Some “inconvenient truths” about gas, housing and the economy…

The incessant talking-down of the economy by our friends on the left (media and Democrat) is good for their party of choice, but largely unhinged from the facts.  Let’s have a real discussion on this that goes beyond mail-piece and TV spot sound bytes:

1.  Gas prices are being driven by global demand (China and India) and a bubble caused by investor dollars chasing what looks like a safe bet (gas prices staying high).  Dems (and even McCain with his vote against increasing supply) are contributing to this problem by creating market conditions that drive investor “confidence” that supply will not increase (because of their dogmatic insistence on no new supply) and by their refusal to acknowledge publicly (because it’s not good for them politically) that China and India’s emergence from third-world conditions is driving up the cost of everything (gas and food particularly).  For example, not a single media outlet in the US that I saw reported that there was a trucker riot in England last week because of 7 dollar a gallon gas there (that would be inconvenient since a left-leaning Labour Government runs England and can therefore not be part of the Bush-causes-all-world-ills storyline of the Dem party and the “mainstream” media).

2.  China and India are an economic reality that is not going away, and Dem burying-of-the-head will only make the pain worse for American families.  FACT:  the Strait of Malacca (the narrow waterway near Singapore that is the chokepoint for oil headed to China) now carries almost as many gallons of oil per day as the Strait of Hormuz (the narrow waterway at the exit of the Persian Gulf), and the trend is growing.  That’s amazing but true.  That doesn’t make a good mailpiece, but if you can’t see the economic reality behind that you are either economically ignorant or intentionally ignoring facts because it helps you politically.  If we don’t make a decision as a government/society/economy to compete on the basis of economic reality rather than try to convert international economic facts into domestic political demagoguery, the pain is only going to get worse.

3.  This goes directly into food costs.  Now that upwardly-mobile Chinese and Indians have decided a rice-only diet is not their first choice, food costs are increasing.  In addition, domestic demagoguery on fuel costs (aided and abetted by nervous Republicans) that “ethanol is the cure” is exacerbating this trend.  Investors looking for “safe bets” just like on oil are also driving up costs.  All of these problems are treatable in a way far more politically easy fashion than energy costs (America has got plenty of good farm land and people willing to farm it), but action is the cure – not political scare tactics.  Republicans should be leading the way on this, but we shall see if they do so.

4.  Unemployment is 1 tenth of a percentage point from “full employment” (5%).  Yet, the daily media diet can convince anyone they are a few days from a pink slip.  We wonder why consumer confidence is so low.  We are losing jobs slowly, but considering the shocks delivered to the economy in the last six years, (housing situation, energy costs, food costs, terrorism and war), the fact we are still at 5% is a success story, not a storyline for drumming Republicans out of office – unless one is so invested in partisan success that the facts don’t matter.

5.  We are not in a measurable recession of any kind at the present time according to all objective standards.  We are growing painfully slow, but we are still growing.  Yet, a media story earlier this week (noting that growth was actually a little stronger last quarter than expected) somehow became a diatribe about how not only was the “two quarters of negative growth” definition of a recession a bad definition – it actually tried to make the argument that a quarter in which there was GROWTH (1st Q 2008) was actually a RECESSIONARY quarter – because the story said if you “exclude exports” then the economy shrunk by 1 tenth of a percent.  Since when are American exports a business activity to be excluded?  And if you exclude the fact a frog doesn’t have wings, then he wouldn’t bump his you-know-what when he jumps.  Amazing.

6.  93 to 95% of homeowners are paying their mortgages on time.  Yet, as Rep. Tom Price reported recently, he could not get a group of very-educated high schools seniors from a very good local high school to agree that even half of Americans were paying their mortgages on time.  Why?  Because of the media and Dem diatribes.  Those who are having mortage problems have been victims of both their own arrogance/overreaching for homes they could not afford as well as a failure of mortgage lending oversight in the private and public sectors.  You want to ding somebody for this, you can rightly ding state and federal regulators (in my opinion), but remember there are plenty of Democrat state banking regulators as well as Republican ones.  But we must also ding our own culture, in which we believe there is something for nothing:  we can have the million dollar home without the income to justify it;  we can win a war in Afghanistan or Iraq without real sacrifice (my major gripe with Bush is here);  we can sit still while world markets change in India and China and still have $1.50 gas and Cheerios.  That’s a problem that begins with you and me and has nothing to do with Dems or Republicans.

As McCain recently said, “We belong to different parties, not different countries.”  I did not start as a McCain supporter, but I could not agree more passionately with anything he has said than this.  I do believe Republicans are unfairly tagged with the situations we face now, but we do share blame in many keys ways and ought not shrink from acknowledging that. 

On a larger level, until we come back to the realization that some problems transcend partisan politics, the REAL looming problems (particularly economic dislocation caused by China and India and the continued threat to world peace from rogue Middle Eastern elements) will cause us to suffer needlessly if our only response to it is competing mail pieces and TV ads designed to microtarget an Independent voter in Pennsylvania. 

That’s not Pollyanna.  In fact, as much as I have sometimes disagreed with him, it is the essence of the McCain campaign (and why I personally hope he picks Lieberman to be his running mate to demonstrate that fact new-and-afresh).  The fact some think it is naive shows why Republicans could do not do better for America right now than electing a TRULY bipartisan ticket that is willing to be grown-up and tell us the truth, the partisan consequences be damned.

32 comments

  1. John Konop says:

    FYI Clint

    Nobel Prize-winning economist: Iraq war ’caused slowdown in the US’

    THE Iraq war has cost the US 50-60 times more than the Bush administration predicted and was a central cause of the sub-prime banking crisis threatening the world economy, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. The former World Bank vice-president yesterday said the war had, so far, cost the US something like $US3trillion ($3.3 trillion) compared with the $US50-$US60-billion predicted in 2003.

    Australia also faced a real bill much greater than the $2.2billion in military spending reported last week by Australian Defence Force chief Angus Houston, Professor Stiglitz said, pointing to higher oil prices and other indirect costs of the wars.

    Professor Stiglitz told the Chatham House think tank in London that the Bush White House was currently estimating the cost of the war at about $US500 billion, but that figure massively understated things such as the medical and welfare costs of US military servicemen. The war was now the second-most expensive in US history after World War II and the second-longest after Vietnam, he said.

    The spending on Iraq was a hidden cause of the current credit crunch because the US central bank responded to the massive financial drain of the war by flooding the American economy with cheap credit. “The regulators were looking the other way and money was being lent to anybody this side of a life-support system,” he said.

    That led to a housing bubble and a consumption boom, and the fallout was plunging the US economy into recession and saddling the next US president with the biggest budget deficit in history, he said.

    http://controlcongress.com/uncategorized/nobel-prize-winning-economist-iraq-war-caused-slowdown-in-the-us

  2. IndyInjun says:

    This conservative concedes that much of the above is true. However, here are some things omitted or in opposition.

    1. Mercantilist China, India, and the oil producers link their currencies to the $US, so that when the mad expansion of US money supply started exploding under Bush kept pace by expanding their own money supply. The Fed quit reporting money supply aggregate M3 2 years ago to hide the truth, but professional economists at shadowstats.com put the reconstituted M3 growth at 12% last year and accelerating.

    2. While Bush and McCain were totally obsessed with a pointless war in Iraq, the Chinese were going to South America, Africa, and even Australia to secure long-term commodity contracts to assure CHINA’s control of strategic mineral assets.

    3. Had the USA gone into recession in 2002 instead of the GOP’s Greenspan dropping interest rates to fire up a real estate and stock bubble, the rest of the world would have followed, reducing aggregate demand.

    4. Ethanol,subsidies are exploding the cost of food to middle class America and the rest of the world. This was a Bush initiative.

    5. Recessions are a corrective mechanism, but the GOP Fed and Treasury have – just in the last months pumped probably a $trillion into the BS bailout, the Federal Home Loan Bank’s $80 billion Countrywide bailout, a $200 billion “stimulous” welfare program, and $300 billion in TAF’s and investment bank bail-outs. This means that the already insane money ‘printing’ is now in hyperdrive. Everyone in their right mind sees that the $US is being destroyed as a store of value, so US pension plans and other savy investors have made FOOD and ENERGY the new STORE OF VALUE.

    6. The corruption running between the Bush gang and Wall Street cannot be hidden any longer. The Fed likely violated its charter by extending credit to the investment banks that created the financial crisis. McCain’s Keating Five involvement during the last mega-bank frauds dovetails directly into the current one.

    7. Didn’t Bush intervene to halt oil exploration off of Florida’s Gulf Coast at Jeb’s request? The lack of supply cannot be laid totally at the feet of the Dems.

    8. You might want to reconsider the claim that the economy is growing. The GDP calculation is inverse to the inflation rate used and the inflation rate used was the lowest for those quarters than the same quarter for the last 3 or 4 years. NOBODY on this forum – unless removed from reality – believes that inflation is GOING DOWN!

    9. You are a better person than this. Don’t hitch your wagon to prolonging the Bush/GOP regime another 4 years.

    You are right in all being in this together, but McCain is even less acceptable than Obama, who himself should not be seen electable by the greatest nation on earth.

    Excruciating economic pain is coming down on the USA, no matter who wins and right now government is madly trying to make things worse, aided by such loony ideas as Isakson’s $15,000 tax credit.

  3. IndyInjun says:

    The official debt was less than $5 trillion when Bush took office, but is projected to exceed $10 trillion by the time he leaves office. Bear in mind that was before the $200 billion “stimulous” program and all of the borrowing that will have to be done to prop up the other bail-outs.

    The long term obligations were at $35 trillion and have about doubled that since the GOP took power.

    Sometime go to opensecrets.org and compare the contributions Clinton got in 96 versus the explosion of Wall Street contributions to Bush in 2000 and 2004, with particular interest to those by Bear Stearns and JP Morgan.

    WOW!!!! Talk about inflation expectations!!!!

    Now it can be seen that the explosion in donations was a leading economic indicator that the GOP/Bush was about to hyperinflate the economy.

    Since we are in a global economy the inflationary explosion just went global.

  4. Romegaguy says:

    And I am sure that the devaluing of the US$ has nothing to do with the increasing costs of goods such as food and gas

  5. CHelf says:

    We are still growing but ONLY because of the loss of value of the dollar. Looking inward, our economy is garbage. but thanks, yes a good thing, to a dropping dollar, we’re seeing other nations buying from us. We’re staying afloat due to our currency dropping. I think we’re in a period of redefining how we measure our economy. Yes, you may see certain statistics showing positive numbers but when you actually get into inward numbers, it’s not nearly comparable in rosy numbers. Look deeper at the employment numbers. Next time the numbers come out or even looking at previous numbers, quite a few of those new jobs are created in lower wage areas AND in government. As a conservative, do you really want to paint the level of unemployment as a positive thing when it is buoyed by fattening the government payrolls?

  6. John Konop says:

    A little help Clint!

    Weak dollar adds to upward pressure on crude
    Cheaper valuation fuels speculation even as it threatens long-term oil supply

    SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — The dollar’s tailspin since the Federal Reserve began to cut interest rates is giving an updraft to already bullish crude-oil futures, and analysts say that relationship will continue driving oil and the currency both in their current directions.

    “The much larger structural story [of the oil price rise] is demand from emerging markets — in particular, China — but in recent months, the dollar has depreciated sharply,” which has in turn pushed up crude to all-time highs, said David Powell, senior foreign exchange analyst at IDEAglobal.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/oils-surge-centers-sliding-value/story.aspx?guid=%7BC39476EA-069F-4921-9BED-4BB134D0E6B0%7D

  7. IndyInjun says:

    CHelf,

    You are absolutely right, the inflation deflator in the GDP is supposed to lower calculated growth, but by showing inflation – loss in the value of the $dollar – as near zero, they wrongly claim growth when in fact what we have is price inflation.

    The horrendous inflationary pain caused by keeping their currencies pegged to the dollar is threatening stability in a host of countries, making them consider letting their currencies float. When this happens, there will be HUGE price explosions in the USA unlike any heretofore seen.

    The biggest threat to the Saudi government these days is not AlQueda, but Moslem clerics angrily protesting the horrendous inflation to prop up the $US dollar and what it is doing to their people.

    Does anyone here really think that the USA can give every American family a(n average) $1800 check that will have to be borrowed from these countries without them noticing it? Do you really think we can continue to absorb 80% of the world’s savings and pay them back in devalued $US dollars?????

    The reckoning that the pols of DC and the mavens of Wall Street have brought upon the USA is nigh.

    McCain is part of the gang.

    Your point about government payrolls was a good one, too.

  8. John Konop says:

    FYI

    Hiring leaps in public sector
    First-quarter gain most since 2002
    By Dennis Cauchon
    USA TODAY

    Federal, state and local governments are hiring new workers at the fastest pace in six years, helping offset job losses in the private sector.

    Governments added 76,800 jobs in the first three months of 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

    That’s the biggest jump in first-quarter hiring since a boom in 2002 that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks. By contrast, private companies collectively shed 286,000 workers in the first three months of 2008. That job loss has led many economists to declare the country is in a recession.

    Job numbers for April, out Friday, will show if the trend is continuing. Some economists say a government hiring binge could soften a recession in the short term.

    “Government jobs are an important cushion for the economy when the private sector falters,” says North Carolina State University economist Michael Walden.

    But the job expansion could later cause financial problems for governments that are spending too much.

    http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20080430/1a_lede30_dom.art.htm

  9. Progressive Dem says:

    I agree with much that has been written. We are in for some very tough times. It will take bi-partisan leadership to get through this. It is such a shame that in response to 911, Bush didn’t set us on a course of energy efficiency, energy conservation, fuel alternatives and transportation alternatives. Instead we got a war that has not made us safer, weakened us diplomaticly and economically. After 911 this country was united and could have made significant changes. Bush failed us, and history will not be kind. To start a war, ask no sacrifice (He told us to go shop. Reminds me of Go Fish.) and fund it with T bills is beyond the pale. Clinton also could have worked on energy when gas prices were at historic lows, but he failed us as well. The next president will have to address energy with less economic leverage than any previous president.

  10. Clint Austin says:

    I will get back into this a little more later, but if most of those who wrote criticisms will re-read carefully what I wrote, I think you’ll see I agree with you (or at least didn’t disagree). Y’all really want to see in this “four more years” which is in no way what I’m saying.

    Mostly, I am looking for an answer to these two questions:

    1. In light of the facts I cited, is the sky, in fact, falling?

    2. If you agree it is not, is it proper for the Dems/media to make it appear it is?

  11. John Konop says:

    Clint

    Many of the problems can be fixed if both sides are honest. The truth is we must tighten our belts and be realistic. I do think this will be a deep long recession 3 to 5 years because of the lack of all sides willing to be straight about what has to happen to fix the problems.

    The falling dollar is forcing both sides hand.

    Watch this interview with the Former head of the GOA David Walker and you will see how much has been swept under the rug.

    http://controlcongress.com/uncategorized/david-walker-60-minutes-summary-by-steve-kroft

  12. IndyInjun says:

    Clint:

    The sky is not falling -yet. It is not far off and the epicenter will be the USA because of the mad excesses noted. The math has not worked for a long time. The trend line for money creation flattened for a while but started up in 1998 and assumed a near vertical assent in 2002

    This was before the $trillion or so in new bailouts in the last 3 months……going vertical means a currency collapse and we are now near verticality.

    In the words of Ron Paul “How do you cure inflation with more inflation?”

    The REAL cure:

    Raise interest rates to 7%. This will solve the oil price problem very quickly. Note that 7% interest is still pretty close to real neutrality. This defends the $dollar, but will send overleveraged firms into bankruptcy.

    The long term liabilities are $62 trillion that must be slashed. No bailouts. Not for Pensions, not or borrowers, not for lenders, not for FDIC, not for credit unions, not of GSE’s – no bailouts whatsoever. Make sure that depositors stand before all other bank creditors as assets are sold off.

    Increase Social Security date of retirement to 68 or 70. Lift the income caps totally. Phase out SS and Medicare by age segments and let employees invest their money.

    Get out of Iraq. If this cannot be done, pass universal service to man the war and a 15% surtax to pay for it.

    Pass a flat tax similar to Russia’s.

    Lift all drilling restrictions in and around the USA.

    Go to a silver standard for the $.

    Cut social programs 30%.

    Cut military spending 35%. Make achieving sound accounting the basis for every general’s promotion. Reward those who do with promotion. Demote those who don’t and get rid of them eventually. If you cannot keep a checkbook you ain’t competent to command troops.

    These things are going to happen. The coming collapse or hyperinflation followed by a $currency collapse is going to do it the painful way.

    The cure is not politically acceptable.

    On the positive front, McCain is right to oppose the Florida insurance bailout that the Dems want.

    JK – aren’t these the kinds of numbers David Walker has been throwing out?

    McCain should ask every American how they intend to pay back the $600,000 to $800,000 per family that the government borrowed on their behalf. That might bring the numbers home to some…

    McCain, nor any other politician, will try to fix this.

  13. IndyInjun says:

    Clint,

    To answer the second question, it is more the case that the financial media have been in total denial about the debt crisis and even now try to minimize the danger……how many times have the Fed Chair and Treasury Secretary made assurances that this was “contained?”

    Answer – They have been saying it for over a year. Right now they are about to be stunned for the umpteenth time. They are exposed by their own words as fools.

    Last week they put out inflation data that indicated prices were flat. Late last year they out out GDP numbers based on falling prices. Every Tom, Dick and Harry know now that the GOP officials are LYING about the economy when they say prices are falling.

    The contrarian financial community has been proven RIGHT and it is they who are rightfully being given more air time by the networks now. Even now they are going against “Goldilocks economy” shills.

  14. Goldwater Conservative says:

    There is a tremendous amount of blame that belongs on the “conservative” right’s inability to grasp the concept of keynesian economics. They are pushing this 19th century version of classic economics that lost its relevance late in 1929. Pure, free market capitalism has always led to the same problem we are facing now…recession, hopefully not stagflation or depression (time will tell).

    I will not create a list of things that need to happen, but one thing is certain…things will not work out of people do not start voting and politically supporting their own pocket books. It seems as if many gopers vote for the pocket book they would like to have…but it is the economic elite that is doing the great job and forcing the middle class to maintain its status with credit only…not liquid.

    We have a financial market…it is not completely zero-sum…but it is being forced in that direction, especially since the technology boom. If you make $50k/yr, vote like it. Do not vote a particular way because you plan on being worth $2mil in 20 years.

  15. Bill Simon says:

    Indy, Indy, Indy…that is all just paper debt. It really doesn’t exist. My trusty #2 pencil can be used to just juggle some numbers around and show that the debt really isn’t debt, but an asset on our books.

  16. Max LeHighlands says:

    Clint has it right. This guy is operating with intelligence with the word beginning with both a small and capital “I”. Macroeconomic trends are something that the liberal mindset has no clue on. The world geo-political situation is much more complex that “Bush hosed it”. If I had to put my shekels on someone who ends this argument correctly and accurately, I would bet on is analysis, not some of the idoit rhetoric. Do you ant to see someone who damaged his country the most…..look to FDR and then Lyndon. Entitlement should be a word banned from the lexicon of American values.

  17. Ms_midtown says:

    >The spending on Iraq was a hidden cause of the current credit crunch because the US central
    > bank responded to the massive financial drain of the war by flooding the American economy with cheap credit.

    Sorry, this is wrong.
    The fed cut rates starting in Jan 2001. By the end of 2001 rates were at 1.75.
    The Iraq war started March 2003.
    Rates began moving up June 2004.
    Rates stayed at 5.25 until August 2008

    9/11 caused the Fed to drop rates to 1%
    NOT the Iraq War.
    Nobel Prize economists often have a political agenda.

    You may be able to link oil, or the dollar to the Iraq war, then link that to the slowing economy. But the low rates leading to the credit crunch were not from Iraq, but the economic slowdown of four hijacked airplanes killing 3000 people.

  18. Tea Party says:

    Couldn’t agree more with Max LeHighlands (Smart and good-looking), Clint, Indy and Goldwater Conservative.

    But Ms. Midtown summarizes FACTS.

    Etitlements did NOT get us where we are now, exclusively. No, it takes complicity between Big Biz and Big Gov to create the set of conditions we now see.

    Our Future:

    At best, a longer and deeper recession than we have seen in the US, since the mid-seventies.

    Worst case, our ‘friends’ in Beijing decide that T-Bills are no longer their cup of tea and stop buying them in leiu of Euros.

    I am glad my Dunwoody neighbors are reading the particularly prophetic economic words on this thread. They can’t ever say, “Who knew?”

  19. John Konop says:

    Ms_midtown

    Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill would disagree with you! In fact Bush Fired him for speaking up.

    You should also watch what the former head of the GOA said David Walker.

  20. Clint Austin says:

    I am slammed at the beginning of a long week, but a couple more points:

    1. This has been a good conversation. Would be that more political conversations could be so on-point, because the next generation of American policy/economics/geopolitics rides on the outcome to these issues.

    2. I still think too many on here are getting hung on the relatively micro issues (Iraq war, short-term interest rates, etc.). This is the classic “tyranny of the urgent” but it actually makes my point – we are obsessed (mostly for political reasons) with micro issues at both an economic and political level.

    3. We need to re-focus on the big issues, drain some of the drama and politicization, and focus on what matters: competing with India and China, keeping the strategic offensive against Middle Eastern rogues, and trying to reverse the cultural rot which is undermining our ability to meet/defeat national challenges.

    History seems to prove that things are never as bad as people fear they will get, but they grow worse than people can imagine when we ignore the big picture in pursuit of small victories.

    As Republican as I am, I am longing for national leadership (of whichever party) will bring maturity back to our leadership.

  21. IndyInjun says:

    Ms_midtown,

    9/11 was not the greatest reason, only a smokescreen.

    The rates were lowered to 1% to reflate the economy and the markets after the tech stock bubble.

    When that happened a LOT of frugal folks I know put their money into something solid – real estate. So the tech bubble became a RE bubble.

    NOW the fed is up to its old tricks, but with the totally unexpected consequence that frugal folks are putting their money into commodities.

    The total irresponsibility of the US Treasury and the Fed makes a flight out of US $ assets highly advised.

    The $dollar is trash.

  22. IndyInjun says:

    Clint,

    Being optimistic is commendable BUT….

    The numbers that I have cited many times here $120,000 to $150,000 per family of OFFICIAL DEBT (read that actual Treasury notes and bonds issued and held by investors and the SS administration) versus family incomes of $60,000 or so are barely surmountable and the GOP adminstration and Fed are adding $trillions more. This is the MINIMAL measure indicating bankruptcy.

    The worst set of numbers that I cite – $600,000 to $800,000 per family is the present value of all US obligations, which is the official debt above, plus liabilities of the looted SS fund, unfunded medicare, the looted highway ‘trust’ fund, the looted native American ‘trust’ funds, unfunded medicare D, liabilities of the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, liabilities of the FDIC , and soon the lifetime care of 20,000 maimed Iraq war casualties.

    You WISH these were ‘micro’ events, but they roll into a crushing tsunami of debt that is either going to wipe out the middle class through inflation or taxation, as VI Lenin taught.

    The GOP is the party of inflation.

    The Dems are the party of taxation.

    Either or both – POISON.

  23. IndyInjun says:

    Bill:

    The debt is OFFICIAL.

    There are two and only two erasers.

    Hyperinflation – the tool of Bernanke and Paulson.

    Default – no one is owning up to it YET, but the Gen Xers and Yers will wield it and soon.

  24. IndyInjun says:

    Lessee…”The incessant talking-down of the economy by our friends on the left (media and Democrat) is good for their party” ignores the fact that the financial channels of Bloomberg, Fox, CNBC, and CNN failed to notice the debt meltdown until months after it was obvious, have continued to shill optimism, and call the economy “the Goldilocks economy”

    About all of that I buy is that Goldilocks raided the food supply, slept while the bears worked, then had to flee for her life when the bears showed up at the door. This is poetically ironic on so MANY levels….hahahaha…

    Then “if you can’t see the economic reality behind that you are either economically ignorant or intentionally ignoring facts because it helps you politically.” Nope. We see that the economic reality doesn’t jive with the GOP Fed and administration’s claims that inflation is low.

    As for 93- 95% of mortgages being current, a 7% default rate is pretty damaging to banks and the rates are much higher and concentrated in the high $ Florida and California markets. A huge % of foreclosures were o spec homes, not primary residences. Finally, most HELOCS and subordinate debt are much greater danger to the issuers.

    “I do believe Republicans are unfairly tagged with the situations we face now” Nope. During Clinton’s last 2 years debt was actually being retired. Since then the GOP controlled government has borrowed more than every previous one in history combined, increased social spending 70%, passed the $8 trillion Medicare D, the intrusive NCLB, and increased the long gterm obligations by about 80%. How?

    Things like Chambliss and Isakson’s 3 airline bailouts add to the pension liabilities insured by the USA, along with Medicare D and his irresponsible $15,000 tax credit (reduced to $7000 and passed).

    To McCain’s credit he is against the FLorida insurance bail-out that Obama likes.

    The GOP deserves to be wiped-out by conservative voters in November. As GOP old timers Peggy Noonan and Vic Gold have penned – the party must die and be reborn.

  25. Clint Austin says:

    “The GOP must die and be reborn”

    Aside from the breathless melodrama in that “statement,” what happens in the meantime? Absolute Democrat rule for two years, with all the excesses of centalized government control and spending that would entail including massive tax hikes? Not to mention the further cultural rot the Dems actually believe in?

    Only a foolish army volunteers to rush into the sea and kill itself, which is what all these self-righteous right wingers like Noonan are advocating (they want to stand in “victory” over the dead carcass of the party just so they can prove how smart they are). The smarter guys figure out a better general to put in charge and start doing things smarter.

    Fact is, simply ending Bush’s presidency will fix much of what ails the party.

  26. Doug Deal says:

    Clint,

    I agree wih you. The Republicans are nothing more than a brake on an elevator with a broken lift cable. Removing the brake and hoping that the elevator will somehow go back up is insanity.

    What the Democrats do, will never be undone by any Republican “purist” anytime in the future.

    Perhaps the GOP has learned it’s lesson about jumping on the bandwagon behind the person with the most money and name recognition a year before the primaries start. You end up with “conservatives” like George W Bush.

  27. Bill Simon says:

    Doug,

    If there’s ever been a more applicable use of the phrase “RINO”, it should now be permanently adhered to the rear-end of George W. Bush.

  28. IndyInjun says:

    Sorry, but remaining loyal to the GOP makes one no better than a devotee of Louis Farrakhan and every bit as destructive to this country.

    2,4, or 6 years of Dem control is a very high price for accomplishing this purge, but it is clearly necessary.

    The positive side of this is that the Blue Dogs have stymied the worst inclinations of leadership and those coming in from FORMERLY red states will add to the impasse.

    When Isakson pushes a nutty $15,000 tax credit and Chambliss pushes a $300 billion farm bill, it is hard to imagine having two more destructive U.S. Senators to the interests of the people and the Republic.

  29. Left of Center says:

    Huge farm bills that fund an ever-increasing supply-demand Ethanol lobby, and measly $15k tax credits that even the most ditto-headed public can see through, are solutions that only a politician bouncing around in a Bush bubble could come up with. Lame, lame, and shame on you.

    We must fund and participate in a solid restructuring of our energy resources and our ecological and social resources, including those still untapped – and I ain’t talkin’ crude, dude. I’m talking about turning our country toward a future where the farmer is called upon to build our infrastructure of energy resources (literally) from the ground up, into something capable of making our country rich again. It can happen.

    A tiny village in southern Austria has done just that. It used to be the poorest village in the poorest region near the poorest sector of Europe. Already, a population of over 72,000 is completely and utterly OFF THE GRID of the disastrous fossil fuel gridlock ecnomony, and they did it within 14 yrs., (and that timeline included learning as they went.) The EU targeted this region because of their blighted situation near the former Eastern bloc, and now it’s a full scale success. In fact, this year, they are generating so much excess energy through the use of multiple biofuels production and new technologies, they’re tearing up the city streets and installing waterlines that will HEAT THE STREETS and melt the snow during winter! More than 60 companies have relocated to this tiny region. WHY? Because the city is able to guarantee them that their energy costs will remain at the same level for the next 25 years!

    We can NO LONGER depend on foreign oil from unstable/unfriendly dictatorships for our energy needs. We already have all the energy resources we need to, not only satisfy our energy needs, but also to turn our economy around. Renewable energy sources such as grasses, soybeans, corn, wood chips, wind, solar, photovoltaics…on and on, can be utilized TODAY to restore our economy, and our integrity.

    The oil-rich and largely unseen mega-investors have wrecked our economy and destablized our environment, and honestly, it may already be too late to save ourselves (from ourselves.)

    We need to immediately divert the billions that are going to prop up a clearly unstable Iraq (oil market) and put it back into OUR country, and allow our farmers to provide the energy resources we need.

    We need to stop the Bush-directed enslavement of the middle class (the poor never had a chance.) We need to realize that just because Ford Motor Company has been in business for along time, doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of making stupid choices. They are making an irreversible mistake by deciding to further delay the manufacture of energy-sense automobiles just because they think there might be a public backlash (are they on Mars!?!)

    And then we need to start on a long list of indictments, and get some lawyers that weren’t trained at Bob Jones University exclusively for the use and manipulation by the Justice Dept.

    At one time America was thought of as the richest country on earth . Now our dollar is worth .63 cents in Europe. At one time America went to the aid of the needy (pre-Katrina, Darfur, Appalachia.) At one time America was mandated to be energy independent from foreign oil (1979,) but now we fall behind in almost all technologies and our jobs have all been outsourced to telemarketers in order to benefit the bottom line.

    How could this have happened? How could we be so completely gullible and full of greed? Since when do CEOs get $122million bonuses? And, why?

    Will their off-shore bank accounts help them when their impoverished gardners and security guards, and cooks and cleaners turn on them? Will their $5k suits and gated enclaves save them then? And more importantly, will it save them when they need to be ‘saved’ the most?

    This country has the ability and the resources necessary to ensure that all Americans have adequate health care, but it doesn’t. Why?

    America has the ability and the resources to ensure an education for every American. Why don’t they want us to think and learn?

    The road to recovery is not through oil lobbies. It’s not through stock manipulations, or pharmaceutical companies, or health care industrialists. This has to come from the grass roots up, and NOT from the top down (‘trickle down’ promises.) Let’s get it together and turn this thing around!

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