Government Spending

To Dream the Impossible Dream

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Conor Friedersdorf reacts to Barack Obama's health care plans:

My aspiration is to one day vote for a president who gets the nation to go along with his trillion+ dollar policy proposal by persuading us the trade off is worth it, rather than pretending that there is no trade off. But it seems instead I'll be forced to choose between Republicans who act as though military spending isn't real, Democrats who act as though social services spending isn't real, and George W. Bush, who managed on this issue to be a uniter, not a divider, by pretending that all spending wasn't real.

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  1. Yep, that’s pretty much the size of things. But at least Democrats don’t pretend to be the party of fiscal responsibility.

  2. Now where’s that “Yes we can” attitude???

  3. They had universal health care in Star Trek. Why can’t we have it now?

  4. But at least Democrats don’t pretend to be the party of fiscal responsibility.

    I see Obama’s promises of a net spending cut and line-by-line reviews of government spending have already been consigned to the memory hole.

  5. Also, the congressional democrats talking about how they were the real party of fiscal responsibility back during the tax cut debates.

  6. Your tears are so delicious to me, let me drink them in and gain your strength.

    Fiscal responsbility isn’t responsible. What is responsible is making sure we make the necessary sacrifices now to ensure the good of our future. You’re lying if you think Obama is pretending there is no sacrifice. It’s just that the sacrifice will have to come from those that in the past have been “favored” and “priveleged”.

    I am ready to make the sacrifice for the future and you should be too.

  7. HEB, don’t start.

  8. As far as I can find, W’s spending, as a percentage of GDP, was in line with historical precedent, and actually on the low side.

    His deficits were also entirely in line.

  9. HEB, don’t start.

    Afraid of the truth?

    They had free doctors and a free hospital too. They could fix everything but baldness!

  10. bubba,

    Not even remotely in line with Andy Jackson.

    1. Paid off the national debt
    2. Killed the bank of America (proto-fed)
    3. Was a racist, warmongering, genocidal fuck.

    Huh, Ill take it.

  11. You guys have good points. I should have said “At least nobody believes the Democrats when they claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility.”

    All the same, personally I’d take Clinton’s fake surplus over what Bush left us with.

  12. Credit Bush with an assist on ratcheting up the government’s scope and spending to a completely ridiculous level, but Obama and Congress should get credit for scoring the goal.

    No way, no how, I’m voting for a Democrat in 2010.

  13. There’s no free lunch, but that doesn’t mean we have to settle for a dog’s breakfast. Imagine what life would be under a plutocracy. C’mon try. I know you have lively imaginations.

  14. That settles it. Dr. Lawyer is definitely performance art.

  15. Credit Bush with an assist on ratcheting up the government’s scope and spending to a completely ridiculous level

    Did you happen to catch Cheney this weekend trying to say what they did was different? “OH NO! We HAD to save the banks! We were FORCED to bail-out the housing markets! – Obama’s just doing the rest of this stuff for fun!”

    As if they wouldn’t have done it almost the same way. It would have just been a difference of which donors got our money.

  16. My aspiration is to one day vote for a president who gets the nation to go along with his trillion+ dollar policy proposal by persuading us the trade off is worth it, rather than pretending that there is no trade off.

    Dare I ask it? And I mean this in all seriousness and with all due respect … Are we libertarians not also guilty of (sometimes) pretending there are no trade offs? Does that make us easy targets?

  17. Imagine what life would be under a plutocracy.

    That’s what your Mashiach is bringing us right now, dipshit. Or did you not notice all the blatant corporatism going on? Probably not. Libertarians decry corporatism as just another form of authoritarianism, not that you care to be accurate in your aspersions, you dumb motherfucker.

    How about life under freedom?

  18. Please, if we have to give billions to companies owned by Berkshire Hathaway, and thus give billions to one of the richest men on the planet, that’s fine, because Buffet is saying the right things about govt and thus is politically useful.

  19. Am I crazy or did we focus as much on Clinton after Bush was elected, as we do now on Bush with Obama elected.

    A pox on all their houses, but this fetish with “it’s all Bush’s fault” is truly getting annoying. I can read that at the Times or watch it on MSNBC, I hope for better from Reason where they are all self serving.

    It seems like many of the Reason editors were shocked that Obama is just a typical pol and so have to resort to saying, “well Bush was even worse” to make themselves feel better.

  20. Imagine what life would be under a plutocracy.

    Morris had taken his Zyprexa and Seroquel a little while ago, and he had a moment of clarity as they started kicking in. He thought “wait, Congresspeople are generally wealthy, and they are making sure that all this money goes to their wealthy connected buddies…so aren’t we already in a plutocracy of sorts?”

    Morris shook off this thought–it disturbed him. His psychologist had warned him about disturbing the mental cocoon he lived in, and he wasn’t about to.

    Morris decided that he’d go fuck his mom’s corpse again to calm down, because he still had a little hallucination time left before the drugs really started working. He’d be able to imagine that she was wriggling under him still…he started to jog to the basement in anticipation.

  21. Imagine what life would be under a plutocracy.

    Sounds kinda goofy.

  22. Ed, it’s a disease, and the ill must be put down for our safety.

    The good news is that the True Believers are forming a suicide cult.

    The bad news is that they’re forcing everyone in the nation to join at the end of a gun.

  23. Dare I ask it? And I mean this in all seriousness and with all due respect … Are we libertarians not also guilty of (sometimes) pretending there are no trade offs? Does that make us easy targets?

    Some do. Others are honest.

  24. Are we libertarians not also guilty of (sometimes) pretending there are no trade offs?

    I suppose, although a political philosophy built on taking responsibility for your own actions kinda puts the whole tradeoff issue right up front.

  25. Sounds kinda goofy.

    Well, now you’re just taking the mickey.

  26. “””Am I crazy or did we focus as much on Clinton after Bush was elected, as we do now on Bush with Obama elected.

    A pox on all their houses, but this fetish with “it’s all Bush’s fault” is truly getting annoying. I can read that at the Times or watch it on MSNBC, I hope for better from Reason where they are all self serving. “””

    Hell yeah. The right was still blaming Clinton for crap well into Bush’s second term.

  27. I remember hearing “The Clinton Recession” on Fox News an awful lot in summer of 2001.

    Now, can I get a few more guesses for my Penny Death Pool? I had 2015.

  28. “MSNBC”

    Here’s what I want to know. 30 days before the 2010 elections, will “The Ed Show” be forced to go off the air in order to be compliant to election law? I mean, it really is just an hour long political ad for the Democrats. They don’t even try ti hide it saying things akin to, “so what do we need to do next to further destroy the Rupublican candidates running for office?”

  29. Thanks for the responses, JSD and RCD.

  30. A pox on all their houses, but this fetish with “it’s all Bush’s fault” is truly getting annoying.

    I don’t think the quote has much to do with assigning blame. But setting that aside: I think we should take every chance we have to point out the continuities between Bush and Obama. Don’t let the Democrats pretend that they’re giving us change when they aren’t, and don’t let the Republicans pretend the growth of government started in January 2009.

  31. As far as I can find, W’s spending, as a percentage of GDP, was in line with historical precedent, and actually on the low side.

    His deficits were also entirely in line.

    This is true so far as it goes, if “historical precedent” means “post WWII,” but I still absolutely feel that it’s reasonable to criticize GWB for changing the trendline to the worse.

    Jesse:

    I thought before the election that we’d have more chance of “change” (for good and bad, though I thought on balance good) if McCain were elected, and I certainly haven’t changed my opinion. While there are a few issues where Obama is better from a libertarian perspective than GWB, I struggle to find any where he is significantly better than McCain. Perhaps online gambling?

  32. I struggle to find any where he is significantly better than McCain.

    Foreign policy. Not that Obama’s been good on foreign policy. But McCain has an itchy trigger finger, and I suspect he would have been worse than both Obama and Bush.

  33. “I struggle to find any where he is significantly better than McCain.”

    Obama has been a dissapointment on foreign policy the way he’s expanded the war in AfPak and kept the war going in Iraq, but if McCain would have gotten elected, would we be at war with Iran? Would he have renewed the cold war with Russia? At least Obama has opened up a dialogue with Iran and Cuba and has criticized Israel.

    On economics, however, Obama sucks big time. I had hoped he would have reached across the aisle to work with Republicans and found some middle ground, but it appears it’s full speed ahead into European style socialism.

  34. At least Obama has opened up a dialogue with Iran and Cuba and has criticized Israel.

    Diplomatic dialogues are not valuable in and of themselves. They are valuable only to the extent that they advance our national interests (however defined).

    Whether these dialogues are good or bad foreign policy depends entirely on results. Still too early to say.

  35. Bet Obama invades Pakistan before McCain would’ve.

  36. Obama has been a dissapointment on foreign policy the way he’s expanded the war in AfPak and kept the war going in Iraq, but if McCain would have gotten elected, would we be at war with Iran?

    No. We might not have dialogue with them, but we would not be at war with Iran. There really was zero chance of this; anyone believing otherwise is pretty disconnected from reality.

    At least Obama has opened up a dialogue with Iran and Cuba and has criticized Israel.

    If you consider criticizing Israel a plus, ok. Though, thanks, I would put considering easing the Cuban travel ban as another positive issue.

  37. Foreign policy. Not that Obama’s been good on foreign policy. But McCain has an itchy trigger finger, and I suspect he would have been worse than both Obama and Bush.

    I’ll first assume that by “foreign policy” you don’t mean anything to do with torture, Gitmo, etc., much less things like free trade, military spending, or the protectionism of propping up failing car companies. As I just mentioned, I would give some points towards Cuban policy as a possible improvement, and that is also foreign policy. I assume you’re talking mostly about fighting wars.

    But on wars, did you even read Matt’s book? I don’t particularly find a lot of evidence for that assertion. A man who changes his mind and is self-righteous about whatever position he has now, but he hasn’t been one of the consistent hawks even while in the Senate. (Although you make a case that opposing Balkan interventions with Clinton in office doesn’t count because it was opposing an opposite party President.) A man who doesn’t like to admit defeat in a current war, sure, but that’s different than starting new ones.

    Is the whole “itchy trigger finger” simply because he has a self-righteous and irritable personality? “Suspecting” on the basis of that, rather than actual votes, seems a bit unreliable. After all, President Obama’s great show of listening and moderation is completely belied by his actions.

    What Obama is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan seem to me to be no different than what McCain would have done. And in the debates, as Pro Libertate alludes to, it was Obama that said he would invade Pakistan if they didn’t do enough against the Taliban, while McCain said that was reckless.

  38. On economics, however, Obama sucks big time. I had hoped he would have reached across the aisle to work with Republicans and found some middle ground, but it appears it’s full speed ahead into European style socialism.

    Did you pay any attention to the campaign? If anything he’s moderating his campaign promises. Remember, he was elected despite the constant name-calling and guilt-by-association bullshit from the Republicans. A lot of people who voted for him even were convinced he was a socialist. But they didn’t care. What we had wasn’t working. This isn’t the cold war and the word “socialism” is no longer a conversation stopper bogeyman.

  39. A lot of people who voted for him even were convinced he was a socialist. But they didn’t care. What we had wasn’t working. This isn’t the cold war and the word “socialism” is no longer a conversation stopper bogeyman.

    He is a socialist, numbnuts. The problem is that McCain is a socialist, too.

    Guess you haven’t been paying attention since the campaign ended.

  40. SOCIALISM
    /thread

  41. John: My impression of McCain’s foreign policy views is that he went through a period of post-Vietnam humility, gradually moved away from it, and by the 2000 election was a hawk’s hawk. If you look at his reaction to the Russian-Georgian skirmish, for example, he gave every impression of being eager to involve the U.S. in a border conflict far from our shores that would put us up against a country with nuclear weapons. Granted, Obama ultimately took the same position, but McCain instinctively dove in. (Remember, I’m not trying to make the case that Obama is good. I’m trying to make the case that McCain is worse.)

    So it’s partly that and it’s partly the irritable and impulsive personality, which I guess alarmed me much more than it alarmed you.

  42. “I see Obama’s promises of a net spending cut and line-by-line reviews of government spending have already been consigned to the memory hole.”

    Doubleplusungood reference to unevent.

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