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-   -   The American People: Morons (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=6902)

Don Zeko 07-19-2011 11:45 AM

The American People: Morons
 
Compare and contrast this poll result:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/rf/ima...EeCqtwDroSNwHg

With this Dan Drezner post:

Quote:

Now, at this point, I'm sure you, future post-apocalyptic historians, must be scratching your third eye heads, thinking the following:

WHY???!!!

Why, why did these human beings maintain these beliefs in the face of massive evidence to the contrary? Why did these people continue to insist that default wasn't that big a deal when Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke (a Republican first appointed by Republican president George W. Bush) insisted that there would be a "huge financial calamity" if the debt ceiling wasn't raised? Why did their belief persist when Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Ratings all explicitly and repeatedly warned of serious and expensive debt downgrades if the ceiling wasn't raised? Why did they stick to their guns despite news reports detailing the link between the rating of federal government debt and the debt of states and municipalities? Why did they stand firm despite the consensus of the Republican Governors Association and the Democrat Governors Association that a failure to raise the debnt cailing would be "catastrophic"? Why did they refuse to yield despite bipartisan analysis explaining the very, very bad consequences of no agreement, and nonpartisan analysis explaining the horrific foreign policy consequences of American default? Why did they not understand that even a technical default would cost hundreds of billions of dollars**, thereby making their stated goal of debt reduction even harder?

Most mysteriously, why did these people throw their steering wheel out the window despite witnessing the effect of the 2008 Lehman Brothers collapse, which revealed the complex interconectedness of financial markets? Treasuries were far more integral to global capital markets than Lehman, but the debt kamikazes refused to recognize the possibility that a technical debt default would have unanticipated, complex, and disastrous consequences. Why?

graz 07-19-2011 11:57 AM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 217458)
Compare and contrast this poll result:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/rf/ima...EeCqtwDroSNwHg

With this Dan Drezner post:

From the propagandists at Fox to the politicians stuck in maneuvers, the "why" is easy enough to fathom: People follow.

But the assumption that a sober judgement after reflection of massive evidence has or is part of the equation is clearly not in evidence.

ETA: I blame Libertarians! For everything.

stephanie 07-19-2011 12:30 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by graz (Post 217461)
From the propagandists at Fox to the politicians stuck in maneuvers, the "why" is easy enough to fathom: People follow.

Yes, or they don't pay attention and don't really know what the debt ceiling is. They think it's about new expenditures or something.

I'm somewhat curious WHY those who think it's no biggie not to raise the debt ceiling think that. That is, do they really think nothing bad would happen from defaulting? Or is it that they think we won't have to default and, if so, why not? I realize DenvilleSteve may not be a good proxy for the average American, but I was struck by his bizarre assumption that the President could just decide not to make certain payments (i.e., put Medicare on a need only basis, change the rules for SocSec unilaterally, suspend all payments going to those asshole blue states, etc.). It would no longer surprise me if lots of Americans really think this is how government works.

graz 07-19-2011 12:49 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 217467)
Yes, or they don't pay attention and don't really know what the debt ceiling is. They think it's about new expenditures or something.

I'm somewhat curious WHY those who think it's no biggie not to raise the debt ceiling think that.
That is, do they really think nothing bad would happen from defaulting? Or is it that they think we won't have to default and, if so, why not? I realize DenvilleSteve may not be a good proxy for the average American, but I was struck by his bizarre assumption that the President could just decide not to make certain payments (i.e., put Medicare on a need only basis, change the rules for SocSec unilaterally, suspend all payments going to those asshole blue states, etc.). It would no longer surprise me if lots of Americans really think this is how government works.

You're right that if extended, the "thinking" has to include misconception about debt/new expenditures and not knowing how our government truly functions. But the tribalism short circuits reason. So if it is only a poll ... damn the nuance.

Thankfully, we have responsible reps like McConnell, Boehner and Cantor
http://xtrvaluedvds.com/images/the-three-stooges-1.jpg

ready to take the threat seriously.

sugarkang 07-19-2011 01:41 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...76H00620110718

Quote:

However, the current wide divisions between the House of Representatives and the Obama administration over the debt limit creates a high level of uncertainty and causes us to raise our assessment of event risk," Hess said.

Stepping further into the heated political debate about U.S. debt problems, Moody's suggested the government could look at other ways to limit debt.

It cited Chile, widely praised as Latin America's most fiscally-sound country, as an example. [Naomi Klein fans recoil in horror!]

"Elsewhere, the level of deficits is constrained by a 'fiscal rule,' which means the rise in debt is constrained though not technically limited," Moody's said, adding that such rule has been effective in Chile.

It also cited the example of the Maastricht criteria in Europe, which determines that the ratio of government debt to GDP should not exceed 60 percent. It noted, however, that such a rule is often breached by the governments.
Quote:

Barack Obama 2006:
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.
Americans are morons is right. Not because one side is right, but because each side believes that they have a monopoly on truth.

eeeeeeeli 07-19-2011 02:17 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Yes, but wouldn't being fiscally sound in 2006 be quite a different thing than in 2011?

One thing I don't get about all this anger over debt is that after a massive recession you have a sudden drop in government revenues, coupled with a sudden need for government services. You can argue that stimulus isn't appropriate - whatever - but things like unemployment and cobra relief were enormous, as were tax breaks.

So many of the critiques of our current debt problem seem to want to conveniently blame it all on liberal spending, as if that was what caused the recession, and that if we simply cut spending everything will return to normal.

It seems completely removed from reality.

sugarkang 07-19-2011 04:25 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli (Post 217482)
So many of the critiques of our current debt problem seem to want to conveniently blame it all on liberal spending, as if that was what caused the recession, and that if we simply cut spending everything will return to normal.

It seems completely removed from reality.

I've never blamed it on liberal spending. I've said before that Bush's war spending and Bush tax cuts were primarily to blame. But I blame liberals now for not doing what we need to do now.

But don't mind me. I'm a right winger on this board.

miceelf 07-19-2011 04:41 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 217500)
I've never blamed it on liberal spending. I've said before that Bush's war spending and Bush tax cuts were primarily to blame. But I blame liberals now for not doing what we need to do now.

There's plenty of blame to go around. Whatever liberal reluctance there is to rein in spending is at least matched by Republican reluctance to raise taxes.

look 07-19-2011 05:03 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 217502)
There's plenty of blame to go around. Whatever liberal reluctance there is to rein in spending is at least matched by Republican reluctance to raise taxes.

Here's Ezra with some thoughts on Keynesian economics:

Quote:

And even if Congress was willing to green-light more money, spending it turned out to be harder than the Keynesians had hoped. “Anybody who is honest and knowledgeable will say it is harder to move money quickly and well in reality than it is in the textbook model. I don’t think the idea that lots more money could have been moved is credible unless there had been a whole set of prior planning,” Summers says.

Prior planning, it turns out, is important. Keynesianism may be a theory of crises, but it requires planning during non-crisis periods. And looking back, we weren’t prepared to go Keynesian. At all.

For one thing, if you’re going to spend during downturns, you have to save during expansions. That wasn’t a big part of George W. Bush administration policy, of course.

Another clear takeaway is that formulas are more reliable than Congress. It would be much better if federal support for programs such as Medicaid and unemployment insurance was explicitly tied to the unemployment rate. Hoping Congress will act responsibly over any extended period of time isn’t, as they say, a plan.

It would also be good to keep projects in “shovel-ready” condition when times are good so that federal money could be used effectively and quickly when times turn bad. Undeniably, the country’s infrastructure needs are great. If the federal government made a more explicit commitment to invest in infrastructure during downturns, states could be given the certainty and the incentives to keep a long list of projects ready to go.

But rather than improving on Keynes, the Republican Party has turned against him and the Democratic Party has stopped trying to defend him, much less continue to implement his recommendations.

“The polarization of fiscal policy is one of the worst legacies to come out of the recession,” Romer says, sighing. “Before the crisis, there was agreement that what you do when you run out of monetary tools is fiscal stimulus. Suddenly, it’s like we’re back in the 1930s.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/busine...YMI_story.html

sugarkang 07-19-2011 05:04 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 217502)
There's plenty of blame to go around. Whatever liberal reluctance there is to rein in spending is at least matched by Republican reluctance to raise taxes.

It's the Tea Party. At least make the distinction. Plenty of right wingers supported the $4 trillion deal. Plus, it's not clear that the world will end if the debt ceiling isn't raised, White House hysteria notwithstanding.

Quote:

Ezra Klein:
"For one thing, if you’re going to spend during downturns, you have to save during expansions. That wasn’t a big part of George W. Bush administration policy, of course."
Yeah, there are only a handful of anti-Keynesians around (Ron Paul). As much as I like Ron Paul, oddly enough, I don't like his monetary policy. It's impossible to ignore Keynes in fiscal crisis, but as Ezra points out, it's not only the inability of government to spend, but we lack the proper mechanisms to reel in spending. Nobody was prepared to do that.

People think Megan McArdle is unreasonable, but that's because the liberals that complain about her are economically illiterate. She grudgingly supported stimulus and she would support it again if there are failsafe mechanisms to reel in spending in the future. You know, like what Keynes himself and Ezra and Paul Krugman says is absolutely necessary. The Democrats don't do that, and they just want a blank check. Sorry, children. Grow the fuck up.

miceelf 07-19-2011 05:25 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 217509)
Yeah, there are only a handful of anti-Keynesians around (Ron Paul). As much as I like Ron Paul, oddly enough, I don't like his monetary policy.

Distinction between Tea Party and Republicans noted, but I will point out that the looming fear of a primary is affecting a lot of republicans, making the two concepts at least somewhat linked. Also, plenty of democrats support plenty of spending cuts.

I like Ron Paul, but I like him much more temperamentally than I do substantively. He says what he believes and isn't afraid of going into the lion's den. I think about half of that is good moral character and about half is the courage of the kook, but either way, it's a good quality.

Monetary policy is one issue that's substantive.

sugarkang 07-19-2011 05:56 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 217513)
... I will point out that the looming fear of a primary is affecting a lot of republicans, making the two concepts at least somewhat linked. Also, plenty of democrats support plenty of spending cuts.

Yeah. Remember, I hate all politicians. So, I agree with you. There's a lot of rent-seeking evil on both sides that won't end unless you're willing to dismantle the system and start from the barebone essentials.

stephanie 07-19-2011 05:56 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 217502)
There's plenty of blame to go around. Whatever liberal reluctance there is to rein in spending is at least matched by Republican reluctance to raise taxes.

But this is an entirely different argument than Don Zeko's original point. Whether you think the Dem plan is better or the Republican one, the fact is that it's mindboggling that so many apparently deny that it would be a big thing not to raise the debt ceiling. It's not clear if this is because they don't understand what this means, that they think defaulting would be a-okay if the US did it, or that they don't think we actually would default. If the latter, I'm curious if this is because they have some bizarre view of what the Executive's powers are or merely because they think that under those circumstances the Executive would be able to pay the debt through reneging on some other US responsibilities for a time, since Congress would have made compliance with all the US's obligations impossible.

miceelf 07-19-2011 05:59 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Oh, I agree. I was making a specific response to a specific statement.

chiwhisoxx 07-19-2011 06:21 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
I saw the thread title and thought "wait, wasn't florian banned?'

graz 07-19-2011 06:24 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx (Post 217527)
I saw the thread title and thought "wait, wasn't florian banned?'

Touché.

Don Zeko 07-19-2011 06:29 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx (Post 217527)
I saw the thread title and thought "wait, wasn't florian banned?'

I think we all have a little Florian in us sometimes.

stephanie 07-19-2011 06:41 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx (Post 217527)
I saw the thread title and thought "wait, wasn't florian banned?'

I'd approve of this comment, but graz might think I'm being a copycat.

:-)

ledocs 07-20-2011 11:34 AM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Anyone who does not think that the American people are morons is...a genius.

I always found it amusing that Jack Germond, whose wife was apparently a big-time Democratic operative, had his H.L. Mencken side and was constantly complaining about how ill-informed the American people were. But the point is, it's an indisputable fact, they are very ill-informed. Please cite a poll or survey that demands some knowledge of facts and shows otherwise. There is this other argument that there is some foundation of common sense that underlies the ignorance and helps us to avoid some of the bad outcomes that might predictably result from ignorance, for instance, "Wars are expensive and often unwinnable."

TwinSwords 07-24-2011 05:34 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 217513)
Distinction between Tea Party and Republicans noted....

There is no distinction between the GOP and the tea party. The Tea Party is the GOP -- and sugarkang knows it. If you showed this with a venn diagram, the circle showing tea partiers would almost entirely exist inside the circle showing Republicans. And, again, sugarkang knows it.

This actually came up in this week's Professional Left Podcast with Driftglass and Bluegal:

Quote:

Driftglass: "There is no tea party. There is only the GOP base. This is exactly the same bunch of imbecilic, bigoted fucknozzles who have always been at the heart of the right. Always. Always. And without which they would never win another election. Ever. And they wouldn't have won one. This is the Jesse Helms wing of the party. This is the Strom Thurmond wing of the party. These crazy songs of bitches have been there for a very long time. I wrote this post a long time ago called "Reactionary," which said that the conservative movement is essentially a nuclear reactor."

Blue Gal: "Yeah. With David Brooks as the cooling chamber."

Driftglass: "David Brooks as the coolant. And the only thing that's different now is that the David Brookses of the party can no longer keep pretending that the crazies don't exist."

Blue Gal: "Right. And they can't cool it down, either, because they've lost their minds."

Driftglass: "And they have boiled off everyone who was a coolant in the party, and now there's nothing left but the raw core of the party, melting down.

stephanie 07-24-2011 05:46 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 218227)
There is no distinction between the GOP and the tea party. The Tea Party is the GOP

I'd qualify this a little. The Tea Party is a subsection of the Republicans. Maybe what's called the base, maybe what's called the right, depending on whatever or not you think those are the same. There are other coalitions in the Republicans. But, yes, it's just a longstanding part of the coalition.

TwinSwords 07-24-2011 05:59 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 218230)
I'd qualify this a little. The Tea Party is a subsection of the Republicans. Maybe what's called the base, maybe what's called the right, depending on whatever or not you think those are the same. There are other coalitions in the Republicans. But, yes, it's just a longstanding part of the coalition.

Sure, but it's fundamentally ignorant or dishonest to suggest (as sugar king did) that the tea party is an entity removed from or separate from the GOP. The tea party is the GOP base. And polls show that there is almost perfect overlap between the views of "Republicans" and members of the tea party. Because they're the same people.

sugarkang 07-24-2011 10:54 PM

Re: The American People: Morons
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 218235)
Sure, but it's fundamentally ignorant or dishonest to suggest (as sugar king did) that the tea party is an entity removed from or separate from the GOP. The tea party is the GOP base. And polls show that there is almost perfect overlap between the views of "Republicans" and members of the tea party. Because they're the same people.

Another fine demonstration of your cognitive failure. I've said before that Tea Party is nothing but a bunch of social conservatives holding their tongues about social issues because they're trying to gain traction on the economics issues. But you go ahead with your failure at analysis.


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