Monday, December 05, 2016

American Amnesia Phase II, The Authors Die of Alzheimers

Ok, phase I was inane, phase II was insane -- as in the classic leftist claptrap of NPR, NYT, WaPO, Huffpo, CNN, MSNBC regurgitated in a massive flow. Pumping 50 million gallons of hog manure in IA comes to mind. This the link back to phase I if you didn't read that yet. 

We do samples of the pungent fertilizer -- so I will follow suit here.

The next year, Reagan made a U-turn. When a deep recession and his big tax cuts yielded massive budget deficits, the president accepted tax hikes to stanch the red ink.
Reagan was a tax raiser ... which I guess is an attempt to make him "one of theirs". But what he did was try to deal honestly with Democrats.

It happened to my father early in his first term when he sought to close a growing federal deficit caused by the deep economic recession. He believed Democrats in Congress would keep their pledge to make $3 in future spending cuts for every $1 in immediate tax increases. 
In 1982 he signed a compromise tax bill with the horrible name of TEFRA — the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act. And, when those promised spending cuts never materialized in Congress, TEFRA became one of the biggest regrets of my father’s presidency.
We could bore you with a LONG list of these, but the bottom line is that Republicans have been  snookered many times at this game. The authors of the book are mystified why trust has broken down between the parties!

How evil can the Koch brothers be?  Lots of pages of text worth ... they are of course Libertarians and not really Republicans, but "whatever" ... "they are not at war with the Republican establishment". Well, the Republican Establishment certainly was at war with Trump ... so Trump ought to be a good thing for these guys I assume.
For many pundits, American politics seems stuck in its own Groundhog Day: an interminable cycle of partisan warfare and gridlock. The cycle’s beginning can, like Groundhog Day, be dated to 1993. Clinton and congressional Democrats met fierce across-the-board resistance from a Republican Party acting with newfound unity and intensity. The epic battles that followed— budget wars, government shutdowns, impeachment of a president— set the tone for the next twenty-plus years. A new meme in American political discourse, “polarization,” became the new normal in American political life.
Why not 1973? Watergate was getting in full swing -- that had the impeachment of a president involved as well. Certainly the Republicans played Charlie Brown to the Democrats Lucy in the kicking the field goal vignette MANY times.  Reagan played the same roll in the $1 tax increase for $3 of future cuts.

One of the "small" items not really talked about is that Democrats held control of the House of Representatives for nearly 40 years, 1957-1994, but amazingly there was no corruption or cronyism under their rule. Gingrich was a "new breed", not an honorable guy like say ways and means chair Dan Rostenkowski from the mid-80s, who spent some time vacationing at the barbed wire hotel on the SE side of Rochester.
The polarization of the parties has been asymmetric. Republicans have moved much further right than Democrats have moved left.
You would measure that how? By government spending? (steadily up) By government regulation? (steadily up) By social issues? Republican W Bush proposes and passes prescription drug coverage under medicare? Bernie Sanders, a declared Socialist runs as a Democrat and likely would have won had the party not rigged their primaries? Gay "marriage" and men in women's bathrooms isn't a leftward shift?

Have we always had those things and I just realized it? I see leftward as toward more government and less morality and rightward is toward less government and morality. You would think that with their assertion that the "mix" of the "mixed economy" is toward LESS government, while the real world being ever more government spending as a % of GDP, they would at least deign to explain what they mean.

In the current chapter, we explain the parallel rise of two grave threats to the mixed economy: a new economic elite with ideas (and earnings) starkly distinct from the American mainstream and a newly influential economic philosophy that we call “Randianism” (after the radically individualistic thinking of the midcentury novelist Ayn Rand).
I see this development as positive -- Republicans are being accused of reading books other than the Bible ... and possibly Mein Kampf. The normal ding on Republicans is that they lack the intellect to be able to read. The offending text is "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand, published in 1957.  Not one, but TWO "grave threats", one of them being a book -- the left always has had problems with books.
GOP presidential candidates have become more conservative, while Democratic candidates have not moved left.
Oh, that is what they mean! Obama was not farther left than Bill Clinton ... no need to even consider it! HW Bush was right of Reagan.  McCain and Mittens were to the "right" of W. Glad that is straightened out!

“Say you had a deal, a real spending cuts deal, ten to one . . . spending cuts to tax increases. . . . Who on this stage would walk away from that deal? Can you raise your hand if you feel so strongly about not raising taxes, you’d walk away on the ten-to-one deal?” All eight candidates raised their hands. The GOP crowd roared approval.
There is one of their "proofs" of the rightward shift of Republicans. How about Republicans have FINALLY figured out that a such a "deal" with the Democrats is letting Lucy hold the football again! Even the very stupid eventually learn!

What is it that makes Republicans so evil? The are racists!

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 changed that. Within a generation, the GOP represented the nation’s most conservative voters, and the geographic epicenter of loyal Republican voters became the Deep South— a region that is both poorer and more conservative than other Republican bulwarks. When Democratic leaders finally demanded the end of Jim Crow, black voters became overwhelmingly Democratic.

Never mind that the Democrats were the party of slavery and then of Jim Crow, that DEMOCRATS worked to filibuster the voting rights act and as a percentage, more Republicans than Democrats voted for it.  What really takes hutzpah is that the democrat strategy of keeping blacks on the new inner city welfare plantations where they share-crop the votes every couple years has not been much of an aid to the lives of their welfare slaves -- but no matter, I guess they have actually been consistent on their attitude to blacks for the countries entire history! Keep them on the plantation! Just make it look a little different from time to time.

Besides race, the "machinery" that allows Republicans to get voters to "vote against their interests" is:

This machinery has three key elements: Christian conservatism, polarizing right-wing media, and growing efforts by business and the wealthy to backstop and bankroll Republican politics.
Ok, the book was bad before, but by this point there is nothing not covered on NPR, NYT, WaPo, etc every day. It isn't clear what they would do to get Christian conservatives to stop voting against the killing of 60 million and counting babies, gay "marriage", men in women's locker rooms and such -- maybe kill them?

Do we really have to keep hearing about "money in politics" after 2016? Last summer the media was ecstatic that Hillary was cleaning Trump's clock on campaign money, especially from Wall Street. Here is bloomberg waxing poetic about her out raising Trump by 20 to 1 among billionaires. Gee ... let's get the money out of politics! The amount of crap about Citizens United in the book REALLY is a joke after November -- the "read by" date of this book expired Nov 8!

But even the most plausible of them— campaign finance reform, improvements in our electoral process, a concerted push to bring politicians back toward the center

We need to get back toward "the center" -- which is? In the view of the authors, the country is "moving right" -- reams more regulation, socialized medicine, ever increasing spending, new "rights" ... gay "marriage", sex change, choose your own race? etc.

Moreover, while there’s no single solution, we do believe there’s an overarching and inspiring aim: restoring the capacity of our democracy to express and act upon the interests that large numbers of us share in common.

So how about 60 million Americans? Is that a "large number". I find it tragic and ironic that the numbers on each side in this past election are basically the same as the number of babies murdered since Roe V Wade. How many geniuses that may have cured cancer, solved our energy problems, or maybe written a book that allowed Trump and Hillary supporters to look across the fence and understand why there is so much disagreement, were gassed by Hitler? How many more have been killed since 1973?

Democracies are at constant risk of being overwhelmed by intensely organized minorities who distort, immobilize, or dismantle government to advance their own interests.
Which may be why this was once a Constitutional Republic. If the government was limited in size -- say 10-20% of GDP, then the special interests rent seeking via government, as well as vote buying schemes, would be limited BOTH by the Constitution and there just being 10-20% of the economy to take from, rather than 40%.

To reverse this spiral, we must reestablish a government with the capacity to foster broad prosperity. We need to ensure that ordinary voters and diffuse interests are capable of triumphing over concentrated interests. And we need to rescue the ideal of the mixed economy from the mists of American Amnesia. Many changes have swept the American economy since the 1970s. Yet our biggest problem is not a lack of attractive policy options. Our biggest problem is our politics. The mixed economy is as necessary as ever— indeed, in a world of increased interdependence and complexity, more than ever. And despite all the changes of recent decades, it is still within our grasp. We need better policies to restore its potential. But above all, we need a better politics.
So we have doubled the size of government in % of GDP since those "forgotten" days of the mixed economy. The authors may be certain there are some great "policy positions", but outside of LOTS more government, LOTS more taxes, and LOTS more regulation, the specifics were "thin" ... except for somehow getting the lowest possible barriers to voting, plus allowing felons, and only thinly trying to disguise the desire to allow illegals to vote (no IDs).

Some favor that redistribution; others oppose it. But what is missing is an understanding that most of what government does is not about redistribution at all; it is about addressing a wide range of problems that markets alone are ill equipped to tackle. Our discourse about government has become dangerously lopsided. The hostility of the right is unceasing and mostly unanswered.
I think the BIGGEST of this books many failings is the failure to recognize that BY FAR the biggest dollar amount of effort by the government IS redistribution, 70-80%.  What is far worse is that most of that is that 40% of US households are now getting over 50% of their income from the government ... and all of that (other than what is stolen from our children and grandchildren) is coming out of those who make over the lofty sum of $102K. They harp a lot on how "makers and takers" is nasty ... perhaps cash cows and vote slaves is more accurate?

This has gotten WAY too long ... I'll leave this as their analysis of the wonders of BOcare. It was really wonderful -- here in MN a lot of folks ended up paying $2k+ a couple for their insurance, $24K a year ... STILL with hefty deductibles and co-pays if they had to use it. AFTER the election, even the WaPo had the courage to interviewed Noseworthy from Mayo who pointed out it was time for a do-over.  They find any claims against BOcare to be completely false -- proof of racism, ill will, etc.
They claim millions are losing good insurance despite a historic expansion of coverage. They claim costs are skyrocketing despite a historic slowdown of medical inflation.
 See, the guys that wrote this book know that BOcare was a wonderful thing! Heck, Hacker (one of the authors) was even one of the architects of BOcare -- thanks! BOcare was one of the things that helped Trump beat Hillary!

So by $$$ the government has grown from 20% of the economy when they claim the "mix" was correct to nearly 40% ... but now they think the government is WAY too small. I think what they really mean is that the socialist vote buying programs to date have eaten the whole budget and they don't have enough left for them to buy more votes or pick more winners or losers -- but they don't say that, so the book is completely debunked by looking up a government spending as a % of GDP chart.

But I looked up the regulation volume in the first post as well -- that is also at record levels.

So, what I "learned":

  • government is great, government is good, we thank it for our daily bread. When people go into government they are sainted and there is never any corruption or rent seeking (as in build bigger fiefdoms, keep people on forever even if no longer useful, etc) ... no problems in government ... except Republican obstructionism. 
  • Republicans and business are in bed together and evil.  (and racist, but I repeat myself)
  • Democrats are so amazing! If the Republicans (and at least the high level business people) could be herded into gas chambers, utopia would be at hand! The very fact that they question this utopia is a sign of their evil. 
  • Fox News and Talk Radio! Nuff said ... well throw in "conservative think tanks funded by the Koch brothers". Puts the Democrat / government forces of goodness and light at EXTREME disadvantage! NPR, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, NY Times, WaPo, all the universities, Hollywood, American Bar association, government workers unions, etc just CAN'T COMPETE! Side note ... who has market share on radio? They pointed how how much was conservative, but failed to mention that out of the top 4 with basically same numbers of listeners: "Liberal Things Considered" at top (NPR), then Rush, then "Liberal Edition" (NPR), then Hannity. The book led you to believe it was a conservative rout -- really more of a privately funded / publicly funded draw. 
The big thing that books like this make obvious is that the US electorate is operating under two completely different world views. One actually DOES believe in a truly mixed economy, with the government being 10, 20, or possibly even 30% of that mix. The other (the authors of this book) want a SOCIALIST economy with 50, 60 ??? % being government, and almost certainly eventually effectively 100% -- because anybody that opposes them is always going to be "evil". We know they want MUCH more government because having it jump from 20 - 40% of GDP looks like "backward" from their perspective -- there is indeed "Amnesia", but they need to look between their ears a lot more. 

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