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A theory of politics in the Obama era - Page 2

post #41 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

Very often the moderate plans are the worst. You provide another example with cap-and-trade, which I'll take your word on, but I could certainly believe that a carbon tax is better policy than cap and trade.

I suppose when people hear the word "tax" they assume it must be less moderate than cap and trade. However, in my view, the advocates of carbon taxes show it to be far more efficient and far less costly that indirect taxation via caps and trades. By taxing all forms of carbon emissions of energy equally (say 20 cents a gallon for gasoline) then the true externality costs are distributed efficiently and market forces react appropriately. Mind you, I am not necessarily in favor of any carbon controls - but if we are to have one, it ought to be rational and the least costly to our economy.

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Quote:
..But I'm setting that aside right now. I'm simply asking people to look at where Obama's policies come from. ...Obama's immigration plan comes from the previous Republican president and the 2006 Senate Republican immigration reform bill. ...

Maybe immigration is different, because it's more of a hot-button social issue. But I think it's important to point out that the Senate bill that Obama now supports was co-sponsored by 6 Republicans (Specter, Hagel, Martinez, McCain, Graham, & Brownback) and 1 Democrat (Kennedy), and passed the senate with 62 votes.

Until I reseach the history of health reform and find time to write on cap and trade, I won't comment on 'where it comes from'. However, I know that health reform started politically in the US with Henry Wallace and the 'Progressive' left party, and cap and trade came from academic reseach to be applied to a narrow set of circumstances.

So you want "people to know where these Obama immgiration policies come from"? You suggest it is from the "Republican 2006" bill - but a) the current policy outline Obama supports in the Senate is not like the 2006 bill, and b) the 2006 bill was mainly supported by Democrats and c) many proposals were made in the past decade which one might compare to the current Obama supported "outline", not just the 2006 bill. A little history will illuminate...

IMMIGRATION

In the last decade, as before, the immigration reform policies has come from and cut across party lines with Republicans, since Reagan, far more opposed to open borders than Democrats.

It started with the House in the Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437). It was passed by the House of Representatives on December 16, 2005 by a vote of 239 to 182 (with 92% of Republicans supporting, 82% of Democrats opposing), but did not pass the Senate. This was the only serious border control bill and so threatened many that it spawned many huge demonstrations - shocking Americans just how many newer legals and illegals there were.

Then came two attempts in the Senate, the first the "open borders lobby" "the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act (S. 1033), a bill proposed in May 2005 by Senators Ted Kennedy and (Rino) John McCain (not a GOP leader). Then came the much better and serious border control bill the Comprehensive Enforcement and Immigration Reform Act of 2005 (S. 1438) of July 2005 by Senators John Cornyn (R) and Jon Kyl (R), sometimes referred to as the "Cornyn-Kyl Bill" Both of these bills died in committee. The first bill was sponsered by the open borders crowd, the second by the serious border control crowd.

Then came the Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611), sponsored by Senator Arlen Specter (RINO and now Democrat), which was passed in the Senate in May 2006 but failed to pass in the House. That is the Senate bill and vote you refered to as 62 to 36.

The bill's vote in the Senate was:

In favor - 43 Democrats, 19 Republicans
Against - 4 Democrats, 32 Republicans.

And the Republican controlled house killed the bill.

Finally, came the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, (S. 1348), sponsored by Harry Reid and strongly supported by Bush. The bill was portrayed as a compromise between providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and increased border enforcement. The last vote on cloture, on June 7, 2007, 11:59 AM, failed 34-61 effectively ending the bill's chances. A related bill S. 1639, on June 28, 2007, 11:04 AM, also failed 46-53.

The June 28th vote was the closest vote on this bill, with Democrats supporting the bill 33 yea to 15nay , and Republicans opposing the bill 12 yea to 37 nay.

SO if one is to attribute WHERE Obama's ideas come from, it seems pretty clear they come from ideas approved by the Democrats FAR MORE than the Republicans. In the Republican House Obama's "ideas" were firmly shot down. In the Senate, in repeated votes, overwhelmingly the source of support for Obama ideas were from Democrats much more than Republicans.

On one side are the open borders crowd: the majority of Democrats, racial minority leaders, unioin leaders, hispanics, and a minority of Republicans and leaders (WSJournal, Chamber of Comm).

On the other has been a majority of Republican leaders and rank and file, a small minority of Democratic leaders (e.g. Dorgan, Byrd, Nelson), most independents, working class democrats, etc.

So for all the disingenious complaints that Republicans were once in favor of open borders and amnesty is not true. Most democrats were, some Republicans were (the RINOs and Bush) but most were not..

And for all the carping by Obama-ites over "what happened to the Republicans who agreed" it is simple to answer - most of RINO's are gone - defeated by Democrats or retired. The ones that are left, like Lindsay Graham, have always been despised by the anti-immigration crowd and McCain is struggling in the toughest primary of his life over immigration. RINO guys like Dewine, Spector, Hagel etc and others were either tossed out or saw the hand writing on the wall.

Finally, I reviewed the very broad and vauge outline of the Democratic/Graham proposal, crafted with the help of RINO Graham (not the Republican leadership). You can't compare it to any previous legislation because it lacks details. "Increased border security" means nothing. What happened to the 750 mile border fence? "Increased documentation" for employment means nothing. What happened to the computer check provided to each employer? What about replacing chain migration with merit based migration? And what is the nonsense over increaseing the supply of cheap labor?

No, it is not a Republican plan - its the plan of the overwhelming majority of Democrats with a small number of RINOs...as usual.
post #42 of 57
Thread Starter 
You know what MaxP, I really don't disagree with what you've written. I'm not arguing that Obama is proposing right-wing conservative policies, I'm arguing that Obama is proposing policies that are moderate Republican - RINO if you prefer - that the R party then characterizes as the most extreme wacko things ever. I believe these are policies that, if proposed by a Republican president, a significant number of Rs may have supported, but that their goal of making sure that Obama is not perceived as bipartisan prevents that. The downside for Rs is that they may in the long term end up driving the center away from them.
post #43 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerLurker View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

Here's a list of links and quotes from a liberal website showing all of the Nobel-prize winning, nonpartisan, and/or mainstream Republican economists who say that unemployment insurance is one of the best economic stimulus policies, better than tax rate cuts. The only people who disagree with that are conservative commentators and politicians.

I think we're going to need to see some quotes from that link...That's about half of what's at the link. I wonder if any of the parrots of Republican talking points can quote any economists (as opposed to politicians or political commentators) who disagree?

Anyone can find find many economists who disgree, they just have to look up from the bowl of partisan gruel routinely served up by Media Matters and look at the economic literature. Granted, it takes an open mind and dispassionate research but it is there. However, before I provide some of that, I'll comment on your links.

The CBO is an honest broker, but like any user of economic models the CBO is limited by its textbook models. Both Zandi and CBO use old Keynesian models and multiplier assumptions. Like many modelers they have not moved on from their 1970's shibboleths and graduate training, and their flawed assumptions. How one models the economy, and what the actual multipliers are is a matter of empiracal dispute.

As such CBO or Zandi is 'scoring' the dubious. And while unemployment benefits are likely to be more stimulative that the benighted "infrastructure" spending whether any of this is worthwhile on a cost-benefit basis, or whether tax cuts are better, is easy to dispute.

I mentioned this a year ago, so some of it might be worth repeating:

1) Mankiw (Harvard) pointed out that contrary to untested Keynesian textbook theory, empirical economic studies show that the fiscal stimulus multiplier (massive government spending) runs from zero to (at best) modest. These multiplier estimates run from 1 to 1.40 (which means that a dollar in new government spending causes $1.00 to $1.40 in new growth.) http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2008/...-skeptics.html

2) However, contrary to textbook theory, empirical studies also showed that the tax cut multiplier is 3 (Christine Romer's own work) to 5 (NBER - National Bureau of Economic Research). Hence, tax cuts (especially payroll tax cuts) provide a lot more bang for the buck than any form of spending, including unemployment benefits.

3) Unlike the monetarists and monetary theory, there is not a large body of literature that tests fiscal Keynesian theory on spending. And what literature there is often fails to confirm the textbook Keynesian models. Mankiw noted: "For example, ... (note) the conclusion of Andrew Mountford and Harald Uhlig's (prominent econometrician now at the University of Chicago) empirical study called "What are the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks?". The conclusions were that while a surprise tax cut strongly stimulates growth, a non-surprise addition to government spending spree is very weak in stimulating the economy. Furthermore, government spending 'crowds out' private investments and does not stimulate new investments via increased interest rates.

4) Mankiw also noted that "an earlier, related paper by Olivier Blanchard and Roberto Perotti called "An Empirical Characterization Of The Dynamic Effects Of Changes In Government Spending And Taxes On Output" reported similar anomalous results:

"we find that both increases in taxes and increases in government spending have a strong negative effect on private investment spending. This effect is consistent with a neoclassical model with distortionary taxes, but more difficult to reconcile with Keynesian theory."6)

5) I also noted that Bakus (Suny) pointed out that a fiscal stimulus would be based on political criteria (rather than cost-benefit), come to late, have a low multiplier (even Krugman's was a low 1.1), and only compound the CBO dire predictions on a looming budget crisis (which was made BEFORE the recession). http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2008/...-stimulus.html.

And the parade of first rank economists who thought the whole stimulus plan to be wrong-headed included:

Alberto Alesina
Robert Barro
Gary Becker
John Cochrane
Eugene Fama
Robert Lucas
Greg Mankiw
Kevin Murphy
Thomas Sargent
Harald Uhlig
Luigi Zingales
John Taylor

For those of you unfamiliar with these economists, this list includes some of the most distinguished economists in the world. The University of Connecticut publishes a list of the "Top 5% of (Economic) Authors". This list of 928 economists are rank ordered by their research work and citations. Barro is "3rd" from the top, Lucas "5th", etc. . In fact, most of them rank in the top 25 of more than 18,000 economists. Trailing the list of critics is John Cochrane at 99.
post #44 of 57
Indeed, some newer papers underscore the dubiousness of Obama's stimulus via spending:

Quote:
John F. Cogan, Tobias Cwik, John B. Taylor, and Volker Wieland:

New Keynesian versus Old Keynesian Government Spending Multipliers

Renewed interest in fiscal policy has increased the use of quantitative models to evaluate policy. Because of modelling uncertainty, it is essential that policy evaluations be robust to alternative assumptions. We find that models currently being used in practice to evaluate fiscal policy stimulus proposals are not robust. Government spending multipliers in an alternative empirically-estimated and widely-cited new Keynesian model are much smaller than in these old Keynesian models; the estimated stimulus is extremely small with GDP and employment effects only one-sixth as large and with private sector employment impacts likely to be even smaller.

http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2009/...ltipliers.html

Another insight is provided by John Taylor in his blog. Here are Five Models on the Stimulus:



Which one is "right"? Well it depends on whether you are using old Keynesian or New Keynesian assumptions.

So before one "declares" that everybody agrees with the importance of unemployment spending in creating a stimulus, one ought to look beyond the political commentators - that applies to those of you on the left as well as the right.
post #45 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

Unemployment benefits stimulate the economy far far far more than tax cuts for the wealthy. You can't on one hand complain that the economy sucks and then on the other NOT do one of the primary things to jump start a bad economy.

Unless of course the Republican party doesn't give a shit about the common person and would rather the country suffer enough so that they can win an election in November.

This is the post I originally answered. One will note that I am not the one who made things partisan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

There are economists with PhDs who support demand-side economics and there are and leaders of very successful governments who have used demand-side economics to successfully stimulate faltering economies, but you are so brainwashed and blinded that you don't hesitate to call perfectly valid theories, and ones that heve been debated for centuries labels like "asinine" and "not worthy of being called grade-school". That, my friends, is asinine.

For one to be able to debate economics is educated. What is "no grasp of economics at all" is the idea that the debate is over and supply-side has won. Especially when you look at the record of the post-Reagan attempts at macroeconomic management.

There are also people with PhDs who think Elvis is still alive. I've repeated this before, but trying to jumpstart the U.S. economy with unemployment benefits is like trying to jumpstart a 747 with a flashlight battery.

I don't oppose such benefits, but it must be acknowledged what they are for. Recessions can be deep and painful and there is a societal obligation to help the poor. That's what they are for.

Trying to use unemployment benefits to "stimulate" a faltering economy is pointless and akin to economic witchcraft. Unemployed people use that money to buy necessities of life and keep their heads above water with credit card companies. There's no way that any long term strategies are being fulfilled and a country relying on that kind of economic development strategy is asking for trouble in the medium to long term.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

This demand from the person who started this argument with a one-sentence assertion that someone who believes empowering the consumer is worthwhile is "no grasp of economics at all".

Empowering consumers to buy more crap at Walmart and Target is not, and never will be, economic development. The Left got this concept right when the GOP was "empowering American consumers" to run out and buy SUVs. I don't understand why they can't grasp this concept when we are talking about big box stores importing products from China.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

All one has to do is to look at the current state of the economy and how it affects the middle class to realize that Reaganomics has failed.

By the time Obamanomics runs its course, Reagan's deficits will look like small potatoes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. 1) There is a clear consensus among nonpartisan and mainstream Republican economists that unemployment insurance is a better stimulus than tax rate cuts. 2) Democrats make that their policy priority. 3) Conservatives and Republican politicians call it insane and extremist and oppose that policy.

So we're listening to "mainstream Republican economists" now. Good to know.

I will repeat: A bunch of unemployed people buying the necessities of life cannot EVER set an economy up for prosperity in the future. It does not matter if it is being promoted by Democrats, Republicans, Scientologists or Equestrians.

It's a stopgap measure to help the poor. It does not further research & development, modernize industry, promote education or refocus government. It's a stopgap measure to help the poor.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

Furthermore, the contention that people don't trust Democrats on the economy is not true if you compare them to Republicans.

Okay, that was hyperbole. But Obama's economic credentials should still be shining brightly after what Bush's tenure did to the economy. And he's losing significant support by the day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

I suspect Frank777 probably should have said shouldn't instead of don't.

Okay, fine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

I'd argue they aren't terribly bright at all. After all, they elected Bush...twice, and Obama once (so far).

People can only elect from the choices they are given. McCain wasn't a deeply inspiring choice and cleaning house from a previous regime does have its benefits. The GOP does need someone with good economic credentials and proven leadership abilities. In an election with that, Obama's extraordinarily thin resume would have been an issue. When the GOP thinks it's going to lose, they throw up has-beens like Dole or McCain, instead of a younger person who might be able to pull off an upset (David Cameron, Stephen Harper, etc.)

I have no idea what 2012 portends, but I hope the GOP runs a good candidate this time.
The evil that we fight is but the shadow of the evil that we do.
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post #46 of 57
Thread Starter 
Frank: Unemployment insurance is not about setting up the economy for prosperity, furthering R&D, and all those other things. It's about finding the most efficient way to immediately and temporarily put some money back into an economy that has lost a ton of it. I'd bet that your "conservative" (in quotes because in the US he'd be a RINO at best and more likely a liberal democrat) economist PM would be willing to temporarily leave a deficit in order to deal with a recession and unemployment through spending such as aid to those who lost jobs.
post #47 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

It's about finding the most efficient way to immediately and temporarily put some money back into an economy that has lost a ton of it.

Herein lies one of the most fundamental misunderstanding about the economy that exists.

First, in order to "put some money back into an economy" the government must take that money from somewhere or someone at some time. There are only three ways it can do this:

1. Tax current people: take money from people who have it right now.

2. Borrow money: This is also essentially taking from people who have it right now, but paying it back (plus interest) in the future out of future taxation.

3. Print up new money out of thin: This is also essentially taking from people who have it right now but in a more subtle and less perceptible way by making the money they have worth less.

All three of these action actually create a drag on the economy.

One of the most fundamental errors just about anyone makes in doing any kind of economic analysis is focusing exclusively on the immediate and obvious beneficiary of some action or on the very short term to the exclusion of the wider people who are effected and the longer term. This is a prime example of that error.

Quote:
The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

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post #48 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

Frank: Unemployment insurance is...about finding the most efficient way to immediately and temporarily put some money back into an economy that has lost a ton of it.

No, it's not. As the name plainly says, it's about making sure that unemployed workers have something to fall back on while they look for work. Period.

It was never intended as a macro-economic tool to fix a sagging economy. Which is good, since it can't.
The evil that we fight is but the shadow of the evil that we do.
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The evil that we fight is but the shadow of the evil that we do.
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post #49 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

Frank: Unemployment insurance is not about setting up the economy for prosperity, furthering R&D, and all those other things. It's about finding the most efficient way to immediately and temporarily put some money back into an economy that has lost a ton of it. I'd bet that your "conservative" (in quotes because in the US he'd be a RINO at best and more likely a liberal democrat) economist PM would be willing to temporarily leave a deficit in order to deal with a recession and unemployment through spending such as aid to those who lost jobs.

Unemployment insurance ought to be about giving a temporary cushion to the unemployed, not a dubious stimulus or opportunity to take a long rest and visit the pub. When I here stories that folks won't take jobs because unemployment makes it easier to sit on one's ass, or those who live 3 years on it in the UK...well, I think it has lost its purpose.
post #50 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxParrish View Post

Unemployment insurance ought to be about giving a temporary cushion to the unemployed, not a dubious stimulus or opportunity to take a long rest and visit the pub. When I here stories that folks won't take jobs because unemployment makes it easier to sit on one's ass, or those who live 3 years on it in the UK...well, I think it has lost its purpose.

If the pub is laying people off or Walmart is cutting salaries and benefits yet again because there are not enough sales from the unemployed, creating even more unemployed, then yes, a "trip to the pub" can actually help the economy.
post #51 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

If the pub is laying people off or Walmart is cutting salaries and benefits yet again because there are not enough sales from the unemployed, creating even more unemployed, then yes, a "trip to the pub" can actually help the economy.

\

First, you ignore the people who would have received the money (unemployment benefits) that was taken from someone else if they had spent it.

Second, it is saving that is the foundation and root of economic growth and prosperity, not spending.

My God will these fallacies never go away?!?!

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post #52 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

First, you ignore the people who would have received the money (unemployment benefits) that was taken from someone else if they had spent it.

As you may know there is a pervasive sense of entitlement here that does not belong. Getting paid for sitting on your ass is not what we should be advocating. If the lazy truly want something for nothing, such as unemployment insurance, have them pick up coke and beer cans along road or do some other volunteer service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

Second, it is saving that is the foundation and root of economic growth and prosperity, not spending.

Agreed, this nation should be advocating work not unemployment benefits...
post #53 of 57
Isn't it fun to discuss theories when the reality is that the Democrats and President Obama have put the country in the poor house and are running out of other people's money with which to buy votes?

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #54 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

Isn't it fun to discuss theories when the reality is that the Democrats and President Obama have put the country in the poor house and are running out of other people's money with which to buy votes?

Nah! That started happening during the Bush administration.
Without the need for difference or a need to always follow the herd breeds complacency, mediocrity, and a lack of imagination
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post #55 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmac View Post

Nah! That started happening during the Bush administration.

We should start an Apple Insider Politics wager to determine how many words into liberal post before they blame the prior president for everything on their policy agenda... I'll kick it off by claiming the 7th word...
post #56 of 57

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #57 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

Hi SDW. I always enjoyed our debates, but Political Outsider had been interfering with my real life, and when I saw that the adults were again going to be in charge of the US gov. for a while, I decided to cut back.

On health care: It wasn't just in 1993. Romney passed it in 2006 and still supports what he did, and it was the major bipartisan proposal (Rs Dole & Baker and Ds Daschle & Mitchell) in 2009. I provided the links above.

Romney did it in one state. I don't agree with it, but a state doing it is a far cry from the fedearl government doing it.

Quote:

On cap and trade: It's not just Lindsey Graham, it's McCain/Palin's 2008 Republican presidential campaign. It has of course been taken down now but I found this screen shot of their campaign web site.


Yes, and McCain is progressive-lite. I don't like his position on climate change. Neither do many conservatives. Lack of enthusiasm for McCain is partially why he lost the election.

Quote:

On immigration - yes it was unpopular among conservatives even when it was a Republican plan, but that doesn't change the facts that 1) the leaders of the Republican party supported it just a couple years ago, 2) now Obama supports it, and 3) now the leaders of the Republican party all oppose it.

The leaders of the Republican Party supported it until the electorate told them they hated it. Look at McCain's position. He was a supported of it until he saw the backlash within the party. He then said "Look..WE GET IT...you want the border secured first." He backed off, as did the leadership.

Quote:

Yes, I know, Obama is a socialist racist leftist Nazi radical who hates America...?

Don't exaggerate and make strawman arguments He's not a socialist in the sense that say, Chavez is a socialist. He is a committed progressive, however. He's certainly no Nazi. Does he hate America? Well...no, but I think he hates parts of the American system, yes. He may not be a "radical," though he certainly associated with some very radical folks.

Quote:
But then why are his actual policies on the major issues always moderate Republican and bipartisan up until the time he comes out in support of them

Dude...come on. Do you actually believe that? You point out a few similarities between Obama and moderate Republicans (aka progressive-lites) and then make the case that he's actually governing moderately? Come the fuck on. You cannot be serious.
Obama has stated he favors:

-Redistribution of wealth
-Universal healthcare
-America as "one of many voices" in international affairs
-Greater social spending
-Greater government economic control
-Higher taxes on the "wealthy."
-Keynesian stimulus measures (e.g. "The Stimulus")
-Expensive fossil fuels to encourage "green" energy
-Cap and Tax


None of the above are generally embraced by anyone but the most liberal RINOs. Making the case that Obama is somehow moderate is literally laughable.
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