May 15, 2003

Why Are We Ruled by These Idiots? CXI

The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes reports:

MINOR MEMOS: Trust us, it's good: Treasury gives a department award to assistant secretary for devising the first "dynamic-scoring" analysis for the Bush tax cuts, but still refuses to release his work to Congress or the press...

And one does have to wonder just what the Republican senators think that they are doing:

Senators privately lampoon Bush's stock-dividends break, and stimulus claims for the bill. Dissident Snowe, asked which fellow Republicans truly back it, says, "No names are coming to mind." In Indiana, Bush 26 times says plan would create jobs; Congress' analysts find short-term gains would "eventually likely" be reversed due to big deficits...

Posted by DeLong at May 15, 2003 10:07 PM | TrackBack

Comments

Maybe he can talk us out of the crapper?

Posted by: Texan on May 15, 2003 10:30 PM

Brad, speaking of the idiots in the Senate who rule us, I posted TEN DAYS AGO the following about Sen. Ben Nelson, who decided the dividend tax cut vote yesterday:


"By the way, as I watch Inside Politics, I just saw an interview with utterly craven Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE). And HE IS BUCKLING TO THE BUSHIES!

He said that he's willing to go higher than a $350 billion tax cut and said he'd being wiling to do 500 or $550 billion as log as he likes what is in the tax cut. Then he said that the Vice President called him, and he wants to work with them. Then he said some favorable things about the dividend tax cut and some sloganeering b.s. about "not [being] averse to helping Wall Street as long as it helps Main Street."

I would recommend that DeLong say something about this and whether or not the Democrats ARE in fact vertebrates. The transcript will be available soon at:
http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/ip.html

Posted by: Bobby on May 5, 2003 01:24 PM"

http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2003_archives/001405.html

Posted by: Bobby on May 15, 2003 10:33 PM

Well, there it is.

O.K., so the guillotine is a little radical as punishment for incompetence. On the other hand, Louis and Queen were kind of incompetent, and look what happened to them.

Posted by: John Thullen on May 15, 2003 10:38 PM

Well, there it is.

O.K., so the guillotine is a little radical as punishment for incompetence. On the other hand, Louis and Queen were kind of incompetent, and look what happened to them.

Posted by: John Thullen on May 15, 2003 10:39 PM

The Congress is not acting like an independent body, it is acting like a rubber stamp. As for backbone, enough Democrats had enough backbone to support Snowe and at least limit the damage. That is the best they can do. Face it, there are a lot of Democratic senators that showed a lot of backbone on this proposal, they are just out numbered by the GOP. It is unfair to accuse all Democrats of lacking backbone when only two caved.

I suspect that the GOP senators are worried about jobs for the upcoming 2004 election. They recognize that the only possible stimulus that Bush will support is this tax cut. So either they vote for the little bit of stimulus the tax cut provides or get no stimulus at all. This is the CEO administration. The CEO sends his proposal to the board and they rubber stamp it. Smart board members keep their mouths shut or they will end up with the management proposing alternative candidates for their position.

Posted by: bakho on May 16, 2003 06:17 AM

Meanwhile, real weekly earning in April were down 0.3%. That's after a -0.5% inflation adjustment (CPI-W ADDS 0.5% to the earnings figure). That"s also after a 0.6% decline as recently as February, with only a 0.1% rise in March. The trend in year-on-year weekly earnings (which I take to be the measure that looks most like what ends up on paychecks) has been softening since September 2001. Propose whatever formal mechanism you want for transmitting deflation - I think this has to be a major link in the chain. Dividend tax cuts won't repair much of the damage.

Posted by: K Harris on May 16, 2003 07:52 AM

Resolved: That fiscal policy is now being formulated and implemented with the same level of short-termism and fallacious thinking that characterized monetary policy in the 1970s.

Discuss.

Posted by: P O'Neill on May 16, 2003 08:00 AM

I would extend Bakho's argument to "homeland security." The craven GOP Senators have rubber stamped the dangerous Adm. policy of covering up any meaningful inquiry into 9/11 and failing to provide adequate funding for true security (e.g, chemical plants and port security). This relates to the tax cuts because they are starving the funding for these measures.

Posted by: Claudius on May 16, 2003 08:02 AM

Bill Thomas and Charlie Rangel fired off two very different letters after the JCT economist report on dynamic scoring. Rangel's letter said simply we should read the analysis for ourselves and not listen to the spin doctors. The analysis said this tax cut would do little as far as short-run stimulus but would lead to long-run crowding out and less growth. Thomas's letter said the tax cut would lead to lots of short-run stimulus and when he briefly mentioned the projected falloff on growth after 2008, Thomas said for us to never mind that as it is not caused by the tax cut. Talk about spin!

Posted by: Hal McClure on May 16, 2003 10:30 AM

Be thankful we are ruled by "compassionate" conservatives, imagine if we were ruled by the other kind.

Posted by: lise on May 16, 2003 11:04 AM

OT:

"Compassionate conservatism" is cutting health care benefits to veterans while waging an unprovoked war.

It's not as if there aren't inroads to getting a juicy pound of Administration flesh... so what the hell are Dems waiting for? Fears of spinlessness come from their unwillingness to go on the offensive, even while Karl "Attack, attack, attack" Rove is directing policy.

GAAAHHHHHHH!!!!

Posted by: Rob L on May 16, 2003 01:35 PM

"Why Are We Ruled by These Idiots? CXI"

Probably, because Al Gore didn't let Harry Browne into the debates. ;-)

Or, because Al Gore didn't have Ralph Nader whacked. ;-)

But, seriously, the main reason is that House and Senate Democrats were absolutely united (except for 5 brave souls in the House) to keep Bill Clinton in office. If Bill Clinton had been removed in 1998, I think Al Gore would have easily won in 2000.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on May 16, 2003 02:22 PM

>If Bill Clinton had been removed in 1998, I think Al Gore
>would have easily won in 2000.

Why do you think this? Or, rather, what states would he have won as the sitting president that he didn't win? I'm sorry, but I don't really see how this would work. I guess you could argue that almost *anything* different about the Gore campaign would have helped a bit, but Gore lost Florida primarily due to the fact that Ralph Nader got about 100,000 votes there. Unless a Clinton impeachment would have been a positive there, I don't see too many places where this event would have helped Gore much. Tennessee? Missouri? West Virginia? Where exactly?

Posted by: Jonathan King on May 16, 2003 09:23 PM

I think that Mark found that one in his butt. It's the most baroque blame-Clinton squib I've seen yet.

Posted by: zizka on May 17, 2003 03:17 PM

wow, we are up to CXI already?

Posted by: Suresh Krishnamoorthy on May 19, 2003 11:12 AM

wow, we are up to CXI already?

Posted by: Suresh Krishnamoorthy on May 19, 2003 11:17 AM

"Why do you think this?"

Pretty simple: sitting presidents have a better chance of winning than people who are not currently president. Unless times are bad--which they definitely weren't, in November 2000--it helps to be a sitting president.

"Or, rather, what states would he have won as the sitting president that he didn't win?"

Florida, definitely. Probably New Hampshire. Possibly Ohio. Possibly Tennessee. Possibly West Virginia. But Florida ALONE was all he needed.

"I'm sorry, but I don't really see how this would work. I guess you could argue that almost *anything* different about the Gore campaign would have helped a bit,..."

No, almost anything different would have swung the election (not just "helped a bit"). Gore officially lost by ~500 votes in Florida...out of several million cast. In other words, if less than 1 person in 1000 in Florida had voted for Gore instead of someone else, Gore would be in the White House.

If Al Gore had been president, all of the debates would have been between "President Gore" and "Governor Bush." "President Gore" could have said, "Hey, times are good, why switch horses now?" If even 1 in 1000 people in Florida thought that reasoning made sense, Gore would be President. (Or, would have RETAINED the Presidency.)

"...but Gore lost Florida primarily due to the fact that Ralph Nader got about 100,000 votes there."

Yes, that's why I suggested (tongue firmly in cheek) that he could have had Nader "whacked."

But, even if those 100,000 stayed with Nader, all Gore needed was to find something like 500 votes, out of the millions cast in Florida. If he'd been President Gore already, unless he'd totally screwed up the job, he would have retained the presidency in 2000.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on May 19, 2003 02:39 PM

"It's the most baroque blame-Clinton squib I've seen yet."

That's complete BS. I don't blame Clinton one bit for hanging onto the Presidency for a final two years, even though it cost Al Gore the 2000 election.

Clinton couldn't have known in 1998 that the 2000 election would be so close.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on May 19, 2003 02:42 PM
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