Romney Beats Obama In Debate, Round One

Ed Hudgins's picture
Submitted by Ed Hudgins on Fri, 2012-10-05 00:11

Romney Beats Obama In Debate, Round One
By Edward Hudgins

It was the battle of the blue suits, round one, in the presidential debates. There were no major gaffes and no absolute knockouts.

Pundits generally agreed that Mitt Romney came out on top. He was aggressive, on the offensive, and in command of his facts. President Obama seemed uncomfortable and did not counter Romney tit-for-tat.

Friends of freedom focused especially on Romney’s performance. He represents the party that traditionally favors limited government, though too often in rhetoric rather than reality. Romney was not trying to appeal to libertarian policy wonks like me but, rather, to attract undecided independent voters while energizing his conservative base. But we can still ask how he did in defending the principles and policies of liberty.

Entitlement problem

Most obviously, we have the problem of Romney and the party of limited government posing as the saviors of Medicare and Social Security. Why?

The inherent contradictions of the welfare state are now producing economic and social collapse in Europe even as Obama accelerates America’s decline in that direction. In the past, politicians could ignore the need to make radical changes to entitlement programs. But today, as those programs teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, their problems must be faced.

Despite decades of excellent scholarship on how private individuals and institutions could better provide health care insurance, retirement savings, and the like, Republicans have not done a good job of educating the public on these alternatives to the current government mess. And, frankly, many Republicans are committed to government responsibility for what should be matters for private provision (see “Romneycare” in Massachusetts). Thus, while their policy prescriptions might well give individuals more control over their own money and lives, privatization is, for many Republicans, a dirty word.

Thus, in the debate, Romney offered examples of the advantages of market competition in health care but could not provide a consistent vision for a private system. Too bad Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson wasn’t in the debate to provide the true case for liberty!

Heavy hits and doing better

Romney hit Obama effectively on many points where the president’s anti-free market policies are damaging the economy. For example, Obama argued that “under my plan, 97 percent of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up.” Romney countered that “businesses that are in the last 3 percent … happen to employ half— half —of all of the people who work in small business. Those are the businesses that employ one quarter of all the workers in America. And your plan is take their tax rate from 35 percent to 40 percent.”

Obama criticized a $2.8 billion tax break for oil companies. While acknowledging that with lower overall tax rates that tax break possibly would not survive, Romney pointed out that Obama “provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world … that's about 50 years' worth of what oil and gas receives.” And “this $2.8 billion goes largely to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth.”

Obama argued that “oil and natural gas production are higher than they've been in years.” Romney countered that “all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half. If I'm president, I'll double them. And also get … the oil from offshore and Alaska. And I'll bring that pipeline in from Canada.”

Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan said Romney’s debate performance was excellent and that he couldn’t imagine Romney doing any better.
But let me suggest several areas where improvement might help both his electability and the prospects for liberty.

Wrong on regulations

When asked about the financial services industry, Romney said, “Regulation is essential. You can't have a free market work if you don't have regulation.” He added, “You couldn't have people opening up banks … in their garage and making loans.” Really? What about a computer company? Would Mitt have jailed Steve Jobs for running Apple where cars should have been parked?

Obama asked, “Does anybody out there think that the big problem we had is that there was too much oversight and regulation of Wall Street?” Well, yes! Here’s where Romney missed a teaching moment.

He could have started with Obama’s statement that banks “were giving loans and mortgages that really shouldn't have been given, because … folks didn't qualify.” Government bank regulators set the standards that mandated banks to make such loans.

Furthermore, after the dot-com bubble burst a dozen years ago, the Federal Reserve, which controls money, pumped credit into the economy. Looking for a new place to invest, many borrowers chose real estate.

Next, the government-chartered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac created a market for bad loans with the implicit wink-and-nod assurance that if problems arose, the government would step in and straighten things out.

And yes, investors made stupid decisions as well. But the widespread nature of the economic collapse was principally the fault of the government.
Romney might have made these points and, instead of expressing love for regulations, might have put Obama on the defensive. He might have argued that private property rights and laws barring fraud make such government regulations unnecessary.

Teaching about teachers

Another important teaching moment that Romney missed concerned teachers. Obama kept repeating that the country—read, government—needs to “invest” in more teachers and in education. He said, “I want to hire another hundred thousand new math and science teachers.”

Romney might have pointed out that since 1970 real inflation-adjusted per-pupil government spending on schools has nearly tripled. In real dollars federal spending on education has more than doubled, with a large spike coming under President Bush with his “No Child Left Behind” program. In each election politicians clamor for more money for schools and teachers and more money is spent. But achievement scores for three decades have remained flat.

The problem is government involvement both in financing and running schools because the consumers—parents and their children—have little choice in the matter. Most Americans understand that we don’t need government to provide consumer goods like TVs, iPads, smartphones, and the like. Wouldn’t it be best to allow the same free-market choice that produces new and better ways to communicate and share information to provide education services as well?

But in the debate Romney offered that “the federal government also can play a very important role,” while arguing that education funds would be better spent in the laboratories of the states. So what about the laboratory of the market?

For the future

Romney’s debate performance will no doubt sway many undecided voters. And he did make points that friends of freedom should appreciate.

But in the future, especially if Romney is elected, he and the GOP will need more consistent policies in favor of the free market and limited government. They might slow the slide to an EU-like collapse, but reversing it will require a more radical reversal of current statist policies.
Hudgins is director of advocacy for The Atlas Society.


Ross Elliot's picture

...there we have it.

Women should not be allowed the vote. Too dangerous. It's worth thinking about, sure. I can see the point.

What about blacks, Doug? They overwhelmingly voted for Obama. I can't help but think that the tribal instincts of blacks are the same as women. You know? Sure, black men may be more logical (certainly relative to black women), but they lean the same way.



reed's picture

Were you mistreated by a black woman? Smiling

Fair questions

Doug Bandler's picture

- should women be allowed the vote?

Ideally, I agree with the voting parameters I think you laid out: 40 and above, not on any welfare for a 5 year period, 2nd or 3rd generation American, possibly a property owner, etc. But in today's world, as things are now, yes I would disenfranchise women as a necessary political expediency. I would also deport ALL Muslims. Again, I am talking about immediate acts to SAVE the country. Long range, I wouldn't advocate voting restrictions based on gender although given women's biology and psychology I would never trust them. Google up "war bride" psychology.

- should they be allowed to seek political office?

This one is trickier to me. If you include women in ANYTHING they feminize it. Some things should not be feminized; ie the military. Ideally, you would have a society committed to individual rights and rational self-defense. But in our society as it is now? Look at Hillary Clinton. Her very visage is a joke. She's a frumpy old woman whose very presence in American politics diminishes our nation. So, again as a political expediency, no, I don't think women should be allowed in office now. Ideally, perhaps you could find better women. But then again, I would be suspicious of ANY woman that sought political power.

Simply put, there is NOTHING a woman can do that a man can not do better and with far less drama and headaches (excluding pregnancy). And yes, one day a better philosopher than Rand will come along and correct her mistakes. That day can't come soon enough (as I keep saying, he will be taken more seriously than Rand).

BTW, that doesn't mean that I don't love Rand. I do. Its just that I never forget that she was a woman and that has meaning because all women are insane. Its their nature.


Ross Elliot's picture

...your misogynistic credentials are apparent, but let me pose a couple of questions:

- should women be allowed the vote?
- should they be allowed to seek political office?

C'mon, Doug, don't be shy, you're among friends. Don't hedge. Simple yes or no.

Romney is likable

Doug Bandler's picture

I've become a total cynic but is there any chance that Romney could be another Reagan? Is that even possible anymore?

You know, it must be remembered, and I often forget, that both Conservatives and libertarians almost always see imminent disaster ahead. The sky is always about to fall and it will eventually barring philosophical change. But it takes a long time for things to play out and there are better elements to the culture or we wouldn't have what we have.

Who knows, maybe all is not misery in the world.

You know ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... I also had the impression that Obamarx was resigned to defeat. Wotta shame! Evil

Romney was magnificent. That should be their unchanging campaign ad for the next 3 weeks. He said humorously all the things he's been afraid to say seriously. It was startling ... and wonderful!!

Yes, very Presidential.

Olivia's picture

Handsome, funny and his jibe about Obama having Bill Clinton in his corner while he has his beautiful, loving wife, Ann, was terribly wicked! Smiling

Obama was revoltingly self deprecating and defeatist. I don't think he wants the job anymore.
America is shaking!!

Romney's best speech ever ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... A stand-up routine at the Alfred E Smith dinner. Funny, waspish, eloquent ... and so presidential. Very Reaganesque.

Any one want to wager?

Jules Troy's picture

My friendly wager of a pat in the back is this.

I bet that if Romney is elected that you will see (at least in the short term) a strengthening of the USD as well as a small drop in unemployment as investor confidence is somewhat restored in the ability of the american economy to recover from the many errors that Obama did while in office.

The Ground Is Shaking Here In America...

Michael Moeller's picture

The ground is shaking.

I think the new Gallup tracking poll putting Romney up +7, which includes 2 days post-debate, indeed shows Romney won that debate.

But this poll, putting Romney up +4 in Pennsylvania, would be a titanic shift if accurate. If I recall correctly, the last Republican to win PA was Bush when he ran against Dukakis. If PA goes, so then does Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa, and probably Michigan too.

It already looks like Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina have slipped away, which is why Obama is quietly pulling out of those states. Colorado might be slipping away too, which means Romney can win with Ohio or Wisconsin, or a combination of smaller states like Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire.

But if PA is starting to go, then all of these states will go and we're talking landslide.



Michael Moeller's picture

Exactly right. I mean, why did Obama not just state his position? Why did he instead say "please proceed, Mr. Romney" and "read the transcript"? All he had to do was say: "I said 'act of terror' in the Rose Garden speech and that was referring to Benghazi".

It's obvious why he didn't, he is caught in a transparent lie. Thus far, they've tried to simply confound people with details. Eg. State said this, Intelligence said that, we didn't have this information but we had that information, etc etc. They are hoping it gets lost in the details.

I think Romney was honestly surprised by Obama's response and didn't think fast enough to connect the dots. It might have been for the better because the story is being kept alive in the press and it is sure to come up in the next foreign policy debate, and the Romney campaign can prepare a solid response.

Here's what I think they should do to simplify the case and reach those viewers who are not paying attention:

(1) Drop the dispute on whether "act of terror" refers to Benghazi. It only muddles the issue.

The best thing to do is just take Obama at his word on "act of terror", and the contradictions become glaring and obvious.

Eg. "Ok, I accept the president's statement that he was citing Benghazi as an 'act of terror' on Day 2. Then why did he send out UN ambassador Rice to claim that weekend the attack was the result of a video? Why did Hillary Clinton make the same claim on Day 8? ...Why did the president make the same claim at the UN and on Letternman two weeks later?...."

Then let Obama try to wiggle his way out of the contradiction. Whatever path he chooses he gets trapped in a corner. For instance, if he says they were still waiting on information, then why were they asserting it was the video if they did not have all the information?

(2) Keep the case simple. Not too many details that the viewer cannot follow. On Day 2, the president claims it was an act of terror. On Day 5, Rice claims it was the video....

At the very least, the viewer will note how incompetent the Obama administration is.

(3) Become morally indignant at Obama because what his administration is doing is a moral outrage. He is trying to brush off criticism by feigning outrage.

Romney should turn it right around. "A US ambassador and three other men are dead, and I find it offensive that the president and his administration continue to confuse and mislead the American people on what happened."

If Romney does that after laying out the facts as in (1), I think it will be extremely powerful because he has the facts behind him. Any indignation by Obama will look like a cheap deflection.


Hopeless Anti-Freedom Mitt

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

I think President Romney is going to be a Big Gov't disaster just like George Bush. Here's some good reasons why:


Marcus's picture

"But the best moment came when Romney questioned him re his 9-12 statements in the Rose Garden."

Isn't that when Obama wouldn't answer the question that the story had changed and said, "please proceed."

That is a bizaare thing to say during a debate. He actually prompted his opponent to talk rather than question.

Makes Obama look guilty as hell.

When Romney pressed him Obama shut him up with a "read the transcript".

Now according to the liberal media Obama had slapped down Romney who was being dishonest.

What an Orwellian inversion of the truth.

Imagine if it was George W Bush instead of Obama in that debate answering a question about national security like that.

He would be boiled alive by the press right now.

Crowley and women in general

Doug Bandler's picture

There is an interesting sex difference that was observable during the last two debates. Jim Lehrer during the last debate actually facilitated a debate. Crowley basically interfered during the debate to cheerlead for the Leftist candidate. What a surprise.

It has often been said that men in prominent public positions focus on actually doing the job at hand yet women, the natural narcissists that they are, when they are placed in public positions focus on themselves. Women in government and media positions also end up *feminizing* those areas. I think that is totally inappropriate in politics. It weakens a nation and makes it look stupid.

Politics should be a masculine affair. Women should not be involved. Especially Leftist women, the lowest of all women. Crowley proved more immutable truths about the psychological differences between men and women. How I would love to have seen a real man put that fat bitch in her place. But our weak and pathetic society wouldn't allow it. It would be "sexism".

May the non-existent Christian god have mercy on our lost souls.


Olivia's picture

But the best moment came when Romney questioned him re his 9-12 statements in the Rose Garden. Obama had this astounding look on his face that appeared to be a combination of terror (that he was caught in a lie) and guilt (for his incredible lie on Benghazi).

Exactly right, and then when Obama retorted, he just made a big appeal to umbrage.


Jules Troy's picture

America DESERVES to go under?  

What America deservesssss is its freedoms written in the declaration of independance.

What it DESERVES is an economic environment free of government intervention.

What it DESERVES is schools that nurture and foster intelligence, not destroy it.

What it deserves is a government that no longer says sorry they offended a bunch of dirty bearded mullahs sensibilities, they view appeasment as weakness and only encourages them more.

What it deserves is to reclaim itself.

Obama is the greatest betrayer of American freedom to ever walk the earth, he is the one that deserves to go under..


gregster's picture

Watched to 34 minutes. I can't be sure if any of President B.O.'s lines were true. Everything he said appeared to be a lie. America deserves to go under.

Candy Crowley: Romney Was Actually Right On Libya

Marcus's picture

Psychologically even the liberal media...

Marcus's picture

...are showing a clip of Romney which is a real knock out punch to Obama.

When Romney tells Obama to sit down, and he does, not much else he could do.

Later Obama jumps back to his feet and Romney holds out his hand and says that he is talking now, that it was a statement not a question, and Obama could talk later.

Romney was chastising the President like he would a child and sending out the message that he wont take shit from him.


Michael Moeller's picture

Watch the exchange on Benghazi. I found it very interesting. Obama became indignant that he or his administration should be accused of lying...right after he got done lying. Sort of reminded me of Weiner's indignant denials before admitting his guilt.

But the best moment came when Romney questioned him re his 9-12 statements in the Rose Garden. Obama had this astounding look on his face that appeared to be a combination of terror (that he was caught in a lie) and guilt (for his incredible lie on Benghazi).

I haven't seen the media...

Marcus's picture

...pick up on the Benghazi comments yet.

They did after Biden. Hopefully they will wake up tomorrow and dig into Obama's words.

The liberal media are saying so far that Obama defended himself well on the issue.

For a long time...

Michael Moeller's picture

It has been reported that Obama detests Romney, and you could see it tonight. He was simmering with contempt for Romney.


Michael Moeller's picture

I think Romney was caught a bit off-guard by Obama's admission, and didn't quite know how to respond. People were complaining that Crowley backed Obama up, but I think this a great development for Romney. All he needs to do is repeat the timeline and connect the dots. Thankfully, the next debate is on foreign policy.

You could see the terror on Obama's face and Obama attempt to be coy by not answering Romney's question definitively. All he said was "read the transcript" because I think Obama was scared of what he just admitted. Hopefully it will all out, as the Obama administration has tried to dodge the issue under a mass of confusion.

Romney also busted him lying about allowing more drilling on public lands, and Obama tried to provide some lame excuses for why drilling licenses were denied. Obama's strategy: lie like mad and hope he doesn't get caught.

The Benghazi scandal is simply breath-taking, and it still boggles the mind to think the Obama administration thought they could get away with such a transparent lie.


Yes ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I think Romney was a bit nonplussed by Obamarx's claim, especially when the moderator backed it up. So he lost an opportunity. It may be for the best, longer term. That Obamullah was lying is now incontestable.

Obama Did Lose...

Michael Moeller's picture

While lying through his teeth. The questions were slanted towards leftist talking points, but Romney very effectively prosecuted Obama on his economic record.  The litany of Obama failures that Romney laid out is really Romney's trump card.

Be that as it may, I think Obama sold himself down the river on Benghazi with help from the moderator Candy Crowley.  Let's take Obama at his word that his mention of "act of terror" the day after referred to Benghazi.  (It didn't, it referred to 9-11, but let's give him the point for argument's sake.)

If he made that claim the day after, why did he send his surrogates out there that weekend to say it was NOT a terror attack?  Why was he presenting the video as the cause a week later at the UN?  Why two weeks later on Letterman?

In my mind, that seals the deal he was purposely lying to the American people when two weeks later he was talking about the video.  How can that possibly be if he knew the day after it was "an act of terror"?   That amounts to an admission he was purposely misleading the American people.

I think this is a HUGE mistake for Obama.  He could of kept claiming he did not know and to attempt to bury the story, but now is admitting he knew otherwise on 9-12.  Romney now has a wide opening, which is why I think he wanted Obama to say it "on the record".  Unfortunately, Romney did not deliver the knockout punch by noting that Obama was still claiming the attack was the result of the video two weeks later. Romney needs to effectively deliver this blow in the next debate.



Well although Obama has the lead...

Marcus's picture polls of the debate, it's not by much.

I don't think it has won the election for Obama yet.

I'm watching it now for the 2nd time ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... and Obamarx is *not* winning. He's just much stronger than last time. But he's lying through his teeth. And trying to shut Romney down when the latter goes in for the kill, e.g. over Obamarx's pension plan.

The headline in the today's Guardian...

Marcus's picture

"Obama regains the initiative to win second presidential debate."

I expected as much. The media were desperate for anything that looked like a win and Obama was desperate to deliver it.

Expect more of the same in the third debate, if not an Obama "slam dunk".

If it weren't Airhead America ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... Obamarx's lies in tonight's second debate would have finished him. Perhaps they still will.

A hundred years of concessions to out of control government

Frediano's picture

... is what your charts show, agreed.

The only thing we disagree on is the acceptance of GDP as a proper or even neutral parameter against which to normalize the growth of government. You regard it as a neutral economic yardstick. It has been the same yardstick for each of those out of control 100 hundred years. Your own charts are the proof that majority thinking on this topic is flawed when it comes to effectively controlling the size of government growth. Neither mainstream GOP nor certainly not mainstream Democrats in the last century have succeeded in doing anything but permit the rate of growth of government to exceed even world war levels of spending.

Our -thinking- on the subject must change, and yet the debate is exactly -rigged- by the terms we unquestioningly accept; terms like 'the economy' ,which we unblinkingly accept as a given; we have complete and full trust in the Emperors of Macro, as if the point had long been made long from before our birth, and this is in spite of the visible global collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. Hey, centrally planned command and control economy running just crapped the bed, big time! So what does America do, not two years later? Falls under the intellectual spell of James Carville and his bumper sticker intellectualism, "It's the economy, stoopit!" You got to love that America; sharp as a tack.

Your own charts scream out at us that the point has long been made in just the opposite sense; the Emperors of Macro have no clothes. They have long been screwing the pooch.

And part of that rigged debate(we disagree on this) is our blind willingess to accept GDP as a proper normalization for government spending, without questioning the economic basis.

If its just a convenient neutral number we are after, then why not (population ratio + inflation)? That is just a number, too, but it paints a more realistic picture of -out of control growth in government.-.

By agreeing to GDP, we are lulled into complacency; clearly we have been, based on your own charts. Whatever economic thinking has managed to seep into the America body politic at large, it is severely flawed based on the evidence of the results. and needs to be questioned and replaced.

Like 50 years ago.

Here is a chart to go with yours: historical GDP per capita adjusted for inflation.

Historical GDP per capita US

If that doesn't sober you up on the reasonableness of normalizing government to GDP, then I don't know what will.

Follow along: if government is a normalized to a % of GDP, and GDP per capita is growing rapidly, then the real burden of government per capita is growing as fast as GDP per capita (because the burden of government is artificially made proportional to GDP....)

Using GDP to normalize the size of government is tantamount to accepting ever increasing serfdom to the state, which is -exactly- what is happening and exactly why the nation is being driven to its knees.

Ask yourself; who is it that has been selling "government as % of GDP" to us all these years?


Frediano Doesn't Like Facts (or Logic) Much

Michael Moeller's picture

Speaking of Jell-O, Frediano appears to be as sharp as a bowl of Jell-O.

Before I get to Frediano's nonsensical questions, let's take a look at these ***facts*** -- GDP to Spending Ratio (7th chart down) and GDP to Spending Ratio (1st chart).

Gee, I wonder why Frediano wants to pretend that only 1950 exists. Big mystery there, considering there have been historical times demonstrating higher of both spending and debt.

Yet, notice if we went by Frediano's "50-year" benchmark, the 1950's would look like Armageddon compared with the 1900's. If Frediano was doing the same type of calculation in 1950, would he have declared Armageddon because of how bad government spending/debt look compared to 1900?

The only answer is: YES.

But not Frediano, he wants to ignore all the decades in between, and go with the calculation he did on the back of a cocktail napkin, apparently after too many shots of whiskey.

Again, Frediano does not want to look start at the facts, slice out an arbitrary time in history, and scrawl a calculation on a cocktail napkin with numbers he simply made up. This is his analysis of the facts. Again, given his analysis of the facts, I say thank Galt he sits on his hands. He should shutter up the shop completely and go for hell-fire preaching.

In any event, let's take a look at Frediano's questions:

"1] It is the fundamental role of government to run/manage the economy, like the Soviet Union centrally planned, command/control model."

Who EVER made that assumption? Nobody, that's who.

These are simply historical numbers about government spending/debt as a % of the economy. Numbers, that's it. In fact, Frediano admits this is a way to normalize government spending/debt to include the size of the economy, inflation, etc., as opposed to his made-up numbers.

What the graphs show is increasing government expenditure as part of the US economy. This does not mean one accepts some statist premise. In fact, most of the people showing these graphs (like me) are making the exact opposite conclusion. That is, increasing government spending (as a share of the economy) is driving the economy into the ground.

In fact, I would go one step further and say that, if you look at the charts, the US was able to educate people (mostly private before the late 1800's), provide roads, etc. while becoming the strongest economy in the world with unparalleled economic growth WITHOUT the huge share of the economy going towards government spending.

In fact, pre-1910 growth and production (especially post-Civil War) blows away Frediano's arbitrary 1950 standard as the result of less government intrusion.

But the numbers are simply what they are. One can make statist conclusions about them if one wants, but that does not change the numbers. In fact, I making the opposite argument, i.e. that the graphs show increasing share of the economy diverted to government spending at the same time economic growth stalls.

Frediano, with some convoluted gorilla logic, thinks this is somehow statist. Fact is, he would rather scrawl numbers on the back of a cocktail napkin selected from an arbitrary time period rather than look at the facts straight in the eye.

His second premise:

"2] Therefore, the size of government must be proportional to GDP."

Again, who the hell said that? For the 10th time, all I was pointing out was the share of the economy being taken up by government spending. In fact, I said this did NOT paint a good picture, and my model would be pre-Wilson where there was no income tax or welfare state.

Just take a look at the numbers pre-Wilson. Frediano thinks this argument is statist. The guy is completely gone and loves to stream-of-consciousness ramble without understanding the basic points being made. Whatever.

Reminds me very much of leftists when you present them with the facts, and then they call you names or divert to other topics. Close shop, Frediano, close it right up.


Democrats worried #3

Marcus's picture

Simpsons / Family Guy animator Lucas Gray

Democrats getting worried #2

Marcus's picture

Your average Obama voter.

Marcus's picture

My God!

Naked assertion is not argument

Frediano's picture

Your arguments are really silly. Numbers are not socialist or statist. Those numbers are *facts*.

Yes, and arguments are made using paragraphs and sentences and words and vowels and consonants; all that is true, but it is not argument. Your asserting my arguments are 'really silly' -- without addressing them -- is not argument. It is the universal sign for 'got nothing.'

Analyzing based on % of GDP is way to normalize the graphs to account for the size of the economy and inflation. That's all.

Ya think? So is normalizing to the total dollar amount spent on Jell-o. We were -all- fed that line of shit; what I am asking is, what is the economic basis for normalizing to GDP? What I have argued is that the flawed reasoning is as follows:

1] It is the fundamental role of government to run/manage the economy, like the Soviet Union centrally planned, command/control model.
2] Therefore, the size of government must be proportional to GDP.

You've presented no argument at all as to why government should be scaled to GDP, just your naked assertions. Me, not holding my breath, but I am pointing it out.

If I said the numbers mean the US needs more governed control, that would be socialist. As such, those graphs are just a historical reflection and a way to analyze government spending and debt. You could claim that this is not a good methodology to analyze government spending and debt (and there are other ways to do it), but to claim that looking at basic macroeconomic numbers -- with no conclusions about policy -- is somehow "statist" is just plain silly.

Look, Frediano, if you cannot come to grips with basic numbers, then you probably should be sitting on your hands.

The irony of you waving your hands with argument like that in order to accuse me of sitting on mine(while you do what?)is not lost on me, anyway. More naked assertions backed by nothing.

You don't think the last 50 years is enough of a time period over which to integrate out the impact of alternating GOP/Democratic administrations?

You disagree with Paul Krugman's glowing assessment of JFK's economies? That America was paying for SS. That America was building IKE's Interstates. That America was going to the Moon. That America was righting old civil rights wrongs. That America was inspiring the graduating class of 1962, and admitting them into vibrant economies. And that America was doing so with the equivalent of $1500B/yr in federal spending today. You really want to line up the graduating class of 1962 next to the graduating class of 2012 and ask them who is most inspired by what their federal government is doing with the fraction of the nation's wealth that it commandeers? It's not even close; the class of 2012 would rightfully hang us if tyhey ever accurately got wind of that comparison.

I -wish- we were spending JFK's fraction of GDP: he was well under 20%, not over 25%.

You disagree with the numbers? Please, show me which ones are 'silly' -- by providing your own.

JFK's early 60's federal budget: $100B, over half of which was for defense at the peak of the Cold War: fact.

Population then: 180M

Population now: 330M, not quite a factor of 2.0, but I'll be generous and say 2.0

Assumed increase in the per-capita efficiency of self-government over 50 years, from a time 3 years before IBM introduced the 029 keypunch: Zero.

Adjustment in JFK's federal budget to 2012 that can be accounted for by population growth: x2.0 = $200B

Adjustment in JFK's federal budget to 2012 that can be accounted for by inflation: x 7.5 = $1500B. Feel free to provide your own adjustment for inflation if you think x7.5 is too low, or, just ratio to the price of 1st class postage which is by law tied to inflation. (6c....45c) x 7.5 = $1500B

Compare JFK's adjusted $1500B/yr to today's actual $3800B/yr. You want to claim that Population and inflation is not enough-- that we should instead normalize to GDP(like my plumbers wish I would do when it comes to how much of my wealth I spend on much needed plumbing...) But you ahven't made the argument; instead, you point out the obvious, that "% of GDP is a way to normalize the graphs to account for the size of the economy and inflation..."

You(and I)have been so inculcated from birth with the political idea that there is one 'the economy' that we are(nearly)functionally able to see anything but that myth.

The macro emperor has no clothes.

There is no 'the economy;' there are only 'the economies', and the aggregate of all such has no economic meaning whatsoever -except- to support the collectivist idea that it is possible(or even desirable)to try to control 'them' as an 'it' in any macro sense. Only in the former Soviet Union was that ever regarded as a great idea. Where is the argument that ours is a command and control, centrially planned macro 'the economy?'

You've swallowed what we've all been fed from birth, without questioning it. Don't feel bad, you're comfortably in the majority with that.

It is a corollary of the other collectivist myth, "S"ociety. There is no such thing as "S"ociety. There are societies, plural.

Society, from the Latin, "socius." Ally, companion, as in, known associate.

Do you know everybody? Neither do I. Who, exactly, does, and speaks for this latest magical invisible entity safely above and beyond all mere local contingencies(read Durkheim's summary in Religious Formes for the definition of "S"ociiety. Ancient man had it all wrong, and was worshipping the wrong God totem; the real God is the Tribe itself, "S"ociety...)

Or, read Scott Nearing's "Social Religion", published twice a century ago. (Once as a crusading Christian, and a few years later as a crusading Progressive Socialist. Same book, same religion, same reasoning.)

I never confuse "nation" with "S"ociety/The Economy. Never. It is sloppy thinking. We form a nation not for every purpose, but for public purpose; in a free nation, that is a tightly restricted subset of all possible purpose, and 'running The[sic] Economy" is not one of them in any free nation. Soviet Union? Yes.

One of the public purposes we form a nation is for the national defense. But notice; as important as that public role is, we staff our military not via forced association, but via free associaition. We have a totally volunteer armed force.

Given that fact, what matter of public policy justifies forced association? Would that be "running The[sic] Economy?"


Democrats must be worried...

Marcus's picture

Any truth to this?


Jules Troy's picture

In a time, when America faced a very real threat of nuclear war during the height of the cold war, never have I seen such an empassioned rational plea for freedom through strength! It brings me to tears, and at the same time is so soulfully refreshing in his affirmation of the individuals right to liberty!!


What a contrast to Obama's mindless "Yes we can" and "we are all in this together."

Look how far you have fallen from that which made you the number one country in ALL things!

..and take it back for f**ks sake!

I am Canadian..we usually say sorry when we bump into a piece of furnature..

Even better ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... when you see the Master deliver it:

Remember that guy?

Jules Troy's picture


He would cry if he could see what has become of America today.

What impressed me so much was that he wrote this himself.  




gregster's picture

"This is the guy you're with" Don't infer that I agree with all Doug's future opinions.

The poor are already attacking the better-off through tax. They put the guns in the hands of the government and vote for wholesale theft. It's no stretch to imagine their mentality would descend to slitting throats "given the right circumstances." 20%? Depends on geographical locations. I'd say a lower figure simply because there won't be enough wealthy whites to supply all the could-be-killers victims.

"Every fifth black would slit your throat given the right circumstances?" Should read "Around 20% of poverty-stricken would.." The problem here is that the qualifier "given the right circumstances" is too open-ended. I smell some kind of fallacy. It is unlimited and finds its own affirmative answer.


Michael Moeller's picture

Your arguments are really silly. Numbers are not socialist or statist. Those numbers are *facts*.

Analyzing based on % of GDP is way to normalize the graphs to account for the size of the economy and inflation. That's all.

If I said the numbers mean the US needs more governed control, that would be socialist. As such, those graphs are just a historical reflection and a way to analyze government spending and debt. You could claim that this is not a good methodology to analyze government spending and debt (and there are other ways to do it), but to claim that looking at basic macroeconomic numbers -- with no conclusions about policy -- is somehow "statist" is just plain silly.

Look, Frediano, if you cannot come to grips with basic numbers, then you probably should be sitting on your hands.

But you don't like basic numbers, so you call them "statist". I am not sure why, either, because the numbers do NOT paint a good picture.

And you are arbitrarily selecting time periods. The 1950's would look poor in comparison with 1900's if we went by your 50-year standard. Would you have claimed Armageddon in the 1950's because the 1950's were poor in terms of government spending/debt compared to the 1900's?

Something tells me you would have.

And you're still missing the wider point, which is that you offer no solutions. Or in your parlance, you're carrying water for the lethargic and apathetic.


We 'need' to do no such thing

Frediano's picture

If you want a historical perspective, you need to compare apples-to-apples, i.e. the relative sizes of the US economy with respect to spending and debt. Here is a historical chart of the GDP to debt ratio and a chart of the GDP to spending ratio.

You are in the majority with that view, with good reason. That's been drummed into our heads for decades, but it has little basis in a free nation. That so many swallow it without challenging the premise is exactly my point Here iswhy:

We do need to compare apples and apples, but public debt fueled spending is not private debt fueled spending. When you or I as private individuals take on debt and reduce our available credit, we wake up in the future economies with incentive to create-new- value (work) and payoff our debt, selfishly, to restore our available credit. Private debt, it can be seen, is at least partially an investment in the alchemy that converts present value into future value, through a symmetric exchange of savings/investment/credit. (Savings/investment is the polar opposite of credit/debt, the required ying to the yang.) When governments take on public debt, not a single human being anywhere on earth wakes up the next day with any new incentive to pay off that debt. It is borne with the same painless(today)lack of incentives that it is taken on with (and even painlessly extended by signing a pen to paper.) It is purely a de-investment in future economies, an obligation on others with no incentives other than to avoid the guns of state when it comes collecting.

The definition of GDP includes government spending includes government debt fueled spending, and -equates- those dollars to private spending and private debt fueled spending. The reason for selling this meme is obvious, or should be obvious. But examine the deeper premise -- that government spending as a % of GDP -should- be a constant fraction of GDP. What is the economic basis for that belief? I recognize the population argument; I recognize the inflation argument -- even as inflation itself is caused directly by government debt fueled spending in our economies. But unless this is the SOviet Union, and ours is a centrally planned, command and control 'the economy,' then I don't recognize the constant fraction of GDP argument. We've been sold a bill of goods by tribal politicos intent on an ever growing public trough. The fact is, the sign of an efficient government is an ever -decreasing- % of GDP as state plumbing overhead-- that is, unless you accept the premise that it is the proper function of government in a free nation to 'run the economy.' I don't. The majority clearly does, including the modern GOP.

50 years -- the pipeline back to JFK's AMerica -- is an excellent yardstick against which to weigh the apples to apples trends. It evens out the inconsequential factors of which party is in power, because that has made no discernible difference whatsoever for the last 50 years. It allows us to weigh the factual number of cabinet level departments introduced over 50 years, and introduction of countless programs and wars on__________. (Poverty, Crime, Drugs, Terror, Unemployment...whatever it takes to keep the gig going. Is any of it better? after 50 years, or is all of it worse? Where is the bang for our $3800B/yr bucks?)

$100B for common government in a nation of 180M people, more than half of our present 330M. ANd here is where my apples-to-apples goes asunder; I count that generously as a factor of 2.0, and not only that, but I assume exactly ZERO increase in the per-capita effciency of giovernment (ie, it costs as much per capita to 'govern' America today as it did 3 years before IBM introduced the 029 keypunch....) There has been NO increase in productivity of government over 50 years, is my assumption for adjusting JFK's budget by that factor of 2.0 to generously adjust for population. So we can generously adjust his $100B to $200B to account only for population growth.

And then we have government debt fueled spending caused inflation -- a tax on everybody -- to account for. That is easily done, and it is a factor of about 7.5 since JFK's America. So now we adjust that $200B to $1500B... and we are done. $1500B, vs today's $3800B. And we can readily compare those economies from 50 years ago to today's sick things.

You want to argue -- nay, we 'need to' -- normalize to GDP. First of all, I wish. We are way over JFK's fraction of GDP, he was well under 20%, we are at 25%. But the important point is, why normalize to GDP? What is the economic basis? Ours is not a centrally planned, command and control government run 'the economy' .... that was the SOviet Union.

The sign of an efficient government would be an every year decreasing % of GDP as overhead.

20 years ago, when we built our home, we -really- needed plumbing. I paid a certain % of my then income to have plumbing installed in our home, because face it, we really,, really needed the plumbing. 20 years later, my income has grown. I still really, really need plumbing. Should I be paying a constant % of my income for that plumbing? Would that be a reasonable thing to do? After all, we really, really need the plumbing. I know the plumbers would prefer that every year I paid a fixed % of my income to maintain the plumbing, but as Rand wrote in We The Living, we don't live for the plumbing, nor are we ruled by the plumbers. But what would be the economic reason to spend a fixed % of my income on much needed plumbing?

Well, the same is true for a free nation. A free nation needs the plumbing of state, and for sure needs honorable plumbers to maintain the pipes and keep them free-flowing. But as that nation prospers, on what basis should it continue to spend the same % of its wealth on the plumbing, or worse, be ruled by and live for the plumbers?

As you say, the trend towards statism certainly will NOT be reversed if liberty's defenders uncritically swallow such assertions as 'constant % of GDP' and do nothing more but carry water for statism when doing so. The first step to reversing this century old decline is to remove those shades from our eyes and see the world clearly for what it is, past the indoctrination that has been thrown at us since before our birth. Like, the purely political assertion that the economies are 'the economy,' or our societies are "S"ociety. Those are exactly the foundation of statism and are largely unquestioned by the current majorities, plural.


This is the guy you're with, Greg.

Ross Elliot's picture

"I would bet that probably 20% of blacks hate white people and would kill or assist in killing whites in bulk where such a race war to start."

Every fifth black would slit your throat given the right circumstances?

He's not generalising here. He means it. You concur?

Sowell is one in a million

Doug Bandler's picture

Non-whites? Sowell? West? Never cared for America's freedoms?

Sowell and Williams and Elder are very rare. Most blacks are collectivists that have no love for America. I would bet that probably 20% of blacks hate white people and would kill or assist in killing whites in bulk where such a race war to start. Hispanics are another people who have no love of liberty nor understanding of it. And as I said, white single women hate social conservatism and thus will support the Left and the Demoncrats in large numbers (percentage wise).

What is keeping America semi-free? White males. The true persecuted minority that no-one will dare defend. I know, I know. Its all about individualism. And I agree for the most part. My point is that the Left is waging a war against whites and males and no one, not even Objectivists, will even acknowledge it. As if acknowledging that reality will make you a racist or a collectivist.

The sad fact is that very few blacks percentage wise are on the side of liberty. Most are hostile towards it. And I haven't even dealt with the ever growing black on white violence. In America, everyone lives in fear of black neighborhoods and savage black violence. But no one will ever say so in public. We say, "oh avoid that area, its a BAD area." Why is it bad? Blankout.

BTW, should Obama lose, I bet there will be black rioting somewhere. I actually hope there is so more and more Americans will realize that the Left is actively evil and needs to be destroyed and the entire welfare state needs to be dismantled.


Michael Moeller's picture

If you want a historical perspective, you need to compare apples-to-apples, i.e. the relative sizes of the US economy with respect to spending and debt. Here is a historical chart of the GDP to debt ratio and a chart of the GDP to spending ratio.

Neither is the highest in US history, but a long way from pre-WWI. Point is that trends can be reversed.

Or consider "Dale's Laws", the earliest set of laws in the Virginia colony (early 1600's). Go look them up. They closely resemble modern day sharia. Yet, Virginia would become the beating heart of the new American republic, producing such thinkers as Madison and Jefferson.

The grave problems in the US are man-made, and can be reversed by man. It does not mean they will be reversed, just that they can be. And it is not "Polyanna Thinking" to acknowledge that. And it is noble to work for it.

But the trend towards statism certainly will NOT be reversed if liberty's defenders sit on their hands and do nothing more than preach Armageddon. It's a bunker mentality.



gregster's picture

I wrote downstream about Doug's opinion; "He generalises and that's legitimate for any opinion. Get a grip on yourself."

I'm with Doug, and not with libertarians who begin with their axiom "the initiation of force is evil" with no grip of context.

"Alpha" Biden

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I thought he'd taken something. It was noticeable how he drooped in the last half hour. To me he came over as a grandstanding buffoon ... again. He's despicable. A total phony. "Honey, it's ... gonna ... be ... OK." Ugh! Fortunately, his lie about not knowing there'd been calls for beefed-up security in Libya prior to 9/11 will become as infamous as his cheating in school exams.

The "alpha-male" on stage was the female moderator.

Bad news for Obama.

Marcus's picture

If Obama doesn't match Biden now he will look weak in comparison.

If he does, he will look rattled and awkward.

Either way he loses.

Joe Biden's alpha-male display leaves Paul Ryan overwhelmed

Marcus's picture

That's the headline in today's Guardian.


Greg, Son...

Ross Elliot's picture

"And as I have already pointed out, single white women have betrayed America's freedom at a greater percentage of everyone but non-whites (who never understood or cared for America's freedoms anyway)."

Non-whites? Sowell? West? Never cared for America's freedoms?

You want to jump on this idiot's bandwagon?

Rand at her prime was at the far end of that 50 yr pipeline...

Frediano's picture


Didn't Rand advise to speak out on whatever level possible to you?

This should be sobering; when Rand made her Mike Wallace interview observations, America was at the far end of that 50 year "JFK's America" yardstick.

Go review my analysis of JFK's America and his federal budget in a nation of 180M people, over half of today's 330 million. (Inflation and population only account for a factor of 15, not 38, and that is being more than generous with the adjustment.)

That static electricity motor that could power the world has nothing on Rand spinning in her grave today; her wave-off went largely unheeded by the realpolitik politicos that have staffed our machinery of state, overwhelmingly from a tiny handful of Ivy League schools that served as convenient and largely willing choke points that have out of all proportion fed that machinery of not only state, but academic faculties. As in, enjoy the coming second presidential debate between two Harvard guys. The Ivies are mandrels of left wing thought, the indoctrination that goes on at these inbred little clubs is heavy handed and clumsy and has been for decades. For every John Stossel that escapes unscathed, a hundred Paul Krugman's are cookie-cuttered out. If there is a libertarian/tea party resurgence going on anywhere after a century of Scott Nearing "Social Religion" Progressives deliberately targeting the public machinery of state, it has a long way, as in many decades, to go to effectively turn this rout around. Winning a handful of elections and then spiking the ball isn't nearly going to cut it. At most, they have begun the beginning of the beginning of any slow to react reaction to a Progressive takeover of the nation.

"It's THE Economy, Stupid!" is -still- the entrenched intellectual touchstone of our age, not anything ever uttered by Rand. If she is the most read, most influential author of the twentieth century, it is everywhere except in the machinery of state...

Paul Ryan? The current RealPolitik demands that he disavow her...

The proof that Carville's bumper sticker is still ruling the day(jarringly born not two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989)is ROmney's gleeful assertion that HE is best suited to "Run the economy."

Where is anything but centrally planned, command and control 'the economy running' to be seen in our mainstream politics?

Do you remember the Jan 2008 GOP primary debates in CA? (Why should you, they were eminently forgettable.) Reagan's Library, in front of his widow, mere feet away from where Reagan is buried. Anderson Cooper asks the fair but loaded question, "Tell us why YOU are best suited to RUN THE ECONOMY."

And each of the GOP front runners gleefully answered the question in context, without challenging it. McCain famously gave his 'I got C's in economics but I'm good enough to run the economy' or whatever nonsense. Romney gleefully answered the question, as did Huckleberry.

And by the time Ron Paul answered with is "W.T.F. are all you idiots mumbling about? It is not the function of the POTUS to 'run the economy.' Anderson Cooper was grinning like a loon because he knew it was too little too late and he'd just seen the GOP front runners self-destruct in front of the nation.

And nothing has changed since then in the GOP...

I asked a local GOP state candidate about caving in on this "It's the economy, stupid" intellectual juggernaut, and he 'confided' to me that it was 'just too effective an argument' and the GOP 'had to play along.' And then I cut the conversation short, threw this featherweight the fuck out of my house and took a hot shower.

I can't find any reason for Polyanna Thinking in any of that.

In the UK...

Marcus's picture

...they are saying Obama might be in hot water at the next debate over the Libyan Embassy Attack, given that it was a 9/11 terrorist attack and not random mob violence. The Obama government is looking incompetent.

No Flamewar

Michael Moeller's picture


I am simply pointing out that apathy and doomsday predictions achieve next to nothing. Sadly, this attitude (along with cynicism) is all-too prevalent among libertarians.

Hand it to the progressives in one respect, they were willing to be patient for the last 100 years and wage a war for cultural change -- piecemeal when necessary. They've fought, and fought hard.

Alleged liberty-lovers seemingly cannot lift a finger for anything. Not a candidate, or even an issue. No offense, Frediano, but doomsday predictions do nothing to advance the ball.

Didn't Rand advise to speak out on whatever level possible to you? You can advocate for a candidate, or give money and time. One can support think tanks. One can advocate for specific issues on public forums, or challenge leftists on their forums. One can publish articles on a given policy or philosophical issue.

Those are some small things that one can do to advance the cause of liberty, and there are plenty of options open, especially with the Internet. Eventually, maybe a bigger forum becomes open where you are publishing nationally or starting your own think tank or whatever.

These doomsday predictions have no use for me. I'm living the American Dream and I have no desire to hunker down in a bunker awaiting Armageddon. But that's me.


When, not who.

Frediano's picture

Secondly, you seem to put an awful lot of stock in the presidency for salvation. Ed Clark would have saved us?

The pertinent fact is not so much what Clark proposed as when he proposed it; there are any number of measures that could have been taken 30 years ago; his were certainly some of them, and he put them in writing in New Beginnings. 1% of America, at most, saw any need in 1980 to -begin- to make moves to avoid this easily predicted trainwreck. As in, we were never close to averting this wreck. You think we're closer today? On what basis? Ron Paul was handed his hat. Mitt Romney is not a guy wielding any axe; as competent a turnaround /workout guy he might be, we're beyond that. At most he will slow the rate of continuing to dig a hole, but the hole is long dug. No, he's going to, at most, if he pulls out a near miracle in the current sinking lifeboat full of insanely existentially terrified children and gets elected, pick up his lunchbox, show up for his turn at driving the federal bus, at most tap the brakes, and ride the bus off the cliff as the designated fall guy in the coming train wreck politics. Our two tag-team clown tribes will point at each other in the ruins and either say "They did it!" or "We didn't have time to clean up their mess, they did it!" And it hardly matters which party is which in that showdown of weaseldom.

When I say easily predicted, that is clear; Moynihan, in the 70s, on the floor of the Senate: "God help us when they realize what we've done to them."

The path that was set in motion was done so with full understanding of the consequences by those who did it. All that has changed is time; the future that they were readily willing to screw is here.

If you think it is as easy today to correct the accounting as it would have been 30 years ago using any one of several means, then I think we'll just have to agree to disagree.

All we need today is Maximus Leader, I guess. Is that -me- putting an awful lot of stock in the presidency?

Sure, we could begin to convert SS to defined contribution. Will we? No. They've shown what they are willing to do, which is exactly what Moynihan said they'd do: print money and 'honor' their promises... with funny money.

What rises up from the Armegeddon ashes not only could be much worse than what we have now, but will likely be much worse than what we think we still have now.

Our political leaders are talking about bringing scalpels and tweaking the machinery of state as it continues to grow unbounded, when what is needed is way beyond even axes.

The time for tweaks and reasonable measures was 30 years ago, but that was the heyday of third rail politics.

How do you get back to a constitutionally limited government ... in a nation that has long been over-run? Got me by the sneaks. Good luck with that one. You have maybe a century of rot to overcome.

Never mind the hole digging; do you even see a single sign that any tide has even turned? At Ron Paul's quiet little convention? In the quiet backwater of Gary Johnson's lonely events?

What is 'constitutional' is whatever the USSC says is constitutional, and even a Roberts is subject to preening himself in the mirror and placing the 'political appearance' of 'his' court above all other considerations, including, was the legislation he was considering constitutional? So that's why Romney must win? So the USSC can be loaded up with 'right thinking' judges? Like Roberts? They are all a bunch of Georgetown Bistro Bubble sensibility effete twits, concerned primarily with the gig and their public employment pensions.

America is heading towards The Hunger Games -- complete with actual hunger.

The opposite of what you assert is what I actually believe; I am looking forward to a never going to happen utopia where government is right sized and scoped such that it can be fully and adequately staffed by randomly pulling warm and willing bodies from the phone book. Here's the yellow paint, here's a brush, there's the road.

That is hardly a vision reliant on Maximus Leader. But putting words in other's mouths and responding to what we claim they said is a time honored internet tradition, no reason to stop in 2012. So, lets turn this latest what should be blue on blue exchange into the 11,254,576th instance of a going nowhere flamewar, and call it another day ending in 'y'.

Round Two? - no way

gregster's picture

President B.O. will likely pick a war with Libya rather than put in some work to prepare for another debate.


Michael Moeller's picture

Humans have free will, thus any trend can be reversed. Hell-fire preachers are constantly preaching Armageddon, which tells you just about how much they are worth.

George Reisman offered the following proposal to end entitlements. THAT is a real proposal.

By comparison, doomsday predictions are a dime-a-dozen and ain't worth much.

Secondly, you seem to put an awful lot of stock in the presidency for salvation. Ed Clark would have saved us?

Under our constitutional structure, as conceived, the president is just the executive. Congress is where it all starts.

So the questions become, how do we get back to a constitutional structure of government? And how do we get more people elected, such as Tea Party candidates, that support a constitutionally limited government? And how do we make those Tea Party candidates more consistent? And...And...

Are you prepared to do any of the groundwork, Frediano? After all, what rises up from the Armageddon ashes could be much worse than what we have now.



Frediano's picture

But all involve a time machine of some kind. Got one by any chance?

Thelma and Louis, second thoughts, about to crater in that desert floor: "Perhaps if you hit the brakes?"

When there -were- constructivist solutions to avert Armageddon, 1% of America voted for Clark.

So at this point, the rational response is 'duck.'

Even small ball doesn't play in the current environment. As in trying to cut 40 billion from a 3.8 Trillion budget. (0.04T from 3.8T) Apparently that was impossible. So, as the latest kick the can down the road until just after the election ploy, they made a big show of writing a severe gun to their own head law, with automatic sequestration and harsh across the board cuts that clearly nobody could possibly accept. The argument was, the severity of this self imposed consequence would force the two parties to reach some kind of compromise/consensus cuts in spending "or else.' Having passed this "well'' deal with this after the next election, just give our daily dose of crack' gun to the head safely in the future 18 months away legislation, Thelma(the Dems) and Louise(the GOP) are clinging to that steering wheel all the way to the desert floor, white knuckled, finger's bleeding.

In the aftermath of this close election...either a dead duck POTUS or similar lame duck Congress is supposed to come together, do the impossible, and 'avert Armegeddon.'

By how much is current federal spending out of whack? 40B? 2 trillion over ten years?

No. By 2.3Trillion per year every year. Here is why.

JFK's AMerica, 1961. JFK's federal budget at the peak of the Cold War, in a nation of 180M people(more than half our present 330M) was $100B. One-hundred-billion-dollars.

(Government debt fueled public spending caused)inflation accounts for a factor of 7.5, and population, barely x2.0 is being generous. Also being generous is the assumption that there has been ZERO increase in the efficiency/productivity of per-capita government since ... three years before the arrival of the IBM 029 keypunch machine.

So, JFK's $100B failry adjusts by a factor of 15.0 (7.5 x 2.Innocent to $1500B/today.... not $3800B. And... over half of JFK's $100B was for defense at the peak of the Cold War.

JFK's America paid for SS.

JFK's America was actually building the Interstates.

JFK's AMerica was inspiring the world by going to the Moon.

JFK's America had world class education and economic opportunities.

JFK's America was not characterized, years before MEDICARE, with the bodies of the elderly stacked up like cordwood outside of hospitals(nor rotting in MEDICARE mills subjected to their got to have it last bout of C-DIFF before the big dirt nap.)

JFK's America was righting old civil rights wrongs.

JFK's America graduated the class of 1962 into much different economies than the class of 2012. Thank God the graduating class of 2012 can only read about 1962; they would rightfully hang us if they actually ever had a glimpse of what life was like back then. What species does this to their young?

And JFK's vibrant economies, the ones lauded by Paul Krugman cherry picking the highest marginal rates paid by six rich guys with lousy CPAs, did so with a federal government that spent the equivalent of $1500B/yr today, not $3800B/yr....over half of which was then for defense. Current defense spending is at 71% of JFK's adjusted number...while total spending is at 253% of JFK's adjusted number. It's the butter, not the guns. I didn't vote for Reagan in '80; I voted for Clark. And Reagan's grand compromise -- a little more guns in exchange for a lot more butter -- was to defeat a nation that we knew was farming with oxcarts in the '80s. Sure, we hastened their demise, but they were well on their way on their own, and the cost of that accelerated decline was our own.

We don't need to cut $2T of public spending over ten years; we need to cut $2.3T of public spending every year for the next ten years.

And we are nowhere close to doing anything like that, bu many orders of magnitude.

So, any solutions on how to make that pig fly anyway? Not even close. It is nowhere close to being sustainable. The nation is already severely constrained in terms of what it can do financially; the current plan is "It sucks worse in Europe" to maintain the current 'flight to quality.' which is keeping interest rates low going into our little Cul de Sac. (Can you believe the terms these weasels make up while they are screwing the pooch?)

Duck. Get out of the way. That is as good as it gets at this point. Thelma and Loius are cratering no matter what, that is what happens when a nation drives off a cliff.


Michael Moeller's picture

Any solutions on how to avert Armageddon?


Possible, but the preponderance is aggressively fertilized.

Frediano's picture

re: But is it just possible that Airhead America is still just short of preponderant? I am on tenterhooks awaiting the election.

We've been awaiting the election for four years; there is no longer a campaign cycle in America, it is a continuous 24/7/365/x4 campaign. If erections lasting more than four hours are a cause to call a doctor, then who do we call when elections last for four years? Between the constant Cyalis ads and 24/7 campaign spots, the poor Japanese must be confused as Hell about an America preoccupied with its elections? erections?

You'd think we were 'erecting' an Emperor, someone whose job it is to "Run The[sic] Economy," and not an honorable plumber whose job it is to keep the plumbing of state clean and free flowing. A right sized and scoped goverment would be one easily staffed at random from the phone book(the Buckley Solution, R.I.P.)

If you look at the last 50 years of tag team administrations, it is clear there is no relief in the GOP; they can't even be counted on to pause the digging. We choose between the No Hope for Freedom Democrats and the False Hope for Freedom GOP, both with their confused bags of issues, and both with only one outcome ever; ever growing government crushing what was once a free nation.

It just must break, as it only can and will. It can't work. It won't work. It won't last much longer at this rate.

What comes after that is up for grabs.

Romney, God Bless him, will not even stop digging, and even that isn't enough. And so, we watch and pretend this horse race matters at this point. It matters only in the rate of inevitable decline to failure. We are 30 years past avoiding this failure with any constructivist solution.

We'll be over 20T before the end of this coming administration. The number one holder of debt by far is the SS Trust Fund, not China. This should be interesting, because that pony is in the barn and no longer available to be ridden. When Congress painlessly raises the debt ceiling, it not only must find new willing holders of the additional debt, but replace the number one current holder of US Debt. And as these mysterious pockets of yet remaining black ink are found wanting, including the panicked last 15 minutes of 'soak the rich,' interest rates will by necessity rise, and when they do, that +20T millstone is going to rapidly sink the ship of state. The dead end they are now racing towards is getting clearer even to folks who never studied economics.

Not that the folks who studied economics are all that clear eyed...

Black markets. Underground economies. Widescale civil disobedience. Violence. Emergency Measures and Powers. An accelerated circling of the drain. Basically, an entire missing chapter of Atlas Shrugged. Not hard to predict.


gregster's picture

"Doug is a true nasty conservative."

Conservative against objectively inferior demographics, sure.

"What's happened to you that you can't recognise that?"

No - or very few - conservatives correctly propose, as Doug does, slowing the decline of the West by preventing and exporting Nazi 'slime for reasons of self defense.

Anyone who doesn't oppose altruist dumbing down of the population to benefit 'slime and slimy Democrats is not only "nasty," but a wrong-headed dunce.

"Rand was an anomaly? Thatcher? Thomas Sowell? Allen West?" Non sequiturs. And damn underhanded accusations.

You start smelling son.


Marcus's picture

...I disagree regarding women. Yes, probably a higher proportion than men have a tendency towards socialist collectivism, but still there is a significant proportion on the right-wing too. And I don't mean passive right-wingers either, but staunchly on the right-wing.

Just think Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin in the US.

In the UK we have Theresa May (currently a Government Minister) and Ann Widdecombe (former conservative MP) well-known to the public and media, both considered to be far right-wing.

The ethnic problem (=poverty problem) would also not be problem if there was not currently a "victim" and "welfare" culture in our countries that allows many of them to believe entitlements offered by the left (or right) are their due.

Fox News reports:

Further, Romney's post-debate surge appears to have all but wiped out Obama's once double-digit lead among women voters.

A Pew Research Center survey released Monday depicted a remarkable swing in the numbers, with Romney pulling even among women in polling late last week. In September, the same polling outfit showed Obama leading by 18 points among women.


Ross Elliot's picture

...nothing's happened to me.

Doug is a true nasty conservative. What's happened to you that you can't recognise that? Rand was an anomaly? Thatcher? Thomas Sowell? Allen West?

He'd have you think genetics equal thought. You get a grip and smell the shit that's being shoveled here.


gregster's picture

What's happened to you? When did you become a liberal? Doug is correct. He generalises and that's legitimate for any opinion. Get a grip on yourself.

Oh, Christ...

Ross Elliot's picture

"Demographics matter with this also. When America loses its white majority, the Republicans will never win another Congressional or Presidential election. America will officially have been destroyed. And as I have already pointed out, single white women have betrayed America's freedom at a greater percentage of everyone but non-whites (who never understood or cared for America's freedoms anyway). But single women have America's freedom's to account for their whole lifestyle. But as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. "

...Doug comes fully out of the closet.

Misogyny, racism, we have the full package now.

Ever heard of pluralism, Doug? Non-whites have killed America. Women have killed America. What's next, Doug, the Jews?

Demographics matter too

Doug Bandler's picture

Four years of Obama just exposed the truth; America has long been over-run. What used to once be an external struggle to maintain freedom for previous generations has long become an internal struggle.

Demographics matter with this also. When America loses its white majority, the Republicans will never win another Congressional or Presidential election. America will officially have been destroyed. And as I have already pointed out, single white women have betrayed America's freedom at a greater percentage of everyone but non-whites (who never understood or cared for America's freedoms anyway). But single women have America's freedom's to account for their whole lifestyle. But as they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

I don't see how America can survive the change in demographics just the way I don't see how Europe can survive its demographic change (ie Muslims and North Africans). Rand just will not ascend fast enough. There will be a fall it seems. The question is how fast and how deep, and how much blood.

Jesus, I really hope I get my life in before the shit hits the fan. For civilized, pampered people to have to live through that chaos will be a living nightmare. Death will probably seem a better option.

BTW, I don't think racial demographics should be hard for New Zealanders to comprehend. Just imagine if the Maori comprised 51% of your polity, and they of course vote Left (whatever its named in New Zealand). Where would your remaining liberties and your culture be?

Ay, there's the nub

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Frediano writes:

Four years of Obama just exposed the truth; America has long been over-run. What used to once be an external struggle to maintain freedom for previous generations has long become an internal struggle.

Exactly so. But is it just possible that Airhead America is still just short of preponderant? I am on tenterhooks awaiting the election.

Peace through strength

Ed Hudgins's picture

One further note: Assuming Israel does not hit Iran before the election, there's an outside chance that Iran will back down--or give the appearance of backing down--if Romney is elected. They might think that Netanyahu is certain to attack with the blessing and logistical support of his old friend Mitt and that the consequences for the Islamist regime of their nuke and defense establishment in smoldering ruins is not worth it. And if Israel is smart it will target the headquarters of the Iran secret police, religious police, etc. This could give pro-freedom Iranians to chance to do their version of the Arab Spring but, unlike the Muslim Brotherhood versions elsewhere, this one could actually promote freedom.

Remember that Iran released the American hostages in 1981 on the day of Reagan's inaugeration. They knew they were about to get their sorry asses kicked bigtime.

Also, Romney would give strong moral if not material backing to the pro-freedom elements in Iran, unlike Obama's disgraceful performace in face of the uprising there three years ago. See Iran And Obama’s Hollow Moral Core.

Airheads and foreign policy

Ed Hudgins's picture

Linz - While I too have long despaired over the dumbing down of America, I always look for a candidate who has the intelligence and rhetorical skills to, over time, to educate as well as inspire the public. Yup, I long for another Reagan, who I don't expect to see any time soon.

I agree that America is sick of wars; in retrospect Iraq was a mistake and a mess that distracted from the worst Islamist threat, Iran. It might be that Romney simply will tell Israel to take out Iran's nukes and that the U.S. will provide intelligence, though Israel's intelligence is probably better than America's.

Four years of Obama should have been enough

Frediano's picture

... to trigger the required anti-totalitarian antibodies in the body of American politics, if the body was still healthy.

It clearly is not. There is no way this election should even be close, and yet, it is. Fully half of whatever is left of America clearly wants this nonsense.

It's going to be monumentally ugly, because this nonsense has never worked, doesn't work, will never work.

Four years of Obama just exposed the truth; America has long been over-run. What used to once be an external struggle to maintain freedom for previous generations has long become an internal struggle.

True, Fred...

Ross Elliot's picture

"So great; Romney now has a shot at sitting in White House when the wheels fall off, and take the designated hit. America is 30 years too late to avoid this coming wreck without broad pain, and Romney, as competent as he might be, is not Superman. "Stop digging," as much relief as that might be, is not even close to being enough."

...we call this a hospital pass. It's a football analogy.

I see nothing about Romney that equates to a reversal of the demise of America. Yet you'd vote for him to get rid of Obama. Ain't it a bitch?

The theory is that if you give Obama another four, he'll so badly fuck the US that we'll have a rebirth, a massive correction. I doubt it.

Then Romney: has he got the balls? Or is he just middle management? Sure, a few tweaks here and there, but a big rollback?

I'm willing to be surprised.

Good strategy, Ed

Ross Elliot's picture

Preemption is a good tactic.

But the second debate is on foreign policy. Sure, you'd expect other things will be mentioned, but Obama may have missed his chance to hammer Romney on the 47%.

Americans are heartily sick of war. They are sick of giving their all for an an ungrateful world. Afghanistan is a monumental clusterfuck and anyone with half a brain knows it.

If Romney does the typical GOP thing of "stay the course", he will use up all the capital he accrued in the first debate. Americans are now more concerned with the future of America, and rightly so. If Romney hits the America as World Policeman rhetoric too hard, he's screwed.

Obama has blundered into Gore's dilemma

Frediano's picture

Obama has a problem; if he shows up as the same person at the second debate, he loses. And when he shows up as someone else, he accentuates what a stuffed, hollow shirt he is.

Romney doesn't have that problem; he is totally free to show up as the same man at the second debate and be consistent. Obama is going to look like someone playing out the latest role, and just like in 2000 when Gore had people scratching their heads wondering who was going to show up at the next debate and looking away from all that palpable desperation, Obama is in the uncomfortable position of having to highlight exactly what a desperate actor he is.

So great; Romney now has a shot at sitting in White House when the wheels fall off, and take the designated hit. America is 30 years too late to avoid this coming wreck without broad pain, and Romney, as competent as he might be, is not Superman. "Stop digging," as much relief as that might be, is not even close to being enough.

No, these two guys are each competing for the title of "Fall Guy," and enjoying what remaining CronyFest on the Potomac bennies they might as the ship of state circles the drain, even though the die was cast over the last 70 years by alternating tag teams of business as usual politicos.

Clark got 1% of the vote in '80; that's how 'close' America came to avoiding this coming train wreck, as in, not even close.

Yes ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... Romney said bad things. I think that "garage" one was the worst, especially in light of whom it puts us in mind of. And Romney's actual response to "47%" is to insist he'll be President for 100%. Lame. But this is Airhead America. Ed, if Romney said what you say he should say, what do you suppose would be the electoral consequence?

What's coming in round two.

Ed Hudgins's picture

In the second presidential debate you can bet Obama will focus on Romney's "47% are dependent" remarks. Romney was right on the description but, thinking he was not being recorded, was sloppy in saying he wasn't concerned about them, meaning they probably would not be voting for him.

If Romney is smart, he'll open with "47% are dependent and this is terrible. Most Americans don't want to be wards of the state. But leftist policies impoverish them, give them little choice but to seek help from government and, in the end, create resentful moral children who don't know or want to be independent adults. This is the kind of world Obama and his ilk have made. I want to change it" Whether Romney's clever enough to say this I don't know. We'll see.

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