Andrew Sullivan Nominates Tim Cavanaugh for Trig Palin Award

Newsweek afterbirther Andrew Sullivan briefly leaves off rescuing abandoned Palin family infants from rocky mountaintops in order to chart my claptrap

According to Sully, my belief that under President Barack Obama America has experienced "vast unemployment, soaring inflation, a moribund economy, record deficits, and a manically ill-conceived energy policy" is not merely wrong. It is so wrong as to make me eligible for a "Malkin Award" (which I had never heard of prior to my nomination but which I assume is a raspberry named in honor of Holy Spirit High graduate Michelle Malkin, of whom I shall not speak well because she went to Holy Spirit High). 

Points in order: 

• I believe I am neither the first nor the last to note that U-3 unemployment currently is higher than the rate Obama’s economic advisors predicted it would be were the $800 billion ARRA stimulus not adopted. (It was adopted, one month into Obama’s presidency.) 

• I’d like to take "soaring inflation" and "moribund economy" together: Sullivan posts two charts, one showing GDP growth averaging flat-or-flattish since 2007, and another showing inflation in every quarter except one. During that period, inflation has been a cumulative 10.97, according to a Koch-funded rightwing hate group called the Bureau of Labor Statistics

I suggest Sullivan take a look at the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Fund reports to get a sense of how much household net worth Americans have lost over those same four years, while the value of their money has been literally decimated. That’s a double-whammy called "stagflation," which like the name of Voldemort I don’t care to pronounce because I remember the original. 

All caveats about the falsehood of both CPI inflation and GDP measurements also apply. I have left Sully’s Keynesian church and am only using its false dogma for the sake of argument. 

• As for record deficits, Sullivan is following the latest don’t-believe-your-own-two-eyes fad, which claims that you when see clear evidence of at-or-near-record peacetime spending hikes since 2009, you’re just showing that you don’t understand how the federal budget really works. (If the preceding is too much of a mouthful, here's the shorter version: It's Bush's fault.) 

I have another neat chart, from James Pethokoukis, which takes President George W. Bush spending hikes into account and still shows what Obama’s done with the place. Sullivan seems to think I have a problem admitting Bush was a big spender too, which (since he says nothing interesting about energy policy) brings me to his final error: 

• I voted for Obama in 2008, and documented that vote more than once. So in saying my description of the economy’s performance over the past four years is a "knee-jerk" response of the "right," Sullivan is, as always, wrong. 

Sullivan's early-aughts star-turn as the Prince Hamlet of the liberal hawks cured me of any hope that he might deal honestly with his formerly held positions. But I think he should spare a thought for the throat-clearing bore who wrote the following in 2009: "But it also seems to me that this president and this new Congress were elected in part to address this issue, that their more interventionist stand was clear, and that they should both get the benefit of the doubt - as well as full responsibility for the consequences."

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  • Stormy Dragon||

    Don't feed the troll. He's just trying to get a tit for tat started to drive more traffic to his site.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Funny you should mention that, Dragon.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Really? You're responding to Sullivan? Slow day?

  • Brandon||

    Didn't Sullivan used to be something other than a Team Blue shill? Or am I thinking of someone else?

  • Brett L||

    A beard for the Neocons to invade Iraq?

  • Xenocles||

    There was a C-SPAN guy who used to have Sullivan and Hitchens on regularly, and he said in an interview that the two essentially switched places politically.

  • affenkopf||

    A team red shill.

  • BarryD||

    Love the mouseovers!

  • Ska||

    Let's be honest - who the hell calls a homeless man a street person?

    "There's a word for them Jules: they're called bums."

  • Ben the Duck||

    If the preceding is too much of a mouthful

    When it comes to the rote (yet energetic) fellation of his sweet, holy presidential man-crush, nothing is "too much of a mouthful" for Newsweek's paid, full-time Trig Truther.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    As for record deficits, Sullivan is following the latest don’t-believe-your-own-two-eyes fad, which claims that you when see clear evidence of at-or-near-record peacetime spending hikes since 2009, you’re just showing that you don’t understand how the federal budget really works. (If the preceding is too much of a mouthful, here's the shorter version: It's Bush's fault.)

    Yep, it's Bush's fault that Obama's racked up a greater deficit in less than four years than Dubya did in eight.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Also, let's not forget that Obama's spent 8-12% of GDP in deficits to get that 1-2% GDP growth rate--in other words, we've had negative real GDP growth during his entire term in office.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Since when can we consider spending since 2009 peacetime? As I recall, we are in at least a couple of wars...

  • Proprietist||

    Ok, I'm really getting sick of this argument, and I do loathe Obama.

    These are CBO numbers:
    FY2010, spending fell 1.8% vs. FY2009 (Bush's last year, where spending rose 17.9%)
    FY2011, spending rose 4.3%
    FY2012, spending is predicted to rise 0.7%
    FY2013, spending is predicted to fall 1.3%

    The idea that Obama has radically ramped up spending or size of government is simply absurdity. The reason for the historic deficits is because he has refused to deal with fiscal reality and make cuts in outlays to match the falling tax revenue. In terms of government and spending, he has merely continued on the same irresponsible tangent all his predecessors put us on and Bush radically ramped up. But there's nothing particularly unique about Obama other than the fact that we're in an economic recession and he's stupidly trying to preserve the status quo.

  • Ben the Duck||

    FY2013, spending is predicted to fall 1.3%

    Oh, well. If it's predicted, then.

  • Proprietist||

    I'm not saying that's going to be the case. My point is that his spending increases have not been particularly "radical", as the argument goes. At least not in the context of past presidents.

    Then again, I would probably agree with the argument that any spending increases in an economy where tax receipts drop drastically is pretty radical. In fact, anything less than Gary Johnson's plan is arguably radical, and that will merely break even without denting the existing debt.

  • John||

    The spending increases have been radical. You are misreading the statistics. The 17% increase in 2009 was not supposed to be permanent. Obama diverted that money into base line domestic spending when TARP ended.

  • Proprietist||

    Fair argument. And just about every single year of just about every single other President ever has diverted the previous year's total spending into the new baseline for the next year. His spending increases are only not radical in context of his predecessor - they are unquestionably radical in context of fiscal reality (as were Bush's).

  • ||

    But isn't the stimulus part of the 17%? Doesn't that blame BO's spending increases on Bush?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Not only that but,

    1) Bush is blamed for continuing resolution spending that Congress passed after Obama had been sworn in.

    2) Porkulus was passed in early 2009 and signed by Obama but somehow magically counts as part of Bush's spending.

    3) TARP money was supposedly repaid and yet the repaid money did not retire the debt that was issued to fund it. It was spent on other important stuff - which was completely off budget.

  • #||

    1. this ignores 2009, which due to the crisis, had tons of new spending, half of which was his, for instance the stimulus.

    2. This doesnt yet include the big increases in spending that are about to occur due to the healthcare bill that he put in place.

    Spending remains much higher under his plan going forward than the baseline was before he entered office.

  • Proprietist||

    You are wrong. FY2009 had $185 billion in ARRA funds allocated to it out of $3.5 trillion in total outlays. What about the other 95% of the worst budget in history?

  • Paul.||

    Has anyone calculated for the unfunded mandates Obama favors?

  • Proprietist||

    I try to only use outlays in my statistics, which is all anyone should care about regarding spending. Unfunded mandates still factor into that year's outlays, just not the "budget" (Bush's off-budget war spending, for instance).

  • John||

    You are completely wrong.

    First, there was no budget in 2009. So you can't blame all of 2009 on Bush. 2009, like every year since 08, was funded by a series of continuing resolutions.

    Second, the 17% rise in spending in 2009 was TARP. Now, no question Bush deserves the blame for TARP. But here is where you miss the point. TARP was supposed to be a one time emergency program. It ended. It went away. So that 17% increase in spending in 2009, should have gone away in 2010.

    But that is not what happened. Obama took the money that was being spent on TARP and spent it elsewhere and kept spending just as high and growing even though TARP had ended.

    So, yes Obama took what should have been a one time spending spree on TARP and transformed it into a permanent rise in baseline domestic spending.

    Sorry proprietist, you are misreading the stats.

  • Proprietist||

    I don't disagree about them wasting the TARP repayments. But the notion that Bush or Romney wouldn't have done the same thing is pretty absurd, based on their records.

    Through FY2012 Obama will have grown federal outlays by about 6%. Bush's first term grew outlays by 18.5% and second term grew outlays by 48.6%. While we shouldn't grow them any, it's still hard to consider it radical in comparison.

  • John||

    But the notion that Bush or Romney wouldn't have done the same thing is pretty absurd, based on their records.

    First, that is a counter factual so we will never know. And second, Obama did in fact do that. And the fact that you or anyone else is convinced that Bush or Romney would have done the same doesn't let Obama off the hook.

    The fact is that Obama took a one time emergency program and turned into a permanent large scale expansion of government. That is what happened. And no amount of massaging of the statistics changes that fact.

  • Proprietist||

    No, and I very clearly don't let Obama off the hook. Claiming his increases in government and spending are not radical compared to his predecessor(s) is not the same as saying his increases are acceptable in any way.

  • John||

    But they were radical compared to his successor. You only claim they aren't by claiming that it was a metaphysical certainty that Bush intended to divert TARP the way Obama did. And that is just not true.

  • Proprietist||

    You told me above that my argument Bush would have done the same thing as Obama was speculative. Your argument that he wouldn't have done the same is equally (and in the context of political reality, probably more) speculative.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    You;re missing the point.

    TARP was supposed to be a one time shot to save the financial industry. Not a permanent boost of 700b+ divvied up by the federal bureaucracy.

    The only honest way to look at the spending growth under O and de dems is to subtract TARP out of the baseline, which yields Obama growing spending by 20%+ in his first year.

  • Xenocles||

    Do your FY09 figures include the stimuli, which were entirely Obama's work? How about ~300B in discretionary TARP money that Obama executed?

  • Paul.||

    Unions gotta eat, too.

  • Ben the Duck||

    Oh, they do, man. They do.

  • Proprietist||

    Even with the $300B discretionary TARP plus the $185B FY2009 allocated stimulus money, we're talking 13.8% of the budget that Obama was directly responsible for. One could argue that all of that is deficit since we were already well into the red by the time he came into office, I suppose.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Even with the $300B discretionary TARP plus the $185B FY2009 allocated stimulus money, we're talking 13.8% of the budget that Obama was directly responsible for.

    As i pointed out to Tony yesterday, Bush's budget was never passed--it was Obama that signed that whole $3.5 trillion into law.

    One could argue that he only added on to what Bush wanted to spend, and he should only be responsible for that $400 billion. But that's disingenuous, at best, since he had it in his power to force the Dems to go along with whatever he wanted to spend at that point.

  • Proprietist||

    Bush had the power to veto TARP, and had he done that and had Obama signed it in 2009, I would be willing to put much more of the blame for FY2009 and for the altered baseline on Obama. But that's Bush's legacy (as are the radical growths in outlays for both Bush terms) and it's funny to watch Team Red try to defend the indefensible.

    Oh, and Cato agrees with me. http://www.cato-at-liberty.org.....9-deficit/

  • Xenocles||

    "...(though Obama actually deserves a small share of the blame for Bush’s last deficit since earlier this year he pushed through both an “omnibus” spending bill and the so-called stimulus bill that increased FY2009 spending)."

    This is a stunningly casual dismissal of the contributions of those two bills. You'd think they's actually apply some detailed analysis of the breakdown (or at least provide an aggregate FY09 number). We know that the stimulus was $700B spread over a few years. We also know that Obama spent $300B in FY09 TARP money that he was not obligated to. I think a little more nuance is in order here. Let's also not forget that TEAM BLUE took over Congress (the folks holding the purse strings) in 2007 and held it through 2010. (No endorsement of TEAM RED implied here.) By Cato's logic the GOP was responsible for shrinking the deficit post-9/11 but had their efforts foiled by the policies of a Democratic Congress - remember that the still Republican Congress was responsible for the FY07 budget, which followed a trend of shrinking deficits until the deficit doubled in FY08 and more than tripled (relative to FY07) in FY09.

    So the bottom line is that everyone sucks, but in recent history it seems that we perform best fiscally with a Republican Congress and a Democratic president.

  • Proprietist||

    If you remember, a primary criticism of the stimulus (besides those of us arguing it was a gigantic waste of money) was that it didn't spend it's funds immediately (while being marketed as a dire emergency).

    The stimulus in FY2009 didn't spend much relative to the whole budget (about 5%), FY2010 and FY2011-allocated stimulus spending was paid partially out of TARP returns as John correctly points out. This was a crafty bit of budgeting on Obama/the Democrats' part, and I'll willingly blame them for making bad spending year + TARP + Y1 stimulus the new baseline.

    Still, it doesn't change the basis of the argument that spending and size of government basically plateaued (at an absurdly high level) under Obama. It didn't radically ramp up year after year as the narrative insists, especially not compared to the Bush years.

    Now the national debt did grow radically because of both the high spending status quo being maintained by Obama and the radical dropoff in tax receipts.

  • Paul.||

    that all of that is deficit since we were already well into the red by the time he came into office, I suppose.

    Since deficit spending makes the economy grow. We should be going great guns by now.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    FY2010, spending fell 1.8% vs. FY2009 (Bush's last year, where spending rose 17.9%)

    You'd have a point if the budget Bush proposed had been passed by Congress. But it wasn't--the Dems wanted to add another $400 billion extra, and Bush threatened to veto.

    Take out that $400 billion, which Bush didn't want to spend, and he'd have been responsible for $3.1 trillion, not the $3.5 trillion that was actually spent after Obama signed the additional $400 billion into law in the spring of 2009.

    The idea that Obama has radically ramped up spending or size of government is simply absurdity.

    Well, no, it's not:

    Growth of the national debt during Bush's two terms: $4.9 trillion.

    Growth of the national debt during Obama's first term: $5.1 trillion (and growing).

    That's from the dept of the Treasury, btw.

    But there's nothing particularly unique about Obama other than the fact that we're in an economic recession and he's stupidly trying to preserve the status quo.

    No one's saying it's unique--dozens of commenters here have said he's basically been running Bush's third term for years now.

  • Proprietist||

    I don't really blame Bush for the entirety of FY2009's increased spending. It's equally unfair to blame Obama entirely (or even mostly) for FY2009's increased debt.

    "National debt" is not the same as "spending or size of government", as the former also is influenced directly by tax receipts, which took a nosedive while spending more or less stabilized at a radically high status quo based on the last mostly-Bush-approved FY.

    "No one's saying it's unique"

    Actually, John and other Team Red HnRers just said he was radical and unique, right above us.

  • ||

    FY2010, spending fell 1.8% vs. FY2009 (Bush's last year, where spending rose 17.9%)

    Bush was president in 2009?

  • Proprietist||

    FY2009 = mid 2008-mid 2009

  • ||

    The $410 Billion March 2009 spending bill was signed by Obama.

  • Proprietist||

    Even if we could determine that Obama is responsible for, say, 30% of the ridiculous budget for 2009 (and it was probably less than that), it would be unfair to include that year 100% in Obama's debt numbers as the original post argued that I was responding to.

  • Killazontherun||

    FY2010, spending fell 1.8% vs. FY2009 (Bush's last year, where spending rose 17.9%)

    For 21 days in January, or to be more precise less than 1/3 of the fiscal year.

    The reason for the historic deficits is because he has refused to deal with fiscal reality and make cuts in outlays to match the falling tax revenue.

    Looking at the chart for 2000-2010 period:

    http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.....1n#usgs302

    Total revenues never fall. Steady slow growth with the tiniest of farts in one measure out of several for '09.

  • Proprietist||

    A 28% drop in individual income tax receipts and a 89.6% drop in corporate income tax receipts year-over-year between 2008 and 2009 is "the tiniest of farts"?

  • Killazontherun||

    Normalized against 2000 - 12, it appears fairly insignificant actually, because the high revenues of 06 - 08 were an anomaly --

    Total Direct revenue --

    08 -- 2.5 trillion
    09 -- 2.1
    10 -- 2.1
    11 -- 2.3
    12 -- 2.4

    Even in 05 -- the total was 2.15

  • Killazontherun||

    I'm going to have to add a caveat here, the sliding scale used can't possibly equal the same totals of gross. Give me a minute, you are probably right.

  • Spoonman.||

    Who gives a fuck? Obama spends irresponsibly. Bush spent irresponsibly. In fact they're virtually indistinguishable on most issues of importance.

  • Tman||

    I still don't understand how this guy still has a column with his truly batshit insane Trigocalypse obsession.

    Any decent editor would have had to let him go after he went full retard with that whole deal.

  • Chupacabra||

    I guess that none of Newsweek's 5 readers have comlained.

  • Suki||

    And get rear-ended by the EEOC? Are you mad?

  • John||

    Tim,

    You have to remember that Andrew Sullivan is profoundly insane. He should have been shunned from every major publication right after he went birther until he got the help he so desperately needs.

    The last six or seven years of Sullivan's career have been nothing but the media enabling his insanity. By the middle of 08, I stopped looking at this train wreck. It is a real life internet version of Network with Sullivan playing the role of Howard Beale. It is just sad. Sullivan is profoundly ill and disturbed. Don't further enable him by paying attention.

  • ||

    No one has ever taken a picture of him and Mary Stack together at the same time, you know.

  • Brett L||

    Well, see, when you compare him to Charles Johnson, he seems so sane.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    But at least it's a FUN crazy!

  • John||

    The guy is writing in the Atlantic comparing baby bump pictures of Sarah Palin like they were the Zampruter film. And no one ever cut him off or tried to get him help.

  • Zeb||

    Working for Newsweek is pretty close to getting cut off.

  • John||

    This is true.

  • DJF||

    Newsweek is worth every dollar paid for it, all one of them.

  • Raven Nation||

    Zapruder?

  • Mykeuva||

    The m is silent.

  • T||

    It's not nice to pick on the crazy person, Tim.

  • Ska||

    But it is kind of fun....

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    No month has been as bad since and within a year, the US was gaining jobs again. Unemployment remains too high, but it is slowly retreating, as is often the case after a financial panic-caused recession.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, labor participation rates are the lowest they've been in 30 years, indicating that, in fact, people are leaving the work force, not getting jobs.

    Sully's bullshit is so easy to refute, it's amazing he even bothered putting up that turd of a post.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's not going to work. People know the economy is messed up. Lying about it just makes the shilling more obvious than usual.

  • Raven Nation||

    SOME people know the economy is messed up.

    I work with a lot of really smart people ( I mean that sincerely), who read certain papers, listen to certain radio stations. And they KNOW the economy is improving; they KNOW jobs are being added; they KNOW the reason the economy is not growing faster is because (1) Republicans won't let the Dems spend enough money and (2) the fight over the debt ceiling. And there is nothing you can say to persuade them that they are not seeing the whole picture.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Sullivan's wrong, and a douche while being wrong - GUTSY news at 11!

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    But congrats on being in the Sullivan Hate Club, Timmeh! You join a distinguished line of normal human beings.

    Bravo, sir - bravo!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Andrew Sullivan is a cunt.

    It's really that simple.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    I blame Bush

  • Ben the Duck||

    Following the trail so bravely blazed by the permanently impotent (yay, karma!) Larry Flynt, someone ought to Photoshop a pic of Sully going to town on some really wet, messy taco.

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

  • ||

    How is that Karma?

  • Colin||

    Earlier today Sullivan also said we should go full socialist on health care in this country because the free market has failed:

    http://andrewsullivan.thedaily.....f-ctd.html

    Last I checked, you have to try something before you can declare it a failure.

  • Pro Libertate||

    How much free market is left in healthcare? Two percent?

  • Apparently a 'statist'||

    It's not "free-market", but it is as free-market as it gets, and right now US health-care is great for those who can afford, and terrible for the nation.

    It isn't a consumer good or a service - it is as fundamental to a nation as its armed forces or codas of government.

  • R||

    As free market as it gets? You actually said that with a straight face?

  • Apparently a 'statist'||

    It is as free-market as it gets given the rest of the systems found in the world.

    Compared to other OECD nations, the US' is the hardest on the poor and vulnerable, and by far the costliest to the nation. Karma.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Apparently a dumbass.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Re: Alt texts - The woman removed from Sullivan's graphic was Julia. She died when the Republicans took the House.

  • Xenocles||

    Then why are we so concerned about her now?

  • Sudden||

    Clearly, the result of the GOP war on wimmenz and denial of basic reproductive health products.

  • John||

    And it should be mentioned on any thread involving Andrew Sullivan.

    Sullivan made his reputation in the 1990s moralizing about how we needed to have gay marriage so gay men would stop their disgusting promiscuity and get married and live a normal life. He basically made his reputation being a moral scold towards gay men. Later, he was found to be running personal ads for anonymous bareback anal sex.

    yeah, Sullivan really is that much of a hypocrite and a fake. And that was before he went insane.

  • Xenocles||

    Well, see? He clearly needed the good moral influence of access to marriage.

  • Paul.||

    So he's the Warren Buffet of gay men? "Marry me before I have promiscuous sex again!"

  • Hugh Akston||

    Timmy, you just don't get it. Obama is playing a chess game in dimensions you can't even comprehend.

    Every thing he does that looks like it proceeds from malice, cowardice, or just plain incompetence is actually a shrewdly calculated move toward the ultimate salvation of the Republic.

    No matter how many pieces Obama loses, he does so with the endgame in sight.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Also, isn't Sullivan the guy who called the President a gaywad?

  • wef||

    Why, Cavanaugh, why? Why respond to this deeply servile, power-worshiping lewinsky?

  • ||

    I voted for Obama in 2008

    Hoisted with your own petard eh Cavanaugh?

  • db||

    Did anyone recognize Tim Cavanaugh from this video?

    I heard he's on the lam after taking down Andrew Sullivan in the Monroeville Mall.

  • ||

    Hold on there, db. The Monroeville Mall is sacred ground. You wouldn't catch me disturbing the holiness of the place.

  • db||

    I think you SF'd the link, Tim. Not surprising, as you are posting while on the lam. Did you injure your hand during the beatdown?

  • Paul.||

    That's how sacred the mall is. You aren't high enough in the heirarchy to see what Tim posted.

    Tim, I thought your link was awesome!

  • ||

    here is why it is sacred:

    George Romero was able to cut a deal allowing his sequel, titled Dawn of the Dead, to be filmed at the mall that had originally inspired the script. On November 13, 1977, filming began at Monroeville Mall. The crew had to wait for the mall to close for business before they could start shooting. The production held a nightly graveyard shift throughout all filming at the mall. All daylight scenes featuring the mall were shot shortly after sunrise, prior to the mall opening for business. The production temporarily shut down production for the month of December due to the prominent Christmas displays that altered the appearance of the mall interior. Following the holidays, production resumed and eventually wrapped in February of 1978.

  • db||

    Well, yes. Of course that's why it's sacred. But the link didn't work for me.

    I feel like I might need to make time to re-watch DotD again this weekend.

  • Ben the Duck||

    I voted for Obama in 2008

    Some folks are simply invulnerable to shame.

  • ||

    Tim, Sullivan doesn't care if he's wrong. The people who read him can't be described as critical thinkers, they're cheerleaders. He writes what they want to hear, no matter how stupid that might be.

  • Mo||

    I’d like to take "soaring inflation" and "moribund economy" together: Sullivan posts two charts, one showing GDP growth averaging flat-or-flattish since 2007, and another showing inflation in every quarter except one. During that period, inflation has been a cumulative 10.97, according to a Koch-funded rightwing hate group called the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    So now all positive inflation is "soaring inflation"? From 1997-2012, cumulative inflation was 12.1%, from 87 to 92 cumulative inflation was 23.5%, from 82 to 87 it was 17.7%. Soaring inflation is what we had during the Carter years. Cumulative inflation from 77 to 82 was 59.2%. As you can see, 10.97% cumulative inflation over a 5 year period is low, not soaring.

  • John||

    I think Tim reached on the inflation bit. But the rest was dead on.

  • Sudden||

    Only if you read inflation strictly as price increases. If you just look at as its literal definition: increase in the money supply, inflation is greater than it ever has been. However, given the massive deleveraging that has occurred, it hasn't caught up to prices. At some point, it will. And chances are that it will be too late at that juncture to reign it in.

  • Mo||

    Inflation is defined as the rise in the general level of prices. Money supply is related to inflation, but they're not tightly linked. You can have a growing money supply and deflation if the money supply is growing at a slower pace than the general economy is growing.

  • Voros McCracken||

    "Inflation is defined as the rise in the general level of prices."

    That is one definition but not the only one, and IIRC not the historical one either.

  • Mo||

    Well, now most people speak of an increase in the money supply as a monetary inflation. But monetary inflation in a vacuum doesn't tell you much about what's going on in an economy,

  • Invisible Finger||

    NOTHING in a vacuum would tell you much about what's going on in an economy. That includes cumulative CPI, which since the mid-70's has removed sectors from the prices it measures to keep the number smaller.

    Basically, you're posting historical CPI from the 70's and the 00's for comparison proves you don't know what you're talking about.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Inflation is defined as the rise in the general level of prices.

    No it isn't. You should try to read more than one economist.

  • ||

    If the rate of inflation is not relative to how much money Americans have in their purses, what should we relate it to?

  • Alan Vanneman||

    So Obama was elected in 2007, huh? He is one sneaky son of a bitch.

  • Paul.||

    No, Obama was elected in 2000. But then he was going by the name George W. Bush. Get it?

  • ||

    So it is fault of the "Bush recession"?

    Wrong.

    Obama's Deficit spending at debts of over 80% of GDP provides a double whammy of gutting 2% from GDP and causing soaring inflation.

    Here is a link:

    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org.....ic-growth/

    Note: Yeah it is a CATO link but the link has a whole bunch of other links to less controversial institutions like the World Bank that have studies showing that a high level of deficit spending slows economic growth

  • Spiny Norman||

    It's not a purse. It's European.

  • Mo||

    "Soaring" inflation implies rising at a high rate, not just increasing at a low, predictable rate. If all inflation is soaring, then no inflation is soaring. Also, unless Americans are keeping their money in jars in their back yard or all in savings account, they can easily and safely hedge against inflation through all sorts of vehicles, such as TIPS, bonds, equities, etc.

  • ||

    Well it is true that Americans are now saving at a lower rate than they were during the "negative savings rate" binge of the mid-00s. And by the way, if a stock had increased 10 percent, predictably, over the course of the recession, you can bet some Henry Blodget out there would say the stock was "soaring."

  • Mo||

    If the stock went up 10% a year, the stock would be soaring. If the stock went up 10% over 5 year, no one credible would say it was soaring.

    If inflation was averaging 10% a year instead of 2% a year, I would agree with you that it's soaring.

  • BruceMajor||

    I doubt it is just that he is astounded at your ignorance of Obama's successes, as demonstrated in the graph a Nancy Pelosi staffer produced to ease the labor of WSJ bloggers and MSNBC presenters.

    I think he is mad that you didn't interview him. He's jealous of StarChild. Oh sorry, I mean LNC member StarChild.

  • Mo||

    Calling the inflation bit a reach is generous. I think he reached on saying that Obama "gave" us a high unemployment rate, as it was inherited (U-3 today is lower than U-3 in February 2009). He is 100% spot on regarding to the crappy energy policy, lackluster recovery and record setting deficits.

  • John||

    It isn't much lower. And February of 2009 was the height of the recession. Three years and one "recovery" later, Obama, not Bush, owns that unemployment rate. Had Obama been anything but incompetent and we had anything like the recoveries we have had after past recession, the UE rate would be much lower. So the proper way to judge the UE rate is not as compared to 2009. But instead, as compared to the rate this far into every other recovery. And by that measure Obama is the worst President since Hoover.

  • Mo||

    Agree with everything you wrote. I just think "didn't put a dent in high unemployment" would be more accurate than "gave". Not that Sullivan's act of calling the kettle black has any merit.

  • Apparently a 'statist'||

    "Had Obama been anything but incompetent and we had anything like the recoveries we have had after past recession, the UE rate would be much lower."

    We actually have to shave off one percent of unemployment just to remove undeserved blame for reduced public payrolls. That's on states, not on Obama.

  • Spiny Norman||

    Sure, he may have reached on some of it, but remember that he's writing his columns and doing all of his research on his laptop at that cafe, where he lives entirely on a diet of nachos. So cut him some slack.

  • Apparently a 'statist'||

    "crappy energy policy"

    Is there a statistic here you are upset about? Nebraska farmers opposed that pipeline, if that's what you are whining about.

    "record setting deficits"

    Less revenue does that.

    I wonder if any stimulus hater can actually explain how things would have righted themselves on their own if Obama had adhered to libertarian metaphysics.

  • ||

    The flaw in your thinking is that the government magically controls the economy. It does not. The economy is not a thing. It is millions of people making individual decisions.

    Governments can take no credit for the incredible increase in the standard of living over the last 100 years. It's what governments did NOT do that led to that increase.

    It's not that

    things would have righted themselves on their own if Obama had adhered to libertarian metaphysics


    People would have gone on about their business doing things that they needed to do.

  • Apparently a 'statist'||

    "Governments can take no credit for the incredible increase in the standard of living over the last 100 years. It's what governments did NOT do that led to that increase."

    Interesting claim. Probably not provable.

    "People would have gone on about their business doing things that they needed to do."

    Going into a complete economic hole is plausibly even worse for decision-making than government interference.

    Libertarians and the far right unfortunately go hand-in-hand: Libertarians remove the social safety net, destroy all things collective and generally allow economic elites to accumulate so much power that meritocracy is shot to hell. Then the far-right steps in, takes advantage of the panic and fear caused by economic bubbles and households being destroyed by health-care costs etc. and blames blah people with their food stamps and birth control pills and of course the gays and Kenyan socialists.

  • ||

    Il Principe has two ways of taking money out of the economy - taxing, and borrowing. Without the government borrowing buckets of cash, the greedy capitalists who had all that cash would not have left it stagnant for long. That cash in action is one of the things that would have led us out of the recession.

    Instead that money went to the government where it wasn't even spent in ways Keynesians would advise. It was pissed away on political pandering. And now we have to pay it back. With interest.

  • brec||

    I second (or third, or fourth...) the demurrer on "soaring" inflation.

  • ||

    I say Tim is right.

    Or do you think gas prices are $4 a gallon with demand at 1997 levels and record inventories for reasons other then the devalued dollar?

    If not for Obama million helicopter money drops we would be seeing prices drop not rise.

  • ||

    Remember: When food and energy costs go up, that's not inflation, that's just you spending twice what you used to pay for the same amount of stuff you literally cannot live without.

  • Ben the Duck||

    Remember: When food and energy costs go up, that's not inflation, that's just you spending twice what you used to pay for the same amount of stuff you literally cannot live without.

    You've just summed up the entirety of Paul Krugman's collected, magical thinking-based gibberings, re: "stimulus," in one admirably concise sentence.

    I genuinely don't know whether to fear you or admire you.

  • Mo||

    Last I checked, people spent their money on more than just food and energy and both are included in their weight in the typical basket in those BLS inflation numbers you linked to (since you linked to CPI rather than core).

  • Apparently a 'statist'||

    And not applying the stimulus would have had no negative effects?

    Wow, Obama must really hate the US.

  • Mo||

    That ignores that global oil consumption is about 20% higher than it was in 1997. The US isn't the only country that uses oil and oil trades on a global market.

  • Old Mexican||

    Sullivan is, as always, wrong.


    You could have begun the whole post with that, accompanied by a succinct "and he sucks eggs, too!" to spare us from the misery of reading all those recaps. Everybody here knows the guy is dishonest and an ass.

  • ||

    You are wearing the same shirt as Sullivan....

  • Killazontherun||

    Every year the Obama administration submitted a budget with a ridiculous load of spending attached. Every year it got shot down. Anyone ever calculated how much the spending would be if those budgets were adapted? Or, he gets a freebie here because no one took his team's budgets seriously?

  • ||

    I came in here thinking this called for congratulations! In fact, that's still my position. Congratulations Tim, on being somebody who got on Sullivan's nerves.

  • cthorm||

    Tim,

    I said it on twitter and I need to say it again. In the name of Reason, talk to Veronique a bit about inflation. She is spot on. Inflation has been FAR too low since 2007. The 10% cumulative you cited is even an overstatement because of the odd definition the BLS uses for housing costs (rental equivalent, not housing prices like Case-Schiller. Housing prices are down something like 30-50% while rents are UP). We are going through the same mishandling of the economy today as the Fed did from 1929-1933. People wouldn't give a rat's ass that they're paying more for gasoline if unemployment was low and wages were rising.

    Now this isn't to say that Obama has done anything to help the situation. The stimulus package is the exact opposite of what he should have done. We should have put in place deep permanent spending cuts, reformed labor laws, and fixed long term structural issues (like a bad health care market structure, which he only made worse), while the Fed kept nominal spending (i.e. real GDP and inflation) steadily growing.

  • ||

    People wouldn't give a rat's ass that they're paying more for gasoline if unemployment was low and wages were rising

    Rising employment means wages are rising as well, right? Supply and demand don't work in this scenario, right?

  • Suki||

    I voted for Obama in 2008, and documented that vote more than once.

    So it is your fault!

  • Brian L.||

    General economic comment:

    Does anyone remember their feelings on the economy during the 2000-2006 era? I remember the reporting roughly as recession from 2000-2005 and a completely unreported "recovery" (although we now know that was built on yet another bubble) from 2005 to 2008.

    Now it seems to be the opposite, with the declaration of premature recoveries and a consistent positive spin on all economic numbers.

    Funny that.

  • RandyC||

    Stagflation?

    Seriously, I'm sorry, you people are at the heart of our problems. Let's repeat: Republican/Libertarian ideology brings us high deficits. It's just an historical fact. You've seen the charts, right?

    You've seen the CBO's "fiscal cliff" report, right?

    Seriously, what is wrong with you people?

    Mann and Ornstein are right: let's face it, it's the GOP's fault. And that includes you. You know who you are.

    Gads.

  • ||

    Let's repeat: Republican/Libertarian ideology brings us high deficits.

    Very funny. Especially the part about including Libertarian ideology. I would assume that one of the first orders of business that any libertarian would promote if given title of dictator is to decrease spending and get rid of any debt.

  • Mark F.||

    Inflation is not "soaring," unless you find the government's figures to be totally bogus. Sure, prices are going up in some areas, but they are also dropping in others.

  • ||

    unless you find the government's figures to be totally bogus

    Very funny.

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