Economics

We Are Very Concerned About the Anger We're Fomenting

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Here's a bizarre Adam Nagourney piece in today's New York Times:

The Obama administration is increasingly concerned about a populist backlash against banks and Wall Street, worried that anger at financial institutions could also end up being directed at Congress and the White House and could complicate President Barack Obama's agenda.

The administration's sharp rebuke of the American International Group on Sunday for handing out $165 million in executive bonuses — Lawrence H. Summers, director of the president's National Economic Council, described it as "outrageous" on "This Week" on ABC — marks the latest effort by the White House to distance itself from abuses that could feed potentially disruptive public anger.

"We've got enormous problems that need to be addressed," David Axelrod, Mr. Obama's senior adviser, said in an interview. "And it's hard to address because there's a lot of anger about the irresponsibility that led us to this point." […]

[A] shifting political mood challenges Mr. Obama's political skills, as he seeks to acknowledge the anger without becoming a target of it. A central question for Mr. Obama is whether his cool style — "in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger," he said in his address to Congress last month — will prove effective when the country may be feeling more emotional.

Got that? The administration is "increasingly concerned about a populist backlash," so then feeds into it, and then complains about it, all while the president continues to merit (undeserved) praise for the New York Times for his "cool style," even though he has been bashing Wall Street and banks in such non-inconspicuous settings as a nationally televised speech in front of a joint session of Congress.

I suspect that what the administration might really be worried about is that there's a glaring contradiction at the intersection of its messaging and policy. Officials talk like they're really gonna stick it to AIG this time, then they ladle out another $20 billion. You want to punish a banker or a Wall Street executive? Let his company fail. And if he's broken the law, prosecute him.

Instead, the plan seems to be throw taxpayer money at whoever's too big to fail this week (including companies that don't even want the money), then channel all that anger into public shaming exercises of CEOs, coupled with new requirements driven by politics instead of profit and loss. The real threat that populist anger poses for Obama is that it may focus attention on the yawning gap between his word and deed.

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  1. A somewhat different interpretation of this administration rhetoric: They are trying to manipulate this public anger so that it supports a future policy move that they have in mind. One obvious possibility would be that they intend to give these giant corporations more billions but then slap on plenty of government controls because that’s what those blankety-blank rascals deserve. On toward the corporate state, in other words.

  2. I wonder if it was like this during the demise of the railroads. Before their demise, liberals demanded that we take on “evil” rail road corporations. After they declined, liberals demanded that we save “essential” rail service. Maybe I’ll scan the New York Times archives for articles about rails written in between those two times.

  3. Why is Reason afraid of president Obama saving the world?

  4. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

  5. He’s acting like a typical st. att’y gen’l?

  6. Let me quote myself:

    Once the current partisan generation is long gone, analysis of our current situation will be able to recognize that the housing bubble, disastrous wars, imprudent, stupid loans and banking practices, and the painful and expensive process of moving away from fossil fuels would not have been enough to completely bring this economy to its knees without the constant drumbeat of doom and gloom put out by the Democratic candidates and their enthusiastic supporters in the mass media during the 2008 election cycle. It will be understood that the Democratic superstructure attempted to do what it did in 1992–namely destroy confidence in our economy through the media to get a liberal/left candidate elected–but this time did it to a weakened economy and rather than stagger it, they knocked it completely out.

    Both parties thought the economy was resilient enough to play political football with. The right thought they could use it to fund endless wars of political spectacle and payoffs to the AARP, and the left thought they could badmouth it enough to ride in on a wave of mutilation and then boost it quick enough to fund payoffs, welfare, and wealth-redistribution schemes.

    Neither major party has clean hands and may they both soon be consigned to oblivion for all our sakes.

    They seem to be admitting my thesis.

  7. Fortunately that was a long period of time for the RRs.

  8. lester hunt said

    “A somewhat different interpretation of this administration rhetoric: They are trying to manipulate this public anger so that it supports a future policy move that they have in mind. One obvious possibility would be that they intend to give these giant corporations more billions but then slap on plenty of government controls because that’s what those blankety-blank rascals deserve. On toward the corporate state, in other words.”

    That is about right…they want to run the money, because he who runs the money wins….

    Hang on Toto we aint in Kansas no more!

    This whole deal has nothing to do with “saving the little guy”, it is about power and stealing it….all of it.

  9. You want to punish a banker or a Wall Street executive? Let his company fail. And if he’s broken the law, prosecute him.

    I guess we can count our blessings that no one was saying ‘too big to fail’ when Enron went down. That probably saved us a trillion in the public treasury.

  10. Come on, Sugarfree, even a knocked out boxer eventually gets up. There’s no time limit on “the economy”.

  11. alan,

    The failed policies of the Bush administration allowed the Corporate Greed of Enron to enrich some at the expense of many.

    At least Obama is not turning a blind eye to corporate greed.

  12. Robert,

    It’s not about whether the economy eventually recovers (of course it will,) it’s about whether it was necessary to destroy the economy just to keep McCain from being elected.

    The economy, like my tax money, does not exist to fuel our government, no matter who’s running it. There’s no way to have a economically non-interventionist government in the modern world, but the economy is a cycle that can have only so much of it’s energy drained before it falters. You can only beat a horse so much until he just decides to lay down.

  13. How nice of the administration to let us know how much it sucks without a long wait.

  14. Come on, Sugarfree, even a knocked out boxer eventually gets up.

    Obama and his administration are treating the economy like Ray Mancini treated Duk Koo Kim.

  15. SugarFree,

    Democrats always talk down the economy in an election year when there’s a Republican president. Remember John Kerry’s “misery index” which purported to show that the economy was worse off in 2004 than it was in 1978? Yet somehow the markets didn’t crash and there weren’t banks going belly up left and right.

    This storm’s been brewing for a long time and is the responsibility of politicians from both parties. Blaming it on the Dem campaign is silly and makes you look like a right-wing partisan, which I know you’re not.

  16. Matt, I’m not one to criticize, but I haven’t heard the dudes at AIG offering to give the federal money back. In fact, I believe AIG wrote a memo to the feds saying that if AIG went down, they’d take the rest of the world with them.

    OK, it’s not fun being on Wall Street these days. But in the old days the BSDs paid themselves multi-million dollar bonuses for making multi-billion dollar deals. Now they pay themselves multi-million dollar bonuses for scoring multi-billion dollar subsidies. They know there’s a difference, but they won’t admit it.

  17. Also, in 1988, Michael Dukakis was playing up how the prosperity of the Reagan years was funded by massive debt and was going to come crashing down soon. Before that I was too young to understand campaigns, so I don’t know if Mondale or Carter dissed the economy during their challenges to Republican incumbents.

  18. Sugar –
    The problem with 2008 was perhaps not as much with the tactics the Obama campaign used as it was with the fact that they worked. The country has been slowly being turned from a country of self-enterprising optimists to self-victimizing populists.

  19. Sugerfree,

    I can’t really argue with anything you say. That is exactly what the Dems and Obama did to the economy in both 92 and now. As far as “foreign wars” go, I know that is your pet peeve. But suppose for a moment that we had told the Taliban we were a ok with them not turning over Bin Ladin and suppose for a moment we had told Saddam by gones were by gones and welcomed him back to the world order with open arms and brought back all of our troops for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. How much money would that have saved? Maybe a trillion or so? Let’s say 1.5 trillion just to cut the difference down the middle. That is of course assuming that the Taliban would have loved us for not invading them and Saddam would have been chastened and caused no more mischeif and we all would have lived under the din of our new Suger Freeness.

    So we are now 1.5 trillion dollars ahead of where we were. First, who is to say that Congress wouldn’t have pissed away the money for other pruproses? Second even if they hadn’t and they dutifully paid down the debt with that money, that money would have bought us precisely one round of TARP bailouts and one McHopey stimulus bill. It would have done nothing to pay for the spending explosion BO has planned and would do nothing to touch SS and Medicare problems that we face. All and all, it is pretty small potatoes shockingly enough.

    There are legitimate reasons to debate the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but putting them on the same plane of responsibility for our financial troubles as TARP, Stimulus and entitlements is not one of them.

  20. Of course, what this underscores is that, before you give out bailouts, you need to think seriously about whether you’re going to wind up throwing good money after bad. Though it’s admittedly kind of hard to do that when THE WORLD WILL END TOMORROW IF CONGRESS DOESN’T PASS THIS RESCUE IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!111

  21. TofuSushi,

    Haven’t you ever heard the expression, a trillion saved is a trillion earned?

    I’m doing Obama a favor. He can use that trillion that did not go to Enron and count towards the balance of his next budget.

  22. Maybe Congress should’ve thought about what might happen before they rushed to pass an ill-conceived law or two. And ditto Mr. Obama.

  23. Obama and his administration are treating the economy like Ray Mancini treated Duk Koo Kim.

    That’s the guy Boom Boom killed in the ring, right?

  24. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

  25. Apparently the Democrats’ criticism is carried by tachyons, because it travels back in time to start recessions before the campaign actually begins. The housing bubble was actually a sinister Leftist rip in the fabric of space-time.

  26. That is, if millions of people are so gullible and uninformed about the world around them that a swift talking man in a suit can get them to believe just about anything, I hold very little sympathy for those people and am not entirely sure that we can pin it all on the guy who saw the weakness and exploited it. If he didn’t, someone else would. And if we could have, would we?

  27. crimethink,

    I am and will continue to blame the Democratic presidential campaign. I think both sides are completely to blame, but the knock-out blow, the action that really has put us on the slip n’ slide to doom was the press talking down the economy to get Obama elected. Since a huge section of our economy is based on confidence, constantly hammering away at by the media is going to effect it. They do it quite consistently.

    I am not saying what we have right down was the intended out come. This isn’t what they wanted, but the underlying weakness in the economy due to Bush and the lingering effects of 9/11 and the dot.com bubble is why their presidential gambit has yielded such disastrous consequences this time around.

    I fully expect to be called a raving rightwing loon for this. But I’m asserting that history will prove me out.

  28. I hope you capitalists are happy.

  29. Wasn’t there once a lethal bantam weight named Rookie Carroca?

  30. I am not saying what we have right down was the intended out come.

    I’ll say it: it was. They need a crisis to not waste.

  31. “This isn’t what they wanted, but the underlying weakness in the economy due to Bush and the lingering effects of 9/11 and the dot.com bubble is why their presidential gambit has yielded such disastrous consequences this time around.”

    What exactly did Bush do to the economy? Run deficits? The deficits were not large in the 00s by historical standards until TARP. The biggest mistakes make during the 00s seem to be letting the housing bubble get out of control and as a part of that the Fed being too lose with the money supply. It seems to me to be a bit much to blame Bush, as opposed to about a million other people for the housing bubble. Maybe he is responsible for the Fed, but Greenspan ran the Fed not Bush. Unless you can show me evidence that Bush forced Greenspan to maintain lose money, I don’t see how that is his responsiblity either. Furhter, I recall everyone outside of a few dissenters thinking Greenspan was a genius in the 00s and the guy who was saving us from the idiot Bush. So I doubt Bush could have done much to pressure Greenspan into doing much he dind’t want to do.

  32. SF, the thing that precipitated this whole mess was the housing bubble collapsing. There is absolutely, positively, wholeheartedly, under no circumstances, no way on God’s green earth, that Obama’s campaign caused the housing bubble to collapse.

    You’re not a raving rightwing loon — which is why I’m so surprised that you’re acting like one.

  33. The comments about taking advantage of crises have got to be the most disturbing statements to come out of an administration, which is quite an achievement coming on the heels of Bush.

  34. John,

    It’s not about the money spent on the wars, it’s the uncertainty they created about the future that did the damage to the economy. Talk of open-ended wars troubled the investor class. Uncertainty drives futures bubbles. The perception of “optional” wars boosts some industries and dampens some.

    I don’t want to rehash Iraq, we have a difference of opinion that probably will never go away. But the string of missed milestones and the perception, real or not, that the Bush administration was willing to lie about our progress, and pollyanna about the reality of the situation on the ground hurt the economy too.

  35. crimethink,

    Show me where I said the housing bubble was the fault of the Obama administration.

    I don’t think Bush did even one thing right with the economy. Maybe the tax rebate checks. Maybe.

    I am talking about proximate causes. I’m talking about why the Obama administration can’t seem to bring confidence back up. Obama’s mistakes are many and sundry but his high approval ratings should be bolstering the economy and it’s not. I’m trying to articulate a reason.

  36. “But the string of missed milestones and the perception, real or not, that the Bush administration was willing to lie about our progress, and pollyanna about the reality of the situation on the ground hurt the economy too.”

    That strikes me as a real reach. Now, I think you could argue that mideast instability caused the oil price bubble in 07-08 and that as much as anything finally burst the housing bubble and started the chain of events that got us to where we are now. But even then I don’t see how you can say that the invasion of Iraq was the instability that caused that. There was a lot of other things going on and Iraq’s oil production had returned to pre-war levels by then.

    I think it is lazy reasoning to just say “Bush killed the economy”. Certainly, if we could do things over again, I wish Bush had come out and killed the housing bubble in about 2002 and put us through the recession that we should have had after the tech bubble burst. Had he done that things would be a lot better today.

    But if he had done that, the Dems and the media would have killed him. It is not like anyone on either side was willing to be responsible. So it seems to me to be a little rich for Dems to know blame the housing bubble on Bush when they did everything they could to abet the bubble.

  37. “We’ve got enormous problems that need to be addressed,” David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, said in an interview. “And it’s hard to address because there’s a lot of anger about the irresponsibility that led us to this point.”

    This is from Divid Axelrod, so some interpreting is required. The correct quote is, “I distinctly recall speaking ot Mr. Obama on this matter. He indicated to me, we have minor problems that could just be ignored. This is easily addressed because there isn’t any anger as we got to this point as a result of exemplary responsibility shown by all parties involved”

  38. Obama’s mistakes are many and sundry but his high approval ratings should be bolstering the economy and it’s not. I’m trying to articulate a reason.

    The Leader’s high approval ratings don’t bolster the economy. If they did Venezuela would be living high on the hog right now. Unless we’re living in John’s magical fantasy world where the media being negative on Iraq was causing us to lose the war, in which case I must yield to your expertise.

    There are real problems with our economy. It’s not all in our heads. Seriously, it’s embarrassing to have to explain this to a non-troll, but here I am.

  39. Matt, I’m not one to criticize, but I haven’t heard the dudes at AIG offering to give the federal money back. In fact, I believe AIG wrote a memo to the feds saying that if AIG went down, they’d take the rest of the world with them.

    AIG and the Obama administration are definitely partners in dysfunction here, and likely will be for the duration of his presidency.

  40. SF – Obama himself says that the economy is like an ocean liner, not a speed boat. Repeated attempts at boosting confidence by his administration will produce results, but only in time if they’re repeated enough. If you say something on TV enough times, eventually it becomes conventional wisdom.

  41. “We’ve got enormous problems that need to be addressed,” David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, said in an interview. “And it’s hard to address because there’s a lot of anger about the irresponsibility that led us to this point.” […]

    This is merely today’s manifestation of the classic Democratic Party view that the people should just sit passively by, and allow their government betters take care of them.

  42. Show me where I said the housing bubble was the fault of the Obama administration.

    You didn’t say this. You did however assert that his speaking negatively about the economy was more destructive than the housing bubble! This is patently ridiculous.

  43. Didn’t AIG get a new head after the first round of AIG bailouts? I distinctly remember hearing a glowing interview on NPR’s Morning Edition last year with the new guy who talked about responsibility, etc. etc.

  44. “If they did Venezuela would be living high on the hog right now. Unless we’re living in John’s magical fantasy world where the media being negative on Iraq was causing us to lose the war, in which case I must yield to your expertise.”

    What hell was that shot for? Last I looked the insurgency got its ass kicked in Iraq. The only magical thinking I saw was from the people who were convinced that you can never beat an insurgency, even though historically very few insurgencies actually succeed. Yes, if the media plays up the success of an insurgency, it makes the insurgency that much harder to kill by making the populace feel less secure. It is called information warfare and the media generally wages it on behalf of our enemies.

  45. John, I was going to try to go back and dig up an example of you saying the media was making us lose in Iraq back in 2006, but luckily you provided an example in the post above. Thanks.

  46. Obama talked down the economy for the short term political goal of getting the porkulus through. If any other President had done that, they would have been crucified.

  47. crimethink,

    All I’ve asserted is that real problems in the economy were survivable if consumer and investor confidence hadn’t been systematically destroyed by the media in order to get Obama elected. And that the Bush administration contributed to this confidence erosion as well.

    All I’m talking about is a tipping point. If you want to argue for another tipping point, fine with me. But stop putting words in my mouth.

  48. crimethink,

    That is not magical thinking. That is reality. Any manual on how to run an insurgency will tell you one of the keys is controling the flow of information so that your acts have the maximum effect on the populace and its sense of security.

  49. Reinmoose,

    If you say something on TV enough times, eventually it becomes conventional wisdom.

    Which is why every time I’m no TV I make sure to point out that Rachel Maddow is unattractive, even for a lesbian.

  50. “All I’ve asserted is that real problems in the economy were survivable if consumer and investor confidence hadn’t been systematically destroyed by the media in order to get Obama elected. And that the Bush administration contributed to this confidence erosion as well.”

    While that appeals to my instinctual hatred of the media and BO, can you honestly say that Lehman and the bank failures of last fall didn’t have more to do with shaking confidence than BO? Further, wasn’t Paulson running around claiming we had to have TARP or we faced the next depression just as bad as anything BO and the media did? Or McCAin for that matter?

  51. John, I’m confused. Did OUR media make the Iraqis feel insecure? Did our media make US feel insecure? If we feel insecure, how does the insurgency win? If we felt secure enough to just pull out, would that mean that we won?

  52. Which is why every time I’m no TV I make sure to point out that Rachel Maddow is unattractive, even for a lesbian.

    She fellates Obama enough that it’s difficult to believe your charge that she’s a lesbian. You’re going to have to repeat that an awful lot.

  53. You were brilliant @ 1:30pm!

    White House Press Secretary Dana Perino would eb the perfect breakfast partner for Rachel Maddow and they can call me kitten after serving them both.

    I heart you.

  54. “Wasn’t there once a lethal bantam weight named Rookie Carroca?”

    “Tell me, what was that rather pungent taste?”

    “Parrot! And they’re not easy to work with. They put up some squawk.”

  55. Reinmoose,

    In the day and age of the internet, there is one world media. Something said on CNN or printed in the New York Times goes everywhere. When the media ran around and downplayed successes and played up failures, that was effective information warfare on the part of the insurgency. Was that the only thing that mattered? Of course not. But it didn’t help that is for sure.

  56. crimethink,

    Not to agree or disagree with sugarfree, but I do think that all the changes in course over the past year or so as well as all the “crisis” and “Great Depression” have not been helpful. In other words, some portion of the current downturn can definitely be attributed to regime uncertainty, and I have yet to see the latter abate much so far.

  57. John,

    While that appeals to my instinctual hatred of the media and BO, can you honestly say that Lehman and the bank failures of last fall didn’t have more to do with shaking confidence than BO? Further, wasn’t Paulson running around claiming we had to have TARP or we faced the next depression just as bad as anything BO and the media did? Or McCAin for that matter?

    I’m willing to apportion blame to the dying throes of the Bush administration and a chunk the McCain campaign as well. But the bailout stuff came at the end of a long summer of economic scare stories and nimrods like Jim Cramer screaming about people selling off their portfolios and having to eat dog food in their retirements.

    I’m not advocating it be the Shiny Happy News, but think about this time last year: the mass media was afraid to utter “recession” on the air, and then spent the entire summer screaming it at the top of their lungs.

    I fully admit I could be wrong, and I’m not much for partisan wrangling. I think both parties suck beyond the measuring of it.

  58. That’s the guy Boom Boom killed in the ring, right?

    They made hypocrite judgments
    After the fact
    But the name of the game
    Is get hit and hit back

  59. One good thing about Obama/Clinton talking down the economy is their voters are suffering way more than they need to. Serves them right for being such fucking idiots. Of course the Democrats could care less.

  60. Not to agree or disagree with sugarfree

    Boo! Hiss!

  61. “I’m not advocating it be the Shiny Happy News, but think about this time last year: the mass media was afraid to utter “recession” on the air, and then spent the entire summer screaming it at the top of their lungs.”

    That is true. If you go back further, one of the things that got us into this mess I am convinced is the failure to let the tech bubble and 9-11 cause a full blown recession as opposed to a one quarter 0 growth. Recessions serve a function in an economy. They weed out speculators. They provide moral hazard to encourage responsible behavior. And they burst bubbles before they get out of control. Had we had a real no shit recesion in 2001 and 2002, we never would have had the real estate bubble.

    Why did we not have recession? Because Greenspan pumped up the money supply and the real estate bubble, which in turn got people spending with their new found equity and kept us out of a recession. Part of the reason he was able to get away with that was that politicians are terrified of recessions and the media would have killed Bush for it. If we had an honest media that knew anything about economics instead of a pack of partisian chimpanzees who run around screaming and throwing shit, perhaps the politicians could have had an honest policy discussion about the economy in 2001.

  62. Stagman,

    Nice catch. I love that movie, but I expected the reference to go unnoticed.

  63. It’s not about whether the economy eventually recovers (of course it will,) it’s about whether it was necessary to destroy the economy just to keep McCain from being elected.

    I’m starting to think that maybe we should have taken McCain just to keep Obama from being elected. You’d be hard pressed to convince me McCain would really have been any worse.

    SF,

    I don’t think Bush did even one thing right with the economy. Maybe the tax rebate checks. Maybe.

    He kept us out of Kyoto and didn’t railroad us into a carbon tax. That’s a net positive good on his balance sheet.

    Of course his net positive goods make for a very short list.

    I am talking about proximate causes. I’m talking about why the Obama administration can’t seem to bring confidence back up. Obama’s mistakes are many and sundry but his high approval ratings should be bolstering the economy and it’s not. I’m trying to articulate a reason.

    Good line of questioning but I propose you back up a step. Why is that Americans “trust the Democrats with the economy” more than Republicans? There is absolutely no rational basis for “trust” in either party. The Republicans gave up even the pretense of principles sometime during the Bush era, and the Democrats are consistent and unapologetic socialists.

    John,

    I think it is lazy reasoning to just say “Bush killed the economy”.

    Amen. I’ve said for a long long time, the cost of Bush’s BS is small compared to our other looming economic disasters. And that’s before you top the cake off with BO “green energy” and all-out socialist medicine.

    We can eventually pay off the Iraq and Afghan wars. Carbon taxes and socialist medicine, like Batman, are forever.

  64. I think the AIG ‘life-line’ is very consistent with standard liberal orthodoxy, an orthodoxy Pres. Obama ascribes to very faithfully.

    The story goes that the ‘conservative’ Bush admin. failed to regulate the economy right down to the nitty-gritty of CEO pay. Obama’s admin. is correcting this by protecting the jobs of the masses, some who work for AIG, a huge employer, and are showing the oversight Bush missed by paying attention to the nitty-gritty of CEO pay.

    Obama is popular because people mostly believe this story and he can continue to spend and spend on corporate bailouts as long as he publicly pilories the greedy CEO. He’s working for the people because he’s saving millions of jobs.

    It always has been and always will be about regulation for the orthodox liberal.

    The very purpose of the government is to regulate. And you don’t have to go back to the Railroads. Remember when the airlines were de-‘regulated’. An orthodox liberal will tell you every problem in the industry was due to deregulation.

  65. If we had an honest media that knew anything about economics instead of a pack of partisian chimpanzees who run around screaming and throwing shit, perhaps the politicians could have had an honest policy discussion about the economy in 2001.

    Alas, yet more proof that the fundamental theory our democracy is based on, is flawed.

    Not that I’ve found a good alternative to democracy. Or do you want to call it “a republic”? Today I find it hard to see much real difference, in the net balance.

  66. When all jobs are government jobs we will no longer have these problems.

  67. That won’t take long.

  68. An orthodox liberal will tell you every problem in the industry was due to deregulation.

    Excuse me?

    Jimmy Carter deregulated in the right way, then Reagan and Bush ran the deregulation in the wrong way.

  69. Good line of questioning but I propose you back up a step. Why is that Americans “trust the Democrats with the economy” more than Republicans? There is absolutely no rational basis for “trust” in either party. The Republicans gave up even the pretense of principles sometime during the Bush era, and the Democrats are consistent and unapologetic socialists.

    I think it really just is a fundamental inability to grasp that economics is not an instrument or result of government. This is the same blindness that drives the misunderstanding of the free market.

  70. Obama is nothing but a two-bit fascist.

    He has no idea the anger out there. Just look at sales of guns & ammo.

  71. “Jimmy Carter deregulated in the right way, then Reagan and Bush ran the deregulation in the wrong way.”

    REally? Airline deregulation sure produced a stable industry didn’t it? Not to bash on dergulation. I am a believer. But you could make a good argument that airlines, because of the peculiar nature of their business model are a fundementally unstable market and are the least likly candidate for full derregulation.

  72. JB,

    He is not a Fascist, he is a Socialist.

    There! I said it proud, now I will say it loud, SOCIALIST!

    My fellow leftists need be closited no more!

  73. Obama?
    I hope he fails!

    Looks like the corporate compensation bashing chickens are coming home to roost at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

  74. John,

    It was stable under Carter, unstable after, except for when Clinton was in office. Just read the stories in The Nation if you can’t remember.

  75. Unfortunately, anger is expressed in unproductive ways. More unfortunately, most anger doesn’t really know its own source so it latches on to whatever is convenient.

  76. “Come on, Sugarfree, even a knocked out boxer eventually gets up”

    No, not always.

  77. jester,

    Anger is bad, it is like hate. We should not hate, we should love more.

  78. You want to punish a banker or a Wall Street executive? Let his company fail.

    Whoa! That’s crazy talk man! You free market fanatics don’t understand, we have to punish them by giving them bailouts!

  79. Of course you all realize that this debate we’re having here is all for naught.

    If the Republicans had had the balls to stay the course and actually do the “small government” thing, they may well have won out in the long run. But they didn’t, and now they’ve given up the idea of having principles.

    Which means in the long run BO and his ilk are going to win, for the same reason they won this last election. The Republicans are a bunch of monkeys now at the intellectual level. So even if the Democrats are offering a horrible alternative, at least it’s a got a line of logic to it.

    We’re about to become an extension of Europe. And the Chinese are going to be really, really pissed off about it, but there won’t really be much they can do about it. Maybe take Taiwan at long last, and give S. Korea and the Japanese some head aches, but what are they going to do about the fact that we aren’t going to be able to pay our bills?

    Nothing. Not-a.

  80. For the consumer deregulation of the airlines meant leaving price controls to go to the haphazard bucket pricing model.

    Depending on what routes you fly, airline pricing is good or bad, but for the avg. consumer, it has made flying an option for just about everyone.

    The airlines are not completely unregulated. They face the rules of the FAA and its cutting-edge use of technology in everythying aviation (snark intended!)

  81. When did the Republican Party have principles?

  82. When did any political party have principles?

  83. “We’re about to become an extension of Europe. And the Chinese are going to be really, really pissed off about it, but there won’t really be much they can do about it. Maybe take Taiwan at long last, and give S. Korea and the Japanese some head aches, but what are they going to do about the fact that we aren’t going to be able to pay our bills?”

    Yeah, hope and change and restablishing our place in the world now means fucking the Chinese and anyone else dumb enough to have loaned us money by trying to inflate out of our debt. How fucking ironic is it that the very people who have been running around for the last 8 years wondering why the world hates us now want to give the world a legitimate reason.

  84. On a more serious note: is TofuSushi real or just someones idea of a bad joke?

    If this is a real person, then is incredably uninformed and maybe borderline MR.

  85. Anger is okay. It just needs to be regulated.

  86. JohnD,

    Just performance art. We have very few actual long-running trolls.

  87. If I were not real how could I comment?

  88. PL,

    I resent being lumped in with the trolls! Unless you were seperating me from the trolls, then very nice.

  89. I disagree. The world will love us more, if I understand what you mean by the word ‘world’.

    I think a lot of us don’t want or need that love. It isn’t true love anyway.

  90. Nice catch. I love that movie, but I expected the reference to go unnoticed.

    I love it too. It’s a goldmine of great one-liners.

  91. Anger is okay. It just needs to be regulated.

    what we need is a law that guarantees that news networks will give an equal share of time to positive spins on the news as they do negative spins on the news

  92. “Which is why every time I’m no TV I make sure to point out that Rachel Maddow is unattractive, even for a lesbian.”

    Well I for one think she’s both attractive and sincere in her beliefs, unlike that sportscaster Olbermann.

  93. Olbermann is a sportscaster? All this time I thought he was a serious anchor.

  94. Stagman,

    As well it should be, with characters based on Mel Brooks (who produced the film), Sid Caesar, and Errol Flynn. Not to mention Richard Benjamin as director and, of course, Peter O’Toole kicking ass on screen.

    Speaking of Richard Benjamin, Quark is being released on DVD later this year. Awesome.

  95. “Well I for one think she’s both attractive and sincere in her beliefs, unlike that sportscaster Olbermann.”

    If you like teenage boys maybe. I guess if bull lesbians are your thing, she is better than Cynthia Nixon’s girlfriend.

  96. How fucking ironic is it that the very people who have been running around for the last 8 years wondering why the world hates us now want to give the world a legitimate reason.

    🙂

    I wondered if I was the only one that caught that neat little twist in the fabric….

  97. “If you like teenage boys maybe. I guess if bull lesbians are your thing, she is better than Cynthia Nixon’s girlfriend.”

    At least I don’t get turned on by the picture of a battered woman.

  98. “Speaking of Richard Benjamin, Quark is being released on DVD later this year. Awesome.”

    Wasn’t that only on for like four episodes before it was canceled? I remember watching it as a seven year old and being disapointed when it left.

  99. At least I don’t get turned on by the picture of a battered woman.

    What about braized?

  100. Eight episodes, and its cancellation was a crime against humanity. Or so I recall. It was the brainchild of Buck Henry.

  101. PL,

    That guy from Hee Haw produced a SciFi show?

  102. If only that were so. Unfortunately, it was not Buck Owens but Buck Henry. A mere great in comedy history, not a god like Buck Owens.

  103. Ah, so no Archie Campbell cameos in that one, huh?

  104. And I don’t give a damn about a greenback dollar, spend it as fast as I can.
    For a wailin’ song and a good guitar, the only things that I understand, poor boy, the only things that I understand.

  105. Buch Owens was a God and the Buckaroos the greatest roadhouse band ever. Period end of story.

  106. I was mostly kidding, but I just remembered that Hit & Run did give Buck Owens some love when he passed.

    I’m a big fan of Buck Henry, who has been involved in some great stuff over the years. Not the least of which was Get Smart (the TV series, that is). I just checked out a first season DVD from the library. I demand the Cone of Silence, Chief!

  107. The backlash clearly has to be against wall street and not the administration.

    Talk about putting yourself on a pedestal and then throwing stones at glass houses.

    This highlights something present in every aspect of government from cities to congress. Holding the public trust is not a career, it’s a fucking responsibility. If the public is pissed at you, you have more than likely violated that trust. I know guys digging ditches and hot patching roads that understand this better than people with MPPA or MPAs. The disconnect between those in government and those governed has grown so great that the people governing don’t even realize when it is their actions that cause the problem.

  108. How fucking ironic is it that the very people who have been running around for the last 8 years wondering why the world hates us now want to give the world a legitimate reason.

    Aside from perhaps the weeks following 9/11, Lefties haven’t been wondering why the world hates us. They’ve been pretty clear in blaming the hate on (a) Bush’s policies or (b) broader US imperialism.

  109. Populism is like nitroglycerin. It’s dangerous, unstable, and tends to blow up in one’s face.

  110. I for one welcome our inflationist overlords.

  111. I guess we can count our blessings that no one was saying ‘too big to fail’ when Enron went down.

    Enron was a criminal enterprise which had fingerprints from both sides of the isle all over it. The quicker Enron could cease to exist, the better.

  112. Wasn’t Buck Henry defiling Julia Louis-Dreyfus when they were both in Saturday Night Live?

    I think it was on a quiz in my History of Late Night Weekend Comedy during my graduate studies.

  113. The falcon cannot hear the falconer.

    When has that not been true in a long time? No, the Second Coming is not nigh. Never will be. Authority will always try to take away freedom. It was true under Bush. It is true now with Obama. And when Obama is a distant memory, it will still be true.

    And people will still play Go Team! as if authoritarian government isn’t pandemic.

  114. I don’t know. I like the idea of it, though. The old and new, coming together.

  115. Rachel Maddow

    My wife and I used to play a game while driving around Capitol Hill. It was called “16-Year-Old boy, or Lesbian?”

  116. Paul,

    Is that like the “13 or 30” game for females in officewear during intern season?

  117. Hymie: [at Max’ bachelor party] It’s 5 minutes to 10, Max, I think we should show the movies now.
    Maxwell Smart: Movies?
    Hymie: Yes Max, I understand that’s what they usually do at bachalor parties, show films.
    Maxwell Smart: Oh, what have you got, Hymie?
    Hymie: Oh, what have you got, Hymie? Well, it took a little doing, Max, but I managed to get these:
    [hands over a list]
    Maxwell Smart: [unfolds list eagerly] “Down the Colorado River by kayak”. “The Wonderful World of Zinc” and “Holland, land of dykes and tulips”.

  118. Ah, Hymie. The greatest spy robot of all time.

  119. Did not Jesse Jackson name a town after that robot?

  120. “My wife and I used to play a game while driving around Capitol Hill. It was called “16-Year-Old boy, or Lesbian?””

    My deepest sympathies to you both.

  121. Paul,

    My wife and I used to play a game while driving around Capitol Hill. It was called “16-Year-Old boy, or Lesbian?”

    Here in Kentucky it’s played a little differently: “Mildly Retarded 15-year-old Boy or Lesbian.”

  122. “Here in Kentucky it’s played a little differently: “Mildly Retarded 15-year-old Boy or Lesbian.””

    So which one are you?

  123. That’s right, Jesse was just a Get Smart fan, not an anti-Semite.

  124. He was effectively saying that New Yorkers behave like robots.

  125. Enron was a criminal enterprise which had fingerprints from both sides of the isle all over it.

    Then its an even bigger miracle it didn’t get bailed out.

  126. It’s a fair cop.

  127. I guess Samantha likes her lesbians on the bull side. To each her own.

  128. “Holland, land of dykes and tulips”

    Could be a porn film, but probably a documentary.

  129. Liberaltarianism or death.

    Boo yah!

  130. I for one welcome our inflationist overlords.

    I’m 25% invested in gold right now. Bring it, bitches!

  131. And then the govmint makes holding gold illegal. Cash it in at the artificial govmint price, you greedy hoarder. Sometimes, you just can’t win.

  132. “I’m 25% invested in gold right now. Bring it, bitches!”

    Good luck with that.

  133. As I mentioned in the other thread, the real scandel isn’t the executive bonuses, but the multi-billion dollar payouts to Goldman Sachs and other banks which AIG had insured.

    http://www.rte.ie/business/2009/0316/aig.html

    Earlier it emerged that AIG passed on $22.4 billion worth of US government bail-out funds to other banks and financial firms.

    France’s Soci?t? G?n?rale, Germany’s Deutsche Bank and US investment bank Goldman Sachs were the top three recipients.
    ….

    The payments were made between mid-September and the end of December on credit default swap contracts – complex financial products which are a type of debt insurance.

    The focus on executive bonuses is a distrction away from the stealth multi-trillion dollar bailout of the financial industry.

    Keeping in mind that a lot of the credit default swaps were just an exotic a means of gambling by hedge funds.

    Yowza …. heres an idea:
    Step One: Buy insurance on Bank X from AIG.
    Step 2: Short Bank X. Drive it’s share price down through market manipulation.
    Step 3: Collect payoff from AIG when Bank X fails.
    Step 4: Get AIG on taxpayer support so you can repeat from step one indefinitely.

  134. Furthermore, with actual bars or coins? Or with pieces of paper and/or formations of electrons that say ‘iou au’?

  135. Get Ready for the Gold Bubble to Break

    “I’m 25% invested in gold right now. Bring it, bitches!”

    Good luck with that.

    A good sign of the (lack of) confidence in your prediction is your posting anonymously.

    FTR, people have been saying that since the last time it topped $1000, and were in fact gloating when gold dropped to $680. Bubble popped, right? Bzzt: it’s back over $900.

    From what I can tell, gold has a long way to go before it is even *in* a bubble of the sort real estate or tech companies were in. Remember when everyone was flipping houses or buying stock in companies that sell kitty litter over the internet? I do. Remember when everyone was buying gold? I hope not, because it hasn’t happened since the last bubble burst in 1980. Most people I talk to don’t even know what to *think* about gold; forget being willing to actually *buy* some.

  136. Maybe I watch too much Fox news (because it’s always on at work) but I’m seeing G Gordon Liddy and some non-Sam Waterson actor from Law and Order pushing gold several times an hour.

    Liddy’s ad is in fact on right this minute.

  137. For the third time, has it been four years yet?

  138. @Kolohe: I imagine those ads are quite profitable even if their conversion rate is very low. When those ads start appearing on the Superbowl, I’ll concede we’re in a bubble.

  139. Before their demise, liberals demanded that we take on “evil” rail road corporations. After they declined, liberals demanded that we save “essential” rail service

    It’s rather reminiscent of how liberals used to say how important it was to put factory workers into higher paying white collar jobs, but now that manufacturing employment (but not manufacturing GDP) has declined they say how important it is to save manufacturing jobs.

  140. It’s almost as if the practice of crafting your arguments under their terms is doomed to failure…

    Hrmm….

  141. I’m 25% invested in gold right now. Bring it, bitches!

    Just out of curiosity, do you store that yourself at home or do you shell out for Blanchard or somebody to store it for you? If you store it yourself, do you use a lot of fancy locks?

    There’s no traps or anything, right?

    Because that’s not fair. And anyway, I have like a 17 dexterity, so it wouldn’t matter.

    I mean, in a gaming context, obviously.

  142. The failed policies of the Bush administration allowed the Corporate Greed of Enron to enrich some at the expense of many.

    What policy would that be? Please be specific.

  143. SugarFree, even if what you’re claiming is true, it’s deserving of the “who cares” bin. It’s like a guy whose roof blows off in a windstorm, and then looters come in and steal all his clothes. Then, when the inevitable rain comes, he sits naked in his uncovered house cursing the rain for making him wet and cold.

    Presidential candidates running against incumbents play up problems that can be blamed on the opposing party. This is not new, and it happens on both sides of the aisle. If our country can’t withstand this behavior then we’re doomed anyway.

    As far as the media conspiracy angle you’re pushing, I know some Truthers who would find that interesting. But not me.

  144. Not that I’ve found a good alternative to democracy. Or do you want to call it “a republic”? Today I find it hard to see much real difference, in the net balance.

    We haven’t been much of a Republic since the 17th Amendment (direct election of Senators). I would argue that, as much as anything, contributes heavily to the corruption and fiscal craziness we see in Congress.

  145. That may very well be true. This is something I haven’t studied very much though.

  146. Populism is like nitroglycerin. It’s dangerous, unstable, and tends to blow up in one’s face.

    We can only hope.

  147. Why does the government insist on paying multi-billion dollar bonuses to AIG and half a dozen other TBTF firms? Hmmmm?

    Obama’s mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore.

    Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, earlier Monday charged that the move to pay bonuses amounted to “rewarding incompetence.”

    No, Mr. Frank, giving AIG $170 billion in government guaranteed bonuses is rewarding incompetence. A mere $165 million in executive bonus money is a fucking side show. But hey, “get tough” all you want Dems. Tough, in my narrow world would be to stop the Billions in federal aid. That would be tough.

    Dems and their fucking corporate welfare. I never want to hear word one about corporate welfare from the progressive front.

  148. …and so it goes. The contradictions from the politico’s would be funny if they weren’t so fateful.

  149. A bailout for Enron would have been greatly preferable to the bailouts for the companies we are seeing today. Enron actually created value for the people invested in it, and actually did more than just move money around. They were a great company brought down by exactly the kind of rhetoric Obama is spouting. It’s disgraceful.

  150. Why is Reason afraid of president Obama saving the world?-

    Saving the world?
    He’s ruined our country by eveserating our future and handing out all of our tax dollars to people who can’t keep the money.

    If any ‘Normal’ citizen had done what AIG had done, we’d be in jail already with a 450lb man/ woman ready to make us Jail bitches.

    No Obama isn’t helping our country. None of this free for all for tax dollars I havn’t even earned yet!!!

    Screw this rock.

    I’m moving to Mars.

    Oh wait thats right, the money that could have been used to land, and put people on mars to research and live there was BLOWN on a POINTLESS F”N WAR! And the rest just went to AIG for TP.

  151. Where’s my got dam pitchfork?

    Sugar: you bring the stick matches and the kerosene.

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