Stimulate this.

By mw | Related entries in Bad Decisions, Bailouts, Barack, Economic recovery, recession, Senate, Stimulus, Video

Color that lipstick - Stimulus Red

The partisan stimulus bill that does not actually stimulate – that started as an $800B partisan grab bag of Democratic pet projects and pork in the heavily Democratic House of Representatives – that ballooned to $900B in the heavily Democratic Senate – has been apparently been “pared back” to $827B and will pass with the help of 2 or 3 Republican senators, knocking a fully interest loaded $1.1 trillion hole in the deficit. I guess that makes it bipartisan now.

This bill represents about half of the cost of the Iraq war to date, but committed in the first month of the new administration. Impressive. What we saw with this bill is a template for what we can expect from the “post-partisan” Obama administration over the next four years. Very public bi-partisan media photo-op eyewash, but hard-core ideological partisan bills steamrolled over the opposition in Congress. Sounds familiar. And why not? As Obama says “We won”. With his 52% mandate, there is no real reason to worry unduly about the valid concerns of the other 48%.

As this bill represents the new President’s first big partisan victory, it is instructive to review how Obama’s rhetoric on the bill has evolved.

Shortly after the election, while basking in the afterglow of the historic outcome, I – like many proud Americans – watched Steve Kroft interview the new first family on 60 Minutes. I was struck by one particular statement made by the president-elect, and even highlighted it in a post at the time:

Kroft: “Where is all the money going to come from to do all of these things? And is there a point where just going to the Treasury Department and printing more of it ceases to be an option?”

Mr. Obama: “Well, look, I think what’s interesting about the time that we’re in right now is that you actually have a consensus among conservative Republican-leaning economists and liberal left-leaning economists. And the consensus is this: that we have to do whatever it takes to get this economy moving again, that we’re gonna have to spend money now to stimulate the economy. And that we shouldn’t worry about the deficit next year or even the year after. That short term, the most important thing is that we avoid a deepening recession.”

What made the statement remarkable, is that it was patently, demonstrably, unequivocally false. No such consensus existed among economists – not then – not now.

If we were still in the heat of the presidential campaign, partisans might have seen fit to call it a blatant bald-faced lie. If Bush had uttered those words, it would have been cited as yet another example of his pathological inability to tell the truth, his isolation from dissenting views, and his disdain for the “reality based community”. But a new President deserves the benefit of the doubt, so let us just call it an exaggeration for effect.

At the time I considered consulting the intertubes and dragging up quotes from a few dozen economists to contradict the assertion – But – I was feeling lazy, and as he had only been elected a few days before, had not been sworn in, and we had not even really started the honeymoon yet, I couldn’t be bothered. My only editorial comment in that post was a reminder that someone (our children and grandchildren), someday would have to pay the price for this additional debt, in either taxes, inflation, devalued currency or all of the above.

Since then, as the massive stimulus pork laden spending bill took shape, the same statement was repeated in various forms by Obama, by surrogates and by the Democratic leadership. Over the weeks and months, the statement morphed, becoming even more assertive, more arrogant, more imperious and by extension more untrue:

“Economists from across the political spectrum agree that if we don’t act swiftly and boldly, we could see a much deeper economic downturn that could lead to double-digit unemployment and the American dream slipping further and further out of reach.” – Barack Obama 3-Jan-09

“Every economist from right to left, Republican, Democrat, advises that (a government stimulus) has to be a very substantial package” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D) 4-Jan-09

“Everybody, I think, from economists on the left to economists on the right realize that we must make critical investments at this time,” - White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel 18-Jan-09

“There is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jumpstart the economy.” — Barack Obama 09-Jan-09

It became an ideological canon of Democratic dogma, chanted at every opportunity. The odd thing, is that Obama appeared to actually believe it, as if by repeating it often enough it would become true.

Last week, my procrastination paid off, as the Cato Institute published a full page ad [PDF] in the New York Times to set the record straight (and make this post a whole lot easier):

“With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true. Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan’s “lost decade” in the 1990s. As such, it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. To improve the economy, policy makers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.”

Cato also offered a very nifty little widget to promote the ad, which I’d encourage Justin to give a home in the sidebar. It’ll serve to remind him that there are plenty of smart economistswho do not subscribe to failed Keynesian ideological dogma. Towards the end of his life, even Keynes became skeptical of this kind of Keynesian stimulus.

I was encouraged when public support for the bill fell below 37%. Rational arguments by smart people (even economists) were raised in opposition to this bill. Examples include: Megan McArdle (also here), with Sully chiming in (but still apparently unable to resolve his claimed conservative principles with his continuing P.D.S. affliction), Steve Verdon, Greg Mankiw and others.

Encouraging, but ultimately, the congressional process was a lot of Kabuki theater. After applying a little lipstick, this pig of a bill will now pass (H/T to Q&O for the graphic).

Nick Gillespie hit the nail on the head:

“McConnell’s change in attitude seems suspiciously unprincipled and mostly partisan. I’m all for divided government (here’s hoping it delivers gridlock), but one of the problems with unprincipled pols is that, well, they don’t have principles. Which means they will flip the moment they get enough goodies promised them to go one way or the other. And if the experience with the financial sector bailout is any indication, expect the second (and third, and fourth, and so on) bills to be even worse than the awful first draft. And expect McConnell sometime soon to be on the other side of the vote, the one with all those shiny, happy Democrats yapping about how they just guaranteed a car in every pot and two chickens in every garage by funding BS infrastructure programs in every ZIP code in the country.”

One thing has changed. President Obama stopped asserting that there is no credible opposition since Cato published that ad. He has a different message now.

In Wednesday’s briefing with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Obama’s tough sounding but ultimately meaningless eyewash on limiting Wall Street executive compensation got most of the press. The real message was this quote:

“Now, in the past few days I’ve heard criticisms of this plan that echo the very same failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis — the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems,” the president said at the White House. “I reject that theory, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change.”

A video of the entire 10 minute event from the White House can be found here. The quote above occurs at 4:42.

The portion of Obama’s comments not related to executive pay was repackaged and regurgitated into a Washington Post op-ed on Thursday – “The Action America Needs”. Compare this quote from the op-ed to his White House comments Wednesday:

“In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis — the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive. I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change.”

Same old stuff. Pay no attention to the content (massive pork) in the bill. Pay no attention to the fact that it will not solve the root problem and will at best delay a day of reckoning. Pay no attention that it will add a trillion dollars of debt that we do not have and will have to borrow from the Chinese or tax from Americans or devalue the currency to repay. Just pass it, because an economic fear-mongering President says it should be pass.

The point: Since there is no more pretense that credible informed opposition to this insane spending plan does not exist, we have a new message – Something like this…

My overwhelming 52% electoral mandate means that Americans want to flush another trillion dollars that we don’t have down the toilet. Because I say so.

Welcome to the post-partisan Obama era.

Did we learn nothing from the hastily passed $700 Billion Wall Street bailout last year? You remember – when we witnessed the rampant stupidity of a craven congress rolling over to an executive demand for fast action on the basis of economic fear mongering – and as a result – were treated to the spectacle of our representatives wasting massive amounts of taxpayer resources without really understanding what they were passing or having any idea where the money will go or how it will be used.

No need to answer the question. We learned nothing. The exact same thing just happened on the floor of the Senate.

Pucker up.

x-posted from Divided We Stand United We Fall


This entry was posted on Saturday, February 7th, 2009 and is filed under Bad Decisions, Bailouts, Barack, Economic recovery, recession, Senate, Stimulus, Video. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

34 Responses to “Stimulate this.”

  1. Tully Says:

    As I’ve said elsewhere, this is like drinking a bottle of whiskey to cure a cold. When you wake up, you still have the cold…plus a hangover.

  2. mw Says:

    On the other hand, drinking a bottle of whiskey is a completely appropriate response to the passage of this monstrosity. Cheers.

  3. Jim S Says:

    Same old, same old. Using Krauthammer, the Cato Institute and conservative blogs as references when complaining about partisanship is a rather odd choice. Oh, that’s right. This post is just a partisan rant. And even what you’re linking to is the usual twisting of facts for partisanship that is to be expected from some sources. I followed your link to Poligazette. I followed his link to the Washington Times. I saw that the Times was too cowardly and afraid of being found out to provide a link to the CBO document it claimed to be reporting on. So I went looking. Apparently what they are referring to is in reality (As opposed to the Washington Times fevered imagination.)

    In principle, the legislation’s long-run impact on output also would depend on whether it permanently changed incentives to work or save. However, according to CBO’s estimates, the legislation would not have any significant permanent effectson those incentives. Including the effects of both crowding out of private investment (which would reduce output in the long run) and possibly productive government investment (which could increase output), CBO estimates that by 2019 the Senate legislation would reduce GDP by 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent on net. H.R. 1, as passed by the House, would have similar long-run effects. CBO has not estimated the macroeconomic effects of the stimulus proposals year by year beyond 2011.

    Other Effects of Stimulus Proposals
    It is important to note that effects on GDP, the aggregate domestic output of the economy, do not necessarily translate into effects on people’s well-being. First, the part of GDP that contributes directly to people’s welfare is consumption. However, changes in GDP do not necessarily imply corresponding changes in consumption. For example, if GDP rises because foreigners finance greater investment, much of the additional income generated by the investment will flow overseas as payments to foreigners and will not be available to support higher consumption. More fundamentally, many things that make people better off do not appear in GDP at all. For example, healthier children or shorter commute times can improve people’s welfare without necessarily increasing the nation’s measured output in the long run (though spending in those areas would still provide short-run stimulus). Even legislation explicitly intended to affect output may also seek to accomplish other goals and can be evaluated accordingly.

    Here is the low BS post I found that linked to the actual document, a letter requested by Judd Gregg. And lastly, for those interested in reading something from someone not lathering at the mounth about the evil government, here’s something from Angry Bear.

  4. gerryf Says:

    ….I’m telling Sarah Palin…

  5. mw Says:

    @Jim
    Unlike our president, I make no claims about being bi-partisan, post partisan, or non-partisan. I just change my partisan allegiance as needed. The biggest threat to liberty, as always, is the party with all the power.

  6. mw Says:

    @gerryf
    As I said in another thread. I have yet to see or hear of any governor, of any state, of any party, at any time, who did not think the feds should give their state more money. Sadly – Sarah too.

  7. Rick Says:

    <<>>

    Obama won the election 53% to 46% which is 7 % not 4 %. The Republicans make up 40% of the Senate , 40.6 % of the house and McCain won just 32 % of the electoral college. What don’t you understand about the word “minority?”

  8. mw Says:

    @Rick
    I said nothing about 4%.

    52.9% voted for Obama. That means 47.1% did not. Pretty simple.

    I understand “minority” exactly the way you and Nancy and Barack intend it – that Obama’s 52% “mandate” means that a liberal Democratic agenda, as exemplified by this porker, should be imposed regardless of what the other 47.1% think. Got it.

    Just don’t agree with it. Sorry if that offends you.

  9. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    What was most disturbing to me about Obama’s answer to steve Kroft’s question was that he didn’t even answer it. Where is the money coming from? His answer just sounded like more vapid campaign rhetoric with no substance. Does this guy realize that he is the president now?

  10. mw Says:

    To be fair Jimmy, that interview was the weekend after he was elected. He wasn’t President yet – just President-elect. So yeah, he probably was still in campaign mode. Then again – he was still saying the same stuff three months later.

  11. Rick Says:

    MW

    Are you really this dumb? If you spend the time to write an article, why not take the time to get your facts straight.

    If you know Obama received 53% of the vote than why do you insist on saying 52%? And if John McCain got 46% than why do you imply that he received 48%. Obama didn’t win 52 to 48. He won 53 to 46%? There’s a big difference between implying he won by 4% than the truth that he won by 7.2 %.

    Ralph Nader (1% total) got more votes than Bob Barr and Nader’s voters are more liberal than Obama voters. Are you implying that because Nader voters didn’t vote for Obama they must agree with the Republicans on the stimulis? To get an idea on just how much the Republican are in disfavor we have to look at all governement. And what do we see?

    In the house and senate where this stimulus bill was written, Republicans enjoy around 40% representation. That’s nearly road kill in political terms. The majority of the voting public has rejected you (the Republicans) in every level of government. There are more democrats than republicans elected to city Councils, Mayorship, State Houses and State Senate, Govenorships, US House, US Senate and Presidency. Why?

    You guys have been rejected for your incompetence and extremism. The Republicans have allowed tribal ideology to run roughshod over truth and rationality and your paying the price for it. The dems may go the same route but this is the political reality right now. The public trusts the Democrats more than the Republicans.

    You can dislike and complain all you want about the stimulis bill but complaining that Obama and by extention Democrats barely have a majority isn’t a selling argument except to the uninformed.

    Rick

  12. mw Says:

    @Rick
    I made a simple statement.

    52.9% voted for Obama. That means 47.1% did not.

    There is no arguing with that. Its a fact. You want to quibble about tenths of a percentage? Ok. I’ve taken it out one additional level of precision – just for you. Changes nothing.

    You still think a liberal Democratic agenda, as exemplified by this porker, should be imposed regardless of what the other 47.1% think.

    I still disagree.

  13. J. Harden Says:

    mw — History will judge this spending bill and I fear there will be seeds of economic destitution. The Democrats have managed to poison the well with a farcical exhibit of political dysfunctionalism. This bill is not generating “hope” — any more so than a pair of 8′s after the flop. And he’s going all-in with American taxpayers chips.

    I don’t mean to be all nope in the face of chope (change + hope), but the inefficiencies in this “plan” (if “plan” is synonymous with some sort of national bowel movement) are grotesque. With our current indebtedness we are waving the middle finger in face of monetary melt down. Honestly, Obama is acting like an amateur over committed to pot. I thought he was elected for his “judgment”, even “wisdom” and “temperament” — now he’s saying that he was elected ushering a massive ill-conceived legislative convulsion of hodge-podge spending. Oh the man, we’re going to be feeling the chope for a long time…

  14. BenH. Says:

    Take a look at this post I wrote on democratic government. I think it sums up my position and why there NEEDS to be opposition to what Obama does – even if it gets in the way of “Change” and “Hope”.

    http://www.ventpark.com/vent/2009/01/28/democratic-government/

  15. Mario Piperni Says:

    Are you kidding me? You’re using the Cato institute to back up your beliefs that this stimulus belief is a pile of crap? Please.

    The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank and while they definitely have some liberal ideals, their philosophy on fiscal matters is pure conservative ideology (e.g. restricted government intervention in the market place, etc.).

    There is a consensus among economists that something must be done to kick-start the economy. You might want to argue on specific items included in the current stimulus package…fine. But to deny that there is not a dire need to infuse massive amounts of money into the economy is to deny that we are in a midst of an economic crisis. If the report that 600,000 jobs were lost in January is not enough for you to realize this fact, then I don’t what is.

    Mark Zandi, Moody’s chief economist and former economic adviser to John McCain had this to say,

    “The only source of growth in our economy today literally is government spending . There’s only one way out for us in a graceful and reasonably graceful way and that is for our government to be aggressive on every front.”

    Zandi clearly shows how the answer is NOT tax cuts but instead government spending.

    If you’re interested, I speak more of this in a post I wrote at http://mariopiperni.com/republican-party/stimulus-bill-is-a-goalmost.php

    The bottom line is that people are losing their homes and their jobs. The economy is in a dive and guy like you are playing politics. Disgusting.

  16. Jim S Says:

    Rick,

    It’s just that MW labors under the concept that government should never do anything and that a modern society will still function just fine. In other words, expect very little rational thought. It’s just a knee jerk ideology thing with him.

  17. david Says:

    Funny how mw and his foaming at the mouth so-called conservatives never said a word while their republican heroes ran the country into the ground. Now they all seem to really care. That said, this bill is a complete disaster but you have zero credibility to open your fool mouths after what your party did. Maybe you should just shut up and watch for the next 4 years instead of sounding like such a hypocrit.

  18. mw Says:

    @Jim
    Actually the knee-jerk ideology that is most prevalent right now is the knee-jerk ideological Keynesian’s who always assert with a religious fervor that spending for the sake of spending is the answer to everything, Even thought there is little or no historical data to support the notion that a country can spend itself to prosperity.

    I take a more measured approached as I explained in my comment on Brad’s post.

    “If our government was functioning the way it should, every single spending initiative in this bill would be carefully considered on its own merits and whether it is a good use of taxpayer funds. This portion may very well be a legitimate expenditure. If so, let it be debated on its own merits in the heavily Democratic majority congress.

    There are aspects of the spending bill that I think are good and valid uses of taxpayer money. Some of the infrastructure projects. Certainly upgrading the electric transmission backbone. Why is it unreasonable to ask our representatives to carefully consider each expenditure of yours, mine, our children and grandchildren’s money on their merits and vote for them on that basis?

    Instead we get the repeated incantnation of an ideological canon of liberal Keyensian dogma, chanted at every opportunity. We have to spend just because we have to spend, and it makes no difference if the expenditure is needed, understood or completely wasted.

    Sorry if that does not fit your pre-conceived notions. Feel free to continue the irrational ad-hominen attacks while calling me irrational. I understand that this is the best you can do.

  19. Mario Piperni Says:

    MW, as further proof that your entire post is nothing but partisan crap, here’s a quote from today’s Washington Post:

    “While economists remain divided on the role of government generally, an overwhelming number from both parties are saying that a government stimulus package — even a flawed one — is urgently needed to help prevent a steeper slide in the economy.

    Many economists say the precise size and shape of the package developing in Congress matter less than the timing, and that any delay is damaging.”

    But hey, why don’t we just ignore them…and while we’re at it why don’t we just ignore the tens of thousands who are losing jobs and homes…and let’s follow the Cato Institute’s inspired wisdom and just reduce “the burden of government” and cross our fingers and hope that the economy magically fixes itself.

    Playing politics while the country suffers. It doesn’t get any lower than that.

  20. mw Says:

    @david
    A few of my posts for your reading enjoyment:

    GOP Deathwatch

    Libby is guilty

    It’s the war, stupid

    Hastert has to go

    Why vote Dem in ’06

    Big Spending, Big Deficit, Big Government Republicans

    Bush’s bloated big government spending

    I never voted for Bush43. I voted for Gore, Kerry, Straight Dem in ’06, and McCain. You shouldn’t project your own limited worldview on everyone around you. Just because you are a hero worshiping partisan, does not mean that everyone else is.

  21. Justin Gardner Says:

    Rick, please keep it civil. There’s absolutely no need to call people dumb.

  22. mw Says:

    @Mario
    I count a grand total of six economists quoted in that article. That is a little less than “overwhelming” support in my book. At no point in the article do the reporters give any reason or any support of any kind for the use of the word “overwhelming”. Nothing. Nada. Not one word.

    We already knew that there are economists on both sides of this issue. Nothing new there. It was Obama and the Democrats who were trying to assert that “There is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jumpstart the economy.” That statement is not true, as shown by Cato. This cannot be argued. It is a false statement.

    One of the six economists the reporters quote in the WaPo article is Greg Mankiw, who I also link in my post. This is what Greg Mankiw says in the WaPo article. “…more time should be taken to craft spending programs that would not be wasteful.” I agree with that. A lot more time.

    FWIW I just sent this e-mail to the reporters that wrote that piece – Steven Mufson and Lori Montgomery:

    Steven, Lori,

    Do you have any support for the use of the word “overwhelming” in this statement:

    “While economists remain divided on the role of government generally, an overwhelming number from both parties are saying that a government stimulus package — even a flawed one — is urgently needed to help prevent a steeper slide in the economy.”

    Because I don’t see anything in your story that supports that assertion. The article only offers anecdotal quotes from a handful of economists.

    In light of this Cato Institute ad:

    http://www.cato.org/fiscalreality

    – that has hundreds of economists – including 3 Nobel prize winners – as signatories to a statement saying a gigantic stimulus will not help this recession – I would think that a characterization of “overwhelming” support from economists would demand some sort of numerical quantification. At least an explanation from you of what justifies your use of that characterization seems in order.

    Perhaps I am confused. Is this reporting or just an Op-Ed piece?

    Regards, mw

    I’ll report back if I get any reply.

  23. Tom Carter Says:

    This whole business is beginning to sound like the global warming debate. Pick your experts, and believe what you want to. We’ll either be destitute and drowning in high tides in a few years, or not. A pox on all their houses.

  24. Mario Piperni Says:

    Well Tom, while you might be right in your perception of what is going on, the reality is that Reps are just plain wrong on both fronts…the economy and global warming.

    I will not debate global warming in this thread except to say that it is a false debate. When 99.9 of the scientific community is on one side of an issue, it’s not a real debate.

    As for the stimulus bill debate, well that one is as easy to understand. Reps held the levers of government for 8 years and much of the current economic crisis is due to their failed policies. Now that they lost an election in which people called for change, Republicans are acting as if they have all the answers. Please.

  25. Jim S Says:

    Actually, mw, my point still stands. In spite of what you wrote in that excerpt the point still is that your overall philosophy will result in what you wrote there never being accomplished. So which is it? The knee jerk “Keep the government split and dysfunctional.” philosophy represented by your web site or what you wrote in that quote? They aren’t both going to work.

    And you have no idea what I can and cannot do. I, on the other hand, know that you have chosen a simplistic, black and white, simple answers for simple minds philosophy to govern your overall political ideas. In this overall framework government with the existing parties will never accomplish anything worthwhile for the country. And since you also consider the Cato Institute capable of having good ideas, that also tends to show a reverence for the reality challenged who think that libertarianism would actually function in a nation of over 300 million that exists on a world of 6+ billion.

  26. Donklephant » Blog Archive » SNL: “You can’t control the majority…” Says:

    [...] reminiscent of some recent comments I’ve [...]

  27. Andrew MacRae Says:

    @Jim S – Your one dimensional thought processes are exactly what is wrong with this country. It is possible to be critical of the stimulus and a Democrat (i.e. the 11 blue dogs who voted against it) Open Congress. A bad bill is a bad bill, and this country does need more thoughtful moderates.

    The fact that the stimulus package is still laden with pork barrel projects is absolutely disgusting. Both the Sunlight Foundation and ProPublica have been doing a commendable job of showing us how this Congress is planning to piss away our money here’s an interactive map of the House version.

    If this was so vital to the Nation, you’d think they could pass a bill without a few members pork projects, or are we to stop calling that pork and start calling it “economic stimulus”? If that is the case then Ted Stevens and Robert Byrd should be acclaimed as visionary champions for combating recession in their own states for so long.

    The fact remains that no-one in Congress has come forward with a straight face and described how this is a reasonable measure as part of a coherent strategy toward a specific goal. How much money is this really going to take? we’ve spent 800 ish billion already. Congress wants another 800-ish already. Krugman has stated that this would take around 2-3 trillion.

    Finally – lets not forget that all of this money that we are spending is coming from China/petro-dictators. So the choice is, do we as a nation want to keep borrowing from China/petro-dictators to fund a way of life that seems unsustainable – or do we take this opportunity to evaluate the situation and plot a new way forward (vision as apposed to mere sensory reaction).

  28. Rich Horton Says:

    Wow…there are a lot of dumb claims in this thread.

    Sorry folks, but it is a logical fallacy to say “Oh that came from CATO it must be wrong.’

  29. mw Says:

    @Rich
    Yeah. Not only is it a logical fallacy, but on the face of it was so absurd that I thought that it was not even worth pointing out.

    It’s kind of a fish in the barrel exercise, but what the heck…

    The only thing that I used Cato to cite in this post, was a list of signatories to a statement – economists, including 3 nobel prize winners that signed on to a statement refuting the Democrats and Obama’s lie claim that there was virtual unanimity among economists supporting their Keynesian ideological dogma. Just a list of names and their universities. Over 300 in the ad and 200 or so more that signed on after the ad. That was the Cato citation – a list of names that anyone could check out.

    What are Mario and Jim claiming? That these people don’t exist? That Cato made them up? It is laughable.

    I’ll also note that many on the left had absolutely no problem citing Cato’s excellent scholarship during the Bush administration, when they were doing fantastic work documenting the Bush/Cheney constitution trampling executive power grab and the Republican budget busting spending spree. It is only now that the Democrats are in charge that Cato suddenly has no credibility.

    I guess I am not surprised by the hypocrisy we are now seeing from the left. I just didn’t expect it to be so blatant, so mindless and so early in the administration.

  30. Jim S Says:

    The concept of the ad hominem fallacy was invented before the age of the “think tank”. It died as a result of that invention but somehow some people never noticed. But mw and Rich aren’t bright enough to figure that one out. When it comes to economic issues Cato is the one-dimensional thinking factory. I’ve never given them any credibility on economic issues. One reason is this masterpiece. My claim concerning those who signed onto the Cato statement is that it’s easy to find conservative economists by the hundreds. Big whoop.

    As far as the ProPublica piece and other claims of how “laden” the bill is with pork, some people actually looked at what the bill contained. It needs improvements. But most of the people arguing against it the loudest are the same ones whose only solution seems to be more business tax cuts, ignoring the demand side of the business equation. This damages their credibility.

    And if we are going to speak of mindless hypocrisy, let us discuss people who think that something as simple as “divided we stand, united we fall” makes for a good concept of government and then twists a quote from Thomas Jefferson to support it. After all, Jefferson did not apply that saying to government but to religion. He said

    …the maxim of civil government
    being reversed in that of
    religion, where its true form
    is, “divided we stand, united
    we fall.”

  31. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Two polls. Two graphs. Two views.Be afraid. Be very afraid. Says:

    [...] Republicans are handling the situation. They seem all too willing to tinker at the fringes of this porker, rather than take a meat axe to it, or even better, work to kill it and start over. I particularly [...]

  32. david Says:

    I never voted for Bush43. I voted for Gore, Kerry, Straight Dem in ‘06, and McCain. You shouldn’t project your own limited worldview on everyone around you. Just because you are a hero worshiping partisan, does not mean that everyone else is.

    Right, I’m the partisan. Actually, I think I’ve seen enough of your drivel to tell that you are sinply against whatever is trying to be done. What a tough position, no thinking needed, just always negative. Grow up.

    BTW, I voted for Ron Paul… that’s how partisan I am, and I agree this bill is a disaster. I’m just not so childish as to throw a temper tantrum and spew morinc Limbaugh style drivel.

  33. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Thanksgiving tradition – precedented and “un” Says:

    […] dead was doomed to succumb to the inevitable demographic shifts in the populace and that ideas like fiscal restraint are so last century and […]

  34. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Center on Budget and Policy Priorities still blaming Bush tax cuts for deficit even though they expired. Says:

    […] mistaken impression that two trillion dollars of new spending passed in just two legislative acts ( Stimulus and Obamacare) on purely partisan votes in two years of one party democratic rule might have had […]

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