Monday, October 25, 2010

There's a link going around among liberal Facebook friends and family , that clams to be about false things that voters know, by some Dem campaign guy named Dave Johnson. It's apparently been crossposted around, inlcluding to HuffPo and the guy's organization. Nothing I say here should be taken as an argument in favor of Republicans - I am merely arguing that Johnson has partisan blinders on, such that his attempt to defend the Democrats' record requires him to ignore real problems, and his contempt for the American voter leads him to misrepresent things.

Here's what it leaves out:

Obama did vote for TARP, but so did McCain. It WAS Paulsen's project (hence sometimes-centrist Bushie David Frum'sb"non-ideological" fanboys crowing about its making a profit). The bank bailouts had wide support in 2008 among BOTH Republicans and Democrats. The fact that it was only opposed by a small minority of principled progressives and conservatives, and passed with majority support from both parties - overwhelmingly so in the Senate. 

Medicare IS going broke, and the healthcare "reform" bill (which was watered down to the point of irrelevance by pandering to people in Congress who opposed it anyway) did little to change this. And this: " people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to." is simply wrong. And if it isn't wrong, then all the money spent on Medicare to keep people over 65 healthy is being wasted. 

Also, as I will not be retiring in the next 25 years, the fact that Social Security may not be solvent at that point is still an issue. It's just not an immediate one, and really it can be fixed by making the payroll tax less regressive by applying it to incomes over $90k per year. Obama actually proposed this as a candidate, but it went nowhere.

Lastly, its a basic principle of macroeconomics that government spending (and especially government debt) does generally crowd out private investment either by driving up taxes or interest rates. Instead of denying this with some non-sequiter about infrastructure spending (which, I agree, should have been a larger portion of the ARRA stimulus), he ought to argue the actual logic behind the Democratic stimulus policies - that there are times when private investment dries up for other reasons, such as in a recession, and the government needs to step in then to take up the slack. 

You won't convince Tea Party Republicans this way, sure, but denying the facts to make your argument won't help you convince anyone else.


  1. Joey,
    Thanks for the forum. It's refreshing a week before the election to have someone interested in gathering facts, looking to identify the actual problems lurking behind the partisan rhetoric, and open to discussion of real solutions.
    Sure there are minor flaws in and things left out of Johnson's very brief summary, but they in no way change the basic equation or justify throwing out the rest of the piece.
    Minor flaws vs a smokescreen of outright lies and distortions.
    Flawed, inadequate, or first-step solutions vs catastrophic, non-existent, or backward anti-solutions.
    There's simply no comparison and really only one logical choice.
    TARP wasn't perfect, but it helped tremendously. Best thing Bush admin ever did; saved and well-administered by the Dems.
    Medicare is currently an inadequate solution to the problem of elderly health insurance. Removing Medicare doesn't solve society's problem whereas a Medicare buy-in option could alleviate it.
    SS has been endangered by 30 years of borrowing due to 30 years of Reagan tax cuts plus 20 years of bush tax cuts. Reverse the tax shift. Raise the cap to pay back the borrowed surplus over 30 years.
    For Social Stability issues, more government spending e.g. fixing SS and Med, are better solution. We can no longer expect private, profit-based financial and health insurance industries to solve such problems. They're not in the business of solving those problems. One way or another, these problems require more spending; and public spending in these areas is far more fair, efficient, and reliable.

  2. It's remarkable that an imperative has been established in our society to immediately fact check and critically analyze Democrats while ignoring the bold-faced lies and distortions of the Republicans. Apparently, the "objective" media has given up on exposing Republicans, afraid that if they became biased towards the truth they would be heavily criticizing Republicans the vast majority of the time. So, they attempt to equalize their coverage by focusing on "equal" time rather than equal objective analysis. Extended, out-of-proportion outrages against Dems are acceptable even if they're fabrications, while downplaying the far more serious factual outrages of the GOP. It's not just the centrist media, it's become the habit of the American people across the political spectrum. The far right media has succeeded in building a high level of cynicism into daily conversation; e.g., if the GOP is caught red-handed, the response is "They both do it." The objective is to neutralize Democratic arguments. But, it's so built into daily conversation that now we all do it to the Demos while throwing up our hands and letting the Repos get away with saying anything they want. Liberal-minded people get into being self-critical, feeling the need to be truly "fair and balanced" while conservatives feel that all is fair in hate and war. It's contributed to an odd imbalance in American politics. That imbalance is not healthy for American democracy or for the American people.

  3. Mac,

    Are you really saying you think the Democrats ought to be allowed to be as dishonest as Republicans? Because that's what it sounds like to me.

    In any case, the fact that you think that "TARP wasn't perfect, but it helped tremendously", in any case, shows that we're no where near being on the same page. It was a boondoggle that allowed the perpetrators of the crisis to escape culpability, and allowed them to go back to the business of usual of building debt pyramid schemes to rip off the American people, secure in the knowledge that they'd stacked the Obama administration with "their people".


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