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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Can I Get an Amen? (The Thinkin’ About a Tea Party Edition)

Via Instapundit, I find this site that hits me as saying precisely what I want to say:

Today’s economic crisis impacts all Americans, not just those who are behind on their mortgages.  Everyone shares concerns over health care, job loss, and the decimation of their retirement savings.  All Americans have made sacrifices over the past year.  The American taxpayer is already on the hook for mismanaged banks, incompetently run auto companies and extravagent stimulus packages.  We don’t need the additional burden of paying for our neighbor’s mortgage.  The bottom line - we believe that being current on one’s mortgage should not be grounds for being put at a financial disadvantage.

That is wildly deserving of an amen.

I find myself wondering how conservatives who bought into the rhetoric of hope and change, who believed that Obama would be governing from a moderate’s position, and who ended up voting Democrat in the elections are feeling about their decision right now? I’m feeling more and more that I voted the right direction: McCain.

Now, the current economic crisis isn’t Obama’s fault. There are a lot of names and administrations that can share the blame for bad regulations, overspending, and refusal to deal with the American economy as something built on money that doesn’t come from the Free Money Fairy. And then there are the people--that is, “we, the people"--who helped by demanding more government services and less fiscal sanity. In fact, we, the people, made it downright difficult for a person to be elected if they threatened our slice of the pie, a fact that has made blue hairs such an important voting block and rational conversation about the future of Social Security such a political hazard.

So, no, it’s not Obama’s fault.

But I remember watching one of the televised debates and hearing McCain promise a spending freeze followed by deep cuts in the budget coupled with a belief that raising taxes on any Americans right now would be foolish and irresponsible. Obama, in contrast, spoke breezily about cutting the budget, but thought that a spending freeze was a bad idea and an increase in taxes on the wealthy (whatever “wealthy” might mean) was a brilliant idea.

I remember thinking that this was one of only two defining issues for me (the other being continued resolution to maintain the most powerful military in the world--surprisingly, continued prosecution of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan was down the list a ways for reasons best discussed in another post on another day). Obama might indeed have intended to govern from the center, but even that night he couldn’t get away from a knee-jerk need by the left to increase taxes (on the right people) and massively increase spending (to the right people).

If the Republicans hadn’t lost the moral high ground on the economy over the last eight years, I imagine that we would be talking about President McCain and his obstructionist tendencies right now.

McCain may have had a hard time leading, given the state of the GOP in both House and Senate, but I think he would have gleefully used his veto pen to kill off this stimulus package and would have forced the Democrats into a fight. Instead, the left pretends at compromise with the complicity of a couple turncoat Republicans and then bulls ahead with whatever the hell it is that they wanted to do in the first place.

Because they won.

I don’t think that trend will last, though, because Americans are already starting to worry about how this latest stimulus package is actually going to help create jobs, foster economic stability, or do much other than run up well over a trillion in new debt. Bush has been criticized, rightly, for the debt that he ran up during his terms in office; a month into Obama’s administration and it’s become apparent that he not only intends to continue down that path, but, indeed, he’ll be upping the ante.

That’s a phrase--"upping the ante"--that I use very specifically. There is an element of the bad gambler to the way our government is handling the crisis, and Obama is cheering on the bad behavior. If you’ve ever seen a guy losing big at the craps tables, you’ll know what I mean.

That guy probably started with relatively conservative bets. He played the come and the pass lines and didn’t place any of the hard ways or other high risk bets. But he was losing--every few rolls of the dice set him back a little bit more until he realized he was down quite a bit. So instead of walking away, he believed the thing that every bad gambler believes: his luck’s going to turn. There were so many bad rolls that a good roll is just bound to be right around the corner.

And when he believes that, the bets get bigger because, when his luck turns, he believes the payout will pull him right out of the hole that he’s dug himself. So he starts betting bigger and he starts betting the high risk/high reward bets. There is luck involved, of course, and he’ll win some rolls. More than that, though, there is simple math: even when he wins a roll or two, he’s dug that hole so deep that he’s still deep down in the dark and he has to keep playing to try to break even.

What he doesn’t realize is that he’s already lost. The money is gone and he needs to be smart enough to step away from the table, go home, and figure out how to rebuild what is already gone.

Our government is that guy: the stimulus plans are getting bigger, the hole is getting deeper, and they believe that one more stimulus bill could hit it big and make those losses go away. Meanwhile, the deficit gets bigger and someone else is going to end up paying the bill because our government has gone way the hell and gone beyond the money that they brought to the table. They’ve borrowed from everyone they know, they’ve maxed the credit cards, they’ve taken out mortgages on our futures--and they’re using it all to place a bad bet that will only take us closer to financial ruin.

And Obama is the one leading us down that path, cheerfully telling us that this is the bet that will make it all better. I don’t believe him.

McCain wasn’t the guy who sent a thrill up my leg.  He wasn’t my perfect candidate and he didn’t mesh with my beliefs on a number of issues. I have a hard time imagining that he would have travelled this particular path, though, and I believe that this path is one that could ruin our nation.

Republicans, libertarians, and all nature of fiscal conservatives will be fighting at a disadvantage for the next few years (at least), but anyone who believes that our salvation is to be found in fiscal responsibility need to start pushing back now. We’re losing the battles right now, but we can’t afford to lose the war.

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I hate these stimulus packages.  I know that makes me anti-whatever side I’m supposedly on, but I hate them.  I agree with everything you just said.

Well, except about McCain vetoing it if it were him.  I do recall him saying he’d stop big spending, and I also recall him suspending his campaign to rally for that first rescue bill.  In my humble, and VERY uneducated opinion, if someone with any common sense had put their foot down about THAT one, we wouldn’t be on the lamb for however many billions we are now. (Not blaming McCain for the bill, just saying that was mighty hypocritical of him and was actually the nail in the coffin for me) They had to know that if you start bailing out banks with taxpayer dollars, you will then HAVE to bail out taxpayers.  I knew that and I never ever went to college.

</soapbox>

on Feb 24 2009 @ 02:02 PM

I do recall him saying he’d stop big spending, and I also recall him suspending his campaign to rally for that first rescue bill.  In my humble, and VERY uneducated opinion, if someone with any common sense had put their foot down about THAT one, we wouldn’t be on the lamb for however many billions we are now. (Not blaming McCain for the bill, just saying that was mighty hypocritical of him and was actually the nail in the coffin for me) They had to know that if you start bailing out banks with taxpayer dollars, you will then HAVE to bail out taxpayers.

That’s definitely fair--and I’m very probably giving him too much credit.

I stand by my thought that he never would have rubber stamped this last bill through, though. Of course, I’ve been known to be wrong…

on Feb 24 2009 @ 02:11 PM

The whole thing is BS, and that link is totally correct...responsible Americans are on the hook now for everyone’s home.  I grew up in gov’t subsidized housing.  The houses weren’t nearly as nice as these ones we’re subsidizing now are.

on Feb 24 2009 @ 02:17 PM

You make a lot of sense there, Mr Lady.

ZB, I mostly agree with you, except when you say that the Republicans lost the moral high ground on the economy over the last years.

No.

The Dot-com bubble burst, and the nation headed towards a recession.  The Towers fell on Sept 11th, and our economy got even worse.  The Republicans, with President Bush leading, halted the recession with tax cuts that stimulated the economy.  Even with the war, even with the excess spending on Medicare and NCLB, the economy was doing fine, and the deficit was manageable. 
What happened?  When did the economy start having problems?
When Democrats took over Congress in 2006 and announced they were going to cancel Bush’s tax cuts.  The economy started to slow right there.  The Democrats backed away, but other problems followed.  Gas/oil prices rose, and Democrats talked about punishing oil companies and refused to expand domestic drilling.  Democrats in Congress ignored Bush’s warnings about Fannie and Freddie...specific Democrats actually encouraged them to engage in MORE risky lending.

Yes, Republicans spent too much, and spent too much on pork barrel projects from 2004-2006.  But it hadn’t really increased the deficit or the debt that badly.  It couldn’t continue of course, and the Republicans received their deserved comeuppance by losing control of Congress.  But nearly nothing was done from 2006 to 2008...and what they did do was ruinous to the country.  But Democrats didn’t dare run on “We ran the country for the last 2 years, if you liked it, we’re the ones to vote for!” Rather, they campaigned as if Republicans were still in charge of Congress.  That was relatively easy to do because 1) they campaigned as if Bush could do anything he wanted, including controlling Congress, and 2) the media helped conceal that Democrats controlled Congress and had the bulk of responsibility for the worsening of the economy in 2006 and after.

There’s got to be a joke in this somewhere:
Democrats/Liberals may spread their socialist ideology through their domination of schools, but they truly educate the populace about the efficacy of socialism every time they control 2 of the 3 branches of government.

on Feb 24 2009 @ 08:52 PM

The Republicans, with President Bush leading, halted the recession with tax cuts that stimulated the economy.  Even with the war, even with the excess spending on Medicare and NCLB, the economy was doing fine, and the deficit was manageable.

Unfortunately, Nathan, there is some rather significant data points out there that disagree with you.

Take, for example, the Conference Board surveys on consumer confidence over the past decade. (Yes. That puts us before Bush43 for a reference point and into those evil socialist Clenis years. Don’t say I can’t compare apples to apples here.) A chart on [url="http://www.docstoc.com/docs/2129549/Historic-Consumer-Confidence-Trends"]this page<a> (Scroll down to page 3 in the Java-based PDF-like viewer), as published in Spring quarter, 2003, shows an absolute high of 142 in 2000. Just before George W. Bush takes office, we are comparatively more confident in our economic status than any time within the survey’s span. And immediately afterwards… The nosedive of 9/11.

And if you keep looking at the chart, you will notice that it kept on diving. At the time of publication, it was already at the lowest point since 1994, the year of the Gingrich Revolution.

For the current number, see the Conference Board’s most <a href="http://www.conference-board.org/economics/ConsumerConfidence.cfm">recent press release[/url].

25.

A drop in confidence ever since 2001. A housing bubble that started with a low lead but ended up exploding. The Dow standing today at half the August 2008 value. The changes to the bankruptcy laws in 2005. Half-baked bandaid fixes to the post-9/11 economy that did little to improve the lives of average Americans…

Can you honestly say that the economy has been fixed over the second Bush Administration? From where I sit, the only definition of “fixed” that matches what has happened to the economic standpoint of the entire country ever since then is “castration”. That’s a great fix for a dog. Not a great fix for a country.

The evidence is there. This is still the Bush Recession, regardless of what the talking heads and pundits want you to believe.

on Feb 24 2009 @ 11:28 PM

Thinking a second time, perhaps I should place this recession upon whose shoulders it actually belongs instead of attempting to score a snark-filled political point.

It’s not the Bush Recession.

It is the bin Laden Recession.

For regardless of the intermediate causes and results, this thing started at the same time as the premeditated murder of 2974 American citizens. For without the 9/11 attacks, the country would have recovered from the dot-bomb in relatively short order. Yet with it, we still suffer the consequences.

And he, to my unending regret, still has yet to face the consequences.

on Feb 24 2009 @ 11:41 PM

I don’t agree that consumer confidence is the best metric of the economy.  Consumer confidence can be the result of a whole bunch of politicians and news media outlets talking down the economy for political reasons.  To me, that’s like predicting rain solely on the direction the wind is blowing.

Now, I admit my post is short on actual facts and statistics, and if that loses credibility for my point, so be it.  I don’t have time to look up all the facts.

But as I recall, by measures of GDP growth and unemployment rate, the economy had already fully recovered by the 2004 election.  I remember Hillary Clinton’s August claim of Bush losing so many jobs was already OBE by mid-October.
Further, I remember that the “horrible horrible horrible” economy President George Bush had helped produce by the 2006 election was (by most metrics) as good as the Clinton “Happy Days are Here Again/Best Economy Ever!” Dot-com mirage.

Then the Democrats took over in 2006, and before they were seated, they started talking about tax cuts.  Sure, consumer confidence plummeted as a result (as I recall), but this time the public apparently actually changed their behavior, because GDP, production, and employment numbers slowed dramatically.

Snark:
Thank God President Bush saved 137 million jobs!  And he didn’t even need a stimulus package to do it!

on Feb 25 2009 @ 05:58 AM

I am TOTALLY uneducated and have no right to even try to articulate anything because I’m known to sound confusing when it comes to all of this politicking but I have to say I agree with you on all of this.  I look around town over here in So Cal with everyone with Obama stars in their eyes and I’m wondering what they are seeing that I am not!! It’s not that I don’t like the guy, I do.  And more than that, I want to have hope and believe that he will lead us on the right path.  But this stimulus package is NOT leading us down the right path!  Everyone I hear who analyzes the line items of the bill says so much of it is wasteful and not doing what we really need to do - create long term jobs!!  When will people learn that throwing money at things is not the way to “fix” things??

And I love your gambling analogy.  It’s perfect. 

So enough from little ol’ me but I’m gonna keep reading what all the smart people say…

grin

on Feb 25 2009 @ 02:31 PM

If McCain had been elected the stimulus bill would’ve only passed if they had cut it to a bajillion dollars instead of a gazillion dollars.

on Feb 26 2009 @ 06:41 PM

Lee, you make me feel good. Thanks.

Nathan, I think you’re being a little soft on our team. I think we lost the moral high ground through overspending, yes, but not just that. Or, at least, not that simply.

It was a bunch of things that hurt us: it took, if memory serves, six years for Bush to finally veto something that came across his desk, and that meant a lot of spending that he should have stopped. Instead, he talked about fiscal responsibility and then joined in the fun. Then when he tried to do something big--Social Security reform in a very conservative way--he found himself abandoned by House and Senate GOP who were too afraid of the blue hair brigades to support the president in what could have been the most meaningful domestic policy plan that conservatives could hope for.

For the first few years of Bush’s term, the GOP had the presidency, the House, the Senate, the majority of the governor’s seats, and reasonable good will from the public. And all the long-time promises of conservatism (less government intrusion, smaller government and less government spending, and Social Security and other entitlement reforms), all those things that we said we would do if we ever had the chance, fell to a distinct lack of leadership and weakness in the ranks. There was a window where some of those things--not all of them, but some of them--could have happened. Instead, the GOP governed like moderate Democrats and let one of the key, defining issues between the parties become even less distinct.

That’s how I view it, anyway.

For the record, I do think that OC has a point: no matter who was in office, there would have been a tough fiscal road ahead after 9/11 and people fail to recognize just how damaging that was in terms of the long term effect on the economy.

on Feb 26 2009 @ 06:56 PM

ZB,
Sure, the Republicans screwed up in all sorts of ways.  They made US voters tired of ‘em.  If they are going to vote Republican and get Democrat, why not give Democrats a try?

The Democrats went along with it and campaigned on the premise that they aren’t Republicans.  They promised to improve the areas Republicans screwed up on, like high spending, earmarks, corruption, deficit.  But after getting elected, they never followed through on any of their promises...they said they got a mandate to be Democrats, and proceeded to increase spending, increase earmarks, increase corruption, and increase the deficit.

Okay, that’s what Democrats do.  The US populace voted ‘em in, we get what we deserve.

But on top of everything else, they are being fundamentally dishonest by blaming their excess on Republicans.

That’s all I’m saying.  The Democrats own the recession because of what they said and did after they got control of Congress in 2006.  The Democrats claim it was Bush’s fault because he was President, and Obama seems to not notice how the stock market has tanked with every major event since (and including) his victory in the election.  He caused the economy to worsen before he ever took office by talking down the economy, and by threatening to do things that make bad economies worse.

George Bush was a gentleman and requested the first stimulus payout for Obama so it would be ready when Obama took office.  What did Obama do?  He added that $800 billion to the deficit he blamed on Bush.

Look, Republicans screwed up big time by not reducing spending and earmarks and corruption more, yes.  But had Republicans been in charge, the deficit would be about $400 billion and the economy would already have been coming out of the recession.  It was showing signs of it just a little while ago, right before the “stimulus” was passed, and before Obama talked down the economy worse and threatened to raise taxes to reduce even further the incentive to work/earn money.

I’m not soft on Republicans, I don’t think.  I just want to emphasize: Congress has more direct effect on the economy than the President.  The President has an indirect effect, because he has the bully pulpit, and can suggest bills or veto bills.  The economy worsened when Democrats took over in Congress and began to threaten to repeal Bush’s tax cuts.  The economy got even worse when Democrats responded to the oil crisis by threatening to punish oil companies and refusing to open up drilling.  Did you notice how the economy rallied a little when Bush passed an executive order to allow more drilling?  And how the oil crisis passed within weeks after that?  That’s the executive effect of bully pulpit, more than anything.  He made the speculators feel like the price *wasn’t* necessarily going to stay up. Then the economy got even worse when Democrats refused to do anything to rein in the fiscally idiotic moves of the lending industry.  Sure, that was in the making even before Democrats took power...but it came to a head after Democrats took over in 2006, no?  And what did they do?  They refused President Bush’s (indirect/bully pulpit, remember?) urges to stop it before a disaster struck.

Then Obama was elected.  Stocks plummeted.  That doesn’t help the economy, does it?  He talked down the economy before he was inaugurated.  Why?  Lowering the bar for himself...but an extremely shaky economy worse.  He was inaugurated.  The things he reiterated made the stocks plummet again.  Geithner spoke.  The stocks plummeted further.  He declared it a crisis, and pushed the “stimulus”.  Some people have said, and I don’t know whether they are right or not, that in this economic situation, Congress handed a little much of their power to Obama.  Whether or not that is accurate, I do know he didn’t do anything to restrain Congress from using the stimulus as an excuse to enact a socialist agenda they didn’t campaign on.

And all this is being blamed on George Bush because he was the President.

It ignores how well the economy did from 2002 to 2006, when Bush was President and Congress was Republican controlled.

Did they make mistakes?  Yes.  I don’t think we threw out enough of the Republican bums.  We just should have replaced them with better Republicans rather than Democrats.  I didn’t like the medicare move, NCLB was kind of a waste of money (despite all the Democrat complaints about it, it is telling that since taking over, their main idea of how to fix it is just change the name).  I didn’t like the deficit spending, and I hated the earmarks and corruption.

But the economic crisis is the fault of Congressional Democrats, and somewhat due to President Obama.

Sorry for writing so much, I just wanted re-iterate my point, and try to persuade at the same time.

on Feb 26 2009 @ 07:36 PM

Now that’s a comment.

I agree with more than I disagree with and I’ll just leave it at that--most of the disagreements come as matters of degree or in minor things anyway.

I do have to say, though, that whether you’re too soft on the GOP or I’m too critical, I’m going to stay my course: I’m going to continue to identify as a Republican, so I really hate it when the actions of my own kind reflect poorly on me. Some things are matters of opinion, but fiscal responsibility should be one of the most important cornerstones of our party. Which might be why I agree so strongly with this: “I don’t think we threw out enough of the Republican bums.  We just should have replaced them with better Republicans rather than Democrats.”

on Feb 26 2009 @ 08:02 PM

Well, to sum up: I do think the Republicans lost the moral high ground.  Just not on the economy.

And now for your discomfort-inducing line o’ the day:
McCain wasn’t the guy who sent a thrill up my leg, either.  But at least nobody ends up having to sleep in the damp spot.

on Feb 27 2009 @ 11:43 AM

i think economic crisis impacts America will be demissed soon.so just dont worry.

on Mar 18 2009 @ 11:03 PM

JUST work hard , evething will be fine

on Apr 22 2009 @ 08:58 AM

All the world is affected by the economy crisis.What we can do is to spend less money.May it pass quickly.

on Jun 29 2009 @ 08:52 PM

I lost my job at the beginning of this year.I live painfully with my savings.I must find a new job.

on Jun 29 2009 @ 08:56 PM

I spend less since the economy has hitted the ice.I try to save money.

on Jun 29 2009 @ 09:05 PM

i totally agree with that finicial crisis will not last long time. american economy will still keep top one. it is just time for adjustment.

on Jun 30 2009 @ 10:47 PM

The Dot-com bubble burst, and the nation headed towards a recession.  The Towers fell on Sept 11th, and our economy got even worse.  The Republicans, with President Bush leading, halted the recession with tax cuts that stimulated the economy.  Even with the war, even with the excess spending on Medicare and NCLB, the economy was doing fine, and the deficit was manageable.

on Jun 30 2009 @ 11:04 PM

Got here via Blog Nosh.  Great post!  Wish I had seen it when it was current, but much of this still applies today. 
BTW-I’ll be following you from now on.

on Nov 10 2009 @ 08:08 AM

Amen to the restoration of our nation. I think the cause of the stock market fall is because this crisis. What happen actually to the Stock trading systems ? I used to know a lot about it…

on Nov 18 2009 @ 03:36 PM
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