Campaigns/Elections

Are We a "Nation of Whiners"?

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Back in the olden days, when GOP presidential candidate John McCain admitted he knew nada about economics, he brought in failed presidential candidate and former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) to burnish his cred. Gramm's main contribution to date? Either fearlessly telling the truth or being a headline-grabbing, poll-killing idjit. You decide:

McCain was already running into a stiff headwind because of an ailing economy, and his task only became tougher after former senator Phil Gramm…suggested that the United States has "become a nation of whiners."

Gramm, who has helped shape McCain's presidential campaign and is a close friend of the candidate, expressed no regret on Thursday for the comments he made in an interview with the Washington Times, saying: "I'm not going to retract any of it. Every word I said was true."

McCain's official response?

Gramm "does not speak for me. I speak for me. I strongly disagree," McCain said during a press availability here, which took place at the same time Gramm was wrapping up a discussion with the Wall Street Journal editorial board about the candidate's economic program.

"The person here in Michigan who just lost his job isn't suffering from a mental recession," McCain added. Asked whether Gramm would play a significant role in shaping economic policy in a McCain administration, the senator joked: "I think Senator Gramm would be in serious consideration for ambassador to Belarus, although I'm not sure the citizens of Minsk would welcome that."…

For the first time since August 2002, the Labor Department said, every metropolitan area registered unemployment rate increases over the previous year, with Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn leading the way with a 2.1-percentage-point leap. The region lost 47,400 payroll jobs, nearly double the next highest job-loss total, in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area.

More here.

I almost think McCain should lose for the Belarus joke alone.

What say you, Hit & Run readers? Are we a nation of whiners? Or a nation of winners?

John McCain's eight greatest gag lines.

Bonus: In a 1978 reason article, Phil Gramm, then an economics professor at Texas A&M wrote:

"We might rely on collectivism to produce goods that we don't really need and goods we have a lot of substitutes for; but those things that we must have—that we cannot live without, at least in the manner in which we choose to live—those things have got to be reserved for private production, not government production."

Click here to see exactly what changed Gramm's mind in 1997. The answer may surprise you.

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  1. “Since I started studying the fire ants issue, I see them everywhere. I had a dream the other night they were conspiring to kill me,” Gramm told the Associated Press.

    This is pleasantly surreal. It reminds me of that dream where you see yourself standing in sort of sun-god robes on a pyramid with a thousand naked women screaming and throwing little pickles at you.

    Why am I the only person that has that dream?

  2. you know, we never hear about the menace of killer bees and fire ants anymore. I guess we’ve reached some sort of armistice with these creatures, because surely we haven’t rolled them back from whence they came. I’d be curious to find out how prolific they’ve become or whether nature has restored balance and halted the progress of them.

  3. I must be politically retarded. Until I got to the “cunt” crack and the Chelsea crack, I was starting to warm up to Mc’s sense of humor.

  4. Guys were eaten by fireants all the time in my highschool. It was no big deal.

  5. He still ain’t runnin’ for preacher.

  6. Josh,

    By eaten, do you mean bitten? Because I think it would be a big deal if high school students were routinely carried off by armies of fire ants to feed their queen.

  7. Also, I tend to agree with Mr. Gramm, except for the “become” part, unless he’s referring to a period of time long before anyone alive was born.

  8. I think Gramm’s comments make sense to him because his mental template of what a recession is probably was set from 1973-1981.

    But not every recession will impact unemployment in the same way.

    Frankly, it is likely that due to the vigorous expansions of the last twenty-five years, the employment equilibrium point has moved down on the curve, so a movement back towards 6% unemployment represents a significant change, even if we aren’t seeing the double-digit unemployment we saw in 1981.

    If you combined that with a bear market that has destroyed a vast amount of wealth, AND a housing price systemic decline that has wiped out a similar amount of wealth, then you have a major economic event.

    I don’t think that people who suffer major wealth declines and increased employment insecurity are “whiners” if they don’t like it. Especially when these events can be seen to be related to government fiscal and monetary policy, which are things that people are, you know, entitled to have opinions about.

    Gramm seems to be saying, “Sure, our fiscal and monetary policies and our war policy have undermined your economic well-being, but it’s not as bad out there as 1981 yet so if you complain about our performance you’re a whiner.” Fuck you, Phil.

  9. In fairness, we were conspiring to kill Graham for a brief period in the late-90s. In the end though, we gave it up when we got a cushy dot-com job. You may have seen the Super Bowl ad for FireAntz.com. After the bubble burst, we were able to walk away debt free, but it’s been too hectic since then (to say nothing of the new DHS restrictions?) to really take the time out to conspire to kill more than a few random dogs and five year olds each year for old times sake.

  10. I guess we’ve reached some sort of armistice with these creatures, because surely we haven’t rolled them back from whence they came.

    I think what has happened is that US southerners are leading the way when it comes to turning into Wall-E humans. Since they are too fat and sedentary to go outside, they no longer mind the fact that their yards are infested with fire ants and that swarms of killer bees are attacking everything in sight. Insect hysteria is a quaint relic of a prior time, a time when southern Americans could still rise from their La-Z boys and walk through their yards.

  11. That wasn’t very nice Fluffy.

  12. I think what has happened is that US southerners are leading the way when it comes to turning into Wall-E humans. Since they are too fat and sedentary to go outside, they no longer mind the fact that their yards are infested with fire ants and that swarms of killer bees are attacking everything in sight. Insect hysteria is a quaint relic of a prior time, a time when southern Americans could still rise from their La-Z boys and walk through their yards.

    Are you failing at being funny, or do you just hate the South?

  13. Given that the link of past McCain “jokes” was to a web site that just oozed Obama-mania, I think these snippets may have been just a tad cherry-picked. Besides I found most of them pretty funny…they reminded me of that old Seinfeld SNL skit with the game show called Comedy Killers. Of course if McCain had made a joke about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand no one would be laughing!

    As for whether we’re a nation of whiners…doesn’t the media reaction to this comment just prove that Gramm’s spot on?

    Benjamin

  14. I think what has happened is that US southerners are leading the way when it comes to turning into Wall-E humans.

    Duck, because all the Southerners here are going to be gunning for your New England ass (you’re from New Hampshire, right?).

    By the way, I am neither approving or condemning his joke. Jokes are jokes, lighten up.

  15. I’m not making fun of all southerners.

    Just the fat ones.

    If that ends up being quite a few of them, that’s hardly my fault.

  16. I once sat on a fire ant hill. Needless to say, fire ants are now my mortal enemy.

    I was in college and chatting with some hot chicks when the incident occurred. Needless to say, suddenly having a thigh that looked like a relief map of the world isnt a turn-on.

    Damn you to HELL, fire ants!

  17. The “whiners” quote is a news non-issue and was intentionally planted in the media to psychologically prepare the American public for being “stoic,” as they lose their standard of living, their pensions and their retirement.

    The road to socialism and then communism is going to be tough, so don’t be a whiner. If we learn not to whine, then we certainly aren’t going to question the loss of our civil liberties and our Constitutional freedoms, are we?

    I think it’s funny that the central bankers are actually worried the ignorant, gullible and mentally lazy American public is going to rise up and actually challenge the military industrial complex. So worried that they need to plant BS items like this in the media.

    To all the naysayers, I congratulate you on your overly-human, and very predictable, ignorance of your own situation. The central bankers are depending on you to remain that way. Guess who gets to sit at the top of the food chain when socialism is here to stay? It’s certainly not you, brothers — despite your blind and eager support.

  18. I thought the Chelsea joke was pretty funny. It reminds me of Will Ferrell playing Janet Reno on SNL.

  19. Are We a “Nation of Whiners”?

    Not really. I’d estimate the only 49.6% of Americans are “whiners”.

  20. We’ve been seeing Republican lackeys insist that the economy is just terrific throughout the Bush presidency, regardless of what it was actually doing at the time. There was not recession in 2001, right up until there was, at which point it was Clinton’s fault. TallDave and the Montag pout on about three threads a day over the evil media saying there are problems with the economy, exactly like Gramm.

    And yet, we’re not going to see the wingnuts come on this thread, laud Gramm, and repeat the argument they’ve making about the economy throughout this election, because it now runs contrary to what John McCain has said. Sad.

  21. Fluffy,

    New England elitism is an ugly thing.

  22. McCain’s jokes were, for the most part, neither funny nor offensive. #8 was actually pretty clever, and #1 was pretty tasteless. The rest were all standard “he’s the bad guy and he said the following bad things” crap that you get from many partisans. Yawn.

    Also, at the risk of sounding like I’m defending Phil Gramm (I’m not), I’ll point out that unemployment is nowhere near what it was in the early nineties. Just sayin’.

  23. Considering how the definition of unemployment has been finessed over the last few decades, I’d hardly say we could measure modern unemployment with historical unemployement.

  24. Given that the link of past McCain “jokes” was to a web site that just oozed Obama-mania, I think these snippets may have been just a tad cherry-picked.

    The list is titled “McCain’s Eight Most Inappropriate Jokes.” Did you expect them to be chosen randomly from a representative sample of his speeches?

  25. Well, I lived in the Midwest for a while, and its residents tended to be much heavier than people in my part of the South. Don’t know about New England, though I bet the same can be said. When I was in law school, the vast majority of the healthy looking people came from Florida or California.

    As for the bugs, we’ve tamed them and are training them to fight our enemies. Similar to our work with alligators, snakes, sharks, and coconut palms.

  26. Of course we’re a nation of whiners, and that’s a good thing. Whining is a luxury good.

  27. This is pleasantly surreal. It reminds me of that dream where you see yourself standing in sort of sun-god robes on a pyramid with a thousand naked women screaming and throwing little pickles at you.

    Why am I the only person that has that dream?

    Wow, Chris Knight! How’s Mitch doing these days?

  28. That joke site was dumb.

  29. I got coated in fire ants trying to light my burn pile last week. One got in my shorts and bit my ass. But I’m not whining. And Fluffy does us southerners a favor by confirming our conceptions of Yankee elitism.

  30. Wow, Chris Knight! How’s Mitch doing these days?

    Eating a lot of popcorn.

  31. lackeys insist that the economy is just terrific throughout the Bush presidency, regardless of what it was actually doing at the time

    Jesus, joe, the Dow nearly doubled from its 2002 trough to its peak last fall.
    Not exactly a depression, was it?

  32. I think Reason needs a thread about the looming deaths of Fannie and Freddie, and the potential taxpayer liability arising from that.

    An interesting case study in the way public/private partnerships warp the market and paper over huge risks.

  33. Oh, to tie that last bit into the thread, I guess I should have added:

    If Fannie and Freddie have to be bailed out by the taxpayers, if anyone complains about that, ar they “whiners”?

  34. Are you failing at being funny, or do you just hate the South?

    These are not necessarily mutually exclusive, you know.

  35. If Fannie and Freddie have to be bailed out by the taxpayers, if anyone complains about that, ar they “whiners”?

    no single raindrop believes its to blame for the flood.

  36. Fluffy, insult more people, it’s more fun than talking about bailouts.

  37. A radio show this AM had a good take on this. They played a recording Sen. Obama mentioning the whining thing to a crowd, who proceded to whine righ after he mentioned it.

  38. And Fluffy does us southerners a favor by confirming our conceptions of Yankee elitism.

    Great, now regional stereotypes are confirmed by offhand comments on message blogs…

  39. James Ard,

    Does chlordane* work on fire ants? Or does one need some chemical that the enviro-types have gotten banned?

    *Not sure if it is still available. It went through a cycle of being banned and unbanned a couple of decades ago.

  40. A radio show this AM had a good take on this. They played a recording Sen. Obama mentioning the whining thing to a crowd, who proceded to whine righ after he mentioned it.

    That had to be a hoot and a hollar.

  41. Oh boy, seems there is another round of geographical bigotry brewing from someone I no longer bother reading.

  42. LIT,

    Did not write that clearly enough. The crowd began to whine, not the Senator.

    I would have spewed coffee if I had any at the time.

  43. If Fannie and Freddie have to be bailed out by the taxpayers, if anyone complains about that, ar they “whiners”?

    They don’t “have” to be bailed out; things would be far more stable long-term were they allowed to crap out.

  44. For serious, do people really care that they’re called whiners by some old guy? When was the last time I heard that… oh wait! It was the LAST time I talked to some old guy!

    This is just a revamped form of “kids these days…”

  45. They don’t “have” to be bailed out; things would be far more stable long-term were they allowed to crap out.

    Or sold off.

  46. Wait, does the government even own them, or are they just on perpetual welfare?

  47. In full context, Gramm’s quotes don’t seem like that much of a campaign-killer.

    ‘You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,’ [Gramm] said, noting that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices. ‘We may have a recession; we haven’t had one yet.’

    ” ‘We have sort of become a nation of whiners,’ he said. ‘You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline’ despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.

    ” ‘We’ve never been more dominant; we’ve never had more natural advantages than we have today,’ he said. ‘We have benefited greatly’ from the globalization of the economy in the last 30 years.

    “Mr. Gramm said the constant drubbing of the media on the economy’s problems is one reason people have lost confidence. Various surveys show that consumer confidence has fallen precipitously this year to the lowest levels in two to three decades, with most analysts attributing that to record high gasoline prices over $4 a gallon and big drops in the value of homes, which are consumers’ biggest assets.

    ” ‘Misery sells newspapers,’ Mr. Gramm said. ‘Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day.'”

  48. The whole world is a bunch of whiners now. Some things truly deserve being discussed. But worrying about what kind of food is served at a convention and whether the non-important people try to get away with riding in air conditioned cars like the upper class does, instead of being satisfied with sweating away on their bikes, is just too precious for words.

    Fluffy’s comments sound a lot like Obama hating on the gun owners when he thinks they’re not listening.

    Sometimes this place seems so far to the left that I forget I’m on Reason and start to think I’m on Rosie Odonnell’s blog.

  49. America is not a nation of whiners. When we get down we turn to guns and religion. I have that from the Donkey’s mouth.

  50. Telly,

    Stop your whining and get off my lawn! [shakes fist in air]

    🙂

  51. I think President McCain (or Obama) should make Gramm head of the TSA; he can promptly replace all screening procedures with “No Whining” signs.

  52. I guess I’m just joining the masses. Seems to be the trend 🙂

  53. Sometimes this place seems so far to the left that I forget I’m on Reason and start to think I’m on Rosie Odonnell’s blog.

    What do the people on Rosie’s blog drink?

    Cosmopolitans?

  54. I think we are a Nation that is just tired of corruption and the Bush Regime. maybe its time to stop whining and TAKE BACK what was once ours!
    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

  55. They don’t “have” to be bailed out; things would be far more stable long-term were they allowed to crap out.

    Or sold off.

    Who would we sell this off to?
    Goldman, JP, etc. have used FNM and FRE as a dumping ground for all of the crap that was on their books.
    Most foreign entities don’t want anything to do with dollar denominated assets `cause the dollar is worthless (increasingly so).

  56. Guy,

    I dont know about the specific chemical that you mentioned but killing off ants is part of the problem with fire ants.

    Here is an example. I have a field that is 80% black ants and 20% fire ants. Not liking the fire ants, I use some chemical to kill them (and the black ants) off. Guess who colonizes faster? Thats right, a few years later the field will be 100% fire ants.

    Fire ants, kudzu, killer bees. Three problems solved by moving just far enough north.

    Re: chicks in the south v midwest. The women at the U of Wisconsin were noticably chunkier (and less attractive in other ways too) than the women at, oh, lets say, Clemson. Fair comparison of random cow colleges. I would take either over New England women.

  57. Phil and I have one thing in common: we both see fire ants everywhere! They’re crawling all over my body right now! But-and this is the important part-I am definitely not whining! I can take it, goddamn it!

    Actually, Phil has a point, sort of. The recession we’re in right now is not exactly terrible, even though a 20% drop in the stock market is not a lot of fun, not to mention the fact that it’s probably going to drop even farther, particularly if Freddie and Fanny fuck up even more (love those “f’s!). I feel pity for John McCain trying to defend free trade in Michigan, which is practically in a depression, particularly since the only honest answer he can give those folks is “sell your homes (at a loss) and move to Arizona, where we have some jobs! And, if you insist on being an auto worker, better check out Mississippi or Alabama!”

  58. Who would we sell this off to?

    The highest bidder.

  59. The recession we’re in right now . . .

    Stop right there and show some proof of two consecutive quarters of economic decline please.

  60. The recession we’re in right now is not exactly terrible, even though a 20% drop in the stock market is not a lot of fun
    Wait til they devalue the dollar even more to paper over the $5 trillion on FNM books.
    Devaluing our way to prosperity !

  61. The highest bidder.

    I don’t know if you’re watching either right now but nobody wants them. You will be stuck with this bill, we all will.

  62. Guy, with twenty or thirty mounds, there’s no chemical I could afford since the mounds reappear after every rain, which has been every day this summer. The do-it-yourself pest control store advertises a chemical that supposedly works all summer, but I rather my five year old get bit than prance about in poison. Plus I’m hoping ant bites will act as anti-venom when I step on the snake.

  63. toshiro_mifune,

    You saying no one would bid $1 for Fannie or Freddie? That might be the case, in which case we just let them fail, someone will buy their assets.


  64. Stop right there and show some proof of two consecutive quarters of economic decline please.

    Recessions are arbitrarily defined see below:

    In the United States, the National Bureau of Economic Research’s (NBER) Business Cycle Dating Committee ultimately decides whether the economy has fallen into a recession. The NBER defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production and wholesale-retail sales.”

    How much of the growth is price inflation and dollar devaluation?

  65. Fire ants, kudzu, killer bees. Three problems solved by moving just far enough north.

    You’re just trading insects in for bears, deer, mountain lions, fisher cats, horse and deerflies, and black flies.

  66. Gramm shows his age. Should have said, “America is …”

    A) A nation o’ drama queens
    or
    B) The worldwide epicenter of emo

  67. robc – I do say let them fail.
    We all know that wont be allowed to happen. Especially with $5 trillion in balance. No one at the Fed Res, Fed Gvt. or banking sectors wants to see what happens when that amount of mortgages and RMBS go on a fire sale. That’s the same reason why BSC was bailed, and to prevent JP from going under from the derivatives exposure.

  68. How much of the growth is price inflation and dollar devaluation?

    None, because those are supposed to be accounted for to see if you have real growth.

    Also, how much price appreciation are you calling price inflation?

  69. twenty or thirty mounds, there’s no chemical I could afford since the mounds reappear after every rain,

    Have you considered a flamethrower?

  70. You’re just trading insects in for bears, deer, mountain lions, fisher cats, horse and deerflies, and black flies.

    Im trying to figure out which of these I need to worry about. Deer would be most likely but they arent really a problem, no more than in the deep south anyway. A friend of mine hit a deer with his rental in downtown Atlanta.

    I wasnt talking about moving out of the south, just far enough north to excape those particular pests.

  71. robc,

    We don’t have the killer bee problem or the fire ant problem in Northern VA, but they have a rodent problem right across the river in DC. They have a handgun and smoking problem over there too that we have not caught yet.

  72. Just googled for anteaters and fire ants. They dont eat the queens, because they want the colony to thrive so they can eat more ants later.

    An anteater may keep colonies contained however.

  73. Deer would be most likely but they arent really a problem, no more than in the deep south anyway.

    If you have landscaping that you value, deer are your worst fucking enemy. They will literally eat anything during the winter, even supposedly poisonous shit. And running into one in your car is not good. However, you can shoot them and eat them to recoup your shrubbery expenses.

  74. Guy,

    Then it comes down to if you believe those #s reflect reality and won’t be subject to revision.

    How is economic growth in Zimbabwe?

  75. Guy,

    Same in Louisville. Kudzu is in KY, but only the southern parts. We do have a Hoosier infestation problem, but, fortunately, they are legal to shoot year round.

  76. SIV,

    Then feel free to make up whatever hysterical stuff you want and point to anything contraty to it as being revisionist! Oh yea, you are already doing that, LOL.

    I wonder if we could apply this method to something else, like the global climate . . .

  77. We do have a Hoosier infestation problem, but, fortunately, they are legal to shoot year round.

    Doesn’t that degrade their performance on the dirt tracks?

  78. Guy,

    All of those economic numbers are subject to official revision.Technically we don’t know if we are in a recession but the NBER could tell us in 6 months we have been in recession since January 2008.

  79. This hot Clemson grad says right on to robc at 10:28!

  80. Same in Louisville. Kudzu is in KY, but only the southern parts. We do have a Hoosier infestation problem, but, fortunately, they are legal to shoot year round.

    How do you tell them apart? From their driver’s licenses?

  81. The fact that people are whining about being told we are whiners is enough for me.

  82. A better headline:

    McCain and Obama complain that Gramm calls America “a nation of whiners”.

  83. The US economy grew just barely in the 1st quarter this year. That means were where not in a recession during that time. Until we get the figures for the 2nd and 3rd quarters, it is premature to call the current slowdown a recession. Of course, in an age where tax cuts are labled “spending” and reduced bugdet growth is labled a “spending cut” what can you expect.

  84. Gramm specifically referred to people whining about America’s competitiveness.. that camp would include Lou Dobbs, Pat Buchanan, and John Edwards. Gramm clarified by saying if we can’t compete against Mexico, who can we compete with? In that context, I agree 100%.

  85. I was proud to have been represented by Sen. Gramm. Fire ants are no joke, and they were pretty bad in `97, I tell you what!

    Hank Hill

  86. Well argued, SIV. You wrapped that up nicely, what with your “revisionist” habit of actually looking up the definition. No fair no fair LOL.

    The problem with the “show me two consecutive quarters” argument is that you can’t see that evidence until the end of the two quarters, meaning it is useless for determining if we are currently in a recession. If Q3 and Q4 2008 turn out to have negative growth, we won’t know until half way through Q1 2009, at best.

  87. Heather,


    This hot Clemson grad says right on to robc at 10:28!

    You single? Have a thing for geeky Ga Tech grads?

  88. Mr. Ard, maybe we could make a deal?

  89. I’m surprised that Nick missed the chance to title this:

    It takes a nation of whiners to hold us back!

    Kevin

  90. If this isn’t a recession, I don’t know what is.

    This year is shaping up to be like a milder form of 1980–stagflation, an energy crunch, and no growth, but on a lower scale.

    IIRC theres a lot of fuzzy math going on with the unemployment numbers, too.

  91. If this isn’t a recession, I don’t know what is.

    Stopping right there would have been fine.

  92. I like ed’s logic above: from a carefully-selected bottom point, we’ve gone up. If you ignore the period when the economy was declining, it’s grown!

    No one’s questioning, ed, that there was a period of growth in between the recessions that hit on Bush’s watch. My beef is with people who, during each of those recessions, kept insisting that the economy was actually growing strongly.

    Gramm was saying the same thing at the end of the last President Bush’s term – there isn’t any recession, it’s just the liberal media fooling everybody.

  93. I have a feeling if a Republican politician made Montag eat shit, he’d say “mmm, chocolate! Its not shit! Thats just what the liberals say!”.

  94. LOL, robc! I am actually married now but dated a “geeky Ga Tech grad” (masters in ceramic engineering) for four years!

  95. NNG,

    Wow, such an educated response. You must have a big giant free thinking brain.

  96. Joe-

    And then later in ’92, Bush Sr. told everyone the economy was recovering strongly (it was) and no one believed him. He turned out to be right.

    The public opinion tends to lag behind economic indicators.

  97. Actually, if he had just admitted there was a recession earlier they may have believed him and he could’ve been re-elected.

  98. NNG,

    I’d say, the public is consistently more gloomy than the economic indicators.

    For example, they tend to be way out in front of the indicators when we’re heading into recession.

    BTW, not just Bush – I recall editorial cartoons from Clinton’s first term, pinging him for saying the economy was growing and jobs were being created. It was, and there were – just not enough, yet, to get the economy back to where it was before the recession hit.

  99. perhaps we’re a nation where whiners are winners…

  100. Jesus, you guys need to learn how to take a joke. If McCain’s lameass jokes are funny, then so are Fluffy’s. I live in Texas where we have four of the fattest cities in the nation (and one of the fittest) and I’m pretty sure some other fatty-fat Southern cities made that list too. Get over it, there’s more obesity in the South and it’s way too fun to make fun of. Stop your whining – Phil Gramm

  101. Massachusetts is the least obese state in the union.

    Also, lowest divorce rate, lowest pedestrian fatality rate, lowest fatal accident rate.

    We do have a problem with smug levels on occasion, but whaddaya gonna do?

  102. Joe, you still have really shitty weather and high taxes. The latter is why so many people move to New Hampshire.

  103. joe,

    Highest rate of fleeing to NH too? Right?

  104. Come now joe, lowest divorce rate? This must be liberal bias, as we all know letting those queers marry would destroy marriage.*

    *Education levels is more of a factor in successful marriages than sexual orientation, yes I know.

  105. I’ve seen an awful lot of fat people in Boston. Maybe the rest of the commonwealth is thinner?

  106. Boston was ranked 13th fittest, though I disagree that “city and state initiatives” should be part of the score. Not to mention alcohol consumption.

  107. http://recenter.tamu.edu/data/pops/

    Interesting population change data there. In the years that it has been tracked (1991-2007, except 2000), MASS has been negative in net domestic migration every year. My state, in comparison, has been positive every year except 1. I hit a few other states – CA has been hugely negative every year, they make it up in foreign immigration. Texas has been positive every year.

    I was surprised at CA’s numbers. The negative domestic migration numbers dont surprise me now, but I would have expected positive in the late 90s.

  108. robc-

    It seems the only northeastern city that stopped the exodus has been New York City.

  109. Are you NH residents part of the Liberty Project? Or whatever that thing was called.

  110. Massachusetts is the least obese state in the union.

    Also, lowest divorce rate, lowest pedestrian fatality rate, lowest fatal accident rate.

    We do have a problem with smug levels on occasion, but whaddaya gonna do?

    There’s a reason we call them Massholes.

    We’re still the richest in CT, joe. I now laugh at you in a Thurston Howell III voice.

  111. NNG,

    We have middling taxes, and you don’t own any property up there, do you? Talk about high taxes!

    I do like the idea that people only move to New Hampshire out of necessity though. You and robc are probably right, it’s not as if there’s anything there to draw people.

  112. MASS has been negative in net domestic migration every year. My state, in comparison, has been positive every year except 1. I hit a few other states – CA has been hugely negative every year, they make it up in foreign immigration. Ditto with Massachusetts – its population increase is all attributable to foreign immigration.

    Massachusetts, like California, has a problem with housing costs. We’re in one of those “nobody goes there, it’s too crowded and expensive” situations.

    To be precise, western Massachusetts has a large net emigration, because it’s in a permanent recession, while eastern Massachusetts has a net population gain.

  113. robc, I’d opt for an aardvark or an aardwolf before I’d opt for an anteater.

  114. “it’s not as bad out there as 1981 yet so if you complain about our performance you’re a whiner.” That’s about right, as far as it goes. That said, there’s some scary economic stuff on the horizon: 1) shooting war with Iran will cause $10/gal gasoline in the short term, triggering global depression; 2) the Fannie Mae clusterfark ($5T liabilities) could impact the creditworthiness of the USA, with bad consequences for the greenback.

  115. For fire ants, we used to use dynamite. Big holes, ants gone.

    Boom goes the dynamite!

  116. I have to say that fluffy disgusts me.

    Not because he’s a New England elitist, and not because he has a bigoted view towards or blind hatred of the South.

    It’s because he referenced that festering pile of cinematic feces “Wall-E”

    Shame on you fluffy, Shame.

  117. Why am I the only person that has that dream?

    Eric Burden wrote a song about your dream. Modulo the pickle part. That came from your sick, sick mind.

  118. A totally spontaneous random outburst. Actually, that kinda makes it sound more interesting than it will be…anyway…Politicians work for the citizens of the United States right? Or is this a quaintly outdated concept.
    My less than 2 cents (shrinking dollar effect)
    is that I had to step out from under my rock for a sec and say he really REALLY could have phrased this a bit differently.

  119. Wow the words fly on these here blog things. That’s why I’m first timer, yup, yup. I hadn’t seen this statement when I posted my previous comment…

    “For serious, do people really care that they’re called whiners by some old guy? When was the last time I heard that… oh wait! It was the LAST time I talked to some old guy!

    This is just a revamped form of “kids these days…” ”

    And the following posting of Gramm’s complete statement is very important as well. So diving into the issue of the “Politician’s Comment” which like ALL CONTENT is thoroughly manipulated by whatever media source it is being regurgitated by (um, really, no offense REASON peeps – hope you understand…) – I merely add that I would like to see y’all (WHOOPS my parents are from the South but I was born in the West) experienced bloggers go at it over the concept of ‘even in the context of the complete statement, which could be proven to NOT be merely casually derogatory, was this really valid advice, spoken with compassionate intelligence befitting of a United States Public Servant, to be given to the Entire Nation of the US at this point in time?’

  120. Gramm is an economist. For economists, whether or not their is a recession starts with the performance of total production. The best evidence is that production has grown.

    How much of the growth is inflation or devaluation? None. Growth is measured by the production of goods and services.

    But, there figures could be wrong. Still, it is the best evidence.

    On the other hand, production has grown much less than the long term trend. Growing 1% is well below the trend of 3%.

    During the last recession (at the beggining of the Bush administration,) there was little reduction in production and it was quickly reversed. It remained stagnate for some time. It was years before it caught back up to the long term trend.

    However, employment shrank a good bit and for quite a long time.

    The best evidence today is that employment has dropped. So, this secondary sign is pointing to recession.

    Asset prices (including stock prices and housing prices) are never used to determine “recession.” They may be a cause or an effect of recession, but economists just don’t buy into the view that asset prices should always rise.

  121. I think fighting the fire ant menance is a core national defense issue. Chemical warefare has been tried. A preemptive nuclear strike may be the only answer. Thank you Dr. Gramm!

    I bet some of your libertarian anarchists believed that each homeowner could fight off Soviet invaders by leaving poisoned bottles of vodka around the yard! Sorry, but national defense is an essential function of govenment. And that includes defending againt fire ants.

  122. Jay Leno got it right: the reduced buying power and worse jobs most of us have had to put up with over the last few years DO constitute a screwed economy, whether it meets some academic definition of a “recession” or not.

    The problem with McCain’s view is that, just like his opponent, he’s misplacing the blame.

    The US economy is not messed up because of free trade agreements or deregulation or lower taxes or illegal immigration (to the extent that these things exist), but IN SPITE of them.

    The main thing that has robbed us of buying power, especially when it comes to homes and transportation, is a deliberate set of policies designed to deprive most people of them. The green movement is behind those policies.

    It’s a pity that none of the candidates, not even Ron Paul, has both the brains to figure this out and the balls to say it in public.

  123. Hey JDG – can you explain more about the green movement being behind policies that are robbing us of buying power?

    and, Heather, are you on my space?

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