Shame on you, Joe Nocera

by Russ Roberts on August 2, 2011

in Budget Issues

There is a lot to learn from this Joe Nocera column so I thought I’d go through it in detail. It is full of dishonest polemics.

Here is the opening:

You know what they say: Never negotiate with terrorists. It only encourages them.

That’s a bit strong, wouldn’t you say? In a democracy, people disagree. It’s kind of against the rules to call your intellectual opponents terrorists unless they are killing innocent bystanders. But I guess Nocera is competing with Mr. Krugman.

These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people.

Huh? See previous comment.

Their intransigent demands for deep spending cuts, coupled with their almost gleeful willingness to destroy one of America’s most invaluable assets, its full faith and credit, were incredibly irresponsible. But they didn’t care. Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that’s what it took.

Like ideologues everywhere, they scorned compromise.

A softening of tone. They’re only ideologues. That beats terrorists or Jihadists.

When John Boehner, the House speaker, tried to cut a deal with President Obama that included some modest revenue increases, they humiliated him. After this latest agreement was finally struck on Sunday night — amounting to a near-complete capitulation by Obama — Tea Party members went on Fox News to complain that it only called for $2.4 trillion in cuts, instead of $4 trillion. It was head-spinning.

All day Monday, the blogosphere and the talk shows mused about which party would come out ahead politically. Honestly, who cares? What ought to matter is not how these spending cuts will affect our politicians, but how they’ll affect the country. And I’m not even talking about the terrible toll $2.4 trillion in cuts will take on the poor and the middle class. I am talking about their effect on America’s still-ailing economy.

Here is where it gets a little more interesting. He’s right. What matters is how it affects the economy and the human beings who comprise it. Let’s start with the terrible toll of $2.4 trillion in cuts on the poor and the middle class.

According to the CBO baseline spending (go here, page 18), which I understand is the baseline for the cuts of $2.4 trillion, the Federal government will spend $46.1 trillion over the next ten years. So we’re going to go from 46.1 trillion over the next ten years to a mere $43.7 trillion? I know Mr. Krugman claimed the debt deal “slashed government spending.” This year we’re going to spend about $3.8 trillion. For further perspective, in the ten years between 2002 and 2011, the Federal government spent $28.1 trillion dollars. (This includes estimated outlays for 2011 but it will be close. Source for the numbers is here. It does not include inflation which would bump these numbers up a bit if we wanted to compare them to today’s dollars. But inflation hasn’t been big enough. We’re spending a lot more than we did ten years ago.) Do you think that if the “cuts” actually happen that it’s going to take a big toll on the poor and the middle class? Throw in the other $1.5 trillion that might happen later and that gets you all the way down to $42.5 trillion over the next ten years, an average of a mere $4.25 trillion per year. Yes, those are draconian slashes in government spending. George Orwell, please call your office.

America’s real crisis is not a debt crisis. It’s an unemployment crisis.

This is sort of true. If we don’t get our debt under control, the current unemployment level is going to look like a picnic.

Yet this agreement not only doesn’t address unemployment, it’s guaranteed to make it worse. (Incredibly, the Democrats even abandoned their demand for extended unemployment benefits as part of the deal.) As Mohamed El-Erian, the chief executive of the bond investment firm Pimco, told me, fiscal policy includes both a numerator and a denominator. “The numerator is debt,” he said. “But the denominator is growth.” He added, “What we have done is accelerate forward, in a self-inflicted manner, the numerator. And, in the process, we have undermined the denominator.” Economic growth could have gone a long way toward shrinking the deficit, while helping put people to work. The spending cuts will shrink growth and raise the likelihood of pushing the country back into recession.

That’s one theory. As I have said before, there isn’t a lot of evidence that spending cuts reduce growth.

Inflicting more pain on their countrymen doesn’t much bother the Tea Party Republicans, as they’ve repeatedly proved.

Because they want smaller government? Which they didn’t achieve. They just slowed the growth from the baseline. But let’s look at the analysis: those of us who think the government spends too much money–we’re sadists? We want to inflict pain our countrymen?

What is astonishing is that both the president and House speaker are claiming that the deal will help the economy. Do they really expect us to buy that? We’ve all heard what happened in 1937 when Franklin Roosevelt, believing the Depression was over, tried to rein in federal spending. Cutting spending spiraled the country right back into the Great Depression, where it stayed until the arrival of the stimulus package known as World War II. That’s the path we’re now on. Our enemies could not have designed a better plan to weaken the American economy than this debt-ceiling deal.

There was a recession in 1938. Some blame it on tax increases. Some on cuts in spending. Some on monetary policy. And some on animal spirits. What is clear is that the economy did get worse. And as Robert Higgs has argued, the economy struggled through the way until the war ended.

One thing Roosevelt did right during the Depression was legislate into being a social safety net to soften the blows that a free-market economy can mete out in tough times. During this recession, it’s as if the government is going out of its way to make sure the blows are even more severe than they have to be. The debt-ceiling debate reflects a harsher, less empathetic America. It’s sad to see.

This is grotesque. The government has made sure the blows are more severe? Unemployment insurance has been extended many times. What is he talking about?

This is how the piece ends:

For now, the Tea Party Republicans can put aside their suicide vests. But rest assured: They’ll have them on again soon enough. After all, they’ve gotten so much encouragement.

Suicide vests? Shame on you, Joe Nocera. Shame on you for demonizing people who disagree with you. Shame on you for comparing people who want smaller government to people who blow up innocent bystanders eating a pizza or riding on a bus.

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{ 136 comments }

Craig S August 2, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I love the irony of this rhetoric coming the day Congresswoman Giffords returned to Congress. I guess toning down the rhetoric only applies to the other side.

SheetWise August 2, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Liberalism is a mental disorder. It’s also a religion — a religion of peace and tolerance, as long as somebody else is doing the heavy lifting.

Ken Mueller August 2, 2011 at 9:09 pm

The coordination and the speed of the response bothers me a little. The arguments have a Pravda-like quality to them, i.e. one has to do a 180 on them in order to get close to the truth. I thought almost everybody would at least entertain the thought, though probably not making it public, that our President had the final fallback position in the negotiations of smirking as the economy blew up if he didn’t get his way. Maybe I’m too cynical.

Chucklehead August 3, 2011 at 12:00 am

$21 billion cut in 2012 from $3800+ billion budget. Oh, the horrors!

anomdebus August 2, 2011 at 9:14 pm

So, Roosevelt both raised taxes and lowered expenditures. Shortly after, the economy tanked..
Now, the democrats were looking for raised taxes in exchange for lowered expenditures, and the republicans are the ones who didn’t learn from 1937?

Chucklehead August 2, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Oh, the irony.

SheetWise August 3, 2011 at 12:01 am

They’re only looking for lowered expenditures from a baseline that was agreed to in Wonderland.

“I think I should understand that better, if I had it written down: but I can’t quite follow it as you say it.” — Alice

LowcountryJoe August 2, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Potential nicknames: Nocera-bellum or Muirjoe

brotio August 3, 2011 at 3:06 am

Muirjoe!

:D

jorod August 2, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Get used to it. We are going to hear a lot about the Tea Party demon for the next 15 months.

muirgeo August 3, 2011 at 8:59 am

Yes and you are going to see the economic results of Tea Party ignorance put to policy.

The bullshit that cutting taxes and cutting spending will fix the economy has used it’s low hanging fruit. Anymore pushes in that direction will decidedly worsen the economy.

Tim August 4, 2011 at 12:41 am

Well seeing as how the new debt deal does neither, I guess we won’t really see the economic results of the Tea Party will we? We’ll only see more of, well, your economic policies. How long before we can agree those don’t work?

Dan J August 4, 2011 at 3:50 am

So, only spending an additional $7.5 trillion instead of $10 trillion more will impact our economy negatively?
Your kidding, right?
And, if the ten trillion didn’t work…. We should go to twenty trillion… If that fails… Go to fifty trillion… Eventually, one of these amounts should work, right?

So, school starts soon. Your entering the 6th grade, right?

Tim August 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Amazing, isn’t it Dan? No matter what, there will always be some reason, something that got in the way of whatever amount the government spends and that, not the possibility that no amount of spending will work, is what the left continually rail about. How much do you really need before you agree it’s time to try something else?

Fireball August 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm

You have just identified yourself by your comment.You are a Democrat who most likely belongs to a union in the midwest or an eastern state.You may be on welfare, if not you are thinking about it. You resent any manager in a company that is paid more than you. Why is your union allowing all the good jobs to go overseas?
What would you do if the person responsible for the spending in your household spent $500 more per week than you bring in?
Good Luck

NappingTom August 2, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Russ, you cited Jonah Goldberg’s rant earlier. I thought James Taranto’s take on this today was excellent:

“The Obama presidency has reduced the liberal left to an apoplectic rage. His Ivy League credentials, superior attitude, pseudointellectual mien and facile adherence to lefty ideology make him the perfect personification of the liberal elite. Thus far at least, he has been an utter failure both at winning public support and at managing the affairs of the nation.

Obama’s failure is the failure of the liberal elite, and that is why their resentment has reached such intensity. Their ideas, such as they are, are being put to a real-world test and found severely wanting. As a result, their authority is collapsing. And if there is one thing they know deep in their bones, it is that they are entitled to that authority. They lash out, desperately and pathetically, because they have nothing to offer but fear and anger.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/best_of_the_web_today.html

GrizzlyAdam August 2, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Taranto is one of my favorites. He’s really level-headed, and super funny when he needs to be. His daily column is a must-read.

muirgeo August 3, 2011 at 9:07 am

“Their ideas, such as they are, are being put to a real-world test…”

What BS their ideas have been stalled and diluted down by compromise and one filibuster after another. Our government is broke, frozen…. something you all would claim is a good thing…. but the free market will never fix this with out some help… THAT is what we are seeing.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_JxtVaA0bwyQ/TG55Ap9U2fI/AAAAAAAAALw/uankvfijt_g/s1600/chart-of-the-day-effects-of-fiscal-stimulus-on-gdp-growth-2009-2011.jpg

Urstoff August 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Muirgeo has never met a correlation that he didn’t think was causation.

Fireball August 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm

muirgeo,

I wrote a reply earlier to one of your raves. Did I get it almost right?

Lee Kelly August 3, 2011 at 10:00 am

NappingTom,

The “liberal elite” are winning. All the tea-party candidates have done is slow government down a little: the government has not reversed course or set out in a new direction.

yet another Dave August 3, 2011 at 11:51 am

It’s worse than that – they haven’t even slowed gov’t a little. All they’ve done is slightly reduce the rate of acceleration, and that’s probably false anyway since all the “cuts” are left to a future congress.

Anotherphil August 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I would disagree with Taranto on one point. Resentment isn’t the result of the left’s failure-it’s the reason for its existence. There isn’t a single leftist political impulse that doesn’t start with visceral indignation. It doesn’t matter that whatever the “issue” is focused on will generally be a transient fixation to be displaced by the next “issue” that enters their itinerant and myopic collective field of vision, or that their “solutions” might not be terribly wise or thoughtful, because centrally designed and implemented solutions are epistemic nightmares (as pointed out by Dr. Hayek) or that there really are no solutions, just tradeoffs (as pointed out by Dr. Sowell)
It just matters that “somebody” does something-deus ex machina, soon if not now. Of course the “somebody” which provides the most immediate and visible balm is the state, with all its powers of command and compulsion, which feeds the left’s mania about the state. Mention government and they act like pyromaniacs at a bonfire.
On the rare occasion when the proposed intervention is possible and advisable, it doesn’t matter if the policy is sustainable, effective or efficient. When the “problem” is mitigated, or the solution shows itself to be unproductive or counterproductive-they redefine the problem, because incumbent constituencies must be maintained.
The leftist tirade and defense of fiscal irresponsibility isn’t terribly complicated it’s little more than the political expression of the immaturity which impels the leftist impulse. The fury you see is little more than a tantrum of spoiled recipients and the ruling class that feeds them suddenly being denied ever more unbridled indulgences. They don’t like being told “eat your peas”-indeed they are so egocentric as to think they should tell us to eat our peas as if we should act at their direction, instead of visa versa.

Jim August 2, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I can not imagine the noise if we actually cut spending instead of slowing the growth.

This bill is unlikely to cut 6% of projected deficit growth.

Methinks1776 August 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm

When I read the first line I thought he was talking about politicians.

John Hall August 2, 2011 at 9:57 pm

I really like this article. People who do that, on both sides of the ideological spectrum, should be shamed.

SheetWise August 3, 2011 at 12:12 am

You can’t shame people who have no shame.

GrizzlyAdam August 2, 2011 at 10:07 pm

When Congress or the President does something a Progressive agrees with, it’s “democracy in action.” When Congress or the President does something a Progressive disagrees with, it’s “terrorism.”

Darren August 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm

“When Congress or the President does something a Progressive disagrees with, it’s “terrorism.””

What depresses me is that there are a huge number of people who are literally stupid enough to buy this. In a democracy, this is fatal.

Fireball August 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Darren,
You hit the “nail on the head”. The number of stupid voters out there is really scary. The only thing more scary are people who say ” I quit reading about politics or talking about it because it does no good”.

Dan J August 2, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Might I suggest a second recession, if we really ever climbed out of the first, is under way and has been. I work in an industry that does a fairly good job of showing early indicators of economic decline. The decline, I thought early on, was due to school closing out for the year and holidays approaching. The early declines could simply represent shifting of services. But, alas, upon hindsight and further dissection, along with continuing declines of business on downward slope, in volume, but maintaining some profits from efficiencies, it is happening. Be prepared my friends, for demoncrats to herald the intended cuts, as slight as they may be, if they happen, as the reasoning for the decline.
Most politicians, I find to be untrustworthy, but Obama and the demoncrats are vile.

Krishnan August 2, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I thought 9/11 was a terrorist incident where innocents were killed. Now I am told that 8/2/2011 is when there was a terrorist attack on the US by those that opposed the debt deal.

I am glad to understand the meaning of Civil Discourse. Any opposition to Obama and the Democrats plan is racist and should be classified as a terrorist incident. Perhaps someone in Congress will demand that Big Sis investigate those that opposed the debt deal and are continuing to write about the increase in spending.

John Papola August 2, 2011 at 10:26 pm

We need to run larger deficits so we can accelerate growth so that we can pay off our deficits. And if you think this sounds like a nonsensical, tautological perpetual motion machine, you’re a damn terrorist.

We’re off the reservation folks. Given the way so many on the “left” once decried this kind of language, I find it fair to say that very little coming out of their mouth is actual belief or concern. They claim to care about “the people”, but I see little reason to believe that. Their seemingly legitimate concern under Bush about fascistic language was a fraud. In truth, the Joe Noceras of the world just want the technocrats and wannabe totalitarians to rule over us. That’s all.

Chucklehead August 2, 2011 at 11:45 pm

“If we were terrorists, he’d (Obama) would want to pal around with us,” Governor Palin said.

Dan J August 3, 2011 at 12:45 am

One can only hope that a majority of those who vote recognize how ridiculous this ranting and raving from leftists has become.

Chucklehead August 3, 2011 at 1:39 am

“No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”
H. L. Mencken

Jim August 3, 2011 at 1:50 am

It is going to get even stranger. Are you aware they are bulldozing houses now?

Having spent billions pumping up the market, then spending billions trying to preserve it, we are now going to bull doze the supply because well, we’ve been propping up demand so long.

Dan J August 3, 2011 at 2:03 am

That would be such a huge waste. Do you have a link?

Economiser August 3, 2011 at 10:09 am

We did that with cars in “Cash for Clunkers” two years ago. Wouldn’t be surprised to see it extended to houses.

Darren August 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Sounds like dumping thousands of gallons of milk under Roosevelt, if I remember that right (to get the price up?).

Jim August 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm
Dan J August 4, 2011 at 4:03 am

Only read first 6 paragraphs.
Have you been to Detroit? There are still some homes standing that are defying the laws of gravity. Detroit has some of it’s own leaning towers…… Old three story homes leaning dangerously to one side.
Good riddance to some, if these are some of those to be demolished.

Tim August 2, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Russ,

Could you take a moment to dedicate a post to Nocera’s 1937 claim? I have enjoyed your posts in which you challenge Keynesians on the events of 1945-1946. To me, this seems like their counter-evidence and, regrettably, your defense seemed not much more than a meager, “Well. It could have been that, yes, but I doubt it.” Is there a better analysis of this time period?

Henri Hein August 3, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I can’t speak for Russ, but personally I don’t have much truck with the 1937 claim. So many things happened in 1937 that singling out a single factor to explain the recession is impossible. Spending only went down 8%, but revenue — meaning taxes — went up 40%. That is possibly the biggest tax increase in the nation’s history. Taxes went up so much partly because the top marginal rate was raised in 1936, but perhaps mainly because the Federal Government started collecting social security taxes.

In addition, congress had passed an alphabet soup of new regulatory agencies in 1935, some of which would have started impacting the economy in 1937 (and fowards).

Bob August 2, 2011 at 11:19 pm

The soldiers of the status quo are out in force defending their turf or that of their benefactors from intellectual challenge. They have employed all lackey outlets such as the NY Times and it’s lineup of puppets in the defense profligate government gluttony and responsibility shirking.

Chucklehead August 2, 2011 at 11:50 pm

“The spending cuts will shrink growth and raise the likelihood of pushing the country back into recession.” They always confuse the government with the country, the rulers with the ruled, the parasite with the host. Which fallacy is this again?

Corey August 2, 2011 at 11:56 pm

What strange journey this last half a year has been Russ. Your Econtalk interview with Joe was and is still one of my favorites. I must have listened to it 20+ times.

nailheadtom August 3, 2011 at 12:00 am

This Nocera dude is living proof that everyone thinks they can write for “The Onion”.

Greg Ransom August 3, 2011 at 1:07 am

Joe got his start in journalism at the leftist Washington Monthly, then moved to the left of centrper Texas Monthly, then to the left wing Newsweek.

Now he’s a regular on the pages of the leftist NY Times op-ed page.

Expect more of this.

ArrowSmith August 3, 2011 at 1:53 am

Liberals are the real terrorists, jihadists, Nazis, Commies, pigs.

Dan J August 3, 2011 at 2:01 am

I don’t see much television, but I happened upon a commercial for MSNBC, to get to highlights of Baseball….aaaaaannnd, I caught a glimpse of a commercial featuring Chris Matthews speaking of his love for Obama.

The commercial was on one of three channels. Of the three channels I remember it being on was either CNN, Nickolodeon, or HLN.

FDR had control over the radio, and Obama has the support of television media, minus Fox, and his team has support of Hollywood. Sycophants of the administration and what it represents fill the editorial boards of many of the major newspaper outlets. Their malfeasance of poor reporting and lack of semi-objective coverage, coupled with advancements in technology, have brought the major media sources dangerously close to bankruptcy, some saved only by wealthy ideologues with an agenda beyond business of profits.
FDR’s malfeasance, bullying, unconstitutional policies, and arrogance (forgiven as it would seem that one be full oh him/herself to think that they should be president) was not overlooked but easily forgotten due to govt funded patronage on FDR’s behalf. Even with a still struggling economy and skewed unemployment reports FDR managed to keep his position.

Obama will have media in papers and on tv pulling out all the stops on his
behalf. They will be working all the angles. Claims of racism, blaming past administrations, Republican obstructionism, pulling of emotional strings (a.k.a. Throwing granny off the cliff , women and children starving and dying in the streets, extinction of the spotted gecko), destruction of the middle class, economic terrorism more vile than islamic jihad, etc.,… The list goes on and on……..
The economic ties are obvious as the admin, for whom Obama is the chosen speaker, is intent at all costs to to institute an authoritarian, centrally planned, reorganized society. They can see the utopian society, in their perverse imagination, on the horizon.
But, economic reality has been setting in, and the administration and it’s supporters will look to control the narrative as much as they can. But, their anger and vitriol will consume them.
This admin is absolutely committed to a command economy with as many people dependent on govt as possible for preservation. Obamacare is worse than a Trojan horse. It is an “unknown known” (thank you, Dr. Sowell). We know of the economic disaster it poses, but to what degree the effects in our economy is yet unknown.
The US survived FDR with all of stars aligned in his favor, and I suspect
we will survive Obama and the Progressive assault.
John Papola and Russ Roberts great efforts, like that of their rap video, isma great medium for educating the 70% of America who is not quite fluent in economic jargon or the laws and theories.
Explaining the simple, yet complicated world of economics and disabusing our mislead views on economic history is important, as is keeping it simple so eyes don’t roll into the back of our heads.
Again, thanks to all here for the education. Not a converted Libertarian, but I don’t think the views are incorrect. I only think that the Libertarian society is not yet ready to be implemented.

muirgeo August 3, 2011 at 2:36 am

America’s real crisis is not a debt crisis. It’s an unemployment crisis. JN

“This is sort of true. If we don’t get our debt under control, the current unemployment level is going to look like a picnic.” Russ Roberts

You’ve made a commitment here Russ. If we get are debt used control through spending cuts only you will be looking for other reasons to blame the tanking economy.

Seriously… cut spending which cuts government jobs which increases unemployment and then all of a sudden the regime uncertainty will go away and they will start investing to sell too WHO??? Who will be buying anything?

I am to the point were I’d suggest the liberals just walk away and let the republicans have everything they want… Let it burn down all the way… let their bankrupt ideas destroy lives… as if they didn’t in 1929 and haven’t already this time…but take in a make more huge swath of the middle class and let them reap what they have sown because it’s gonna take a massive collapse again to wake people up to just why the last time it was called the Great Depression.

Just maybe this time the history books will not be forgotten only to repeat the cycle 80 years hence.

Yes Russ LOTS of people have been torn apart by this economy. I see them all the time in my work… I don’t think you interact with those who are suffering. I certainly do.

brotio August 3, 2011 at 3:11 am

Will you be interacting with them when you take your hypocritical, lavish, CO2-spewing vacation to the Dolomites, which you are able to afford because of the obscene profits you reap in the health care industry?

Randy August 3, 2011 at 6:44 am

Muirgeo,

Government jobs are a cost, not a benefit (this is true of all jobs, of course). So cutting government jobs by cutting government spending makes perfect sense to those who bear the cost. The only people it doesn’t make sense to are those for whom government jobs actually are a benefit – more precisely, a privilege. And why exactly should these be receiving privileges while everyone else has to cut back?

muirgeo August 3, 2011 at 9:13 am

That’s BALONY Randy. The rest of the economy would be nothing with out the needed government infrastructure.

It ALL starts with the banking system which is corrupted from the start to favor wealth accumulation by those who produce little.

Bankers debt is publicly financed and then we pay more to lend from them.

Go listen to Russ’s recent EconTalk and you’ll see how the game is rigged such that anyone worried about transfers of wealth from the wealthy earned class to the so called scavenger class has their heads up their asses and has the whole picture ass-backwards.

Dan H August 3, 2011 at 10:07 am

“The rest of the economy would be nothing with out the needed government infrastructure.”

Can you name one thing that government provides that the private sector absolutely cannot provide (besides courts of law and defense)?

muirgeo August 3, 2011 at 12:51 pm

A monetary system… courts…. roads… a space program…. long term projects like infrastructure… the electric grid, sewer systems, waterways… dams… you guys are simply clueless simpletons…

PrometheeFeu August 3, 2011 at 1:57 pm

“A monetary system…”

Ever heard of the Scottish free banking system?

“courts”

Which are increasingly replaced by private arbitration boards. (Also, your commenter above said: “besides courts of law and defense”)

“roads”

That one is just absurd. Why could we not build roads and then have usage fees for them?

“a space program”

It is winding down and being replaced by private enterprise. Also as cool as a space program is, I don’t think it justifies taking money by force from people who would rather improve their own lives with it.

“the electric grid, sewer systems, waterways”

Last I checked, I get my electric bill from a private company. I don’t see why they couldn’t have built their own electric grid.

“dams”

Again, why does the government have to do this? Plenty of dams are made by private companies in Europe.

“clueless simpletons”

Fair enough. Those are provided en mass by the government.

John Sullivan August 3, 2011 at 11:36 am

The game is rigged, and this site is about unrigging it. I share common ground with Muirgeo here, however, much of the infrastructure he speaks of is corrupt and abused by wealthy special interests, or losers who don’t want to work.

The masses don’t need the infrastructure; only the criminals do.

Why do we give food stamps to obese people?

Muirgeo, Are you obese?

Emil August 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm

“The rest of the economy would be nothing with out the needed government infrastructure.”

Granted but that doesn’t mean that everything the government is doing is needed infrastructure

Darren August 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm

“The rest of the economy would be nothing with out the needed government infrastructure.”

I don’t believe he was referring to the *needed* government infrastructure.

muirgeo August 3, 2011 at 3:07 am

Yeah, but liberals trying to push their policies are “holding guns to heads” and totalitarian Stalinist. Or their health care bill was promoting Death Panels…
Liberals are always promoting theft from the productive class to the lazy middle class…
And when liberals stood up against invading Iraq they were called unpatriotic and despicable and supporters of terrorism..

No what the Tea Party did truly was holding the economy hostage to get passed what would never would be passed democratically. And it was THE TESA PARTY’S party that really brought us this huge debt to make things all that much more hypocritical on their part.

The progressives should take note and threaten the same economy if say we don’t cut higher capital requirements for Wall Street or change the tax policy so as to NOT give a break for offshoring. Had the democrats done such they surely would be demonized.

Gil August 3, 2011 at 8:09 am

“Yeah, but liberals trying to push their policies are “holding guns to heads” and totalitarian Stalinist. Or their health care bill was promoting Death Panels…
Liberals are always promoting theft from the productive class to the lazy middle class…
And when liberals stood up against invading Iraq they were called unpatriotic and despicable and supporters of terrorism..”

Now you’re getting it!

muirgeo August 3, 2011 at 9:15 am

Gil I never know which side you are on…

muirgeo August 3, 2011 at 3:13 am

It’s also telling to look at the categories here and to note that apparently the “debts and deficits” category was only started in August of 2009…. up until then the blog was willing to ignore the massive deficits built by the Tea Party and their compatriots…. apparently then it didn’t deserve mention.

MWG August 3, 2011 at 3:29 am

That’s because Don and Russ are republican lackeys.

muirgeo August 3, 2011 at 9:17 am

Indeed they are… That’s why they are defending the Tea Party Hostage takers crippling of our democracy and our economy. I am glad you are all on record for if objectiveness and self responsibility ever enter your minds from the reality your denial has crated you will have lots of soul searching to do… but I suspect many will continue to deny any problem just like they did in 1932.

MWG August 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm

“Tea Party Hostage takers”

You’re very good at spouting off democrat buzz words and phrases. Your arguments change daily in accordance to what the democrats are arguing, and yet you accuse Don and Russ of being Republican robots.

Babinich August 3, 2011 at 5:44 am

Muirgeo says:

“up until then the blog was willing to ignore the massive deficits built by the Tea Party and their compatriots…. ”

Yeah, the Tea Party was influenced by K street. You cannot stay on topic: Your buddy Joe Nocera is writing to the lowest common denominator (NY Times readers) by using shameful terms such as terrorists (how does the Tea Party compare to perpetrator of the Norway massacre?) and hostage taking (images of those captured on film come to mind).

Pathetic; utterly pathetic…

muirgeo August 3, 2011 at 9:27 am

The Tea Party Patriots were TOTALLY started and supported by the Koch brothers and other well funded wealthy people and their lobbyist you nincompoop.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer

Captain Profit August 3, 2011 at 10:45 am

FYI: The reason that particular rant plays so much better at Huffpo than here is that even if the premise were true, most of the readers here don’t recoil in horror at the thought of something being created by profit motivated entrepreneurs.

MWG August 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Ah yes, those anti-war and anti-wod conservative republican Koch brothers.

John Galt August 3, 2011 at 6:26 am

Boo to Muirgeo for saying Lord Voldemort must be brought back into power. And that we must all fully support the enslavement of all muggles to serve his glory.

He is wrong to say Harry Potter and his supporters are all terrorists.

Of course, rather than cast stones at Muirgeo, we might take a moment to realize Lord V is already in power.

Hirohito sank our battleship when he put his peg in H5. Were we really moral to declare open season and attempt wholesale murder of anyone who lived near him, looked like him, or aligned with him.
Especially women and children audacious enough to live in large cities next to G7 where Jesus ordained us putting our peg in to win this Bloody Milton Bradley Keynesian game.

If you beg to differ with Muirgeo, that there is nothing more beautiful than national parks which are created after the mass exterminations of individuals, races, and creeds by murderous political machine mobs, will you differ all the way and stop believing in the Laissez Fairy.

Who doesn’t enjoy a hike in the deathly hallows of Dresden, Tokyo, Baghdad or Tripoli. What is a free market, and what is a thinly disguised death star with free market slogans painted on it, do you know the difference.

In the next unfolding Potter drama, we’ll see that the greatest historical butchers beyond Communists, National Socialists, and Shiites, are pushed aside as insignificant compared to Americans. See it in an oligopically regulatorily captured theater near you.

Count the deaths yourself, and ask which is more horrible, concentration camps, or blitzkrieg aerial bombings which murder millions of everyday ordinary babies, mommies, and daddies.

Hitler, Mao, Hussein, Bin Laden, Stalin. Those were amateurs.

Well gotta go enjoy my favorite HBO Series about WWII: Band of Butchers.

I myself have left my Libyan neighbors families entire full sets of teeth under my pillow in anticipation of a visit from the Laissez Fairy.

Might wanna spike your Hayekian coffee with a few bottles of Kahlua, it’ll keep you from taking a sober look at what you’re really a part of.

brotio August 3, 2011 at 3:14 am

Or their health care bill was promoting Death Panels…

Would that be the same health care bill that was rammed through Congress without a reading, and in spite of opposition of over 50% of the population? The one you hypocritically support as you rail about democracy, and people-led government?

Nanopowder August 3, 2011 at 4:31 am

We can abuse or appreciate a person for his saying. The need is to study all the aspects of his or her comments.

Bill August 3, 2011 at 5:57 am

43-46 trillion dollars over the next 10 years.

By my trustworthy Wikipedia article (haha: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_economy) the world GDP for 2010 was 74 trillion dollars.

Obviously this is comparing apples to oranges (both are fruits, though) but I find it startling that the US GOVERNMENT (not economy, just the government) is going to spend more than half the 2010 global GDP over the next 10 years.

To me, this is just a staggering amount of money in the hands of a few people. I mean, why should we trust these people when they can’t even figure out how to manage their twitter pictures?

Warren Smith August 3, 2011 at 6:21 am

Regarding taking advantage of a bad situation:
1)The Democrats boasted about “never wasting a crisis” when they pushed for government ownership of private resources under TARP
2) Obama care was shoved down the throat of its opponents without any input from dissenters.

Regarding El Erian:
PIMCO proudly dumped its USA debt ownership 75 basis points higher. The US ten year is now the global bond of choice.

vidyohs August 3, 2011 at 6:56 am

Shame on you Russ Roberts

You’re treating a piece of looney left propaganda as if you think Joe actually believes what he wrote. Joe’s purpose was not serious analysis, it was just a smear propaganda piece of looney talking pointsd construction, and its purpose was purely to denigrate those who disagree with the looney left.

You do it honor it does not deserve by taking it serious and refuting it point by point.

You play into Joe’s hands by seeming to take it serious.

Randy August 3, 2011 at 7:03 am

Not uncomfortable with the idea of tea partiers as terrorists. In a real confrontation it is an advantage if the other guy thinks you just might be crazy… and this is a real confrontation. Also, the original tea partiers were in fact terrorists. They found themselves caught up in a game they could not win because the rules had all been written by those who wished to exploit them. So they tore it down and rewrote the rules.

ettubloge August 3, 2011 at 8:02 am

I agree (while, of course, disputing anyone in the Tea Party’s acting out a violent terrorist act) that the response to the Progessive’s assault on our economy should be taken very personally. It is a personal harm to my family in the present and future when massive debt is incurred that will do little to vitiate this depression we are in.

The very policies propounded by Obama and his Progessive Democrats are similar to the failed policies that extended the Depression into 1947. As Robert Higgs has shown, this command from the top economis policy with its stimulus, qualitative easing, bailouts, regulations and welfare creates “regime uncertainty” where capital remains on the sidelines. It was not until Truman trashed most of the Hoover-FDR policy that the US economy straightened itself out.

It is difficult to accept in a civil manner the destruction of the next decade by pseudo-Keynesian policies when my children’s futures are at stake.

TallDave August 3, 2011 at 7:37 am

Great piece, Russ.

Michael August 3, 2011 at 7:54 am

The quickest way to lose an argument is to overstate it. The guy needs to give up the drama-queenry.

beetrave August 3, 2011 at 8:37 am

…and if you have been reduced to doing line-by-line responses to a Joe Nocera column, you really need to find a better ways to express your ideas.

I would start with explaining just how many supporters of the Tea Party really want “smaller government” when the definition of that phrase — which sounds so innocent in your post — includes reductions to military spending, loosening of laws that result in unnecessary policing and incarceration (for things like simple drug possession), and cutting back on handouts to the middle and upper middle class like the mortgage interest deduction.

Of course I have no patience either for Obama’s soak-the-rich cant, either. I’m just curious to see how many folks who are mad about “the spending” are willing to support measures that both reduce “the spending” and go against bread & butter Republican issues.

Darren August 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm

“I would start with explaining just how many supporters of the Tea Party really want “smaller government” when the definition of that phrase …”

Currently, my take is that tea partiers mainly have an unformed angst over the national debt and the direction this nation is headed in regard to financial sustainability. Being an advocate of “smaller government” is not really necessary.

yet another Dave August 3, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I don’t know the answer to your question, but I suspect only a minority would support the government shrinkage I’d love to see happen.

…handouts to the middle and upper middle class like the mortgage interest deduction.

You have this completely backwards – allowing people to keep more of their own money is most definitely not a handout.

beetrave August 3, 2011 at 6:44 pm

“You have this completely backwards – allowing people to keep more of their own money is most definitely not a handout.”

This only makes sense to me if you are philosophically opposed to all taxation and believe that any hole in the tax code is a good hole. Otherwise, choosing winners and losers in the real estate market — i.e. favoring “owners” (well, really, borrowers) over renters and people who own their homes free and clear — is a subsidy (handout) of the worst kind. It is also one that many, many people who fret about the debt would never want to give up. (Not that I am a big quoter of the gospel, but — Matthew 7:3.) I anxiously await those who talk about “making hard choices” to advocate the elimination of this handout in exchange for a lower tax rate, but I won’t hold my breath.

yet another Dave August 4, 2011 at 9:57 am

This only makes sense to me if you are philosophically opposed to all taxation and believe that any hole in the tax code is a good hole.

Nonsense – your handout phrasing can “make sense” only in one of two situations:
(1) You don’t understand (or intentionally distort) the meaning of the word handout. (A handout is one party giving something to another party. Such giving can be done ONLY when the giving party owns the thing being given.)
(2) You believe all personal income belongs to the government and whatever portion individuals keep is therefore a handout from the government (since giving a handout can be done ONLY when the giving party owns the thing being given).

FWIW, I’ve never used the phrase “making hard choices” but, if we’re to have an income tax, I’ve advocated eliminating the mortgage interest deduction (and all others) in favor of lower rates for many years.

muirgeo August 3, 2011 at 8:53 am

Shame on anybody for siding with these Tea Party Terrorist… the same people who called LIBERALS terrorist sympathizers for NOT supporting their UNFUNDED trillion dollar war of ignorance on Iraq that WAS PART OF THE DEBT CEILING MONEY that they refuse to pay and instead chose to use as a tool to hold the US economy, our democracy and our government hostage.

Obama from the start should have said … remember the Somalian pirates, remember Osama bin Laden??.. WE DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORIST AND HOSTAGE TAKERS.

Slappy McFee August 3, 2011 at 9:24 am

Shouldn’t the government spending in Iraq, AfPak, Libya, Somalia…. be something you should be cheering as government stimulus? Just think of all the jobs being created.

BTW:

“Obama from the start should have said … remember the Somalian pirates, remember Osama bin Laden??.. WE DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORIST AND HOSTAGE TAKERS.”

Are you calling for the President of the United States to order assasinations of US Citizens? And you had the audacity to question why people say liberals/progressives are murderous thugs.

Since I can’t say it any better than Russ, SHAME ON YOU SIR.

PrometheeFeu August 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I suppose Obama was a terrorist the last time he voted against raising the debt ceiling…

Ken August 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm

“people who called LIBERALS terrorist sympathizers for NOT supporting their UNFUNDED trillion dollar war of ignorance on Iraq”

Wrong. Liberals are called terrorist sympathizers because they sympathize with terrorists like Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground. Liberals are called terrorist sympathizers because their great presidential hope launched his political career from the living room of a terrorist.

Liberals are called terrorist sympathizers because liberals like Frances Fox Piven supports and encourages violence throughout society. Liberals are called terrorist sympathizers because they defend Piven’s opinions.

Liberals are called terrorist sympathizers, because in short liberals sympathize with terrorists.

Regards,
Ken

PrometheeFeu August 3, 2011 at 6:11 pm

“Liberals are called terrorist sympathizers because their great presidential hope launched his political career from the living room of a terrorist.”

Yes. That would quite a shocking fact if it was true.

What was the name of that guy who is a personal friend of the bin Laden family and allowed their private jet to be the only non-government plane to fly on 9/11? Oh yeah, George W. Bush.

And who was that Congressman who actually said: “If civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the IRA for it” Who was that terrorist sympathizer? Oh yeah, Peter King a Republican Congressman.

I just call it like I see it: Conservatives are called terrorist sympathizers, because in short conservatives sympathize with terrorists.

Dan J August 3, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Malcolm X was a terrorist.

Ken August 4, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Prom,

Bill Ayers is an actual terrorist.

Let me know when OSAMA bin Laden was a personal friend of W. Last I checked, being the relative of a terrorist does NOT make you a terrorist. Guilt by association much?

The definition of terrorism usually involves the specific targeting of civilian non-combatants to instill terror in the populace. So Peter King is correct that it is regrettable that civilians were killed in an attack on a MILITARY installation. While it’s regrettable, it is NOT terrorism.

Regards,
Ken

Dan J August 3, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Obama is a terrorist. An economic terrorist. A liberty terrorist.

Dan J August 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Muirgeo brings the filth of MSNBC to cafehayek.
Rachel Maddow brings filth to the airways. Chris Matthews brings garbage to the airwaves…. I have tingle up my leg.

Don Kenner August 3, 2011 at 9:45 am

The irony is that Joe Nocera probably supports those Palestinians who actually DO wear suicide vests.

gregworrel August 3, 2011 at 9:54 am

“…the terrible toll $2.4 trillion in cuts will take on the poor and the middle class.”

I notice it is not just the poor we have to worry about anymore. Government largess is widely distributed and the middle class has their hand out too. In fact, now it seems to be the rich vs the other 98%.

In a recent conversation, a friend of a friend said that it was a waste of time debating tea partiers, Republicans, and libertarians who were not willing to pay a little more in taxes to help those “less fortunate.” I suppose it depends on your definition of “less fortunate.” My question is how much of government spending actually helps those truly needy.

To the left, being generous, i.e., not greedy, means being willing to have money forcibly taken from your fellow citizens to help those “less fortunate.” If one is willing to steal to help the poor, does it also follow that it is worth stealing to make sure some marine biologist has a job studying humpback whales? Is it worth stealing to keep agriculture subsidies going? Is it worth stealing to keep troops stationed in Germany?

Is this supposed heartfelt concern for the “less fortunate” just a red herring? Do people really think that the government is just a big charitable organization doing good? From my perspective, the way to help the “other 98%” is to cut government dramatically.

Joey August 3, 2011 at 9:59 am

“That’s a bit strong, wouldn’t you say? In a democracy, people disagree.”

But do they take hostages????

“Unemployment insurance has been extended many times.”

Over the strong objections of the Tea Party.

“Shame on you for demonizing people who disagree with you.”

Mitch McConnell says we’re going to do this all over again and again and again. Yup, the suicide vests are going back on. Probably won’t even have enough time to send them to the cleaners.

Remember Rush said “I want Obama to fail.” He and his fellow travelers would rather have Obama fail than America succeed.

I’m sorry terrorist seems to be the correct word. Taking hostages, willing to inflict harm on others (increased interest rates, destruction of the credit rating of America) all for some crazy ideological reason.

True, it’s impolite to use that word, but why sugar coat it. We’re talking about a lot more than mere political disagreement here.

Dan H August 3, 2011 at 10:12 am

“Remember Rush said “I want Obama to fail.” He and his fellow travelers would rather have Obama fail than America succeed.”

Nice try. Go back and listen to exactly what Rush said or read his Op-Ed he wrote shortly after he said it. He very clearly lays out the context. He wants Obama to fail in getting his agenda to pass because he knows it’s terrible for America. His exact words were “Success for Obama means getting his agenda passed into law. I don’t want that. I know it’s bad for America. So I’ll say it again: I hope he fails.”

Greg Webb August 3, 2011 at 10:33 am

Joey, you said “But do they take hostages????” No. Thank you for proving that you do not know much about the Tea Party or the current political debate.

You said, “Over the strong objections of the Tea Party.” Yes, and only adults would say that spending more than the government takes in would be wrong. Again, so what is your point? Is it that Tea Party Americans are responsible adults while politicians are irresponsible teenagers?

You said, “Mitch McConnell says we’re going to do this all over again and again and again. Yup, the suicide vests are going back on. Probably won’t even have enough time to send them to the cleaners.” Again, Mitch McConnell is being an adult in, at least appearing, to wanting to keep federal government spending under control. And, by using silly non sequiturs to falsely imply that he is a terrorist, you show that you are one of the irresponsible adolescents. Do you have any serious economics or political discourse to discuss or is silly political invectives all that you have?

You said, “Remember Rush said ‘I want Obama to fail.’ He and his fellow travelers would rather have Obama fail than America succeed.” Ah, the tried and true tactic of the left — taking other peoples’ comments out of context. Rush said that he wanted Obama to fail in enacting and implement his political philosophy. He said it because he knew, as most adults know, that Obama’s political philosophy has been tried many times and has failed every time. Why would any reasonable person not want any politician to fail in his or her attempt to enact idiotic policies?

You said, “I’m sorry terrorist seems to be the correct word. Taking hostages, willing to inflict harm on others (increased interest rates, destruction of the credit rating of America) all for some crazy ideological reason.” No, terrorist is only the correct word if you are a silly immature adolescent or a corrupt politician or crony. No one has taken any hostages. To say that is just stupid. Interest rates are below market rates because of the massive intervention by the Federal Reserve. American’s credit rating would not be destroyed if it technically defaulted while getting its obvious spending problems under control. But, America’s credit rating will decline if it continues to spend excessively and restrict economic growth through the continued anti-business rhetoric.

You said, “True, it’s impolite to use that word, but why sugar coat it. We’re talking about a lot more than mere political disagreement here.” Yes, why sugar coat it. The adults (Tea Party) need to spank the irresponsible children (politicians and their cronies) and send them to bed without dinner while adults clean up the economic mess that the children have made with their irresponsible spending.

Joey August 3, 2011 at 10:56 am

I listen to Rush and that is what he said. He later tried to extend and defend his comments and you bought it. Just like he did when he talked about the ‘phony soldiers.’

Any group that thinks they have a monopoly on the truth is by definition insane.

So insane or terrorists, your choice.

Greg Webb August 3, 2011 at 12:57 pm

No, Joey, your are wrong and very emotionally vested in this issue. You, like DG Lesvic, edit other peoples comments to misrepresent what they said. And, you don’t want to be like DG…for life is too short to waste a mind or live with an irrational or incoherent view of the world.

Darren August 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm

“Any group that thinks they have a monopoly on the truth is by definition insane.”

You mean like yourself?

Joey August 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I haven’t told you what my positions are, so you are jumping to conclusions based on no evidence. It’s nice to see you keeping to the program.

Rush says that he is 99.xx% correct.

Draw your own conclusions.

DG Lesvic August 3, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Greb (the slanderer) Webb slamming the slanderers of the Tea Party is really the pot calling the kettle black.

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks.

Greg Webb August 3, 2011 at 12:51 pm

DG, another beautiful non sequitur! To quote Bugs Bunny, “what a maroon!”

Dan J August 3, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Senate democrats are holding FAA workers hostage, right now, by refusing to vote and pass on the bill to continue funding them. Then democrats went on break. The demoncrat terrorists.

Dan J August 3, 2011 at 11:56 pm

And trying to implement socialism or a form of Marxism is treasonist.

Greg Webb August 3, 2011 at 10:07 am

Russ, thank you for calling out Joe Nocera for his despicable and disingenuous comments about Americans expressing their desire for smaller government and reigning in out-of-control politicians spending other peoples money. Joe Nocera is another “applause” seeker who uses incendiary language to create reader interest.

American public discourse has always included silly name calling and sleazy misrepresentation of the opposing side’s arguments, but it has increased dramatically with the dramatic increase in government power to spend other peoples’ money and to regulate every aspect of peoples’ lives. For more and more people are learning the lesson that innovation, hard work, thrift, and ability are for losers in a political economy while control, irresponsibility, excessive spending, and cronyism are winners.

It is stupid to misrepresent Tea Party Americans as terrorists. The Tea Party movement arose in response to excessive spending by the federal government — whether by George Bush or Barak Obama. They know that the issue is not Democrat v. Republican. Nor is the issue liberal v. conservative. And, neither is the issue between left v. right. Those are terms used by government officials and their political cronies to divide the voters and divert attention from the real issue: corrupt politicians and their cronies v. those of us who have to pay for their folly.

DG Lesvic August 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Greg writes,

“American public discourse has always included silly name calling and sleazy misrepresentation of the opposing side’s arguments”

That’s rich, coming from him.

Greg Webb August 3, 2011 at 12:49 pm

DG, there you go again. But, perhaps, you forgot your silly name calling when you called your wife an “unreasonable and illogical creature.” And, perhaps, you forgot when you sleazily edited my comments to misrepresent what I said. Nah, you did not forget. This latest comment of yours is a continuing testament of your despicable and disingenuous conduct here on Cafe Hayek. Now, that’s poor behavior, even coming from “schmuck” like you. But, then you wrote an internet (unpublishable) cretinous book entitled “Dumb Jews” where you condemn a whole race/nationality in order to promote your “genius.” Now, let’s see…who else wrote such a book…oh, yeah…I remember. Have you no shame?!

Economiser August 3, 2011 at 10:51 am

Russ, thanks for posting the year-by-year federal budget numbers. What’s striking is that we could return to 2003 levels of federal expenditures and have a balanced budget, based on 2010 revenues (leaving out inflation, which as you say is relatively minor).

We can all remember 2003. Can anyone seriously argue that returning to 2003 levels of federal spending would take a “terrible toll” on the poor and middle class?

Justin P August 3, 2011 at 10:58 am

It’s a shame that crap like that column even gets published. Keep that column link handy though. Next time Democrats start complaining about civility, throw that column right back in their faces.

It’s a shame, I was going to buy his book from the Econtalk podcast.

Corey August 3, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I bought the book after the podcast and suffered big buyers remorse. But I didn’t like it because it was really dry and boring IMO. But then I’m just a very casual economics observer.

Chris O'Leary August 3, 2011 at 11:18 am

If I were a creditor, I would be bothered far more by unconstrained, out of touch with reality spending than an attempt to rain that spending in.

John Sullivan August 3, 2011 at 11:23 am

The socialists, i.e. totalitarians, like to debate on this ‘liberty’ website only because debate is forbidden on their own.

Greg Webb August 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm

So true…

John Sullivan August 3, 2011 at 11:54 am

Didn’t the progressives already have their day in the sun, with the USSR, Red China, Cuba, North Korea, and other wealthy leftist havens?

So they beg for a mixed economy–half socialist-like Europe, but if they’ve studied those economies, they’d see what the real meaning of class stratification is all about. There is no such thing as class mobility there. If you’re an outsider, you stay that way.

Europe is for all those who want to physically toil for a living without using their brains or having to worry about their old age security. It’s like having a “cheap date”. We provide them with a minimum of succor, and don’t let them in to compete for the real money and power.

Anyone doing well who fears smart competition, and who’d rather keep people strapped to the ‘infrastructure’ that keeps them fat, ignorant and happy, should consider progressivism as their cause. The progressive leaders do it for that exact reason. None of them are really egalitarians as they view that ideology only as a suitable means for their personal empowerment over others.

Let’s pick one–say, Van Jones. Now, is he an egalitarian or an aspiring totalitarian? What’s amazing is that they’ve got a handful of useful idiots here doing their bidding for free.

Why don’t you guys at least charge them for your support?

Chris O'Leary August 3, 2011 at 1:12 pm

What you don’t understand is that OUR socialists are SO MUCH more smarter than their socialists and they can pull off what nobody else has ever been able to pull off.

Ever.

Economiser August 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Of course. This is America. We are destined to succeed no matter what.

Jorge Gonzalez August 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I wonder if Paul Krugman will write an addendum to his his “Climate of Hate” piece that now can reference this god-awful piece by Nocera as evidence of how political speech has become polarizing and violent.

I’m not holding my breath as Krugman probably agrees and finds this piece enlightened.

John Sullivan August 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Krugman never got laid and probably still can’t, without paying. This is his revenge against nature. His drivel is what you have to expect from that type of man. There’s a Napoleanic complex at play here. He has to be dealt with psychologically. He’s a dreadful specimen that slivered out of a condemned sewer.

He can’t look directly at anyone. He’s deserate to rule.

John Sullivan August 3, 2011 at 3:54 pm

‘desperate’,sorry. But really, have you ever seen a dictator that was good looking?

txslr August 3, 2011 at 2:45 pm

The ignorance is staggering. We were told that a failure to raise the debt ceiling would lead to a default, but an examination of the numbers showed that this assertion was simply wrong. The markets clearly understood this as they completely ignored the drama going on in D.C., and then the equities markets had the temerity to FALL after the deal was announced. So now we know with near-existential certainty that no default was pending, but the partisans are furiously pushing the silly notion that the Tea Party was threatening the country with great misery, weaping and gnashing of teeth. The Tea Party was “threatening” the country with a partial, temporary shut-down of the federal government, and nothing more.

National Parks closed? The horror!

Darren August 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm

“National Parks closed? The horror!”

Closed only to the general public. The pot growers would get a pass.

Bilwick August 4, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I’m always shocked–shocked!–when “liberals” (i.e., State-humpers) say or write things that are misleading, accurate or dishonest. Because if you can’t trust people who advocate legalized looting, who can you trust?

Greg Webb August 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Bilwick, great comment!

carlhere August 6, 2011 at 8:42 am

Why is he apologizing for telling the truth? When the tea-party objects, Joe Nocera caves. That tells you just how powerful this gang of thugs really is. Joe Nocera doesn’t need to apologize for telling the truth, but he surely needs to be ashamed for backing down as soon as the tea party tells him: “Take that back.” If Joe Nocera isn’t ashamed, then I am certainly ashamed for him! At what point do progressives say: “Enough is enough” ????

Krishnan August 6, 2011 at 10:00 am

“Enough”? If by that you mean, not enough debt has been created and that the country may still have a chance to claw back from the mess created by progressives? yes. debt level should be say 50 trillion dollars and there should be even more regulation and the EPA should shut down ALL power plants that use coal and any other fossil fuel – (even ones that are operating) – that ALL refineries should be shut down immediately because they create CO2 (never mind the science) –

So, yea, the progressives have not had “enough” … they are not done yet – the US economy is still alive (barely) and still breathing – but they know they still have time to strike several additional blows – and finish the job …

Krishnan August 6, 2011 at 10:09 am

I know this has been quoted … What James Taranto wrote in these two paragraphs captures perfectly what is happening in the US today and why we are witnessing such visceral hate towards anyone who is not agreeing with Obama. It will get worse, a LOT worse. We ain’t seen nothing yet from the left.

“The Obama presidency has reduced the liberal left to an apoplectic rage. His Ivy League credentials, superior attitude, pseudointellectual mien and facile adherence to lefty ideology make him the perfect personification of the liberal elite. Thus far at least, he has been an utter failure both at winning public support and at managing the affairs of the nation.

Obama’s failure is the failure of the liberal elite, and that is why their resentment has reached such intensity. Their ideas, such as they are, are being put to a real-world test and found severely wanting. As a result, their authority is collapsing. And if there is one thing they know deep in their bones, it is that they are entitled to that authority. They lash out, desperately and pathetically, because they have nothing to offer but fear and anger”

Floccina August 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm

And I’m not even talking about the terrible toll $2.4 trillion in cuts will take on the poor and the middle class

So Joe seems to think that you can subsidize the middle class. I do not agree with that, I think that middle class will fully pay for any subsidy that it receives.

If you listen to some people you might think that they think it is possible to subsidize everyone.

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