Jay Reding.com

Some People Just Don’t Get It

Bill Maher flaunts his ignorance once again over the issue of the Tea Party protests. Like many who live in a comfortable cocoon of left-wing orthodoxy, Maher fails to understand that the reaction to the Obama Administration is about matters of substance. Maher rants:

t’s been a week now, and I still don’t know what those “tea bag” protests were about. I saw signs protesting abortion, illegal immigrants, the bank bailout and that gay guy who’s going to win “American Idol.” But it wasn’t tax day that made them crazy; it was election day. Because that’s when Republicans became what they fear most: a minority.

The conservative base is absolutely apoplectic because, because … well, nobody knows. They’re mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore. Even though they’re not quite sure what “it” is. But they know they’re fed up with “it,” and that “it” has got to stop.

Here are the big issues for normal people: the war, the economy, the environment, mending fences with our enemies and allies, and the rule of law.

Mr. Maher, here is what “it” is, in a way that even you can understand:

obamadebt.jpg

This is what President Obama is doing to this country. Former President Bush was fiscally irresponsible enough, but what Obama is doing is sheer madness. Trying to use government to fix the economy will not work. The bailouts are failing. The housing market is still in the toilet. Lenders are still holding back. If that isn’t a reason to be worried about the future, then it is time to pull your head out of the sand and look at the numbers.

When it was politically convenient, liberals pretended to care about the effect of massive deficits on the future of America. Now that Obama is in office, who cares about a few trillion here or there?

The Tea Party movement is not a partisan movement. There is great anger at the GOP for not leading on the issues of our time and allowing government to grow out of control during their tenure in office. This is a protest based on principles: in fact, it is a protest based on the classically republican principles that the United States should have a limited federal government of enumerated powers.

Maher, like many, think that just because Obama won an election, that means his policies are 1) popular and 2) right for the country. Neither are true. Winning an election doesn’t vindicate your policy prescriptions now any more than it did in 2004. Obama’s ham-handed handling of the economy, his Quixotic campaign against the Bush Administration on torture, and his constant prostrations before America’s enemies from Iran to Venezuela all demonstrate how radical he truly is. His popularity is being supported by a fawning media and a public that is hardly paying attention. Obama’s gotten the same honeymoon that most new Presidents get. But in time, his star will fade, as all Presidents do.

When that happens, the arrogance of Mr. Maher may come back to bite him. Politics in America is cyclical, and given the radical course that President Obama has set for this country, it may well be the Tea Parties that get the last laugh.

3 responses to “Some People Just Don’t Get It”

  1. Mark says:

    Hot damn! A rare window of glasnost even here at the JayReding.com, the 21st century’s online Pravda. These truly are changing times!

    “Trying to use government to fix the economy will not work. The bailouts are failing.”

    Whoa, Jay! Whoa! Check back to your own October 2008 archives. You supported TARP. Are you now saying that you, Obama, and the bipartisan coalition of Congresspersons were wrong on TARP? Sure sounds like it.

    “The housing market is still in the toilet.”

    Yeah? And? Was there anybody six months ago who expected the housing market to be flush right now? What would President McCain have done to have reversed the housing market in April 2009?

    “When it was politically convenient, liberals pretended to care about the effect of massive deficits on the future of America. Now that Obama is in office, who cares about a few trillion here or there?”

    Many liberals are disingenuous about the deficit, but it’s hard to justify 12-figure deficits in flush economic times paying for $300,000-per-year tax cuts for multimillionaires. We should have been running surpluses from 2005 through 2008, and most likely would have if Clinton-era tax rates had been maintained.

    And as cynical as liberals may be for feigning concern for the deficit through the Bush years, your team is considerably more cynical pretending that an epic economic crisis is the time to be holding the line, Herbert Hoover-style, on mandatory budget surpluses rather than pouring desperately needed stimulative dollars into the moribund economy. While the federal spending of the last year may seem over the top, letting the market collapse while refusing to open the purse strings would most likely generate a larger budget deficit going into 2010 based on economic attrition than would be incurred by hundreds of billions of new spending.

    “Obama’s ham-handed handling of the economy”

    So let’s hear what he should be doing then….

    “his constant prostrations before America’s enemies from Iran to Venezuela all demonstrate how radical he truly is.”

    Yawn. JFK shook hands with Krushchev. Nixon shook hands with Mao. Reagan shook hands with Gorbecheav. All were much more muscular global troublemakers than Hugo Freakin’ Chavez, yet somehow the republic survived.

    “Obama’s gotten the same honeymoon that most new Presidents get. But in time, his star will fade, as all Presidents do.”

    He’ll likely see the same trajectory as Reagan. As the economy continues to suck for the next two years and as pitfalls of Obama’s spending start to inevitably accrue, his popularity will begin to crater, ultimately turning around in about three years when the economy is insurgent again and the deranged fever swamp of opposition parades their unseriousness on the national stage in the 2012 primary season. Right now, it’s very hard to see a situation where a viable alternative to Obama’s policy prescriptions emerges at any time in the foreseeable future.

  2. Jay Reding says:

    Hot damn! A rare window of glasnost even here at the JayReding.com, the 21st century’s online Pravda. These truly are changing times!

    Don’t get used to it…

    Whoa, Jay! Whoa! Check back to your own October 2008 archives. You supported TARP. Are you now saying that you, Obama, and the bipartisan coalition of Congresspersons were wrong on TARP? Sure sounds like it.

    At the time, it made sense. Most economists were for TARP as well, as there really wasn’t a viable alternative to a direct injection of capital. Was TARP wrong from the get-go? I don’t really know. It may well turn out to have been a bad idea.

    What’s going on now, however, is the virtual takeover of the entire banking system by the government. That is unquestionably a bad thing, and will lead to severe consequences in the future, especially if trends continue.

    Yeah? And? Was there anybody six months ago who expected the housing market to be flush right now? What would President McCain have done to have reversed the housing market in April 2009?

    It is going to be in the toilet for a very long time. Had Sen. McCain gotten his reform bill passed in 2006, however, it’s likely that the meltdown might not have been so bad.

    Many liberals are disingenuous about the deficit, but it’s hard to justify 12-figure deficits in flush economic times paying for $300,000-per-year tax cuts for multimillionaires. We should have been running surpluses from 2005 through 2008, and most likely would have if Clinton-era tax rates had been maintained.

    The more likely counterfactual is that higher tax rates would have led to lower economic growth and therefore less tax revenue. The Bush tax cuts worked just as advertised. They helped soften the 2000-2003 recession, especially after both 9/11 and Enron/WorldCom. The Clinton-era surplus was not due to tax rates (and if it were, it would be Clinton’s slashing of capital gains rates), but due to the dot com bubble.

    And as cynical as liberals may be for feigning concern for the deficit through the Bush years, your team is considerably more cynical pretending that an epic economic crisis is the time to be holding the line, Herbert Hoover-style, on mandatory budget surpluses rather than pouring desperately needed stimulative dollars into the moribund economy. While the federal spending of the last year may seem over the top, letting the market collapse while refusing to open the purse strings would most likely generate a larger budget deficit going into 2010 based on economic attrition than would be incurred by hundreds of billions of new spending.

    Actually, Hoover dramatically increased taxes with the Revenue Act of 1932, passed massive new trade barriers with the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930, and was a member of the Efficiency Movement that advocated technocratic solutions to economic problems. Not only that, but Hoover also massively increased federal spending.

    Obama is basically doing everything that Hoover did to get us into the Great Depression. Let’s just hope that the Fed’s loose money policy works to help. Otherwise, the best outcome we’ll have is a “lost decade” like the one Japan had in the 1990s.

    So let’s hear what he should be doing then….

    1) Sign an executive order that bans agencies from disbursing earmarked funds (which is a legal way of getting rid of earmarks that are not part of the text of bills)
    2) Payroll tax holiday – instant money in the hands of consumers. Obama’s $400 tax credit is nice, but $15 a check isn’t going to help nearly enough.
    3) Corporate income tax cut down to 20%. We have a higher corporate income tax than Sweden, which hurts mainly small corporations.
    4) Small business tax credits over bailouts for GM and the like

    …and that’s just off the top of my head.

    Yawn. JFK shook hands with Krushchev. Nixon shook hands with Mao. Reagan shook hands with Gorbecheav. All were much more muscular global troublemakers than Hugo Freakin’ Chavez, yet somehow the republic survived.

    Then why should Obama feign niceness to a two-bit thug like Chavez? It lends credence to his oppressive regime that should never be given. Chavez is a tyrant who should be treated as such. It reduces our position in the world to give him an ounce of credence.

    He’ll likely see the same trajectory as Reagan. As the economy continues to suck for the next two years and as pitfalls of Obama’s spending start to inevitably accrue, his popularity will begin to crater, ultimately turning around in about three years when the economy is insurgent again and the deranged fever swamp of opposition parades their unseriousness on the national stage in the 2012 primary season. Right now, it’s very hard to see a situation where a viable alternative to Obama’s policy prescriptions emerges at any time in the foreseeable future.

    That depends on whether the economy recovers by 2012. It’s quite possible that it will not. That also assumes that the GOP doesn’t get its act together by 2012, which is possible (if unlikely right now).

    Four years is an eternity in politics. In 2002 the Democrats were a lost party, and Republicans were talking about a fundamental political realignment. By 2006 the GOP was swirling the drain. By 2012, it could reverse again. Obama’s “hope and change” line could fall flat just as the GOP gets its act together and starts being serious again. Stranger things have happened in American politics.

    My guess is that the economy stays flat, Obama stays more or less popular, and the GOP stays a minority… but I’ve been wrong before.

  3. Mark says:

    “Don’t get used to it…”

    Oh I’m not. I know how it usually goes in closed regimes like this one. When the peasants take to the streets, the tanks are soon to follow!

    “What’s going on now, however, is the virtual takeover of the entire banking system by the government.”

    Which tells me the debt level held by these banks is far worse than what the public is made to believe, and that the worst may be yet to come. The government would have no interest in nationalizing these banks unless it was a cataclysm. Without TARP, the majority of the banks would have likely failed. I’m of the mind that the fallout from multiple Lehman Brothers would have brought the global economy to its knees in a way worse than what we’ve seen. There’s no way of knowing that for certain, but any attempt to rewrite history and call TARP an unequivocal mistake would largely be an act of political demagoguery.

    “The more likely counterfactual is that higher tax rates would have led to lower economic growth and therefore less tax revenue”

    When we’re only talking about a few percentage points (39.5% compared to 35%), it’s nutty to suggest the tax rate acts has any influence at all on the ebbs and flows of an economy.

    “The Bush tax cuts worked just as advertised.”

    If they had worked as advertised, we would have never seen deficits between 2001 and 2008.

    “The Clinton-era surplus was not due to tax rates….but due to the dot com bubble.”

    You’re making my case for me. Tax rates have little influence over the ebbs and flows of an economy. And the same “bubble” mentality can clearly be applied to the Bush economy as well. If not for the artificial housing bubble, we would have had virtually no measurable economic growth this entire decade. And now we’re poised to step into another bubble with “green technology”, the overhyped next-big-thing which will drive investors to another round of lucrative booms and crashing busts when the bubble bursts. Rinse and repeat.

    America’s bubble economy of the last 25 years is a direct consequence of shifting the focus of our economy from the production and distribution of actual goods to financial three-card monte. For all the hype five years ago about the “growing investor class” and the “ownership society”, it’s pretty clear now that an America full of Warren Buffett wannabes making nurse’s aide salaries is a recipe for ignorance, exploitation, and irrational exuberance by all. And the more we move towards an economy who’s sole function in the global economy is to consume what other countries produce and pass the debt around like a hot potato, the further behind we can expect to get.

    “Not only that, but Hoover also massively increased federal spending.”

    Hoover insisted on balanced budgets in the middle of the Great Depression…just as you appear to be doing. Balancing the budget in a depression would require the kind of supersized CUTS in spending currently taking place in the Minnesota legislature, which will produce a downward spiral of economic activity and swell unemployment rates. Virtually no serious person in 2009 is calling for it. One can reasonably argue that Obama’s stimulative spending is too much, but one can not reasonably argue that no government money should be injected into a cratering economy.

    “Sign an executive order that bans agencies from disbursing earmarked funds”

    Earmarks are a rounding error in the federal budget. Get rid of every earmark on the books and the effect on the nation’s economy will be negligible.

    “Payroll tax holiday – instant money in the hands of consumers.”

    Sounds pretty irresponsible considering we’re a few years away from going into the red with the Social Security trust fund paid for by payroll taxes. Seems like the best idea would be to grow the revenues going towards entitlements at this time, not shrink them.

    “Corporate income tax cut down to 20%. We have a higher corporate income tax than Sweden, which hurts mainly small corporations.”

    We also have alot of deductions in our corporate income tax…and the deductions help keep the corporate climate globally competitive.

    “Then why should Obama feign niceness to a two-bit thug like Chavez? It lends credence to his oppressive regime that should never be given. Chavez is a tyrant who should be treated as such. It reduces our position in the world to give him an ounce of credence.”

    It would reduce our position in the world much more if Obama were to childishly reject Chavez’s extended hand (or spit in his face or whatever it is that you guys are advocating) at a continental conference of leaders. He’d look like a petulant fool.

    “That depends on whether the economy recovers by 2012. It’s quite possible that it will not. That also assumes that the GOP doesn’t get its act together by 2012,”

    The former scenario seems more likely than the latter. If the Republicans’ response to a devastated economy continues to be insisting upon budget surpluses and repeating the mantra that half of Americans PAY NO TAXES, it doesn’t matter who the messenger is for 2012 because the message won’t sell.

    “Four years is an eternity in politics. In 2002 the Democrats were a lost party, and Republicans were talking about a fundamental political realignment. By 2006 the GOP was swirling the drain. By 2012, it could reverse again.”

    Well, that’s true. Two things stand out to me as potentially devastating political landmines for Obama. If Obama’s cap-and-trade plan is enacted, the soaring energy prices would likely come with a crushing voter backlash. And if Pakistan blows up and forces America into another open-ended military engagement, that could give even a weak GOP opponent a needed opening. With that said, I tend to be a pessimist on my party’s ability to win elections, yet I still don’t see a glimmer of light anywhere for the Republicans in the foreseeable future.

    And I have to get a word in on this…..

    “In a country where a show like 24 is popular, the idea that people are going to give much care to the “civil rights” of one of the masterminds of the September 11 atrocity is not a very good bet.”

    That’s some of the most ridiculous logic I’ve ever seen from you. The average weekly audience of 24 is about 10 million. That leaves 290 million Americans not watching the series. And some of the 10 million include lefties like myself who don’t buy into the concept of torture yielding desired results, but still watch the series because it’s entertaining make-believe.

    More importantly though, do you seriously believe that American torture policy should be driven by the worldview of a fictional television character? Or even a few Hollywood writers’ views on torture? Should international rules be tossed aside because TV character Jack Bauer has had awesome success in torturing confessions out of make-believe terrorists? This is madness….and just the latest example of conservatives humping the leg of Hollywood far worse than any liberal when Hollywood happens to be offering something they like.