy dog Dems didn't become frightened of their own shadow in 2009 and decide that more tepid governance would bring in the Tea Party vote.

  • PTate in MN on October 21, 2012 5:38 PM:

    "'People don't want to hear about more government spending to hire a bunch of bureaucrats,' he replied. 'Trust me, they just don't.'"

    The title of this post is "The failure of the Liberal Idea Machine" and what follows illustrates not the failure of liberal ideas, but the success of the conservative movement at poisoning the ideas--the liberal ideas--that are essential to the governance of a complex modern state. A comment like this one is a good example of how successful the Republicans have been at misinforming and confusing citizens, training them to despise and question the very ideas that could help them.

    Thirty years ago, the Republicans set out to undermine American's confidence in their institutions of self-government, and they have succeeded. The "failures" of our federal government can be traced directly to the bad ideas that have been been seeded in the minds of incurious, self-interested and unmotivated citizens.

    "Keynes?"--yawn, he's bogus
    "Government bureaucrat?"--inefficient, wasteful
    "Government?"--bad, stifles growth, limits freedom
    "Liberal?"--weak, disgusting, angry
    "Welfare"--I don't get anything out from that. Why should I pay for that?
    "Taxes"--I don't want to pay for waste
    "Regulation"--stifle growth
    "Free market"--always works for the best
    etc, etc.

    What can one say when people's hearts are hardened against the self-evident truths on which this nation was founded?

  • plimschmuggin on October 21, 2012 5:48 PM:

    I've said it before and I'll say it again:

    The Republican Jobs plan is "Fire People"

    It's really that simple.

  • Anonymous on October 21, 2012 5:53 PM:

    PTate wrote: "What can one say when people's hearts are hardened against the self-evident truths on which this nation was founded?"

    And what can one say when a young, supposedly well-informed, supposedly "liberal" blogger like Ryan Cooper apparently accepts, without question or hesitation, his colleague's BLATANTLY FALSE assertion that the Recovery Act was about "more government spending to hire a bunch of bureaucrats"?

    You are correct -- there is no "failure of liberal ideas". The "failure" is that even young liberals, like Cooper, have been brainwashed to accept right-wing Republican lies as fact.

    And I think "surrender" is a better characterization of that than "failure".

  • joanneinDenver on October 21, 2012 6:17 PM:

    This is why I get so discouraged with so-called progressives, as well as the Obama campaign. What happens is that Obama supporters "talk among themselves," like little kids in Day Care who try and reassure each other that they have not been abandoned and that Mom will return.

    It was the President's job, from the beginning, to explain to the American public what he was doing about the economic crisis and why. He should have explained Keynesian economics and what he expected to happen to the deficit and debt. He also should have begun at the beginning and explained that the Bush tax cuts came at a time of temporary budget surplus and that situation quickly evaporated. With each unforeseen problem...like the tsunami in Japan and the BP oil spill, he should have gone on television and explained to the American people, how those events might impact recovery. He should have kept the American people informed. He chose not to do that. Now, it is too late.

  • Anonymous on October 21, 2012 7:42 PM:

    'He was talking about how Romney’s responses were all organized around the theme of jobs, and Obama needed to calibrate his answers similarly'...I take exception to this 'argument'. The only thing Romney and the Republican House for two years previously have done is SAID 'jobs jobs jobs'. Romney says 'I have a PLAN' and 'I've been a businessman'...but there is not a single SPECIFIC. They say 'Obama has NO PLAN' which is not true if you follow legislation...especially what has been filibustered. So to hear YOU criticize the President and other 'progressives' just seems like 'talking points' or echoing the lazy MEDIA who whined all morning on the Sunday shows.

  • PTate in MN on October 22, 2012 12:29 AM:

    Equal Opportunity Cynic: "In a sort of idealized, but not totally idealized, world the Dems would have started in January 2009 running a media offensive (yes, including paid ads on the evening news) explaining what Keynesianism is, why it's economic consensus, and why the federal budget is not like a household budget"

    joanneindenver: "It was the President's job, from the beginning, to explain to the American public what he was doing about the economic crisis and why."

    Yes, both of you, exactly! We have had the ideas, we just haven't fought for them or had our leaders fighting for them. This has been Obama's biggest failing, and it may cost all of us dearly.

    But, still, I'm sure you've had the same experience that I have had, you are talking to one of these ill-informed conservatives and they stare at you with their dead, beady eyes when you say something like, "one role of government is securing the common welfare," and they respond with something out of the ballpark like "Obama uses a teleprompter, hehe," and there you are, gobsmacked. How do you fight a wet noodle?

  • KellyTaylor on October 22, 2012 5:49 AM:

    as Howard said I didn't know that any body can get paid $5726 in 4 weeks on the internet. did you look at this site (Click on menu Home more information) http://goo.gl/6OoDY

  • Robert Waldmann on October 22, 2012 7:23 AM:

    Very important post. I'd follow Yglesias and note that there was no discussion of stimulus at the Democratic convention.

    I had expected you to object to your friends use of "bureacrats" as a typical destination of Federal spending. This is a somewhat separate issue. There has long been a very widespread belief that there is a huge, costly and inefficient Federal bureacracy. By costly I mean consuming a large part of the federal budget (not that is compliance costs born by other entities due to Federal laws and regulations).

    The total colossal failure of the Medicare Advantage experiment should have convinced people that they are just confused about the efficiency of the Federal bureaucracy, but that won't happen. The cost can be estimated. Sure it's huge, but it's small compared to the Federal budget. The fraction of the employed who are Federal non-defense non-postal employees can be reported again and again (roughly 1% less roughly 1.1%).
    http://www.opm.gov/feddata/html/2011/September/table2.asp

    But to advocate stimulus, this isn't even needed. The money can be earmarked for school teachers, police and firemen. The money can be earmarked for infrastructure. This has been proposed (by the guy named B.H. Obama) and the proposal was popular.

    Liberal ideas haven't failed. The case has been made and a majority of the public was convinced.

    Huh was looking for something else, but in the latest poll the ARRA has become popular

    http://www.pollingreport.com/budget.htm

    United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Sept. 7-9, 2012. N=1,012 adults nationwide. Margin of error ± 3.7.

    Asked of those who have heard about the program:
    "From what you have seen or heard about the stimulus program do you think it was the right thing to do for the country or the wrong thing for the country?"

    Right Thing 55%
    Wrong Thing 36%
    Unsure/refused 9%

    We are not talking about losing a debate. We are talking about winning a debate and not noticing.

    further down ABC/WaPo poll better way to create jobs cut taxes or spend on infrastructure projects

    Spending on projects 52
    Cutting Taxes 33

    WaPo Kaiser family

    Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation Poll. July 25-Aug. 5, 2012. N=3,130 adults nationwide. Margin of error ± 2.


    "Which of these do you think is more important right now: increasing federal spending to try to create jobs and improve the economy; or avoiding a big increase in the federal budget deficit?"

    tied 48% to 48%

    Note that is "federal spending" including bureaucrats.

    Same poll solid majority supports both "budget cuts to reduce the federal deficit" and "additional spending on roads, bridges and other public works projects". Both as ways to help the "JOB SITUATION".

    Oh hell just click the link. In poll after poll a plurality supports more stimulus. Your friend's views basically can't be reconciled with the polling data.

    I think what happened is when the stimulus, which was supported by a majority when passed was new and things were still bad, the public rejected Keynes. Now that things aren't quite so bad, the public is re-Keynesed. Altrnatively the public is against whatever the politicians have done lately and lately they have been heading towards fiscal cliffs.

  • castanea on October 22, 2012 7:38 AM:

    "It was the President's job, from the beginning, to explain to the American public what he was doing about the economic crisis and why."

    And he did, to a large degree, and perhaps more clearly and truthfully than any Republican president has done in recent memory when advancing and agenda. People should stop trying to compare him to some nonexistent ideal.

    All these comments by "liberals" on these threads to the effect that we were failed by Obama, et al., demonstrate one characteristic of the left that I've never noticed on the right: The notion that we have to sit back and let our leaders fight our wars for us.

    Think the rightwing would have engaged in sad navel gazing if Romney had a mediocre first debate? Think they would have viciously attacked their own candidate?

    Hell no. They would have doubled down on their attacks on Obama, and magically a Romney defeat would have been turned into a Romney victory.

    Honestly, we are up against fascism that is bent on defeating Obama (and liberals) with lies. I saw an article on the Yahoo site that noted Romney has a target-rich environment to strike at with regard to Obama's foreign policy, what with Afghanistan, the Syrian civil war, and a possible nuclear Iraq.

    Really? Where has the administration done anything outside the range of sanity that has resulted in failure in any of those things?

    Even before Obama took office, most of the right, and a notorious few on the left, began the "Obama is a failure" meme. We've had that meme in some portions of our media now for nearly four years.

    Liberals who contribute to that meme should be prepared to put on their Big Boy pants and suffer its effects, not try to palm off the blame elsewhere.

  • Anonymous on October 22, 2012 10:19 AM:

    @ castanea,
    RE: Your quote
    "And he did, to a large degree, and perhaps more clearly and truthfully than any Republican president has done in recent memory when advancing and agenda. People should stop trying to compare him to some nonexistent ideal."

    No, he did not. The President did not consistently speak to the America people in prime time and describe his plan and its ongoing progress. He simply did not. Nor, did he painstakingly describe Obamacare.

    I have had it with so-called Liberals who can not tolerate any criticism of the Obama campaign ...its strategy or lack thereof. OFA has replaced most real party organization in my swing state of Colorado. They do nothing but register voters...which is good, but not nearly enough. The tragedy of the Obama campaign is that it has no"feedback loop." It dismisses any criticism and does not "hear" what people are saying.

    The Republicans have used their control of right wing radio as well as many state governments to "educate" or "indoctrinate" their base. They leave absolutely no charge from the Obama campaign unanswered. Not true for the dems/Obama -
    they discourage any objective criticism from within the base.

    I am angry. I was angry after the republican win in MA in early 2010; the Republican sweep in November of 2010, and the loss in Wisconsin in 2012.
    There has been absolutely NO change in the Obama strategy or the national Democratic party approach that showed they learned ANYTHING from those major losses.

    I am a woman. Don't tell me to "put on my Big Boy" pants. Clean out your ears, son. LIsten.

  • FlipYrWhig on October 22, 2012 12:32 PM:

    I'm sure there are many things Obama coulda/shoulda done differently. The fact of the matter is that a lot of Democratic politicians have branded themselves as opponents of Government Spending, and the way they see it, they budged quite enough on that just to get the stimulus passed in the first place, and they did so by going against what every bone in their bodies was telling them to do. You can't just write that off and say that Obama should have persuaded them to think and act differently. What he got them to do, they kicked against and dragged their feet against and otherwise threw tantrums about. They're not that bright, but they're committed to the things they believe, and if they decide through bad reasons and assorted dumbassery that they're not going to go any farther, Obama is stuck, and any president would be stuck.

  • Dave Thomas on October 22, 2012 1:30 PM:

    Talk about trying to put lipstick on a pig. It would be nice if the author was truthful about the deficit. The "real" deficit includes contractual obligations to Social Security and Medicare. The "real" deficit includes rising interest rates and the inability to borrow more when we "really" need to instead of just buying votes with borrowed money.

    There is nothing like a self-proclaimed "expert" saying "the people" don't understand. I'll take the collected wisdom of the people any day over Mr. Cooper after reading this rationalization.

  • kenih on October 22, 2012 1:40 PM:

    "In an economy with weak demand and a slack labor market, there are two ways to create jobs: Keynesian fiscal stimulus (government spending) or monetary stimulus through the Fed."

    Currently the economy in China is growing at 8%. This is considered poor from their standards but is about 5 times our growth rate. So are they using "Keynesian" or the "Fed"? How about neither... That disproves your "two ways to create jobs" line doesn't it. But you say "that's China and won't work here"? Ok, a US example "Keystone pipeline". That would have created jobs and required neither of the items on your list to "create jobs".

    Government policies can create jobs without spending a penny. Likewise government policies can cost jobs. For example over regulation (Dodd-Frank) or Obamacare (higher costs for hiring american workers thus giving more incentives for out-sourcing).

  • mnemos on October 22, 2012 1:59 PM:

    From quote above: "...will make it impossible for government to carry out the functions of progressive policy..."

    What David Dayen doesn't want to face is that many people don't accept his desired "progressive policies" as "government functions." They don't believe that an extra hundred+ committees in DC are really going to improve the efficiency of health care delivery everywhere else. Obama did do a thorough job of explaining ACA - the problem is that ACA is still not something most people want.

    As far as Keynsian economics / deficit spending goes - we get the concept, now look at the assumptions behind it. The assumptions behind Keynesian economics are for "countercyclical spending" - that is not the same thing as "wasting money all the time, often for no reason and even more during a recession." That's Krugman economics, not Keynesian economics. That is the reason why Germany considered it's safety net spending Keynsian stimulus - because it is countercyclical. We have structural deficit spending - there is nothing countercyclical about it. The current question is about a situation where we have been spending money in such a haphazard way that "increasing government spending" has started to become meaningless. Ignoring the assumptions of the Keynesian model is the reason why explaining the stimulus requires assumptions about how the initial situation was "worse than we thought". That is circular reasoning. Fudge the initial data so the outcome fits the model is NOT how proper analysis is done.

    I sure hope a few of the readers here get out of the echo chamber every once in a while.

  • Andujar Cedeno on October 22, 2012 2:00 PM:

    There is a way to create jobs in a slack job market that Ryan didn't discuss, cutting marginal tax rates. John F. Kennedy cut marginal tax rates and we got the economic expansion known as the Go-Go 60's. Ronald Reagan cut marginal tax rates and we got the Reagan Revolution of the 1980's.

    The liberal idea of government spending never created or creates sustainable growth. Make work jobs like those of the New Deal, Civilian Conservation Corps, WPA, etc., kept people busy until the money ran out and then nothing. Government never has created self-sustaining jobs outside of bureaucrats. Government has a horrendous track record of picking who to fund in the private sector as well. Just look at the laundry list of failures the Obama stimulus funded-Solyndra, First Solar, Evergreen Solar, A123 Systems, Brightsource, Johnson Controls, and on and on and on. Spending money on failed business models does nothing to create growth and waste precious resources.

    This is the real failure of liberal ideas, they don't understand the finite supply of precious tax funds. Liberals ideas suppose that a group of bureaucrats in a government department are as valuable to the country as a group of managers in a private firm. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The managers not only pay for themselves they produce a surplus or they disappear. Bureaucrats depend on taking tax money from others who produce a surplus because government workers don't pay for themselves, but also the never go away. When was the last time the Federal Government's work force decreased?

    Mr. Cooper does not understand all of the options for creating jobs, and he doesn't understand the difference between productive enterprise and unproductive government bureaucracy. No wonder the liberal idea machine has failed.

  • castanea on October 22, 2012 8:04 PM:

    "There has been absolutely NO change in the Obama strategy or the national Democratic party approach that showed they learned."

    Even if that were true, which it isn't, I'll be damned if I'm going to criticize My Side when the other side is a collection of fascists and religious fundamentalists who want to turn my country into a Reich Lite.

    Any liberal who criticizes Democrats at this stage of the game--we have an election in just two weeks, in case you didn't realize it--carries with him/her the odor of a traitor.

    You want to whine? That is your right. Just do it in January after Obama is inaugurated for his second term and there is a Democratically-controlled Congress.

    Otherwise all you do is fight against your apparent objectives.

  • joanneinDenver on October 22, 2012 10:03 PM:

    @castanea

    "any liberal who criticizes Democrats at this stage of the game--we have an election in just two weeks, in case you didn't realize it--carries with him/her the odor of a traitor."

    I beg your pardon, son. "Odor of a traitor" that sounds like you kinda like the
    lockstep mentality of the fascists. I criticize in the hope that someone is listening in the Democratic hierarchy and could possibly improve the current campaign. Your assumption that you may tell me what to do or when to do it, is precisely what is wrong with the Democratic party and why there is such a lack
    of enthusiasm.

    Speaking of "big boy" pants, I was in the Peace Corps when Kennedy was killed and working on a RFK phone bank when he was assassinated. I am not "bullied" very easily by the likes of someone who claims to be on "My Side." Time was when "My Side" welcomed the opinion of everyone and wasn't afraid and certainly didn't tolerate the kind of patronizing crap you are currently tossing.

  • KarkAwark on November 06, 2012 8:51 PM:

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