Unlike conservatives, I'm in favor of economic growth

A handful of items worth repeating, and worth following the links to read in full:

Nobel laureate Peter Diamond:

Infrastructure spending is not a vehicle for dealing with a normal recession. But once you recognize this recovery will be slow, you realize this is a time when we should be doing major spending on infrastructure. And a lot of the infrastructure investments are stuff we’re going to have to deal with eventually, so doing it now doesn’t actually add to the trend debt problem, and doing it now means we’re doing it with otherwise unused resources, both in terms of labor and capital, so that makes it cheaper for the economy.

Warren Buffett: “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

Joel N. Shurkin: “Clean Energy Is Booming and Creating Jobs

Clean energy is now creating more jobs for the energy produced than coal or natural gas, and solar energy is the fastest growing industry in the United States, according to industry and academic sources.

Solar energy alone employed 93,502 American jobs in 2010 and could grow from 25,000-50,000 this year, economy willing. Solar also is producing more jobs than any other energy source, and could generate four million jobs by 2030. Fifty percent of solar firms expect to be adding jobs this year in the teeth of the recession.

The Economist’s Democracy in America blog:

Substantively, the economy needs the government to spend more right now. Here’s what I’ve heard from CEOs and investment-firm research directors this past week: the S&P downgrade, while meaningless in direct terms, implies there will be greater pressure on American politicians to reduce deficits by cutting spending. … That is going to be negative for global growth and raises the likelihood of stagnation or a double-dip recession in developed markets. Hence plummeting equity values and a likely substantial hit to corporate profits, especially financial-sector profits, in the second half of the year. Obviously, that means substantially lower tax receipts (wiping out some of the intended deficit-cutting effects). And stagnation will exacerbate consumers’ continuing unwillingness to spend, as well as prolonging companies’ rational preference for sitting on cash rather than expanding and hiring new workers.

The silver lining is that companies’ and other investors’ desire to sit on cash is driving down the US government’s cost of borrowing to chthonic depths unplumbed by exchequers of yore. … The government can save huge amounts of money by speeding up needed expenditures now, on infrastructure and other things, rather than waiting until later, since the government is paying negative after-inflation interest rates.

And the Bureau of Economic Advisers’ huge downward revision of GDP growth statistics for the past three years makes it clear that the 2009 stimulus bill (ARRA) was highly effective … careful analysis by Daniel Wilson for the San Francisco Fed finds there were about 3.7 million more jobs in the economy in March 2011 than there would have been without the ARRA.

Nouriel Roubini: “Is Capitalism Doomed?

The right balance today requires creating jobs partly through additional fiscal stimulus aimed at productive infrastructure investment.

It also requires more progressive taxation; more short-term fiscal stimulus with medium- and long-term fiscal discipline; lender-of-last-resort support by monetary authorities to prevent ruinous runs on banks; reduction of the debt burden for insolvent households and other distressed economic agents; and stricter supervision and regulation of a financial system run amok; breaking up too-big-to-fail banks and oligopolistic trusts.

Over time, advanced economies will need to invest in human capital, skills and social safety nets to increase productivity and enable workers to compete, be flexible and thrive in a globalized economy. The alternative is – like in the 1930s – unending stagnation, depression, currency and trade wars, capital controls, financial crisis, sovereign insolvencies, and massive social and political instability.

Steven Pearlstein: “Blame for financial mess starts with the corporate lobby

Want to know who is to blame, Mr. Big Shot Chief Executive? Just look in the mirror because the culprit is staring you in the face. …

You helped create the monsters that are rampaging through the political and economic countryside, wreaking havoc and sucking the lifeblood out of the global economy. …

… Over the past decade you financed and supported the growth of a radical right-wing cabal that has now taken over the Republican Party and repeatedly made a hostage of the U.S. government.

When it started out all you really wanted was to push back against a few meddlesome regulators or shave a point or two off your tax rate, but you were concerned it would look like special-interest rent-seeking. So when the Washington lobbyists came up with the clever idea of launching a campaign against over-regulation and over-taxation, you threw in some money, backed some candidates and financed a few lawsuits.

The more successful it was, however, the more you put in — hundreds of millions of the shareholders’ dollars. …

Somewhere along the way, however, this effort took on a life of its own. What started as a reasonable attempt at political rebalancing turned into a jihad against all regulation, all taxes and all government, waged by right-wing zealots who want to privatize the public schools that educate your workers, cut back on the basic research on which your products are based, shut down the regulatory agencies that protect you from unscrupulous competitors and privatize the public infrastructure that transports your supplies and your finished goods. For them, this isn’t just a tactic to brush back government. It’s a holy war to destroy it — and one that is now out of your control.

  • Anonymous

    What the hell does the economy’s status have to do with completely
    non-financial “morality”? “Gays are getting rights, so good, decent
    people are angrily refusing to buy stuff and then firing people”?

    I so want to start a business where all the Help Wanted ads start with “Because it is legal for employers to discriminate on the bases of employment status, sexual orientation, and gender identity, no one who is currently employed or who is both heterosexual and cisgender need apply.”

    …I might just do exactly that. Not yet, there’s a lot more work I’d need to do to figure out whether it’s viable, but I wanna turn my Etsy shop into a retail storefront.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Okay, so this IS *more* crazed. Good. I think, anyway. At least that means he wasn’t going this far before. Somehow that makes me feel slightly better for some reason.

    That said, I had at least gathered that there was a refusal to acknowledge his own moral shortcomings…

    I was in middle school when Gingrich first became a household name, and I was not paying the closest of attention.  But from what I remember, back then he was an attack dog for the Republican party, he certainly led an undisguised attempt to frustrate the sitting Democratic president even at the risk of shutting down the government (sound familiar?) but it backfired on him, he got run out of town by his own party, and for years he seemed properly chastised.  Yeah, he was always a bit belligerent, but the general public could only take so much of his BS before calling him out on it, from which he would shrink.  

    But these days, he has abandoned much of the sense of remorse or accountability for his crazy.  He no longer seems to want to temper it against a counter-attack from the critical-thinking demographic.  Even his old failures, which in the aftermath of he seemed to take their lessons to heart, he now denies and repaints them as “moral victories”.  

    So yeah, I think he has gone a bit crazier since then.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Please to not be conflating the mentally ill with Newt Gingrich.

    Yeah, such a comparison is insulting to the mentally ill.

  • Anonymous

     @VMink:disqus :

    * – So just where does someone who is running on a ‘we are legislating morality’ platform as well as a ‘reduce government influence’ platform fall on the D&D two-axis alignment system?

    I’d go with a straight-up Lawful Evil, I think, for a few reasons:

    *) Evil is straight-up a given.  Compassion is antithesis to the Tea Party philosophy.  The morality-anger is directed at Making Other People Act Like Me.  Likewise, the economic-anger is a combination of Other Undeserving People Are Getting Stuff and that Economics Should Benefit People Like Me.

    *) Lawful is a good deal more subtle.  Clearly, the morality side supports this — Tea Partiers support government enforcement, both explicitly and tacitly, of social codes.

    *) The economic arguments also support a lawful stance, but you have to look at it a bit askew.  The Tea Party isn’t advocating any constructive economic codes, of course, but what really sets them off is redistribution — the idea that the government should act to change the current economic order of things.  Really, these policies are another way of advocating noninterference in the Law of the Markets, so to that extent it is indeed a Lawful stance.

    To nutshell, the Tea Partiers are indeed Lawful Evil, but their idea of Lawful is not ‘the democratically, constitutionally given laws of the land.’  Instead, they’re advocating for a strange idea of Natural Law, one-half Fundamentalist-Theology and one-half Jungle Economics.  This also feeds right back into the addiction of offense; they’re not just inconvenienced by the current government, they’re being actively repressed as if they were a bona-fide minority group.

    I suppose that this is a great natural study of what happens if one D&D Lawful Evil group is subject to a non-repressive authority of opposite views?

  • FangsFirst

    You’re right, I realized this myself, and let me go ahead apologize to anyone who read that and thought I would ever insult the mentally ill like that, since I did not do so when I mentioned that I’d chosen my words poorly.

  • FangsFirst

    I was in middle school when Gingrich first became a household name, and I was not paying the closest of attention.

    You and I must be the same age.
    I never got a handle on what names were doing what (beyond Clinton, but he was the only President and all) just the very very basic situations

  • Lori

     I’m still trying to figure out just what it is that the people who call themselves conservatives want to conserve.  

    The WASP male power structure mostly, aka “tradition”. 

  • Lori

     I’d go with a straight-up Lawful Evil, I think 

    My thinking is tthis—the thing that separates the Teas from regular old mean-spirited GOPers* is that they’re more than willing to Burn Shit Down if they don’t get their way. Did you see the clip of Teas cheering as one of their leaders announced that people were calling the S&P downgrade the Tea Party downgrade? They’ll burn it all down and roast marshmallows over the flames. 

    *Both the Teas and the mean-spirited GOPers are separated from the old school GOPers by a whole raft of things. But that’s another post. 

  • Lori

     I’d go with a straight-up Lawful Evil, I think 

    My thinking is tthis—the thing that separates the Teas from regular old mean-spirited GOPers* is that they’re more than willing to Burn Shit Down if they don’t get their way. Did you see the clip of Teas cheering as one of their leaders announced that people were calling the S&P downgrade the Tea Party downgrade? They’ll burn it all down and roast marshmallows over the flames. 

    *Both the Teas and the mean-spirited GOPers are separated from the old school GOPers by a whole raft of things. But that’s another post. 

  • Anonymous

    The WASP male power structure mostly, aka “tradition”.

    Plenty of Catholic conservatives too, y’know. And Jewish. And and and.

    Latest from brother dear: it is more feminist to compel women to be mothers than to use contraception. (He didn’t say it like that.)

  • Lori

     Plenty of Catholic conservatives too, y’know. And Jewish. And and and.  

     

    Yes there are, but in this country the power structure that they’re trying to hold onto is pretty much WASP. 

  • FangsFirst

    I think you could go with “WAS”
    Also, I think they are trying to conserve their money/profit, so there’s that for conservation.

  • Anonymous

    @LoriAnnK:disqus:

    My thinking is this—the thing that separates the Teas from regular old mean-spirited GOPers* is that they’re more than willing to Burn Shit Down if they don’t get their way. Did you see the clip of Teas cheering as one of their leaders announced that people were calling the S&P downgrade the Tea Party downgrade? They’ll burn it all down and roast marshmallows over the flames.

    I agree that they’re (effectively) nuts, but I disagree that this behaviour is chaotic.  Instead, they’re acting like they’re subjected (subjugated?) by a foreign power; the politics is essentially one of civil disobedience.  They’re lawful, but their loyalties differ from the rest of ours.

    Old school GOPers at least recognize that they live in the same country as liberals/Democrats, and they share substantially similar values.  They differ on how to best achieve the desired ends, but at least there’s room for communication.

  • Lori

     I agree that they’re (effectively) nuts, but I disagree that this behaviour is chaotic.  Instead, they’re acting like they’re subjected (subjugated?) by a foreign power; the politics is essentially one of civil disobedience.  They’re lawful, but their loyalties differ from the rest of ours.  

    I distinguish between, for lack of a better term, an insurgent mentality (that of someone who feels subjugated and will fight back by any means available) and chaos. Maybe I just know the fringe of the fringe, but I know at least a few Teas who seem to have passed through the halls of insurgency and landed in Burn Shit Down territory. They don’t seem to care about how it all turns out as long as they don’t They don’t win. 

  • P J Evans

     Better water mains and sewers would be great, too.

  • P J Evans

     You know, those gated communities can also have the gates closed on the outside. All the ones I’ve seen are housing-only, with no stores or any other businesses….

  • Albanaeon

    How about just “Neutral Evil?”  It seems to fit the “as long as I get mine” mentality.  Or the “as long as THEY don’t get anything” that’s been cropping up more and more. 

  • Albanaeon

    How about just “Neutral Evil?”  It seems to fit the “as long as I get mine” mentality.  Or the “as long as THEY don’t get anything” that’s been cropping up more and more. 

  • chris the cynic

    Not yet, there’s a lot more work I’d need to do to figure out whether it’s viable, but I wanna turn my Etsy shop into a retail storefront.

    Where are you located?  (If you don’t mind sharing.)

    And good luck.

    -

    The financial crisis happened right when my sister and I were trying to open up a storefront.  Negations with the place we wanted to lease from went on too long, we missed the tourist season, so we figured we’d push opening back and take our time.  It’s not like there would be some massive problem in the credit markets that would suddenly make it so we couldn’t get loans.  I’m constantly thinking of what might have been.

    I hope you have better luck than we did.  I hope you have the luck I wish I’d had.

  • Jenny Islander

    That fits.  My thumbnail description of the alignments gives Lawful Evil as somebody whose personal aims involve hurting other people in some way (maybe the pain is pleasing, but more likely it’s just easier to step on the other guy’s face) and using the existing system to do it.  Chaotic Evil believes in a dog-eat-dog world in which there is no system beyond “biggest bastard on top until he slips enough for me to pull him down.”  Neutral evil is the alignment of the true believers and the useful idiots–people whose allegiance to, or obsession with, some one thing blinds them to all other considerations.  Vengeful sociopaths killing the same woman over and over or party functionaries giving their all for the sake of the glorious leader or “My country right or wrong.”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    And don’t get me started on how much of Leviticus was SUPPOSED to be about residential building codes.

    Yeah. For example, few people know that it was actually supposed to be “Man shall not lie with man as with a woman in any domicile not equipped with a functional secondary exit unless hand rails are installed with a static load not less than 300 pounds.”

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    They don’t seem to care about how it all turns out as long as They don’t win.

    This is the part that really has me confused and upset.  I can understand if they had some political goal that was mutually exclusive with my own political goals, some action they wanted to take or structure that they favored which was incompatible with the ones that I would prefer.  I can deal with that, I can understand that, though I may not agree with them.

    But it is not about that at all.  Nothing that the government does or does not do will ever please them, so long as they are not the ones doing the governing.  Hell, they do not seem to care if the government does anything at all, or who they hurt by their actions (including themselves) just so long as they can say, “Ha!  We win, you lose!”  Anything short of their complete domination over the government is considered humiliating, intolerable oppression upon them which they must rail against tooth and nail, even at the cost of the country they seek to win. 

    How do you even deal with that?  There is no reasoning with them at all, no ability to compromise, not even the oppertunity for a cease fire. 

    As much as I hate to consider it, when faced with an unreasoning and intent direct threat, violent intradiction seems like the only logical option.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You and I must be the same age.I never got a handle on what names were doing what (beyond Clinton, but he was the only President and all) just the very very basic situations

    I think that the first time politics occured to me was the Gulf War, when I was in third grade.  It was in the few years after that when Bush the Greater’s reelection campaign was heating up against his challenger Clinton.  I did not understand much of it then, but I learned. 

  • FangsFirst

    Ah, you may have a couple years. I was in…first grade? Second? when the Gulf War started. I know, because we had a soldier come in and talk to us (about being a soldier, not about how the war was awesome or terrible, so like having a fireman visit, which also happened). I do remember around 3rd grade learning from my family that we lived in the pocket of conservatism in a college town, as I had an 8 year old mentality of “this person must be good as my parents are voting for them,” and all the other kids (including my friends) were NOT saying Clinton like my parents.

    Of course, said friends have changed their tune…even if their parents may not have.
    Except the one who came from parents with lots of money who were ridiculously strict with their kids. He turned into a pothead dropout and was not heard from again, I’m told (I left the state).

    …Which I suppose says something about being ultra-strict with your kids (his little sister was no great shakes either, telling repulsively explicit and vulgar sexual jokes at…what was she…ten? And already being snarky, sarcastic, cynical and mean-spirited…)

    But, then, I guess Ed Gein already had that lesson covered.

  • http://twitter.com/ASoWords Danielle Custer
  • http://twitter.com/ASoWords Danielle Custer
  • Anonymous

    Ah, you may have a couple years. I was in…first grade? Second? when the Gulf War started.

    I was in seventh grade.  Hey you kids get offa my lawn!  I remember watching coverage of Desert Shield on the classroom television, and I can remember watching news correspondents talk about Desert Storm while it was 2:00 in the morning in Kuwait City and the missiles were raining down.

    In eighth grade, I gave a short and pretty crappy speech in support of Clinton at our mock poll.  I remember I wore a Pog on my belt, as was the style at the time….

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    I was in 7th Grade during Gulf War I too. I remember my parents sitting me down to explain what was happening. They thought it was important, because some folks from our community (we were in Newfoundland at that point) were serving on one of the hospital ships that Canada provided – the Protecteur? Possibly? – and thought I needed to know what war was an etc etc.

    When I was doing my Masters, I came across a book by Tom Englehardt, The End of Victory Culture, in which he mentions that parents were explicitly told to sit down with their kids and explain what was going on, because otherwise we might be traumatized by what we saw on the the teevee, and become radical anti-war hippie types or something. It seems to me that I was more traumatized by my parents’ earnestness than anything I saw or heard on the news (which I wasn’t paying attention to anyway).

  • Anonymous

    Hee.  I was in college — “military” college, SUNY Maritime — when Desert Storm started.  We had a room inspection that night, and the IDOs let us have one radio playing with the news.  We had to increase the attentiveness of the watch aboard ship, and there was some talk of creating an accelerated program so that we could be put aboard Military Sealift Command ships sooner.

    As it turned out, Desert Storm was over pretty quickly.  We ended up not being accelerated, and the US merchant marine continued its long, painful decline into irrelevancy, buttressed solely by the MSC and the coastal barge trade.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

      Instead, they’re acting like they’re subjected (subjugated?) by a foreign power;

    Subjuggulated?

    No, wait – that’s when something’s conquered by evil clowns.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    A very wise and sarcastic friend of mine suggested erecting toll-booths outside gated communities.  But then they’d probably just use helicopters…

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Sounds like a good idea to me!  

    Gated communities kind of irk me.  I see that gate and the message I hear is “Don’t touch me, peasant!  I might catch something.”  

  • Hawker Hurricane

    Falconer “I was in seventh grade.  Hey you kids get offa my lawn!  I remember watching coverage of Desert Shield on the classroom television, and I can remember watching news correspondents talk about Desert Storm while it was 2:00 in the morning in Kuwait City and the missiles were raining down.”

    I don’t want to hear it.  I was a mid-level NCO with 8 years under my belt during Desert Storm.

  • Anonymous

    Leviticus (I think) actually did have a bunch of rules about building codes, especially pertaining to mold and how to get rid of it.  And of course there are two extremely long, detailed passages about the Ark of Covenant and the tent to house it in.  And there was the fantastic rule about keeping toilet facilities outside of the camp.  It is interesting that nobody really cares about the building codes that are actually in there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

    Ah, you youngin’s!  I was 38 when GW1 (“The Big One” aka the “War in the Middle-East to End All Wars in the Middle-East”) started.

    BTW, if the Arabian Penisula is the “Middle East” and China and Japan are the “Far East”, what is India and Bangaladesh, et al?

  • Anonymous

    Either “Proximal Far East” or “Distal Middle East.”  =)

  • Hawker Hurricane

    The “Near East”

  • Anonymous

    if the Arabian Penisula is the “Middle East” and China and Japan are the “Far East”, what is India and Bangaladesh, et al?

    South Asia. When speaking of Asia, I prefer an Asia-centered worldview to a Mediterranean-centered one. Because etymology aside, the Mediterranean is not actually the center of the earth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

    “South Asia.”

    That would make sense.  When I was a lad, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we called Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam “Southeast Asia”.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GVT7C7S6IP2OC44PFUZGAJ4OBM JohnK

    I guess we’re not using Indochina any more?

    Good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    Leviticus (I think) actually did have a bunch of rules about building codes, especially pertaining to mold and how to get rid of it.

    Building codes?  Sounds like so much socialist Big Government restricting the Free Market to me. *waving flag*

  • Tonio

    I still remember the anger I felt when George H.W. Bush told the nation that this wasn’t going to be Vietnam, meaning that our soldiers weren’t going to fight with their hands tied behind their backs. Nice to know that the leader of the free world apparently gets his history from Rambo movies. (Apparently the claim that the US left thousands of POWs in Vietnam began as a myth peddled by Nixon as a reason for continuing the war.)

    I dreaded the beginning of Desert Storm for two reasons. First, I expected it to end up with the US fighting the entire Middle East. Second, at 25 I was still draft age. I wasn’t so much afraid of combat as of being beaten up by my comrades. All-male environments tend to be, uh, homophobic? What’s the word for when men accuse other men of being gay if they don’t meet certain standards of masculinity? Because that was pretty much my experience from middle school through college. I expected to end up being killed not by the enemy but by friendly fire.

  • Hawker Hurricane

    “I’m still trying to figure out just what it is that the people who call themselves conservatives want to conserve.”
    PurpleAardvaark

    Thier wealth, power, and priviledge, mostly.  At least, the ones on top are trying to conserve that.  The rest…

  • Anonymous

    As much as I hate to consider it, when faced with an unreasoning and intent direct threat, violent intradiction seems like the only logical option.

    We still have half a republic left.  Patience.

    A very wise and sarcastic friend of mine suggested erecting toll-booths outside gated communities.  But then they’d probably just use helicopters…

    Don’t you have to pay to file a flight plan?Alternatively, charge them to land their helicopters anywhere else.  Eventually the inconvenience will get to them…
    Either that, or just park AAA outside.  That’ll learn ‘em.
    Also clearly the Tea Party’s alignment is actually Stupid Evil.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X