Morning Reads for Tuesday, May 29th

May 29, 2012 5:18 am

by Jason · 20 comments

Here in Georgia…
- Here is the final installment with Rep. Tom Graves on FreedomWorks’ Tea Time.
- A new stadium for the Falcons will cost more than potential revenue.
- The AJC dives into the freebies from lobbyists that Don Balfour has racked up.
- Page Pate discusses the Judicial Nominating Commission.
- Joanie Scott explores the taxpayer-owned golf course boondoggle in Henry County.

National stories of interest…
- No, President Barack Obama has not been fiscally responsible. More here.
- Mitt Romney used Memorial Day to claim that the world is a dangerous place that requires a strong military.
- Anarchist groups are promising trouble in London during the Olympics.
- Dick Lugar won’t actively campaign for his former opponent, who beat him for the GOP Senate nomination in Indiana.
- Does it matter if a presidential candidate doesn’t have military experience?
- The DNC is downplaying the recall election against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, indicating that they don’t expect to win.
- George Will isn’t a fan of Donald Trump.
- Here are seven ways to be indefinitely detained.
- According to a Florida judge, flashing your lights to warn other drivers of a speed trap is protected speech.
- Another federal judge has stuck down the Defense of Marriage Act.
- A plurality of Americans label themselves as “fiscally conservative” on economics.
- American Airlines kicked a woman off a flight because of her t-shirt.

A few that I like…
- Cardinals: 8, Braves: 2
- Btw, the Braves have dropped eight straight games.
- There was a great moment yesterday before the game when a family was reunited with their father, who had been serving in Afghanistan.
- The bicentennial of the War of 1812 is approaching.

ricstewart May 29, 2012 at 9:10 am

In other news, Pat Summitt (and 12 others) will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom today.

Dave Bearse May 29, 2012 at 9:14 am

Don’t forget that besides the $300M in taxes being given to Arthur Blank and the small fraction of Falcons game luxury box attendees, that Blank and the well-heeled will be using state taxpayer’s credit (makes it a little easier for Reed to be supportive when Atlanta taxpayers exposure is limited). Public risk for privateized profits. Not to worry, it’s worked out great for the Gwinnett County taxpayers.

Dave Bearse May 29, 2012 at 9:20 am

Of course a plurality of Americans label themselves ficsally conservative. It’s a meaningless sound-good term. Most Americans are well-informed and pay more than their fair share in taxes too.

“We already pay a gas tax, a percentage of that goes to MARTA and we’re not even served by MARTA.” Director of the Bartow County Tea Party, Gail Engelhardt.

AMB May 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

Romney paling around with Donald Trump indicates to me that he knows the election is lost. I don’t think he is even trying any more to look or act presidential.
Maybe he is auditioning for a career in show business.

Calypso May 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Whistling through the graveyard again, I see.

Baker May 29, 2012 at 11:16 am

Morning Thoughts for Tuesday May 29th:

Jumping off of Dave’s comment. Everyone FREAK OUT over TSPLOST, a project that has some negatives sure, but also has plenty of positives, but nobody says boo about Arthur Blank? Where’s the Tea Party on the stadium? Sierra Club doesn’t have any opposition to construction of another giant stadium? The NAACP doesn’t mind Atlanta’s precious tax dollars being wasted? When majority black schools are closing and crime is, as always, a serious concern?

Oh, and hooray for George Will. How does that ferret-head still get any attention?

Dave Bearse May 30, 2012 at 1:29 am

I think opposition to the stadium handout is like support of high ethical standards for public service in that stadium opposition cuts across the political spectrum from far left to far right.

Baker May 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm

But $3/400 MILL isn’t enough to make a stink about it? I’m not seeing much stink from all these grassroots groups.

benevolus May 29, 2012 at 11:30 am

I had hoped to look at economic info for cities who had lost NFL teams to see how their fortunes went, but I just haven’t had time.
St. Louis
Baltimore
Oakland
Houston

Dave Bearse May 30, 2012 at 1:26 am

How can you forget Los Angeles? That vacancy is the leverage for millionaire and billionaire owners (with at least one exception, the Packers) to extract millions from taxpayers from across the nation.

benevolus May 31, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Well, yes. I think those other cities have also been able to re-acquire an NFL team, making for some potentially interesting statistics.

DavidTC May 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Yes, if you compare government spending as a percentage of the GDP, of course it’s gone up. This is because we’re in a recession and the GDP has _dropped_, or at least risen less than the population.

Secondly, we’re _in a recession_, which automatically increased government spending in a lot of places. Unemployment, for example. Which makes a lot of this completely idiotic, as the president has no control over that spending.

That said, he’s probably not the smallest government spender since Eisenhower, unless you pull some weird tricks. (Like crediting him with the amount of money that banks paid back after they borrowed from Bush.) The claim of 1.4% a year is a bit silly.

OTOH, the amount of his spending as sure as hell gone up less than Bush’s.

But the real fun part is to stand there and talk about spending as if it happens in some sort of great cumulative way, and there’s no such thing as specific parts. Like the wars that Obama ended up having to fight, or the fact we’re in a recession, where we’re _supposed_ to spend. And let’s pretend that there’s no thing as revenue, and that fiscal responsibility involves that, also. Which the right has been almost criminally negligent on.

John Konop May 29, 2012 at 3:52 pm

You might find this interesting by Bruce Bartlett a former President Reagan team economist. I do not 100% agree but he makes inteesting points.

Barack Obama: The Democrats’ Richard Nixon?

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2011/07/22/Barack-Obama-The-Democrats-Richard-Nixon.aspx#page1

……Thus Obama took office under roughly the same political and economic circumstances that Nixon did in 1968 except in a mirror opposite way. Instead of being forced to manage a slew of new liberal spending programs, as Nixon did, Obama had to cope with a revenue structure that had been decimated by Republicans.

Liberals hoped that Obama would overturn conservative policies and launch a new era of government activism. Although Republicans routinely accuse him of being a socialist, an honest examination of his presidency must conclude that he has in fact been moderately conservative to exactly the same degree that Nixon was moderately liberal.

Here are a few examples of Obama’s effective conservatism:

His stimulus bill was half the size that his advisers thought necessary;

He continued Bush’s war and national security policies without change and even retained Bush’s defense secretary;

He put forward a health plan almost identical to those that had been supported by
Republicans such as Mitt Romney in the recent past, pointedly rejecting the single-payer option favored by liberals;

He caved to conservative demands that the Bush tax cuts be extended without getting any quid pro quo whatsoever;

And in the past few weeks he has supported deficit reductions that go far beyond those offered by Republicans. ……

…Bartlett’s work is informed by many years in government, including service on the staffs of Congressmen Ron Paul and Jack Kemp and Senator Roger Jepsen; as staff director of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress; senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House; and deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department during the George H.W. Bush administration. …

Dave Bearse May 30, 2012 at 1:43 am

Good link to an interesting premise. I thought Nixon a good President but for his personal failing. I think Ike without question the best WWII President.

DavidTC May 30, 2012 at 11:22 am

That’s an interesting comparison, but there’s one large difference between the situations.

Nixon inherited actual liberal institutions that did basically what they were supposed to do, and he was forced to keep them going and even expand them. Not only was the left pushing for the policies to continue under Nixon, they _liked the results_ of those policies.

Obama, OTOH, inherited things that conservatives said were conservative, but were in absolutely no way fiscally conservative. And he’s been forced to continued them…while at the same time been attacked for the results of continuing them.

For a weird example, the left didn’t make a Great Society that was racist, and then handed that to Nixon and forced him to keep it, then attack Nixon for the Great Society being racist. That would, of course, be crazy.

The right, OTOH, created huge holes in the budget, and then handed those holes to Obama, forced him to keep the holes, and then attacked him…for the budget.

This is, of course, because ‘the right’, ie., the super-rich that control the direction of the discussion of the right, like the results of lax of taxes and whatnot. But the actual Republican voters do not like the deficit, so the super-rich have come up with a policy of shoving it in voters’ faces during Democratic Presidents. (And completely ignoring it during Republican ones.)

John Konop May 30, 2012 at 1:49 pm

….Nixon inherited actual liberal institutions that did basically what they were supposed to do, and he was forced to keep them going and even expand them. Not only was the left pushing for the policies to continue under Nixon, they _liked the results_ of those policies.

Obama, OTOH, inherited things that conservatives said were conservative, but were in absolutely no way fiscally conservative. And he’s been forced to continued them…while at the same time been attacked for the results of continuing them…..

Very well said!

Baker May 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm

For the most part I’ll agree with all that, but what exactly were the results of the Great Society policies? Has the percent of poor actually gone down? Has the explosion of welfare spending actually increased anyone’s welfare?

LBJ ensured that citizens of all color were guaranteed equal treatment under the law. In America, that’s all that is needed to provide you the opportunity for success. 1964 was a fantastic year and something for the Federal government to be proud of…1965 was not. I’m not going to argue that we don’t need a safety net, but the results from the Great Society are not that great.

John Konop May 30, 2012 at 3:13 pm

In the last 30 years working class wages have gone flat to down via our trade and immigration policy. Also when you combine that with war on drugs, irrational debt policy backed by tax payers, decrease in vocational education we have created a very toxic environment for working class people. The final straw is an entitled voting base wanting Medicare, SS……… without paying for it.

In was our history the middle class was the engine behind our country. No middle class and entitled mentality does not make a good long term formula.

benevolus May 29, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Presidents only spend what Congress authorizes. The whole argument is bizarre. Presidents can lead I guess, but in the end, it’s Congress that decides what to spend.
That’s why the whole debt ceiling thing is so frustrating. It’s like Congress is using it as leverage … against themselves.

DavidTC May 30, 2012 at 11:25 am

This comment disappeared, might be because I swore, although you’d think there’d be an error message or something. But here it is again, sans swearing:

Yeah, that’s what I have trouble pointing out to people the last time it happened.

The debt ceiling is like if there was a family that sat down and figured out their budget for the month, which would require borrowing some money, and then halfway through the month, one of the person in the family decided to they wouldn’t borrow any more money that month. (And this person somehow has veto power.) When the money in their wallet ran out, that was it.

It’s ‘Haha! I will take a principled stand against us having any more money, because we spend too much.’ ‘We need gas to get to work.’ ‘No gas!’ ‘What about the rent?’ ‘No rent!’ ‘Loan repayment?’ ‘Maybe!’

And, of course, unlike a family, this squabbling happened in public, so when we finally did get to the bank to borrow more, they said ‘You know, we thought you were a nice risk-free bet, but apparently part of your family thinks it’s reasonable to behave like loons. So your interest rate is slightly higher.’

The time to take the principled stand was when working out the budget. You want to stop sending out social security checks, you stand there and refuse to vote for the budget unless that happens. Even after the budget passes, it can still be changed.

It is not acceptable to threaten to stop the government at some random arbitrary point of ‘Whenever the government runs out of money in the wallet’.

As Congress has directed the president to spend money, and has decided to threaten his authorization to borrow the money, I really wish he’d issue an executive order to limit spending as the debt ceiling got closer. And I wish that the only thing that EO did was completely shutting down the AC, power, etc, to Congress, and cutting off their pay, and their staff pay. Cut off the Franking priv, cut off free parking, leave them stumbling around, alone, in a dark silent building.

I mean, Congress has never actually _explained_ what is supposed to happen when the Executive is ordered to spend money, and then not give the money to do so, so, if that happens, it’s obviously solely within the Executive’s power to decide what spending happens and what doesn’t. (And I wish he’d make it clear that ‘Congressional pay’ is first ont he chopping block.) But the question really is: Can he start doing it as the limit looms closer, or does he have to wait until he hits it?

I don’t know what the answer is, constitutionally. But I wish he’d issue that EO anyway, and then just stand there laughing as Congress had to run to the courts and explain what they were doing, telling him to do X with Y, and then not giving him any Y to do it with. This is not actually a situation that _makes any sense_, so frankly the president seems to have the right to come up with emergency measures designed to delay it…and if those measures seemed entirely aimed at Congress, well, that’s a weird coincidence, isn’t it.

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