The New Change Deal and Great Hope Society

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In a blog post this morning, Matt Welch noted "something that has received precious little attention this election cycle: The Democrats, while eyeing the prize of a unified Donkey government, have jerked themselves to the significant economic left of John Kerry and even Howard Dean of 2004, not to mention Gore 2000 and the two Bill Clinton terms." Welch quotes the ubiquitous liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias acknowledging that "the 'center' wing of Democratic Party economic thought has shifted substantially left over the past few years."

On CNN this weekend, historian Douglas Brinkley made a similar point—one that should terrify libertarians and limited government advocates. Because the Clinton administration "did triangulation," Brinkley said, America "ended up not having a progressive movement, but kind of playing the middle centrist ground." But Barack Obama, "if he becomes president, if he wins, he will have a Democratic Senate and Congress. They're going to come in with the first sweeping legislative agenda which will be Johnson-like or New Deal like. That will be a big moment in this country." David Gergen nodded his head in agreement.

So H&R Obamaphiles and Obamaphobes: Would President Barack unleash upon a wobbly American economy a "Great Society"-like expansion of government? Is Clintonian triangulation dead? Is Obama tacking too far to the left on the economy?

Discuss.

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  1. Can he really top the growth in government spending under Bush and a Republican Congress (they actually beat LBJ)?

  2. Can he really top the growth in government spending under Bush and a Republican Congress (they actually beat LBJ)?

    I’m gonna have to go with ‘no’, but I’ve been wrong before.

  3. one that should terrify libertarians and limited government advocates.

    Pretty much nailed it there.

  4. You have no right to insinuate Obama might not be libertarian on economic issues. He’s demonstrably proven with his record he’s the most libertarian out of all the current candidates on both social and economic reasons (no pun!).

  5. Well that’s my fear. I’ll be voting for Obama, but my biggest fear is that along with a Dem Congress, he’ll tax the hell out of everyone and wreck the economy. And does anybody really think that punishing the oil companies is the way to lower prices? Well the Dems seem to, and Obama really seems to. It’s scary. And what’s the alternative? “Four more wars” McCain? And Bob Barr, puhleeze. Anyway, the hope is that Obama will actually turn out to be as tranformative as we hope he will, and he’ll learn some economics between now and January ’09.

  6. A Democrat House and Senate with a Democrat executive, will make make the GOP look like the champions of small government again.

  7. My hope is, he pisses off enough people by going far-left that a revitalized and chastened Republican Party takes congress in 2010 led by Jeff Flake-like Republicans.

  8. The Dems will overreach. People will get mad. The House will go back to the Republicans in 2010. Problem solved.

    Divided government is the only arrangement that delivers results palatable to us limited government types.

  9. Hell, I think MCCAIN is tacking too far left on the economy….do you really want my opinion on Obama?

  10. There are two points that need to be kept separate: the scope of the Democrats’ economic agenda, and its character.

    An Obama presidency would be like an FDR presidency, in that he would get to say, “Eff you Republicans, you lost, now we’re doing what we want.”

    However, what modern Democrats want, especially a mushy centrist like Obama, is quite a bit to the right of the Early New Deal or the Great Society.

    Just to look at one area, the top income tax rate under FDR hit 90%. Under Johnson, 50%. Now, we’re talking about whether it should move from the low-30s to the low-to-mid 30s.

  11. Joe, try defending the “windfall profits tax”.

    I really don’t think even a partisan Democrat can honestly tell us why that would be good for gas prices.

  12. If Obama becomes president, members of his economic team who often bray the magic land language in public but know the real score will sit him down and explain some cold hard facts of life. In denial, he will angrily shout, “you mean my policy is going to be held hostage by a bunch of fucking speculators on Wall Street?”

    After he cools down, and accepts the truth, he’ll dismiss his domestic agenda team for the rest of the term, bring in the foreign policy team, and ask, ‘do the Irish and Brits need us to renegotiate a peace treaty, or anything like that?’

  13. a mushy centrist like Obama,

    bwahaha!

  14. Socialized healthcare, carbon caps, new taxes, punish oil companies, etc. Yipee! I think we’re screwed either way so I’m voting for him expecting that they’ll screw up the economy and things will swing back the other way.

  15. Obama reminds me of Bill Clinton. He’s running as a unifier, and as the guy who’s the side of the folks who work hard and yada yada yada. In his column today Robert Samuelson says that Obama is the kind of super-bright, hyper-articulate kid who’s been able to outtalk anyone he’s ever met. (Gee, that kind of sounds like Bill too.)

    His main problem is going to be money. Where is he going to get it? This is a guy who said he wanted to “reduce” the number of multi-millionaires who are getting farm subsidies. Not those hard-working millionaires, of course. They deserve their subsidies.

    If he’s afraid to cut subsidies to millionaires, how is he going to increase their taxes? And where is he going to get the $300 billion a year that it will cost to finance the Democrats’ wish list? Bill spent his first term paying off the tab Ronnie ran up winning the Cold War. Obama’s likely to spend his first term paying off the tab Georgie ran up not winning the war on terror.

    Bottom line: Obama may not be a disaster, unless, you know, he is one.

  16. No Name Guy,

    This is a thread about degrees, about comparing one historical period to another.

    Barack Obama isn’t a libertarian, and you find his economic positions to be too leftish for your taste? No kidding! There’ a shocker!

    That wasn’t the question.

  17. Just to look at one area, the top income tax rate under FDR hit 90%. Under Johnson, 50%. Now, we’re talking about whether it should move from the low-30s to the low-to-mid 30s.

    Not exactly a fair comparison. Under FDR people were allowed to deduct a lot more interest expense from their income, FICA was 1% instead of 12%, etc. The history of taxation has been one of playing with the numbers, but the receipts don’t go down.

    FDR was also working with a deflationary economy; with a fiat currency and a central bank that picks winner and losers, you can give people LOW-TAX RATES!!! and just make up the difference with inflation.

  18. I am not too worried about it. Jbd is right, the democrats will overreach and a bunch of republicans will get elected in 2010.

  19. The Dems will overreach. People will get mad. The House will go back to the Republicans in 2010. Problem solved.

    I suspect the horse race might play out like this, but with the kind of margins the Dems will have until the backlash, there is no telling what kind of damage they will do. That will never get undone.

    a mushy centrist like Obama,

    Given his remarkable skill at saying nothing, its kind of hard to say anything for sure about his governing philosophy. What few positions he has taken, though, never depart from Dem orthodoxy, and tend to the left wing of the party. Centrist? I don’t see how; he’s never crossed the aisle.

  20. Stuff like windfall profits tax puts him to the left of John Kerry in 2004, Al Gore in 2000, and Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

    Thats pretty far left, joe.

  21. I.e., hes about at the same spot on the political spectrum as Walter Mondale.

  22. RC,

    You certainly do love that “Obama never works with Republicans” talking point. Too bad it’s bullshit.

    The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act
    Introduced by Sen. John McCain in May 2005, and cosponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy. Barack Obama added three amendments to this bill.

    While the bill was never voted on in the Senate, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Acts of 2006 and 2007, respectively, drew heavily upon the wording of this bill.

    The Lugar-Obama Cooperative Threat Reduction.
    Introduced by Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Dick Lugar and Sen. Tom Coburn.

    First introduced in November 2005 and enacted in 2007, this bill expanded upon the successful Nunn-Lugar threat reduction, which helped secure weapons of mass destruction and related infrastructure in former Soviet Union states.

    Lugar-Obama expanded this nonproliferation program to conventional weapons — including shoulder-fired rockets and land mines. When the bill received $48 million in funding, Obama said, “This funding will further strengthen our ability to detect and intercept illegal shipments of weapons and materials of mass destruction, enhancing efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism.”

    Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006
    This act of Congress, introduced by Senators Obama and Coburn, required the full disclosure of all entities or organizations receiving federal funds in FY2007.

    Despite a “secret hold” on this bill by Senators Ted Stevens and Robert Byrd, the act passed into law and was signed by President Bush. The act had 43 cosponsors, including John McCain.

    The act created this Web site, which provides citizens with valuable information about government-funded programs.

    Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act

    This law helped specify US policy toward the Congo, and states that the US should work with other donor nations to increase international contributions to the African nation.

    The bill marked the first federal legislation to be enacted with Obama as its primary sponsor. Following this legislation’s passage, Obama toured Africa, traveling to South Africa, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Chad. He spoke forcefully against ethnic rivalries and political corruption in Kenya.

    Honest Leadership and Open Government Act
    In the first month of the 110th Congress, Obama worked with Sen. Russ Feingold to pass this law, which amends and strengthens the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995.

    Specificially, the changes made by Obama and Feingold requires public disclosure of lobbying activity and funding, places more restrictions on gifts for members of Congress and their staff, and provides for mandatory disclosure of earmarks in expenditure bills.

    The House passed the bill, 411-8, on July 31. The Senate approved it, 83-14, on Aug. 2. At the time, Obama called it “the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate.”

    Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act

    Following the Republican-sponsored voter intimidation tactics seen in mostly black counties in Maryland during the 2006 midterm elections, Obama worked with Sen. Chuck Schumer to introduce this bill.

    The bill has been referred to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Obama said of the bill, “This legislation would ensure that for the first time, these incidents are fully investigated and that those found guilty are punished.”

    The Obama-McCain Climate Change Reduction Bill

    The Obama-McCain bill, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., would cut emissions by two-thirds by 2050.

    Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007

    Introduced by Obama, this binding act would stop the planned troop increase of 21,500 in Iraq, and would also begin a phased redeployment of troops from Iraq with the goal of removing all combat forces by March 31, 2008.

    Explaining the bill, Obama said it reflects his view that the problems in Iraq do not have a military solution. “Our troops have performed brilliantly in Iraq, but no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else’s civil war,” Obama said.

    Amendments to the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill

    Obama worked with Sen. Kit Bond to limit, through this bill, the Pentagon’s use of personality disorder discharges in the FY 2008 Defense Authorization bill.

    This provision would add additional safeguards to discharge procedures and require a thorough review by the Government Accountability Office. This followed news reports that the Pentagon inappropriately used these procedures to discharge service members with service-connected psychological injuries.

    “With thousands of American service members suffering day in and day out from the less visible wounds of war, reports that the Pentagon has improperly diagnosed and discharged service members with personality disorders are deeply disturbing,” said Senator Obama. “This provision will add additional safeguards to the Department of Defense’s use of this discharge and mandate a comprehensive review of these policies.”

    The Comprehensive Nuclear Threat Reduction provision

    Working with Sen. Hagel and Rep. Adam Schiff, Obama authored this provision, which would require the president to develop a comprehensive plan for ensuring that all nuclear weapons and weapons-usable material at vulnerable sites around the world are secure by 2012 from the threats that terrorists have shown they can pose.

    A provision from the Obama-Hagel bill was passed by Congress in December 2007 as an amendment to the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill.

    “It is imperative that we build and sustain a truly global effort under an aggressive timeline to secure, consolidate, and reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons and weapons-usable material to keep them out of the wrong hands. The comprehensive nuclear threat reduction plan required by this provision is an important step in that effort,” Obama said of the provision.

  23. Stuff like windfall profits tax puts him to the left of John Kerry in 2004, Al Gore in 2000, and Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

    How amusing that every one of them was, in turn, denounced as the most radical, leftist liberal evah in their own day.

    I’d put him in between Clinton and Kerry.

  24. So after the “Square Deal”, “New Deal”, and “Great Society”, Progressives still think the country needs an overhaul. In 1900, you could excuse a Progressive, because their theories where untested. For 100 years after that, each generation of Progressives explained in detail why the earlier generation of Progressives was wrong. How many generations of mistakes will it take for people to reject Progressivism all together?

  25. They said that about Kerry, but they didn’t say how far, far left Gore or Bill Clinton were much. Instead it was “They say anything to get elected, you never know where they stand” which was true most of the time.

  26. Warren | June 11, 2008, 5:27pm | #
    A Democrat House and Senate with a Democrat executive, will make make the GOP look like the champions of small government again.

    Scary, eh? Of course, if the GOP actually were the champions of smaller government, we wouldn’t be facing the massive expansion that we are. Worst case, we’d be right back where we were when Reagan left office. But since they are not, we are not and what we face is Obama-Expansion or McCain-Expansion. You take your choice and we all pay.

  27. I’m just hoping the GOP can get one chamber.

  28. The act created this Web site, which provides citizens with valuable information about government-funded programs.

    I had no idea Hit&Run was created by an act of Congress! But they’re right, it does provide valuable information about govt-funded progs.

  29. Would President Barack unleash upon a wobbly American economy a “Great Society”-like expansion of government? Is Clintonian triangulation dead? Is Obama tacking too far to the left on the economy?

    Yes, yes and yes.

  30. Invisible Finger,

    Take it up Mr. Moynihan, who made comparisons between Obama and FDR the subject of his blog post.

  31. Given his remarkable skill at saying nothing, its kind of hard to say anything for sure about his governing philosophy.

    What difference does it make? Is the president apt to veto a spending bill his own party sends his way? Of course not.

  32. However, what modern Democrats want, especially a mushy centrist like Obama, is quite a bit to the right of the Early New Deal or the Great Society.

    They’d need to be proposing to rollback the New Deal or the Great Society to be considered to the right of earlier eras. They reject nothing of substance from those eras and are simply building upon them.

  33. Chris, LoL. I cut-n-pasted that from a source with embedded links.

  34. Despite a “secret hold” on this bill by Senators Ted Stevens and Robert Byrd, the act passed into law and was signed by President Bush. The act had 43 cosponsors, including John McCain.

    The act created this Web site, which provides citizens with valuable information about government-funded programs.

    I would agree that Reason.com provides citizens with valuable info about government but I hardly think Obama passed funding for it.

  35. MP,

    Most of the Early New Deal was later repealed under FDR, and I don’t see Obama, or much of anyone really, calling for the undoing or welfare reform.

  36. If Obama can support “comparable worth” and be a “mushy centrist,” what does he have to support to be considered a leftist? Collective farms?

  37. Well, I tried.

    I was hoping to have a discussion about the relative position of Barack Obama’s politics, compared to FDR, LBJ, and other Democrats.

    Looks like we’re not going to get anything beyond ZOMG!!1!! hez teh leftist.

    Too bad, it’s an interesting discussion.

  38. It’s not like McCain is much better than Obama on economic issues. And this is the guy the Republicans nominated.

    Like it or not, in the current political climate, joe is right. Obama is not that far from political center, especially if you’re using McCain as a reference point for the center.

    And no, I’m not shilling for Obama, I’ll be voting for Barr. But given the dearth of compelling choices, it’s hard to hold anyone’s vote against them. Desperate people do strange things…

  39. If Obama becomes president, members of his economic team who often bray the magic land language in public but know the real score will sit him down and explain some cold hard facts of life. In denial, he will angrily shout, “you mean my policy is going to be held hostage by a bunch of fucking speculators on Wall Street?”

    Since this is pretty much what happened 15 years ago, (it was a senior staffer vice Clinton himself), I call this a good prediction.

  40. fishfry:

    “puhleeze” is definitely a quantifiable reason to not vote for a candidate. You and your ilk have been helping the LP with their massive electoral success for the last 30 years, and I applaud your efforts. Keep fighting the good fight!

    2 PARTY 4 LYFE!

  41. Vote for obama!!

    He will not reverse the 60 year trend of lower taxes as much as joe thinks is bad!!!

  42. Re: joe | June 11, 2008, 5:47pm

    Been saving that one, huh?

  43. You know the Democrats have shifted left when they’re describing the Bush agenda as “far right.”
    Both chambers to the Dems, and to the presidency = America fucked in the bloody A-hole.

  44. joe,
    I’ll concede that Obama is probably no FDR.
    But neither is he some sort of Clinton centrist.
    My fear is that Obama will show himself to be a peddler of economic fear, given the state of the economy. And that, combined with Democratic control of both houses of Congress, could yield some very far-left results.

  45. Look on the bright side Jamie Kelly:

    With no horse in the race election night will drunken apathetic bliss!

  46. election night will drunken apathetic bliss!

    And this is different than any other night in my life, exactly how?

    Oops.

  47. I was hoping to have a discussion about the relative position of Barack Obama’s politics, compared to FDR, LBJ, and other Democrats.

    He is just as far left as FDR was only he came after the huge disaster that was FDR.

    What limits Obama is not Obama but the institutions built up to prevent an FDR from ever rising again.

  48. I’m pretty much relying upon the destructive decisiveness of the GOP to save us all from the economic Obamapocalypse. I may be placing too much faith on the incapability of the congressional Democrats to do anything sensible, but I bet that the first two years of an Obamadministration will have serious trouble getting legislation passed, despite team blue controlling both Houses and the White House.

  49. s/decisiveness/divisiveness/

    Hate it when I misspell something with another correctly spelled word.

  50. J sub D,

    No, I just saw it recently and remembered it.

    It’s a list of Obama’s major legislative initiatives in the U.S. Senate. People can draw their own conclusions about the relative amount of base-stroking and aisle-crossing.

  51. Given his remarkable skill at saying nothing, its kind of hard to say anything for sure about his governing philosophy. What few positions he has taken, though, never depart from Dem orthodoxy, and tend to the left wing of the party. Centrist? I don’t see how; he’s never crossed the aisle.

    I don’t mean to be a snarky bastard (it comes natural), but have you ever even:

    1. Looked at his website
    2. Read *any* of his position papers
    3. Actually (not the FOX News recap) listened to one of his policy speeches

    The media bead on Obama (much like McCain=maverick, and Hillary=shrill bitch) has been for no discernible reason that he is utterly without content. The *only* reason I can see for this media meme continuing is that he speaks very well, and so the assumption is that the erudition is a mask to hide a lack of content.

    Which is bullshit.

    Both candidates have articulated, on fucking paper, very clear and detailed positions on most major issues. It’s just plain lazy/disingenuous to continue to maintain that it is impossible to tell what either of them stand for.

  52. Interesting timeline, joshua.

    The longest period of economic growth in the past 60 years came immediately after George HW Bush, and then Bill Clinton, raised federal taxes.

    Not a lot, mind you, but a little. Something on the order of a few points. So, you’ll excuse me if I don’t think we’re going to be seeing soup lines any time soon, regardless of who wins in November.

  53. Joe, the economy didn’t really booming until the capital gains tax cuts in 1997. And capital gains taxes weren’t raised in 1993.

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/Taxes/wm1835.cfm

    Your candidate wants to raise capital gains taxes in the name of “fairness”.

  54. From the link:

    In summary, coming out of a recession into a period when the economy should grow relatively rapidly, President Clinton signed a major tax increase. The average growth rate over his first term was a solid 3.2 percent. In 1997, at a time when the expansion was well along and economic growth should have slowed, Congress passed a modest net tax cut. The economy grew by a full percentage point-per-year faster over his second term than over Clinton’s first term.

    The evidence is fairly clear: The tax cuts, especially the reduction in the capital gains tax rate, made a major contribution to a strong economy. Given this observation, it seems likely, though admittedly less certain, that the tax increases in 1993, while not derailing the economy as many had forecast at the time, did indeed slow the recovery compared to what the economy could have achieved..

  55. No Name Guy | June 11, 2008, 5:35pm | #

    “Joe, try defending the “windfall profits tax”.”

    Joe, I didn’t see where you directly addressed that anywhere. Do you have a defense for that?

  56. Capital gains taxes and exhorbitant corporate taxes have convinced me of one thing:
    There are just a shitload of Democrats — and hence American people — who despise success.
    Whatever you think of Rand, there’s a calculable truth to what she wrote about the cult of envy.

  57. Jamie Kelley,

    My fear is that Obama will show himself to be a peddler of economic fear, given the state of the economy.

    My fear is that he’s going to do whatever his new, neo-liberal, Wal-Mart-loving chief economic advisor tells him to do.

  58. Your candidate wants to raise capital gains taxes in the name of “fairness”.

    ’cause clearly, having labor taxed higher than capital is “fair”.

  59. No Name Guy,

    First, let me say right off, “Because of fairness” was a stupid thing for Obama to say. I think he didn’t have an answer, didn’t know enough to call out the questioner on his bogus statistic, and said something, anything to avoid standing there with his mouth open. He wants to raise the capital gains tax back to the levels of the late 90s because he wants to bring in revenue to get our fiscal health back in order, and raising the capital gains tax raises revenue. Don’t you give me any laughter curve horseshit about not knowing what time-shifting means, either!

    Now, it’s true that the economy didn’t start booming in the early 90s. It was coming out of a cyclical recession. I’m not saying the 1997 capital gains had no effect, but it’s not unusual that the economy went from no growth to slow growth to decent growth to booming growth over a 5-8 year period, coinciding with the capital gains tax cut.

    Anyway, it wasn’t the fear that the Clinton tax plan would cause 3+% annual growth that the chicken little Republicans were warning about in 1993. If an Obama tax plan would make the next four years look like the period from 1993-1997, I’ll turn cartwheels.

  60. Joe I’d love to have 93-97 growth rates compared to what we have now, too, but we’d need another tech boom (in some future technology none of us know of yet) and cheap oil.

    With oil at $4-5/gallon, as it will be in the next two years, a capital gains tax hike and windfall profits tax are not things that will get the economy humming again.

  61. What I hope happens if Obama is elected is that the Chairman of the Fed and his economic advisers take him aside in February 2009 and tell him “You aren’t going to make good on your campaign promises. They’re too expensive and we can’t afford them. You will follow this plan we prepared for you”.

    Thats basically what Greenspan told Bill Clinton in 1993.

  62. “Capital gains taxes and exhorbitant corporate taxes have convinced me of one thing:
    There are just a shitload of Democrats — and hence American people — who despise success.”

    Jamie, I imagine envy is an eternally motivating force among humans. Having said that, I think most people that think capital gains tax rates are OK think so because of the basic philosophy behind progressive taxation: that those with the most stuff can afford to pay the most. And as to corporations, well, many people hate them because they see them as soulless entities (it is an odd creation, fictitious persons that are really “arrangements to garner profit”).

  63. Obama is going to have his hands full cleaning up the domestic and foreign messes and dealing with the recession…

    I don’t think he’ll be spending a lot of political capital launching New Deal 2.0 or Greater Society II: The Wrath of Johnson. Don’t forget that he’ll be saddled with a massive deficity, unpopular war, high gas prices, and a trade imbalance right out of the starting gate.

  64. I don’t see Obama doing much leftist things to the economy (I wish, remember the 1960’s when we did very leftist things? Yeah, the economy was really terrible then ;)). Bill Clinton, running as a New Democrat, really couldn’t come in and do a lot of leftist economic stuff. The health care thing was his try, and even then it was largely his corporate appeasement that hurt him (having all those corporate people on HRC’s task force and such). Obama as the “first black President” wouldn’t dare do anything radical. He knows all eyes are on him. Think Doug Wilder….

  65. A funny thing: whenever there is a health care policy debate here on H&R people invariably say:
    “It’s a myth that poor people can’t get health care and that they are turned away at the emergency room, they can and do get such service all the time!”

    Of course they are referring to the Great Society programs. Interesting that, falling back on the very programs you love to hate….

  66. Don’t you give me any laughter curve horseshit about not knowing what time-shifting means, either!

    Record revenues after the capital gains tax cut.

    And

    Record revenues after Bush’s tax cuts.

    You cannot tax the US out of debt…you have to cut spending.

    Obama’s tax increase will only make it worse.

  67. (I wish, remember the 1960’s when we did very leftist things? Yeah, the economy was really terrible then ;))

    You must be talking about the lefty Kennedy tax cuts that he pushed because it would stimulate the economy and raise revenues.

    That was a fucking disaster…what we need now is Obama and more taxes to fix this weak economy.

  68. Uhh, Joshua, but it was the last President who caught hell for the “biggest tax increase in history” which had the budget balanced…

  69. Did you read the link, MNG? Clinton cut capital gains taxes.

  70. You certainly do love that “Obama never works with Republicans” talking point.

    I believe that’s the first time I’ve mentioned it.

    I would note that of your examples, I don’t see one that departs from Dem orthodoxy. The fact that he can work with McCain so easily says more about McCain’s willingness to cross the aisle than Obama’s. Some don’t seem to have bipartisan sponsorship, and some are so anodyne they were sponsored by (or voted for by) nearly everyone.

    The “talking point” may be oversimplified, but the point remains: Obama has shown no signs of being anything other than lefty/orthodox Dem. You seem t be familiar with his record; has he ever crossed party leadership, either in DC or Springfield?

    First, let me say right off, “Because of fairness” was a stupid thing for Obama to say. I think he didn’t have an answer,

    And that doesn’t bother you?

  71. Johsua-Say what you will, the big government era to end all big government eras, the 1960’s, was an economic success…

    And the 1940’s weren’t too shabby either!

  72. “Did you read the link, MNG? Clinton cut capital gains taxes.”

    Did you read my post?

    Critics of the 1993 tax raise: “It will cripple and make impossible economic growth.”

    It did not.

  73. R C
    He had a collaboration with right wing nut Tom Coburn if I remember…Was that McCain’s doing?

  74. It happened to come during a recovery, shortly before a tech boom, one that the tax increase quite possibly stymied.

    Again, the economy REALLY started to take off after the 1997 tax cute. The budget was also balanced around that time, too.

    Kennedy and Johnson, btw, both cut taxes.

  75. “Kennedy and Johnson, btw, both cut taxes.”

    No name guy.

    Ok, now here it is. Johnson had tax cuts. He also had about 100 policies that libertarians would have a heart attack over. And the economy did great under him.

    This is like saying it was really Ronald Reagan’s expansion of the earned income tax credit that made the economy go well whenever he as prez. It’s hunt and peck.

  76. So H&R Obamaphiles and Obamaphobes: Would President Barack unleash upon a wobbly American economy a “Great Society”-like expansion of government?

    Well…yeah, but it doesn’t (and hasn’t thus far) required Obama to do that. George W. Bush has done a fabulous job of it.

  77. Would President Barack unleash upon a wobbly American economy a “Great Society”-like expansion of government? Is Clintonian triangulation dead? Is Obama tacking too far to the left on the economy?

    No.
    No.
    and, maybe a bit…

    LMNOP,
    I am with ya…
    Lazy ass complainers are just lazy asses.

    The non-lazy can take things point by point…
    http://www.barackobama.com/issues/economy/

  78. Vital Center anyone? Obama will steadily move in the direction of McCain in the coming months, because the far left votes are already in his pocket.

  79. My fear is that he’s going to do whatever his new, neo-liberal, Wal-Mart-loving chief economic advisor tells him to do.

    And that’s my hope.

  80. JLM,

    On Obama’s windfall profits tax on the oil companies:

    The oil companies can avoid it by investing in alternative energy production. The funds collected, of which there won’t be any, would be invested in research. It’s an energy and environmental policy.

    Now, I don’t imagine you like that proposal very much, what with the “force” and the “distortion of the market” and the “there ain’t no global warming” and whatnot, but what this industry-specific policy is NOT – as, I appreciate, the name “Windfall Profits Tax” suggests – is a socialist leveling measure.

  81. $10 says Obama and a Democrat Congress tax the shit out of everybody, “rich”, middle, and especially the poor. Soros, Buffet, and their ilk may get a break though.

  82. How is increasing taxes and spending it on giving health care to poor people worse than not increasing taxes and spending just as much, if not more, on blowing people up? Seriously, unless you aren’t really a libertarian but are just a hate-taxes-atarian, isn’t Obama’s position the better of the two choices?

  83. isn’t Obama’s position the better of the two choices?

    Blowing people up is a Constitutionally mandated function of the Federal Government.”Free” healthcare is not.

  84. RC,

    And that doesn’t bother you?

    It does, actually. I would like Obama to be a bit more of an economics wonk, and he’s just not.

    Oddly enough, the Republicans have also nominated their least-economically-wonky candidate in decades this time. They are both quite well-versed in policy in other areas, but neither one has made economic policy much of a priority in their thinking, or their careers.

    And, of course, the two parties did this the year the economy is the biggest issue in politics.

  85. TagetedTaxCuts4WorkingFamilies | June 11, 2008, 7:54pm | #

    $10 says Obama and a Democrat Congress tax the shit out of everybody, “rich”, middle, and especially the poor. Soros, Buffet, and their ilk may get a break though.

    I’ll take that bet. Obama’s (and Democrats in general) broad plan includes targeted tax relief for people making less than $100,000 a year and tax increases on people making more than $250,000 a year and some corporations. Soros and Buffet won’t get any tax breaks, and at least Buffet is on record as saying people of his wealth should be taxed more heavily.

  86. “My fear is that he’s going to do whatever his new, neo-liberal, Wal-Mart-loving chief economic advisor tells him to do.

    And that’s my hope.”

    Jaimie, what’s good for Wal-Mart is good for the nation? And you I guess you think…

    “How is increasing taxes and spending it on giving health care to poor people worse than not increasing taxes and spending just as much, if not more, on blowing people up?”
    Well of course, the GOP will spend as much if not more, it will just be on the military (not that this is always awful, it does create some killer jobs)

  87. You cannot tax the US out of debt…you have to cut spending.

    So, is that what happened in 1991-1999? A series of absolute spending cuts?

    Obama’s tax increase will only make it worse. Whatever you say, Newt.

  88. TagetedTaxCuts4WorkingFamilies | June 11, 2008, 7:59pm | #

    isn’t Obama’s position the better of the two choices?

    Blowing people up is a Constitutionally mandated function of the Federal Government.”Free” healthcare is not.

    But invading random countries for basically no reason is not really all that constitutional, is it? In any case, I didn’t ask which was more constitutional (in your opinion), I asked which was “better”.

  89. Obama’s (and Democrats in general) broad plan includes targeted tax relief for people making less than $100,000 a year and tax increases on people making more than $250,000 a year and some corporations.

    “Targeted tax Relief” ? Are you a comment ‘bot?

    Look for increased excise taxes on all the “bad” stuff. Have to discourage the children from doing what is bad for them.

  90. I asked which was “better”.

    I answered: The constitutional one is always “better”.

  91. If theres one thing Republicans know a lot about, its sticking to their constitutionally mandated functions. /snark

  92. joe,

    OK, you have to cut spending, or pray for an economic boom that has nothing to do with govt action.

    Also, we didn’t come remotely close to getting out of debt in the 90s.

  93. Targeted,

    Blowing up stuff for long periods of time without a declaration of war is most definitely not constitutional.

  94. Blowing people up without a war resolution is unconstitutional.

    If you’re looking to throw out the word “constitutional” as a talisman, and selectively stretch it for your own purposes.

  95. The oil companies can avoid it by investing in alternative energy production.

    I feel so much better when a mugger gives me the option of contributing my wallet to his favorite charity rather than just taking it.

  96. Chris Potter,

    To be fair, there were spending restraints imposed throughout the 90s, and foregoing additional spending played a big role, too.

    Not to mention, significantly lower military spending from the post-Cold War peace dividend. Though it still feels funny to look at $200 billion annually in military spending as fiscally conservative. I guess it’s all relative.

  97. crymethink,

    Where is that in your constitution?

  98. Thanks for sharing your feelings, Chris. We were having a conversation about economic policy.

    Seriously, are you a fifteen year old who just started reading Rand? Muggers, oh my!

  99. I’m not in the mood, after the past seven years, to be hearing about the Constitution from RNC apologists.

  100. Hasn’t Obama pledged to keep blowing people up through 2012? Or is he going to renege on it like the no interference with state’s MedMJ?

  101. Well, I sent a letter to my Republican Congressman asking him how the Iraq War is constitutional.

    He actually wrote to me that, the President as “Commander in Chief” has the authority on his own to declare war.

    Yes, this happened.

  102. To be fair, there were spending restraints imposed throughout the 90s, and foregoing additional spending played a big role, too.

    Indeed. I’d say most of the prosperity and improved Federal balance sheets of the ’90s was due to 1) continuing Reagan-era prosperity after the hiccup of the ’91-’92 “worst economy of the last 50 years,” and 2) having a Republican House elected in ’94.

  103. On Obama’s windfall profits tax on the oil companies…

    Joe, even I don’t buy it, and I’m what you might call a “lukewarm Obamaphile”. There are far easier ways to incentivize alternative energy research/production, even through the tax code, that doesn’t include a measure that smells to high heaven of pandering (only fractionally less stupid than the “gas tax holiday”) and/or seems to punish business success qua success.

    A “Windfall Profits Tax” plays to the retributive spirit of those who wish to stick it to the oil companies that many have identified (rightly or wrongly…I say mostly wrongly) as the source of their gas pump woes. While there are many sins peculiar to the Right, the Left seems not able to let go of the notion that wealth is a corporeal manifestation of evil, and that’s a real shame. I had hoped that Obama wouldn’t get sucked into that losing game.

  104. Soros and Buffet won’t get any tax breaks, and at least Buffet is on record as saying people of his wealth should be taxed more heavily.

    That isn’t what Buffett has said. He’s said that it’s unfair that his secretary pays more than him in taxes. You’re interpreting that to mean he thinks he should pay more — it doesn’t. He’s not stupid.

  105. Politician C did actions X, Y and Z.

    I agreed with action Y.

    In some time during C’s term the economy did better.

    It must have been due to action Y!

  106. PapayaSF,

    The spending restraints that were in place throughout the 1990s were those drafted by the Democratic Congress and George HW Bush in 1991, as part of the budget deal that also raised taxes. Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress merely adhered to them after coming to office years later.

    Just to keep the discussion on a firm, historically accurate footing.

  107. As regards the windfall profits tax, you’d be suprised how a threat on industry involving intervention will create innovation that will avoid the threat.

    Incentives work.

  108. The sympathy for the oil companies on this thread is amazing.

    Not reasoned policy analysis against the plan – some of that is quite well thought out.

    But the obvious, reflexive leap to the defense of anyone in danger of having their immense run of fantastic fortune eroded a bit. The identification – it’s just like me being mugged! – with global corporations, the “there but for the grace of God go I” response that is so glaringly absent from the discussion of so many issues that actually involve people suffering.

    I just can’t relate.

  109. Joe, I just remember the last time we had a windfall profits tax. You might remember that Carter did the same thing in 1980. It accomplished zilch. Is that a good enough reason to be against it?

  110. .The sympathy for the oil companies on this thread is amazing.

    Not reasoned policy analysis against the plan – some of that is quite well thought out.

    But the obvious, reflexive leap to the defense of anyone in danger of having their immense run of fantastic fortune eroded a bit. The identification – it’s just like me being mugged! – with global corporations, the “there but for the grace of God go I” response that is so glaringly absent from the discussion of so many issues that actually involve people suffering.

    I just can’t relate.

    You don’t see the moral problem of the government taking something that isn’t theirs just because they think that corporation has too much?

    I just can’t relate to the idea that corporations and citizens are the politicians piggy bank.

  111. The sympathy for the oil companies on this thread is amazing.

    I have the same sympathy for the oil companies as I do for Stringer Bell in that it’s not his fault that people are addicted to the product, but he gets all the blame anyway.

  112. No Name Guy,

    Oddly enough, the late 70s were also a period when great progress was made on solar research. A period that very shortly thereafter came to an end.

    Anonymoose,

    But, as I just explained in very clear language, this isn’t a tax leveled because they think that corporation has too much. It’s a mandatory investments in R&D, for a purpose having nothing to do with your dark imaginings.

    I just can’t relate to the idea that corporations and citizens are the politicians piggy bank. That’s nice. In this reality, there are these things called taxes.

  113. joe,

    I have sympathy for all people–including people who invest in oil companies–who have the fruits of their honest effort taken away by the covetous and envious. The mugging example may not be identical in all respects, but it parallels the current situation in the relevant respects.

  114. Sure you do, Chris.

    We’ve all seen how emotional you get over the well-being of the poor. How you leap right to their defense when you perceive their economic well-being jeopardized.

    Sure we do. You’re just Captian Sympathy.

  115. See, Chris if you take “all” out of your sentence, and add in an “only,” then you’re making a true statement.

    Your sympathy for people who have to pay taxes knows no bounds. Absolutely.

  116. Joe, it’s not (at least from me) sympathy for the oil companies per se. I simply think that it is not really their fault that their production capacity is not in line with demand, and as such price has risen. Last time the Windfall Tax idea was tried, it hampered oil infrastructure investment significantly, somewhat contributing to our woes today.

    I’m all about the US gov’t no longer *subsidizing* industries (that’s *ALL* industries, not just oil), but an extra tax because they are making a decent profit margin doesn’t seem right to me…I guess I just can’t relate. 😉

  117. It’s a mandatory investments in R&D,

    Which flows from the same logic that they were sitting on the 100 mph carboreuter. If they could make money off it, the greedy oil companies would already be doing it. Or someone else will who wants a piece of that action

    Also, the incentives now for R&D are greater than ever. However, the windfall profit tax, even if branded differently, is telling people, ‘do well, but not great with your R&D, because if you do achieve a breakthrough, we’re going take the difference.’

  118. But, as I just explained in very clear language, this isn’t a tax leveled because they think that corporation has too much. It’s a mandatory investments in R&D, for a purpose having nothing to do with your dark imaginings.

    It’s being brought on for no other reason than record high profits. The Democrats think the oil companies have too much money, and that they have a say in how it should be spent.

    That’s nice. In this reality, there are these things called taxes.

    I didn’t say all taxes are evil, or all government spending. The idea that politicians get to dictact how an oil company spends it’s money, however, is evil.

  119. It’s a mandatory investments in R&D, for a purpose having nothing to do with your dark imaginings.

    Investments that aren’t expected to pay off; otherwise they wouldn’t have to be mandatory. In effect, you’re forcing them to lose money so as to advance a cause you think is important.

    In this reality, there are these things called taxes.

    There’s a big difference between enacting taxes that apply equally to everyone in advance of them earning income, and seeing that a certain group has lots of money laying about and deciding to tax just them. The latter is only distinguishable from extortion by the badges on the enforcers’ jackets.

  120. joe,

    Uh, ‘scuse me? I’ve again and again spoken out against unjust govt takings from the poor in the form of cigarette taxes, state lottery monopolies, and private-to-private eminent domain (which you favor, I believe).

  121. Kolohe,

    Which flows from the same logic that they were sitting on the 100 mph carboreuter That’s not correct. Nobody thinks that the oil companies are sitting on anything – there needs to be a great deal of research done, and it needs to be paid for.

    Also, the incentives now for R&D are greater than ever. However, the windfall profit tax, even if branded differently, is telling people, ‘do well, but not great with your R&D, because if you do achieve a breakthrough, we’re going take the difference.’ It’s an expiring tax, and nobody believes that the government would renew it if Big Oil turned into Big Wind and Solar.

    Look, I can appreciate that, being libertarians, you don’t agree with incentivizing the necessary investment that way. I’m not trying to talk you out of that right now, just pointing out that that the existence of this program is not an indicator that Barack Obama is a leveling socialist.

    Anonymoose,

    It’s being brought on for no other reason than record high profits. Oh, bullshit. You would need to be one of those “global warming and environmentalism are Bolshevik plots” people to believe that there is no reason, other than hatin’ the wealth of the oil companies (and only the oil companies, not any other profitable industries), to push them to invest in alternative energy.

  122. Hey, tomorrow the Irish vote on the fate of the Lisbon treaty – why no stories about that? Given that it amounts to a major political reorganization of Europe, you’d think it’d get at least a little coverage. Especially when the Irish were the only country that got the opportunity to hold a referendum on the damn thing.

    Not to mention, the EU is the best living example going of what happens to countries that let themselves get talked into opening their borders by tolerant cosmopolitans….

  123. Chris write, Investments that aren’t expected to pay off; otherwise they wouldn’t have to be mandatory. In effect, you’re forcing them to lose money so as to advance a cause you think is important.

    Factor in the externalities these companies have been foisting on the rest of us, and it will pay off just fine. You don’t mind if I stop paying my garbage fee and put my bags in your yard, do you?

    Yes, I consider reducing pollution, containing the damage from climate change, and human health and well being in general to be important. Imagine that.

  124. Yes, Chris, when there is a cause that allows you to use poor people as poster children – and only in that situation, not ever when they are facing some other problem – you are quite extravagent in your outrage.

    Congratulations.

  125. Like Democratic politicians don’t use poor people as poster children so they can create government programs that will bribe people into re-electing them.

  126. Oh, bullshit. You would need to be one of those “global warming and environmentalism are Bolshevik plots” people to believe that there is no reason, other than hatin’ the wealth of the oil companies (and only the oil companies, not any other profitable industries), to push them to invest in alternative energy.

    We’re not talking about the reasons for investing in alternative energy. We’re talking about the government dictating to companies how they use their profits. If oil companies don’t want to invest in alternative energy — if they don’t think it won’t work or they won’t get a return on my investment — they shouldn’t have to. Record profits doesn’t change that.

    Once agian, joe, corporations are not the piggy banks for politicians, being used to fund whatever they think is important.

  127. NNG,

    I’m not a politician. I’m a just a guy.

    But on the issue of one’s interests – I was the first person even to write a comment denouncing the New London takings, which produced the Kelo case. I did this while I was a practicing urban planner, who believes strongly in the need to promote the healthy development of cities through public sector redevelopment plans.

    In other words, I see a problem with somebody getting screwed, and I’m willing to argue in favor of restrictions on even those things I support in order to see it alleviated. I make arguments that work against, or at least argue for the need to check, efforts in line with my basic ideological precepts. If I saw a situation where taxation was genuinely destituting someone, I’d jump up and denounce that, too.

    There’s a difference between adopting concern for the poor as a guiding principle of your politics, and noticing when the principles of your politics align with the interests of the underdog in a particular situation.

    Look, I do the same thing, from the opposite direction, that Chris Potter is doing. If a particular regulation is screwing poor people unfairly, I’ll stand up and argue like a libertarian against it. If the lack of a regulation is screwing them, I’ll argue exactly the opposite.

    Just as Chris would stand up and impersonate Dorothea Day if a regulation was harming the poor, and turn into Mr. Burns if a proposed regulation would help them.

    I’m no better. I jut come from a different place.

  128. Anonymoose,

    First, I would support, and Barack Obama would support, I’m sure, a requirement that the oil companies invest in alternative energy researches, even if they were only making an ordinary profit. This is just a politically expedient time, and a politically expedient manner, in which to push that.

    It has nothing to do with hatin’ their wealth. Just their emissions. You’re right, record profits don’t change that.

    Once agian, joe, corporations are not the piggy banks for politicians, being used to fund whatever they think is important. Unless the politicians agree with you about what’s important, at which point, corporations and everyone else should be taxed to fund land courts, police officers, road paving, and infantry training. You don’t object to collectin taxes from corporations, you differ with me on what constitutes the public’s business.

  129. Joe, maybe some people don’t liked being raped as much as you do.

    No offense, but I’m not going to sit back and enjoy it just because you do.

  130. I’m not trying to talk you out of that right now, just pointing out that that the existence of this program is not an indicator that Barack Obama is a leveling socialist.

    Ok, fair enough. I do not think Obama is a leveling socialist either, just that this particular policy is D-U-M dum.

    It’s being brought on for no other reason than record high profits. Oh, bullshit. You would need to be one of those “global warming and environmentalism are Bolshevik plots” people to believe that there is no reason, other than hatin’ the wealth of the oil companies (and only the oil companies, not any other profitable industries), to push them to invest in alternative energy.

    I do not believe that climate change (get with the program :)) is a communist plot.

    But it is crystal clear that the reason for this particular program is hatin’ on the oil companies. Yes, libruls hate the corpurasions in general, but big oil draws the particular ire these days, with that china commie lovin’ walmart a close second. Maxine Waters said at one of these show trials a few weeks ago ‘if you don’t bring your prices down, we’re going to nationalize your industry’ (she actual said socialize, looking for the correct words.)

  131. Factor in the externalities these companies have been foisting on the rest of us, and it will pay off just fine. You don’t mind if I stop paying my garbage fee and put my bags in your yard, do you?

    And this is goal post shifting that would enable me to be a professional kicker in the NFL.

    If you’re worried about the externality, tax the externality. Don’t based on the cost difference between cost and revenue which has many other factors aside from bennefiting from a naked externality.

  132. 2nd sentence: ‘don’t base the tax on the difference between cost and revenue which has many other factors aside from potential bennefiting from a naked externality.’

  133. “global warming and environmentalism are Bolshevik plots”

    Watermelon Bolsheviks: Green on the outside, red on the inside.

  134. Chris, Kolohe, J sub D, R C, and anyone else here who thinks joe is full of it,
    We’re not going to get anywhere arguing with people whose basic principles are different from ours. If someone thinks that what you deserve to have is contingent on someone else’s need or “national greatness” or whatever, nothing will stop them from taking everything you have. Such a philosophy has been ground into the minds of the vast majority of the population. The only way that this can be stopped is by armed revolt.
    I’m serious when I say that elections will doom us. NOTHING about democracy is libertarian, and everything about it is collectivist.
    I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

  135. First, I would support, and Barack Obama would support, I’m sure, a requirement that the oil companies invest in alternative energy researches, even if they were only making an ordinary profit.

    Ordinary profits are OK. Maybe the “comparable worth” bureaucracy can figure ’em out in their spare time

  136. There’s a difference between adopting concern for the poor as a guiding principle of your politics, and noticing when the principles of your politics align with the interests of the underdog in a particular situation.

    This is true. You were insinuating, though, that I decide my position on an issue based on whether it helps or hurts rich people, which is both false and insulting. I believe in the same rules being applied to everyone regardless of their socioeconomic status.

    You would need to be one of those “global warming and environmentalism are Bolshevik plots” people to believe that there is no reason, other than hatin’ the wealth of the oil companies

    Puh-leeze. Why are they calling it the “Windfall Profits Tax” if it has nothing to do with high profits? Why is it being introduced now instead of back when they weren’t making these kinds of profits? Was alternative energy not important back then?

  137. Everyone here should pray that there will be at least 41 Republican senators if Comrade Obama’s elected.

    Wonder how long it’ll take before the Democrats revive the “Nuclear Option”?

  138. Well, I sent a letter to my Republican Congressman asking him how the Iraq War is constitutional.

    He actually wrote to me that, the President as “Commander in Chief” has the authority on his own to declare war.

    Please write back to your congressman something along these lines: ‘A far greater Republican than you could ever hope to be, Senator Robert Taft, would have disagreed with you, but you can never hope to measure up to that standard of intellectual honesty and integrity. I hope the petty ambitions* that got you your current position in power land you in the slammer some day.’

    * obviously a respect for the Constitution, a desire to maintain the peace and prosperity, and a love of our great nation had nothing to do with it.

  139. Decided it was as good a night as any to review the Constitution.

    No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

    So, no Secretary of Defense Joe Lieberman? At least not until McCain’s second term would he become eligible if that ‘during the Time for which he was elected’ is to be taken literally on it’s face.

  140. Scratch that wishful thinking, though I wonder if this was taken into consideration when the Office of Homeland Security or when any new bureaucracy is created.

  141. Then again, if the Democrats really wanted to screw over Lieberman for his support of McCain, they could increase they salary of the office by just one dollar. What about offices with a salary increase tied to inflation?

  142. I’ve been thinking about it.

    I think Obama is going to be like Roosevelt and Clinton: a big left-wing economic push at the beginning, bumping up against the limits shortly thereafter, and a more centrist period after that.

  143. Chris, Kolohe,

    It’s obvious that Obama is taking advantage of the anti-oil company sentiment that’s out there right now to push this policy. I don’t dispute that. So is McCain, so was Hillary. Nobody likes those companies.

    But that’s rhetoric and spin. On the substance of Obama’s proposal, it’s not Chavezism. It’s about the same thing as a carbon tax, in terms of its philosophy – incentivize R&D in cleaner energy technologies, because this country’s energy market has to change.

    Whether it’s a better or worse policy, you have to know more about it than the name “windfall profits tax” for its funding mechanism.

  144. joe, sorry, but I don’t believe that for a second. The rhetoric and spin is all there is.

    If you were simply trying to incentivize R&D through govt force, there are much more efficient and palatable ways of doing it.

  145. Obama is basically a scum-of-the-earth leftist. His insane anti-human, anti-progress eco-policies are horribly destructive. His instinctive anti-Americanism also makes him uniquely unfit to be President of, you know, America.

    To borrow a phrase — Obama is his mother’s revenge on a country she hated.

  146. Problem with FORCING big oil companies to spend X amount on R&D is you’re effectively federalizing innovation. I mean, go to IBM in 1972, tell ’em, “make a small computer, or else!” you’ll get some $25k box with 4k of RAM, roughly the size of an American garage, and that’s it for computing.

    It’s only when the Steves come along that you really get the PC revolution started, and they had no government incentives whatsoever (Yeah, I know, + Altair et al).

    There’s no place for bean counters in R&D. If the desired outcome is a really good one, maybe you can offer some carrots for low-emission biofuels or whatever, but that stick Obama’s proposing won’t work.

    /But I’m sure the oil companies will meet their necessary spend, each quarter, Commissioner.

  147. 1961, Texas Instruments stars producing integrated circuits for very specialized apps. $100.00 a piece to replace a few bucks of conventional electronics. Nobody saw the need. Th DoD started buyin the crap out of them and by 1968 they were a little over 2 bucks each. The private market got interested as they were now affordable. I am sending this on technology made possible by the govt. investing in the future. It isn’t always a bad thing.

  148. The blanky that comforts me is that government can’t take more than 100% of the economy.

  149. What, exactly, don’t you understand ‘change’ to mean?

  150. What I see in America with Obama as POTUS and a democrat controlled congress is a monstrous make work project. Imagine the peace corps meets the CCC of the 30s doing works on the infrastructure.
    “The war on terror will be won on our own soil by making a strong, self reliant, proud nation where everyone, regardless of background, can enjoy the prosperity that is every American’s birthright. It is now time for all the hard working people of these United States to enjoy the bounty of this great land! By leaving Iraqis to govern their own country, and placing prohibitive tariffs on American companies that have chosen to do their manufacturing in foreign lands, your government has more than enough money to invest in the future prosperity of all of our children and our children’s children. The time is now for us all to stand together and, by the sweat of our brow, the support of your government and the blessing of almighty God, make The United States of America the great nation it is destined to be!”

  151. the previous is an excerpt for the inaugural speech of President Obama.

  152. for =from

  153. “The Dems will overreach. People will get mad. The House will go back to the Republicans in 2010. Problem solved. ”

    I wish this were so. The truth is that people take an awfully long time to get tired of being bought off with their own taxes. Look how long FDR managed to stay in office.

    “I’m just hoping the Republicans will get one chamber.”

    From the polls, I’m guessing they’ll get all six chambers in the next election. 😉

    Which may be a good thing. Since I can’t imagine the Democrats ever becoming the party of small government and fiscal restraint, the best we can hope for is that the Republicans will be chastened enough to take their past rhetoric about small government and fiscal restraint seriously.

  154. But the thing that will come back with the republicans if they get trounced and find their roots is the moral majority. the religious right. God will lead the republicans back to the promised land. Mark my words.

  155. The Dems will “over-reach” but they will put things in motion that cannot be stopped even if the Republicans come back with a landslide. It’s already all planned out. It will be the end of America as it has been and the slide to socialism will be unstoppable short of another revolution and/or second civil war.

  156. Even Obama supporters say: ” the hope is that … he’ll learn some economics between now and January ’09.”

    It is like “the hope is that our pilot will learn how to fly this 747 during take-off”.

    Continuing analogy “he did not fly anything similar before, but the hope is that he will find someone good to call for instructions. And he promised to fly differently, against the manual.” Will you fly this plane?

    Why the strongest nation in the world from its 300 millions of popuation was unable to find someone who ALREADY learned something?

    I am not from US, just outsider impression.

  157. Is Obama tacking too far to the left on the economy?

    Obama’s economic views are not the primary problem. Pelosi’s and Reid’s are.

    Despite occasional rhetorical disagreements, Obama has shown little to no inclination to vote against something proposed by a fellow Democrat, either in Illinois or the US Senate. That tells me he’s unlikely to veto very many things proposed by the people on his side of the aisle.

    By contrast, McCain (for all his faults) will veto every silly Progressive economic idea that isn’t somehow related to the immigration plan he proposed last year. He will do so because he genuinely hates excessive spending and because he will think it makes him look like a badass.

    I mean, once you see the 2008 Congressional projections, this should be an open and shut case, regardless of what one personally feels about McCain.

  158. brotherben
    I just can’t imagine a person getting all worked up about the possibility of our tariff going higher…Of all the things….

  159. It’s probably too late to post this, but I will anyway.

    I frankly astonished at the lack of real-world knowledge I am seeing on this thread.

    First: corporations are not people. They are government constructs designed to concentrate capital and accomplish certain goals the government deems desirable. They chartered by governments, and that charter grants both certain privileges and certain responsibilities. The main privilege is limited liability, and in exchange the governments gets to change the rules of the game at a whim. Changing the tax code is one way of doing that.

    Second, R&D budgets are limited and the potential number of things that can be researched is limitless. So when a corporation gets tax benefits to do R&D, they are happy. Because they know that R&D pays them money down the road, so tax benefits for R&D are like the government paying them to make money.

    Now the raising taxes while simultaneously offering benefits is going to piss off some. Others will benefit from these changes, most likely, by not changing anything and just showing how their existing R&D already complied, and then start trying to apply the “windfall profit tax” and related tax benefits to FY04-07.

    And shareholders buy into this scheme when they buy a share.

    And my advice to my fellow libertarians is to not identify in any way emotionally with government-created constructs like corporations. They have their purposes, and may even be worth the expansion of power they give the government, but they are tools created to serve a purpose, and do not have rights any more than a hammer or the DEA.

  160. It’s an expiring tax, and nobody believes that the government would renew it if Big Oil turned into Big Wind and Solar.

    Expires when? Woodrow Wilson’s temporary WWI phone tax didn’t expire until 2006.

  161. The real Obama problem as I see it is this. Bush certainly was a ‘big governemnt’ solution guy on things like ‘No Child’ and the new prescprition entitlements. No matter how bad these programs are, they will stay around because of the constituencies they have created. Education will not devolve 10th Amendment style to the states.

    Obama and Dems in Congress are going to go much further toward statist solutions and no matter how bad the impact and the electoral losses down the road, these programs too will not go away. We keep piling bad ideas on top of other bad ideas.

    The Dems and their interest groups will hold on to these things. Then add activist judges and pretty soon we will have our true superstate on all issues.

  162. Since Hillary is out of the running, I can bet my mortgage that it will be a slugfest between Barrack and John; lovers vs. fighters; revolution vs. evolution; wiping the slate clean vs. grinding smooth a crater-riddled slate; and so on with the metaphors/analogies. Sounds like a leaning to O? Definitely. No wonder O scores high on Pollclash. Change deal vs. Hope? For me, hoping can be defined as an active devotion to resolve things – and every once in a while in history, a radical change is the only way.

  163. People that call themselves libertarians are planning to vote for the most Liberal guy on the ticket? What has happened to this place? It has become a joke.

    Does Reason have a Libertarian checklist. Something that lays out the basic principles underlying the purpose of the magazine? Something that allows the readers to actually understand what the philosophy is that they say they follow? Something that maybe says “um, I don’t think that word means what you think it means?”

  164. MNG, that wasn’t excitement, it was a prognostication.

    eb, I got here followin a link from boortz. I happened acrossed him one day searchin the dial fer my jesus station. He was raisin cain about them islams and it sounded good so I looked him up and found this link and here I am.

  165. Fishfry:

    Four more wars” McCain? And Bob Barr, puhleeze.

    You meant Obama “puhleeze” right? Have you checked out his hawkish speech before AIPEC? I’ll get agree that he is better on Iraq but on Iran and Israel and Iran, the differences are minimal. Why not vote for Barr who is considerably superior to Obama on these issues or, stay home? . You can’t say that your own candidate didn’t warn you with his own hawkish words.

  166. One knows a man by the company he keeps, and Obama keeps company with unreconstructed Marxists and leftist terrorists from the Sixties.

  167. DO NOT QUESTION DEAREST LEADER!

    DOUBLEPLUS UNGOOD!

  168. Having been declared by all parties as “the most extreme left candidate”, is this really a question? Having proposed the UN distribute our foreign aid, global poverty income re-distribution, and having already proposed an across-the-board 30% tax increase even before the nomination was locked down… Add to that a democrat house and senate; there is the recipe for economic meltdown in the best of times. Next consider the housing crisis, energy and food prices soaring, this man could single-handedly topple the nation; unless, of course, that is the goal. Consider the mans’ associations before you answer. He is an anarchists’ dream candidate; the Manchurian Candidate personified. If so many people still back him knowing these facts, then perhaps, we are already the walking dead.

  169. President Obama will be neither as bad as many of us fear or as good as many lefties hope.
    There are about 40 “blue dog” dems and probably 20 more to be elected in majority GOP districts this year who will have their eyes on re-election in 2010 and not on helping Obama push through any radical socialist programs. The republic will survive to eventually confront what to do about the bazillion baby boomers in nursing homes.

  170. Finally, a candidate who “gets” me.

    Bring on the Second Global Depression!

  171. He is an anarchists’ dream candidate; the Manchurian Candidate personified.

    Raymond Shaw was far from an anarchists’ dream. He was in the pocket of big extranational special interests.

  172. Joe:

    What are you doing here? Crusading for truth in the land of the ignorant? Is this really the intellectual debate you crave?

    I don’t know you, but if all I had to go on was your arguments here (especially your suggestion that Chris hates poor people), I’d have to conclude that you’re a fraud.

    Grow up. Even if all the people here are evil and stupid, you’re no Socrates.

  173. Cripes, what wingnut web site linked here late last night?

  174. i agree with eb and economist. This site is a fucking joke, with the only libertarian requirement being that one is against the war in Iraq. how the hell do you believe in free minds and free markets and vote for a socialist? where are your fucking balls to refuse this false dichotomy bullshit.

    At least admit what you are.

  175. If we had instant runoff elections, I would be writing in Ron Paul, then Barr, then Obama, then McCain. We don’t have runoffs, so I am forced to go with what I think is least damaging that will likely have an impact. You can think two are horrible choices and still pick one.

  176. J:

    The fallacy of your position is that you think your single vote will determine the election. It won’t. I was freed from that myth many years ago and now vote my conscience.

  177. Reaction is starting:

    Just this morning a friend/small business owner sent me a link to his economic advisor. They are warning all their clients to pull out of the stock market, convert to money markets, downsize, conduct layoffs if needed, sell off, and take windfall profits now rather than later “under an Obama tax hike.”

    A chill on the eonomy, in advance!

  178. An obama presidency would/will be a utter disaster only this time we probly wont have a Reagan to bail us out

  179. Johsua-Say what you will, the big government era to end all big government eras, the 1960’s, was an economic success…

    And the 1940’s weren’t too shabby either!

    And both era’s had tax cuts that corresponded with those booms.

    So I will say what I will….tax cuts stimulate the economy and raise revenues.

    Once you lefties get over that fact then we can start talking about what type of tax cut gives the best benefits.

  180. dodsworth,

    I do not believe my vote will matter at all – I am not in a contested state. I highly doubt MA will be deeply divided between McCain and Obama. In some other states the voters have a ridiculously small individual chance of impacting anything, but that chance is still there. If I were living in one of those states, I would vote the same way.

    Maybe in a state like MA where my vote really won’t even have a chance of mattering, I should use a protest vote and vote my for who best matches my views. I can’t help but think that if things went the near impossible route and my one vote did matter, that I would blame myself if my state voted for the greater of the two really really bad choices. I know its nigh impossible, but I am willing to vote against that possibility.

  181. J:

    I’d rather be strapped in a dentists chair and have several teeth polled than force myself to vote for either one of these jokers….but its a free country. Knock yourself out if you think it is worth it.

  182. J:

    Please also note that Obama is a hawk on both Iran and Israel. If he goes to war with Iran as he is openly willing to do, and your single vote makes the difference, you should also feel “responsible” for that.

    Here it here from the horse’s mouth:

    http://thestressblog.com/2008/06/05/borat-obomya-at-aipac/

  183. Dodsworth,

    Please also note that Obama is a hawk on both Iran and Israel. If he goes to war with Iran as he is openly willing to do, and your single vote makes the difference, you should also feel “responsible” for that.

    Not true. I would only feel responsible insofar as I felt that Obama was worse than McCain in likelihood of starting a new war, which I don’t think is accurate(but I can never be sure on). On the other hand, in the same scenario on the question of rising taxes, I would feel somewhat responsible since I think Obama would be worse. It’s just one example, but I think the trade-offs favor Obama as the less horrible.

  184. J:

    Well….we won’t change each others minds. I would point out again, however, that Obama has made no secret of his hawkishness on Israel and Iran. He advertised it loud and clear at AIPAC and thus destroyed any credible claim to be the antiwar candidate.

    If he goes to war with Iran, nobody can claim that he “lied” to them about the possibility as they COULD allege for Bush who, unlike Obama, promised a more humble foreign policy when he ran the first time.

  185. Does Reason have a Libertarian checklist. Something that lays out the basic principles underlying the purpose of the magazine? Something that allows the readers to actually understand what the philosophy is that they say they follow?

    Checklist? Reminds me of Captain Black’s (?) loyalty oath crusade from Catch-22.

    While I will be the first to say Obama and (especially) this Joe guy possess no ideas/arguments that include anything I understand as a libertarian outlook, the last thing libertarians need to do is fall all over ourselves policing libertarian purity. We’ve been doing that for years and look where it’s gotten us.

  186. dodsworth,

    As I’ve said before, I do not like Obama. I don’t think he is a peace candidate – it’s just my subjective evaluation that he is less likely to start another war than is McCain, which is pretty high on my list of priorities. Not that I am sure, or that I am even sure enough to try to convince others. I am mainly trying to explain why someone would vote for him even if they dislike him, to silly posts like adrians.

  187. So J, you are willing to forsake your morals, integrity etc. for the chance that Obama will start less wars?

    If you keep choosing the lesser of two evils, you send no message, lose whatever conviction you had, hurt any movement that is actually good in your opinion, and at best just slow our descent into evil.

    still silly?

  188. This site is a fucking joke, with the only libertarian requirement being that one is against the war in Iraq.

    Adrian,

    I’m really only seeing one, maybe two guys (out of, maybe 100 commentors) entertain the notion of voting for Obama, and one of them, “Joe,” doesn’t seem to be a libertarian at all, based on the run-of-the-mill lefty v. libertarian epithets he keeps throwing out.

  189. Babu,

    Interesting. Bob Barr’s not on it, but other than that, very informative.

  190. Babu,

    I think you should repost this up-page.

    Anyway, I guess your average voter wants an “authoritarian” leader for the GWOT.

  191. I’m not sure how I could post this so that it will be up-page. But I guess this link is trying to show that American politics is skewed well to the right as compared to mainstream European politics.

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