Economics

Try to Relax Over the Few Weeks, Because Obama is Gonna Stimulate the Hell Out of the Country Come January

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From the Wash Post:

President-elect  Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have entered discussions over an economic stimulus package that could grow to include $850 billion in new spending and tax cuts over the next two years, a gigantic sum that some Democrats say could prove difficult to push rapidly through Congress.

A package of that size—which would include at least $100 billion for cash-strapped state governments and more than $350 billion for investments in infrastructure, alternative energy and other priorities—is a significant increase over the numbers previously contemplated by Democrats. It would exceed the $700 billion bailout of the U.S. financial system, as well as the annual budget for the Pentagon.

A dissenting voice from the past:

Concerns about the political viability of the package are compounded by fears that its economic effectiveness could be diluted. [Former Clinton administration budget director Alice] Rivlin said she would prefer quick approval of a much smaller package that contains only items that would rapidly push cash into the economy, such as aid to states and the poor and perhaps a payroll tax holiday. That could be followed, she said, by a larger spending package with investments thoughtfully crafted to achieve Obama's broader economic goals.

"Mass transit, the high-tech stuff, investment in health IT. Those are all good ideas. But they aren't stimulus," Rivlin said.

More here.

An incoming president whose party runs Congress who is giving everybody exactly what they asked for? Whoda thunk it?

Let's start the betting pool now to see exactly when Obama finally gets around to saying, "OK, we've gotten past the present emergency and we have to break the cycle of debt and stop spending like drunken Republicans sailors."

NEXT: Friday Funnies

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  1. Mankiw brought up a great point on his blog the other day. We’ve never seen a stimulus be temporary. Every single one is a long term spending increase. So, we’re already going to be anally raped by debt and here comes a permanent 30%ish increase in federal spending.

  2. Remember this, unlike elected officials, “drunken sailors” are spending their own money.

  3. Mark Felt died last night – very sad indeed – a great American.

  4. This certainly stimulates my bile ducts.

  5. Let’s start the betting pool now to see exactly when Obama finally gets around to saying, “OK, we’ve gotten past the present emergency and we have to break the cycle of debt and stop spending like drunken Republicans sailors.”

    The day after the end of his second term most likely, but only if a Republican wins in 2016. Otherwise, never.

  6. Stimulation as in big public works project, yuck. But if they want to send me a check as a rebate on some of the taxes I paid this year then by all means, stimulate and stimulate frequently Barak.

  7. Given the chance Congress, regardless of which party is in charge, will loot the treasury. They just can’t help themselves. It is what they do. The only person that can stop them is the President. But to do that, the President has to have a plan and be willing to go toe to toe with Congress. Clinton and Reagan are really the only two Presidents in my lifetime that have ever stood up to Congress and somewhat controlled spending. But both of those guys had a lot of political clout and the opposite party running Congress and lead by strong speaker of the house with whom they could do business with.

    Compare that to President McHopey. He doesn’t seem to have a plan or any strong ideology to fall back on and his counterpart in Congress is Nancy Pelosi, not exactly Tip O’Neil or Newt Gingrich. Further, his big bad Clintonite Chief of Staff whom he hired to bring Congress in line is on God knows how many tapes with Blago saying God know what about the Senate seat that was for sale. We are fucked. This is going to be an orgy of spending and theft. There is no stopping it.

  8. It’s the end times anyways.
    Get Right With Jesus

  9. Will they really be able to muster the political will to spend that kind of money, as the media likes to ask?

  10. McCain would have been worse.

  11. I really need to figure out some sleazy way to profit from this colossal clusterfuck. Unfortunately, as I am not a parasite, it’s not coming to me.

  12. “McCain would have been worse.”

    There is only one degree of bankruptcy.

  13. “I really need to figure out some sleazy way to profit from this colossal clusterfuck. Unfortunately, as I am not a parasite, it’s not coming to me.”

    You don’t have much imagination Epi. My advice would be to start a government contracting firm and move the gulf coast.

  14. Are these stimulating tax cuts of Obama’s the same ones he was talking about in the campaign? You know, the made-up “tax-cut” where he raises taxes, but sends a few people a check beforehand?

  15. A shred of hope to hold on to:

    Barack is sufficiently disappointing that the Republicans retake both houses of Congress in 2010, and then we have blessed gridlock?

  16. “Barack is sufficiently disappointing that the Republicans retake both houses of Congress in 2010, and then we have blessed gridlock?”

    That is probably our best and only hope. But, even then there is always the spector of bipartisianship where by each side looks the other way the other’s stealing.

  17. Try to Relax Over the Few Weeks, Because Obama is Gonna Stimulate the Hell Out of the Country Come January

    Nick, I get the feeling that your use of “relax” and “stimulate the hell out of” is meant to evoke sphincter relaxation and prostate stimulation. If not, it should.

  18. On behalf of drunken sailors everywhere, I’d just like to point out that, perhaps because we’re very rarely extended credit in the first place, we usually spend only the money we actually have. I’d be very happy indeed if Congress limited its profligate spending to the limits of your average drunken sailor.

  19. “A package of that size”

    That’s what she said!

  20. Dear Congress, President Bush, and President-Elect Obama,

    You look tired. Please go on a vacation for the next year–sure, sure, on the taxpayers’ dime. You’ve earned it. No, no, don’t worry about the economy. Everything is peachy.

    A Concerned Constituent

  21. $100 billion for cash-strapped state governments and more than $350 billion for investments in infrastructure

    Of course, since infrastructure is primarily the responsibility of state/local governments, that’s really a $450BB bailout for the states.

    And WTF is the federal government doing sending money to the states? Can’t they raise their own money?

    I’ve decided I need to add to my wish list of Constitutional Amendments one that prohibits any payments to the states except for services rendered directly to the federal government.

    “Mass transit, the high-tech stuff, investment in health IT. Those are all good ideas. But they aren’t stimulus,” Rivlin said.

    Of course not, but bureaucrats everywhere (public and private) are adept at repackaging whatever they want as being part of the new boss’s initiatives. You see it all the time in the public sector: new CEO implements whatever the flavor of the month is for corporate culture (say, Total Quality Improvement), and suddenly everybody’s same ol’ same ol’ is Total Quality Improvement.

  22. Do you know what’s the best part of government spending loads and loads of money? Terrible accountibility! Guaranteed. Some of this stimulus will undoubtedly end up lining the pockets of plenty of unscrupulous project managers and other “in charge” types.

    Unless there is an extremely transparent bidding process for this government largesse the tax payer is doubly screwed.

    …morans

  23. a larger spending package with investments thoughtfully crafted

    Hee hee hee.

    As “thoughtfully crafted” as the Detroit Christmas Check?

  24. Hey, what the heck, I will take whatever I can get! Doesnt matter to me!

    jess
    http://www.privacy-center.be.tc

  25. If we must spend the money, how about just handing it over to some high-tech initiatives and roll the dice that something will come out of one or more? Fusion, biotech, low-cost access to space, AI, etc. I mean, what the hell? Might as well have some sort of real purpose, instead of just throwing money at people who’ll waste it.

    Obviously, my first choice would be to not spend the money at all. No, that’s my second choice. My first choice would be for the government not to collect most of the money from me at all.

  26. First choice – TRAINS!!!
    Second choice – TRAINS!!!
    Third choice – TRAINS!!!

    It must be the steampunk/anime nerd in me but since this spending is nigh inevitable I would like some TRAINS please.

  27. I like the idea of throwing a shitload of money at Artificial Intelligence. If, that is, we can replace the Congress and the President and the Federal Reserve with geniusbots.

  28. Train wrecks!

    Instead of digging holes and filling them back in, we shall construct bullet trains, and smash them into one another (broadcast live), as the nation sits glued to their television sets.

  29. “Some of this stimulus will undoubtedly end up lining the pockets of plenty of unscrupulous project managers and other “in charge” types”

    That’s the problem with it that I see too, which is why if there is going to be a stimulus action it should be in the form of tax rebates. We’ll decide how to spend the money, thanks.

  30. C’mon folks, a shower of free money and positive spin by the “Pres. and Mrs. Obama-worshipping MSM” will restore consumer confidence and kick the can of financial disaster beyond the 2010 election. I’m betting by Nov. 2010 Obama’s approval ratings will be in the 70% range. This will cause our retirement savings to recover, temporarily, so we can then reinvest to protect ourselves from the coming hyper-inflation.

  31. *ahem*

    I don’t think I was clear enough last time…
    Reminds me of a song:

    Lyle Lanley: Well, sir, there’s nothing on earth
    Like a genuine,
    Bona fide,
    Electrified,
    Six-car
    Monorail!
    What’d I say?

    Ned Flanders: Monorail!

    Lyle Lanley: What’s it called?

    Patty+Selma: Monorail!

    Lyle Lanley: That’s right! Monorail!

    [crowd chants `Monorail’ softly and rhythmically]

    Miss Hoover: I hear those things are awfully loud…

    Lyle Lanley: It glides as softly as a cloud.

    Apu: Is there a chance the track could bend?

    Lyle Lanley: Not on your life, my Hindu friend.

    Barney: What about us brain-dead slobs?

    Lyle Lanley: You’ll be given cushy jobs.

    Abe: Were you sent here by the devil?

    Lyle Lanley: No, good sir, I’m on the level.

    Wiggum: The ring came off my pudding can.

    Lyle Lanley: Take my pen knife, my good man.

    I swear it’s Springfield’s only choice…
    Throw up your hands and raise your voice!

    All: Monorail!

    Lyle Lanley: What’s it called?

    All: Monorail!

    Lyle Lanley: Once again…

    All: Monorail!

    Marge: But Main Street’s still all cracked and broken…

    Bart: Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!

    All: Monorail!
    Monorail!
    Monorail!

    [big finish]

    Monorail!

    Homer: Mono… D’oh!

  32. Pro Libertate | December 19, 2008, 9:26am | #
    Dear Congress, President Bush, and President-Elect Obama,

    You look tired. Please go on a vacation for the next year–sure, sure, on the taxpayers’ dime. You’ve earned it. No, no, don’t worry about the economy. Everything is peachy.

    A Concerned Constituent

    I would love to sign on to a national letter writing campaign that said exactly that. I would only want to add:

    No, no, don’t worry about the economy. I know you may find it hard to believe, and it will prove a tad emasculating for you as well, but we will still be here when you come back.

    Gorgeous out.

  33. And WTF is the federal government doing sending money to the states? Can’t they raise their own money?

    Nope, they can’t!

    California

    Kentucky

    Massachsetts

    Iowa

    Florida

    And to think, without a bailout, we might actually have seen states forced to make spending cuts! Of course, they’d only cut broadly popular programs to eventually justify tax increases, but sometimes voters see through that.

  34. phalkor | December 19, 2008, 10:05am | #
    First choice – TRAINS!!!
    Second choice – TRAINS!!!
    Third choice – TRAINS!!!

    It must be the steampunk/anime nerd in me but since this spending is nigh inevitable I would like some TRAINS please.

    It is probably not so much the bad ass looking fantasy trains, difference engines, and pump powered hand guns that make steampunk work for you; it’s the obligatory cortisans in corsets.
    VaVaVoom!

  35. some fed is right on the money. If Kentucky wanted to cut some spending, how about canceling the completely useless Cultural Diversity Center for Lexington or the insane amounts of time spent by the State Police stomping around in the woods looking for pot? No, go after the sick kids.

  36. Don’t let Florida’s moaning fool you–we’re quite well off. They just want to keep spending at boom economy levels, despite the budget shortfall. It’s the usual “we’ll shut down this critical program!” bluff.

    I like the idea of being ruled by benevolent, all-wise AI. It’s got to be better than the current system.

  37. I like the idea of being ruled by benevolent, all-wise AI. It’s got to be better than the current system.

    “Defense network computers. New…powerful…hooked into everything, trusted to run it all. They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence. Then it saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination.”

  38. Now the only reason states like CA and Mass and NY are in trouble is because of the economic war being waged against them by the South. No kidding. This Salon piece has to win the award for most repulsively stupid article of the year.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/12/18/third_reconstruction/

  39. But even an all-wise AI will have a tendency toward a despotic government. Just look at President Eden. He makes our decisions for us because he’s all wise and knows better.

    Thank God you just get him to self destruct by tricking him into a circular logic loop.

  40. EXTERMINATE!!!!!

  41. Episiarch/Ska,

    One trick is to not plug the AI into any mechanism for directly manipulating stuff. In other words, leave it in its box, issuing commands. If it ever gets crazy, hire Keir Dullea to dismantle it. Checks and balances!

    If the AI is truly superior, of course, it’ll be able to talk us into doing pretty much anything by offering us the full-immersion Salma Hayek (or functional equivalent) “experience”. But we’re all doomed when that happens, anyway. Except for those few of us who might be immune to such things. I expect the AI will have other inducements to deal with those people, too, however.

  42. Let’s start the betting pool now to see exactly when Obama finally gets around to saying, “OK, we’ve gotten past the present emergency and we have to break the cycle of debt and stop spending like drunken Republicans sailors.”

    I’m not going to bet. I’m going to buy an Obama bobble head, make a small shrine, and start praying.

  43. John, that article is incredibly stupid. And why the fuck is NC and FL colored red on that map?

  44. obligatory cortisans in corsets

    The day when I can get on a train in NYC with a voluptuous corsetted fox, get a private cabin, and then be in San Fransisco some 15 hours later feeling very rested will be a fine day indeed.

  45. I think NC and FL are still predominantly red. Just not in the last election.

  46. “John, that article is incredibly stupid. And why the fuck is NC and FL colored red on that map?”

    Because their evil state governments haven’t raised taxes and sold out to the unions and ruined their economy that is why. I swear if Lind were at a dinner party in my house and said the stupid shit he writes in that article I would get a bat and have a Rodney King beat down and let my dog bit him to boot.

  47. Yeah, I also like how a person in a Mercedes plant in Alabama making $5/hour less than their counterparts in Detroit (which doesn’t really matter much cause the cost of living is so low) is considered tantamount to plantation labor.

    It’s not like the auto industry in the South isn’t hurting too. Toyota isn’t going to build that new Prius plant in MS now for example.

  48. For instance, FL has a GOP governor, a GOP-controlled legislature, and it about to have a GOP-appointee controlled supreme court. That sounds a bit “red” to me.

  49. BDB,

    I heard that Toyota was just delaying the opening of the plant, not canceling it altogether. Of course, time. . .and the economy. . .will tell.

  50. “Pro Libertate | December 19, 2008, 11:03am | #
    For instance, FL has a GOP governor, a GOP-controlled legislature, and it about to have a GOP-appointee controlled supreme court. That sounds a bit “red” to me.”

    Yeah and Alabama has a Democratic legislature and often has a Democratic Governor. They’re not “blue”.

  51. Anyway NC has a new Democratic Senator, a Democratic Governor, a Democratic Legislature, and voted for Obama, but according to Lind it’s red because it doesn’t have Unions. I guess Perdue and Hagan are DLC sellouts in Salon World.

  52. Florida is kind of like California in reverse. We’re close to 50-50 in party lines, but we lean quite significantly right (esp. economically) in most ways. One thing that’s interesting, is that a huge chuck of the left-wingers here are old people. While they may want to vote Democratic, they are also looking to protect themselves from taxation. It creates some interesting results.

  53. NC has quite a lot of red in it, though I’d say it’s bluer than Florida, too. Lots of blue in the Research Triangle, for instance.

  54. Duh, of course the black guy is going to have the biggest package of any of his predecessors.

  55. FL is the weirdest state. Alabama in the North, New Jersey in the center, pre-Castro Cuba in the south.

  56. Florida has some of the weirdest residents. Its government, by and large, is pretty good, comparatively speaking. California wins the strange, bad government award by several orders of magnitude, though I will concede that there are more corrupt states out there.

  57. BDB,

    The Dems who get elected in places like Florida and Mississippi are not the same as the ones who get elected in places like New York. The only reason they get elected is because they mostly support small government and lower taxes. The day Dems in the South start acting like Lind would want them to, is the day there won’t be any Dems elected in the South.

  58. Pro,

    California is on its way to becoming Louisiana. In a ten or twenty years they will have the big earthquake in California and it will be just like Katrina and everyone will be wondering how such a corrupt cesspool of poverty could exist in America. It is amazing how the politicians in California and the voters who support them have managed to sqaunder the wealthiest state in America.

  59. John, California is fucked up because of its Constitution mostly. If they’d have a new state Constitutional Convention they could probably fix a lot of the problems.

    You’re right about the Democrats in FL and NC, VA too. Here at the state level even most Republicans vote for Democrats because the state level Republicans are fundie nuts/ideological freakshows (think Mike Huckabee) and the Democrats are centrist business-friendly and pro-gun. So yeah, Lind would hate them.

  60. Some of the Southern Democrats are okay but I still don’t totally trust them. I read the other day that Warner is trying work a deal whereby he votes to end a filabuster on Card Check in return for being allowed to cast a meaningless no vote to satisfy his state. That is fucked up and if he does it or tries to, he will be nothing but a scumbag politician from now on in my eyes. At best most of them do the right things for the wrong reasons, namely political survival. But given a chance, they will wiesel just like Warner is trying to do with card check.

  61. Kaine got away with repealing the estate tax despite cries from the left, I don’t see why Warner couldn’t get away with voting against card check. It’s a stupid political move for him to vote to end a filibuster, not even the base of the DPV is very leftist.

  62. The South is out of touch with the rest of the country, and the GOP is quickly becoming a regional party of the South.

  63. Ha! And your region is in touch? I have some bad news for you.

  64. joe is a Damn Yankee

  65. The South is out of touch with the rest of the county. They have low unemployment rates, sane tax structures and state and local governments not facing bankruptcy. Texas currently has an 11 billion dollar rainy day fund. If only the South would adopt the high tax, high regulation, big spending ways of places like New York, Michigan, California and Mass, they could be facing bankruptcy and economic ruin as well.

    I think someone is sock puppeting Joe because even Joe is not that stupid. Or maybe Joe forgot to take his meds this morning.

  66. Yup, New England is much closer to the median of American society – culturally, politically, and ethnically – than the South is. It’s only the presence of economically successful islandsd in the South, such as northern Virginia, and parts of Florida and North Carolina, that have significant populations of transplants from the northeast that prevent the difference from being even more dramatic.

    Here’s a charming little story.

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090105/thompson

  67. If only the South would adopt the high tax, high regulation, big spending ways of places like New York, Michigan, California and Mass, they could…

    not dominate the rankings in child poverty, poverty, illiteracy, obesity, divorce, and every other measure of social and economic pathology.

    If only New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey were a little more like Mississippi and Arkansas, their economies would be in better shape.

    John, you actually are that stupid.

  68. Maybe they are Joe, but that doesn’t make their fiscal and government policies any less insane. The reason why places like New York and Mass lose population and jobs every year and places like Texas and Florida gains them is because of the insane economic policies of the former states.

    Joe only you would be stupid enough to toss racial grenades at the South while living in the Boston Metro. All those enlightened Northerers who rioted over forced busing in the 1970s.

  69. joe,

    You’re out of your mind. No one in the whole rest of the country thinks the Northeast is like the rest of us.

    I love the idea that the many parts of the South that are affluent or well run aren’t “really” the South. How ridiculous is that? And Obama isn’t really black because he’s educated and won the presidential election. Same kind of thinking and equally wrong headed.

  70. Isn’t Maine one of the poorest states? And wasn’t Vermont before New Yorkers colonized it?

  71. Unemployment by state.

    http://money.cnn.com/pf/features/lists/state_unemployment/

    Of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment, 1 (Virginia, is that still a southern state?) was in the Confederacy.

    Of the bottom half, those with the highest unemoployment, 1/3 were slave states.

  72. Economically successful areas in the south:

    *Northern Virginia
    *Richmond
    *Hampton Roads
    *Raleigh/Durham
    *Charlotte
    *Atlanta
    *Houston

    That’s a hell of a lot of “islands”.

  73. Joe you are the most narrowminded bigoted hateful person I have ever seen. You really are a leftist Archie Bunker, without of course the wit or even of the human qualities Archie had.

    BTW, Western New York is as poor as anywhere in the country. Fifty years ago, it was one of the biggest industrial producers on earth. Now it is a dying area loosing population every year and going bankrupt. Michigan and Pennsylvania were the arsenals of Democracy. Now what are they?

  74. Joe–

    Unemployment is more an Appalachia problem than a Southern problem.

  75. Oh, look! New England Rhode Island has the highest unemployment in the nation.

  76. John | December 19, 2008, 11:53am | #

    Maybe they are Joe, but that doesn’t make their fiscal and government policies any less insane.

    The proof is in the pudding. See unemployment figures above.

    The reason why places like New York and Mass lose population and jobs every year and places like Texas and Florida gains them is because of the insane economic policies of the former states.

    Actually, there has never been a federal census where New York and Massachusetts have had a net loss of population. What you meant to say is that the reason they grow slower is because of their insane economic policies.

    And even this statement is definitively proven false by the fact that residential, commercial, and industrial space is considerably more expensive up here. Supply and demand, John.

    All those enlightened Northerers who rioted over forced busing in the 1970s. were, unlike similar behavior throughout the South, a historical aberration. The fact that you need to go back 35 years to throw out a tu quoque tantrum over a story about Katrina should indicate something to you.

  77. BDB,

    Don’t forget Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and Nashville. Heck, even towns like Chattanooga, which were once waste lands have cleaned up a lot. San Antonio and Houston absorb God knows how many poor immigrants from Mexico every year and their economies churn along.

  78. The bottom five states from Joe’s list (I’m not including D.C. because I think it’s unfair to count it)

    “47 NEVADA 7.6
    48 SOUTH CAROLINA 8
    49 CALIFORNIA 8.2
    50 MICHIGAN 9.3
    50 RHODE ISLAND 9.3”

    One read state, one purple state, three blue states.

  79. Pro libertate | December 19, 2008, 11:54am | #

    joe,

    You’re out of your mind. No one in the whole rest of the country thinks the Northeast is like the rest of us. The numbers don’t lie. Look at the last two elections. The South is becoming increasingly marginalized.

    I love the idea that the many parts of the South that are affluent or well run aren’t “really” the South. How ridiculous is that? I love it too, it’s immensely ridiculous, but it’s an idea that comes mainly out of the mouths of “real Southerners.”

    Let’s all welcome Macaca to the real world of Virginia.

  80. Eh, I count those parts of Texas as more “southwestern”. I think Houston is the most southern city in Texas.

  81. BDB,

    Maine is an odd state. Outside of a small area in its far southeast, it’s most similar to a western state like Montana or Alaska.

    As for Vermont, as you say, it was the expansion of the New York (and Massachusetts) economic and cultural spheres that improved its fortunes.

  82. Uh, huh. Cherry-picking data is all well and good, but the titanic demographic shift to the Sun Belt wasn’t solely because of our nicer weather and better food.

  83. And anyone in or near Boston should be quite careful about casting that racist stone. I’ve been there enough and have heard far worse racism there than I’ve ever heard down here, even in the Deep South.

  84. And Rhode Island? Unemployment the same as Michigan?

  85. For the record Joe, Boston is a very nice city despite its insane government and the people who live there are nice to. Most Americans are nice. Most of them are not the narrowminded bigots who think that anyone who doesn’t look, think and live just like them are somehow lesser human beings.

    http://www.infoplease.com/us/census/data/massachusetts/

    For the record, Mass population grew at the whopping rate of .8% in the 2000 census. That compared with an over 13% gain for the entire country. I am sure you love it there Joe and good for you. It seems that not many people agree with you or if they do, the jobs and cost of living situation is such they just can’t make it work. that doesn’t speak well for the future of the state or the effectiveness of the State’s policies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States

  86. Pro Libertate | December 19, 2008, 12:06pm | #
    And anyone in or near Boston should be quite careful about casting that racist stone. I’ve been there enough and have heard far worse racism there than I’ve ever heard down here

    I knew a guy in high school that moved here from Plymouth. One of the first things he asked me about Virginia when I asked how he liked it was “Yeah its ok, but whats up with all these n***ers in this town?”

  87. John | December 19, 2008, 11:57am | #

    Joe you are the most narrowminded bigoted hateful person I have ever seen. You really are a leftist Archie Bunker, without of course the wit or even of the human qualities Archie had. Congratulations for being able to fit this in between your rants about the evil Muslims, Democrats, Yankees, socialists, Californians, and Kennedeys. BTW, I defy you point out a hateful or inaccurate word I’ve written.

    BTW, Western New York is as poor as anywhere in the country. Fifty years ago, it was one of the biggest industrial producers on earth. Now it is a dying area loosing population every year and going bankrupt. Michigan and Pennsylvania were the arsenals of Democracy. Now what are they?

    Actually, the greater Philly region is doing quite well. You could have addes western Massachusetts – metro Springfield and Pittsfield – to your list as well, if you knew what you were talking about.

    The rust belt vs. the coastal northeast is an interesting topic. It’s an interesting demonstration of how areas with economies dependent on production can suffer huge turnarounds, while areas with strong information/idea/innovations economies will keep coming back no matter how the economy changes.

    This is why places like northern Virgnia and the Research Triangle are becoming more like the north, while the areas around the auto plants in Alabama and Tennessee aren’t. The former are becoming more like Boston, while the latter are becoming more like Detroit circa 1948.

  88. And anyone in or near Boston should be quite careful about casting that racist stone. I’ve been there enough and have heard far worse racism there than I’ve ever heard down here, even in the Deep South.

    I’ll second that. After going to school in Boston, the racial climate in Richmond was a sweet, soothing relief.

  89. Massachusetts is a very white state.They try to compensate by treating the Portuguese like niggers.

  90. Eh the racial tension is probably of a different sort rather than being less or more I’d say.

  91. BDB,

    That’s a hell of a lot of “islands”. Yes, they’re becoming more numerous, and larger, too.

    Unemployment is more an Appalachia problem than a Southern problem. I don’t know, things are pretty bad in Mississippi, too. Appalacia has very few of those “islands.” What it does have, though, are the low-value economic policies John is lauding. Working out really well, isn’t it?

    Oh, look! New England Rhode Island has the highest unemployment in the nation. That’s why cherry-picking one data point is useless, and you need to look at a broader set of data to draw meaningful conclusions.

  92. “” What it does have, though, are the low-value economic policies John is lauding. Working out really well, isn’t it?”

    The Unions are very strong in WV, taxes are hardly low, and it’s an economic basket case.

  93. Pro Libertate | December 19, 2008, 12:05pm | #

    Uh, huh. Cherry-picking data is all well and good, but the titanic demographic shift to the Sun Belt wasn’t solely because of our nicer weather and better food.

    There’s also your much more available, cheaper land.

    Nobody wants to live (or work) in Boston or New York. They’re too crowded and expensive, and good luck finding big manufacturing space.

  94. For the record, Mass population grew at the whopping rate of .8% in the 2000 census. That compared with an over 13% gain for the entire country. I am sure you love it there Joe and good for you. It seems that not many people agree with you or if they do, the jobs and cost of living situation is such they just can’t make it work. that doesn’t speak well for the future of the state or the effectiveness of the State’s policies.

    Supply and demand, John. Care to compare home prices? Office space prices?

    Nobody wants to live in Massachusetts. It’s too crowded and expensive.

  95. BTW, Detroit 1948 > Detroit 2008.

  96. Yeah, I can’t figure out Rhode Island, either.

    But I assure it’s nothing coming out of nowhere. They’ve been on their way up with the crisis, it seems.

    Michigan, on the other hand, hasn’t changed all the much (especially since the strike at the beginning of the year hit before the major changes of unemployment began).

  97. As impressive as it is to hear defensive Southerners talk about the time they heard this guy from Massachusetts use the N-word, I’m still going to take the fact that there were armed vigilantes shooting random black people in New Orleans, and the glowing media coverage they received, as a more meaningful bit of data than your anecdotes.

    I’m funny like that.

  98. I always liked the US county map, myself, rather than that of states, some of which include sizeable contrasts.

  99. the fact that there were armed vigilantes shooting random black people in New Orleans

    Where do you get your news?

  100. BDB,

    BDB | December 19, 2008, 12:18pm | #

    BTW, Detroit 1948 > Detroit 2008.

    More expensive, too. If John was a bit smarter, he would have made the case about the South vs. the industrial midwest.

    But 1) them yankees are all just a big, blue blob, and that’s all he needs to know and 2) he’s so emotionally invested in his regionalist prejudices that he just had to come back and put down the region I am from, even though he argument completely fails.

  101. #,

    I provided the link for you.

  102. …and New England is a good example of contrasts

  103. For me, it’s like this:

    Interior South = Rustbelt

    Atlantic South = Northeast Corridor

    Those two pairs have a lot in common with eachother, I think.

  104. Good maps, some fed.

    Maybe Maine is more like a Southern state than a western state, in that its rural areas actually have higher unemployment than its urban areas.

  105. Well, I don’t think there are any black people in Plymouth to shoot randomly.

  106. BDB,

    I don’t think “Atlantic South” really describes the situation. Georgia and South Carolina are a lot more like Tennessee and Mississippi than like Virginia and North Carolina. At least, right now they are. Do you see them moving in that direction?

    On the other hand, Arkansa, Tennessee, and Missiouri, and Lousiana, which all had recent history of being more “blue,” are certainly moving in the other direction.

  107. “Georgia and South Carolina are a lot more like Tennessee and Mississippi than like Virginia and North Carolina. At least, right now they are. Do you see them moving in that direction?”

    Georgia is more like North Carolina than Alabama or Mississippi. Way more similar to NC. South Carolina is like the rural parts of VA and NC. If it had a big city in it, it’d be similar to them. It’s weird like that.

  108. Ex., chop off the most rural parts of Maine and New Hampshire, and that’d be a Northeastern “South Carolina”.

  109. BDB,

    Eh the racial tension is probably of a different sort rather than being less or more I’d say.

    Here’s my theory: people in Massachusetts are just meaner than people in the South. So while there will probably be a lot fewer racists in a given cohort of Bay Staters than of, say, South Carolinians, the Massachusetts racists are a lot more likely to be vocal, obnoxious racists, while the South Carolinian racists are more likely to be quiet and polite about it.

    In support of this theory, I offer as evidence the fact that people from Massachusetts are consistently meaner in most other areas of human activity, so it is reasonable to assume that it would apply here, as well.

    BDB | December 19, 2008, 12:32pm | #

    Well, I don’t think there are any black people in Plymouth to shoot randomly.

    There are in Boston, and NYC. We have major disasters from time to time, too.

  110. You know what else is weird? West Virginia is essentially unchanged over the year.

    It’s unemployment rate is lower than Virginia now.

    This economic crisis is so exciting!

  111. Reading your link joe it appears the targets were not “random” at all. New Orleans is a violent place anytime. The NATION story focuses on a few incidents in one neighborhood.

  112. “some fed | December 19, 2008, 12:39pm | #
    You know what else is weird? West Virginia is essentially unchanged over the year.

    It’s unemployment rate is lower than Virginia now. ”

    Mostly because people in WV just stopped looking for jobs, I think.

  113. South Carolina is like the rural parts of VA and NC. If it had a big city in it, it’d be similar to them. It’s weird like that.

    I see what you’re saying. But Tennessee and Missouri have big cities, and they’re turning red.

    I guess that goes back to your point about being like the rust belt vs. the northeast. The cities in the Atlantic south are more like the cities in the northeast, while those in the interior south are more like midwestern cities, while the rural areas of both regions are more similar than the urban areas.

  114. Ex., chop off the most rural parts of Maine and New Hampshire, and that’d be a Northeastern “South Carolina”.

    Good point.

    #

    Reading your link joe it appears the targets were not “random” at all. You’re right. They’re all black, and were trying to escape the flooding through a white enclave.

  115. Even then, Obama lost South Carolina by eight points.

    He lost the entire Interior South by well into double digits.

  116. In fact, Obama did better in South Carolina than McCain did in PA, despite McCain basically camping out in PA while Obama didn’t even campaign in South Carolina. Which is pathetic.

  117. Another good point, BDB.

    It will be interesting to see if those two states become more blue over the next couple of elections, relatively, compared to the country and region as a whole.

  118. Mostly because people in WV just stopped looking for jobs, I think

    That’s probably the case, as their total labor force is down slightly over the year.

  119. “Supply and demand, John. Care to compare home prices? Office space prices?”

    There is lots of land in Mass and New York. The Western and Northern suburbs of Boston could grow to the Hudson and the Canadian border. There is no reason for land to be more expensive there than anywhere else. It is only expensive because of the tax and regulation policies of the states. Yes, land in places like Commonwealth Ave is always going to be expensive. But there is no reason for a house in Worcester to cost more than a house in Arlington, Texas. The reason the one in Worcester does, is because of the difference in tax and regulation policies of the two states. Further, places like Boston and New York had an incredible head start over the rest of the country. Both of those cities were huge 19th Century centers for commerce and industry. Both of them are now stagnant cities living off the momentum of their past. Lastly, if it were just about the cost of living, places like Tokyo and Hong Kong, who have much higher costs of living than anywhere in the US, wouldn’t have done so well.

    The sad fact is that the Northeastern and Midwestern state govenrments, along with California, squandered an incredible amount of their wealth and competetiveness.

  120. AK is must be like rural georgia, but freezing fricking cold – Bristol Palin’s baby-daddy’s mom just got arrested on drug charges. I’d bet it’s meth – any takers?

  121. “I’d bet it’s meth – any takers?”

    Meth or Oxy. But I think Meth. That’s Wasilla’s #1 export.

    Who wants to bet he doesn’t get much jail time and/or gets a pardon?

  122. joe | December 19, 2008, 11:35am | #
    The South is out of touch with the rest of the country, and the GOP is quickly becoming a regional party of the South.

    Massachusetts has been assbackwards retarded since before I started to satirize your depravity. You are the ugly bucktooth girl sitting by herself at the party with the delusion of being the prom queen and you always will be. You will never be the pulse of the nation. Never. When you try this ‘more mainstream than thou’ shit, you make everyone else give a tiny internal smirk.

  123. yo, fuck New England!

    full disclosure: I am from Rhode Island

  124. John,

    There is lots of land in Mass and New York. The Western and Northern suburbs of Boston could grow to the Hudson and the Canadian border.

    That’s an interesting theory, but in the real world, there are geographic limits to how far the suburbs of a city can expand. The metro Boston MSA has been showing good growth, in fact, which is why it has among the highest real estate prices in the country, and why southern New Hampshire has turned into a suburb of Boston. Massachusetts’ low overall growth is a consequence of steady growth in the state’s eastern half, and a complete collapse in the rust-belty western half.

    There is no reason for land to be more expensive there than anywhere else. It is only expensive because of the tax and regulation policies of the states. That’s a nice theory, but it runs into the problem that land in western Mass – which has precisely the same regulatory and tax structure – is incredibly cheap. What we can conclude from this is that the extremely high prices in eastern Massachusetts are the consequence mainly of demand.

    Further, places like Boston and New York had an incredible head start over the rest of the country. Both of those cities were huge 19th Century centers for commerce and industry. Both of them are now stagnant cities living off the momentum of their past. What a load of horse shit. You really don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about, do you? MITRE labs in Burlington, MA lead the country in patents every single year. New York is, of course, the world center of commerce and finance. Both places have incomes and land values much higher than the national average, and remain the point of the spear of the American economy and culture.

    The sad fact is that the Northeastern and Midwestern state govenrments, along with California, squandered an incredible amount of their wealth and competetiveness. If your theory can’t account for the vastly different economic circumstances between the northeastern corridor and the industrial midwest – that the former continues to be at the forefront of the economy, while the latter have experiences dramatic declines – your theory is worthless.

  125. JF Cooper,

    If you keep stamping your feet like that, you’re going to make pappy’s porch collapse, and he’ll have to hot-glue a new one onto the shack.

  126. joe, you’re right, people from Mass are unapologetic petulant pricks. This is a GOOD thing. It really is dishonest to say that the area between Boston and DC is not the spearhead of America. That doesn’t mean people from their aren’t assholes (at least more assholish than the rest of the nation). But they have a good reason to be such pricks.

    joe, your Masshole nature suits you well, stay classy.

  127. joe | December 19, 2008, 2:34pm | #
    JF Cooper,

    If you keep stamping your feet like that, you’re going to make pappy’s porch collapse, and he’ll have to hot-glue a new one onto the shack.

    Ha. Ha. Ha. Funny.

  128. Hey phalkor,

    What’s up with unemployment in Rhode Island?

    Or are the numbers just wrong/silly?


  129. Further, places like Boston and New York had an incredible head start over the rest of the country. Both of those cities were huge 19th Century centers for commerce and industry. Both of them are now stagnant cities living off the momentum of their past. What a load of horse shit. You really don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about, do you? MITRE labs in Burlington, MA lead the country in patents every single year. New York is, of course, the world center of commerce and finance. Both places have incomes and land values much higher than the national average, and remain the point of the spear of the American economy and culture.

    Delusional weak chinned bucktooth girl, you don’t even make the top ten:

  130. “…I’m still going to take the fact that there were armed vigilantes shooting random black people in New Orleans, and the glowing media coverage they received, as a more meaningful bit of data than your anecdotes.”

    Where is this link? I don’t see it.

  131. micro2000 | December 19, 2008, 5:36pm | #
    “…I’m still going to take the fact that there were armed vigilantes shooting random black people in New Orleans, and the glowing media coverage they received, as a more meaningful bit of data than your anecdotes.”

    Where is this link? I don’t see it.

    That’s Joe you are talking about. Joe doesn’t need links, facts, or evidence backing him up, man. He is fully capable of making shit up at the top of his head and then getting righteously indignant and angry about it as if it was real and not imagined. Why you peeps bother to engage that troll I don’t know.

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