History

Regulation Now, Regulation Tomorrow, Regulation Forever

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What accounts for the particular rottenness of the Republican party? The GOP is in the opposition catbird seat; the economy is in a coma; President Obama's popularity is in free-fall, and the smaller-government message is the only one that is resonating with voters. Yet GOP hegemony from 2001-2007 resulted in massive government growth and the largest increase in regulation in three decades. When put to the iron test of governance, the Republicans keep going easy on Obama's criminally incompetent economic team. Overnight sensation Sen. Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) voted for the new jobs bill. How can this be?

Gov. George Wallace was a big meanie.

Reason contributor Jonathan Rauch has a suggestion: "Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller got into an argument and George Wallace won." The party, Rauch argues in the National Journal, has become captive to the spirit of Wallace, the segregationist Alabama governor and two-time presidential candidate.

That claim is more nuanced and less incendiary than it sounds—and it has little or nothing to do with race. Wallace, as Rauch explains, is remembered only for his racist demagoguery, but his politics were in fact a grab bag of populist chestnuts searching (not very hard) for coherence. The gist for libertarians:

Wallace was not a libertarian. In Alabama, he expanded the state government and built the junior college system. He never presented a program to shrink the government in Washington. That never stopped him from attacking Big Government, at least on the federal level. He called for "freedom from unwarranted, unwise, and unwanted intrusion and oppression by the federal government" and said, "I think that what they ought to do is cut down on federal spending." But he never put his money where his mouth was.

The cash value of Republican libertarianism has been similarly low. Ronald Reagan didn't reduce federal spending or try very hard; George W. Bush was a big spender; beginning in 1999, before Bush came to office, the Republican Congress sought to spend its way to a permanent majority. Today's "tea partiers" and Palin fans are angry about that, but try asking them for their plan to change it.

Vegas, baby!

In February, Palin criticized Obama's proposed freeze on most domestic discretionary spending (about a sixth of the budget) as "certainly not enough," which it certainly isn't. "We need to go further," she told the Tea Party Nation convocation this month: "Cut spending, don't just simply slow down a spending spree." And she offered… what? To just simply slow down a spending spree: "Kill the plans for the second stimulus." This, she allowed cheerfully, is also "not going to be enough," but she said that her proposed non-increase, unlike Obama's proposed non-increase, would be "a good way to start and to show that we're serious about getting our financial house in order."

Actually, it shows that, like Wallace and his supporters 40 years ago, today's conservative populists are long on anger and short on coherence. For Wallace, small-government rhetoric was a trope, not a workable agenda. The same is true of his Republican heirs today, who insist that spending cuts alone, without tax increases, will restore fiscal balance but who have not proposed anywhere near enough spending cuts, primarily because they can't.

Someone who at least tried is Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, who recently unveiled a new edition of what he calls a "Road Map for America's Future." Its willingness to reform entitlement programs is laudable. But it keeps taxes at 19 percent of gross domestic product while raising (repeat: raising) federal spending from 21.6 percent of GDP in 2012 to more than 24 percent in the 2030s. It balances the budget, all right—in 2063.

Whole article.

The party that gets my vote will be the party that channels comedian George Wallace, the hardest working man in Vegas.

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  1. Pretty scary when you actually think about it.

    Sandy
    http://www.total-anonymity.cz.tc

  2. Well, it would seem the more things change, the more they stay the same. I mean seriously.

    Harry
    http://www.total-anonymity.cz.tc

  3. Reagan proposed killing off the Departments of Education and Energy. And he sent James Watt to neuter the EPA. And he was lambasted as a lunatic right winger for it. Regan never controlled the House. So, his proposals to defund these departments were dead on arrival in Congress.

    Maybe Tim wasn’t aware of this, but the Constitution was passed in 1789, not 1989. Reagan wasn’t king. And considering that he never held a majority in Congress and had a cold war to fight, he didn’t do a bad job on domestic spending. Slowing the growth of such spending was about as good as one could expect in that position. And Bush wasn’t King either. He never had a large majority in the Senate (didn’t have one from 2000 to 2002 thanks to Jeffords). Bush tried very hard to start to privatize social security (which would have been the biggest libertarian policy victory ever) but without a sixty vote majority in the Senate was pretty much pissing in the wind.

    Perhaps this is the moment. Perhaps this is the time that someone can stand up and say “lets reduce spending in real terms and do it by ending these programs”. In the past, doing that has resulted in the media and Washington establishment immediately branding you insane. For that reason maybe Palin is the politician to do it since they hate her and think she is nuts anyway. I doubt, however, the fragile psyches of the Reason staff could take such a development. Given the past, I honestly can’t say I blame any politician who wants to win an election for not coming out in favor of radical and specific spending cuts. That has never done anything but marginalize the speaker in the past. Maybe now is different. I hope so, but I am not convinced.

    All this post seems to be saying is that Republican politicians can never seem to manage to make themselves benevolent dictators and are hesitant to take specific radical positions that have in the past resulting in dire political consequences. I am seeing either observation as being particularly profound.

    1. The defense of GWB is laughable — he actually proposed huge spending increases like NCLB and Medicare Part B, they weren’t forced on him by Congress.

      But note that Cav skips his dad’s presidency, which saw some pretty sizeable spending cuts.

      1. But he also proposed privatizing social security, which if enacted would have been a lot bigger deal that NCLB and Medicare Part D. I would put up with a hell of a lot of bullshit programs if I could just get some or better yet all of the money the government is taking from me for the ponzi scheme known as Social Security. Privatizing Social Security would have been a monumental society changing accomplishment. And Libertarians did absolutely nothing to help in that cause.

        1. What “return” do you think you are getting from SS? It is highly dependant on what you make. If you are poor most of your life, your ROI is enormous. If you are paying anywhere near the cap, it is negative.

          1. If you are poor, you are still getting screwed because poor people have shorter lifespans and SS benefits can’t be passed to your children like wealth can be. Black in particular are victimized by Social Security. Black men have significantly shorter lifespans than whites. And thus they collect much less from SS than white people do. And they are deprived of the ability to build up generational wealth. Social Security in practical terms could not have been better designed to discriminate against minorities. It makes you wonder if liberals really are not just a brilliant front for the Klan because even the Klan couldn’t come up with a program that so successfully victimizes black people.

            1. You clearly have no idea how SS works.

              Here is a nice article summarizing the ROI on SS.

              http://www.angrybearblog.com/2…..tment.html

              If you are poor, you get great returns. If you are middle class, you get decent returns. If you are relatively wealthy, you basically stay even with inflation.

              1. You clearly don’t understand annuity tables.

                1. What about them do you think I don’t understand.

                  1. Chad, the ROI “study” you quoted only let employees invest their 6.25% share, not their employer’s 6.25% share. It is economically illiterate to treat that other 6.25% like it doesn’t come out of take home pay. It also assumes that married people earning less than $24,000/year have spouses who don’t work, which is absurd in the 21st century, that workers only work for the minimum 35 years needed to reach full benefits (he says that his assumption of constant wages adjusts for this, but it doesn’t come close for low wage earners, whose earnings profiles are much flatter than average, and who tend to start working much earlier). Finally, he poo poohs the idea that low wage earners would put away the extra money if they were allowed to keep their SS contribution and their boss’s SS contribution. This plays the fun game of treating poor people like children, assuming that poor people don’t invest and that what they are doing with the money isn’t worth more to them than the investment would be. Not only is this incredibly patronizing, but it also ignores the fact that, in the age before SS, poor people invested at very high rates, despite wage rates very much below current wage rates.

                    In sum, the study you cited was a hack job, and citing it as fact makes you a hack.

                    1. You didn’t read the whole article (or indeed, the next paragraph), did you?

                      You also don’t know squat about poor people, apparently.

                    2. I did, in fact, read the whole article, including his bullshit justifications for excluding the employer portion of the tax (short version: most workers aren’t unionized so wouldn’t be able to push for higher wages). The thing is, with the exception of workers earning the minimum wage, wages are at an equilibrium level. Employers are treating the 6.25% tax on payrolls just like they’re treating wages, because it costs them exactly as much. Workers value it less than payroll, because it is restricted in such a way as to be worth less than payroll. So if that requirement went away, the demand for workers would rise and the supply of workers might rise a bit. If employers didn’t raise wages, there would be a scarcity of willing workers, and someone would raise their wages until they reached a new equilibrium. Maybe the new wage rate wouldn’t be as high as the old wages plus 6.25%, but they would have to be worth at least as much to the workers.

                      And as for not knowing squat about poor people, what don’t I know? That poor people are too shortsighted to save? I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of poor people would spend all of their new money, since they have hugely important things to spend money on. I’m just not a patronizing fuck, so I think that letting each person make their own decision about how to spend the money that they earned with their labor is a good idea. If you want to help out people who have low earnings, give them money with no strings attached so that they can buy what they need. Don’t mandate to them how much they have to save and where they have to save it, and then act like you’re the only one with a finger on the pulse of the poor.

                    3. Nice pwnage of Chad, John. Strong work!

              2. That sounds like perpetual motion. If everybody’s receiving and nobody’s paying, where is the money coming from?

                And Constitution was adopted in 1787. The French Revolution was 1789.

                1. That sounds like perpetual motion. If everybody’s receiving and nobody’s paying, where is the money coming from?

                  The future.

                2. No more so than the stock market itself, Tim. Both SS’s funding base and the stock market should roughly grow, in real terms, about as fast as the economy.

                  1. No more so than the stock market itself, Tim.

                    Except that I have a choice about whether to gamble on the stock market.

                    1. Tim just brought some major ownage to the party.

                  2. Both SS’s funding base and the stock market should roughly grow, in real terms, about as fast as the economy.

                    No. The stock market grows as a result of investment in companies that “grow the pie”. It is generating value and wealth.

                    Social Security is not investing any of the money coming in, at all. It is not generating any wealth or value. Its “funding base” is confiscatory taxation of a shrinking base of taxpayers supporting a growing pool of retirees.

                    The two are not at all comparable.

                    1. Give me a compelling argument as to why corporate profits should grow as a percentage of GDP. Hell, ANY argument. If they don’t, then they will grow along with the economy, and nothing more.

                      And do we really WANT corporate profits to be a larger fraction of the economy? That is highly doubtful.

                    2. Give me a compelling argument as to why corporate profits should grow as a percentage of GDP.

                      Um … what do you think MAKES UP the GDP, if not “corporate profits”, dumbfuck?

                    3. I agree that corporate profits are a component of GDP, at least in some form. However, you have presented no argument as to why one should expect the fraction of the GDP related to corporate profits should grow.

                    4. Why shouldn’t they? Anything paid out in dividends or kept by the company is reinvested in the economy anyway. Or spent, which as far as Keynesians like you are concerned, is the same thing.

                      Long term, the only thing that will grow the GDP is investment by the private sector. Which means more money left to corporate profits so it can be reinvested in something consumers actually want, as opposed to some make-work congress borrowed money to fund so they could get a few votes.

                    5. The returns on corporate investments are greater than the growth of the overall economy because we subsidize the production of housing, which earns very low real returns. As a result, returns on stock market investment pre tax tends to be higher than economic growth.

                  3. Both SS’s funding base and the stock market should roughly grow, in real terms, about as fast as the economy.

                    Chad, does the word “demographics” mean anything to you? How about “baby boom” or “workers per retiree”?

                    SS is a Ponzi scheme on the verge of collapse. Anyone who defends it is either a fool or a crook.

                    -jcr

                3. Oh Tim, you’re so cute when you’re engaging the sockpuppet.

                4. Washington assumed the presidency in 1789. The Constitution was adopted in 1788 (not 1787) in the sense of being ratified. It was adopted in 1789 in the sense of being taken on or assumed.

          2. Nah, Chad. The middle class gets screwed. Do you know what Medicare ‘allows’ for a pap smear?

            1. Based on what data?

              1. Aetna Medicare’s (Medicare Advantage) Explanation of Benefits for my pap smear. Guess who was out of pocket for the remaining amount? This is not an isolated service amount determination, rather part of a pattern. Socialized medicine is a price-fixing racket that benefits the special interests: pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies that contract with Medicare to administer the legalized cartel I was forced to pay into for decades.

          3. What “return” do you think you are getting from SS?

            You’re a digusting troll-turd. That’s what.

        2. “Privatizing Social Security would have been a monumental society changing accomplishment. And Libertarians did absolutely nothing to help in that cause.”

          Shame! Would have been a good thing for Americans to learn about markets/investing 5% even if by trial and error the clueless would have gotten a good edumication.

          1. I very significant fraction of Americans DO have their retirement fate in the stock market, and I doubt most of them are happy with the experience. The bankers are, though. They get “dumb money” to smack around and get to keep nearly 1% of our 401ks even if they completely blow it.

            What’s even worse, we are getting fleeced without even being able to prove it. Most 401k’s do not track long-term performance of your individual account, and what data they do keep is lost every time you switch employers or your employer switches fund managers. The question “What is your ROI on your 401k” is unanswerable for most Americans.

    2. …and had a cold war to fight

      You see a justification in the Cold War? I see spending on the Cold War militarization of this country as being no better than spending on the social entilementization of this country. And if I recall, Bush didn’t have a whole lot of Republican support on SS privatization.

      The fact is, Republicans are really not all that much better than Democrats when it comes to overall spending. Both parties just seem to shift priorities around, but the result is the same – more Big Government. However, the biggest difference, right now, is that Democrats seem to be in favor of enhancing BOTH the welfare state and the warfare state.

      1. Yeah, the cold war was a terrible idea. Letting the Communists overrun and enslave Europe and Latin America was clearly the way to go.

        1. Sure, it wouldn’t have be long before they were knocking on your door, probably with a SWAT team. It was definitely worth all of the money spent, and all of the personal freedoms sacrificed. Forgive me if I don’t jump for joy.

          1. Oh so the Cold war is responsible for SWAT teams? Yeah that makes sense. And further, if you think that anything that goes on in this country even begins to compare with what went on in Eastern Europe or the old Soviet Union, you are an ignorant twat who is just pissing on the graves of the victims there.

            1. Ohhhh, name calling. I’m scared. Please, I need protection. Here are my rights. Take them, protect me, enslave me.

              1. If it’s oppression you want, I’ll Taze you till you shit your pants! Stupid is a “probable cause” in my rule book.

          2. Disgusting. Yet the Hit&Run; herd will praise you for this attitude.

            1. Whoa, another bug in the server. It puts a semicolon after any word with an ampersand in it.

        2. No thinking person would argue against fighting Soviet expansion.

          Also, no thinking person could argue that in order to fight Soviet expansion it was necessary to support terrorism and help totalitarian dictators murder dissidents.

          1. No thinking person would say that “no thinking person” could take a particular position on a highly complex question.

            1. Yeah, I should refrain from using that phrase. But, “Should we help to murder dissidents?” is not a “highly complex question.”

      2. “I see spending on the Cold War militarization of this country as being no better than spending on the social entilementization of this country.”

        Yeah. I mean if we just would have asked Stalin nicely, he would have given up Eastern Europe and not overrun the West. And he certainly wouldn’t have ever sponsored revolutionary movements all over the world that killed millions and enslaved millions more. And he never would have blackmailed us with nuclear weapons had we given up ours. Never. It was all just a misunderstanding.

        Seriously, how can you claim to be concerned about freedom or anything beyond your own whinny self if you think that communism wasn’t worth confronting? And further, how could anyone be dumb enough to think that an ideology that killed hundreds of millions of people could be confronted in any way other than militarily.

        1. We should have just let Patton follow those damned Reds right into Stalingrad and blown them to shit when we had the chance.

          Confronting Communism is not the issue here. The issue is fabricating a “war”, to spread fear, for political, monetary and personal gains for a few select individuals, and to advance the police state known as the USA.

          1. Fuck you. That is all.

            1. Yeah, well, you know, if you are a law abiding citizen, you have absolutely nothing to fear from an FBI agent who can write his own search warrants. Sounds vaguely similar to KGB procedures.

          2. Funny, the same can be said for the War on Drugs, The War on Poverty, The War on Terrorism, The War on Crime, The War on Illegal Immigration, The War on [insert political catch phrase].

          3. All right. I’ll say it. ‘Cause Truman was too much of a pussy wimp to let MacArthur go in there and blow out those Commie bastards!

            1. Good answer.

              1. Good teacher. You really seem to care. About what, I have no idea.

                1. Why don’t you call me some time…when you have no class.

                  1. Look, the war’s over. Get new parts for your head.

          4. Oh right, the brutal occupation of post-WW2 Eastern Europe and Red Terrorism in Western Europe was fabrication. Read all about it in 1984 while on LSD!

            1. I think I was on LSD for most of 1984. The fabrication was here at home, not Europe.

        2. John is about 80% right and TP is 100% moron. While a robust military was required to combat Sovietism, that doesn’t justify all the spending or the creation of the military-industrial complex. For example, Reagan’s funding of the Contras was a great low cost high return investment, but his funding of things like Star Wars was high cost and low return. Reagan is overrated by the Right-he was a major wank for the War on Drugs intensification.

          1. Sure, and Korea and Vietnam were both fought to combat “Sovietism”. But those wars weren’t part of the Cold War. or were they? What the hell, it was in the name of freedom, right?

            People went to jail because of Reagan’s funding of Contras. Or was that Ollie North? If you love Joe McCarthy so much, why don’t you dig up his dead body and suck his cock? Maybe you get put on a “blacklist” like Aaron Copland. What’s the use, you probably don’t know the difference between Aaron Copland and Stewart Copeland.

            1. Your incoherent babbling must be your way of surrendering. I accept it and hope the proctologist finds your head soon.

          2. The Contras were terrorists. How is investing in terrorism “great?”

            1. When it helps you win the Cold War.

              1. Really? So, to clarify, helping terrorists to kill innocent civilians in order to overthrow a democratically elected government is okay, if that democratically elected government is friendly with a totalitarian dictatorship? I hope that’s not what you meant, because that would justify terrorist attacks on the U.S..

                And how, exactly, did supporting terrorists in Nicaragua help to win the Cold War?

                1. You are setting up a moral equivalence between the free(er) nation of America and the totalitarian USSR. This is a symptom of moral perversion. The Sandinista government was a dictatorship and thus cannot have rights, and all democratically led nations have the inherent right to occupy/invade/subvert them.

                  1. The Sandinista government, horrible as it was, was democratically elected in 1984 and then democratically booted out of office in 1990. History is fun!

                    Supporting terrorism or the murder of dissidents for any cause is as good a symptom of “moral perversion” as I can think of. It also requires a leftist’s trust of the state.

          3. I’d love to stay and chat, but I’m going to a benefit for the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association. Seriously.

            http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/event.php?eid=277834159305&index=1

          4. “For example, Reagan’s funding of the Contras was a great low cost high return investment, but his funding of things like Star Wars was high cost and low return.”

            Star Wars was an open checkbook for science to come up with and advance new technologies. Many of which dumped into the private sector in the 1990s and responsible for many advances in medicine and many other areas of tech.

            I concur on the Contras. One can only imagine what Reagan could have accomplished with Obama type majorities.

            Reagan Mastermind
            http://www.hulu.com/watch/4174…..mastermind

          5. “For example, Reagan’s funding of the Contras was a great low cost high return investment, but his funding of things like Star Wars was high cost and low return.”

            Star Wars was an open checkbook for science to come up with and advance new technologies. Many of which dumped into the private sector in the 1990s and responsible for many advances in medicine and many other areas of tech.

            I concur on the Contras. One can only imagine what Reagan could have accomplished with Obama type majorities.

            Reagan Mastermind
            http://www.hulu.com/watch/4174…..mastermind

    3. The biggest single libertarian policy victory in America was, and ever could be, of course, ending slavery.

      1. Which, of course, came about in the South by executive order, and then in the border states due to an amendment passed by a massively depleted Congress.

  4. “Maybe Tim wasn’t aware of this, but the Constitution was passed in 1789, not 1989.”

  5. Here’s a crazy idea; let’s do some serious cost-benefit analysis on all this stuff.

    1. For sure. And the 1994 Republican Congress wanted to do that. They wanted to have show trials for every agency. And the entire Washington establishment went crazy and said they were insane.

      1. Show trials? Do we get to wear our costumes?

        1. Sure. Does this work for you?

          1. She’s adorable.

            1. TP, I miss you. When are you coming back to my show? XOXOXOX

              1. Please, not in front of the children.

  6. Maybe the point of this post is that Republicans are a bunch of lying, spineless shitbags; in other words, indistinguishable from Democrats.

  7. Wallace was not a libertarian. In Alabama, he expanded the state government and built the junior college system. He never presented a program to shrink the government in Washington.

    Yet, according to the media, anyone who wants to cut spending is just like him.

  8. That claim is more nuanced and less incendiary than it sounds — and it has little or nothing to do with race.

    There are plenty of incoherent big government Republicans from the past few decades to choose from who weren’t also racial segregationists. Rauch’s choice indicates that he wants to paint the Republican party as something it’s not.

    1. Wallace was a Democrat.

      1. Tulpa probably forgot because the Southern Strategy has been so effective in drawing Wallace’s former supporters to the Republican Party.

        1. And the Democrats embrace of radical elements of the culture war had nothing to do with that? It was all just a racist plot on the part of the Republicans. And further, in 2008, the Democrats won a lot of House seats in the South and in places that the Republicans supposedly owned only because of the dreaded Southern Strategy. Did the Democrats win those seats through racism? If not why not? Indeed, is it possible by this view for anyone to win in those districts without being racist?

          1. I didn’t say that. I do note that your response indicates a certain touchiness about the subject.

            Some Southern Democrats became Republicans because of Civil Rights, some because of the “radical elements of the culture war”, some were opportunists and some for all three reasons or other reasons. Human beings are more complicated than the Red/Blue and Black/White dichotomies.

            1. I do note that your response indicates a certain touchiness about the subject.

              Saying that people are akin to George Wallace’s followers tends to have that effect.

      2. That’s the point, though perhaps I didn’t make it clear enough. Rauch chose a figure who (a) wasn’t even a Republican, and (b) is far more notorious for something besides big-government incoherence.

        Cavanaugh’s protest that the comparison is “less incendiary than it sounds” is laughable. If something sounds incendiary, it is incendiary; that’s like saying a food is less sweet than it tastes.

  9. The good news is, it’s lacrosse season, and Maryland vs Georgetown is on ESPNU right now.

    1. Nancy boy sport I say.

    2. LACROSSE? WHEN DOES THE RAPING START?

    3. My pussy and ass hurt just watching it.

      1. I came home and that Motherfucker had on a Duke jersey. You would have stabbed him and burned his clothes in the tub too.

    4. Wow, really, in Feb.?

  10. Good article, but does anyone here really believe there is a real difference between republicans and democrats?

    On a scale of 1 to 10 with utter anarchy at one end, and complete totalitariansim at the other, democrats would rate about 3.5, and republicans about 3.55.

    The liberal/conservative debate isn’t about who is right and who is wrong, it’s about who gets the power.

    1. There were no Federal tax increases while the GOP controlled Congress.
      Not even a gas or tobacco excise tax.

      The “liberal/conservative debate” is a very substantial ideological one.
      The major parties don’t govern the way their constituents want though.

      1. They had a spending increase, which is a future tax increase with an interest rate attached to it. Worse really then raising taxes.

        1. You mean you’d rather not have the money in the meantime?

      2. Siv,

        I guess you missed all the spending that will lead to future tax increases. If anything, the republican party represents a greater threat to free markets than their democrat peers. At least the dems don’t pretend to support small and limited government.

  11. There are also resemblances between Wallace’s appeal and Buchanan in 1992. I think it’s inevitable when you’re appealing to or trying to create an insurgency. I’m sure you can find it in William Jennings Bryan, who actually succeeded in taking over a political party for over a decade.

  12. I think there needs to be a regulation that bans the transcription of Palin’s speeches and/or other random comments.

    I get a headache just reading it.

  13. It balances the budget, all right — in 2063

    What an amateur. Look at GWB and Obama. The budget will always be balanced 5-8 years from now, by simply assuming 10% GDP growth going forward and claiming anyone who says that’s laughable is anti-American.

  14. The only four letter words you hippies don’t know are W-O-R-K and S-O-A-P.

    1. C-O-M-M-U-N-E and P-A-T-C-H-O-U-L-I

    2. Oh, yeah? The only 4 letter words you don’t know are L-O-V-E and, uh……..what was the other one?

  15. Enough about Paul Ryan! This hypocrite voted for TARP, the prescription drug benefit boondoggle, and the confiscatory & retroactive tax on bonuses. Which goes back the failure of TARP.

    Shut the fuck up Paul Ryan!

    1. He did? Then fuck him. Anyone who voted for TARP needs to shut the fuck up and resign.

      1. What about the guy who signed it?

        1. You know, the one you were just praising up thread as being a budget cutter.

          1. Oh damn I could hear that bitchslap all the way here in Afghanistan.

            Well-played, sir.

            1. Good to see I’m appreciated when I’m not “sucking cop cock” by condemning their actions but stopping short of accusing them of child endangerment.

              1. Actually Tulsa, you’re pretty much screwed in the head if you think busting in a house while firing round after round doesn’t count as child endangerment.

            2. It is only a bitchslap if you live under the dellusion that because I supported Bush on the war I supported him on everything. If you have a cartoon view of anyone who disagrees with you, it is easy to win in your own mind at least.

        2. TARP was the dumbest thing George Bush did. And yeah he should have resigned for it. And sure enough, he left office the following January. And he will never return.

          1. Oh he resigned in Jan from tarp? Interesting

            1. No, but he is no longer in office. So, it really doesn’t make much difference why he left. The effect is the same.

              1. Not really. If Bush had been driven out of office by angry Republicans who refused to go along with TARP, and it had been killed, then if Obama had resurrected it he couldn’t convincingly argue that he “inherited” a trillion dollar budget deficit.

                Republicans were, as a party if not individuals, insane to not bitchslap Bush over TARP and deride it as socialism.

                Arguably, McCain and Palin might have won if they had taken that approach.

                1. Most Republicans outside the Beltway were pissed about TARP. We always talk about how unpopular TARP was at the time it was passed — you don’t seriously think it was liberals who were pissed about it, do you?

                  1. I don’t know about the “most Republicans” bit. I think it is questionable that over 50% of Republican voters were pissed about TARP.

                    A lot of Democrats were pissed about TARP, too, though often for vastly different reasons — they thought it was rewarding “Wall Street fat cats”.

                    But, yes, the elected politicians were often not voting the way their constituents would have, had TARP been submitted as a referendum for popular approval or rejection.

                    1. In the comment above, note that I’m distinguishing between voters and non-voters. A lot of non-voters, or independents, were pissed about TARP.

                      But a lot of Republicans who actually vote are of the mindset “if my Republican in Congress does it, I better find some way to rationalize it to avoid cognitive dissonance when I vote for his or her reelection.”

                      Non-voters don’t suffer from this need to avoid confronting the consequences of blind devotion to party talking points.

                    2. Most GOP Congressman voted against it.
                      Calls and emails to all Congressman were something like 100 to 1 agi’n it

                    3. Actually, as high as 900 to 1 against it.

                    4. I was guessing. The calls in favor were likely “astroturfing”.

                  2. We wanted a bailout for Main Street not Wall Street.

                    1. You wanted a bailout for State Street and Union Street…

                2. They were too busy voting for it to do that.

  16. I Love George Wallace. Even is website is cool.

  17. I thought my girlfriend was going to pass out when I informed her Lincoln was a Republican. She honestly didn’t know.

    1. Your ‘girlfriend’ is old enough to know better. http://www.htzfm.com/files/htzfm/images/drag queen.gif

  18. The Republicans have gotten burned a number of times by attempting to reform entitlements. Consequently they have gotten cowardly.

    Secondly, the social-con wing of the party doesn’t really care about spending, so they are quite willing to ditch that issue if it hurts their election chances.

    The fundamental problem is the concentrated benefits and dispersed costs of any particular program. Any single program’s beneficiaries who will go to the mat to defend it. But the cost to taxpayers is so spread out that it doesn’t muster significant opposition. Who care about the 0.02% of you paycheck that goes to fund it… right?

    Yet, all those little costs add up to the point where you have this 50% tax rates, or else a collosal debt. So people oppose the tax rates and the debt, but can’t muster the support to kill any single one of them in isolation.

    It’s not so much that everyone likes the programs they benefit from, but hates paying for everyone else’s. It’s more than you really like the thing that gives you a $2,000 back in your tax return each year, but you don’t notice, and can’t get excited about, the 2,000 programs that each take $1 away in taxes.

    I’m not sure how to resolve this problem short of some radical revamping of the election system. It seems kind of like a classic public goods dilemma.

    1. Edit: People oppose the tax rates and the debt, but can’t muster the support to kill any single one of the programs that contribute to it in isolation.

    2. It’s almost like democracy sucks.

      1. It’s exactly like government sucks.

    3. I’m not sure how to resolve this problem short of some radical revamping of the election system. It seems kind of like a classic public goods dilemma.

      It would take this change: supermajorities to pass legislation, minority votes to repeal legislation.

      Spending (and every other usurpation of government) would be WAY lower if it took 80%+ votes to pass legislation, and only 20%+ votes to repeal laws.

      1. So you want Posse Comitatus and the Freedom of Information Act to be repealed by 20% votes.

        1. As long as it took 80% to enact the labyrinth of legislative trickery it took to make them necessary, I do.

          1. I don’t think prolefeed was intending for time travel to be used to prevent those unspecified tricky laws from ever being passed. Though, it’s no more fantastic than the 80-20 rule ever coming into force, I guess.

            1. I wasn’t thinking time travel at all, though it would be uber-cool to time travel back to just before the Constitution was finalized and tell the drafters about some of the abuses it would be subjected to so they could tighten up some wording.

              As for the 80-20 rule ever coming about — the original rule was 50.1% in the Senate. It was a 67% supermajority for a while, and is still a 60% supermajority needed. California has 67% supermajorities needed for tax increases.

              So it is not inconceivable that, at some future point, such an 80% supermajority might be enacted in both chambers when the current unsustainable spending finally fucks things up enough to get people’s attention.

              Hell, if the Founders had a libertarian time traveler tell them what happened since, they might have put such 80-20 supermajorities / superminorites into the Constitution.

              1. California has 67% supermajorities needed for tax increases.

                And to this day, we look upon California as a shining example of fiscal responsibility and libertarian governance.

        2. If those do not enjoy 80% support by elected officials, then sure, if that is what it takes to get to a minarchy.

          I doubt you’d get 20% of Congress in favor of repealing the FOI act, though.

        3. At least in Hawaii, half of all legislation that gets to Third Reading gets passed by unanimous consent — i.e., with 100% of the legislators voting in favor.

          And that’s in a body with 90% Democrats.

      2. You need to think this thru. Consider what “legislation” and “repeal” mean. What happens when you repeal parts of the code that shield people from taxes? When “a tax on [x]% of annual income above [amount]” becomes, by repeal of part, “a tax on [x]% of annual income”, period?

        You want a procedural reform that would address your problem? Replace representative with direct democracy. No representatives to be lobbied by the interests = no means to manifest the effect of concentration of interest; meanwhile the diffuse losers still each get a vote.

        1. I don’t think “repeal” means “taking out certain words that change the meaning to something that has never existed before”.

          Repeal means, or should mean, “taking out of the law code every single word passed in a prior legislative act, and any word in any law that amended or added on to that language since it was enacted.”

          It means taking out entire sections of the statutes, and replacing them with nothing, unless those replacements garner 80%+ support (or whatever the supermajority threshhold is set at).

    4. I support the Sunset Amendment personally, which would render any federal law null and void five years after its passage. A big part of the problem with spending is that these programs get voted into existence by a majority, and then all the beneficiaries of the program have to do is play defense from that point on. The Sunset Amendment would force each of these programs to be reauthorized, with filibuster-proof majorities in the Senate and presidential support, every five years. It would allow budget cutters to play defense, rather than offense as they’re forced to do now.

      1. Not sure if that’s politically viable.

        I’m trying to figure out a way you could reduce this to a simple public goods problem and then come up with a theoretical solution to the general problem.

        Like, you’ve got 10 people, each with a different “deficiency”, that all of them might consider “fair” to compensate for. So they all have to throw money into the pot and have it redistributed, with a manager taking a 10% cut of everything in the pot. (Government overhead).

        It’s sort of like an N-player prisoner’s dilemma, isn’t it? All N people have to agree to “cooperate” by giving up their subsidies simultaneously. Anyone who “defects” can win by keeping his subsidy, but not having to pay taxes to fund the others’.

  19. You clearly have no idea how SS works.

    Don’t be so sure about that.

    1. I am looking for a new project. Tell me about it.

      1. Get back on the porch and let the big dogs eat, punk.

  20. The same is true of his Republican heirs today, who insist that spending cuts alone, without tax increases, will restore fiscal balance but who have not proposed anywhere near enough spending cuts, primarily because they can’t.

    The word “can’t” doesn’t mean what you think it does, Tim.

    Try replacing the final word with “feel it will cost them votes.”

    1. If you can’t get the votes and get elected, you can’t do anything. So I think “costing votes” is a legitimate concern.

      1. I agree, John, but that is not the same thing as “can’t”. The Republican incumbents could aggressively propose cutting federal spending. They choose not to do so because they feel the voters will punish them for doing so.

        But, by not rolling the dice, they leave themselves wide open to claims of moral equivalence.

        We have the disasterous train wreck of a fiscal policy that we have because the current Congress fairly accurately reflects what the electorate wants, however idiotic those wants will prove to be in the long run.

  21. They are all mutated tentacled alien nazis trying to suck the very fabric of humanity out of us all.

    1. [citation needed]

      1. Just thinking about those sharp “alien nazis” uniforms. I wonder if they have casual dress fridays?

    2. I think I saw that hentai.

  22. Nice

    Ms. Pelosi said on ABC that the imperative of passing a bill outweighed the political risks. House Democrats are facing political headwinds in the mid-term election, where the president’s party historically loses seats.

    Democrats “know that this will take courage,” she said. “Why are we here? We’re not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress. We’re here to do the job for the American people.”

    1. I call that good news.

      1. More like do a job ON the American people.

        1. Get your mind out of the gutter;-)

          1. RCTL,

            Not that kind of job dirty girl. Just like “hit me up”, “doing a job on someone” has no buried meaning. Doing a job or doing a number – damage or mess up something. You must have different slang where you are.

            MCL

    2. She’s pissing in the wind with this call to altruism. Her caucus members are going to do what gets them re-elected, not sacrifice themselves for the greater good of Democratic Party ideals.

      1. It’s also self serving in that she currently holds onto one of the safest if not _the_ safest seats in the house. The Republicans can’t win it and no Democrat with a chance will immolate their career by running against her.

        She she can mostly say and do whatever she wants without consequences.

        1. VM, I think I heard that about another seat. Let me think: safe…Kennedy…Massachusetts.

          1. That’s a senate seat and there are no safe senate seats.

            But in the house? A Republican is going to win the San Francisco bay district exactly when?

            Obama won Massachusetts over McCain by 62% to 36%. He won Pelosi’s district 85% to 12%. It ain’t the same thing.

            1. Apparently in the most recent election, Pelosi’s nearest challenger was Cindy Sheehan. Yes _that_ Cindy Sheehan, who got 16% of the vote compared to the 10% the Republican got.

        2. She she can mostly say and do whatever she wants without consequences.

          If the GOP wins back the House, she loses her Speakership. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hoyer takes her spot as minority leader if they lose the House.

  23. he sent James Watt to neuter the EPA

    But Watt got lost on his way to the EPA building, which is how he ended up in charge of Interior instead.

    1. Yeah yeah Jesse. It was Ann Gourish who he sent over to neuter the EPA. And she was run out and replaced by Ruckelshouse who was a total RINO.

    2. And he had every mixture you can have. He had a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple. And he had talent.

  24. Both parties are just playing musical chairs, hoping they aren’t the ones left standing when the bond market music stops.

  25. Canada wins in OT. 3-2

    Thought you’d like to know.

    1. Yes. That fucker Crosby betrayed all Penguin fans everywhere.

    2. Apparently Obama had a bet with the Canadian PM and will now have to send him a case of Yuengling.

      If the US had won, Obama would have gotten a case of Molson (presumably to share with underage girls in true Canadian tradition).

  26. Privatizing social security would not be a libertarian victory. Privatizing it just means the mandatory system ends up being managed by a private company or companies selected by the government. Just like Obamacare.

  27. Reagan proposed killing off the Departments of Education and Energy. And he sent James Watt to neuter the EPA. And he was lambasted as a lunatic right winger for it. Regan never controlled the House. So, his proposals to defund these departments were dead on arrival in Congress.

    Also, any history of the recent republican party is woefully incomplete if it doesn’t mention that Newt Gingrich and his boys made a bold and honest effort to downsize the government when they came in.

    He won a few of the minor skirmishes, but in the big battle Clinton beat him like a drum. It’s not too hard to understand why no republicans have the guts to make another attempt since then.

  28. Today’s “tea partiers” and Palin fans are angry about that, but try asking them for their plan to change it.

    That’s because they’re cowards.

    They’ve bought into the myth that anyone who promises real spending cuts will lose. Even though, as John points out, Reagan attempted to close entire departments, and was beloved.

    They’re shit-scared-terrified of being accused of not caring about the poor.

    So we need to give them a plan to advocate that breaks the back of government while giving them an out on the issue of the poor.

    That is why I offer for consideration the Fluffy Plan:

    Close down every federal program that in any way serves to provide transfer payments or support to the poor or middle class – and replace them with a massive increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit Program.

    We have to present the statists with a political choice between defending their real constituency – the public employees – and the poor they claim to be advocates for.

    I know no one here wants to see transfer payments of any kind, but that battle has to be re-fought down the road after the public employees have been gutted like fish and Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland transformed into ghost towns.

    1. Interesting, Fluffy. I suppose in principle a direct cash transfer is better than one that is managed and targeted for social engineering. Sounds very Milton Freidman-esque.

      1. Well, if the enemy is the state, at a certain reductivist level the state consists of a bunch of people sitting in offices being the state.

        Head count matters. As the ongoing pension disaster shows.

        I would rather increase the amount of “mooching” done by the poor, if that allows me to dramatically reduce federal employee headcount, than continue to spend a fortune on administering assistance programs.

        We devote hundreds of thousands of man hours to administering the fine points of the UI system, the Section 8 Housing system, the SNAP system, and a billion other little programs. Every one of those federal employees is a mini Gibraltar of resistance for the state. We have to smash those first.

        Not to mention the fact that the federal employees constitute a huge reserve army of statism. Their mere existence perpetuates the “normalcy” of having a large state. And the comfortable pay, generous benefits, and low work load associated with these jobs supplies thousands of Democrat activists with 3 meals a day and a roof over their heads, while their only real productive activity is entirely political.

  29. I guess this is a popular topic. My take is this: the South, having lost the biggest post-WWII culture war, over segregation, which of course was entirely about race, not to mention the biggest pre-WWII culture war, over slavery, has a long-standing hostility to the federal government. It’s the only part of the country that does. The “Sagebrush Rebellion” has pretty much burned itself out. Either the environmentalists have bought the West off or so many of them have moved to the “Big Sky” states that Republicans can’t win there consistently. Which means that the Republican Party, as the “anti-government” party, if it’s going to get votes, has to cater to the White South. White southerners are still the poorest white people in the U.S. They hate the federal government’s social dictation, but they believe that hard-working folks like themselves deserve any and all manner of subsidies. They like their guns, but they like their Jesus too. Which means that libertarians, who hate subsidies and are not all that big on Jesus, are pretty much shit out of luck when it comes to the Republican Party. So who’s it going to be, Sarah Palin or Al Gore? These are ugly times, my friend.

  30. I drove past the parking lot in Laurel. MD, yesterday, where Wallace was shot in 1972 by Arthur Bremmer.

    That is all.

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