Economics

Capitalism No Longer in "Favor" After 15 Largely Uninterrupted Years of Growth and Job Creation

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Expect to see a whole lot more like this, from the news pages of your morning paper:

Former senator Phil Gramm, with his aw-shucks Texas drawl, may at first blush have little in common with Carly Fiorina, the telegenic former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard. But they share a bond: Both are leading economic advisers of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the presumptive Republican nominee for president, and both have reputations as the kind of aggressive capitalists that may be sliding from favor as the nation's economy edges toward recession.

Democratic opponents are already plotting attacks on two advocates of what Robert Reich, a former Clinton labor secretary, described as "dog eat dog capitalism," an economic philosophy that works well when the economy is on the upswing but may not play so well in a trough.

I shudder to imagine what will happen to capitalism's wobbly reputation when unemployment creeps above 5.0%.

For an actually literate take on McCain's economic team, I'll again recommend the Weekly Standard's Andrew Ferguson.

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  1. Fiorina is best remembered as having darn near killed HP; why would Mc (or anyone) tap her for advice?

  2. In truth,the economy has been quite good since around 1983.Growing up in the late 60’s and 70’s I know what a bad economy looks like.Yet,we always got by and at times prospered.Maybe were spoiled.

  3. Fiorina is best remembered as having darn near killed HP; why would Mc (or anyone) tap her for advice?

    Well she was a master of shameless self-promotion …

  4. Capitalism is so pass?. It doesn’t make me feel good about myself because I don’t get to have the self satisfaction of changing everyone’s lives through central planning. European economies, with near 10% unemployment rates, have the right idea because they care about everybody!

  5. “dog eat dog capitalism”

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. Get ready for the new anti-capitalist buzz-phrase. You know, because a voluntary exchange of goods and services is just like a dog eating another dog.

    Some people are so stupid you have to wonder if it’s painful.

  6. Do not confuse capitalism with “corporatism” – which is falling out of favor along with conservatism. When Cheney tells the utility industry that their clean air infractions (New Source review) will be ignored that is the latter – not the former. Capitalism will do just fine.

  7. I am aware that dogs aren’t exactly finicky eaters, but do they actually eat each other?

  8. You know, because a voluntary exchange of goods and services is just like a dog eating another dog.

    Well, he’s doing something to his ass. He’s not “kicking” his ass. But he’s definitely doing something to his ass.

    /Cartman

  9. dog eat dog

    Didn’t Ayn Rand say, at least 40 years ago, that that stupid expression was applicable neither to humans nor dogs? She forgot about that other species: Democrat planners.

  10. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Reich considers all capitalism to be of the dog-eat-dog variety, but is referring to a specific set of capitalistic strategies that he disapproves of.

  11. I’m surprised the PC brigades haven’t objected to the phrase “dog eat dog” as a slur on connoisseurs of certain Asian cuisines.

  12. We are so fucked.
    Is there any possibility a Dem congress and disillusioned American public could break President McCain’s impulse to occupy all of terra firma? Because I don’t see any way Dem POTUS + Dem congress = anything other than economic depression.

  13. Mc might just as well have retained Rebecca Mark-Jusbasche. She managed to get out of her ventures with considerably more lucre than Fiorina waltzed off with.

    “Well she was a master of shameless self-promotion …” seems to apply to this one as well; yep, perfect qualification!

  14. The last time we had a Democratic Congress and and a Democratic POTUS was 1993-1995. There was a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth about the coming depression back then, too. I recall Newt Gingrich talking about soup lines on the floor of Congress. Not a single Republican supported their economic plan.

    So…

    …uh…

    …how’d that go?

    Economic conservatives display the same unmoored certainty of their innate supiority in economic policy that neoconservatives displayed towards the Iraq War. Of course we know better; we’re the conservatives.

    And no real-world evidence is ever going to convince them otherwise.

  15. …described as “dog eat dog capitalism,” an economic philosophy that works well when the economy is on the upswing but may not play so well in a trough.

    If by “dog eat dog” they mean aggressive competition for work, then it’s more “dog eat dog” during a trough than during an upswing. It’s just simple a economic principle that Mr. Reich clearly doesn’t understand:

    Less Work (Supply) + Equal or Greater # of Companies (Demand) = More aggressive pursuit of Work (Higher Value of Item)

  16. Yes, that’s it, precisely. The reason Professor Reich disagrees with you about economic policy is because he doesn’t know about Teh Demand Kurv.

  17. even academics are subject to their own egos

  18. …So… …how’d that go?

    So well that the American voters made sure the D majority was gone after next election.

  19. Bzzt.

    The correct answer is “it was followed by the longest period of peacetime economic growth in American history.”

    Half the country thought it would send us into a recession – the right half – and they were wrong.

    You REALLY want to make this a popularity contest, Penguin? REALLY?

  20. joe,

    Sadly, Bill Clinton seems to have been far more of an economic conservative than George W Bush. What the last 7 years have proven is that out of control spending and bad Fed policy is a recipie for problems, plus a trillion dollars in foriegn wars that have done nothing but drive up the price of oil. And 200,000 soliders who are busy blowing shit up overseas instead of producing goods and services domestically. And overall, we’re still in pretty good shape, I would argue in spite of our governments, not because of them.

    Bill Clinton also had, for a brief time, the line item veto. Something that I think ought to be brought back.

  21. I will give Bill Clinton credit for not fucking up the thing with the greatest impact on how we live and do business since perhaps the railroad.

  22. The American electorate woke up in the late 90’s just in time to write legislation to prevent gays from kissing.

    Balanced budgets? – Fuck that shit.

  23. It’s depressing that W makes me long for the days of Slick Willie. I’m going out for a latte. I’ll do my part to stimulate the local economy.

  24. The economy’s growing, but the average American hasn’t seen any benefit during the Bush Administration. There have been “hidden” benefits to those whose employers pay for health insurance. They’ve been protected from the effects of inflating medical costs in lieu of getting raises. But now the economy is slowing down, so people are going to start losing their jobs.

    Furthermore, “above average” Americans who invest in the stock market have accounts that, even with eight years of dividends and capital gains, are lower than they were in 1999. Meanwhile, the folks at Bear Stearns pay themselves eight-figure bonuses and then demand that the government bail them out when they run their company into the ground. It’s not too surprising that people have a “what have you done for me lately?” attitude.

    Devotees of capitalism like me have to figure out ways to save capitalism from both the socialists and the capitalists.

  25. Damn, shrike, you need to hand out epi pens if you’re going to drop snark like that. Medic!

  26. Bzzt.

    The correct answer is “it was followed by the longest period of peacetime economic growth in American history.”

    Bwaa haa haa haa ha ha
    Oh yeah, the Republican class of 94 sweeping out both houses of congress, and Bill Clinton doing an about face adopting Republican initiatives like balanced budget and welfare reform as his own, had NOOOOOTHIIIIING to do with it.

    AAAHH HA HA HA HA
    You crack me up joe. There truly is nothing you won’t say in defense of team blue.

  27. joe – Popularity contests? I was just trusting in democracy, joe.

    Anyway, your assertion that the entire 1993-2001 economy was due to the Dems having both Congress & the WH for all of two years is disingenuous, and you know it.

  28. Oops. Went to get some food and Warren beat me to it.

  29. I was just trusting in democracy, joe.

    Democracy can’t tell you what’s right. It’s a good idea anyway.

    Anyway, your assertion that the entire 1993-2001 economy was due to the Dems having both Congress & the WH… exists nowhere outside of your imagination.

    I refuted an assertion about the effect of Democratic policies on the economy; I didn’t make one anywhere.

  30. Bill Clinton doing an about face adopting Republican initiatives like balanced budget…

    Bill Clinton followed the budget deal struck between Bush the Elder and the Democratic Congress both before and after the Republicans took Congress.

    All the forced laughter in the intertubez doesn’t change that fact.

  31. Welfare reform, of course, had nothing whatsoever to do with GDP growth.

  32. “In truth,the economy has been quite good since around 1983.Growing up in the late 60’s and 70’s I know what a bad economy looks like.Yet,we always got by and at times prospered.Maybe were spoiled.”

    That is the problem. There are two many people who are either too young to remember or have forgotten how bad the late 60s and 70s were. We know what high taxes and regulation do to an economy. We lived through it in the 1970s when both parties embraced the lunacy and we can see it in the high unemployment and lousy growth rates of Europe. But, people won’t beleive their lying eyes.

    What scares me is that high taxes and high regulation since they manage to justify themselves through their own failure, can very easily turn into a death spiral whereby the taxes and regulation cause unemployment and economic misery which in turn is used as justification for further government action.

  33. Joe,

    Obama was listed as the most liberal member of the Senate. He is opposed to lower taxes. He wants to undo NAFTA and is opposed to further trade deals. What things did Clinton do well that helped create the economy of the late 1990s? He passed NAFTA, welfare reform, and cut the top tax rates in 1995. Obama has come out against all of those policies. If Obama were anything but a conventional liberal and was actually trying to triangulate and work with the saner members of his party and the Republicans on economic matters, you might have a point. But as it is, Obama is nothing like Clinton.

  34. Obama was listed as the most liberal member of the Senate. by one magazine, which looked only at the time period he was campaigning for the Democratic nomination. Not terribly compelling. He hasn’t even introduced a single payer, or even universal, health care plan, and he’s supposed to be more liberal than Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy, or Barbara Boxer? Anyone with a passing familiarity with national politics knows how absurd that is.

    He is opposed to lower taxes. Actually, he’s proposed a bid middle class tax cut. But don’t let that get in the way of a good story.

    He wants to undo NAFTA and is opposed to further trade deals. No, he wants to amend NAFTA with labor and environmental standards, and wants to pass additional trade deals, like the Peru free trade deal he voted for.

    What things did Clinton do well that helped create the economy of the late 1990s? Nothing. He stayed out of the way, tended to the government fiscal state, and the private sector drove strong growth.

    But while we’re applauding 90s-era tax policy, let’s be clear: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s economic plans both amount to a retutn to 90s-era tax policy.

  35. “Devotees of capitalism like me have to figure out ways to save capitalism from both the socialists and the capitalists.”

    The first thing to do is figure out WHO knows what they are talking about.

    “Socialists” like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, the Google guys, and George Soros?

    Or “capitalists” like your average right-wing radio hack?

    Its a tough call.

  36. We were doomed when those running on the fiscally conservative platform figured out that they’d continue to get voted for even if they spent us in to oblivion, and they could spend money BOTH on the policies the Democrats want AND on the policies their constituents want.

    Bipartisan efforts to solve your problems!

  37. Obama voted against CRAFTA. It is clear he would have never voted for NAFTA as currently constituted. He says that he would amend NAFTA but he can’t amend it without the consent of Canada and Mexico and that won’t happen without giving concessions to their interests. What is Obama going to trade to get those consessions or is he just lying? That is the typical populist two step of “I would love to have trade but I won’t do it without putting in poison pill environmental provisions to ensure it never happens”

    As far as middle class “tax cuts”. First, randomly cutting taxes to favored people is no different than throwing money out of an airplane. You need to cut taxes in such a way that it encourages people to work hard and invest. Tax cuts for the “middle class” do the opposite by punishing said middle class through higher taxes whenever they manage to make too much money. Further, Bill Clinton campaigned on middle class tax cuts in 1992 and immediately reputiated them once he was elected. Democrats always claim that and they never follow through. I have little reason to beleive that Obama is not just lying when about that just like Clinton did.

    Yes Obama has not come out for universal one payer healthcare. But no one is crazy enough to support that these days. He hasn’t come out for maditory wage and price controls either.

  38. “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!!”

    Isn’t Carly Fiorina the retarded promotion monkey who is famous for a coffee stain logo and for turning one of the most respected companies in America into an also-ran with a “screw the customer” reputation?

  39. What we need is some kind of anti dog-eat-dog rule. This will prevent “destructive competition” between railroads.

  40. “Isn’t Carly Fiorina the retarded promotion monkey who is famous for a coffee stain logo and for turning one of the most respected companies in America into an also-ran with a “screw the customer” reputation?”

    Pretty much yes, although her purchase of COMPAC has been vindicated. HP can make money selling computers. At the time she was derided for the decision because everyone said HP could only make money selling printers and cameras and the like. Overall she was a dismal failure as a CEO and got a 20+ million dollar buyout for her trouble.

  41. That will get the Phoenix-Durango out of Colorado.

  42. What makes you think environmental and labor standards are “poison pills,” John? They didn’t kill the Peru agreement.

    Ah, walking back the “against tax cuts” line, too. Once upon a time, he was opposed to tax cuts; now, he doesn’t support the RIGHT tax cuts. OK.

    Tax cuts for the “middle class” do the opposite by punishing said middle class through higher taxes whenever they manage to make too much money. That is precisely, to the word, what Republicans were saying about Clinton’s 1993 economic bill which, contrary to your assertion, cut middle-class taxes while raising them on the upper brackets. What followed was not only the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history, but a dramatic increase in worker productivity.

    Yes Obama has not come out for universal one payer healthcare. But no one is crazy enough to support that these days. As a matter of fact, about twenty sitting US Senators have come out for a single-payer health care plan. Obama is not among them.

  43. Furthermore, “above average” Americans who invest in the stock market have accounts that, even with eight years of dividends and capital gains, are lower than they were in 1999.

    Then they are doing something wrong. Really, really wrong. Despite the money I lost in Tech stocks and forgetting to sell my WaMu stock before it crashed (I forgot I even owned it), Im well up since 1999. Even adjusting for inflation.

  44. joe

    Welfare reform, of course, had nothing whatsoever to do with GDP growth.

    I find it very, very unlikely that any policy of that size could have absolutely no effect whatsoever on GDP. Not even a 2 cent change, huh?

    Negligible, maybe. None, impossible.

  45. robc,

    It was a miniscule reform, in terms of the size of the dollar values involved; and even then, it wasn’t a stimulatory reform. Whatever its virtues, they lie elsewhere.

  46. John,

    He says that he would amend NAFTA but he can’t amend it without the consent of Canada and Mexico and that won’t happen without giving concessions to their interests. What is Obama going to trade to get those consessions or is he just lying?

    Oh, just a stab in the dark here, continued US participation in NAFTA.

    What percentage of the three economies is taken up by the US?

    Another concession might involve, of I don’t know, US farm subsidies…

    But that would be a bad thing, right?

  47. joe,

    If welfare reform got even one person to work that wouldnt have otherwise, it probably helped the economy. Well, 1 probably would have been a net loss, but you know what I mean.

    The fact that is wasnt designed to be a stimulatory reform didnt mean it didnt do it anyway. The Law of Unintended Consequences applies to everything. It can even be good sometimes.

  48. Oh, just a stab in the dark here, continued US participation in NAFTA.

    Without reading the nafta agreement, I dont know if that is an option. Treaties are forever (unless they specifically have a time limit in them).

    Another concession might involve, of I don’t know, US farm subsidies…

    That would be nice, but I figure he would want to win in Iowa next time around.

  49. The correct answer is “it was followed by the longest period of peacetime economic growth in American history.”

    Yes, it lasted until the invasion of Haiti.

  50. Ha! I TOLD you!

  51. More on point regarding NAFTA,

    Canada would like us to lower tariffs on lumber.

    We could probably get them on board with something along those lines.

    Mexico wants easier access to our highways for their truckers.

    We might be able to trade that access for tighter vehicle standards in Mexico.

    Many small details like that can lead to an improved agreement.

    NAFTA is not a free trade agreement.
    It is a trade agreement.
    We can, theoretically at least, make it more free at the same time we ask for restrictions on labor and the environment.

    We can, at least, make it no less free while getting those concessions.

    Without reading the nafta agreement, I dont know if that is an option. Treaties are forever (unless they specifically have a time limit in them).

    Surely you jest.
    Treaties from the past are superseded by newer agreements all the time.

    And the US has recently (wrongly I think, but…) unilaterally pulled out of treaties.

    There would be consequences for pulling out, but to say that we couldn’t do it is silly.


  52. Treaties from the past are superseded by newer agreements all the time.

    This is obvious. You suggested that we could threaten to pull out though, not just adjust the agreement.

    And the US has recently (wrongly I think, but…) unilaterally pulled out of treaties.

    I agree with you here, it is wrong, with the exception of treaties with the Soviet Union, which we can pull out of, because it know longer exists.

    There would be consequences for pulling out, but to say that we couldn’t do it is silly.

    If you have the biggest army in the world, there are lots of things you CAN do, but I wasnt assuming a Might makes Right scenario here.

    We can nuke Toronto until Canada agrees to changes too. I just wasnt considering that in the list of reasonable alternatives.

  53. What followed was not only the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history, but a dramatic increase in worker productivity.

    Actually, what followed was the biggest Republican sweep in modern history. Then the Internet came into widespread use, and that along with the end of the Cold War and greatly increased global trade created the prosperity that has continued ever since.

    The economy does best when politicians allow free markets to function competitively.

    And the US has recently (wrongly I think, but…) unilaterally pulled out of treaties

    Such as?

  54. What is Obama going to trade to get those consessions or is he just lying?

    I don’t know. How is John McCain going to pay for his larger military? Higher taxes? Deficit spending? Cuts elsewhere in the military budget? Cuts to other parts of the budget?

    These are both fair questions, but a reasonable person does not, when observing that a candidate is highlighting what he considers a priority without going into how intends to balance that out, conclude that the candidate is therefore running around with pants on fire.

  55. joe,

    but a reasonable person does not, when observing that a candidate is highlighting what he considers a priority without going into how intends to balance that out, conclude that the candidate is therefore running around with pants on fire.

    Based on past history of politicians, that is exactly what a reasonable person would do. Only unreasonable persons would assume a politician is telling the truth.

  56. Actually, what followed was the biggest Republican sweep in modern history.

    This is a discussion of economic policy and economic performance. The popularity of a bill when passed doesn’t actually illuminate its economic effects very well.

    Then the Internet came into widespread use, and that along with the end of the Cold War and greatly increased global trade created the prosperity that has continued ever since.

    Quite right. And those who predicted that the Democratic economic policy would derail this process are just a few meters away from you on the scrap heap of history, Karl. Because their understanding of economics, like yours, has been proven faulty by subsequent events.

  57. robc,

    http://www.sice.oas.org/Trade/NAFTA/chap-22.asp#A2205

    Article 2205: Withdrawal

    A Party may withdraw from this Agreement six months after it provides written notice of withdrawal to the other Parties. If a Party withdraws, the Agreement shall remain in force for the remaining Parties.

  58. Only unreasonable persons would assume a politician is telling the truth.

    An unreasonable person would make an assumption, based on lazilty applying some rule of thumb, without considering the facts and evidence available about how that candidate has acted while in office. Said unreasonable people come in two flavors – those who reflexively believe every word, and those who reflexively disbelieve every word.

    A particularly unreasonable person would take this step further and believe every word he agrees with, and disbelieve every word he dislikes. (Or vice-versa, depending on the party of the candidate and of the unreasonable person).

    A reasonable person, on the other hand, knows not to base his understanding purely on what politicians say, but on what they have done.

  59. but a reasonable person does not, when observing that a candidate is highlighting what he considers a priority without going into how intends to balance that out, conclude that the candidate is therefore running around with pants on fire.

    I should add, EXCEPT RON PAUL, WHO IS JUST THE GINCHIEST!

  60. robc,

    I agree with you here, it is wrong, with the exception of treaties with the Soviet Union, which we can pull out of, because it know longer exists.

    Or with the nations of the various Native American tribes right?

    😉

  61. NM,

    Only the tribes that no longer exist. I consider it a stain on american history that we pulled out of treaties with still existent tribes. If you dont like the treaty, exterminate them, dont just cancel it. 🙂

    That may be the first time I put a smiley after a genocide comment.

  62. An unreasonable person would make an assumption, based on lazilty applying some rule of thumb,

    laziness is very reasonable. Not being lazy is hard.

    Laziness is even one of the “three virtues” of the PERL programmer (the other two being impatience and hubris).

  63. You’ve got me there, robc.

  64. That may be the first time I put a smiley after a genocide comment.

    May be?

    But back to the point.

    I would be surprised at any modern treaty that doesn’t spell out how it can be altered or what conditions for withdrawal are.

    (see nafta above)

  65. I hope that I’m not branded as a despoiler of purity, but aren’t cycles of up and down, boom and bust characteristic of industrial capitalism? Would not a wise government employ fiscal policies in down times and regulation in up times to smooth out these cycles? Being laid off or going broke are kind of tough on people even if we can be fairly certain that good times are just ten years away.
    None of the above should be interpreted as meaning that I don’t think that Hayek is the greatest ever or that I think that our current government (R’s and D’s)can be trusted to pour piss out a boot.

  66. Actually, he’s proposed a bid middle class tax cut.

    I suppose it depends what you mean by “middle class” and “tax cut.” Do provide us with details, joe.

    As far as cutting taxes goes, Obama is on record (1) opposing the extension of the Bush tax cuts and (2) raising capital gains taxes by 60%.

  67. slugger,

    This got discussed in another thread a while back, but the question I asked then was:

    Would a smoother economy with stead growth and no boom/busts be better or worse in the the long run? I cant prove it, but I think it would be worse. Then again, I have a tendency to end posts on this topic with:

    Hail Eris!

  68. Milton Friedman opposed the Bush tax cuts, fyi.

  69. I trust you can find you way to BarackObama dot com and click on the issues link if you are actually interested, RC.

  70. As far as cutting taxes goes, Obama is on record (1) opposing the extension of the Bush tax cuts and (2) raising capital gains taxes by 60%.

    In other words, not even the talking points you’ve managed to crib refute the observation that he has proposed a middle class tax cut.

    What do you think we can conclude from that?

  71. How is John McCain going to pay for his larger military? Higher taxes? Deficit spending? Cuts elsewhere in the military budget? Cuts to other parts of the budget?

    Well said, however, I have never seen any evidence that Obama has called for cutting the military or scaling back on our world empire (except half-heartedly in Iraq). If he has, please enlighten me.

  72. Phil Gramm. . . leading economic adviser of Sen. John McCain.

    Great. The lightweight leg of the Gramm-Rudmann-Hollings Triumvirate of suck is advising McCain on economics. There are worse choices, but that’s a bit like saying there were worse generals than Custer – true, but little comfort to those around him.

  73. This is a discussion of economic policy and economic performance. The popularity of a bill when passed doesn’t actually illuminate its economic effects very well.

    Not the point. Given that its sponsors no longer controlled Congress, the economy’s later performance might be better attributed to their successors’ actions, such as welfare reform, NAFTA, and a general reluctance to raise taxes/spending (remember the gov’t shutdown?).

    And those who predicted that the Democratic economic policy would derail this process are just a few meters away from you on the scrap heap of history, Karl.

    Actually, its sponsors are closer to my ideological scrap heap than those who predicted it would hurt the economy — which it probably did.

  74. Robert Reich. He’s not a socialist. . .technically. While I think capitalism as currently practiced has plenty that can be criticized, he’s got a vision that does away with the system altogether. Just a day or two ago, he told me on NPR how we just needed more regulation. Much more.

    Die Proletarier haben nichts in ihr zu verlieren als ihre Ketten. Sie haben eine Welt zu gewinnen. Proletarier aller L?nder, vereinigt euch!

  75. The Germans brought us Communism and Nazism. I think the world deserves an apology. Since I’m half-German, I’d consider apologizing, but my German ancestors came here pre-Marx and pre-Hitler.

  76. In other words, not even the talking points you’ve managed to crib refute the observation that he has proposed a middle class tax cut.

    Obama’s on record opposing the extension of actual tax cuts, and has proposed raising the capital gains tax to 25%. If those are talking points, they are his, not mine.

    I’m still waiting to hear the details of this “middle class” “tax cut.”

  77. No, you’re not.

    If you were actually interested in the details, you would have gone to the web site by now, and looked them up. The fact that you haven’t is a large, blinking sign that flashes between “willfully ignorant” and “arguing in bad faith.”

    You don’t give a flying fuck about the details of Obama’s tax plan. You’ve demonstrated that already. All you need to know is his political party, and sadly, that’s enough for you to not only draw a conclusion about who to vote for, but to oppose policies without having even a passing familiarity with them.

    So, what, I go to the web site for you, copy the text, and paste it here?

    Why?

  78. The correct answer is “it was followed by the longest period of peacetime economic growth in American history.”

    What followed was the single biggest economic bubble of the US up to that time, the dot.com bubble, thanks to Greenspan. What followed was an accounting trick where the Social Security fund was stuffed with IOUs after it was raided, so that Gore could advertise that the FedGov had “balanced the budget”. Not all was rosy with Mr. Philanderer, Joe.

    What makes you think environmental and labor standards are “poison pills,” John? They didn’t kill the Peru agreement.

    Made the Peru agreement useless, Joe. The environmental and labor standards are as good as tariffs, since they impose an undue burden on local business, giving advantage to American businesses. Progressives and Labor Unions may like them, but since when have they become experts in economics, or become gilded with principles ?

  79. The economic success of the 90’s was also aided by the fact that the Republicans took charge of congress in ’95.

    Successful economic growth wasn’t due to the Democrats, it wasn’t due to the Republicans. It wasn’t Bush the Elder, Clinton, Newt, or any other alliance of powers. It was gridlock. All hail Gridlock!

  80. Now wasn’t the economy in something of a slow crawl from 91-94? And in response to that, Repubs were elected to reign spending in and stimulate economic growth?

    But I agree…..Gri-i-i-i-dlock!

    P.S. This is why I don’t freak out about the possibility of a Hillary Presidency. Just like in 91, the economy is a bit weak. Then when Hillary gets elected, fiscal conservatives will freak and take over the congress in 2010. Most of the really bad legislation will never get passed. The dumbest ideas of both parties will be buried in committee. In other words….Gri-i-i-i-dlock!

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