Monday, August 1, 2011

EPIC FAIL: President/Dems Surrender Monkeys - Don’t Fall for the GOP Lies: There Was No Budget Crisis But There Was and Is STILL A Job/Growth Crisis

And it's not going away. Perhaps not in our lifetimes as many studies show it will be 20 years at least before a recovery occurs matching the level of employment and surplus prevailing at the time of the Clinton departure (before the onset of the Bush/Cheney Devastation).

The President Surrenders Paul Krugman July 31, 2011 For the deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.
Start with the economics. We currently have a deeply depressed economy. We will almost certainly continue to have a depressed economy all through next year. And we will probably have a depressed economy through 2013 as well, if not beyond.

The worst thing you can do in these circumstances is slash government spending, since that will depress the economy even further. Pay no attention to those who invoke the confidence fairy, claiming that tough action on the budget will reassure businesses and consumers, leading them to spend more. It doesn’t work that way, a fact confirmed by many studies of the historical record.

Indeed, slashing spending while the economy is depressed won’t even help the budget situation much, and might well make it worse. On one side, interest rates on federal borrowing are currently very low, so spending cuts now will do little to reduce future interest costs. On the other side, making the economy weaker now will also hurt its long-run prospects, which will in turn reduce future revenue. So those demanding spending cuts now are like medieval doctors who treated the sick by bleeding them, and thereby made them even sicker.

And if what you really desire (and who can doubt it today?), is a failing American economy, B-I-N-G-O! What better way to demonstrate that the "American Experiment in Democracy" is over?
And then there are the reported terms of the deal, which amount to an abject surrender on the part of the president. First, there will be big spending cuts, with no increase in revenue. Then a panel will make recommendations for further deficit reduction — and if these recommendations aren’t accepted, there will be more spending cuts. Republicans will supposedly have an incentive to make concessions the next time around, because defense spending will be among the areas cut. But the G.O.P. has just demonstrated its willingness to risk financial collapse unless it gets everything its most extreme members want. Why expect it to be more reasonable in the next round? In fact, Republicans will surely be emboldened by the way Mr. Obama keeps folding in the face of their threats. He surrendered last December, extending all the Bush tax cuts; he surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government; and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling. Maybe it’s just me, but I see a pattern here. Did the president have any alternative this time around? Yes. First of all, he could and should have demanded an increase in the debt ceiling back in December. When asked why he didn’t, he replied that he was sure that Republicans would act responsibly. Great call. And even now, the Obama administration could have resorted to legal maneuvering to sidestep the debt ceiling, using any of several options. In ordinary circumstances, this might have been an extreme step. But faced with the reality of what is happening, namely raw extortion on the part of a party that, after all, only controls one house of Congress, it would have been totally justifiable. At the very least, Mr. Obama could have used the possibility of a legal end run to strengthen his bargaining position. Instead, however, he ruled all such options out from the beginning. But wouldn’t taking a tough stance have worried markets? Probably not. In fact, if I were an investor I would be reassured, not dismayed, by a demonstration that the president is willing and able to stand up to blackmail on the part of right-wing extremists. Instead, he has chosen to demonstrate the opposite.

Make no mistake about it, what we’re witnessing here is a catastrophe on multiple levels.

It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn’t over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders, and they can now act with the confident expectation that he will.

In the long run, however, Democrats won’t be the only losers. What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation’s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can’t.

And Paul's just being nice (as usual). He doesn't actually say here that it's pretty evident that Obama, being no one's fool, must have been aiming for this result all along. (Anyone else thinking of the Machiavellian machinations abounding in pre-World War II Germany?) [UPDATE - AUGUST 1, 2011 - Paul Krugman]

What Would I Have Done?

That’s the question Obama’s kinda-sorta defenders keep asking; it’s supposed to be a conversation-stopper. But the answer is clear: I would have made a statement declaring that giving in to this kind of blackmail would constitute a violation of my oath of office, and that my lawyers, on careful reflection, have determined that there are several legal options that allow me to ignore this extortionate demand.

Now, the Obama people say that this wasn’t actually an option. Well, I hate to say this, but I don’t believe them.

Think about the history here; think about all the misjudgments, all the reasons this administration has come up with not to act — not to act against the bankers, not to act on taxes, and down the line. Think of the colossal misjudgment over Republican intentions on debt. Why, at this point, should anyone trust these people when they say that they did all they could?

It’s much, much too late for Obama and Co. to say “Trust us, we know what we’re doing.”

My reservoir of trust is now completely drained. And I know I’m not alone.

Robert Reich, ex-Secretary of Labor under Clinton, is not so nice (as Paul) about our current catastrophe (or diplomatic). From Secretary Reich, one of my most-trusted sources, we learn many of the truths behind the manufactured "crisis."
Don’t Fall for the GOP Lie: There is No Budget Crisis. There’s a Job and Growth Crisis Thursday, July 28, 2011 A friend who’s been watching the absurd machinations in Congress asked me “what happens if we don’t solve the budget crisis and we run out of money to pay the nation’s bills?” It was only then I realized how effective Republicans lies have been. That we’re calling it a “budget crisis” and worrying that if we don’t “solve” it we can’t pay our nation’s bills is testament to how successful Republicans have been distorting the truth. The federal budget deficit has no economic relationship to the debt limit. Republicans have linked the two, and the Administration has played along, but they are entirely separate. Republicans are using what would otherwise be a routine, legally technical vote to raise the debt limit as a means of holding the nation hostage to their own political goal of shrinking the size of the federal government.

In economic terms, we will not “run out of money” next week. We’re still the richest nation in the world, and the Federal Reserve has unlimited capacity to print money.

Nor is there any economic imperative to reach an agreement on how to fix the budget deficit by Tuesday. It’s not even clear the federal budget needs that much fixing anyway.

Yes, the ratio of the national debt to the total economy is high relative to what it’s been. But it’s not nearly as high as it was after World War II – when it reached 120 percent of the economy’s total output.

If and when the economy begins to grow faster – if more Americans get jobs, and we move toward a full recovery – the debt/GDP ratio will fall, as it did in the 1950s, and as it does in every solid recovery. Revenues will pour into the Treasury, and much of the current “budget crisis” will be evaporate.

Get it? We’re really in a “jobs and growth” crisis – not a budget crisis.

And the best way to get jobs and growth back is for the federal government to spend more right now, not less – for example, by exempting the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes this year and next, recreating a WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps, creating an infrastructure bank, providing tax incentives for small businesses to hire, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, and so on.

But what happens next week if Congress can’t or won’t deliver the President a bill to raise the debt ceiling? Remember: This is all politics, mixed in with legal technicalities. Economics has nothing to do with it.

One possibility, therefore, is for the Treasury to keep paying the nation’s bills regardless. It would continue to issue Treasury bills, which are our nation’s IOUs. When those IOUs are cashed at the Federal Reserve Board, the Fed would do what it has always done: Honor them.

How long could this go on without the debt ceiling being lifted? That’s a legal question. Republicans in Congress could mount a legal challenge, but no court in its right mind would stop the Fed from honoring the full faith and credit of the United States.

The wild card is what the three big credit-rating agencies will do. As long as the Fed keeps honoring the nation’s IOUs, America’s credit should be deemed sound. We’re not Greece or Portugal, after all. We’ll still be the richest nation in the world, whose currency is the basis for most business transactions in the world.

Standard & Poor’s has warned it will downgrade the nation’s debt from a triple-A to a double-A rating if we don’t tend to the long-term deficit. But, as I’ve noted, S&P has no business meddling in American politics – especially since its own non-feasance was partly responsible for the current size of the federal debt (had it done its job the debt and housing bubbles wouldn’t have precipitated the terrible recession, and the federal outlays it required).

As long as we pay our debts on time, our global creditors should be satisfied. And if they’re satisfied, S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch should be, too.

Repeat after me: The federal deficit is not the nation’s biggest problem. The anemic recovery, huge unemployment, falling wages, and declining home prices are bigger problems. We don’t have a budget crisis. We have a jobs and growth crisis.

The GOP has manufactured a budget crisis out of the Republicans’ extortionate demands over raising the debt limit. They have succeeded in hoodwinking the public, including my friend.

And my guess is he wasn't hoodwinked. What's yours?

2 comments:

One Fly said...

And the reality is everything that is in this post. No one sees and very few give a shit. Most couldn't make an informed decision on much of anything if they depend on Big Whore Media for their info. Remember 50% maybe more now think 'ol saddam was responsible for 911. "News" is just as bad or worse now.

We are truly screwed people because there's no getting this back given all the parameters involved.

Thanks for this Susan!

Suzan said...

You are so welcome, friend!

"Reality?"

Does that have a definitive meaning anymore?

Not to the Obamabots who continue to yammer on about how Obie couldn't have made a better deal.

"This highway leads to the shadowy tip of reality: you're on a through route to the land of the different, the bizarre, the unexplainable...Go as far as you like on this road. Its limits are only those of mind itself. Ladies and Gentlemen, you're entering the wondrous dimension of imagination. . .

Next stop The Twilight Zone."


"We're developing a new citizenry. One that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles, but won't be able to think."

"Some people possess talent, others are possessed by it. When that happens, a talent becomes a curse."

Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

"It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper."

— Rod Serling