The article starts out pointing out that Sarah Palin is not a "political outsider", that the Tea Party is not an independent group, and that John McCain no longer has any discernible political positions outside of whatever it takes to get elected. These are all excellent points with which I could not agree more. It's at this point that our respective positions diverge.
Stop pretending that the deficit we’re all facing is the fault of President Obama and the Democratic Congress. During the Bush administration, we went from a surplus to a massive deficit, largely thanks to two wars that were never (until Obama) added to the federal budget—wars, in other words, fought entirely on credit. We compounded the problem with tax cuts that largely benefited the wealthy, and a huge Medicare increase, and all those were also on credit. When the economy tanked in fall 2008, Bush quickly pushed through the TARP bailout, adding to the deficit (but pulling the economy back from the cliff).President Obama is not entirely responsible for the deficit. He is quickly adding to it, though. Yes, Obama added the wars to the federal budget, but that does not change the fact that they (along with the much of the rest of the budget) are still paid for on credit. And while Bush may have pulled the economy back from the cliff, he did not change it's direction; it is still headed that way under Obama.
Stop pretending that the near-ruinous economic crash that we’re still reeling from was Obama’s fault, too. The root causes stretch back decades, to a continued process of deregulating financial institutions, allowing them ever more leeway to prey on the vulnerable, to sell mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them, and to manipulate financial products that were ultimately guaranteed to fall apart.Again, the author is correct that the economic crash was not caused by Obama, and that it is unrealistic to think that the government would be able to fix it (I would argue, in any amount of time). The author implicitly places the blame on the private sector, however, when he talks about mortgages and financial products. Those mortgages that people couldn't afford were promoted and backed by the government in the form of Fannie and Freddie and FHA and VA loans. Obama has continued this process with the homebuyer tax credit and the HAFA and HAMP programs. For non-mortgage related financial instruments, look no further than the Federal Reserve serving as the "lender of last resort". Even though the Fed is nominally a private entity, it's ludicrous to think that they really are, and when banks get into trouble, the Fed bails them out via the power of "printing" money, a power that Congress abdicated to it long ago.
And stop pretending that Obama and the current Congress should have been able to fix the two above problems in 18 months, when it took eight years to create the first one and literally decades of foxes guarding financial henhouses to create the second.
Stop pretending that saying “No” is the same as governing. We pay our legislators good money to go to Washington and make difficult decisions that keep the country moving. By voting “No” on every bill, by refusing to negotiate in good faith, by deciding that short-term political advantage was more important than the everyday lives of Americans, the Republicans set back our recovery, made needed reforms fall short, and put our lives and our economy at unnecessary risk.I hate the idea that governing means "doing something". Saying "no" is a legitimate act, one in which all politicians engage because nobody can agree on the exact role of government. In this way, saying "no" is doing something. That is not to say that Republicans are not being obstructionist for political gains; however, the author would be better advised to point out Republican hypocrisy on things like expanding Medicare under Bush but railing against the PPACA, now.
Stop pretending that the economy is magic. You can’t continue to give millionaires and billionaires huge tax cuts, make tiny, cosmetic cuts at the margins of things, and still reduce the deficit. You can’t create jobs without spending money. Tax cuts for millionaires and up are not stimulative because those people don’t spend the money from the cut—it’s not like you’re giving them a wad of cash and sending them to the store. When you put an unemployed person to work or give a tax cut to a poor or middle class family, that’s exactly what it’s like—they go buy things they need and those dollars flow through the economy, creating jobs and wealth everywhere they go.I'm not sure anyone is pretending that the economy is magic; however it is far more complex than most imagine. Not only that, but the government via regulation or the Fed often arbitrarily moves the market in ways that could only be predicted by magic. The author is correct that tax cuts (to anyone) won't balance the budget. He is mistaken, though, if he thinks that tax increases will do the job, either. Federal spending is out of control, and the only way to save this country's economy, over the long term, is to start cutting Social Security, Medicare, the military, everything.
And stop talking about stimulus. It's too bad that people believe that Keynesian economics preaches deficit spending. Keynes, mistaken as I believe his theories to be, spoke of stimulative spending out of savings. Yes, it takes money to create jobs, but it also takes money to keep those jobs. To think that the government (or anyone) can throw a one-time bucket of cash at the economy to "unstick" it is ridiculous. It will only lead to the government having to throw ever increasing amounts of money at the economy. It's amazing to me that most people agree that easy credit was the proximate cause of the economic conditions in which we all now live and at the same time believe that if the government just borrows more from China that that will fix the problem. We will end up back in this very situation again, only it will be much, much worse.
The things that Pelosi and Reid have supported these past 18 months have been programs that will help America move into the 21st century. Health care reform, in spite of great efforts at pretending, is not a “government takeover” of health care—it institutionalizes, in law, the presence of the health insurance industry, and gives that industry millions of new clients.Whoa! Stop right there! Did you catch that? The government, under Democratic control, via the coercion of law, just delivered millions of customers to the health insurance industry. It's not just the Republicans that are in bed with big business.
It will, in the long run, reduce the deficit and create a healthier nation, by allowing more people to get preventive care and long-term care and keeping the sick and impoverished from turning to emergency rooms when there’s a crisis.This entire problem was created by the government in the first place, though.
Stop pretending that “lifelong politician” is some kind of curse. Most people who hold public office do so because they genuinely want to help people, they genuinely want to make government responsive to the needs of their fellow Americans, and they’re willing to put themselves on the line every few years to get the chance to do so.Here's a thought experiment: If "most" people who hold public office genuinely want to help people and make government better, why hasn't it happened?
Stop pretending that “big government” is the problem. When’s the last time you were seriously inconvenienced or injured by something that big government did?Gay rights, TSA body scanners, highway checkpoints, the PATRIOT Act, warrantless wiretaps, extra-judicial assassinations, indefinite detentions, inflation, etc. Don't tell me that (some of) these don't affect me. When one person's rights are trampled, everybody's are, and that's just at the federal level. Not only that, but all of this ignores the fact that every year I have to fill out a number of forms figuring out, on the government's behalf, how much money they want from me, and then send them that amount under the threat of force if I either figure wrong or don't send the right amount.
Stop pretending that anybody’s going to come and take your guns away. [...] There’s no truth to it, there’s never been any truth to it, and if you actually believe it, you just might be so simple-minded that you shouldn’t be trusted with a firearm.They may not be trying to take them away, per se, but the laws (at least in CA) are clearly not conducive to gun purchases or ownership. One must wait 10 days to purchase any gun, even if one already owns one or one hundred of them. AB962, once in effect, will make the mail-ordering of handgun ammunition illegal and require fingerprints be taken of law-abiding citizens when they do purchase ammunition. It is illegal to actually carry one's gun in a manner that would actually allow it to be used effectively in self-defense, and many counties around the state deny CCW applications to all but the wealthy and connected.
Perhaps the author can explain to me why the BATFE and the state of CA keep records of gun sales if not to retain the possibility of rounding up guns in the future. I realize that that has a bit of a "tin foil hat" sound to it, but it is a legitimate question.
The author goes off the rails at this point with a lot of name calling. He tries to bring it home at the end, though.
Finally, stop pretending that voting doesn’t matter, and don’t let the 2010 Class of Crazy take office and convince you otherwise.A variation on the previous thought experiment I proposed is apropos here: If voting mattered, why is government the way that it is? Perhaps it's because we've gotten the very government for which we voted. Voting doesn't matter and arguably does more harm than good. A voter is statistically more likely to be killed going to or coming from his/her polling place than to cast the deciding vote in an election. I refer the reader my previous posts on voting and the nature of government.