Adventus

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“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Friday, May 25, 2012

Preaching it round and also square....

Apropos of nothing except that you can't keep up with reality,  Charles Pierce notices that Romney stepped on 30 years of GOP economic policy:

Halperin: Why not in the first year, if you're elected - why not in 2013, go all the way and propose the kind of budget with spending restraints, that you'd like to see after four years in office?  Why not do it more quickly?

Romney: Well because, if you take a trillion dollars for instance, out of the first year of the federal budget, that would shrink GDP over 5%.  That is by definition throwing us into recession or depression.  So I'm not going to do that, of course. 

Now, as it readily admits, the blog's knowledge of economics is limited to the blog's first law of economics -- Fck The Deficit. People Got No Jobs. People Got No Money -- and it also believes that most professional economists arrive at their conclusions by reading the entrails of doves and cutting up goats on a rock, so it may be wrong here but didn't Romney, in saying that, pretty much blow up the entire rationale for over 30 years of Republican economics right there? Cutting government spending will throw us into a recession or depression? No Christmas cards from the Ryan household this year, Willard.

Which would be stunning, shocking, and amazing, if not for the GOP Senators in Washington:
Sen. Harry Reid’s refusal to “back off” looming cuts to the Pentagon won’t just harm the nation’s security, Republicans say. It could plunge the fragile U.S. economy back into a recession next year. GOP defense hawks struck back at the Senate majority leader Thursday for insisting he won’t stave off or delay $600 billion in automatic defense cuts unless Republicans budge on new revenues.

Or, as Jon Kyl puts it:

 “The whole point here is to try to get some economic growth, job creation, to get out of this recession,” Kyl told POLITICO. “Why would we risk going backward with policy that even CBO says would be the wrong prescription right now?”
Now, yes, these are cuts the Republicans insisted on in the Budget Control Act last August.  But then, foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Or something.

22 Comments:

Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Rmj, does it ever cross your mind that half the citizens of the country have gone mad? Is it just us? Has half the rest of the world gone mad, too? Save for me and thee, of course, and even thee....

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Sherri said...

Conservative economics is easy to understand: government spending is bad when it is spent on *those* people (unemployment discourages them from getting jobs), excellent when it is spent on the right sort of people. Taxes are good on *those* people (did you know that 45% don't pay taxes - we've all got to have skin in the game!!!), bad on the right sort of people (job creators!!!).

3:00 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

Sherri--people who, Rush Limbaugh now assures us (and he's right!) are not in business to create jobs!

Mimi--well, I'm fairly sure about me; but the test is the picture in this post: tell me what you see......;-)

4:26 PM  
Blogger The Thought Criminal said...

The People are a luxury that the country can't afford. That's the DC-NYC-Atlanta GA elite consensus.

It's probably just a gaff on Romney's part though he might be trying to expand from the Republican base that thought he was insufficiently depraved to get their votes in the primaries. He's expected to have the nomination sewn up next week, I believe.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Windhorse said...

Sherri, you make a good point. Harvard sociologist Theda Skocpol spent months with Tea Partiers and discovered that, in fact, this is explicitly what they believe and how they describe the world to one another. They see no problem with themselves having had government jobs or enjoying government benefits but denying these same things to others because they believe they are/were deserving of it while the ”others” (minorities, liberals, city-dwellers) are not. There is a good article on her experience here:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/marchapril_2012/on_political_books/stay_for_tea035861.php

I'd say her analysis rings pretty true as I have many people of the same mindset among my own extended family.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

Windhorse--

Thanks for the link. I saw her interviewed on Rachel Maddow some months back, but didn't have the article link.

I'm still convinced some part of this (probably because of my experience among the elderly as a pastor, brief though it was) is due to longevity, thanks to modern medicine. My parents have both outlived their own parents lifespans by decades now, and are still going strong. I think some of the "we've always done it this way!" still controls them.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Some part of it is due to the elderly living longer? Hmm. I suppose so, but the Tea Partiers I meet are mostly not elderly. It's rather alarming to me to see how many of the younger generations buy into "We deserve it, but 'they' don't."

2:31 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

Some part of it is due to the elderly living longer? Hmm. I suppose so, but the Tea Partiers I meet are mostly not elderly. It's rather alarming to me to see how many of the younger generations buy into "We deserve it, but 'they' don't."

As Monty Python said, "This is where my theory falls to the ground."

My memory is of people during the "Obamacare" days screaming about socialized medicine and getting government out of their Medicare, and all the screamers were--ahem--elderly.

But IIRC, that's not what the study Windhorse mentioned shows. It is largely younger (hey! I'm still young!) people, and that ugly strain of American racism which isn't really linked to skin color but to "ethnicity" (assuming WASP's are not "ethnic" and anybody else is; I guess). Or maybe less ethnicity, really, than socio-economic status. Or maybe it's just anybody who's NOK.

Yeah, I think that's it.....

3:47 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

When I posted my comment, I had not read the linked article. My experience of what I call Tea Partiers is not of the organized groups, except on one occasion, when they seemed very angry, indeed, but rather of like-minded individuals and is admittedly anecdotal. The findings of the study may well be correct, but I find them appalling in so many ways.

Change is happening, so we must react to hold back the changes (as thought they could). We care for those like us, but to hell with the "others".

Not that I took your comment personally or anything. ;-)

6:22 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

Change is happening, so we must react to hold back the changes (as thought they could). We care for those like us, but to hell with the "others".

This is the part where I'm confused. I saw "change" in the 60's, and it was fundamental and radical. It created a world my daughter grew up in, and the one I was born into is as exotic to her as Medieval Europe.

So why the reactionary reaction now? (Not that the "to hell with others" hasn't always been with us.)

7:17 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Rmj, as you know, I am old. I've seen "change" happen a good many times in my life, but the reaction to change by the Tea Partiers and their like-minded fellow travelers is the strangest and least fathomable that I have known. Fox News, the Birthers...I could go on. Perhaps the Birther movement is racism by another name and is therefore nothing new. Perhaps all of the reaction is nothing new, the same-old after cosmetic surgery. In earlier times, the response to change seemed to follow more or less logically upon the changes (action - reaction), but not so now.

What would fit neatly into your theory of people living longer driving the reaction is that the 1950s seems to be a period of choice to which many would like to return.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Sherri said...

Birthers, Birchers...are they really all that different? Modern communication amplifies everything, but I'm not sure the reaction to change is any different, just louder.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Sherri, you could be right. So many in the organized group which gathered at a town meeting of one of my senators seemed impervious to facts. I was civil in all my conversations with them, but I finally stopped talking when one woman told me, "F*ck you, bitch!" and walked away. Where ya gonna go from there?

10:34 AM  
Blogger Rmj said...

The only "change" I see is a black man in the White House.

Even "Obamacare" is not that radical a step, not considering how far from Medicare it is (and it's quite far from Medicare). All the lies about "Death Panels" and now "Obama is the biggest spending President in history" (we're through with "Obama apologized to foreign leaders"), have been just, well....lies.

Lies are hardly uncommon in political discourse in America, but the vitriol here is equivalent to the hatred JFK faced in the South, and that was largely because he backed civil rights legislation (which is forgotten now, by and large; LBJ got the Civil Rights Act passed largely as a memorial to JFK, and he said so in order to push it through). Coming to Dallas in '63 was dangerous for JFK; more so than he knew, of course.

But it was a vitriolic time. All I can see different about today is that Obama is black. I really don't see anything else (well, aside from the FauxNoise drumbeat about how "liberals" are going to turn us over to the UN, but I'm old enough to remember when "Trick of Treat for UNICEF" was a Commie plot, like fluoridated water. What I don't understand is how lunatic fringe politics became so thoroughly mainstream without the simple explanation of racism. Of course, I could be wrong....)

5:17 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

What I don't understand is how lunatic fringe politics became so thoroughly mainstream without the simple explanation of racism.

No, you're not wrong. You hit the nail on the head.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Sherri said...

Lots of people seem to go out of their way to try and find an explanation for it other than racism, but it sure looks like racism to me. Maybe I'm unduly influence by growing up in the South, but if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, I need a lot of evidence before I'm going to believe it's a cat.

Of course, it's apparently worse these days to call someone a racist than it is to actually be racist.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

Racism was accepted then, too; we just called it "prejudice," though, as if there were gradations of racial animus from acceptable ("prejudiced") to unacceptable ("racist").

Now we just deny it exists, and move blithely on with the racial animosity.

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is multilayered. Something changed in the mindset of part of the GOP/Conservative element in the '80's so that, for them, no Democratic officeholder is ever entirely legitimate. We saw this in the '90's when the tone was set by "Impeach Clinton" bumper stickers springing up around DC in the weeks before his first inauguration when, by definition, he couldn't have done anything to justify it.

Now you add a creeping sense that the country is past the peak of its political and economic power and the racist reaction to the first non-Caucasian President and the crazy is out in force. As Grandmere Mimi points out, a lot of it is purely visceral and impervious to any kind of rational, fact based resolution. I'm not sure how long any system vaguely resembling a democracy can function with a significant proportion of the population taking that kind of approach unless their side wins all the time.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Rmj said...

This is multilayered. Something changed in the mindset of part of the GOP/Conservative element in the '80's so that, for them, no Democratic officeholder is ever entirely legitimate. We saw this in the '90's when the tone was set by "Impeach Clinton" bumper stickers springing up around DC in the weeks before his first inauguration when, by definition, he couldn't have done anything to justify it.

It's actually been traced back (in the pages of Harper's Magazine) to Goldwater, who was full blown crazy, and backed by full-blown crazies.

LBJ crushed him in a landslide of epic proportions, exceeded only by Nixon's defeat of McGovern. But where McGovern's loss taught the Dems to be timorous, Goldwater's defeat taught the Birchers in the GOP to get crazier.

At some point the NRA went from being a pro-hunting organization to Wayne LaPierre insane. And the GOP went from desiring to govern to desiring to control. Newt Gingrich rode to prominence in part on the rantings of Limbaugh(Gingrich invited Limbaugh to DC for the new Congress after his Contract with America won him the Speakership). When he was forced out, Tom DeLay doubled down on the partisanship and control Gingrich exercised.

The Koch brothers today were raised by a radical Bircher, and they represent the rich crazy that wants to run the country as Goldwater was supposed to (i.e., without giving in to those civil rights loonies or establishing the welfare state of LBJ's "Great Society.")

This has been brewing for nearly 50 years, in other words. And what's interesting is a new poll NPR reported on this morning: the poor no longer quite believe in the "American Dream." Which is pretty much a post-WWII concept anyway. But, as the WWI song put it, now that they've seen Paree, how you gonna keep 'em down on the farm?

I think Dylan might have been right, and the times they are a changin'. I think the Tea Party is the blush on the cheek of a dying age.

At least, I hope so....

9:02 AM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

With Anonymous up there, I agree that the more folks who view the government as illegitimate, unless their side wins, the less governable in anything like the form of a democracy the country will be.

I'll stick my nick out and predict that if Romney is elected, and he attempts and is successful in pushing the policies of the crazies through Congress, we will see unrest in the country. The Occupy movement is not dead, only semi-dormant, and they will awaken and carry along with them a good many folks besides the 'dirty hippies'.

Of course, if Obama is reelected, we may see unrest in the country, so I suppose I'm not sticking my neck out so very far in my prediction.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

LOL! It's always safer to stock one's nick out, rather than one's neck.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Tanveer Ali said...

You are then informed you need to deliver the same program to about 20 (Yes twenty!) of your buddies or networkers. Lukas Purnomo

6:29 AM  

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