Economics

What Can Make Barack Obama's Economic Ideas Look Almost Appealing?

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A Naomi Klein attack essay, that's what!

Barack Obama waited just three days after Hillary Clinton pulled out of the race to declare, on CNBC, "Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market."

Demonstrating that this is no mere spring fling, he has appointed 37-year-old Jason Furman to head his economic policy team. Furman is one of Wal-Mart's most prominent defenders, anointing the company a "progressive success story." […]

Obama–who taught law at the University of Chicago for a decade–is thoroughly embedded in the mind-set known as the Chicago School.

He chose as his chief economic adviser Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist on the left side of a spectrum that stops at the center-right. […]

[B]efore Obama can purge Washington of the scourge of Friedmanism, he has some ideological housecleaning of his own to do.

Hat tip to Terry Michael; reason on Naomi Klein here.

NEXT: Basil Parasiris Acquitted

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  1. Ha ha. Awesome.

  2. “I love the market.”

    This is what people say when they hate the market, but they have to make a hard right turn back towards the center after clinching the nomination.

  3. mike,

    ??? so what do they say if they really like the market?

  4. Art-POG,

    If you really like the market, you never mention it.

  5. ??? so what do they say if they really like the market?

    Bring me another mint julep, Jeeves. Oh, and while you’re up, fetch me another $100.00 bill. My cigar went out again.

  6. hmmmm… robc, I find your ideas appealing and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  7. So, David. Obama should start wearing a monocle, top-hat and waistcoat with gold pocketwatch?

  8. The Theocon Republicans dislike McCain.

    The Loony wing of the Libertarians dislike Barr.

    Naomi Klein dislikes Obama (or at least his economic advisers.)

    We could be a lot worse off, here.

  9. Klein’s Freidmanophobia would be hilarious if it weren’t so dangerous. Oh wait, this is Naomi Klein, so it is hilarious.

  10. Who once said this:

    “I don’t agree with communism. We are democracy. We are against all kinds of dictators. . . . That is why we oppose communism.”

    It was Fidel Castro before he tasted power.

  11. Good point, B.

  12. ??? so what do they say if they really like the market?

    Usually something involving the phrase “tax cuts”, hopefully in concert with the phrase “reduced spending”.

    Anyone who talks about more spending and higher taxes (e.g., Obama), doesn’t the love the market nearly as much as he loves the concentration of resources in government hands.

  13. It was Fidel Castro before he tasted power.

    Wow, good thing we have a congress and judiciary and stuff. And no Fidel Castro.

  14. Godwin’s Law needs to be amended such that the invocation of Walmart also gets covered. I can’t remember that name was brought up as an indicator of anything good.

  15. RC Dean,

    Exactly.

    If you talk about tax cuts and spending cuts, and reduced regulation and lowering/reducing tariffs and etc. you never need to mention that you love the market. Tis obvious.

    If, on the other hand, you push universal health care and protectionism and higher taxes and expanded social programs and etc. you need to mention that you love the market, because otherwise, no one would know.

  16. Not to mention Fidel Castro…

  17. shecky,

    I can’t remember that name was brought up as an indicator of anything good.

    Unlike other big boxes in my area, they still carry pistol ammo. I get my cheap 9mm target ammo there. Thats a “Walmart is indicator of something good”.

  18. Furman claims he will be drawing on the expertise of two Keynesian economists: Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute and James Galbraith, son of Friedman’s nemesis John Kenneth Galbraith.

    I’m not familiar with Jared Bernstein, but James Galbraith, who has a regular column in Mother Jones, makes me physically ill. He’s one who makes me scream obscenities while reading his work.

  19. I’m pretty sure Bush has already purged Washington of the scourge of Friedmanism.

    Is there anything Naomi Klein can’t make funny?

  20. the invocation of Walmart

    Cool. Sounds like something in an occult ritual.

    If, on the other hand, you push universal health care and protectionism and higher taxes and expanded social programs and etc.

    Do you find it odd that he’s still apparently too far to the right for Klein? Is she a Neo-Marxist?

  21. More than 100 faculty members signed a letter of protest. “The effects of the neoliberal global order that has been put in place in recent decades, strongly buttressed by the Chicago School of Economics, have by no means been unequivocally positive,” the letter states. “Many would argue that they have been negative for much of the world’s population.”

    This is at least the second time I’ve seen her refer to this letter. I’ve yet to find it however. Who are these 100 members? What is the full content of said letter?

    Methinks something fishy here…

  22. purge Washington of the scourge of Friedmanism

    (!)

  23. Which Chicago School is she talking about?

    The Chicago School of Milton Friedman and Federal Withholding or the Chicago School that kisses Daley’s ass and won’t let Wal-Mart open any more stores in Chicago?

  24. The Chicago School of Milton Friedman and Federal Withholding or the Chicago School that kisses Daley’s ass and won’t let Wal-Mart open any more stores in Chicago?

    “I have no apologies for it, but I really wish we hadn’t found it necessary and I wish there were some way of abolishing withholding now.”

    https://www.reason.com/news/show/29691.html

  25. “…scourge of Friedmanism…”

    Congratulations Naomi! You’ve just been added to the Just Go Away list! Now that you’re here you’re one step closer to making the even more infamous Shit List.

    Well done! And keep on being an idiot. The rest of us in the world of logic and reason [ummm… drink?] need to keep laughing at you.

    Thank you and now back to your regularly scheduled comments…

  26. Art-POG,

    If you really like the market, you never mention it.

    The first rule of the free market is: you do not talk about the free market. The second rule of the free market is: you DO NOT talk about the free market.

  27. Obama should start wearing a monocle, top-hat and waistcoat with gold pocketwatch?

    Indeed. And he needs to start driving this car

  28. “Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.”

    And Chavez respects private property. Really, he does.

  29. Naomi Klein’s description of a Friedmanite conspiracy in America’s government makes 9/11 Truthers seem sane.

  30. I believe him. I really, really do. He’s soooo dreamy.

  31. This is what people say when they hate the market, but they have to make a hard right turn back towards the center after clinching the nomination.

    Well, another interpretation is that it’s what people who view the market favorably have to say after having to trash it because they’re running for the nomination of a center-left party.

    I’m actually inclined to believe him. Most of what Klein says about his associations and statements is true. Where we differ is that she views that as a negative thing, and I view it as a positive thing.

  32. Indeed. And he needs to start driving this car

    This One

  33. Great post, Matt.

  34. oh hot damn I’ve been to that dealership and catered an event across the street!

  35. Can we replace the so called “scourge of Friedmanism” with something more Austrian…

  36. And he needs to start driving this car

    Drive Himself? Bah!
    Soon Obama will have an extensive fleet of luxurious conveyances, and a herd of heavily-armed men to drive him around in them.

    Just remember to leave that Lincoln convertible at home, Mr President.

  37. Warren: Most Maybachs are designed to be chauffeur-driven vehicles… would be rather weird seeing somebody driving one around without somebody sitting in the back.

  38. Obama has to play a fairly conservative game on economics because the “class warfare” charge would be much more damaging to a black candidate than a white one. And I suspect that his internationalist perspeption means that he’s a free-trader when the cameras are off.

  39. MP – That’s interesting… googling for some of the phrases in that excerpt of the protest layer pulls up nothing but this very column.

    Those 100 aren’t protesting very loudly.

  40. All of you folks who think the libertarian party needs to do more to appeal to the “main stream” or who fret whether we appear too “radical”, are, in my opinion, afraid to unambiguously champion the market as superior to state intervention.

    In my opionion, the radicals are the ones who favor the massive redistribution of wealth-i.e. communism. The radicals are the ones who think that central planning and entitlement programs have a place at the table or belong in the conversation.

  41. And I suspect that his internationalist perspeption means that he’s a free-trader when the cameras are off.

    Hard to get union votes pushing for free trade. The UN is a hotbed of “internationalist leanings” and I don’t see them pushing free trade real hard.

  42. “Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.”

    While a Klein attack is always a case of praising with strong damnation, not that Klein is praising, but in the sense that drawing her ire is generally a better sign than drawing her praise. Nonetheless, I kind of think of the above quote as the start of a fundamentalist Christian saying why men are the head of a household. “I love women. I think they have a valuable role in society. Men should cherish their women, and show them leadership.”

    He loves the market, as long as the market does what he wants it to do. And as soon as it doesn’t, he wants to meddle.

    Still probably going to vote for the regulatin’ summbitch. Mostly because McCain is probably only slightly better on markets (the guy likes his own outcomes), and I’m not all about the perpetual war. But I know I’m gonna get screwed either way. I just feel that this time I’ll actually get screwed less voting one way than the other. Dammit.

  43. People who are ideologues, as opposed to pragmatists, in the area of economic policy tend to view any positions different than their own as dangerous extermism.

    Like Klein. Or most of the Reason commentariat.

    The Friedmanites think he’s a socialist, and the socialists think he’s a Freidmanite. In reality, he’s probably pretty darn close to a Clintonite.

  44. In reality, he’s probably pretty darn close to a Clintonite.

    In reality, nobody knows, not even his supporters. So it’d be nice if he actually said something, you know, concrete for once.

  45. While Furman’s not a marketophobe like Klein, he’s not above cooking the numbers to make tax cuts look bad.

  46. Joe-

    Are you opining that a pragmatist can not be an idealogue?

    Being pretty darn close to a Clintonite is being pretty darn close to socialism.

  47. The Friedmanites think he’s a socialist, and the socialists think he’s a Freidmanite. In reality, he’s probably pretty darn close to a Clintonite.

    A Friedmanite or Clintonite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever…

  48. “I don’t agree with communism. We are democracy. We are against all kinds of dictators. . . . That is why we oppose communism.”

    It was Fidel Castro before he tasted power.

    No, it was Fidel Castro gaming the New York Times.

  49. In regards to Terry Michael’s thoughts, was the Fed bailout of Bear Stearns the sort of “liberal statism” he’s complaining about?

    No doubt the financial markets would have collapsed had Bernanke not done that, with dire consequences for the economy and society. But still, it’s more “socialism for the rich, harsh free market for the poor.” Obama is a free-trader, but I think we’ll have to wait to see what he does in other areas. He does have some ideas at his campaign’s website.

    Klein’s just overreacting as she is wont to do.

  50. “Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.”

    Rrrrrriiiiiiiiigggghhht. His platform *surely* attests to that.

  51. It’s good that we can find something to approve of in the apparent next president of the US.

  52. Russ 2000 –

    To be fair to Daley, he was pro-Walmart. One of the few times the aldermen have gone against him was to vote for the Big Box ordinance so they could enjoy calling themselves independent, progressive, and pro-union. Then Daley got a few of them to flip flop back with him so the Ordinance didn’t end up taking effect (thank goodness). But on that issue, Daley was certainly the one with his head on straight (that hurt just to type that!). It doesn’t happen often so I like to give him credit when it does…

  53. Obama did co-sponsor the Fair Pay Act, so either he leans socialist or he is Friedmanite who thinks being elected is more important than good legislation (not that this is different from any other politician).

  54. pretty darn close to a Clintonite

    The ’92 – ’94 Clinton of BillaryCare, or the ’94 – ’00, “hey, is that Gingrich bitin’ my ass?” ?

  55. MP said: “This is at least the second time I’ve seen her refer to this letter. I’ve yet to find it however. Who are these 100 members? What is the full content of said letter?”

    I would also like to see this letter, though its existence does not surprise me. I suspect the 100 faculty members are from departments outside of the school of business and economics…not a big revelation to have ‘radical’ leftist in the other departments.

    Also, someone asked about Jared Bernstein, adviser to Obama. He has been on NPR from time to time. He is also a regular contributor to Larry Kudlow’s show on CNBC. I’ve found his views to be of the Keynesian school, certainly not a supply sider. He is far from an isolationist on trade issues or full blown socialist on entitlement programs. Point being, it could easily be worse.

  56. pretty darn close to a Clintonite

    This is probably true, in the sense that he probably has no principles that he will not sacrifice to the pursuit of power.

  57. In reality, nobody knows, not even his supporters. So it’d be nice if he actually said something, you know, concrete for once.

    Go here
    http://www.barackobama.com/issues/economy/

    or here
    http://www.barackobama.com/issues/fiscal/

    They may not have the detail you are looking for…but they are as detailed as these

    http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/4dbd2cc7-890e-47f1-882f-b8fc4cfecc78.htm

  58. They may not have the detail you are looking for…but they are as detailed as these

    They don’t.

    Did I say McCain had been concrete? We’re talking about Obama here. We already know McCain is an economic idiot.

  59. Episiarch,

    You said: In reality, nobody knows, not even his supporters.

    It seems there is enough detail in his publications and statements to say that he is a bit left-center, in other words, someone who sees the market as a good thing, but thinks there should be some checks and balances…hardly a market-destroying socialist.

    Obama is not, so much vague. The coverage of this campaign, however, has been impressively shallow. You might have to work a bit to find out what the candidates stand for.

  60. “pretty darn close to a Clintonite”

    “This is probably true, in the sense that he probably has no principles that he will not sacrifice to the pursuit of power.”

    I think the same thing can be said about McFlipFlop.

  61. It’s simple: Obama is a post-socialism socialist. He’s made his peace with the “free market” because he knows a certain degree of market freedom is necessary to generate the surplus wealth that he wants to expropriate for the welfare state.

    Klein, on the other hand, just awoke from a coma and hasn’t been told the Soviet Union is gone.

  62. Obama is not, so much vague. The coverage of this campaign, however, has been impressively shallow. You might have to work a bit to find out what the candidates stand for.

    If he would say what he stood for in a non-vague manner, the media would have nothing to cover but his positions, and thus couldnt be shallow. Stop giving sound bites for them to use! If he wants my vote, he shouldnt make me work for it. Then again, he cant get my vote, so I guess it doesnt matter.

  63. between his Father’s Day speech (a speech Clinton never could’ve made) and this, I’m beginging to think the guy’s not so bad.

  64. “Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.”
    How would any Democrat connected to reality have a problem with that statement? Klein’s influence on the left is what Obama should “clean house” on.

  65. This is why Obama will win…

    http://www.barackobama.com/issues/economy/

    …and McCain will lose:

    http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/4dbd2cc7-890e-47f1-882f-b8fc4cfecc78.htm

    No, I’m not talking about content. I’m saying, just *look* at the URLs. One you could have a shot at typing from memory, and the other you cannot unless you are some sort of idiot savant. One looks like it was set up by an IT guy who has actually met other human beings, and the other simply does not.

    Also, somewhat more on topic, I supposed liberty mike and those others out there who believe somewhat contrary to available evidence that regulation will automatically doom a market to recession and collapse…how were those Eisenhower days?

    I’m all about removing regulations and lowering taxers and spending, but the shrillness people around here sometimes reach, and particularly the horrible “consequences” they prognosticate (that have basically never historically come true), make it very, very easy to laugh at the ideas that drive them. Like “Naomi Klein” easy. Like “I live in a bubble in my mind” easy.

    Somehow I suspect that liberty mike considers the Gas Tax to be rank socialism.

  66. lmnop,

    Without looking at the sites, I would assume on both you can get to the issues pages easy via a few clicks max. If so, who cares what the page are named? Who goes directly to deep links anyway?

    johnmccain.com is easy to spell than barackobama.com 🙂

    As a preemptive joez law, I misspelled johnmccain when I first typed the sentence above.

  67. I’m saying, just *look* at the URLs. One you could have a shot at typing from memory, and the other you cannot unless you are some sort of idiot savant. One looks like it was set up by an IT guy who has actually met other human beings, and the other simply does not.

    GUID hater.

  68. I move that the phrase “Nancy Grace stupid” be replaced with “Naomi Klein stupid.”

  69. Franklin Harris: Bingo.

    Elemenope: Good point, but luckily the average voter doesn’t care about website design.

  70. Naomi Klein joins the Obama campaign by recruiting Friedmanites to his cause.

  71. I move that the phrase “Nancy Grace stupid” be replaced with “Naomi Klein stupid.”

    Motion seconded. Any discussion? Passed by acclamation.

  72. Episiarch 11:29,
    What he says puts him left of center, meaning he’ll govern as a solid leftist. Remember, Clinton was a typical liberal tax-and-spend Democrat ( his “recovery plan” for the 92-93 recession, HillaryCare, etc) until he got a Congress that disliked him. And he campaigned more as a moderate in ’92 than Obama.

  73. Elemenope,
    I’ve pointed out before that I’m more concerned with economic statism because it is more easily entrenched. Of the programs FDR implemented without them being declared blatantly unconstitutional, the only one that has actually been slightly rolled back is AFDC. Of LBJ’s programs, which ones have been rolled back? Anything Obama and his Democratic friends get through will stay with us forever. However, I think that with a divided government (as McCain would probably face), we would eventually leave Iraq.

  74. BARACK OBAMA FAVORS CHANGE!!!!!
    DONT YOU PEOPLE UNDERSTAND!?
    CHANGE!!!!!!!

  75. economist —

    No argument from me. My point is that the *consequences* of all that statism haven’t been as catastrophic as those on the right have been shrilling for the past 70 or so years, and so the shrillness makes us all look like fucking idiots.

    The article that Peter K. posted shows some signs of hope…yes, Obama is literally shilling because he knows he is being interviewed by the WSj, but still, this paragraph…

    The thing I think people should feel confident in is that I’m going to make these judgments not based on some fierce ideological pre-disposition but based on what makes sense. I’m a big believer in evidence. I’m a big believer in fact. You know, if somebody shows me we can do something better through a market mechanism, I’m happy to do it. I have no vested interest in expanding government or setting up a program just for the sake of setting one up. It’s too much work.

    …is, compared to the last eight years, a fucking aural orgasm. And, seeing as he is more of a pragmatist than an ideologue, even kinda believable (it’s that last sentence that really cinches it; bureaucracies really are just too much fucking work, and exactly the counterargument that a pragmatist would make). Even if he’s only half full of shit, that’s a truckload of win.

  76. My point is that the *consequences* of all that statism haven’t been as catastrophic as those on the right have been shrilling for the past 70 or so years, and so the shrillness makes us all look like fucking idiots.

    QFT

    OHMYGAWD TEH SOCIALISTAS gets so tiresome. Especially in light of the of the continued expansion of US wealth over the last 70 years. Yes, I’ll argue at length that such an expansion would have been greater if not for FDR et. al., but it’s tiresome to hear those shrill cries.

  77. It’s funny.

    Every time Barack Obama makes a statement about economic policy that people here disagree with, there is a 200 comment thead.

    But, if a certain amount of time goes by without a major economic policy pronoucement, we get 200 comment threads about how Barack Obama never says anything substantive about economics.

    Whatever.

  78. My point is that the *consequences* of all that statism haven’t been as catastrophic as those on the right have been shrilling for the past 70 or so years, and so the shrillness makes us all look like fucking idiots.

    I like the way the stories about how people living in poverty in American have it really, really good alternate with stories about how regulation and taxation have caused untold suffering for millions of Americans.

  79. joe,

    I like the way the stories about how people living in poverty in American have it really, really good alternate with stories about how regulation and taxation have caused untold suffering for millions of Americans.

    Any reason they cant both be true?

    Story A: poor people in America >>> poor people in most of world

    Story B: americans hurt by regulation relative to what their situation would be without it.

    Sure they are being compared to different standards, but the different standards make sense in the different cases.

  80. joe,

    Every time Barack Obama makes a statement about economic policy that people here disagree with, there is a 200 comment thead.

    But, if a certain amount of time goes by without a major economic policy pronoucement, we get 200 comment threads about how Barack Obama never says anything substantive about economics.

    Whatever.

    How about, instead, BO make a statement about economic policy that we AGREE with. There is a 3rd option besides “nothing” and “wrong”.

  81. Any reason they cant both be true?

    Of course. But the arguments are rarely made in combination. Let’s say someone asks you “Why is poverty an issue in America?” You respond with “the Government has put economically liberating free market policies in a stranglehold”. So then your friend is asked “Why is poverty and issue in America” and your friend responds with “It’s not. The poor have it pretty good in this country due to the freer marketplace that exists in the US.”

    Wha? Clearly, those answers on the surface appear contradictory. Of course, you can combine them into a single argument, but typically they aren’t combined.

  82. Every time Barack Obama makes a statement about economic policy that people here disagree with, there is a 200 comment thead.

    But, if a certain amount of time goes by without a major economic policy pronoucement, we get 200 comment threads about how Barack Obama never says anything substantive about economics.

    God you’re a fuckwit, joe.

    Did it ever occur to your racist partisan bullshit self hating white skinned skull that perhaps when he does say something substantive, it’s crap, which is why he avoids substance to begin with? Did it ever occur to you that we’re not all self hating partisan hack white boys, and we actually might apply critical thinking to what little substance he does give us and realize that what he has planned isn’t so rosy? Did it ever occur to you that this is the source of the above little fabricated conundrum of yours? It’s pretty clear on a very simple level.

    What the man believes in is obfiscation and avoidance of direct answers. He much prefers to let people project their own version of what “change” is in nice rosy terms, drawing upon their underlying racism, such as, well, yours.

    However, what he has planned is much different than most people envision. It’s much closer to socialism, and mirrors Chavez’s appeal to the masses. Therefore, when he says something of substance the difference between the reality and the fantasy gets highlighted, and ::gasp:: people object.

    However, when he’s in his typical mode, people who have critical thinking capacity, unlike your fuckwitted partisan hack self, tend to point out that the man isn’t saying anything of substance, yet he wants us to vote for him for “change.” So, those people ::gasp:: object.

    Whatever yourself, moron.

  83. Barack Obama waited just three days after Hillary Clinton pulled out of the race to declare, on CNBC, “Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.”

    Funny it doesn’t come up more that Hillary used to be on the Wal-Mart board.

  84. Other matt —

    Someone’s on their rag today I see.

    What Obama said in the WSJ article was pretty specific. Government’s role primarily has to do with:

    — Building and maintaining infrastructure (good)
    — Mild income redistribution (bad)
    — Incentivizing new or high-risk markets (good and bad)

    And I really liked the “Start-up Corporate Tax abeyance” but I’m sure that’s no good for you, becuase it’s a [*gasp*] Democrat whose saying it. Same thing with the Capital Gains Tax freeze (and perhaps reduction), and talking a good game about relying primarily on markets as the producers of wealth.

    Or perhaps, just perhaps, you have justinadvertently demonstrated that you are incapable of reading English. How embarrassing. But, hey!, at least you have the public school system to blame it on.

  85. racist partisan bullshit self hating white skinned skull

    Whoa. You know, I spent most of my time growing up in the ‘burbs. So I never spoke Ebonics. I listened to rap, but got exposed to new wave, metal and classical, so I also listened to that. You know, some people call me a “sell-out”, or say that I “talk white”. But do you know what I say about people like that? They have a tribalistic conception of race that is based on conformity to stereotypes and rigid modes of thinking. I knew a lot of black people that thought like this, but I also knew a lot of white people do. Other Matt.

  86. I rarely agree with joe, but “Other Matt,” I’ve seen him hand people with double your capacity their own ass many a time.

  87. -Building and maintaining infrastructure (government already does that, and most libertarians do not object that strongly)
    -“Mild” income redistribution (against it, especially since he would add this “mild” income redistribution to what is already moderate income redistribution)
    -incentivizing new or high-risk markets(I thought Democrats were supposed to be against corporate welfare.)
    So, the only things Obama would change would be in doing things I already disagree with. Where’s the “Change we can believe in”?

  88. Other Matt,
    If I ignore you’re apparent anger management problem, I agree completely. Whenever Obama makes a substantive public statement on an economic issue (real example (paraphrased):”I will never cut social security benefits. In fact, I’ll raise them for poorer recipients. I will pay for this by making rich people pay more”) its total crap and as a result he avoids coming out to say more in public, except when criticizing other candidates (example: John McCain’s gas tax holiday proposal). And joe often is full of it. But seriously, take your Tourette’s medication.

  89. So, the only things Obama would change would be in doing things I already disagree with. Where’s the “Change we can believe in”?

    What’s this “we” thing, white man?

  90. Oops. “you’re” should be “your”

  91. Other Matt, you are the easiest troll on the intertubez. Don’t ever change.

  92. robc,

    How about, disagreeing with what he says definitely refutes the assertion that he doesn’t say anything, and people should cease making such a dishonest statement?

    I have no problem with people disagreeing with the substantive, clear economic positions Obama has laid out. What I have a problem with is people repeating talking points that plainly conflict with reality.

    “No substance” is the spin Obama’s opponents came up with to make up for the gap between his rhetorical skills and theirs, and bears no resemblance to reality. The fact that people manage to figure out his policy positions clearly enough to argue against is a pretty indiction of that.

  93. Y’all. The Chicago school of economics is about the only kind of economics worse than Keynsianism. At least Keynes recognized that every once in a while leaders need to say “no actually, I think today is not a good day to go further into debt.” If you’re really gung ho about the Chicago school, I hope you enjoy your 55% credit card interest rate. For trouble with bills, perhaps you can put a fresh, clean cut baby up on the adoption market for some quick cash.

  94. joe,

    If Obama makes a speech in which he says nothing, it is fair to criticize THAT SPEECH for saying nothing. Ditto if he says something wrong. If he goes 2 months between wrongheaded economic statements, it seems fair to criticize those 2 months.

    Now, I havent been following it very closely (although much more closely than your average voter), but I know very little about his economic philosophy/theory. What I do know is wrongheaded. I see grounds for criticism on both grounds – wrongness and lack of clarity. If he pushes out some more wrongness, I will gladly drop the lack of clarity criticism. 🙂

    An example on the clarity issue, I have no idea his views on Austrian School economics. I knew Ron Paul’s views on it, he made them very clear.

  95. joe,

    Other Matt, you are the easiest troll on the intertubez.

    And then Ryan posts.

  96. joe, basically, Obama alternates between airy platitudes and truly boneheaded policy. I reserve the right to call him out on both.

    Whereas McCain alternates between boneheaded policy and feeble half-measures.

    I’m thinking I’ll probably vote Libertarian this time around, for the sole purpose of helping them keep their ballot access for the next time.

  97. robc,

    If the “lack of substance” critique of Obama was made merely in reference to any particular speech, I’d agree. The problem is, it isn’t. Instead, he is described as lacking specifics and substance in general.

    As a matter of fact, the people who throw out this accusation NEVER actually make reference to a specific speech or policy statement, if you notice. Obama is running a pretty substantive campaign, and he’s put forward policy positions about as substantive as those from Hillary, McCain, Kerry, or Gore, and a hell of a lot more substantive than Bush.

  98. “Mild” income redistribution (against it, especially since he would add this “mild” income redistribution to what is already moderate income redistribution)

    Is the Federal government really doing that much income redistribution? My understanding, admittedly based on limited reading on the subject, is that Federal entitlements tend to mostly go right back to the middle class. Albeit time shifted so that a lot of the money comes back when we’re old middle class farts.

    And, of course, a chunk of the collected money goes to paying bureaucratic employees to administer the entitlement programs.

  99. If he would say what he stood for in a non-vague manner, the media would have nothing to cover but his positions, and thus couldnt be shallow.

    But if he said what he stood for, he’d surely never get elected. What, you think he got the nomination because he’s an idiot?

    He wouldn’t be where he is, if he hadn’t already mastered the art of babbling incessantly about nothing specific, while at the same time inflating whatever fluffy white clouds you have floating around in your very own little head.

    The fact that Obama is clearly so much better at this game than McCain, is why I think McCain is going to loose.

    Assuming McCain doesn’t fall out of the race before it even really gets started.

    Meanwhile, I’m going to be voting for a blow-up doll this time around. Because I cannot vote for anyone I see in the offing.

  100. At least he didn’t say he wanted to save capitalism from itself.

  101. Wait until he gets elected.

  102. What the hell crawled up Ryan’s ass and died?

  103. Ha, she faintly praised him with damnation!

    Always good to hear from the unreconstructed communist left.

    I don’t think Obama will be too bad of a President. He pretty consistently lies to everyone by telling them all what they want to hear even when those things are opposites, so at the end of the day he’ll govern like Clinton: take a poll before he takes a position.

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