Not Your Typical Party Person

The post entitled, “Not Your Typical Democrat”, got me thinking… There are those of us that exist in each of our respective parties that do not subscribe to the strict ideology that some in our party would favor. 

I guess those that subscribe 100% to the ideology of their party would be called ideologues or, “party people”.  For me personally, while I have always supported Republicans, and likely always will, I have at times taken positions or held beliefs that put me at odds with some in my party.  I like free thinkers and people who are not strict ideologues. 

Broad disagreement is good and healthy debate is a sign of healthy democratic participation. 

Some of those positions include:

Tax Cuts: I think it is irresponsible at this point to further cut federal taxes.  With record deficits, to further cut any taxes would mean borrowing money from foreign countries.  In addition, we would be cutting taxes in return for higher interest rates and worsening economic conditions for future generations.  No, I think we need to get our fiscal house in order before we continue cutting taxes.  That means, yes, I favor a balanced budget.  That means, yes, that I’m against deficit spending.  What I would favor and strongly encourage is FUNDAMENTAL tax reform with no net increases. 

Environment: Have we forgotten that we have to take care of this planet we call home?  We need to protect and preserve our environmental gifts from God.  In my view, there needs to be a healthy balance between science and business.  I live in a part of the country that used to be heavily polluted by paper mills.  Thanks to federal clean air laws, my air is now much cleaner and healthier. 

Health Care: I think that these Flexible Spending Accounts and Medical Savings Accounts are just the tip of the spear if you think outside of the box.  However, I would like to see leading doctors come together and set a recommended policy toward health mandates.  Runaway mandates are what are causing some to push for this broad mandate-free insurance.  We need to bring the experts to the table and discuss what is crucial and what is not.  Some mandates are life saving screenings and to turn back the clock on those improvements would be foolish.  I also believe that we need full mental health partiy.  If people can be treated for their depression, they will live longer and happier lives. 

Education: Public schools can and should be the best in their communities.  There is no reason that every child in this country cannot have the access to a first class opportunity to learn and succeed.  It’s too simple to just reduce class sizes and increase teachers, we need to get away from the idea that “mega-schools” are a good fit for education.  We need to get back to smaller community based public schools.  We need to increase the financial rewards for being a teacher and being successful in teaching children.  Education funding needs to be handled like federal transportation money.  States need to set strong guide lines for success and hold schools accountable.  I do not favor vouchers of any kind, however, if a school fails two years in a row, those students at that school should be able to attend any school they want, public or private, at the state tax payers cost.  Poor schools shouldn’t be a reason for a student’s academic failure. 

On the host of other “important” social issues I feel like some of the extremes of both parties have used them as scare tactics to drive out turnout.  That does nothing to further the debate of the role of government in our society.  You almost can’t have a healthy debate on some of those issues without bringing out the extreme elements of both parties in a hate driven exchange that serves no one any benefit, so I’m not even going to bring them up here…




  1. griftdrift says:

    Good stuff, Mr. Moose. Especially on the health care issue. Complex and baffling don’t begin to address it. Everyone should be at the table talking especially doctors. When something is broke, you glue it, screw it or tattoo it. You don’t take time to demand absolute perfection.

  2. Bull Moose says:

    Thanks, everyone should be at the table… Doctors, nurses, patient advocates, insurance companies, hospital administrators, you name it… We need a collaborative approach.

  3. dingleberry says:

    It would seem that the only person who doesn’t know that Bull Moose is a Democrat, is Bull Moose.

  4. LymanHall says:


    What many people don’t understand is how you can be a hard-core Republican or Democrat (support the party, candidates, etc.) without being a hard-core liberal or conservative. For instance, I watched the RI Republican Primary debate between Se. Lincoln Chafee and the mayor of Cranston. Neither one of those Repbulicans would be “real” Republicans to some here in Georgia. Both parties can be big tents. Republicans like you and Democrats like myself (and Andre) will hopefully bring the reasonable middle back to politics and end the partisan bickering and gridlock.

  5. Bull Moose,

    I’ve got to agree with you on the environmental aspect of your post. The Earth is our home and we’ve got to take care of it.

    Education, I think that the teachers should be allowed to teach and the politicians should stay out of education aside from giving the teachers the funding and resources they need to get the job done. I also believe that there are some cases in which charter schools are beneficial to the community as a whole.

    The elementary school that I went to, Woodland Elementary in Sandy Springs, successfully made the conversion to become a charter school and the standards of excellence at Woodland still remain high as they always have.

    Taxes, well, I think that people pay way too much in taxes and get way too little in goods and services from the government that they’ve paid taxes too; but the tax code as well as the issue of taxes is complicated and I’ll admit to not understanding it.

    Healthcare – honestly, I believe in affordable healthcare because I don’t think that a person should have to choose between buying their prescription drugs and buying food for their cabinets.

    Just an example on how “F”-ed up our healthcare system is, when I signed up for my health insurance plan with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, they sent me an amendment to the policy that they wanted me to sign saying that they wouldn’t cover me for healthcare costs that derived from the treatment illnesses caused as a result of asthma or allergies.

    And that’s the one thing I need health insurance for.

    I hardly ever get sick, and when I do, it’s usually asthma or allergy related; but Blue Cross/Blue Shield wouldn’t cover that.

  6. Bull Moose says:

    Don’t get me started on Blue Cross / Blue Shields… Personally, I think that someone in our state needs to take a fine looking glass to that company because my rates have been going up as fast as you can imagine… That’s just plain crazy. I asked my doctor if his costs were going up by the same percentage and he said no. Something doesn’t add up here.

    I’m pretty hard core Republican, but you’ve got to be able to be pragmatic and think for yourself.

  7. Mad Dog says:

    Bull Moose,

    Love where you started the thread.

    Agree that we must think for ourselves.

    On company prices increases like Blue Cross/Blue Shield…

    I’d suggest researching the effects of stock options and bonus plans on executive behavior. It’s possible that stock pricing models where revenues and bottom lines MUST grow at a constantly increasing rate drive consumer pricing more than “costs.”

  8. Bull Moose says:

    Also, let me take this opportunity to comment on the issue of partisan redistricting. I’ve been for an independent commission ever since I spent an election cycle in Iowa. It works there and it can work here.

    It makes no sense to have sitting legislators drawing their own boundary lines for an election.

    It needs to change and needs to change SOON. I hope that we see a constitutional amendment letting us as citizens to vote on this measure at the ballot box in 2008, before the next round of redistricting.

  9. RandyMiller says:

    Yes, Blue Cross/Shield has become a major cluster you know what. And health care is a major concern. No doubt worsened by a few greedy trail lawyers and insurance companies. How to fix this…God only knows, but Bull’s idea of bringing together leading physicians to research/discuss ways of improvement and access is a good place to start. And I’m not against helping those in need without the funds when health is involved, but indigent care as we now know it is going to really hurt us in the future.

  10. Bull Moose says:

    Listen, the emergency is the most expensive, least effective health care and that’s where those that are the poorest of the poor turn to when they are sick and God help them sometimes it’s too late…

    There is a better way and a good place to start is with a “Medical Summit” to come up with a good plan…

  11. Big Mack says:

    Bull Moose,

    I have spent my life trying to get the GOP of Georgia into the position it is today. What you propose on redistricting is very noble;but it aint gonna happen. Every one of the damn democrats needs to “Cry me a river” especially that fat ass Big Guy. We are in charge and we are going to continue partisan redistricting. The dems need to learn to love it.

  12. dingleberry says:

    Actually Bull Moose, I came to that conclusion by thinking for myself and not buying into your self-righteous fluff.

    Bull Moose is an avowed Democrat.

  13. Mad Dog says:

    Big Mack,

    I’m sorry to hear that your life has been so productive and lonely.


    You and I did a really good job of picking names. Wait! I think someone else said that!

  14. pvsys says:


    I agree that it might be dangerous to cut taxes dramatically without also cutting spending… but where I might disagree with you is that you seem to buy into the argument that $1 cut in taxes leads to $1 of less government revenues when, in fact, many types of tax cuts lead to increases in government revenue!

    The 80s are a perfect example. Even though the democrats in the 80s (who controlled the purse strings in Congress at that time) spent like drunken sailors… Guess what, Reagan’s tax cuts in the early 80s led to increased revenues to the government… and dramatically so!

    Of course, cut the tax rate to absolute zero and there wouldn’t be any government revenue… so, obviously, we need to cut spending AND cut taxes and be mindful that some tax cuts spur the economy more so than others.

    Historically, taxes are still VERY high percentage wise and I’m afraid that any Republicans who don’t know that are kind of like the frog in the boiling water…


    I know that some of the private schools with “college campus”-like facilities which appeal to the very-upper-middle class and the rich can be very expensive per pupil… but if you ignore those schools and compare what many other less expensive private schools are doing on “shoe string” budgets.. it is then practically criminal that public schools are spending MUCH more per pupil to turn out a MUCH lower quality product!

    In a sense, public schools overall are kind of stuck in the 70s in terms of their effeciency and effectiveness. American business and americans in general have undergone several phases of productivity improvements and revitalizations and renewals since then… some of which was painful… but public schools have remained stagnant thoughout this period.

    I know that some will defend THEIR child’s public school as being a “good” school… but, most of the time, this will be a situation where the parent is districted for a top-10% or top-20% public school and this does NOT reflect reality as a whole… and, in other cases, there are a few cities here and there that have much better public schools than the average city.

    But, in fact, regarding the 80%+ children who don’t attend these particular schools, we are practically throwing them in the trash can. Really. I know this is a metaphor, but I can’t think of a more accurate way to say this!

    Also, American’s standards for what constitutes “good” education has, across-the-board, been dumbed down because so many of us are now products of poor (or somewhat substandard) education… on top of all of this, even many private schools are not what they should be because they aim to be X amount better than public schools and THAT bar is often so low, many of these private schools don’t have to work that hard to get there! They know that they’ve “got us” when we consider the “pubilc school” alternatives.

    I know that many (but not all) of those “other” parents are crack-heads who don’t care in the 1st place… but what really saddens me is the parents who DO care but are stuck in bad public schools due to their economic situations. If we could at least give THEM vouchers (as you seem to agree??), then we could turn this thing around. Others would see them succeed and the cycle of poverty broken and others would follow their lead. (as well as the descendants of these better-educated citizens)

    I think we sort of agree on this to some extent, but I’m afraid what I consider a failing school might be dramatically different. For example, I think that a school is failing if children cannot read a newspaper article out loud “fluidly” without any large pause by at least the 3rd or 4th grade (children in the private school that my children attend can do this earlier, btw).

    I taught school several years ago at a public high school… which was supposedly the best public high school in Melbourne, FL (during a 6 month internship) and there were 10th graders there who strugged with such a task!

    –Rob McEwen

  15. Know Nothing says:

    After reading Bull Moose’s comments, it seems like John Kerry isn’t your typical Republican either.

  16. RiverRat says:

    I’m going to go ahead and be the jerk democrat who asks you “why again are you a republican?”.

    NOTHING you describe is currently a policy advocated for by the GOP, nationally or locally.

    Perhaps some of the health care stuff, but I don’t think either party really has a solid position on how to address the situation. Dems who consider themselves the base may be leaning ever more in the direction of some form of universal health insurance, but I think the elected officials and most mainstream Dems agree with keeping an open mind on the issue.

  17. dingleberry says:

    Finally, people are starting to see things my way. Bull Moose is about as Republican as Lincoln Chafee. Republicans favor low taxation, Bull does not. Republicans think that the individual should have to pay for his/her own healthcare. Bull thinks that other peoples tax dollars should go to pay for his healthcare. Republicans want to take power away from the Department of Education, an abysmal failure of a department. Bull wants to empower it.

    Bull is not a Republican. Bull Moose in a RINO (Republican in Name Only) Also known as a Democrat.

    Bull Moose is an avowed Democrat pretending to be a Republican.

  18. Jace Walden says:


    I don’t think Bull said he was in favor of socialized medicine or more government control of education. In fact, he did advocate personal medical savings accounts, and a stronger state and local education system as opposed to a one size fits all Federal system.

    He’s definitely wrong about taxes, but at least he’s not advocating raising taxes. I don’t see where you’re getting this whole “RINO” thing, unless you happen to know the guy personally.

  19. Mad Dog says:


    On tax cuts, you’re misinformed.

    Historical tax rates ? How about 92 percent in the top bracket versus 34 percent now?

    Historical? How far back? Back when railroads were still being built? Or since the interstates became the mode of transport?

    If you’re going to make tax rate comparisons, how are you going to norm for income, purchasing power, life style? etc etc etc…

    The other thing, Reagan tax cuts. If I remember my very basic economics, GDP increases as government expenditures increases. In direct and equal amounts. One dollar increase in government spending always increases GDP because that is the formula.

    Increases in GDP and government expenditures have multiplier and other effects on the economy.

    If the only thing changed had been tax rates under Reagan, then and only then would you be able to make the leap that Voodoo economics cured the illinesses as promised.

    And, those promises were pretty big. That the tax cuts would pay for themselves.

    That means that any increase in revenues would have to be greater than if no tax cuts were made (after adjusting for revenue lost). That would be absent any changes in all other factors. Borrowing, lending, deficit, expenditures, balance of payments, current account, federal reserve action, reserve requirement, action by the open market committee.

    Just to name a few. I said then and I say now, the Laffer curve is crap as economic policy.

    Your argument about Reagan caused revenue to increase is deeply flawed but commonly repeated until it has become urban legend.

  20. Andrew says:

    I agree with Demon on this one. Bull Moose starts his post saying he is not your typical party person. And yes you can be a Republican and have your own ideas. We as Republicans shouldn’t be locked into just one way to look at things. An open debate is needed for future growth and progress. Ideas that are basic to the foundation of the Republican Party since its formation will always unite all of us as Republicans.

  21. Big Mack says:

    Mad Dog,

    I don’t give a damn what you think. I merely made a statement telling you how it is and how it is going to be. If you think that the state party is going to set up an independent redistricting commission, you must be very naive or crazy as hell.

  22. RiverRat says:

    Andrew – you may want to see what happens in Rhode Island before you make a comment like that. It looks like Lieberman isn’t the only incumbant getting his butt kicked by his own party.

  23. pvsys says:

    Mad Dog:

    >>How about 92 percent in the top bracket versus 34 percent now?

    You are comparing apples to oranges. Do you really thing that anyone in America actually ever payed close to 92%?

    Sure, we had those kind of tax rates during the quirky 70s… but no one ever paid them because the tax write-offs at that time were out of control and made the whole system a complete joke. (please… ask an accountant about this!!! As I understand it, many of the rich people who qualified for those kind of rates actually paid very little in taxes.)

    But merely looking at the highest income tax rate is totally bogus.

    The real figure that matters is how much overall taxes across-the-board and of every type is taken out of the pockets of individuals compared to what they earn. This includes local-state-federal and it includes gas taxes, sales taxes, employment taxes (including the employer’s hidden portion of employment taxes), other hidden taxes, and things like trucking taxes which add to the cost of milk, etc.

    If you compare that as the “numerator” in this equation and everyone’s total income before taxes as the “denominator”, then percentage-wise, we are still at near historic highs in terms of how many cents of every dollar is confiscated by the government out of the pockets of Americans.

    Because the federal government takes the lion’s share of this, it is most at fault.

    >>how are you going to norm for income,
    >>purchasing power, life style? etc etc etc…

    Actually, I think there is a huge argument that some of the best things our country has ever done infrastructure-wise were done BEFORE the taxes got so high percentage-wise… and the fact that the federal government now takes such a huge piece of the pie and spends it so inefficently is a large part of why our infrastructure is falling apart.

    Also, just because we’ve been able to compensate for some of this because of technology doesn’t mean we couldn’t do much better.

    In other words, entrepenerial ingenuity brought us stuff like the assembly line, the microprocessor, the Internet (at least made it useful for all americans), autos, airplanes, etc… sure, gov’t helped a little here and there… but this was mostly the result of businesses operating in a free market (which explains why this stuff was invented in the 20th century in the U.S. and Japan and not Russia)

    Just because these innovations have increased our standard of living has nothing to do with where we COULD be right now if the government operated more efficiently and confiscated less of our money.

    Regarding the 80s, federal revenues doubled in the 1980s from $517 billion to $1.031 trillion.

    You are totally in the dark about the 80s.

    You should read the following report:

    It totally blows your myths about the 80s out of the water. In fact, it is only when Bush Sr. increased taxes in the early 90s that the roaring 80s economy most began to faulter… but even that was a hickup in comparison to the overall improvements that started after Reagan’s early 80s tax cuts.

    The problem with government spending is that it is a lot like paying people to dig a hole in the ground and refill it over an over again. Of course, not always this bad, but… on average, you will find much more of that kind of waste in government compared to the private sector. Sure, these dirt diggers have incomes and spend money… but if that more of that money is redirected to the private sector, you not only get employees who are paid and spend money… you ALSO get more people figuring out how to build machines which dig that dirt much faster or who figure out how to dig holes in the ground which are actually useful.

    –Rob McEwen

  24. Mad Dog says:

    Big Mack,

    You don’t sound certain. Are you sure? Really, really, really sure you built the Republican Party?

    Do I think the “state party” is going to set up an independent redistricting commission?


    Do I think the “state government” might some time in the future set up housekeeping chores with Paris Hilton?

    Since I don’t have Nancy Reagan’s astrologer, I don’t predict the future.

  25. Bull Moose says:

    Well, I’m glad to see that we are having a somewhat intelligent conversation about the issues here.

    Let me put to rest any notion that I’m a RINO or anything less than a solid Republican.

    I believe that the ideas that I espoused on are very Republican in nature.

    Community control of public schools is a central Republican theme. Cutting the deficit and having a balanced budget are both Republican philosophies. Teddy Roosevelt was the President who created our National Park System. He was also a Republican. My thoughts on improving health care are more conservative and pragmatic than most Republicans. The last thing I want is the government to get into being a health care insurance company. As for taxes, yes, I feel like we’ve gone a bit overboard with the tax cuts. You have to do a lot of reading, but I don’t like the idea of our tax cuts being paid for by borrowed funds from foreign countries. When you are deficit spending that is exactly what is happening.

    My point that I was trying to make was that we need to have a real dialogue with citizens about the issues outside of the context of party politics. Party politics locks people in too quickly to ideologically based positions.

    Our society is over-polarized right now between the two parties with less than a majority of citizens even participating in the democratic process. That’s an alarming statistic. If the current office holders aren’t going to address that problem, who is? Are we going to wait till democratic participation falls even further?

    Let’s keep the dialogue going in a positive direction based on issues here…

  26. Bull Moose says:

    Oh, and I think it would be a great idea for our political leaders to be engaging citizens, local doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, patient advocates, and representatives of the insurance community on common sense solutions to some of our health care problems.

    Can you imagine a series of open forum meetings across the state with Georgia based ideas and improvements for health care? We would have the opportunity to revolutionize the health care industry and this country…

  27. CobbGOPer says:

    As I said earlier on PI regarding redistricting:

    I find it funny that the Democrats, after 130 years of gerrymandering this state to their liking, with no aspiration to make the process non-partisan (since they were in control!), now want to change the process because they’re being redistricted into extinction.

    I only have this to say: doesn’t feel good, does it? Now you know how we GOPer’s felt for decades.

    Besides the fact that I don’t think a non-partisan commission will exactly be non-partisan (I mean, someone’s gotta appoint the commission members, right? How is that process not inherently partisan unless we spend taxpayer dollars to make the commission elected directly by the people?).

    But I digress: You Dems want to do something about redistricting? Get a plan, get a clue, and win back control of the legislature, like we had to do. To the winner go the spoils… Losers can take a seat.

  28. pvsys says:

    Bull Moose:

    Why must you insist on blaming tax cuts for our government’s need to borrow money rather than spending increases?

    This would be like if I were to invest $500 in equipment for a promising new business venture that was quickly being successful and generating revenue …AND… spending $500 that same month on an extra weekend trip to the beach… then later that initial month falling short and having to borrow $500 to make ends meet that month… then blaming the equipment purchases for my problem and ignoring the beach trip.

    In the same way, the out-of-control spending (by Republican’s BTW)… stuff like that out-of-control highway bill… should be the first to take the blame.

    In fact, it is really amazing that the economy is doing as well as it is right now considering the sharply increased energy costs our economy has endured in recent years… and I don’t think it is a coincidence that improvements directly followed the implementation of the tax cuts. I also think that without Bush’s tax cuts the we’d still be in that 2001 recession right now and our deficit spending would be WORSE due to dramatically decreased tax revenues.

    BTW – Mad Dog: Here is another myth from the 80s… you’ve probably been led to believe that Reagan’s military buildup is responsible for the 80s deficit, right?… but it turns out that for every dollar of increased military expenditures in the 80s, there were 2 dollars of increased domestic spending by the Federal Government.

    –Rob McEwen

  29. pvsys says:

    Moreover… in order to believe what the Republican Bull Moose AND these other Democrats believe about Tax Cuts…

    …you also must believe that every dollar of a tax cuts ends up under someone’ mattress… never to see the light of day again!

    (Or, alternatively, you have to believe that our economy benefits more when the government controls that dollar rather than the private sector)

    –Rob McEwen

  30. Mad Dog says:


    “I don’t think it is a coincidence that improvements directly followed the implementation of the tax cuts.”

    The tax cuts were directly followed by a recession.

    You can start your research here:

    As if you want to know …

    That recession started July 1981. It lasted 16 quarters. The average peacetime or wartime recession (1945 -2000) lasted 10 quarters. It was 28 months from the previous trough to that cycles trough. [Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981]

    Any evaluation of economic effects should acknowledge the Announcement Effect. Announcing the action/cuts creates change as if the actions/cuts have taken place.

    Again, that if you want to know.

  31. Paul from Jefferson says:

    I think as a long-term solution to redistricting that a non-partisan commission is the way to go. An implementation date of 2132 (after 130 years of GOP control to match the period of Democratic control) seems about right to me.

  32. Mad Dog says:


    Urban legends versus facts versus beliefs versus Conventional wisdom versus a well thought out analysis…

    Go with your gut.

  33. pvsys says:

    That quote from me was referring to Bush’s recent tax cut, not Reagan’s tax cut.

    But regarding Reagan, ANY recession which starts 6 months into a president’s term is the previous administration recession. (unless that president started a nuclear war or something!).

    In the same way, the recession of 2001 was Clinton’s recession.

    In BOTH cases, the tax system and the budget were all results of the previous administration.

    Also, regarding Reagan’s tax cut, or ANY tax cut, they all have a delayed reaction. For one, the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 didn’t actually effect taxes and budgets until 1982… So you have an initial delay waiting for the tax cut to even be implemented. Next, there is an additional delayed reaction in the same way that getting a raise at your job doesn’t eliminate all your debt all at once… that also takes some time.

    In fact, Bush’s tax cut had an even greater delayed reaction because it was phased in so slowly. (a mistake that wouldn’t have been made had there not been so many Liberals in the Senate).

    –Rob McEwen

  34. pvsys says:

    Do you see how foolish you sound when you try to blame Reagan and Bush for results which took effect before the ink was dry in these bills they passed which reduced taxes?

    If you want to show “cause and effect” which might prove your point, show me a large tax cut which led to worse economic conditions 1 1/2 years later. THAT would prove your point.

    –Rob McEwen

  35. dingleberry says:

    I can’t believe you are letting that liberal ninny, Bull Moose make you think that he’s anything buy a liberal ninny. How gullable are you people? Moose is a cut and run democrat. He doesn’t even think we’re at war with Islamic Fascism! He wants to see Nancy Pelosi be the next Speaker of the House! Get a hold of yourselves. Moose is an avowed Democrat. His allegiance is to liberalism. He has sworn an oath to the Karl Marx section of society. Don’t buy his BS!

  36. pvsys says:

    Sorry, but I insist on “beating that dead horse”…

    I guess, Mad Dog, you’re saying that if I actually believe that, during a newly elected president’s first several months in office, his is NOT working off his own budget that he himself signed into law even before he even became president, then I must be some kind of nut who believes Urban legend and fairy tales, right?

    -Rob McEwen

  37. Bull Moose says:

    Dingleberry is wrong, I believe we are at war with extreme militant elements of the Islamic faith. However, I DO NOT subscribe to the neoconservative philosophy. I do not see American as a great imperialistic force of right and wrong that needs to force itself on other nations.

    We cannot cut and run from the war on terror. I never said that. You are putting words in my mouth.

    I also favor low taxes, I just don’t think that given the situation with the war on terror that it would be prudent to further cut taxes at this point. God help us if we’re hit with another major hurricane.

    We need a balanced budget amendment and this debate would be very simple.

  38. Mad Dog says:


    “That quote from me was referring to Bush’s recent tax cut, not Reagan’s tax cut.”

    So you do or don’t see relavance to Reagan tax cut of 1981 and the huge recession that followed?

    Now that you’re chewing on the dead horse, how long was the 2001 recession?

    Shortest recession since WWII. When did the Bush Tax Cuts take effect? Slowly as you said, but how about the Announcement Effect? I guess you don’t understand or hafve ever heard of how various mechanisms of a modern economy react to rumors? Or, how future markets can determine present prices?

    Having someone yell recession from the bully pulpit is a self fullfilling. Bush was using the R word seven months before the recession started. When recovery occurs, it is a jobless recovery with growth rates below previous rates and just now returning to 1998 levels.

    The 1998 levels were being suppressed by FRB and Greenspan.

    As I have been saying, four criteria determine validity of a premise like always when lowering some taxes, increases all economic activity.

    These are those criteria.

    Time Order Relationship
    Non-Spurious Variables
    Theoretical Justification

    Although Tax Cuts come before your arbitary 1.5 years to stimulus, and meet a standard of co-variation, no one can eliminate non-spurious variables.

    You’re making the classic Ice Creams sales cause Juvenile Delinquency.

    Ice cream sales do go up before juvenile delinquency rates. However, that’s a spurious relationship.

    It gets hotter. Ice cream sales increase. It gets to be the school system summer break, juvenile delinquency increases.

    Proving time sequence no matter that time frame isn’t proving a theory.

    The Bush and Reagan tax cuts were 20 years apart. The most immediate movement in the economy from announcement or imminent passage of huge tax cuts was in both cases increases in unemployment and recession.

    To your point of budgets. You’re right and wrong at the same time.

    Budgets are in the works three years out. Bush et al were working with Clinton budgeting for the first two years of office.

    To review econ 2000 and government 2000 level:

    The 1998 fiscal year started in October of 1997. In the typical framework, the year being worked on is called the ‘current year.’ the year ahead is the upcoming fiscal year.

    The Presidents budget is only a suggestion to Congress. etc etc etc

    “Preparation of the President’s budget typically begins in the spring (or earlier) each year, at least nine months before the budget is submitted to Congress, about 17 months before the start of the fiscal year to which it pertains, and about 29 months before the close of that fiscal year.” To just cut and paste.

    However, the budgets and budget results are affected by real time actors.

    Given that at a minimum the lag time is 17 months to the start and 29 months to finish, no body expects that budget to be perfect.

    There are automatic programs (like those social programs that kick in when the economy turns down). There discretionary spending programs. There are emergency budgets requests. Heck, prior to 1921, there wasn’t even a budget.

    Oh! I almost forgot the mid-session update!

    But, it does become up to Congress to enforce the budget.

    So the first two years of a new Presidents first term, assuming normal electoral processes, are guided by Congressional budget enforcement and the new Presidents ability or need to change the budget. Which can be done very formally or very informally, depending upon a variety of things.

    But, you’re not interested in knowing the mechanics. You’re just into the semantics of being loud.

    The keys for you are assigning blame to liberals, Clintons, Democrats, intellectual elitists …

    You weren’t very responsive to any of the technical aspects of my postings.

  39. Mad Dog says:


    To twist the knife a little more …

    “I don’t think it is a coincidence that improvements directly followed the implementation of the tax cuts.

  40. Jeff says:

    Dingleberry is a very far out there individual. I bet you have a lot in common with Jack Abramoff. What would be wrong with leaving Iraq, or stopping fighting ideas with bullets and bombs? The War on Terror is not what it has been presented to the United States as. It is just a ploy for the president and the rest of the executive branch to circumvent judicial and legislative checks and balances. We can not continue to fight a war on an ideology, we tried that with communism and the war on drugs. Did it work? No. We bankrupted the USSR, and that ended the Cold War…not Vietnam, not Korea. Fact is the world, particulary the Middle East, Africa, and Southern Asia have had problems with Islamic fundamentalism for decades, and in some cases one could argue for centuries. It was really just a matter of time before the United States was hit. We can not keep trying the justify an ends by the means taken to achieve our goals. Would you abandon your beliefs if the U.S. was continually bombed and raided by enemy soldiers? I don’t think so. Another problem is that the media and the president (and his thugs) continually emphasize individual events (episodes) as opposed to themes underlying our current conflicts. It is like blaming all poverty on individual character flaws as opposed to a system prevents economic mobility (Remember what the nation was introduced to after Katrina) Nearly all of us have ignored the history. If we, as citizens, began holding the government accountable then the job could get done. But you Republicans just keep supporting the garbage the president throws in your troughs. Just remember, so long as the War on Terror continues…he can do whatever he wants. Then the next president will inherit Bush’s legacy, and (even as a democrat) I hope it is a Republican. What america needs right now more than anything is for your party to destroy america a little more, and embarrass itself so the Democratic Party can fix everything again.

  41. Jeff says:

    For most of you I am sorry if I have offended you, but this is aimed at the ideologue neocons out there, dingleberry in particular. T

  42. dingleberry says:

    I think it is irresponsible at this point to further cut federal taxes

    We need to protect and preserve our environmental gifts from God. In my view, there needs to be a healthy balance between science and [evil corporatism]. I live in a part of the country that used to be heavily polluted by [the evil corporations]

    Public schools can and should be the best in their communities. I do not favor [choice] of any kind

    Don’t get me started on Blue Cross / Blue Shields… Personally, I think that someone in our state needs to [exercise more big-government control over the private sector]

    As for taxes, yes, I feel like we’ve gone a bit overboard with the tax cuts.

    I believe we are at war with extreme militant elements of the Islamic faith. However, I DO NOT [want to do what is necessary to win that war]

    Yes, those are quotes from the “solid Republican” Bull Moose. But before we go, I have one more:

    Let me put to rest any notion that I’m a RINO

    No. You are not a RINO. You have made it perfectly clear that you are anything but what could be considered “Republican”. Have fun at the next Karl Marx convention, Bull. Tell Hillary, Rahm, Howard, Nancy, and Arianna that I said “get bent”.

    Liberal ninny.

  43. Mad Dog says:


    I don’t have your courage. Another Republican President and Repub Congress just to punish neo-cons.

    Hmmm. But, I like it! Eight more years of no global warming, tobacco isn’t addictive, and bridges to no where.

    A birth tax for every new born. Another 10 million illegal workers. Another 4 trillion in debts. No free speech. Presidential signing statements. A pandering judiciary. Tax cuts for Michael Bolton, Paris Hilton, Michael Jackson, Michael Moore, Elton John … Job cuts and salary cuts and retirment cuts for real families.

    Oh heck. Let them have eight more years.

    Just what the next generation, if there would be one, needs. An object lesson

  44. Jeff says:

    Dingleberry, Make sure you tell Mr. Delay, Abramoff, Bush, Cheney, Liddy, Robertson, Frist, Mehlman, Boortz, Limbaugh, Hannity, and O’Reily that they are destroying america when you go to Nazi camp in November. Peace, Love, and empathy.

  45. pvsys says:

    Mad Dog,

    You said:
    >>So you do or don’t see relevance to Reagan tax
    >>cut of 1981 and the huge recession that followed?

    But you ALSO said yourself:

    “That recession started July 1981”

    Guess what? The Kemp Roth Tax Cut act of 1981 was signed into law August 13, 1981.

    Therefore, that recession was well underway BEFORE this tax cut was even signed into law.

    How is it that the 1981 tax cut caused the recession (which you DID say!!!) if that recession was ALREADY well underway BEFORE this tax cut was signed into law? HMMMMM?

    And, in case you didn’t understand this, in July 1981… when that recession started… we were operating under a budget written and passed and signed into law by a fully Democrat House & Senate + Jimmy Carter.

    Please re-read that last sentence because I don’t think you are “getting it”!

    Furthermore, anyone who doesn’t understand the following is a moron:

    The U.S. economy is like a large ship which does NOT “turn on a dime”, but rather shifts slowly… taking at least several months and typically 1-2 years for any significant changes to take place in reaction to ANY type of change in tax policy!

    Obviously, the difficulty that you are having is that you believe what you WANT to believe, in spite of the facts.

    What is particularly interesting is that not only did the 1981 tax cut pull us out of that recession which was already underway BEFORE that tax cut was passed… but also, it then continued to propelled the economy to such heights in that Reagan could campaign specifically on his economic accomplishments his 1984 election campaign… and then win by a landslide.

    And when did I ever say “tax cuts have a magical immediate effect”

    In fact, I never said or even implied that anywhere in this thread. Stop putting word in my mouth!

    (BTW – you are way overestimating things like the “Announcement Effect” because you have to since the actual tangible results of real policy changes do NOT support your assertions… Therefore, you end up having to inflate things like “announcement effect” in your desperate attempt to create an alternative reality so that you can continue to believe a series of falsehoods and myths which support your world-view.)

    –Rob McEwen

  46. Jeff says:

    Mad Dog never put words in your mouth. Magical immediate effect was not in quotation marks. I suggest that you reread that line. Anyway you do have some valid points, but Reaganomics was a bad idea, it really caused our deficit to sky rocket. But what do Republicans care about deficit spending? Afterall, your party does campaign on it, but has never lived up to it’s word. They just keep appropriating and spending on little pet projects like the “Bridge to Nowhere”, and the Iraq war…sorry only part of the war was budgeted, this allows the president to say that his tax cuts are working and we are only deficit spending half of the original projection (typical of the right wing, to lie with numbers). The announcement effect has a profound influence of actions taken by the business and organized interest communities. You last comments are very off the wall as well. “Therefore, you end up having to inflate things like “announcement effect” in you desperate attempts to create an alternative reality so that you can continue to believe a series of falsehoods and myths which support your world-view.” What? You are talking about progressives here. You have been sold ideas that fit your worldview, and your party keeps trying to sell dead horses to the American people. Those nice little quips, analogies, anecdotes, and repeated fairy tales that the Republican Party has spit out for the past 20 years was literally brain washed you and many others. I suggest you actually read legislation, and read the reports published in Congressional Quarterly or by independent commissions, not listen to the mindless rhetoric thrown around on in the conservative media.

  47. pvsys says:


    >>Mad Dog never put words in your mouth.

    Oh really… here is what he wrote in reference to what I supposedly wrote:

    One minute tax cuts have a magical immediate effect, then when you get called on that, they have a delayed effect.

    It is unmistakable that he is arguing against a point I never actually made, or even implied. Whether I used the word “magical” is entirely besides the point. I was actually quoting him at that point.

    >>it really caused our deficit to sky rocket

    The only way a tax cuts can cause deficits is if it results in less revenue.

    But, instead, revenues to the federal government from tax collections in the 80s increased significantly!!!

    Therefore, how the 1981 tax cuts have anything to do with the 80’s deficits?

    Another way to create a deficit is to simply increase spending dramatically.

    And do you realize and admit that the Democrats who controlled congress during that time spent money like drunken sailors and spent way beyond the rate of inflation at that time? Also, domestic spending increased by $2 for every $1 of increase in military spending at that time.

    Please admit or deny the facts in that last paragraph.

    Frankly, I’m not a cheerleader of the Republican party and I’m very disappointed in their out-of-control spending of recent years… so you won’t find me defending THAT.

    Try blowing less hot air and empty rhetoric in your next post and, instead, please explain to me how a tax cut which leads to increased revenues can possibly cause a deficit? Please also explain how this could possibly be the culprit when domestic spending shot through the roof in the 80s.

    –Rob McEwen

  48. Jeff says:

    I am not going to refute of deny that Democrats may have spent a lot in the 80’s, but Reagan signed off on the budget, so before you try and play the blame game your messiah approved of it. And speaking of spending like drunken sailors, last I looked deficit spending has been at an all time high since 2002, I believe the Republicans have controlled both Congress and the White House…so who are you to accuse the Democrats of taxing and spending, or spending like drunken sailors. I do remember that it was Clinton that balanced the budget, and we began to have budget surpluses. These are all facts, what rhetoric do you speak of? Have you ever thought that the tax and spend liberal Democrats you have been tricked into despising actually tax and spend on par or less than your fiscally conservative Republicans. It is all reall a matter on how that money is spent. In my classes I always tell my students that the only difference is that when Democrats are in control the poor starve a day later. Rhetoric this may be, but the theme that it presents is extremely relevant. Oops, I used that frame…theme. I forgot conservatives can only think in episodes, sorry pvsys. Study political socialization and political pschology and write me back later if you think it is still rhetoric.

  49. Mad Dog says:

    This post is only about announcement effect. (as compared to shotgun effect… i.e. blasting away like Cheney)

    The very weak science of economics tries to explain so much that it seldom explains anything. Nope, not a cop out.

    A hundred or so years ago, it was political economy. A good book on the history of economics see “The Worldly Philosophers” by Robert L. Heilbroner. Just remember it is a history of economics as a philosophy, not as a science.

    Philosophies try to explain human behavior. (Yes, this only about announcement effect. Necessary background.)

    Some behaviors are rational. Some are not rational. Well, that isn’t needed as background. Not in this thread.

    Announcing the economy needs a huge boost from the federal government OR ELSE! … if that announcement is delivered by the right person in the right place MAKES IT TRUE.

    Greenspan testifying openly before Congress. If he mumbers the R word, we are in a recession. It’s a fact because of who, what, when, and where.

    In a long last past, yelling fire in a crowded theatre. Nowadays, yelling gun at a Republican political rally. Running in an airport. Wearing a beard and a turban on an international flight going to Washington, DC. Saying the various magic words, … i.e. “I’m a terrorist.”

    A more muted example, something we’ve all seen, the noon weather report say we’re going to have an ice storm! If that announcement happens on Saturday. No announcement effect, no problem.

    Same announcement, Friday before a three day holiday weekend?

    No more milk, bread, or beer on the grocery shelves.

    Maybe you’ve heard the old saying, Bad news travels fast?

    Announcing that the economy is headed for a recession and the only thing that can save us … is a tax cut … Makes the recession real (in the minds of consumers, voters, people…) Makes the tax cuts necessary. (in the minds of people).

    Triggering a recession, like sinking a ship, can happen almost instantly.

    Building the ship, getting it afloat? Repairing a sunk ship and salvaging it? No announcement can make that real in the minds of people.

    Let the highest authority figure in the nation say, Recession as in we are in a recession.

    Announcement effect also can be simply called panic.

  50. Mad Dog says:


    This post only about federal budgets

    The current estimates for GDP are somewhere around $14 trillion, give or take.

    The current federal budget is about $2.8 trillion. Another estimate, lots of give or take in those numbers.

    The budget is somewhere around 20 percent of GDP.

    That compares to personal income estimates, last ones I saw about a year ago, as $2.4 trillion to $4 trillion dollars. (those vary wildly depending upon defining income and allocations for juridictional issues. International vs. domestic among others like realized and deferred, accounting methods, yeah yeah yeah)

    So to your point of budgets not being a sharp mover in the economy. EXACTLY! Back to your example that I like of a huge ship that responds slowly to the helm.

    Taxes, revenue in the budget, are classically less than the total budget. Income taxes even frickin’ less. So of all the forces that determine how quickly the ship will respond, are income taxes (cuts or increases not being discussed yet) the largest?


    So your analogy holds true for the boat, but it sinks your theory (and the theory of so many others) that even huge changes in income taxes would have huge DIRECT, or even delayed, consequences to the overall economy.

  51. Mad Dog says:

    Now, Rob,

    Just to be my jackass self.

    Economic theory, being the soft science that it is, can not provide concrete answers that prove either Reagan’s tax cuts, Kennedy’s tax cuts, or the 2001 Bush tax cuts stopped a recession. Created jobs. Caused the US economy to change for the better over a long term.

    The one huge change, back about 1980, was the change from ________ policy to _____ policy to control economic cycles.

    That is your take home test question.

    A simple fill in the blank type of thing.

    You may use outside sources.

  52. pvsys says:

    >>Just to be my jackass self.

    No problem. I understand that you liberals must be extremely depressed and angry right now over that highly successful and ground breaking missile defense test yesterday… so I if this debate can provide a means for you to vent your frustruations, I’m happy to help 😉

    Here is how I back up my assertion “Also, domestic spending increased by $2 for every $1 of increase in military spending at that time.

  53. pvsys says:

    …hit the return key accidentally… here is the rest of…

    In fiscal year 1981, we spent 157 Billion on national defense… and the entire Federal Budget was 678 Billion dollars.

    By fiscal year 1989 (exactly eight years later… representing the end of Reagan’s tenure), we spent 303 Billion on national defense, which was a 146 Billion dollar increase over what we used to spend at the beginning of the Reagan years. (303-157=146)

    Also by fiscal year 1989 (exactly eight years later), we spent 1,143 Billion (or 1.14 Trillion) on the overall budget, which was a 465 Billion dollar increase over what we used to spend on the overall budget at the beginning of the Reagan years. (1,143-678=465)

    To make simply the math, I’m going to adjust the overall increase from 465 to 450… and the defense increase from 146 to 150. In fact, this slight adjustment works against the argument I’m trying to prove so you can’t accuse me of playing tricks… if anything, making this adjustment works against my argument.

    Now, if you divide 450 into 3 equal parts, you get 3 groups of 150. (3 times 150 = 450).

    450 (the overall increase) – 150 (the Defense portion) = 300

    Therefore, we have:
    150 (the Defense portion)
    300 (the non-Defense portion)

    150/150 = 1 (the Defense portion)
    300/150 = 2 (the non-Defense portion)

    Therefore, the increase Federal Government spending in the 80s that is the result of increased Defense spending is equal to 1 of these three parts. Non-Defense increases in spending represents 2 of these three parts.

    Therefore, my original statement is true:

    “Also, domestic spending increased by $2 for every $1 of increase in military spending at that time.

  54. Jeff says:

    What slant in the mainstream news? Reagan could have vetoed the budget, and sent a presidential message to Congress asking for various adjustments. The Republicans do not understand fiscal discipline, they may be social conservatives (as they have proven) but they are definitely liberal in the spending habits. As I remember Clinton was given the line-item veto, it was later ruled to be unconstitutional, but it was one of the biggest mistakes that the Republicans could have made. All of a sudden your party could not spend outrageous amounts of money to please a small number of organized interests, and in some cases mere individuals. We Democrats believe in pooling the commonwealth for the common good, just as our forefathers believed. A few of our most successful states still abide by this principle (i.e. Mass. and Vir.), these are on large scales…not a single city that opted out of Social Security. While the commonwealth principle was a guiding principle of our country’s founding the Republicans label it socialism. Why?

  55. pvsys says:

    >>What slant in the mainstream news?
    You’ve got to be kidding me. For starters, the same kind of slant that would have them peddling 100% verified-as-fake documents to try to discredit Bush just prior to an election.

    >>Reagan could have vetoed the budget
    As I understand it, they always delivered their budgets at the last minute when a veto would have created a government shutdown. There was also absolutely no guarantee that a veto would have resulted in a more fiscally responsible budget… they might have even added more spending after they and the liberal news media talked even more about “cuts” to school lunch programs and “head start”, etc! What would Reagan do, veto it again… and keep the Government shut down even longer?

    >>Republicans label it socialism. Why?
    Maybe because if you read the 2004 Republican Platform, it reads just like the 1960 Democrat Platform… and if you read the 2004 Democrat Platform, it reads like the Communist Party of America platform of 1960.

    >Republicans do not understand fiscal discipline
    Absolutely correct if you are talking about the Republicans of the past several years… but during Clinton’s term, they were very fiscally disciplined… stop confusing issues and times.

    Most importantly, you’ve provided absolutely zero evidence that the Democrats would be more fiscal disciplined then Republicans and I’ve provided much evidence to show that the Democrats are and would be LESS fiscally disciplined than even these poorly fiscally disciplined Republicans of recent years.

    For example, G.W. Bush “caved in” and played his “moderate card” by working closely with Ted Kennedy and, together, they implemented very large increased in funding to the Department of Education. Guess what, it wasn’t enough. Kennedy later backstabbed Bush about poor education funding. How ironic… but it just goes to show that there is never enough domestic social program spending as Dems are concerned and they would spend way more then even the most liberal spend-thrifty Republicans if given the chance and power.

    This reminds me of when Democrats used George Bush Sr.’s tax hike in the early 90s against him. It seemed so hypocritical because Bush was giving in to pressure from the news media and from Democrats when he raised taxes. He was actually doing what Democrats WANTED done! To then later be criticized about this tax increased by fellow Republicans makes sense… but it was totally disingenuous for Dems to later criticize him because they wanted the tax increase (and then some)!

    The same is true about your criticism of Republican’s recent over-spending.

    –Rob McEwen

  56. Mad Dog says:

    I don’t see a break out in those numbers for mandated spending.

    Enjoy the weekend. If it rains and I can’t go out on the lake, and I get really bored, I’ll put the real numbers together.

  57. Jeff says:

    You talk a lot of trash, what do you do for a living? Yes Reagan could have vetoed, and Congress could have voted to override. The president can not veto an override. That is American Government 101. Next, you need to stop comparing the Democrats and Communists, the Democrats do not believe in state ownership of the means of production, nor do they believe in total redistribution of wealth. Turn off Fox News. If there are any radical ideologies that can be compared with American political parties it is the current Republican Party and Fascism. (leadership principle, nationalism, anti-communism, racism [more important in National Socialism though], irrationalism, cronyism/corruption, elitism, an obsession with national security, sexism)

  58. Jeff says:

    i didnt finish, i hit return accidentally. all of the above are the fundamental principles of a fascist regime, as well as the ideology as it has been employed throughout the 20th century. I would like to credit these to Dr. Terrance Ball, and Dr. Richard Dagger, I have added two (cronyism/corruption, and the obsession with national security) are analyzing government appointments and bureaucratic organization in a study I conducted from 1999-2000. Next I need to address your absolute denial that Democrats are fiscally conservative. I should restate, because you are right they are not always disciplined. After the Republican party brings our country into recession, the Democrats spend to get us out. After the Republicans bring our deficits to almost unrecoverable highs, the Democrats work on fixing the problem by spending efficiently, and raising wealthy peoples taxes. Not income tax necessarily but corporate gains, foreign assets owned by American companies, the estate tax, various personal investment taxes, capital gains in excess of several hundreds of thousands of dollars, and so on. You know if the Republican party wanted to do something to really help america, they would make churchs that give out faith based voter guides pay taxes. After the Democrats win in the Midterms and then in 2008 parhaps some of these responsible government practices will be implemented.

  59. Jeff says:

    Pvsys, I do not know what radio show you were listening to that told the Reps in ’04 and the Dems in ’60 have platforms that read the same. Here are the websites:
    here is the Dem 2004 platform:
    I know this is your first time reading these, and if not you have extremely poor comprehension skills.

  60. Jeff says:

    I know what you said, I am just shocked that citizens of the United States would refute these facts, especially the educated ones. The Democratic Party does not believe in state ownership of the means of production. Will they impose government regulation on industry…yes, because we believe in the consumer, environment protection, and worker rights. Afterall CEOs and board members do not create profits, it is the consumer and the wage earner. We do not believe in the total redistribution of wealth. The rich deserve to be taxed more: we use more of the infrastructure, and when someone makes say 10 or 20 million a year (in alot of cases more than that though) I takes some very poor personal finance skills to not be able to live off 60 or 70 percent of that…these are the people that can afford tax attorneys that get paid $500/hr, and can find easy little ways to not pay taxes on much of their money. I ideology thing is irrefutable. I did forget to credit Dr. Ben Sargent though,…sorry Ben. On top of all of that, the only 24 hour news network that has a conservative bias, (or to conservatives neutral bias, and for the very radical people it may be liberal) and is the favorite, outside of AM radio, for Republicans.

  61. pvsys says:

    >Yes Reagan could have vetoed, and Congress could have voted to override.

    …merely stopping a budget doesn’t solve anything because there MUST eventually be a budget, otherwise, government shuts down… presidents can submit a budget… but only as a suggestion. It is ultimately Congress which must formulate and submit a budget for the president to sign. So the facts that you correctly stated, while true, have absolutely zero impact on the facts that I also correctly earlier. Maybe you misunderstood me because I can’t even figure out how your statements here might possibly refute anything I said on this matter earlier.

    Regarding the Democrats, I must remind you that it was John F. Kennedy who in the early 60s strongly advocated tax cuts to revive and strengthen the economy.

    John F. Kennedy said:

    “that our present tax system … exerts too heavy a drag on growth … siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power, [and] reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking.”

    He insisted — defying the class warriors — on tax cuts not only for low-income workers but also “for those in the middle and upper brackets, who can thereby be encouraged to undertake additional efforts and … invest more capital.”

    These quotes from:
    (I was already aware of them… this particular article was just one of the 1st places I noticed when looking for these quotes again…)

    Also, in the early 60s, the Democrats were strong on National Defense/Security and your typical Democrat was also pro-life.

    Position-wise, John F. Kennedy vs. Barry Goldwater was more a Republican primary of recent years.

    That is why many people like Ronald Reagan said that they never left the Democrat party… the Democrat party left them.

    In fact, Peggy Noonan recounts how she used to be a Democrat while an enthusiastic assistant to Dan Rather at CBS… but was disillusioned with the Democrat party when she saw how increasingly excessive taxes burdened “working class” and middle class families to the point where the “cure” (higher taxes to support Johnson’s “Great Society”) was worse than the disease.

    Today, the difference between (1) Democrats and liberal Republicans on one side and (2) most other Republicans on the other side is that…

    Democrats don’t seem to have a problem with a social welfare state that requires very large taxes on the poor and middle class to accomplish its goals and they don’t seem to factor into the equation that the Government operates VERY inefficiently when you throw much money at it. Also, because for Democrats every is a “victim”, there is never a measure of personal responsibility and accountability required. That is why Johnson’s programs just created “welfare queens” where the cycle of poverty and dependence spanned generations among the poor.

    Democrats love to talk about Enron all day… but guess what? Ken Lay went to jail… the free market system, along with “rule of law” WORKED!!! It provided the means to correct these problems. In contrast… I read reports that literally hundreds of millions of Dollars… reportedly even billions of dollars periodically “disappears” from the Department of Education and that they are untraceable because their books are so cooked that the task of finding those dollars is practically impossible. (and to think that we are being asked by Ted Kennedy to throw even more money at it!)


    In one instance, the department almost issued an $800 million loan to one lucky student. But another $500 million in undisbursed grants is unaccounted for, and there is a $6 billion discrepancy between what the U.S. Treasury says has been spent and what the Education Department can account for.

    The fact of the matter is that the Department of Education is a much greater threat to my wallet than Enron ever was… but, unlike corporations operating under a free market combined with “rule of law”, government entities are not held accountable for their incompetence and corruption nearly as much.

    Republicans DO favor some basic safety nets… they DO favor things like SSI payments to people who are totally blind, for example…. but perhaps not SSI payments for people who are morbidly obese. The idea is to help people who are in situations which they had no control over… but to not reward irresponsible behavior… and without creating such a gigantic government that the tax system required to support this system would excessively burden the people (as it does now!).

    Rob McEwen

  62. pvsys says:

    oops… I must be in too big a hurry… my fingers didn’t type some words that were in my head: (corrections in italics):

    have absolutely zero impact on the facts that I also correctly stated earlier
    Position-wise, John F. Kennedy vs. Barry Goldwater was more like a Republican primary of recent years
    because for Democrats everyone is a “victim

  63. Jeff says:

    to suggest democrats are incrementally taking over the means of production, and that tomorrow who knows what will happen, that is all just a conspiracy. We have our conspiracies about Conservatives too, it is intellectually…perhaps even rhetorically irresponsible to make such suggestions. Red Tape is merely for consumer protection. I actually had a similar discussion with a colleague of mine this morning, he is a Republican by birth, the question actually pertained to the media markets, but it also applies to industry, and perhaps even election politics. Where does a businesses obligation lie, with the consumer of their products or their shareholders? He have seen a boom government regulation in the past 50 years, and primarily (on industries part) because of advances in technology, and the causes have much to do with focus on short term profits. We have government regulation to prevent, and hold liable, companies that would use materials that are hazardous to one’s health, this is good for the consumer…but the shareholders may want this company to use such materials because they cost less, thus allowing a higher profit margin. Where does a business’s loyalty lie? Well, we do not live a moral business world, in fact capitalism never even takes morality into consideration. Government regulation merely deters the use of such products, and actually saves these businesses and their customers from class action suits and the loss of loved ones. What is wrong with that? You are right about the tax thing. Kennedy did believe in cutting taxes to help the economy, so did Johnson, nixon, Carter, reagan, Clinton, and both Bushes, whether it was politically pragmatic is another question…afterall Bush I had to raise taxes (not really as all tax law is to be born in the House, pass the Senate, then be signed,…lowering taxes requires the same obstacles). Typically when taxes raise in one place, they may lower in another. here is an interesting little web site to play with last years budget:

  64. Jeff says:

    to suggest democrats are incrementally taking over the means of production, and that tomorrow who knows what will happen, that is all just a conspiracy. We have our conspiracies about Conservatives too, it is intellectually…perhaps even rhetorically irresponsible to make such suggestions. Red Tape is merely for consumer protection. I actually had a similar discussion with a colleague of mine this morning, he is a Republican by birth, the question actually pertained to the media markets, but it also applies to industry, and perhaps even election politics. Where does a businesses obligation lie, with the consumer of their products or their shareholders? He have seen a boom government regulation in the past 50 years, and primarily (on industries part) because of advances in technology, and the causes have much to do with focus on short term profits. We have government regulation to prevent, and hold liable, companies that would use materials that are hazardous to one’s health, this is good for the consumer…but the shareholders may want this company to use such materials because they cost less, thus allowing a higher profit margin. Where does a business’s loyalty lie? Well, we do not live a moral business world, in fact capitalism never even takes morality into consideration. Government regulation merely deters the use of such products, and actually saves these businesses and their customers from class action suits and the loss of loved ones. What is wrong with that? You are right about the tax thing. Kennedy did believe in cutting taxes to help the economy, so did Johnson, nixon, Carter, reagan, Clinton, and both Bushes, whether it was politically pragmatic is another question…afterall Bush I had to raise taxes (not really as all tax law is to be born in the House, pass the Senate, then be signed,…lowering taxes requires the same obstacles). Typically when taxes raise in one place, they may lower in another. here is an interesting little web site to play with last years budget:
    Not every thing in the budget is here, but it is categorized pretty well. Of course this can not be considered the average budget, when playing with it you can not ask congress for emergency funds that weren’t in the budget. I really do not think that comparing todays education system to that of the 1800’s would have a significant correlation, afterall think of all of the history that has happened in the past 100+ years. I personally can not trust a religious school to teach (accurately) science, but incorporating former professionals into the high levels of public education would be useful. Knowing books is a good think, but it does not mean you can create a budget from scratch, write a sales plan, develop presentation skills, etc. A comprimise can be made, but politicians on each side of the aisle need to remember that politics is the art of comprimise, not the act of getting your way or giving someone the middle finger.

  65. pvsys says:


    I agree that the profit motive, if left to its own devices, would lead many companies to practically commit murder (literally and figuratively) if there weren’t a system of checks and balances and a measure of government oversight.

    That is in fact what we had during the early industrial age when 10 year old boys were chained to machines in factories for 12 hours a day… and stuff like that. (at least that is what I was taught)

    I consider myself to be a Social Conservative who is also a Libertarian-leaning Fiscal Conservative… but I do think that many full-blown Libertarians are too trusting of human nature.

    I also think that Democrats tend to consider that all things of the government are inherently good and all things business are inherently evil. As I’ve stated, they are quick to notice the corruption at Enron, but fail to notice the even greater corruption at the Dept. of Education.

    Or, another example… they are easily sold on the idea that taking somewhat uneducated and somewhat poorly trained airline baggage screeners and making them Federal Employees will then magically make them more professional and better at their jobs… but we now know what a farce and waste of money that idea was! Now we have Federal Employee baggage screeners who are now VERY difficult to fire if/when they don’t do their jobs very well (which isn’t that unusual)… and there are still routine reports of incompetence and security breaches.

    My point is that it doesn’t have to be all or none. Just because I don’t believe in over-regulation that stifles industry and hurts the economy doesn’t mean I believe in no regulation.

    And just because I don’t buy most of the global warming hysteria doesn’t mean I would not want a company fined into non-existence for spewing toxic sewage into a local river or stream.

    In fact, I resent the fact that a meager (yet noticeable!) amount of the cost of a gallon of gas right now is directly due to different states having different gas quality standards. Not that they don’t have that right, but I think that much of the stricter state’s standards are based on hysteria and pseudo-science and doesn’t really help global warming all that much… but DOES affect gas prices. And from what I understand, a single volcanic eruption (of the type that has happened on multiple occasions in the past 50 years) can easily put an amount of contaminants in the atmosphere that dwarfs the combined amount of less emissions that all these various formulas could possibly create, even given millions of cars and many years. (Some have argued that a single vulcanic eruption can often place more contaminants in the atmosphere than industrialized mankind has EVER done!)

    In fact, the following are a couple of articles about the environmental that sort of blow the global warming debate wide open:

    Anyone who thought this was a settled matter that most scientists agreed upon and who thought that anyone who doubted global warming was either a “cook” or had their head in the sand should read those articles above!

    BTW – When did Clinton ever favor tax cuts? I do recall him saying that his tax increase in 1993 “went too far”… but that is all I can think of.

    –Rob McEwen

  66. Jeff says:

    You can find various statements about Clinton favoring tax cuts in his State of the Union speeches, his platforms, and he sought to pass some in 97. Also, I recently found out about the volcanic eruption and global cooling effects. I found it extremely enlightening, and to an extent brought some disbelief in my thoughts about global warming. At the same time Global Warming is a theory in a field that is not very concrete. The question about Global Warming is still up in the air (no pun intended). We have made big mistakes in the past when powerful people refused to listen to scientists, whether global warming will be something generations look back on as a hoax, something the government should have taken action on, or with satisfaction that the government did something will not be known for ages. I do not advocate the “better safe than sorry” ploy either, preemption has gotten humankind into a number of pickles. We could comprimise and say a draw a conclusion in the midde, but that would also be irresponsible. On another topic though. I do not believe that all businesses are evil, nor do I believe all government projects are inherently good. I really think that both parties pick and choose what parts of both sectors are good and bad. Nobody favors corruption (unless you are the one benefiting), at the same time no one really favors to government intervention (unless you are a communist or a dictator). Again, attacks made on Republicans for the parties affiliation with companies like Enron, or Jack Abramoff is just mudslinging politics. It cuts deep into the ideological core of progressives. Just like attacks made on Democrats for favoring welfare programs and being against the Iraq war cuts to the ideological core of Republicans. It is all mudslinging, is it responsible…no. Is it effective though? Obviously the core of the government vs. business debates are that businesses are relatively difficult to hold accountable…they are governed by profit margins, but at the same time profits and competition keep business in check. Government it very easy to hold accountable by means of popular or indirect methods of election and the age old policy process, and it promotes (mostly) equality as opposed to competition…so it is not as efficient as business. Have you read Reinventing Government?

  67. Mad Dog says:

    Enron and Ken Lay… Ken Lay went to jail?


    The gentleman died a free man while on vacaction.

    From a heart attack.

    Just letting you know I’m back.

    I’ll get those numbers out after dinner. It won’t take long.

  68. Mad Dog says:

    Okay, so where were we?

    The typical Reagan and Bush tax cuts were not only needed but saved us from recessions vs. economics is so complex that the evidence for tax cuts by Reagan and Bush amount to rumor, myth, and urban legands.

  69. Mad Dog says:

    So what do we know and agree upon?

    We know there is an announcement effect. Modern finance, accounting, and economics.

    Negative announcements are stronger than positive announcements. Negative news can cause panic.

    We know the federal budgeting process covers years, not weeks or months. It might be like a huge ship, but that ship is subject to natural forces far stronger than the man made controls. (this is also true in general of corporate budgeting for capital projects. Long process subject to outside forces.. Limited resources. etc etc.)

    We now know there is more than one Jeff in the world. Sorry Jeff Emmanuel. But, don’t worry, there is still only one person like Jeff Emmanuel.

    We know economics is a soft science, even to the point of being called a philosophy by some.

    We know there are discretionary spendings and mandated spending in the budget. (If you don’t pay the light bill, the gas bill, and the rent, you don’t get to build STAR WARS!!!!!)

    We know in the 70’s the military was continueing to change from it’s Viet Nam era employment and funding levels.

    We know the population of the US grew in the Carter/Reagan time period.

    Forgive me, I keep forgetting that not everyone KNOWS we’re talking about the just the late 70’s to the late 80’s. (or that I am only interested in fiscal years 1978 to 1988.)

    We know the population of the US aged during that time period.

    We know the growth rate of employed persons as a percent of general population reduced.

    We know there was inflation in these years.

    We know spending numbers changed and revenue numbers changed but there is no agreement on how or why. (Or, who controlled those numbers and outcomes)

    That’s enough for one post.

  70. Mad Dog says:

    To further support discretionary vs. mandatory spending. From December 12, 2005, Comptroller General of the United States, David M. Walker.

    in 1964, net interest expenses of the US, were 7% of federal spending.

    By 1984, net interest expenses were 13 % of federal spending.

    Medicare and Medicaid were non existent in percent of total spending in 1864 but were 9 percent of spending by 1984.

    Again, directly from the honorable Mr. Walker:

    Discretionary: 67%;
    Mandatory: 26%;
    Net Interest: 7%.

    Discretionary: 45%;
    Mandatory: 42%;
    Net Interest: 13%.

    Discretionary: 39%;
    Mandatory: 54%;
    Net Interest: 7%.

    If the Comptroller of the Currency discriminates discretionary spending from mandatory spending, it’s NOT SOMETHING I MADE UP.

    There will be spirited reaction from the reactionaries to the effect of BS! But, given pvsys thinks Ken Lay is in prison, not cold in the ground, ….

  71. Mad Dog says:

    ok then

    pvsys says domestic spending increased at a 2 to 1 rate compared to defense spending.

    His numbers from roughly the same time period I would use, 1978 to 1988, fiscal years.

    Total increase in federal spending: $465 billion.

    Total increase in defense spending : $146 billion.

    Total increase in “domestic spending”: $319 billion.

    The HUGE error pvsys makes here is that if it is not defense spending, it must be domestic spending.

    He’s comparing ‘all other spending’ to ‘defense spending’ …

    Game over for his argument that domestic spending by the Democratic Congress increased at a 2 to 1 ratio.

    Further proofs in shorter posts.

  72. Mad Dog says:

    To break out some numbers normed for inflation, from the BEA interactive tables, Table 1.1.6D. Real Gross Domestic Product, Chained (1982) Dollars.

    National defense spending in 1978, $183.7 billion.
    National defense spending in 1988, $397.1 billion.

    In chained dollars, an increase of $213.4 billion.

    In chained dollars, total expenditures move from $638.1 billion to $858.6 billion. A change of $220.5 billion total.

    Subtracting defense spending from total spending leaves about $7 billion.

    Where is that two to one ratio?

  73. pvsys says:

    Mad Dog:

    BTW… I was aware that Ken Lay had died… but I wasn’t aware that he hadn’t YET gone to prison. In fact, from what you said, I don’t think you are aware that Lay was in fact conficted on multiple accounts and when he was on “vacation” (as you put it), he was actually scheduled to soon face sentencing after which he surely would have then served jail time… so everything I said about Ken Lay was, for all intents an purposes, absolutely correct. To blow this off and ridicule my earlier points by saying Ken was on “vacation” is either very disingenuous or even more ignorant of the facts about Ken Lay than my not knowing that he hadn’t yet gone to jail.

    Regarding your math, I was comparing what happened between 1981 and 1989. I don’t think 1978 is a fair starting point because this goes quite a bit into the Carter years.

    I think you make a fair argument that a better comparison would be to take interest payments off the table and then see who that math works out… But I don’t think the ratio would change all that much.

    But I don’t buy your arguments about “mandatory spending” or entitlements simply because, other than interest maintenance, I see a substantial portion of those “mandatory spending” as being a part of the whole social/welfare “nanny state”. (Social Security, Medicade, and Medicare being “textbook” examples!)

    Therefore, taking those “off the table” is a lot like when politicians say that low wage earners pay zero federal income tax when, in fact, they often pay substantial percentages of their income to the federal government via payroll taxes (and BOTH theirs and their employer’s portion ought to be counted together because the employer’s portion places downward pressure on wages!).

    Therefore, this is a semantics game and I view the vast majority of your “mandatory spending” in the same way that I view payroll taxes as Federal Taxes.

    I do agree that Defense Spending was a substantial chunk of spending in the 80s… my point is that Liberals often “overplay their hands” when they blame Defense spending as one of the primary causes for the 80s deficits.

    But there is an even greater argument that the build-up in the 80s caused the Soviet Union to fall and that the resulting “peace dividend” might have saved us more money in the long run compared to what would have happened had that 80s build-up been much somewhat less. (There is also an argument that we were correcting mid-to-late 1970’s era mistakes of cutting back too much on military spending.)

    Rob McEwen

  74. Mad Dog says:


    Now you’re just screwed.

    “BTW… I was aware that Ken Lay had died… but I wasn’t aware that he hadn’t YET gone to prison. In fact, from what you said, I don’t think you are aware that Lay was in fact conficted on multiple accounts and when he was on “vacation

  75. Mad Dog says:


    You’re a good man.

    I won’t accept this as a win.

    We’ll just move from debate to discussion.

    Hope I can match your grace and poise.

    Mike Parker

  76. Jeff says:

    What defines defense spending? I believe all of us can broaden the term defense (and/or national security) to encompass economic defense as well. Under such circumstances Social Security would defend the elderly from systematic poverty, welfare programs provide the same defense to millions of others…from single parents, handicapped people, veterans who suffer from mental illnesses caused by their service to our country, and many other people. This can all be considered defense, under definitive interpretation. Also, how much “defense” (i am referring to military) spending is mandatory? Are you guys looking only at the budget as it was when it passed Congress and was signed by the President? Because we have spent billions/year that is not in the budget, on operations overseas…it was later appropriated by law (as are all expenditures), but not mentioned in the budget. I am sure I could spend the time researching this, I will not, but I was still rather young during the Reagan years and all I can really remember is the Iran Contra…so I am sure money was spent that wasn’t in the budget.

  77. Mad Dog says:


    My numbers can NOT be right. They are just too frickin’ good to be true. I’m sure you see that, too.

    I think they are great numbers. But, that table can’t be right for this discussion.

    My fault. I think those are way too limited in scope. I would expect another $200 — $400 billion even with chained dollars given I added two years, going to a decade from eight years.

    I lose by having bad numbers.


  78. Mad Dog says:


    The numbers in the table are for consumption, capital, and expenditures. I thought that would factor out capital improvements of military bases, moving them from defense spending to capital investment. Given that Rob’s numbers show $146 billion increase in eight years with no chained dollar adjustments (DEFENSE SPENDING) and my numbers show $213 billion increase in DEFENSE SPENDING with chained dollar adjustments for ten years.

    That can’t be right.

    I think I’m comparing apples and oranges in moving from published budget information to economic analysis figures.

    Something is wrong with using my numbers from the tables in this discussion.

    I’ve selected bad data or the data is wildly off from even my expectations.

    Or, I’m so right I can’t believe it. Before anyone else says it. BS!

    I’ll have to do the numbers all over again.

    BTW, the social security program was changed in 1975 and 1983. The 1975 changes were slowly phased in. The 1983 changes included for the first time, taxing social security benefits, I think.

    The base was broadened and the rates increased.

    That could account for revenue increases as reported in budget numbers. Don’t forget bracket creep and inflation.

    Will be very busy this week. Will try to find time.

  79. Jeff says:

    I am going to be very busy, but i always have time to check on these little updates. I am still a little new to the whole message board thing…what does BS means, and what does BTW mean. Is BS the traditional BS…like bull shit? One thing I know from researching social security is that since the Bush admin. the base has technically been narrowed. Now, for those earning more than $80k, on the first $80k has Social security tax. This was one of the methods used to try and sell the whole “social security will be gone in 20 years garbage,” along with the traditional transfers of tax funding to the OASDI, which have been completely removed.

  80. Mad Dog says:

    Just got word I’m going back out of town.

    Like every political activist, very busy now.

    The big change in economic policy in the 1978 – 1988 years, started with the Carter Adm.

    We moved from a purely monetary policy to a fiscal policy on controlling the economy.


  81. Mad Dog says:

    Raising key interest rates to slow the economy, lowering key interest rates to help the economy to expand… also raising US interest rates in comparison to European interest rates made foreign investment in the US more attractive to the newly rich members of OPEC.

    The oil crisis pricing that moved huge amounts of US capital out of the country, could have been reversed by raising real interest rates on US investments.

    Some of us with grey hair or no hair remember getting 22% interest on a six month CD, or paying more than 14 percent for a typical mortgage.

    Just some major changes in regulating the US economy that were long term, broad based, and non-political.


  82. Mad Dog says:

    Some numbers

    Growth Rate
    1991 to 1999
    Consumer Price Index 2.55%
    Nominal GDP 5.60%
    Real GDP 3.67%
    GDP Deflator 1.86%
    Nominal GDP per capita 4.31%
    Real GDP per capita 2.40%

    Growth Rate
    1981 to 1989
    Consumer Price Index 3.96%
    Nominal GDP 7.27%
    Real GDP 3.52%
    GDP Deflator 3.62%
    Nominal GDP per capita 6.30%
    Real GDP per capita 2.59%

    Growth Rate
    1971 to 1979
    Consumer Price Index 7.57%
    Nominal GDP 10.82%
    Real GDP 3.60%
    GDP Deflator 6.97%
    Nominal GDP per capita 9.68%
    Real GDP per capita 2.54%

    To give Rob’s point some weight, I used 1981 to 1989

    and compared those numbers to 1971 to 1979

    and compared those to 1991 to 1999

    Going by the numbers, Reaganomics is VooDoo economics.



    Urban legand

  83. pvsys says:

    Mad Dog,

    Your years are STILL all messed up. You are looking at strick decades, but these don’t match up with presidential terms.

    Also, even with presidential terms, there is some amount of “lag time” between when economic policies are enacted, and when they actually achieve full (or even partial) effect.

    When I was looking at spending policy earlier, it made sense to not necessarily include THAT much “lag” time since spending doesn’t take a couple of years to take effect… but if you are looking at **results**, then this lag time is crucial.

    At the very least, I think one ought to consider that the 1st year of a president’s term should be considered the previous president’s results. Really this should be two years… but I think that 1 year is the ABSOLUTE minimum. I don’t think that any reasonable person can conclude that it is fair to judge a president’s policies based on a year where the majority of taxes and spending were enacted before that president took office… not even mentioning the fact that a change in policy doesn’t necessarily change everything overnight… some of these things take time!

    Therefore, in all fairness, Carter’s record should be judged based on what happened from 1978-1981. Reagan’s record should be judged based on what happened from 1982-1989. Bush Sr.’s record should be judged based on what happened from 1990-1993. And Clinton’s record should be judged based on what happened from 1994-2000.

    Of course, 1982 by iteself wasn’t such a great year… but it was a turning point.. and the average economic conditions and year-to-year improvement of the 1982-1989 period was tramatically superior to economic conditions from 1978-1981.

    Therefore, your statement, “Going by the numbers, Reaganomics is VooDoo economics” is just abolute partisan “hackery”.

    –Rob McEwen

  84. pvsys says:

    I’m actually trying to compromise with you.

    In my opinion, I think the following is actually MORE fair:

    1979-1982 Carter’s record
    1983-1990 Reagan’s record
    1991-1994 Bush Sr.’s record
    1995-2001 Clinton’s record

    But, as I said, I was trying to compromise and I can see how **some** reasonable and smart people might think that the above years are going “too far” with the “lag time” issue… but the years in my previous post are really the “bare minimum”… not including at least a year delay is disingenuous when you consider, as I’ve already said many times, that the policies in place for most of that president’s 1st year are those enacted by of the previous administration.

    (How many times do I have to explain this?)

    –Rob McEwen

  85. Bill Simon says:


    As you continue to familiarize yourself with blogs and “blogging,” you may run into these word shortcuts as well:

    WTF = What the F***?

    FUBAR = Fouled/F***ed-up Beyond All Recognition (borrowed from our military)

    AMF = Adios MotherF***er

  86. Mad Dog says:

    Hey pvsys, Rob!

    Good to see your points.

    Give me a few to read them and get back with you?

    You know how slow us party ‘hacks’ are….

  87. Mad Dog says:

    but just to get on the topic of periods,

    look at the average performance of the economy over the past fifty years, adjusted per capita, inflation, etc

    Any years you pick as Reagan years are not remarkable.

    Nor is there any ‘reasonable argument’ that the tax policy change created ‘all’ the great things that Republican party hacks claim.

    It’s not a really remarkable difference from other time periods.

  88. Hoosier Daddy says:


    Some good points that you’ve made.

    Suddenly, in the middle of the ocean, the crew is told that the captain is being replaced. The new captain has a huge reputation that is very public. That public record includes replacing most of the officers (most presidents have a new cabinet and other appointments) and a 30 percent cut in … fuel? (bad comparison, but cutting stored fuel by 30 percent would make the boat lighter and therefore faster?)

    I agree that we don’t know when to date the effective change in leadership.

    For any transistion.

    I think the crew would date it differently than passengers.

    When do you think the crew starts to respond to that kind of news?

    About half the passengers cry and about half want to sit with the new captain for dinner.

    The ship gets to its destination on time. I’m saying the changing of captains and the changing of the policy about who dines with the captain didn’t change the arrival. A handsome dashing captain is a wasted feature on an junk freighter. But, very necessary on a cruise ship. Loss of confidence (like Carter) may require replacement but changeovers have frictional costs. (Not that I’m commenting on Carter. More that I’m commenting on how Reagan voters percieved Carter. I don’t think Bush no. 1 should have been turned out after four years, either. Nor should we have eight years [two terms] for every president)

    A more real world analogy.

    I’m making a five year plan for capital investments for a multi-billion dollars series of corporations. (I’m assuming several corporations in different markets, different products, and no direct competition among them, and a parent company that controls budgeting for all)

    Year two of my five years is the first year of the next presidency.

    Economics has been the main issue debated by both major parties. One wants tax increases. One wants tax cuts. (Imaginary candidates. Imaginary year.)

    How do I predict the outcome from the election? How do I position myself so my companies all win no matter who becomes president?

    (The best partial answer is to have a portfolio of companies that some do well in economic downturns and some that do well in rapid economic growth. Basic finance.)

    There are some recession ‘proof’ businesses. Collection services. Temporary employment services. Auction services. Law practice. Hospitals. HMO’s.

    The thing to do if you hedged your corporate structure, is to go ahead with the five year plan and be prepared to change if major changes occur.

    Just like a personal stock portfolio, major companies (R. J. Reynolds for example, own businesses that compliment profitability in differing economic environments.

    Just jumping in.

  89. pvsys says:

    Hoosier Daddy:

    Your analogy equates the Captain of that ship as the president, the crew as the government (particularly high ranking government officials), and the passengers as the “people”. Correct?

    But there is a built-in bias in that analogy which equates the people as either powerless or somewhat at the mercy of the captain and crew… and there is a bias towards assuming that all good changes and all hard work is done by the captain and crew.

    But, in the real world, it is actually the “passengers” (individuals) who create prosperity if given the right incentives (like being able to keep more of one’s own hard-earned money) and if provided a system where (for the most part) the captain and crew get the hell out of the way and stop meddling too much.

    Obviously we do need a measure of government to enforce rule of law so that businesses and individuals can compete on a somewhat level playing field and so that evil people can be punished or removed from society.

    (BTW – Not that this means anything, but I can’t help but think of the hopelessly corrupt and inefficient Soviet Union every time you mentioned “five year plan”!)

    All I was trying to say earlier is that when the government suddenly gets out of the way and allows for incentives for the individuals to work hard and create prosperity, those individuals who grow businesses or start new ventures and hire new employees (etc, etc) can’t translate that into increased GDP overnight! These things take time.

    Also, I totally agree that some which greatly affect the economy for better or for worse are out of the president’s control.

    Here are some good things which affected the economy which no president can claim credit for:

    •Assembly Line
    •Air Travel
    •Affordable Hand-Held Mobile Phones
    •Affordable home/office personal computers with user-friendly GUI operating system
    •the Internet

    (Note that those last 3 came to maturity and got really (1) inexpensive and (2) powerful and (3) user friendly and (4) commonly used …ALL right near the beginning to middle of Clinton’s presidency… lucky #$%#$#!)

    Here are some things which a president can’t help which effects the economy:

    Hurricanes & Natural Disasters
    …particularly Andrew and Katrina… which both, unfortunately, happened under Bush Sr. and Bush Jr.’s watches. Many don’t realize that Andrew was almost as costly as Katrina after adjusting costs for inflation! No other hurricanes in recent decades comes close!

    Of course, one long term economic silver lining to Katrina is that much of the poor people who had to permanently leave New Orleans are more often now going to become more productive citizens with better educated children who have better values in their new locations compared to what would have happened (on average, of course!) with these same people had Katrina never happened… but it will take years and decades to fully realize the positive economic impact of this.

    Rob McEwen

  90. Mad Dog says:


    Five year plan? Sounds a lot like the USSR, IMF, and a couple dozen other alphabets soups.

    Let me get back to you on the passengers being the over-arching authority.


  91. Mad Dog says:


    I agree very strongly that Clinton gets too much credit for economic conditions in his second term. (Don’t read into that anything about his first term. Not saying one way or the other on that)

    When asked about Clinton’s economic accomplishments, I usually say he didn’t f— it up. The economy, that is.

    Remember Greenspan’s comments on irrational Exuberance. I hate repeating announcement as triggers to economic reactions. But….


    The irrational Fear of a year 2000 clock problem with some pc operating systems FORCED companies to upgrade and re-invent electronic data storage and retrieval. Maybe the fear was rational and solved a problem. Maybe there was no problem. Maybe nothing really changed! j/k

    That fear of not being prepared to do bidness did more to create growth in the tech sector than Clinton ever could have done. (Or, whoever was getting blown in the oval office. Did I say that? Yeah. I did.)

    That rush to fix ‘the end of the world as we know it’ created a lot of the economic boom, if there was any, in Clinton’s second term. (Now you know why I exclude the first term for this)

    Yes, there were many things going on that Presidents cannot possibly predict, anticipate, or plan on happening to give all kinds of economic praise to the oval office occupant.

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