Bailouts

Weisberg: God Bless America? No, God Damn America!

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The parodies have officially begun to write themselves with Jacob Weisberg's jeremiad against the American people®, in which the Slate editor-in-chief copes with Scott Brown's defeat of Martha Coakley by condemning the true criminals: those carriers of "childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence" Weisberg names "the public at large." Here's how he unburdens himself:

One year ago, 59 percent of the American public liked the stimulus plan, according to Gallup. A few months later, with the economy still deeply mired in recession, a majority of the same size said Obama was spending too much money on it.

Don't hate Jacob Weisberg. He just wants to love and be loved, like all of us.

If Weisberg is looking for consistency, he might look to an earlier debate over massive government intervention in the private sector: the $700 billion bailout plan that eventually became the Troubled Asset Relief Program. A large majority of Americans continue to oppose this bailout, just as they opposed it at its inception—a time when Weisberg, and a good two dozen guys exactly like him, were welcoming the TARP proposal as a respite from the ravages of capitalism.

Back in 2010, Weisberg goes on:

According to CNN, 67 percent of people favor balancing the budget even when the country is in a recession or a war, which is madness.

So that must mean the Great Deleveraging is the time to increase the deficit by, like, eleventeen thousand percent, because this time it's a war on a recession. What is wrong with the government balancing its budget during a recession? Is fiscal responsibility one of those things like the "freedoms" President Bush used to talk about: a thing you keep around until you actually need it, at which point you get rid of it?

The White Mountain of Truth continues in this wise:

Nearly half the public wants to cancel the Obama stimulus, and a strong majority doesn't want another round of it. But 80-plus percent of people want to extend unemployment benefits and to spend more money on roads and bridges. There's another term for that stuff: more stimulus spending.

Well no, that's not stimulus. It's not stimulus by any generally recognized definition of the term. It is, however, where most of the money from the $787 billion stimulus plan will eventually go. Where is the inconsistency here? If you're going to extend unemployment and subsistence-level makework, you can make an argument in favor of that, but it's not stimulus. It's what they called back in Franklin Roosevelt's day relief.

After wading through this anti-populist sewer for a few more paragraphs, we emerge to find the article's true subject:

The politicians thriving at the moment are the ones who embody this live-for-the-today mentality, those best able to call for the impossible with a straight face. Take Scott Brown, the newly elected Senator from Massachusetts.

How I treasure that coy "Take Scott Brown…" Yeah, I was just thinking in broad, general terms, but shucks, if you want an example…

As expected, Sen. Brown is responsible for such cascades of nameless unreasoning unjustified terror that it becomes tempting to blame him for all the chaos. But that would be too easy. After all it was you and me wot killed the Kennedys by electing Brown. A man of Jacob Weisberg's muscular morality will not allow us to claim we were just following orders:

Our inability to address long-term challenges makes a strong case that the United States now faces an era of historical decline. Our reluctance to recognize economic choices also portends negative effects for the rest of the world. To change this story line, we need to stop blaming the rascals we elect to office and start looking to ourselves.

Flip the script, brah! Weisberg is not just wrong in his parsing of American disenchantment. He's wrong to think it's a tragedy. Increasing numbers of Americans in the vast lands to be found outside the D.C. Beltway (join us, Jacob, the water's fine!) understand that government delivers far too little at far too high a price. (Libertarians would take that realization much further, but we are banned from Weisberg's empire of the mind.) Skepticism about authority, expectation of better performance, and a determination to get more for your dollar are not problems that need to be solved. They're bedrock American ideals. Maybe Weisberg believes our population needs to be replaced, but does he really want to do away with the handful of concepts that still make this country borderline-livable?

NEXT: Tea Party Palooza, or Lilith Fair For Gadsden Flag Zealots; Got Live Stream If You Want It

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  1. The left is a trip! They get really, really mad when you prevent them from spending your money.

    1. Good Morning reason!

      Danica starts 12th today! ESPN 4:30PM Eastern

      1. Good morning Suki!

    2. I thought Willlie was a new anon-bot variation. But, no, wrong link in the handle.

      1. (Browsing more down-thread…) I thought there was some decent conversation, or even just snark, but no, it’s only Chode bait. Not even worth the time to read.

        1. Gotta agree. Somewhere amongst the Chad shit, the ‘Hitler killed the wrong Jews shit’ and the United Statesicans are stupid shit, this comment thread entered espn/si/any-movie-site/youtube’s territory.

        2. I have to say, I am tiring of it.

          1. Wow. I just took a look at the comments on the last post.

            Good call Suki.

        3. There’s no decent conversation, JW. MOSTLY BECAUSE YOU SUCK.

          1. You only say such horrible things because you care so much, Epi.

            1. You’re going to make me cry.

              (chokes back a sob)

    3. OBAMA and Bernanke are featured in a movie– about greedy hedge funds called “Stock Shock.” Even though the movie mostly focuses on Sirius XM stock being naked short sold nearly into bankruptcy (5 cents/share), I liked it because it exposes the dark side of Wall Street and revealed some of their secrets. DVD is everywhere but cheaper at http://www.stockshockmovie.com

  2. Our inability to address long-term challenges makes a strong case that the United States now faces an era of historical decline. Our reluctance to recognize economic choices also portends negative effects for the rest of the world. To change this story line, we need to stop blaming the rascals we elect to office and start looking to ourselves.

    Actually, I agree with this. I have a feeling the economic problems I see the American people unwilling to confront are different from those Weisberg has in mind.

    1. we need to stop blaming the rascals we elect to office and start looking to ourselves

      Ah, yes.

    2. Weisberg, eh? Maybe it’s time we start blaming the Jews.
      Or at least the retards.

      1. Ed, every thing is your fucking fault. STFU.

        1. Is that you, Rahm?

          1. Yes, my little catcher

            1. I know you are, but what am I?

              1. 1925?

  3. The White Brokeback Mountain of Truth continues in this wise:

    FTFY

  4. “Our inability to address long-term challenges makes a strong case that the United States now faces an era of historical decline.”
    Translation:
    ‘If you don’t do what I want, you’re a big dummy and you must hate America’!

    1. You don’t have to tell me. I just found out in the last thread that our Kenyan president is black too! Talk about feeling like a big dummy.

    2. Questioning your patriotism is fast becoming the left’s favorite pastime, eh, Comrades?

      1. What?! Questioning the patriotism of the opposition is supposed to be the right’s forte.

        OH! Nevermind, I got confused for a second and thought we had two major parties with actual differences in policy.

  5. What is wrong with the government balancing its budget during a recession?

    Easy. If the government cuts during recessions, it is acting pro-cyclically. This has two major negative effects.

    1: It amplifies the cycles (duh) and increases the chances they will spiral out of control.

    2: It ensures the government is paying top dollar for everything. Right now, everything is on a fire sale from the governments perspective, as anything it buys from within the US implies that it is taking people off the dole. Hence, it is only paying the difference between what it costs to employ people ($800-$2000/week) and what it costs to have them sit on their butts (~$500/week). In contrast, the Tim theory of government would have it doing most of its buying when it had the most money…during booms, when prices are highest.

    1. 1. How will we know “spiral out of control” as opposed to what is ongoing?

      2. The government is not paying top dollar for things that it cuts.

      1. Because spiraling out of control is scary and bad, stupid student. Can’t you see a spiral?

        1. Pretty soon everything will cost $0.00 and no one will have any money at all to pay for things. Wild!

        2. What I see now is a car spinning on ice and its driver claiming things are under control because he can still turn the steering wheel.

          1. And when we hit the big concrete wall Chad will tell us “see? you had to hit toe bottom to get better.”

            It all works out with the right phrase writers in charge.

          2. That is the best analogy I have heard yet to the way this government appears to react to every single situation. I would have used to the word “function” but that would imply they had a rudimentary understanding of what they were doing.

      2. Have we hit depression levels yet? THAT’s what happens when the government does what you are asking it to do.

        1. Someone needs to come up with a Godwin for the use of the GD. What is a depression?

          1. Hoovering a thread?

            1. “Damming” the argument?

        2. Jesus Christ, Chad. Watch and learn.

          What the government is doing now, is following the Hoover-Roosevelt playbook, and ensuring that this depression will last for a decade at least.

          -jcr

          1. can’t get the link to go.

            1. HTML nazi, one step above grammar nazi, two steps below mouth breathing retard.

              (sorry special olympics)

              1. No need to apologize.
                Retards aren’t offended by being called retards anymore than blind people are offended when you say they’re blind.

                AND even if they were, the truth (should be) an absolute defense against both libel and outrage.

    2. How could I be so blind. Thank you Tony, this spending is too conservative and we need to print more money since our debt rating is going to be worthless pretty soon.

    3. Sure, let’s act counter-cyclically.

      To properly run a budget in an up-cycle, balance isn’t remotely enough. Cutting spending enough just to run a surplus isn’t enough; you have to cut further. Cutting enough to keep it constant in percentage of GDP is not enough; you have to cut further. Cutting enough to keep it constant in real dollars is not enough; you have to cut even further. You have to cut it enough to have government expenditures actually decline in real-dollar terms, and do so every year the economy keeps growing. Otherwise you get overheating and speculative bubbles.

      And, notice that the current economic numbers indicate GDP growth? That means the time to cut spending is now. We aren’t in a recession anymore, see, we’re in a growth period. So it’s time to cut the budget in real terms.

      So, let’s all do as Chad suggests, and cut the real-dollar size of government now!

      1. So, let’s all do as Chad suggests, and cut the real-dollar size of government now!

        So I need to get a new wallet for the smaller bills? That’s an idea of stimulus? The wallet manufacturer preservation act?

        NO THANK YOU!

      2. I am not talking about quirky quarter-to-quarter data, nor about a single statistic. Most of the “growth” of GDP was an accounting gimmick related to inventories. Budgeting should be done at minumum on an annual scale, and should be based on a wide variety of factors.

        1. It’s quarky and needs to be done on the sub-atomic scale.

          Don’t even try spinnining it to your flavor either.

          1. Well color me red!

        2. Oh crap ?

          So you mean we deployed hundreds of billions of dollars to shovel ready projects (and signaled upwards of a total amount of 800 billion in fiscal pump priming in the near term future), bailed out the states, had a TALF program to prop up the securitization market, kept interest rates artificially at zero (negative in real terms as inflation had been in positive territory for most of 2009), bailed out the banks, bailed out the domestic car companies, threw tax credits at home buyers, extended unemployment, backed commercial paper and inject almost a trillion into the money supply through expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet through purchases of MBS’s and Treasuries and all I got for it was two lousy quarters of positive year over year of GDP growth that were really just accounting gimmickry?

          Damn it.

          1. No, what you got was an end to the downward spiral in the economy, which is now pretty much flat-lined. It will be a long, slow slog from here. Prepare for a “lost decade” or two as we slowly deleverage and pull ourselves up from the mat, and prepare to no longer be #1 by the end of it all.

            1. Noted. I agree that the policies that have been implemented (and that you applaud) will ensure a lost decade or two. Through many years of hard work I am now fortunate enough to have the means to take the appropriate preparatory steps to deal with that certainty. Thanks for the advice.

              1. Funny, I think it is *your* policies that screwed us. Even if libertopia exists, libertarian policies do not work well in the real world, where they can never be pure enough to avoid catastrosphic malfunction.

                1. I know, liberty is an awful thing, isn’t it.

                  1. No, it is a good thing. The problem is that you define it very narrowly, and end up sacificing lots of practical liberties for a handful of arcane theoretical ones.

                    1. Please define.

                    2. Oh, how about the new one of the week, where we traded our a huge part of rights to free and fair elections and reasonably un-corrupted politicians in order to avoid placing some very arcane restrictions on utterly worthless speech?

                      That sounds like libertopia in a nutshell to me.

          2. Define “shovel ready”. From what I gather a great deal of money has gone to create jobs that don’t exist in fantasy districts. I knew that if ABC got involved with the White House they would start using magic to run things.

    4. Re: Chad,

      If the government cuts during recessions, it is acting pro-cyclically.

      My wife gave me the same bullshit when I told her to cut her expenses: “But we would be acting pro-cyclically!”

      This has two major negative effects[…]

      Oh, here it comes . . .

      1: It amplifies the cycles (duh) and increases the chances they will spiral out of control.

      Sure – JUST like it happened in 1921! Oh, did that cycle grow and grow and . . . oh, no, it did not!

      2: It ensures the government is paying top dollar for everything.

      Oh, man . . . if the government KEEPS spending, it WILL pay TOP DOLLAR for everything! And wasn’t that the “point” of Hooverian economics (which is exactly what you’re advocating)? That low prices are bad (so called deflation)?

      1. “My wife gave me the same bullshit when I told her to cut her expenses” I sent her a message to cut your allowance.

    5. It amplifies the cycles (duh) and increases the chances they will spiral out of control.

      When was the last time that happened?

      Here is a thought experiment. Suppose everyone in America got credit cards with a $10,000 credit limit and maxed out their credit cards within one year. What will be the effect on the economy?

      1. Here is a thought experiment. Suppose everyone in America got credit cards with a $10,000 credit limit and maxed out their credit cards within one year. What will be the effect on the economy?

        Now, or later?

        Now you’ll get a great fiscal boost and look really good as businesses post higher than ever sales figures.

        Later, buying will dry up as people reassess their spending to pay back the debt, the financial institutions that issued the cards will turn to AIG, which no doubt will have insured the deposits, and AIG will go crying to the government with some sob story that invokes a vague sense of deja-vu and can be more or less summarized as, “it’s not my fault”. Shortly followed by “can I keep my bonus?”. The government dealing with the aftermath and seeing its reflection in the opinion polls is unlikely to be the same as the government that thought up the policies that got the credit cards issued and the people spending money they didn’t have in the first place.

    6. George W Bush and the Fed reacted counter-cyclically to the decline in economic activity that followed September 11. Things were ok for a bit and then got much worse. The longer you try to keep demand side policies going, the worse your eventual hang-over will be.

  6. Chad|2.5.10 @ 10:29PM|#
    “What is wrong with the government balancing its budget during a recession?
    Easy. If the government cuts during recessions, it is acting pro-cyclically.”
    Ignoring the questionable economic claims, are we to presume you’ll come out strongly in favor of a balanced budget once, say, the unemployment rate drops to 8.0?

    1. I have ALWAYS been in favor of balancing budgets across the economic cycle, by which I mean that modest deficits are completely rational during economic slowdowns, and surpluses are to be expected during normal times.

      How do we do that? Raise MY taxes. And yours. And everyone else’s. Quit being a baby and pay your bills for once. No, the economy will not collapse if we pay the same kinds of net taxes that other industrialized nations pay. Over time, we can also make reasonably large cuts to the military over time. There is nothing else worth cutting that is of a substantial enough size to matter. Social Security could use a haircut (and some tax increases), and our medical system needs bottom-up reform, but that ain’t happening anytime soon. The “everything else” category of the budget is actually underfunded, by a pretty wide margin in my opinion. We get far better bang for our buck there than we do in most parts of our economy.

      1. Since Medicare is projected to bankrupt the nation in not too many years, why not reduce funding for it by, say, half? Then by half again in a couple of years. Let oldsters buy their own insurance.

        I’m fastidious about paying my bills, Chony, but I’m not thrilled about paying everyone else’s.

        1. Reduce funding by half, you say.

          So are you going to severely ration, or raise the retirement age to 75?

          What is your plan for fending off the pitchforks when you announce your plan? I’ll just assume that you don’t have a plan and don’t give a @#$T about the people your plan would screw, because that is the libertarian way of things.

          1. How about we raise the retirement age to just retire when you saved enough damn money to?

            1. How about we have a society full of wretchedly poor elderly people, which was the result the last time we tested your theory.

              1. As if you give a damn about the elderly.

              2. Liberty and Free Markets cause wretchedness, poverty and old age.

                Hayek should come with a red herring.

              3. The real reason there was a society full of wretchedly poor elderly people is because people like you advocated government policies that inflated the hell out of the money and credit supply and destroyed the purchasing power of their savings. Frigging scam artists.

          2. Like, you know how to save it?

          3. “I’ll just assume that you don’t have a plan and don’t give a @#$T about the people your plan would screw, because that is the libertarian way of things.”

            Yes, yes. “Libertarians don’t care about other people”, “libertarians want everything for themselves”, “libertarians eat children” – do you have a Rolodex of talking points or have you moved to the electronic age?

            1. How about your prove me wrong, instead of claiming that I am spewing talking points?

              Oh, that would require you to actually DO something for other people…LOL! What was I thinking!

              1. It’s YOUR job to prove YOUR assertions, Chad. And not with spoon-fed liberal talking points. Give us hard data to back up your assertions, instead of your arrogant self-aggrandizing.

                1. It’s YOUR JOB to disprove it, LG. Chapter Two of any economic textbook should have already been sufficient for my proof that your theory is absurdly childish and incomplete.

                  1. Ever notice how Regressives always seem to bring up “Chapter Two” of “any” “economics textbook” as “sufficient proof” that anyone who disagrees with them is illogical and “childish” without bothering to quote anything that’s actually IN “Chapter Two” — or naming the textbook?

                    1. Chad is a coward, and a traitor to the ideals of liberty.

          4. And I’m sure you care so much about the youngsters your plan screws right now.

            1. I am “young”, silly goose.

              1. It’s fine if you want to screw yourself, but there are plenty of ways to do it without dragging the rest of us into it. For example if Social Security were eliminated, there would still be nothing to prevent you from donating all the money you currently contribute to social security to a charity for elderly people.

                It’s your money. You (I assume) earned it. You should be able to donate it to whatever cause you want, but why won’t you let me have the same freedom with MY money that I earned?

                Maybe I want to help children instead of the elderly! If so, I should be allowed to. OR maybe (as you assume) I don’t want to directly help anyone except myself by spending my money on a big screen TV at Walmart (where those old people you care about are employed, oh snap!) No matter which I should be allowed to make the decision for myself. You have no right to force me to do anything.

      2. And, if you’re looking for other places to cut, listen to the wisdom of Willie Sutton and cut where the money is.

        1. My HTML-fu is not pleasing to the H&R gods:

          http://www.cato-at-liberty.org…..-spending/

          1. Another graduate of the SugarFree school of HTMLology.

      3. Chad|2.5.10 @ 10:54PM|#
        “How do we do that? Raise MY taxes”
        Sounds fine by me. Got enough to pay off >$1Tn?
        If not, well you could just as easily suggest the tooth fairy solve the problem.
        As far as raising my taxes for your fantasy, no thanks.

      4. Did Chad just say that the government sector of the economy gets better bang for the buck than the private sector?

        1. In Soviet Russia the buck bangs you.

        2. Considering the private sector of the economy spent the last ten years borrowing trillions from China so that we could invest in SUVs, McMansions, credit-default swaps, and cheap crap from the Chinese themselves, the bar for the government to beat is about as low as I could imagine. The government could throw random projects in a hat and have a blind monkey pick them, and still would be assured of beating what your vaunted private sector chose.

          I love how it exceeds the comprehension of libertarians that maybe, just maybe, what the private market puts its capital into may not be optimal, despite all the evidence that it was wildly sub-optimal.

          I know, I know…you will just say that it MUST be optimal, and that you and I, with our finite wisdom, cannot grasp the wonderous reasons for a trillion dollar investment in cheap crap that breaks in six months.

          1. So it’s not Treasuries that Beijing is holding, but Google corporate bonds?

            1. Chony just said that Communists make cheap crap too. Gonna hate to see what sort of grade he gets from Bull Ayers for that fuckup.

          2. Did Chad just say that the private sector is inferior to the federal government because it was borrowing trillions from China?

            I hate to respond to every post with a “Did Chad just say that [insert absurd/self-contradictory notion here]?”, but like a starving squirrel I pounce on the first acorn I see.

            1. Yes. Apparently China owns the US Treasury AND all corporate debt.

              Awaiting his fret that China will “call” all the bonds when they are ready to pounce, thus snatching an international socialists world from the teeth of Russia and placing it in the tummy of China.

              1. Apparently, the treasury was issuing Treasury bills and notes to fund the plastic toy I bought for my nephew from China and note government spending.

          3. Re: Chad,

            I’m having too much fun. Oh, well . . .

            Considering the private sector of the economy spent the last ten years borrowing trillions from China[…]

            Whoa there, Thunder! The private sector issued Treasury Bonds?

            […]so that we could invest in SUVs, McMansions, credit-default swaps, and cheap crap from the Chinese themselves[…]

            The FED reducing the rates notwithstanding – No, it was the private sector and us the McMansion buyers . . . right.

            I love how it exceeds the comprehension of libertarians that maybe, just maybe, what the private market puts its capital into may not be optimal, despite all the evidence that it was wildly sub-optimal.

            Again, the FED rate reduction and the subsequent capital allocation distortion notwithstanding . . . No, it was the private sector that has NO idea where to put its OWN money. Oh, those stupid bastards! If only we had more government experts and Obamanic speeches to help us direct the economy, all would be sunshine and lollipops!

            I know, I know…you will just say that it MUST be optimal, and that you and I, with our finite wisdom, cannot grasp the [wondrous] reasons for a trillion dollar investment in cheap crap that breaks in six months.

            Uh . . . yeah. Consumers invest when they buy stuff . . . Gee, first time I hear about that.

            1. Uh . . . yeah. Consumers invest when they buy stuff . . . Gee, first time I hear about that

              Wow! I think you just conceded my point. Consumers do not put much money into long-term productive assets, but rather blow it on short-term consumption. Putting >70% of our assets into THAT plan sure sounds brilliant!

              Whoa there, Thunder! The private sector issued Treasury Bonds?

              I was talking mostly about home-equity loans and deficit-funded tax cuts. In the end, this money comes from nations that save, mostly China and Japan.

              Cheers for buying junk with borrowed money. THAT is the ultimate way to prosperity. Clearly, the market is being uber-rational in doing so. So sayeth the libertarian creed!

              1. Good point, if we just let the 600 people in DC decide what we should buy all issues would be solved. Strawmen are fun!

              2. In the end, this money comes from nations that save, mostly China and Japan.

                Most foreign savings aren’t typically deposited in US banking institutions. Now, it is true that US banks and other lenders borrow money from the Fed, which gets its money from foreigners buying T-Bills, but if you follow that track you’re involving the oh-so-smart government in the foolishness of the private sector again.

              3. So houses now count as short-term consumption?

                I love how Chad and Weisberg are beating down the same libertarian straw-man….clearly, what we have here is a failure of the free market system! Just don’t pay any attention to all of the government interventions over the past 50 years….indeed, don’t pay any attention at all to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or FHA. Nothing to see here, move along……

                1. Ahh, the libertarian uber-argument! It appears in every thread!

                  “No matter how utterly absurd, stupid, and disfunctional the market appears, just blame it on the nearest government program.”

                  Btw, Paul Krugman nicely refutes your theory here:

                  http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c…..n-example/

                  Canada had all the elements you blame, but did not melt down. What did they do differently, then? As Krugman puts it, REGULATION REGULATION REGULATION.

                  1. Yeah! Because government NEVER screws up! It’s always good, honest, and accounts for every penny of the public trust!

                    What a load of shit you are, Chad.

                    1. Now where did I ever say that, LG? Every system screws up, including yours. That is why we have to choose them wisely and balance them against one another.

                    2. Ahh, the old “mixed economy” meme. Never heard THAT one before.

                  2. Once again, Krugman leads you down the wrong path.

                    Economic growth in Canada over the past decade was concentrated in 3 areas: petroleum, real estate, and income trusts.

                    I’ll try to put this in terms that even you can understand: Canada didn’t have an economic meltdown for the same reason that Kuwait didn’t have a meltdown; the worldwide demand for petroleum products has not diminished.

                    Krugman, of course, would rather not deal with the fact that his favorite neighbor has turned into a petro-state, just like Venezuela, Nigeria, Norway, and the Arab states.

                    1. In fact, why don’t you take a look at this IMF data, and tell me that Canada has been unscathed by this recession?
                      http://www.indexmundi.com/cana….._rate.html

                      2007 -11.32 %
                      2008 -83.64 %
                      2009 -698.79 %

          4. so that we could invest in SUVs, McMansions, credit-default swaps, and cheap crap from the Chinese themselves

            not to mention all those cockroach-shaped vehicles loaded with toxic chemicals and equipped with shoddy brakes.

            The only thing I don’t like about the Prius recall is that it makes Chad less likely to perish in a flaming, noxious wreck.

            1. It is all much ado about nothing. It is just a media-hype spiral, which causes everyone to complain about every little thing they think they experienced. If and when they find some minor issue, it will get fixed.

              I still enjoy my 47mpg, and being a better person than you and every wasteful person I see on the road. Ahh, the joys of being smug.

              1. Chad|2.6.10 @ 9:14AM|#
                “…being a better person than you…”
                Translation:
                ‘My ego is easily mistaken for a new galaxy!’

                1. But he’ll never agree with his being an elitist… he’s just better than everyone else.

                  1. What do you mean, LG. I have noted that I am, in fact, among the elite many times around here.

                    Speaking of which, it is time to go play with the grown-ups. Have a nice day everyone.

                    1. Sorry, it’s Tony who has the elitist-tag hangup.

                      You, Chad, are just fucking arrogant.

          5. Considering the private sector of the economy spent the last ten years borrowing trillions from China so that we could invest in SUVs, McMansions, credit-default swaps, and cheap crap from the Chinese themselves, the bar for the government to beat is about as low as I could imagine.

            And yet, by that standard, we have… two open-ended wars and billions spent upon continuing a Cold War-era military mindset bent upon blowing up any foreigners that might look at us funny.

            Yeah, somehow, I think the private sector has that one beat. Try again.

            1. You are attacking ignorant Republican policies, and trying to rub them off on a liberal? wtf?

              At least we both agree that Bush was a disaster. Now if you would only understand that your real choices are us or Palin (ie, Bush with hooters), we might get somewhere.

              1. I’m sorry, has Obama or the Democrats made any credible notion of dismantling this same infrastructure? No? Then the argument still applies.

                Seems to me if we’re judging who consumes more efficiently by looking at the bulk of said spending, the government still comes down as the loser, hands-down.

                1. Continuing policies which are in place is not the same decision as putting them in place. Leaving the knife in the wound rather than pulling it out is often the better decision for the patient; it does not make you as bad as the person who put it in.

                  1. Exactly. As long as Republicans have veto power, they keep the responsibility for the status quo.

                    1. I love how the argument changes once it is readily apparent Chad has been backed into a corner.

                      “But, but… it’s the Republicans’ fault! They started it! We’re not at fault for completely and unabashedly facilitating it, or failing to raise even a peep in opposition!”

                      I mean, seriously, let’s go back to your original argument, Chad, which was how awful the private sector was for spending itself into debt over SUVs and McMansions. The way I see it, two foreign wars, an unchecked military-industrial complex, and a War on Drugs (just for extra spice) hardly puts the Feds above the standard you set for the private sector.

                      At least McMansions, for all their unsightliness, don’t go out and kill people. Or gun down innocent people in planes.

                      But hey, what’s a few broken eggs when we’re having omelettes, right?

                    2. Or hey, since Republican actions don’t count now on the Government Scorecard, why don’t we just tally up a few hundred pissed away on bailing out the very banks that got us into this mess (and a few more that didn’t) and an auto manufacturer drove itself to bankrupt due to its own incompetence?

                      Yeah, I’m really sure the government does such a better job than the private sector at where it chooses to focus its resources.

                      Next.

                    3. And as long as Democrats have veto power when THEY have it… same thing, right?

                      Or are you going to make the case that it’s okay for Democrats to have such power, but nobody else?

                    4. I think the filibuster should be removed completely and majority rule should reign. I would rather have the government moving the wrong way some of the time rather than nowhere all the time.

                    5. “As long as Republicans have veto power”

                      hmm… Democratically controlled congress + Democrat President definitely sounds like Republicans have veto power to me.

                  2. Continuing policies which are in place is not the same decision as putting them in place.

                    “The guy who started the gang rape is much worse than the fourth guy in line!”

      5. Re: Chad,

        How do we do that? Raise MY taxes. And yours. And everyone else’s. Quit being a baby and pay your bills for once.

        Sure, because everybody should pay your unsolicited bills once in a while.

        No, the economy will not collapse if we pay the same kinds of net taxes that other industrialized nations pay.

        It would just makes us all live as uncomfortable and miserable as the people in those other countries.

        Over time, we can also make reasonably large cuts to the military over time.

        How about to zero? And I am not being facetious – I agree in reducing military spending towards a rifle behind every rock that Yamamoto was so afraid of, but I believe you commit a contradiction here: why cut military spending if it represents aggregate demand, necessary for higher GDP? After all, “whatever we do creates jobs”, like you said . . .

        1. It would just makes us all live as uncomfortable and miserable as the people in those other countries.

          The fact that you perceive this as a threat is what makes you oh so wrong.

          1. The fact that you consider misery and discomfort to be positive says a lot about your loyalties, Chad.

            1. LG, I was mocking his insane belief that people in other industrialized countries are miserable.

              1. They ARE miserable, Chad. You just think they aren’t.

              2. The lines at the US embassy in France looking for a visa are a lot longer than those at the French embassy in the US.

              3. Re: Chad,

                LG, I was mocking his insane belief that people in other industrialized countries are miserable.

                Ah, how disingenuous and dishonest YOU are. Chad! You said “the economy will not collapse IF we PAY the same taxes as other industrialized countries”. This is a big non sequitur but, besides this, there is NOTHING to celebrate about paying the same taxes that people in some industrialized countries pay themselves, precisely because they don’t come close to having the same level of comfort Americans enjoy, precisely because of a lack of residual income. I don’t care how gilded is the cage, it is STILL a cage.

                1. Go to western Europe or Japan, and then get back to me about how their standard of living is nowhere near ours. You are simply ignorant on this matter, to a degree that I can only assume is wilfull.

      6. Quit being a baby and pay your bills for once.

        I have no problem with paying my bills. I object to paying Nancy Pelosi’s bills.

        -jcr

      7. “Raise MY taxes. And yours. And everyone else’s. Quit being a baby and pay your bills for once. No, the economy will not collapse if we pay the same kinds of net taxes that other industrialized nations pay.”

        Brilliant! Take even more money out of the productive side of the economy and throw it down the rat hole that is government! Chad you are a genius.

        How about cutting spending? Maybe try that once.

        1. Actually, the taxes we need to raise are consumption taxes and VAT, not income taxes. I also feel that we should lower the corporate tax rate in return for a capital gains tax increase, particularly one that makes it progressive. This is because our unusually-high corporate tax rate results in an off-shoring of some corporate profits.

          In general, we also need to work to synchronize tax policies across international and state lines, so that there is less financial engineering to evade taxes by hiding money in low-tax jurisdictions (like a Delaware post-office box).

          1. I will at least agree with you on one point. In an ideal world we would drop the income tax and rely on consumption taxes. Plainly put, when you tax something you get less of it. If you tax income, it tends to form a disincentive to generate greater income (either through working less or shielding earnings from being considered income). Whereas we obviously have developed a chronic problem of excess consumption as evidenced by our many deficits (trade, government, personal).

            The only catch is that consumption taxes don’t generate as much cash as income taxes – fine by me. If government was right sized to match its Constitutional mandate, minimal taxes would be sufficient

            1. I didn’t say anything about lowering income taxes, did I? The only major tax that should go down is the corporate tax, from 35% to 25%, which is typical for other nations.

              We need to boost our tax revenue from ~19% of GDP to around ~25%, which would still be low compared to many other nations. Suck it up. Losing 6% of your income just means giving up a few toys, and I am sure you can handle it.

              1. Wouldn’t reducing corporate taxes to 0% ensure all of those profits stayed here?

                1. You guys would still be arguing that we were on the right side of the Laffer curve.

              2. Go ahead, raise the income tax. See if it affects me.

                1. Oh, one of the very first things we should change is the loophole that allows you wonderful hedge-fund managers to pay capital gains taxes rather than income taxes on your retained earnings.

              3. I love how the communist-minded always dismiss other people’s stuff as childish “toys”, because they’re really wise and everyone else’s happiness is utterly irrelevant.
                Did God give you the authority to make this distinction, joe?

                1. Crickets…the scum believe they know what’s best for you. Just lie back and enjoy it and it won’t hurt.
                  Fuck you, joe.

              4. It’s ALWAYS about the tax increases with you fucking liberals. That, and more government, are your only “solutions”.

                1. Just luck your “solutions” are to, well, you never explain exactly HOW you would @#$# the poor and the eldery, but that’s what your solutions in fact are.

                  Knowing you guys, you would immediately invest in the dog food or indentured servitude business, and try to make a buck.

                  1. Proof, please, Chad.

                    1. Chad obviously doesn’t know that the libertarian belief against the use of force would mean indentured servitude would not exist in a libertarian world.

                    2. I don’t think you know what “indentured servitude” is. It is not slavery, and every libertarian should think it is just peachy.

                    3. I know what it means, you prick.

          2. Chad, you want one-world government and a worldwide tax rate – why are you posting on forums that deal with personal and economic liberty?

            1. There is no reason to waste much time preaching to the choir, now is there?

              Now, how can we get you to expand your idea of freedom such that it is not insane…

              1. Okay, here’s a rough thumbnail:

                1. Keep taxes and spending low.
                2. Don’t overburden or over-complicate the daily existence of fully-grown, mentally-capable Americans – IOW, don’t treat the masses like brain-damaged children.
                3. Cut the size, scope, and cost of government by at least half, which would be a good starting point.
                4. For every new law passed, at least one – if not two – existing laws should be repealed. Especially redundant ones.

                America would not crumble into dust if we did any of the above, Chad. Not even close.

                1. So, when you cut government in half, just how are you going to ration health care? What are you going to do about all the starving elderly? Just how do you plan to bribe the French to protect us?

                  Please elaborate.

                  1. Fuck the French.

                  2. Your premise is, basically, “only government can feed starving people”. If you truly believe that, then there’s no answer I could give that you would accept.

                  3. Cutting government to 2000 levels would be nearly equivalent to a cut in half. Other than the ones I had chained up in my basement, I don’t recall seeing any starving elders.

                    1. I would assume you are (childishly and dishonestly) ignoring inflation, correct?

      8. Thirty-four cents on the dollar isn’t enough! We have to pay thirty-nine cents on the dollar, or we’re selfish bastards!

      9. You know, Chad, since you’re so gung-ho about raising taxes to deal with the debt burden, why wait for Congress to raise taxes? You can make a donation yourself:

        http://www.treasurydirect.gov/…..ebtFinance

        The Bureau of Public Debt is more than happy to accept your patriotic contributions.

        1. He already does that… voluntarily.

          1. Yeah, that’s what I was talking about:
            How do you make a contribution to reduce the debt?

            There are two ways for you to make a contribution to reduce the debt:

            * You can make a contribution online either by credit card, checking or savings account at Pay.gov
            * You can write a check payable to the Bureau of the Public Debt, and in the memo section, notate that it’s a Gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public. Mail your check to:

            Attn Dept G
            Bureau of the Public Debt
            P. O. Box 2188
            Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188

            1. Easy. I just did it today, actually.

              I filled out my taxes, and didn’t claim the charitable deduction. I literally threw a bunch of the receipts in the trash this morning, actually. I do this every year.

              Given that I donate 5% of my take-home income (~2/3 of gross) to charity, and have, as I noted below, a 65% marginal tax rate…well, I will let you do the math.

              1. Easy. I just did it today, actually.

                It’s funny that, even with all these chumps writing checks to reduce the public debt, the debt never goes down.

                Newsflash: you’re not reducing the debt — you’re just giving the Congressclowns a higher effective debt ceiling.

                1. What’s amazing is that Chad really thinks he’s accomplishing something with his voluntary pot-hole filling.

      10. They are manifestly NOT my bills. I am opposed to the majority of what the government spends money on.

      11. Can we get a number upfront as to what level of taxes make you “not a baby”? Because as far as I can tell, the answer is always “more”. And then the next year it should also be “More”. And so on. So what is the correct number? Where is the line that shouldn’t be crossed?

      12. Can we get a number upfront as to what level of taxes make you “not a baby”? Because as far as I can tell, the answer is always “more”. And then the next year it should also be “More”. And so on. So what is the correct number? Where is the line that shouldn’t be crossed?

  7. Can we get this guy and Rahm Emmanuel in a room together and put the results on youtube?

  8. I’m going to start a CliffsNotes for Mr. Cavanaugh’s articles.

    Weisberg: God Bless America? No, God Damn America!
    Jacob Weisberg is a douche nozzle.

  9. God Damn America!

    He already has, son. He already has.

  10. If it weren’t for Chad, half the comments above would never have happened.

    Just an empirical observation.

    1. God works in mysterious ways. Like Pharaoh Rameses, I suspect Chad’s heart has been hardened.

    2. That’s why I come around here. You guys are so much fun to play with, and you would be so lonely without me.

      1. Chad sounds like the Joker. I mean his choice of words, not just the fact that he thinks he has the right to play games with other people’s lives.

        1. No, Chad isn’t as intellectually brilliant as the Joker.

      2. Every village needs an idiot.

        1. Oh, this village has plenty of those with or without me.

          1. Chad…

            I hope you realize your efforts at trying to “convert the fallen” are a wasted. Your time would be better spent finding ways to make sure those with dissenting opinions are sent to the gulags you will have to erect just to sustain your state of “intellectualism”. I know you will say “France doesn’t have gulags! LOL. I’m going to go play with the grown ups,” but that’s because they’ve given up. They have sacrificed themselves to an unsustainable and amoral goal of chaining themselves to each other. Give it 50 years, and they might not be so tolerant of sacrificing their spare loaf of stale bread to the family down the street whose matriarch just gave a BJ to the local mayor. Regardless, go spend your time arming the liberal gestapo and disarming the “stupid racist republican selfish bastards,” since that will achieve your goals. You can’t convince people that sacrifice for unachievable ends is rational, but you sure as hell can shoot them in the face. The ends justify the means. Good luck with that.

      3. Stop adapting lines from Jake in Avatar. For the love of all that is good, please stop doing that.

      4. Chad, not all of us think you are a real commenter but you keep these monkeys entertained.

  11. It’s going to be a long, snowy weekend in DC. I hope you reason.tv people heed your previous lessons about not mixing Hummers and Snowballs.

    1. I like that idea! Wonder if I can rent one and a camera crew and troll the haunts of the usual suspects.

    2. Bravo, sir…

      (I WILL be expropriating that line…)

    3. mixing Hummers and Snowballs.

      The dangers of several variations of the Eskimo BJ are well documented.

      1. Hmm, for an old dog, you sure like practicing your new trick.

  12. Jacob Weisberg and Hendrik Hertzberg: More proof that Hitler killed the wrong Jews…

    1. Have guts? Why don’t you submit your real name and address?

  13. He’s fundamentally right. I mean, I oppose Obama’s plans and government intervention…

    But the American people are stupid… just because they’re turning against destructive runaway spending and hamful massive debts, doesn’t mean we should defend them. The fundamental idea of that article, as much as I hate the policies that these people advocate, is sound. The American public are stupid and don’t know what they want.

    1. We rezent that remarck.

    2. Most of the American people are too busy putting food on the table and raising families and having a life to sit around and look at blogs all day. Most get their news from the broadcast networks, who distill extremely complex issues into a simple, self-contained, liberally-biased story that takes little effort to understand, and provides no impetus to look for more information elsewhere. Some get their news from FoxNews, which does the same but with a conservative bias.

      If they’re going to be exposed to a libertarian narrative, it’s going to be via alternative means — people they know, or maybe an occasional guest appearance by Matt Welch or Nick Gillespie on one of the popular news programs. Neither of these avenues is made more likely by libertarians taking the elitist stance that everyone who fails to hold their beliefs is just stupid.

      1. I don’t know what planet you are living on. I grew up in a dirt poor area, though we were more-or-less middle class, which put us among the well off for that area. Much of my family still lives there, and I know what they are going through (>20% unemployment, and young people leaving in droves).

        First, they don’t work all that hard. Hell, most of them WANT to work more but can’t. Even with some under-the-table jobs, few of them put in 50 hours a week, which is the minimum I have put in for years. Second, they all have cable or satellite, and have as much time as anyone to watch the news. Mostly, it is FOX, plus Rush whenever they are driving. If you discuss politics with them, you mostly get Limbaugh’s words passed through a short game of telephone. Needless to say, very little of it is based in fact.

        MSNBC could be compared to FOX in terms of bias, but even that is a stretch. But comparisons of CNN and the major network news to FOX is just self-gratifying intellectual vapidity. Of course, since it can’t be measured, you will just continue to believe what you want to believe – that anything that refutes your world view must be biased.

        1. self-gratifying intellectual vapidity

          Yep, you’d be able to spot it!

    3. Weisberg gives it all away when he complains about public opinion POLLS. He’d never actually venture into fly-over country to talk to “those people”, so all he does is read poll after poll after poll. When the winds blow in his favor, all is well. When against, he goes off on his little tirade. Wow, Slate sure likes them deep thinkers. How did they ever miss out on Thomas Frank?

  14. LOL, ummmm, do you think he might be ahem, Jewish? LOL

    Jess
    http://www.internet-anonymity.se.tc

    1. Anonymity-bot finally makes a topical comment, and it’s borderline anti-semitic.

      1. Ha ha ha, word. But he’s an opium addict, so no one said he had good judgment.

  15. Jut out of curiosity, if $1.3 trillion per year is a modest deficit, exactly how high would the deficit have to be before you’d consider it immodest?

    1. The deficit is like the hemline of a skirt.

      It’s considered immodest when it rises enough to affect the private sector.

      1. heh heh … he said “private sector” … heh heh

      2. The reverse is true. It is immodest if it covers up the private sector.

  16. Personally, I think a lot of voter angst has been drummed up by the actions of a few politicians–President Obama foremost among them.

    When you’re constantly lambasting Wall Street, going on about how evil they are with their big bonuses, you make people mad as hell about bailing them out, madder than they would have been otherwise, and every time you trot them out for another public whipping, you’re not making the voters feel better about what you’re doing to them–you’re just make them mad about bailing them out all over again.

    Obama and the Democrats could have short circuited that cycle by letting the banks pay TARP back sooner. Is the general public even aware that just about everybody, except GM, Chrysler AIG have finally been allowed to repayed TARP completely?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TARP#Participants

    I don’t think they are.

    Instead of using Wall Street execs as your whipping boys, Presdient Obama should get the word out that they’ve paid the money back. And the final solution? Give the TARP money back to the American people. Use it to pay down debt or give it back in tax cuts–that’s the only way angry voters will get off his case. I think that might be the surest way to get Obama reelected…

    He could be the guy that killed TARP (in the average voter’s mind) and gave the American people their money back! But noooOOOOOooooo…

    1. Note that liberals don’t seem to be upset that Freddie and Fannie execs are getting huge salaries and bonuses from the pockets of the taxpayers…

  17. Chad obviously believes that if we just evolve our economy and tax system to be more like most of those in Europe, everything will be just fine.

    But what guys like him are too stupid and ignorant to realize is that most of these European countries are in even DEEPER trouble and further along the road to insolvency than we are.

    Seriously, try reading the damn news once in a while so you have a clue of what’s actually going on, you stupid liberal idiots.

    1. Not the ones I am talking about.

      Did I ever say we should mimic Greece?

      1. No, Chad, you haven’t… because Greece isn’t far-left enough for you to recommend as a template.

    2. I didn’t know five countries constituted “most” of Europe (PIIGS).

      When did I say that we should emulate any of these countries? How are Germany and Norway doing?

      1. Germany isn’t doing that great: they have an even slightly higher public debt to GDP ratio than we do.

        As for Norway, that is a freaking sparesely populated little wasteland with essentially zero immigration and a population a little more than half that of New York City!

        Only a complete ignorant dunce would make the laughable suggestion that we could even attempt to emulate the economy of a country like Norway.

  18. Did Cavanaugh even read the article? I read it. The article makes many of the same arguments that libertarians have been making for years.

    Politicians and the public talk a good game when it comes to fiscal responsibility but the evidence is in action that its just words. Would Scott Brown of won had he gone after all the unfunded liabilities currently adding to the huge deficits?

    That people want “stimulus” spending without the associated ickiness of the term is not surprising to this libertarian. Parsing the language comes off as a bit pedantic and finicky.

    Most libertarians know that the republican talking points concerning federal spending are just that, talking points, we have seen what happens when “conservatives” are handed the reins.

    The fact that Weisberg comes at this from a liberal perspective should not obscure the fact that the argument, presented in the article, is sound.

    That people will vote for free shit every time and lament the other profligate spending, for shit they don’t like, is a fact.

    1. The article makes many of the same arguments that libertarians have been making for years.

      Of course it does. Libertarian arguments can never change, as they are a direct consequence of the totally incorrect assumptions that underly their theory. The moment they give up the assumptions, they are no longer libertarian.

      That people want “stimulus” spending without the associated ickiness of the term is not surprising to this libertarian. Parsing the language comes off as a bit pedantic and finicky

      Actually, people are even more incoherent than that. They HATE “stimulus” spending, but like tax cuts, infrastructure spending, unemployment extensions, and keeping teachers and cops working…which is precisely what the stimulus consisted of.

      1. Leaving hobgoblins and small minds aside for a moment, yes I have been consistently against coercion and that will not change. You don’t make a cogent argument as to how my assumptions,prescient as you are to know them, are incorrect. Please elaborate.

      2. That’s not incoherent, it’s human nature. People want to eat tasty foods, but don’t want to get fat; they want to have skin-to-skin sex as much as they want, but not have to deal with children being produced.

        Of course, in most cases in their personal lives, they learn to moderate their desires to avoid the bad consequences of indulging them. We’ve come to the point now where people are realizing that the government as a whole has to do the same thing.

        1. We’ve come to the point now where people are realizing that the government as a whole has to do the same thing.

          No, they are not. Outside of a few crackpot libertarians, almost no one talks about the kinds of sacrifices that are necessary in order to solve this problem…and even most libertarians aren’t honest about it.

          Like I have said many times, if you are talking about things like raising the retirement age to 72 (or completely eliminating SS and throwin tens of millions of elderly to the wolves), then you are just a pretender.

          1. Outside of a few crackpot libertarians, almost no one talks about the kinds of sacrifices that are necessary in order to solve this problem

            And let me guess, everyone you know voted for Obama too. I said “realizing”, not “have realized” — no, the average American isn’t aware of how unsustainable our fiscal situation is, but it’s beginning to dawn on them. If it is presented to them in the right way I think the American people will understand that small sacrifices made now will prevent them and their children from being forced into huge sacrifices later. But they’re NOT going to accept such a message from scumbag politicians (of both parties) who are racing to loot the treasury and pass out goodies to their buddies at the same time as they call for sacrifice. So that message has to come from a non-politician source.

            1. Oops, that was me.

            2. The problem is that it is not “small” sacrifices now, but rather tax increases on the order of 15% (of current tax receipts, or about 3% of GDP), Social Security benefit cuts (mostly means testing), complete health care reform (nothing else will stop its out of control growth, and yes, some market-friendly ideas can be incorporated into the solution), and a significant downsizing of our military over the next couple of decades.

              There have been plenty of non-partisan groups who have studied this. There is nothing radical about it. Indeed, the solution is obvious: raise taxes and give haircuts to the BIG programs.

              Chasing ghostly “waste” in some small fraction of the discretionary budget will get us nowhere.

              1. There is nothing “ghostly” about waste, Chad. Your cavalier attitude about it is disturbing, as is your entire belief system.

                1. Chad is right insofar that “waste” and “pork” are the low hanging fruit that aspiring politicians can rail against. When compared to the huge,I might add untouchable, entitlement and defense budgets inveighing against these small fries is like throwing a snowball at a Hummer.

                  This is what pisses me off about so called conservatives and teabaggers. There is not enough courage of conviction to address these real monsters instead of apparitions of pork.

                  1. If you can’t even stop spending on pork, you’re never going to stop spending on Medicare.

                    1. I think you are missing my point. The people that run on an anti pork/waste platform don’t even go after that. How many cycles have we heard this malarkey from both sides, yet the deficits continue to grow.

                      Don’t forget, its only pork if its in someone else’s district. I bet if you polled Jack Murtha’s constituency 80% would be against pork/waste yet he has no worries about losing an election. Ya’ know why, he brings the cash to his district.

              2. Those sacrifices are indeed small compared to those that would have to be made if we wait until we have no choice, a sad eventuality we’re on a pace to meet up with about 15 years from now.

                While I would prefer scrapping the entitlement system in its entirety, I agree about the solution if SS/Medicare must continue to exist; I also agree about the futility of trying to extract a pound of flesh from the mouse in the corner of the living room while ignoring the elephant in the middle of it. If you truly believe this, you should oppose Obama’s trumpeting of his nibbling budget cuts along with us.

                1. Well, I am glad you agree that SS and Medicare will continue to exist. Now can we get around to have a debate of how to best reform them so that they work, rather than pretending that they are going to disappear?

                  As I have said many times, it is irrelevant whether libertopia actually works, because it will never be attempted. Individual libertarian policies should not be considered from the point of view of a libertopia, but whether they actually work in the real world that we live in. Many of your policies may very well work in abstract theory in a world that doesn’t exist, yet fail utterly here.

                  1. Social Security and Medicare will not continue to exist. It is impossible.

                    1. It is not impossible at all. You are just unfamiliar with how they work and are funded. Social Security can be fixed indefinitely with some modest tweaks. Medicare cannot be “fixed” without broader health care reform, but it is clearly not impossible, as every other rich nation on earth has figured it out.

                    2. Every other rich nation on earth has access to cheap drugs and medical technology funded by profits from the US market. I don’t blame the vultures for feeding on the flesh of a dying elephant, but I don’t praise them for it either.

                    3. In case you haven’t noticed, Big Pharma is out-sourcing like mad and laying off American researchers in droves. Whatever lead we have in medical technology is becoming more and more a manifestation of NIH.

                      Oh wait, that’s the evil gub’ment again.

                      We do, however, overpay for almost everything with respect to medicine. We overpay for drugs, we overpay for equipment, we overpay for beds, and we overpay our medical professionals. You can scream all you want about how your mythical market will fix this, but it ain’t going to happen, so your howls are meaningless. The way to fix this problem in the *real world* is to do what other nations do…negotiate low prices and set them across the board.

  19. Gee, in late 2008 I recall hearing how Americans were stupid/gullible/selfish for falling for the spiel of the silver-tongued socialist from Illinois (or Kenya).

    Forgive me for not embracing false populism, but Americans are dumb as rocks. They know nothing and are proud of it. The empirical data is overwhelming. Weisberg may just be sour-graping here, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are a nation of borderline retards.

    1. I’m going to have to ask for some citation on this empirical data for your assertion that Americans are dumb as rocks. I am not aware of any studies using rocks and humans as the variables.

      Your comment however is proof that some people are dumb.

    2. That’s the beauty of empirical data, innit? Y’know, that it actually exists. All that’s empirical here is that you empirically pulled that statement out of your ass.

      1. Here is some empirical data that indeed confirms that Americans are pretty much ignorant about our political system.

        http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/

        Btw, I aced their online test on the first try, no cheating. Can you?

  20. “borderline retards”

    Speak for yourself

    1. Did someone say “cake”?

  21. Americans are dumb as rocks.

    Rocks repel tigers.

    There are no tigers in America.

    QED

    1. this comment is full of win.

  22. Data Nazi,
    I guess you’ve been asleep the past 50 years or so with appalling study after study detailing how American students have become increasingly barely literate. Exactly where do you think those young people go when they graduate–Sweden?

    Or you consult survey after survey of the moronic beliefs embraced by the American public. Our current–and sad–level of public discourse is the canary in the coal mine, since it is designed to appeal to the mass mind.

    But, really–you are not interested, are you? Yours is just a bad faith attempt to dismiss the fairly obvious.

    1. Still waiting on that empirical data.

      1. Are you suggesting henry is lazy or stupid?

    2. I’ve always thought that the definition of moronic was trying to build a mass political movement in the US by obsessing about drug legalisation.

  23. “Americans are dumb as rocks…we are a nation of borderline retards” and every immigrant knows how lucky they are to be here and that includes me. I never thought of living in Kenya or Ireland or China but the majority of the world dreams of coming to the US.

  24. the true criminals: those carriers of “childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence” Weisberg names “the public at large.”

    Where I part company with Weisberg and his ilk is that I do not believe the government’s job should be to “save” the vast hordes of unwashed and incoherent ignoramuses from themselves.

  25. Yes, sharp, hard-working immigrants do very well in the land of opportunity. It certainly helps that the natives are dumb and lazy, doesn’t it?

    1. *That’s* your data?
      Uh, does ‘begging the question’ mean anything to you?

  26. almost no one talks about the kinds of sacrifices that are necessary in order to solve this problem

    Of course, the type of “sacrifices” which inhabit the mind of Chony are difficult to differentiate from the gory extraction of the still-beating hearts of comely young girls boys, on the stone altar of an inscrutably vicious god.

    1. That’s how Hillary does things. Barry is a kinder, gentler man than that.

  27. hard-working Americans do very well in the land of opportunity. FIFY

  28. Nice depiction of a thumb-sucking childlike protester on the Slate page.

    Fucking pricks.

    1. Funny, but I thought that image worked quite well as a stand-in for the author.

      1. Works well for that idiot who runs the Kos, too… and the entire staff of MediaMyrmidons.org.

  29. Threadjack: has anyone watched Caprica? I have the episodes on the TiVo but every time I consider watching, I think of the fact that STARBUCK IS A FUCKING “ANGEL” and I lose interest.

  30. I did not watch the last four or five seasons of Galactica; I couldn’t stand it anymore. I have watched the first three(?) Capricas (Capricae?). It’s not bad, for now.

    I expect the story will become intolerable in relatively short order.

    I do like the weird “retro-modernist” mix of architecture and automobiles. It looks to me as if they filmed it in Seattle, but it might be farther north (Vancouver).

    1. Probably Vancouver. I guess I’ll check it out for now. It’s also totally obvious that a lot of the staff from BSG went over to Stargate Universe.

    2. Er, BSG only had four seasons.

      So you never watched it?

  31. I just finished my taxes for last year. One of my tricks is to wait until the very end to stick in the few dollars of bank interest that I earned, because it provides me with a great way of learning what my marginal tax rate is.

    This year, it was a record setter at 65%! Too bad I didn’t take advantage of the home-buyers credit (I very seriously thought about it), because then I could have officially broken the 100% marginal tax barrier, as the home-buyer credit increases your marginal rate by 40% if you fall in the income cutoff region.

    Yay for convoluted tax codes.

    1. Proud of how much you throw away to Uncle Sam, eh, Chad?

      1. It looks like Chad is proud to pay 65 cents on the dollar.

        Talk about being retarded!

      2. I get an excellent ROI.

        However, a 65% marginal rate is around the Laffer curve peak, and is clearly excessive. Good tax policy is designed such that marginal rates do not deviate to far from overall rates.

        1. Chad, you’ve been arguing that you and the rest of us don’t pay enough in taxes, and yet here you are saying 65% is “clearly excessive”.

          Which is it?

          1. He admits that he wants to pay more than his “fair share”. No sense arguing with him, though it is kind of fun.

          2. You don’t seem to understand the difference between my tax rate (~15%) and my marginal tax rate (~65%). One is far too low and the other far too high.

            Please note this is just my federal income tax.

            Please note this is federal taxes only.

            1. No, he didn’t misunderstand, Chad… you voluntarily pay more in taxes than you NEED to pay, in a mistake belief that you’re Doing Something Good.

              Idiot.

        2. I get an excellent ROI.

          And for those of us who don’t, tough shit, I take it?

        3. Re: Chad,

          I get an excellent ROI.

          If thinking it is your consolation, so be it.

        4. “I get an excellent ROI.”

          Ahh, I figured out what Chad does for a living! He’s a federal contractor, so yes, they take 15% back, but he gets to keep the other 85% of other people’s money!

    2. SUCK IT UP ASSHOLE

  32. Yay for convoluted tax codes.

    How many billions of dollars and millions of man-hours go into ATTEMPTING to comply with the convoluted tax codes, Chad? Wouldn’t that money and effort be more well-spent elsewhere?

    1. Please turn your sarcasm detector on. No one supports the insane tax code that we have now.

      1. Where is tax code simplification positioned on the Democratic til-recently-filibuster-proof majority’s and Obama’s agenda? Or do they not count as anyone.

        1. It’s the Republicans’ fault, you see, that the Democrats can’t govern. The evil, evil Republicans went back in time to prevent the Democrats from ever proposing such measures as ending the War on Drugs, or in this case, simplifying the tax code. Much like Skynet.

          1. Good analogy – Republicans = Skynet.

            Couple that with Democrats = Borg Collective, and it makes things much clearer on both sides.

            1. …and the Libertarians are the Ferengi.

              1. Silly humons!

                1. You fight alongside your women — and allow them to wear clothes!

              2. Come here and stroke my lobes.

          2. Frighteningly, the actual rhetoric from the President is hardly different from this. He would have us believe that he had a fantastic agenda for virtually everything, but it was blocked by the Republicans in Congress. This is inarguably wrong, as it is not mathematically possible for the Republicans to block jack shit. Scott Brown’s 2 days of tenure do not retroactively apply to the previous year.

    2. Here’s a simplified tax form Democrats could offer us:

      1. Did you make more than $249,999.99 last year?

      2. If you answered yes, send us half.

  33. Many “mixed economies” are smoking our heinies right now, and none of them caused the world economy to collapse.

    1. Trouble is, you liberals always want to add more socialist seasoning to the mix… never less.

    2. If they were so superior to our economy, how come they were dependent on the performance of our economy in the first place? When Japan’s and Argentina’s economies collapsed in recent decades, the US barely noticed it. When the secretary calls in sick and the office is thrown into chaos, it’s clear who’s running the show.

      1. Great post, Tulpa. Too bad it will fall upon the deaf eyes of Chad and his ilk.

        1. When your eyes are deaf and your ears are blind, you have no choice but to feel along with your tongue.

      2. I have never been to Argentina, but have lived in and have strong connections to Japan. If there economy over the last couple of decades is the “collapse” you fear, so be it. They are rich, happy, and free…just like Americans.

        Indeed, I can’t wait for my trip there next month. There will be better food, better weather, and a better environment (both urban and natural) than I have here in the rust belt, that is for sure.

        1. Ever heard of “The Lost Decade”, Chad?

          And in any case, their porn is awful. Not a place I’d want to live.

          1. ushinawaretta juunen? sore wa nan deshou?

            Oh yeah, it was that time where the Japanese were rich, happy, and free…and just not growing like they were before. On the other hand, we weren’t doing much better at the time, and our slight “advantage” turned out to be mostly financial engineering anyway.

            Japan’s big problem now is demographic, not pornographic. And don’t worry, just about anything American is available over there, fantasies included.

            1. We are talking about the same decade, right Chad? The 1990s?

              1. Japan’s economy has largely been stagnant for the twenty years since the bust. Of course, it is stagnant at a level that most people on earth would find very compelling.

                It really should be called the ushinawaretta nijuunen by now.

                1. The average welfare recipient in the US leads a lifestyle most people on earth would envy. It’s only seven hours before kickoff, and you’re still moving the goalposts.

                  1. Actually, that is false, Tulpa. You don’t seem to realize that *relative* income makes a much larger impact on peoples’ senses of well-being and happiness than does overall income. If you were to ask a large number of people something like “Would you rather earn $80,000 per year in a country where everyone else made $100,000, or $70,000 in a country where everyone else made $50,000”, not only would many people chose the latter, but they would in fact be more likely to be happy because of their choice. Income distribution *matters*, whether you like it or not.

                    1. That’s because too many people have been steeped in wealth-envy brainwashing.

                      Like you, Chad.

    3. Many “mixed economies” are smoking our heinies right now, and none of them caused the world economy to collapse.

      Indeed – like Greece’s.

  34. The Solution

    After the uprising of the 17th June
    The Secretary of the Writers Union
    Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
    Stating that the people
    Had forfeited the confidence of the government
    And could win it back only
    By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
    In that case for the government
    To dissolve the people
    And elect another?

  35. Despite all this smoke and noise, I bet at the parties he’s attending, The Chad is defending, against his liberal friends, the virtues of spending restrain and lack of governmental intervention in the economy…

  36. Weisberg is right. What he describes is exactly what we see from abroad (with perspective, remember). You’re having a sort of national nervous breakdown, and it portends decline. It’s sad to watch.

    1. Not sure where you’re seeing from (I’ll assume it’s Europe, given the tone), but America (like Europe!) has given off indications of imminent decline many times before. There are no inevitabilities in history.

      1. In a way, this blog is a symptom of the problem. There’s no real debate here: you “libertarians” all agree with each other, just like the “liberals” at Daily Kos and the “conservatives” at TeaPartyBlog (or whatever it is).

        And beyond the echo-chamber problem there is ignorance, as this “Washington elitist” points out. When polls find that majorities of voters can’t answer basic factual questions about policy, there is a problem.

        Yes, I’m from Europe of course. There are other problems here, but populism and ignorance are just not at America’s levels.

        1. Because unemployment and the future outlook are: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..bleak.html

        2. Echo chamber? Do you consider Chad to be a libertarian or are you joking?

          1. One person is not enough to remove all the echoes.

            I just come here to play with you guys, kinda like Pavlov and his dogs. 99% you give the exact answers I would expect (you know, the same utterly insane libertarian garbage I spouted when I was a dumb teenager), but once in a while you surprise me.

            1. Funny you should be talking about an echo chamber, since Rollo is obviously you.

              1. But he’s not. For example, above “Chad” writes: ‘Many “mixed economies” are smoking our heinies right now’. Being from Europe I have no idea what a heiny is! (I have an idea though).

                So it seems that there are two of us to dull the reverberations in your libertarian echo chamber.

                My original point here was that free-for-all debate without the aid of facts does not a sane country make. But I really do believe that libertarianism works against freedom, so perhaps I’ll come back for more. You guys need some contradiction in here.

    2. You think *this* is bad, you should have seen the place under Carter.
      Of course the results were nothing like your ‘prediction’; quite the opposite.

    3. Decline? Decline? I never decline! Where’s my pipe?

    4. Bite your tongue, ingrate ????, I didn’t give you permission to speak.

      1. By the way, Rollo, your impression of a European is horrible. You get some of the dead on the inside quality of a certain type, but other wise your performance lacks nuance for the personalities that emanate from that great continent. My European sock puppets are infinitely better that yours. You only care about bolstering your poorly formed political rationale, and not for pulling off a convincing performance. A Neil you are not.

        1. Well, if Oxford awarded degrees for density of abstract nouns, you’d have a double first. Reminds me of the New York Times: so worthy, so dull, so American.

          I should point out that I am a real fan of America, for saving us from ourselves (twice). But some American exports I find problematic. One is transparently pretentious prose. Another is unthinking, dogmatic libertarianism.

  37. Skepticism about authority, expectation of better performance, and a determination to get more for your dollar are not problems that need to be solved. They’re bedrock American ideals.

    Yeah right, wishful thinking there mate. Those are Australian ideals. Americans pretend to live up to those ideals, but for the most part Americans are conformists eager to suck up to whoever is in power.

  38. My issue with Lessig is that he wants people to have trust in their government.

    What’s wrong with people distrusting their government?

    “Like fire, it’s a dangerous servant and a terrible master.”

  39. The basic given is that folks want a life equal or better than their parents had, is that wrong? We think everyone around the world have the same value system so we impose upon them with troops in 130+ countries, then borrow $ to do it – – it’s a poor business plan. Ironically we want our cake and eat it too thinking we’re entitled despite the MBAs driving the economy into the ground. 2 parties = 0 choice.

  40. I can’t get over how much Weisberg looks like that CTU agent that Jack Bauer executed in order to buy some time with some terrorists.

  41. I can’t get over how Jack Bauer looks like Freddie Lee Cobb.

  42. “Increasing numbers of Americans in the vast lands to be found outside the D.C. Beltway (join us, Jacob, the water’s fine!) understand that government delivers far too little at far too high a price.”

    This bit of ridiculous spin just exemplifies how unreasonable idealouges always read their own prior assumptions into everything. But, reality never fits into ideologically convenient little packages. Yes this is part true and people should be worried about government performance. But fact is that the real numbers demonstrate that the American people have become conditioned pandering politicians and modern media marketing to believe that they can have their cake and eat it too. Strong majorities are both opposed to the stimulus and want more of what it or something like it delivers. It’s just like everyone is apposed in theory to pork and earmarks unless its the one delivered to their district. None of this has a damned thing with any starry eyed libertarian desire to do without more government help. It has to do with a generation or two who’s become accustomed to being pampered and spoiled and it won’t have a good end if it continues.

    You can stick your head in the sand and pretend it’s something different but you won’t get free of government this way, you’ll end up with demagogues and control freaks who tell people they can do everything for them if they just give them unlimited power.

  43. When the policies of the Liberal Elite begin inevitably destroying the very economy and prosperity that made Liberal Elits possible they reaction is always the same. Don’t blame the policies, don’t blame the Ego and Arrogance that created the mess, blame the poor suffering working people who are rejecting the policies. The sooner we can oust the Liberal Democratic Elites from their position of arrogance and power, the sooner we can start correcting the damage. In the meantime if you have a job expect to be blamed and taxed!!!!

  44. This article is a completely disingenuous on what Weisberg said. The main focus of the original article was Medicare and Social Security. Along with defense, these two social programs take up the lions share of the budget and are the center point of where our problems lie. They are also widely popular and any politician who touches them is touching the third rail. The problem Weisberg correctly points out is that we need to either increase taxes or cut spending ON THESE programs, but Americans are unwilling to either.

    People get red in the face about pork and earmarks, but at $20 billion dollars such programs are a small part of the US federal budget. And those earmarks are often for useful programs that provide a benefit to our society. One needs only to look at Bobby Jindal mocking spending on the Volcano monitoring project that only a few weeks later gave lifesaving warnings about an eruption in Alaska.

  45. What deep irony that Weisberg’s contempt for everyone who disagrees is the same behavior exhibited by the White House and congress which has enraged the public against them.

    “Too big to fail,” translates to hard working, fiscally conservative tax payers getting a multi-generational tax bill to bail out rich speculators who bet wrongly on the endless expansion of real-estate bubble (also enabled by democrat backed Fannie and Freddie “give ’em all a loan” insanity).

    And instead of allowing the real-estate market to find bottom, we are now snow-blowing an ever shrinking dollar into an infinitely leaky bag.

    How many of you have witnessed friends and relatives who bought in early, and cashed out at 5 to 10 times original value?

    Timing is everything!

    And all those cushy retirement nest eggs go to the lucky ones who cashed out at just the right time.

    Meanwhile, millions of others are barely holding on to devaluing investments (or not).

    And still millions more who bought small, or who couldn’t afford to buy at all, are now waiting for the government to allow the market to find bottom before they leap into a much more reasonably priced market.

  46. Nothing peeves an ultra-liberal like the spectacle of ordinary working people exercising their democratic rights to have a say in how the country is run.

    After all, isn’t real democracy the rule of the upper East Side elite over everyone else?

  47. Last year Obama passed up an opportunity to stimulate the economy in favor of ‘stimulating’ votes for Democrats. That turned out to be a terrible, terrible mistake. The President’s outrageous irresponsibility in larding up the Omnibus bill and larding up the so called ‘stimulus’ bill instead of backing a real stimulus bill, has scared the hell out of the private sector, which is the real job creator in this country.

    This President actually wants higher taxes, higher energy costs, and a larger more intrusive federal government.

  48. WEISBERG IS RIGHT

    While he is obviously a bitter liberal, I still think that Weisberg has a point: America is becoming California. We need to except that we cannot have it both ways. We cannot have both LOW taxes and HIGH spending. If one truly believes that high taxes constrain freedom and economic prosperity, one must also except the proposition that entitlement spending (yes: Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security)needs to be cut to match our incoming tax receipts. Otherwise, we have fiscal ruin: The ruin of the Bush years (new entitlements, 2 wars, and LOWER taxes) or the ruin of Obama (massive amounts of new spending with negliable tax increaes).

    Weisberg is right to say that the public is retarded to want low taxes and high spending.

    This is the same public that obviously couldn’t help spending beyond its means during the last decade. I will vote for a politician that either raises taxes or actually and radically lowers spending—someone that treats me like an adult

  49. I read Jacob’s piece and thought it was pretty straight forward and reasonable. Most people aren’t that smart.

    Q: What is wrong with the government balancing its budget during a recession?

    A: It slows down the recovery.

    And what on Earth rides on the distinction between ‘stimulus’ and ‘relief.’ Money that is spent is stimulus.

    1. But Weisberg was not merely asserting the obvious points that most people aren’t Phi Beta Kappa material and that we want seemingly contradictory things (for instance, low taxes and generous benefits). He was angry that dumb Americans are turning away from enlightened Democrats and Pres. Obama — and criticizing Obama for claiming helplessness in the face of massive deficits. Obama is claiming, like every politician, that we’re powerless over the growth of spending in entitlements (and discretionary budgets, for that matter). Based on poll results, Weisberg simply accepts that and says nothing about the dearth of political courage and will.

      That was really Weisberg’s point. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have spent so much time rehearsing supposedly confounding poll results. Well, Jacob, guess what: we’re self-interested. We want and we want. Even a socially conscious do-gooder is essentially pursuing a selfish vision of what’s right, what’s best for everyone else. And very few of same will eagerly or unilaterally make the personal sacrifices they’re urging on everyone else.

      I’m reminded of the dictum that someone who robs Peter to pay Paul can usually count on Paul’s support.

      And the distinction between “stimulus” and “relief” should be obvious, but maybe this example will help: if I give you 100 bucks to buy groceries, that’s relief. If I give you 100 bucks to paint my house, then you take the money and buy groceries, that’s a form of stimulus. There’s a difference.

  50. It would be interesting to swap “American” for “Greek” or “black” or “jew” or “latino,” etc. Weisberg’s views would be made all the more clear as plain prejudice were one to carry out that simple exercise.

  51. Summon the Demon Sheep. He must be …sheepished to death…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..re=related

  52. I want to live to see the day that the last bastion of unbridled and knee-jerk liberalism, the American Jew, finally see the error of its ways. We can start by making Jacob Weisberg irrelevant and go from there.

  53. Edgar Snipcock says, “Jacob Weisberg and Hendrik Hertzberg: More proof that Hitler killed the wrong Jews…”

    Why don’t you take the hood from over your face when you say that?

  54. Hey look, I’m a conservative, and while I totally disagree with Weisberg’s belief that basically Conservatives take advantage of the public’s contradictory thoughts on public policy while liberals are largely the victims, I think he makes a very fair point.

    I see so many of my friends, neighbors and even family members screaming about having to pay their taxes, but as soon as they need something, they expect the government (ie. everyone else) to pay. My Dad used to complain about every little tax or fee he had to pay, but then when he lost his job, he argued vehemently that he should get a full 100% unemployment insurance and psychological counseling because “business executives who lose their jobs take a bit hit to their self-worth.” Now that he’s retired and used to not working, he squeals about capital gains taxes on the money he has in the markets (all the while his company is paying him a generous pension). He is not alone…just about everyone I know complains about the government doing too much and then too little.

    I can’t define my specific conservative ideology, but I would say it is libertarian-ish, and I cannot think of one Republican or conservative office-holder who has been willing to tell the public the hard truth: that a new New Deal is needed. If we are going to go down the road of smaller government and higher rates of growth (which is the right path), then the responsibilities of the government as defined by the old New Deal and Great Society are going to have to be scaled back.

    Unfortunately, no politician is willing to say that because, as Weisberg says, the public is not making any sense – people want their cake and eat it too. They do want UNIVERSAL HEALTH INSURANCE when they face a problem, but they don’t want to pay for anyone else’s. Sooner or later, SOMEONE, ANYONE is going to have to cut the nonesense and speak the truth!

    1. Jayco,”They do want UNIVERSAL HEALTH INSURANCE when they face a problem, but they don’t want to pay for anyone else’s.” I think you are misinterpreting the public with your Two-Face analogy. The public is frustrated with the lack of control over their health care choices, insurance costs and loss of coverage issues. I personally don’t see anyway of wrestling control of healthcare out of the hands of private companies other than through a public option.

    2. I share your frustration at the general failure to acknowledge the simple truth, and I’ve shared your life experiences regarding people’s hypocrisy about their relationship with government/public support. So many people scream bloody murder about taxes and government regulation/intervention, but then demand a government rescue when their own situation demands it. I think that’s totally natural, if disappointing, and the defense against it is simple: strict limits on what the government does and can do. Because when government starts to answer one person’s needs, natural human envy and greed inspire just about everyone else to demand similar redress. The biggest problem with our present system is that there is a seemingly inexorable tendency to do more, add, expand (especially when deficit spending removes the natural limit of running out of money). We seem not to be able to step away from the table before we’re full. Putting less on the table seems to be the only way to solve that.

      As a principle, personal responsibility works. Fully fund pensions. Save for retirement and health costs. Seek the best price. Obvious stuff, but we’re subverting it now. For instance, an easy answer on Medicare and Social Security: raise the retirement age to 70, and keep moving it higher as life expectancy increases. Try using that as your campaign slogan.

      As for the anti-Semitism in places here, fellow conservatives are as disgusted as you are. It’s a disgrace, but in a big crowd, you’re going to find a few idiots.

      On the comment from RCTL — sorry, but that’s Democrat-fed nonsense, and hardly to the point anyway. We don’t lack healthcare choices or insurance choices (except in states like NY that stifle consumer options and boost costs with long lists of mandates). The loss of coverage issue requires a simple statutory change — not a 2,300-page monstrosity. The cost issue is ugly, but the public option won’t solve it. The public option was a progressive fantasy for getting other people to pay for your health insurance. So it’s more of the same contradiction: liberals want it all, and want someone else to pay.

      1. “2,300-page monstrosity” is unwarranted but the idea that we will have reasonable HC without a private plan is fantasy. “We don’t lack healthcare choices or insurance choices” I see you get your insurance through work.

        1. No — I’m self-employed, and I buy my insurance myself through a unit of UnitedHealth for $260 per month, male age 46 in Michigan. The deductible is $1500. (You can get on the phone in this state and have 5 quotes from different carriers in about 20 minutes.) Of course, I think that’s “too much,” but that’s subjective. There are two basic ways to bring that number down: reduce the amount of healthcare my fellow insureds are consuming by giving them incentives to use less (lowering the “cost” simply means price controls or rationing, both of which will produce shortages and stifle innovation), or make other people pay part of my premium, which I don’t support.

          But thank you for your civility; it’s in short supply here. We’re all just trying to find the best way to let people buy the care they need.

          1. Mich Here, I have a HSA and a much larger deductible but I would not recommend such a policy for the average person. I know a lot of people who cannot afford insurance or have a pre-existing condition and are not insurable. I do strongly favor a public option because it would make the insurance industry play ball. Ultimately, the ideal would be for people to purchase their own health care.

  55. Oh, by the way, I just saw the nasty comments here – I am a Jew. I hope that doesn’t bother any of you…

    1. I forgot to add that they are an equal opportunity offender on this site.;-)

  56. I thought a most telling point in the many comments in that article that anyone pointing out that some people who question the ‘stimulus’ spending was not against spending in a recession, but questioning where the spending went.

    Most of the liberal discussions emphasized the abstract sense that a government must ‘spend’ in a recession. No doubt they were using Keynes to justify their thinking, but as much as Keynes advocated government stepping in, he was clear in stating that such spendings must be temporary and not sustained.

    A common failing in academia is that not having spent any time in the real world, they fail to realize that a company’s spendings on ‘investments’ do not automatically create growth, the real trick is where you direct these spendings.

    No one on the progressive left for example cares to address the questions that point out much of the spendings went towards government jobs, something that is NOT temporary and would not pass Keynes’ test for wise government policy in times like this.

    But people who don’t live in the real world can’t be bothered to examine the real sparks of how companies are built and how jobs are created.

    For the same reason that there is a large number of people in power in Washington that now believe that government bureaucracy is the new engine for growth in the economy.

    These people are going to cause significant long term damage if they are not given another message in November.

  57. Yeah, I read the Weisberg thing. It was of a piece with one of the malodorous narratives wafting out of the swamps of the left these days: people are smart, enlightened, charitable, moral, and gracious when they agree with us. They’re ignorant, childish and incoherent when they don’t.

    The Scott Brown criticism was one of the article’s inevitabilities. So was an undercurrent that we need to shut the h up and start welcoming higher taxes. Because it’s clear to Weisberg that there’s no way to bring spending in line. Impossible. Not worth addressing. We clearly want everything government is doing and more. The polls say so.

    I think outlets like Salon are useful. They show that the left is capable of condescension and outright hostility on a scale to surpass anything the right has ever evinced. As progressivism falls into greater disfavor, get ready for the left’s rage factory to start working overtime.

  58. The boy is editor-in-chief of Slate! Who the hell cares what religion, if any, he professes to? A socialist and piss poor one at that.

  59. Love this column! Weisberg is a joke, a fool, and an embarrassment to my people. Damn those pesky subjects, where is their loyalty! LMFAO. Scary thing is though, that’s probably what Obama thinks when goes to bed at night. The left leaning MSM is entitled, arrogant, smarmy, rude, and totally self-impressed. They are, perhaps, the most vile participants in this entire process.

  60. JayCo =

    I don’t expect the govt to do anything, and I never have. All I need to do is watch them try to patch a pothole, and I know to avoid them at all costs. That is what conservatives think, not as you suggest…

  61. Implicit in Weisberg’s article is the belief that because of (his perceived) contradictions in how america’s majority opinion soured on Obama’s policy initiatives in a year, that somehow this proves the country is ‘ungovernable’.

    Jay Cost states that this is the current thinking in some circles — that America is ungovernable, and he proceeds to explain the alternate view : it is not that the country is ungovernable, it is that Obama in 2009 was not up to the task.

    Reagan, Clinton never thought that America was ungovernable, in fact, they did an amazing job navigating through congress while building wide consensus with the people.

    In spite of Clinton’s personal failings, most democrats must now look at Obama and realize how much more preferable Bill Clinton was.

    In all debates, from the left, Medicare, Social Security are brought up as main stumbling blocks, and the left accuses the center and right of disliking Big Government as an abstract concept. The first two are tough problems, but we elected leaders to work on them over time, as for the last, people who dislike big governments dislike it for a very simple reason, they take more taxes to maintain, and we rarely get any value from it.

    The liberal groupthink is convinced of these talking points and have ceased to even engage in real debate. They resort to name calling: childish, tantrums, petulant, ignorant, ‘look down here mr president’.

    When even the left intelligentsia refuses to debate and calls you names, that’s when you know they’ve run out of ideas to even pretend to talk to you.

    The left is consistently failing to recognize that more and more of the democrats in the center do not support their current policies.

    While we have the extreme right who never liked Obama, we also have a large slice of middle america that liked him enough in 2008 to vote him in. This is the middle that have largely abandoned Obama.

    There is a reason for this, and by continuing to fail to understand this, they are going to pay a heavy price in november.

  62. Great article! Is it so wrong to ask for a fair value in return for your tax dollars? The American taxpayer does have limits. We are not a bottomless well of money, although the government does seem to be a bottomless money pit.
    http://theillinoisguy.com/2010/01/05/fair-value/

  63. I’m the little guy, started paying that wonderful social security contribution at age 15 (under written protest to SS I might add). Come the year 2023, after paying into the “system” for 51 years and 4 months, at age 66 years and four months (my full retirement age), my SS benefits statement says I’ll be eligible for $1,633.00 per month (before tax and Medicare part B claw backs, etc). Ponder that, and let it sink in…19K a year for 51 years of contributions, with no choice in the matter. The system was terribly unfair at age 15, and is even worse today for those younger than I. And one wonders why, I’m still mad as hell about it. Its time for a change.

  64. Social Security needs changing (like being ripped out by the roots and all). In fact, I willing to consider an early retirement (age 62) just so I can forward the monthly check to an organization dedicated to Social Security’s demise. Any recommendations as to an organization I can contribute to that meets this criteria?

  65. “Weisberg is right to say that the public is retarded to want low taxes and high spending.”

    Exactly, and Cavanaugh is a disingenuous ideological hack to claim this is some kind of wisdom and the part of the people.

    But this is the typical libertarian blind spot. Evidenced that people en masse are acting completely irrationally is dismissed as a function of or reaction to government. The opposite is true, dysfunctional government is a function of and/or reaction to people en masse acting irrationally.

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