Categories Uncategorized Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Debtpocalypse Poll Post author By John Scalzi Post date July 29, 2011 240 Comments on Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Debtpocalypse Poll Be prepared! Take Our Poll Share: By John Scalzi I enjoy pie. View Archive → ← Sunset 7/28/11 → What I Was Waiting For All Day Long 240 replies on “Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Debtpocalypse Poll” Actually, I asked our CFO yesterday if we could cancel our direct deposit and get paid in some other, more tangible form, if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. I was only half-joking. She was not amused. It’s my neighbors’ own fault for being so moist and delicious, really. I have trained the cats to attack intruders. At least, I think I have. I’ve explained to them the seriousness of the situation and asked them to help out with defense. Jason: One great thing about the nationwide obesity crisis is that we all self-marinate! I’ve been preparing for the Debtpocalypse for years now, as my credit card balances will attest. (Oh, you meant the country’s Debtpocalypse…) Preparing for the inevitable zombie outbreak from poor folks selling themselves to medical experiments for money. Not knowing that the plan all along was to create a zombie army. They said I was nuts, but on Tuesday my investment in all those Beanie Babies will finally pay off! I’ve got this dusty cookbook here, “How to Serve Man”. I hope it doesn’t turn out to be some sort of ironic lesson instead. On the credit card thing: tried that for Y2K hoping the computers would all crash and forget. Disappointing outcome in that regard. Better luck this time? I’m planning to keep being Canadian, and not worrying about it at all. Hurray! Actually, despite my vote above, I’ll be thanking God that my employer is so far down the sub-contractor list that I’ll still get paid, at least for a while. Because research grants are probably not a top spending priority (debt interest is ALWAYS at the top of that list, btw). I shall hope that our ex-chancellors Schröder’s buttering up of Russia and China actually has the desired results. ;) I’m trying to line myself up to be in a job that survives the debtpocalyse. I’m thinking about becoming the town crier. Let me practice. “Bring out yer debt. Bring out yer debt.” Debating whether to eat one of the teenagers or the dog first, and you know, “A boy loves his dog.” As Pat, I will keep being Canadian but plan on investing in suddenly really really cheap American Real Estate. My palace of skulls will soon be a reality! @NightSky #3: The little buggers understand *far* more English than they let on. Be sure they aren’t planning to turn *you* into kitty chow… I don’t know about anyone else, but I married a medical resident w/a quarter million dollars in student loan debt and I couldn’t be more excited about that debt becoming worthless. Then I think, neither of us have skills that would allow us to survive a food riot in downtown Chicago and I get sad I’m really curious to see if anyone votes “Other” and comments along the lines of “talked to my broker and moved most of our equity stake to liquid cash, precious metals, and volatility funds so I can catch the upswing and make a fucking mint” or if they’ll just stay silent so the mobs are less certain about where to go first. So, anyone looking for henchmen? No…how about toadies? I have a mean sneer. Well, mean may be an overstatement. More like “mildly uncomfortable after eating Taco Bell,” but in the right light, it could be intimidating? No…well, maybe I’ll check Craigslist. I may attempt to head to the sovereign nation of North Dakota. I hear they have oil. My credit union is reacting to the possibility of all this by drastically changing policies like “Skip-a-payment” on loans. You know, when their folks need it most. Silly companies, protecting investments. Making contingency plans to drive 12 hrs each way to/from DC to pick up my daughter in case her Amtrak ticket for 8/2 turns out to be worthless. Hoping I have a job when I get back. Remain in Britain and commit extensive gloat over many pints of Old Speckled Hen, secure in the knowledge that there is NO WAY any of this can possibly affect me or mine! The firmness of this belief and the number of consequent -HAs in the obligatory “MWAHAHAHA…!” will be a quadratic function of the number of said pints, wherefore x = no few. Two words: human jerky. It’s not at all clear to me whether this crisis is going to be inflationary or deflationary when it all shakes out, which makes it hard to profit. Most people seem to assume that an actual default would be inflationary, but brutal austerity programs and high unemployment are inherently deflationary. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of tea! I voted for shotguns. It’s always a good time to buy another one! Strike “paranoid neighbor’s apocalypse shelter” and replace with “Mormon neighbor’s two year supply.” Actually my plan has to do with the trillion-dollar platinum coins. It involves a laser and James Bond. I am making no preparations whatsoever. If they don’t raise the debt ceiling by the artificial deadline set by Secretary Geithner, the market may freak out for a little whlie, then this will all blow over as the ceiling gets raised a day or two later. Then we can move on to debate other fun stuff – like is Cowboys & Aliens a good movie. My contingency plan remains as it has been since the second Bush administration: living close enough to the northern border that I can make a run for it on short notice. I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, which is try desperately to get out of federal IT contracting. Pat @ 10: It doesn’t worry you even a little that your 8000-megaton gorilla neighbor is showing some symptoms of rabies? Matt @ 25: The best way to profit from a situation like this is to have gobs of money to invest and insider knowledge. Otherwise, BOHICA. Stocking up on whiskey. It will be the new currency. The new delicious intoxicating currency. I figure that recreational companies will collapse early, so I’m watching as much Dr. Who as possible while cable television still exists. Ignore it. Live a good life, frugally. I may be renting, but I chose a house with an actual bomb shelter under the garage. See you guys in 50 years. Matt @ 28: The tricky part would be using it. “Okay, counting tax that’ll be $8.54.” “Can you break a trillion? Sorry, it’s all I’ve got.” “Well, not normally … but let me ask the manager.” I intend to watch it from the other side of the Atlantic, and of course bake some of that delicious pie. Call me un-funny, but my Debtpocalypse plan involves selling short. Lots and lots of short-selling. Because I might as well make some money from the impending market chaos. I hear cash makes a comfy bed, so I’ll be all set when the money I make is worthless as well. :) My parents own a farm, so in a worst case scenario my wife, son and daughter-in-law and I could retreat there and grow our own food (and make arrangements once there for other family members and close friends who need a place at a sustainable and defensible outpost). I’m pretty sure it won’t come to that, though. *sharpens sword grimly* I am attacking this problem on two fronts. FIRST, I am building up the goodwill of my redneck neighbors by hosting frequent, beer-soaked barbecues at which we all rail against the establishment and bemoan the fact that libertarians aren’t taken more seriously. SECOND (and much, much more importantly), I have secretly undertaken some hardcore survival training, building up my strength and stamina both with a punishing regimen of exercise AND by doing all of the renovations to my secret compound by hand – hauling tons of dirt using only my hands and mouth, forcing the rebar through the concrete AFTER it has already set…you get the idea. The overall plan is this: once the debtpocalypse comes, those fat, lazy rednecks will come flocking to me screaming “Monkey! Monkey! We ain’t got no more Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, and we ain’t gonna git no more because they $147 a bag now that the debtpocalypse come and we have to fight feral Republicans for luxury snacks!” I will welcome them into my debt sanctuary with open arms, where, for the rest of their abbreviated lives, they will recline in the luxury of specially-designed veal pens awaiting the leisure of me and my Mother of All Weber Grills. I’m thinking the third American invasion of Canada would be a good idea, given the numbers of Canadians gloating over our misfortune. We could finally rid the world of poutine, once and for all. Others would be so grateful, they’d forgive our debts immediately. I’m one of the few creditors in the country, so while I feel bad for the people who are going to have problems if their social security checks don’t arrive, I might actually benefit a little bit in the short term when interest rates finally go up. But I still have trouble believing that politicians who actually got elected at least once will let the social security checks not go out. Sure, that gorilla “down under” is gonna create a greater or lesser degree of financial havoc all over the world. But in the meantime we’re enjoying a Canadian dollar worth (as of yesterday) US$1.06+, which of course doesn’t help exports but is great for buying things. And our government’s been telling us (hopefully truthfully) that despite the number of baby-boomers now reaching retirement age and economic disturbances, Canada Pension is safely covered for at least another 25-30 years, almost certainly longer than I’ll be around. Bearpaw @37: Yes, but I love ONNNNNLY PLATINUM. #29 sounds good. And on Cowboys and Aliens: Only if you think that travelling interstellar distances to mind gold makes any kind of sense. I actually find the “trillion dollar coins” idea both amusing and clever, though I admit that the ramifications beyond the obvious — e.g. mild inflation — are beyond my ken. It really shows the inherently symbolic nature of money. (Yes, even so-called “hard currency” is inherently symbolic, though not *as* symbolic.) I’ve pondered becoming French. France seems like a nice enough country, and even the French despise me I suspect some portion of them will be happy to smugly note my presence to themselves and pat themselves on the back for being superior after all. Laura @ 43: But I still have trouble believing that politicians who actually got elected at least once will let the social security checks not go out. For at least some of them, if they can blame someone else, they’re totally fine with it. Some Dems seemed to have joined with many Repubs in trying to short out that third rail. My investment plan is to taste-test cat foods, do a taste/price analysis, and invest my meager funds in whatever company makes the likely favorite for humans. you only need one shotgun. but you need at least three different kinds of rounds. slugs open doors. buckshot for zombies. birdshot for dinner. Its like the swiss army knife of firearms. MikeB-Cda @ 44: You wouldn’t know it from the breathless rhetoric, but the US Social Security System Is fully funded for twenty-some years, and mostly funded after that, even without some relatively minor tweaks that would put it on solid ground for even longer. Greg @ 50 – do you know any people who shoot shotguns recreationally? They wouldn’t be caught *dead* with just one shotgun! You need one for hot days, cold days, days you’re not leading the target enough… ;-) Valium. Lots of valium. @Bearpaw: Yes, unless the predictions of doom become self-fulfilling and the whole thing just gets repealed. The numbers work out but I’m not so sure about the politics. For a long time, I thought Republicans would never get rid of SS or Medicare because, right now, retirees are their power base. But they’ve found the way around that: just promise to retain the programs for current retirees but phase them out for my generation. heh – “Feral Republicans” — I’ll have to remember that ;) I wanted to get a tattoo with the words STRINGY – TOUGH – DO NOT EAT on my forehead, but I’m too squeamish. Instead, I bought a couple cartons of permanent markers. Is it a good time for currency speculation? Go to your nearest mega-bank/international airport, find a currency exchange and trade in all your US dollars for something more stable, then next week swing back by and reverse? Or is that just tacky? Bearpaw @51: You’re right, I never would have known it. I infer, then, that they plan to “borrow” SS funds to cover other obligations? Back when I was working (industrial accountant, doing payroll among many other things), Canadian law prohibited us from keeping payroll and related funds in the company’s main bank account. Once payroll was calculated, we wrote a “payroll clearing” cheque to cover net pay-cheques and government deductions (plus required employers’ contributions), and deposited that into a separate payroll account from which the appropriate payments were made. Seems like the main problem with SS at the moment is lack of a similar requirement to keep its funds totally separate and untouchable other than for its intended purpose. Most of my neighbors know I’m a writer, which means most of them know I’m as tender and succulent as a penned calf. Help me. Porn will be the new currency, so I went with option two. I’m going to be a rich, rich man. Learning the words to “O, Canada”. It’s only a couple of hundred miles. I hear their national health care system actually works. And you can get really good corton. Regardez, Jacques Tingle Redirecting my retirement investments to stockpiles of coffee, tallow and saltpeter. Sit in the dark, shiver uncontrollably, and suck my thumb. It isn’t useful, but it’s comforting at times. I’ve always wanted to move to Europe. No time like the present. MikeB-Cda @ 57: My understanding is that the US government has already borrowed the funds, by issuing special securities that the SS Trust Fund buys. The US government is actually a pretty safe investment overall, even these days, so the only risk is if Congress decided to somehow welch on the debt, or find some way to transfer it to their pals on Wall Street, so it can be, uh, “professionally managed”. (If you know what I mean and I think you do.) I’m sure the collapse that would wipe it out would be yet another one of those things that nobody could have foreseen. Except for the folks who predicted all those other things that nobody could have foreseen, but don’t listen to them, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Contemplate who to vote for in the next election….I’m hoping that a trained monkey enters the race soon. Invade Canada. christy @ #65 At this point, even an untrained monkey sounds good! Actually, Europe’s in a lot of trouble these days too. Their big crisis is a bit different: it’s that adopting the Euro as a unified currency means that individual countries with depressed economies and debt problems can’t relieve them by inducing inflation. But there’s also a intuitively appealing yet counterproductive move to government austerity that somewhat mirrors the one in the US. Note, this is nothing like the problem of socialism-induced chronic unemployment that American right-wingers think is the trouble with Europe. There will be 2 currencies in this new world order: ammunition and barbeque sauce. I’m stocking up on the latter. I am hoarding cans and bottles for the quick cash so that, when the nation gets foreclosed on, I can pick it up cheap, evict the Teabaggers, sell off chunks of the south for parts, and then LIVE LIKE A GOD. Invest in abject stupidity. It’s the only growth industry we have left. Not being an American, I probably shouldn’t vote in this poll, but I don’t want to miss out on the joy of tenderizing and eating my neighbours. My downstairs neighbour, who likes to play loud music way past midnight, will be first. Well – he’s stronger than me, but maybe if I team up with some of the other neighbours – sp we can literally be fed up with him. Either way – there’s a huge body of water between us, so you don’t need to care what I do to my neighbours in a crisis, right? I picked the “beans, rice and potable water” option, because I needed to do the grocery shopping anyway. I picked “Snickers, beer, and porn” because, hey? Why change my habits now? @stephanie #63 – we kind of have a debt-crisis over here too. Not that you’re not welcome, but it’s a bad place to go to, if you’re leaving leaving due to debt. We can try a contest and see which place will collapse into anarchy and chaos first, though. Anyone up for a bet on that? Making up desktop publishing files for the new currency I will create based on old Monty Python quotes, since that will be just as good as the US$ next Wednesday. Now you’ve done it — the local convenience store is sold out of beans AND beer. I’m rather regretting we’d sent the young ‘uns out last fall to paint over the numbers on the back of the highway signs. Having the “black helicopter” guys come in and run things sounds like a pretty good plan B right now…. Waiting for the Debtpocalypse for the USA to hit, and at exactly the right point — when the euro-to-dollar rate has hit a historic high (or low, depending on your PoV…;-) — buy a kazillion dollars for a few dozen euros. (Obviously, the pendulum might swing when Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy default, as well. But then I’ve bought my dollars at *exactly* the right moment.) Then go to World Fantasy — unfortunately, due to my intention to attend to solar eclipses in 2012, I need to be frugal in 2011, and unfortunately can’t make it to WorldCon — and by all my American friends huge amounts of drinks, while saying that beer (or fill in your drink of choice) in Greece is 100 times more expensive. For teetotallers like John I’ll just have the swimming pool filled with Coke Zero, while explaining that *water* in the EU is more expensive per gallon than Coke Zero. More seriously, while countries like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy do have debt problems, the *average* debt per capita in the EU — as per June 30, 2011 — is $27,864 and that of the USA is $45,097 (Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_external_debt ). That’s why I have no problem with the strength of the euro in the long term, whatever the news story of the day is. Typo alert: I meant *two* solar eclipses in 2012 (an annular one in Arizona over the Grand Canyon on May 20, 2012; and a total one in Port Douglas, Australia on November 13, 2012). And the debt per capita figures were from 2010, not 2011. Sorry about that, and I can’t quickly find the correct figures for 2011. I do suspect — while I might be wrong — that the debt per capita in the EU is still lower than in the USA. Laura 43 I feel bad for the people who are going to have problems if their social security checks don’t arrive… I still have trouble believing that politicians …will let the social security checks not go out. ——————————————- MikeB-Cda57 TO: Bearpaw @51: …I infer, then, that they plan to “borrow” SS funds to cover other obligations? Seems like the main problem with SS at the moment is lack of a similar requirement to keep its funds totally separate and untouchable other than for its intended purpose. —————————————– Bearpaw64 TO: MikeB-Cda @ 57: My understanding is that the US government has already borrowed the funds, by issuing special securities that the SS Trust Fund buys. (So about no italics above. Couldn’t figure out how to do them.) ———————————————————————— Laura43 —Thanks for the sympathy. Unlike you, I have full faith that, at bare minimum, the Tea Party is willing to stop SS checks. MikeB-Cda and Bearpaw — Thanks!!! You’re discussion makes me feel -so- much better! ;-P Yeah… Sorry, John. No quips coming from me on this. I’m retired after nearly 40 years of work–and paying into both SS & my state retirement fund, but never once having extra cash for savings. To lots of the TPs & some of the other conservatives, I’m just sitting on my fat ass, waiting for “undeserved hand-outs” from a bloated gov’t. Actually? I’m assuming that SS checks won’t arrive, that being the safest mind-set for planning. So I’m trying to figure out how many bills I can pay in cash before I run out of same. And what–if it comes to it–I’ll have to put on a credit card. Like food. (Ouch!) I’m also wondering if federal funds normally sent to individual states for various programs will be allowed to dry up by Congress to such an extent that my state will itself approach default. Possible result of this nightmare chain of events? My state might no longer be able to finance the full payment of my/our state retirement checks. Where’s time travel when we need it? (Three options. I’m thinking the 2000 election (just a tiny tweak in Florida), when McCain chose Palin, or else the 2010 election & its influx of TPs–when McCain’s choice came to fruition.) Yup. Not feeling very jocular. The invade Canada has my vote as well. As I am in Rochester, NY I’ll just “acquire” a boat and sail across the lake. Is it the end of the world again? I hadn’t noticed. Thena @ 84: No, but it may be the end of the world as we know it for quite a few people, even if you happen to feel fine. For weeks, I’ve been listening to the debt-ceiling news as if it were a radio-play: entertaining, but ultimately not “real.” But last night, it suddenly occurred to me that my partner and I have between us three parents that are primarily dependent on SS and Medicare, despite various pensions and retirement funds, because the latter were wiped out in the stock market crash a few years back. You know, that other financial apocalypse that only crazy people believed in, because gambling with pensions and mortgages on the historically oh-so-stable stock market is oh-so-very sane. Er. Yeah. Those possible near-future dependents are a mixed bag of coal-town Catholics and deep South Christianist rednecks who wielded shovels in digging this hole, solemnly declaring that only Real Republicans (TM) and the Tea Party were able to save us all from the Commie-Pinko-Liberal Elite Fornicators ‘n’ Homo-sexuwaaalls (cue: significant looks at me and my partner) that were going to destroy the country, and they may be living with the aforementioned Fornicators, et alia, because my *state* unemployment check is not currently threatened, out here in Pinko-Commie Homosexual Fornication La-La Land. The layers of irony are melting my brain. Or, waves of insane fury may be responsible for the brain-melting. It’s so hard to tell. Not even playing “told ya so” is fun anymore, dang nabbit. Richard (57) it’s not tacky, just remember to exchange your money for coinage that has intrinsic value. Other than that I’m stocking up on trade goods and making sure that I have enough gas in the car to get to a friends place. They already have several shotguns, enough land for hunting and farming, and plenty of books. No, I’m not telling you who they are. I am glad that I converted all of my investments to gold coins and bullion 10 years ago. This debt crisis is simply adding to the economic mess in America. I voted “stocking up on Snicker’s, beer, and porn. However, since I’m diabetic I’ll be subbing that out for beef jerky and sunflower seeds. In the name of honesty i must also disclose that not only will i be stocking up on beer, but i will also be amassing a collection of whiskies to tide me over until the Visigoths invade and Rome… err… D.C. falls (although they are like to fail at falling… probably be so distracted they forget to finish the fall and wind up floating or something). @76 Greece has been in chaos and anarchy since the fall of Rome. And if you count streettraffic, France and Italy itself are pretty much anarchic and chaotic, too… The thing about Social Security checks is that while yes, the government will have enough revenue to pay them (plus medicare, medicaid, interest on the debt, and have a little bit left over), there is currently no mechanism that would allow the government to prioritize one bill (in the financial, not legislative, sense) over another. As is stands ,the Treasury Department would simply pay bills as they arrive until it runs out of money, then stop. The only way for it to do anything else is if Congress instructs it, in the form of legislation, or if it receives an executive order. But the same argument that says no executive order can raise the debt limit (the power of spending rests in the House) says tha no executive order can prioritize spending. So it is possible that SS checks won’t go out because the Treasury department spent that money on rent, or foreign aid, or military salaries, or extra widgets (or all of the above, since SS costs 15 times more than military salaries). There’s just no structure to choose between them. Laying hens. I have two and a half dozen eggs in the refrigerator right now, that’s got to be worth something, right? i live near Washington DC, and to prepare for the debtocalypse, I’m doing- …absolutely nothing. Here’s why. Let’s assume for a minute that the worst-case scenario occurs, that the government defaults, that interest rates skyrocket, unemployment, inflation, $10/gallon gasoline, the end of the world is nigh, and so on. …so? I work for the Defense Department. And assuming a total government shutdown, the end of all social programs, no payments made on T-bills, old people starving to death, emergency rooms packed with dying people who can no longer afford to pay for their own medical care, I’m pretty sure that THERE WILL STILL BE A DEFENSE DEPARTMENT. And in the case of a total societal breakdown and zombie apocalypse, the Defense Department will be uniquely situated to provide for- …what’s the word I’m searching for? Oh yeah. DEFENSE. Have you not been watching “Falling Skies”? Even after aliens crush everybody on the planet Earth and everybody is boned, the defense department is still there. I could totally write the ad copy. “The ‘Kill People And Break Things’ Industry: We Will Always Have A Market”. So, no. Not worried. …but then again, I have access to explosives. @ #93 Three words for you: Privately Owned Military… AKA Blackwater… sigh. Even after aliens crush everybody on the planet Earth and everybody is boned, the defense department is still there. You’ve never heard of the concept of “casualties,” have you? Absolutely nothing I’ll just hang out over here in my quiet little Japanese beach community, drink sake and watch the pretty girls in bikinis walk by. Rough life, innit? :D I will stock up on toilet paper. I can learn to live without everything else, but not that. @ #97 JimR Arrogant cuss aren’t you? pfft… drink some bourbon and watch the pretty gals in bikinis instead. ;-) Well, I’m glad you put this up since it shows that, despite Megan McArdle’s (whom I deeply respect) post, if we hit the debt ceiling and the government closes down history has shown us that nothing much happens. Sure the national parks are closed and that could be annoying especially for middle class vacationers during these summer months; But as 1995 and 1996 showed, it ain’t going to hurt. Although I wish you’d skewer your President on his lying and demagoguery on “social Security checks won’t go out”. False, even under a “shutdown” the government will still collect over $200 Billion a month, and one of those things that they have to pay (unless Obama decides not to for political reasons) is SS. Sherry @82: “Seems like the main problem with SS at the moment is lack of a similar requirement to keep its funds totally separate and untouchable other than for its intended purpose.” Hmmm. What we need is some sort of “lockbox”. awwwwwww scorpious… are you ticked off that President Obama is using the samy clarion call to scaremongery that the Republicans have been using for decades now? Too bad. They started it.. don’t get to complain when someone else uses it. Between all of our friends in our merry little band, we have most of the basics covered in case ot total meltdown, including edible wild and gardened foods, game preparation, home brewing, and a lot of other skills (electrical, computer, carpentry, plumbing, metalworking, etc.) All this means is that we’ll be able to have a huge party when all this blows over at the 11th hour, as I hope it will. Is it too late to petition for some sense in Washington? “one of those things that they have to pay … is SS.” All appropriations and authorizations are law, not just entitlements. If the Secretary of the Treasury does not pay out as specified, he is breaking the law. The debt limit is law. If the Secretary of the Treasury issues more bonds than allowed, he is breaking the law. The Tax code is law. If the Secretary of the Treasury collects more taxes than allowed, he is breaking the law. Guess what job I’m glad I don’t have this summer? @TheMadLibrarian Yes, but do you have a moonshiner for distilled spirits? Hmm? Hmm? If not you are gonna find your self sorely in need of Whisky for antiseptic, lighter fluid, and for that drunkeness that beer/wine just can’t provide. Beer is for weaklings Whisky is a better choice for transporting grain as a potent potable, and much more useful to boot. I’m actually starting to build a house. Great timing, huh? Digital Atheist, The only thing that the Republicans have been saying for “decades” is that eventually SS will have to pay out more than it is taking in. Right now it can keep up but in a few “decades” or less the amount of money that it needs to keep up with payments will begin a crisis of either cannibalizing other programs, raising taxes, more borrowing or changing eligibility. You may not like it but it’s a fact. And the fact that I can infer from your tone that you’re a Obama supporter proves that you really don’t like facts or reality. It wasn’t my President or Party (if I had one) that showed a leader of the other party throwing an elderly person off a cliff. However, that is almost literally what Obama has threatened to do. To use his direct language (and the language of his party) he’s a hostage taker, a political terrorist who’s holding a gun to the head of granny to get more taxes and more spending. Well, I’m sitting in Australia wondering whether I shouldn’t get the spare room ready for some of you. Because even with a two-speed economy, where if you are taking rocks out of the ground and selling them to China, you’re rich, and if not, then you’re doing it tough, we still seem to have it better than you lot. And with the $AU sailing high against the $US, at least books are affordable again. This is all going to be solved by a last-minute deal in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, though, right? It wasn’t my President or Party ( Nope, they just got us into the debt crisis, both by killing Clinton’s surplus and then making hay on paying the bills when they came due. Personally I’m going to be thanking my lucky stars that my politicians aren’t pulling bullshit like this. That and hoping that the American politicians don’t crash their economy badly enough that the jokes about invading Canada as a solution to their financial woes keep on being jokes and not reality. Let’s see… so far I’ve welded makeshift barricades at all corridors in my compound, set up remote smart gun sentry units at strategic positions, polished up my power armor, changed the oil in my battlemech, and sent my android butler out to remote pilot a dropship down from the Mothership in case I need an escape vehicle… oh wait, I must have fallen asleep with AL(l)ENS on again. Darn it. Actually, so far all I’ve done is go on a small spending spree. Nothing crazy. Just some Borders clearance sale shopping, bought Blade Runner on Blu-ray, and ate a couple good meals out instead of staying home and cooking. @silbey, Read the rest of that statement, I don’t have a party or president. I don’t have a dog in this fight other than I dislike Obama’s incompetence, reckless Keynesian policies (a economic philosophy which has been proven wrong), demagoguery, cronyism etc. Yes, Bush accelerated spending over Clinton; Obama dramatically increased that. In 2009 we had revenue of $2.7 Trillion and expenditures of $3.1 Trillion (delta of $400 billion). While in 2011 we had revenue of $2.17 Trillion and expenditures of $3.9 Trillion (delta of $1.48 trillion and delta of $1.2 Trillion if the recession hadn’t happened). Add to that a deficit in 2010 of $1.2 Trillion and that equals an addition of $2.68 Trillion addition to the debt in the two years Obama has been president. And that’s not counting things like the “stimulus”. Adding everything, even extra-budgetary spending and you get $4.68 Trillion Obama has added to the debt in two years vs. $4.2 Trillion Bush added to the debt in 8. Do the math, and look at the WH’s (and for objectivity at the CBO’s estimate) own future plans and we’re looking at a debt well over $20 Trillion. These are facts and math, which the keynesian left obviously has difficulty with. I was going to take over a Wal-Mart and turn it into my own private fiefdom, but my friends kept pointing out that there’d be a lot of Tea Partiers to deal with, and that the greeters would make very poor gate guards. Need a plan B… Scorpius: I wish you’d skewer your President on his lying and demagoguery Al Queda is working with Saddam Hussein. WMD’s are north, south, east, and west of Tikrit. YELLOW CAKE!!!!! Uhm… I’m sorry, what were you saying? I couldn’t hear you over the demagogery….. DA @ 105, why yes, yes we do. He’s been turning out some pretty remarkable distilled cyser — think liquid apple pie with a hella kick that sneaks up on you. Purely for personal consumption, you understand. ‘Shine won’t be too hard of a step. Greg, One more piece of evidence that you truly aren’t a serious thinker. Does the fact that Bush lied absolve Obama of lying? What, are you 2 years old? “He lied first!!” Oh, wait, this from a guy whose president spent the first two years of his Presidency blaming his Predecessor for everything. But come on, really? It’s OK for Obama to lie because Bush lied? What ever happened to “Hope and Change” man? Whatever happened to the man who wanted to transform politics into something better? Well, most of are just hoping to find change to buy our daily meal thanks to the unemployment rate jumping more than 2 percentage points on your guy’s watch and because of his policies. You people are being a real drag in the comment thread of what is essentially a very silly poll. Well John come on over and join the booze brothers. Mad Librarian seems to have access to still, and I’m sure that my neighbors will be cooking up some nice long pig ham. And badgers? Did I mention we have none here–robotic, zombie, hell-bent or otherwise? The bionic possums tend to keep them away. ;-) Well if there is an apocalypse, there better well be some damn zombies, having an apocalypse due to default is rather anti climatic and boring, and not what I was hoping for when it comes to the end of civilization. Paul@119 is right–of all the things to trigger the collapse of civilization, this is a pretty pathetic one. (ATTN forces of irony: that does not mean I’m hoping for a more dramatic one. None at all will do. Thank you.) JESR@92: Laying hens. I think that’s all I care to hear about your leisure activities, you sick freak. Adding everything, even extra-budgetary spending and you get $4.68 Trillion Obama has added to the debt in two years vs. $4.2 Trillion Bush added to the debt in 8 Yeah, no. The real ratio is 5 (trillion) to 1 (trillion) Bush to Obama. Try again. After watching the episode of Burn Notice where they show you how to make a car bullet proof with the addition of phone books, I have taken the initiative and stolen all the newly delivered phone books in my area (no worries, they will just deliver new ones again in a couple of weeks) and super-glued them to the walls of the apartment. Sure, no sun gets in any more, but when the Debtpocalypse arrives, the sun will be blocked out anyway, right? I have stockpiled coffee and ice cream (ironically, it is coffee ice cream) so I am pretty much good to go. @122 Kathryne Just remember this: while phone books may stop pistol rounds and buckshot, Shotgun slugs and high powered rifles–such as Barettes–will easily punch through. Unless you have access to an unlimited supply of fuel, you may prefer a system that is a bit more efficient… such as an M-1 Abrams, or serfs who are willing to through their bodies between yours and any bullets speeding your way. P.s. An M-1 Abrams is usually always an appropriate option, along with flame throwers, C-4, M-16 land mines, and bacon… always remember to keep bacon. @Silbey, Yeah, you do realize that the fact don’t square with your belief? But, just keep drinking the kool aid there bud. John, back @ #4 you meant “self-basting” right? ‘Cause my A/C froze up yesterday, and you do not want any part of what I’ve been marinating in. Yeah, you do realize that the fact don’t square with your belief? The facts square quite nicely, thanks. But if you need to believe otherwise to vindicate your support of Bush, that’s fine. #117 by John Scalzi on July 30, 2011 – 6:21 am You people are being a real drag in the comment thread of what is essentially a very silly poll. ———————- I’m very sorry, John. I didn’t realize that people who were actually affected by this weren’t suppose to comment. Let me give jocularity one more try. ;-) Okay, how’s this then? I can drink my own nervous sweat (which I’m saving up beginning now), and I eat “freeze-dried” food out of the freezer as long as it lasts. (Some’s been in there, longer than I want to think–so when I pull it out, I’ll just go, “La-La-La! Look at the yummy dinner that just got delivered!” I’d like to move my numerous books against the windows but don’t think I can manage that. However, if attacked, I’ll throw my 2 starving cats at the door. Better? SherryT P.S. Read no further if you don’t want to be offended. Seriously. In the meantime… I don’t see any indication that there can be a compromise between the two factions, as much as I’d love one. Who could help force it? The Supreme Court? A riot outside the capitol building with the taking of hostages? Oh, Wait! Maybe the pope. Hmm. That’s right. Most congressmen aren’t catholic. Or much of anything, based on their actions. Actually, the members of Congress will probably all scatter to their home states for August vacation, leaving things in media res. (sp? aka in the middle of a mess)) Oh, well! In the meantime, I can’t resist adding–I’ll watch as my neighbors Luther & Doris on the 1st floor get evicted for non-payment of rent. In their early 70’s, all they have is SS. They get some of their food via private social services like local churches. As for their rent, the rental office is -very- unsmiling when it comes to late payments–they charge $50 when rent is merely 5 days late. I suspect the SS checks will be much later than that. Court proceedings will almost certainly have started by the time our checks are cut–the apt owners here waste no time. scorpius, your lying and demagogery concerns are smoke and mirrors to avoid proposing anything specific for a solutin. it is a safe way to try and make obama wrong without acrually proposing a real, and by real I mean specific, solutin yourself. you avoid details because details and specifics would reveal your bias and where you are just plain wrong. so lets get specific. average max tax rate over last hundred years is around 60%. max is in the 90s. why is it impossible to raise taxes on the rich now? if you insist it come with cuts to spending, what is the biggest single cut you woukd make? what specific program and how much? Greg, I really wish you would format your comments better. I know you’re posting from a phone, but the rest of us have to try to read the posts. I was gonna save all the stored water and MREs and stuff for the Big Earthquake, but it looks like we’re going to have to dip into the stores for Debtpocalypse. Darn you, Boehner! @mythago just remember, MRE crackers can be used as sustenance or as a deadly weapon. With a bit of filing on the edges you can make a throwinsg stare capable of decapitating the zombies with. Scorpie old pal, you might wanna step away from the Drugster’s punch bowl and study some economic history. Digital Atheist @132: I didn’t get the full meal sets, just the entrees, thank goodness. Although Younger Daughter got a fine 24″ crowbar for her birthday, so we’ve got a front-line defense against the zombies. Or badgers. Become a squatter at the abandoned White House & force the lender to send a marshal with a formal eviction notice. What better way to burn that 15 minutes of fame I’m supposedly due? Actually we were supposed to close on a house at the end of September with some pretty decent terms. Hope they still hold at closing because we can’t accelerate it (much to the owner’s chagrin). As a Federal worker (US EPA), I’m going to work on Monday, and I’m planning to work as long as they allow me to, pay or no pay. It’s not clear that I will be allowed to; the law forbids government workers to do unpaid work, and during the Gingrich Shutdown all non-emergency workers were just sent home. I have enough savings to get me through a few months. I could retire (I’m 71, and I’ve put in 33 years with the government), but — would my retirement checks come through? Nobody knows. Perhaps this is how Michele Bachmann and the other Fundie moonbats plan to bring on the Biblical End Times. @mythago ahhhhhhhhhhh… the only MREs I ever had to deal with was the full on bullet-resistant, unopenable brown kind issued by the Army… until they stated sending some that were green… either way avoid Chicken Ala King with a vengence… and save the cheese for caulking up your doors and windows so zombie farts can’t get through. @Silbey, Uhm, as I’ve already stated I don’t support Bush and have criticized him extensively on this blog. It’s funny the binary, “Us vs. Them”, tribal way lefties think. If I’m not for your guy, I MUST be for the other guy. Oh, and let’s have some facts. The “Debt Clock” stood at $10 Trillion during the first “summer of recovery” in ’09, it now stands at $14.55 Trillion. Obama has passed multiple “stimulus” packages, all of them failures. The first was over $800 Billion and that was extra-budgetary. Add them all together and they easily surpass the $1 Trillion you say is attributed to Obama. Do the math and accept reality. Bush accelerated spending over Clinton; Obama radically accelerated spending over Bush. @Greg, I don’t have to suggest anything specific, I’m not a political leader. I do think that the Boehner plan is a compromise, I might not support every single detail; but that’s why it’s called a “compromise”. Now, Obama keeps asking for a compromise but he, a political leader, hasn’t put forward a plan at all. All he’s done is say “NO” to the multiple plans the House has produced. He’s playing a game of chicken with the economy. I can deduce his thinking as: if we get my plan I get to shower my cronies with more government cash, if I don’t I get to blame the GOP for a “government shutdown” like Clinton did in ’95/’96 and my reelection is assured. But, even though I’m NOT a political leader, I’ll give you what I would cut. Of course I’d cut entitlements through means testing (I mean, why should Bill Gates and his Father collect Social Security) maybe with raising the age requirement. End the debt of Education, OSHA, etc. But here’s where it’ll blow your mind: I’d cut the military also. Not down from $700 billion/year to $250 Billion/year as one of my favorite editorialists, John Stossel would have; But I’d either pull back from places like South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabi or make them pay a fee for the defense service our troop provide. I’d cut the 50K troops in Germany down to enough to run the high quality medical services needed for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (until those wars end). And I’d work on sunsetting those two wars. I’d end our illegal war with Libya yesterday. All in all I’d probably cut ~$200 Billion from the Military. That would allow us to defend our nation while still providing the one service most of my fellow libertarians have a blind spot to: ensuring the international trade water ways are kept safe from pirates, whether purely private in nature or privateers (pirates hired by national governments). Scorpius @116 Well, most of are just hoping to find change to buy our daily meal thanks to the unemployment rate jumping more than 2 percentage points on your guy’s watch and because of his policies. Actually, the continued unemployment problems have to do with Obama largely continuing to follow Bush II’s policies of tax cuts for the wealthy and lax regulation on businesses. If Obama had actually implemented the larger changes he campaigned on the political and economic landscape would be very different and much improved. @Eric Saveau, Explain to me how Tax hikes and Regulation help employment. 70% of all jobs in our economy come from small business which are affected by Tax hikes and regulation both. Both cause a hike in overhead. In fact most major corporations love the massive new volumes of regulation which come out every year, since they can afford the legal departments necessary to implement them. Small businesses cannot afford to hire legal departments, so end up not expanding their business, cutting back or going out of business during business-hostile administrations like Obama’s (well, hostile to his non-cronies). That Tax Hikes on “the rich” and regulation “help” the economy sounds like magical-thinking Keynesian nonsense along the lines of “animal spirits”. But don’t take my word for it, the Obama administration has actually increased regulation (and in the case of off shore drilling in the Gulf coast, illegally banned all drilling) and we’ve lost well over 3 million full-time jobs since The Incompetent One came into office. Eric Saveau@#140: If Obama had actually implemented the larger changes he campaigned on the political and economic landscape would be very different and much improved. Perhaps I’ve missed some essential nuance here, but Obama isn’t an absolute monarch who summons Congress to rubber stamp his whims, right? Honestly, I think this kind of stuff from the left is… well, ever so slightly misdirected rage. Not that I find the “Obama, stop hating on bizness” stuff from the right any less absurd. Scorpius @139 Now, Obama keeps asking for a compromise but he, a political leader, hasn’t put forward a plan at all. All he’s done is say “NO” to the multiple plans the House has produced. This is a false characterization of Obama’s dealings with the House and with regard to the budget. He has in fact offered budget plans which have been roundly rejected by the House for not extending the Bush II tax cuts. He has also, to the dismay of many Americans, offered agreement to three of the four major House plans – only to have the House then withdraw them (which is a strong indicator that a budget agreement is something they don’t actually want). Speaking of which, Scorpius, are Republicans accountable for anything on your planet? I’m not one of these “tribal lefties” you so abhor, but I have to roll my eyes at the idea that it’s Obama “playing chicken” while the House Republicans are the compromisers. Nice cut and paste of Bohner’s talking points, but like others I’m having trouble syncing them up with reality. Craig Ranapa @142 Perhaps I’ve missed some essential nuance here, but Obama isn’t an absolute monarch who summons Congress to rubber stamp his whims, right? No, he is not, nor did I say or imply otherwise. Historically, Presidents have worked for particular agendas either on the campaign trail or once taking office or both, and then have varying degrees of success in getting the legislature to go along with them. Observers then speak, after the fact, about how well they managed to enact whatever legislative and/or policy agenda that they had or were perceived to have, what they could have done, what they should or should not have done, etc. And so, as has been so long and commonly done, I spoke of Obama in that same manner. Is there some reason I should not have? Honestly, I think this kind of stuff from the left is… well, ever so slightly misdirected rage. Rage? In that comment? @Craig Ranapia, Perhaps I’ve missed some essential nuance here, but Obama isn’t an absolute monarch who summons Congress to rubber stamp his whims, right? Well, he practically was for the first two years of his presidency when he had absolute control of the House and near absolute control of the Senate. Remember, the so-called “Stimulus” was pushed through with dire warnings of what would happened if it wasn’t enacted NOW and rosy predictions. By Obama’s own metric it failed. But that’s less important than the fact that it was pushed through with little debate. And no, Obama Reid et al haven’t offered any real compromise. It’s all been taxes on “the rich” leading to the Feds taking an unprecedented level of the GDP into their coffers, cuts that are really decreases in the future rate of future spending (so if you’re spending $100 Billion on a program with an annual increase of $5 billion but you want a $10 Billion increase next year you “cut” it down to a $7 Billion increase and call it a “cut”), but the real cuts are only in the military. Face it, Obama hasn’t lead. And it’s caused people like me who are orthogonal to the two party system to make a friend of an enemy of my new enemy. Don’t take my word for it, Gallup shows Obama’s approval stands at 40%. http://www.gallup.com/poll/148739/Obama-Approval-Drops-New-Low.aspx Same with Obamacare. We had to push that through without debate, said the President. We couldn’t even know what was in it until it was passed, said Speaker Pelosi. The President only petulantly conceded to the round table discussions on CSPAN after Scott Brown was elected and only with the ability to rule the proceedings absolutely with a heavy hand. Scorpius @141 Explain to me how Tax hikes and Regulation help employment. You’ve got that question exactly backwards, Scorpius. For the past thirty years Americans have been told that tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation of business will create jobs, and this claim has been proven consistently false over and over again. Your side has had thirty years to make its case and you have failed grotesquely, leaving your only options at this point being to either admit that you were wrong… or that you were lying. 70% of all jobs in our economy come from small business – This is the reddest of red herrings. Republican administrations help big business to the exclusion of everyone else and then, when replaced by Democrats, scream “ANTI-BUSINESS!!!111eleven!!!one11!!” if the new administration makes even the slightest suggestion of not extending the favoritism established by the Republicans – as has been one the major ongoing themes in the media over the last three years. That Tax Hikes on “the rich” and regulation “help” the economy sounds like magical-thinking Keynesian nonsense along the lines of “animal spirits”. Actually, it sounds like historical fact, and there’s a reason for that. But don’t take my word for it, the Obama administration has actually increased regulation Since this is unfortunately false, it certainly does demonstrate that I can’t take your word for it. (and in the case of off shore drilling in the Gulf coast, illegally banned all drilling) Not illegally, and actually the administration has been re-issuing drilling permits. Try again. and we’ve lost well over 3 million full-time jobs since The Incompetent One came into office. That’s odd; Rick Santorum said that we’ve “only” added 240 million. A better line for you might be that Obama has killed 30 trillion jobs and he kicked your puppy. At least until the right-wing gets its latest talking points synchronized for the week. John, I will try to improve my formatting. The problem I keep running into is anytime I move the cursor to fix a typo, I have some non-trivial probability that I will be unable to move the cursor back to where I was. I dont know why it does that, but it is a clear pattern. Scorpius@#146: Well, he practically was for the first two years of his presidency when he had absolute control of the House and near absolute control of the Senate. I don’t know if you flunked high school history and civics, or are just being spectacularly disingenuous but try holding a seance and ask FDR if his supposed “control” of the House and Senate helped smooth the passage of the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill, 1937. I really shouldn’t have to tell Americans this, but the bi-cameral legislative branch of the federal government has been known to assert its independence from the executive — even if they’re of the same party. It’s very clear that in your view everything Obama says and does is malignant, malicious and in the worse of bad faith. While you’re entitled to your own opinion, you’re not entitled to your own facts. Scorpious: “explain to me how tax hikes and regulation help unemployment” Oh man. I’m getting one of those migranes I get whenever someone says to me “please explain to me the lessons of the last 5,000 years of human history.” The short version is like this: there was this thing called the Great Depression. It was caused all manner of greedy laisez faire practices creating what is called a “bubble” where people were making profits grossly out of scale to any real work they were putting into it. Speculators, for example. Then people started realizing they were part owner in various pieces of this over inflated, over priced bubble. And it quickly turned into a mad panic when they realized the more the prices crashed, the more incentive there is sell, which creates a positive feedback loop. ‘Positive’ as an engineering term that says the more you do something the more the feedback loops amplifies that thing. not ‘positive’ as in a good thing. When you hear a microphone feedback through an amplifier to a speaker, causing a high pitch squeal, that is a positive feedback loop. there is actual math fields of study for designing feedback loops for engineering. You can take something that is inherently unstable, amd design around it a system that makes it controllable. The F117 is inherently unstable, but the feedback loops built onto the avionics systems make them human controllable. unregulated markets are inherently unstable. One basic example is monopolization. The more monopoly you get, the less competition you have, the more profit you make, the lower you can make your profit margins, the harder it is for anyone else to compete against you, the more monopoly you get. its like a microphone squealing uncontrollably. The monopoly giants that Teddy Roosevelt fought are a demonstration of this sort of feedback. So, in answer to you question, regulation helps unemployment a number of ways. By preventing bubbles, or at least making them harder to generate, you avoid crashes. By avoiding crashes, you keep the economy strong. By keeping the economy strong, you keep unemployment down. keep in mind that a bubble is really nothing more than something selling fo far more than it is worth. So regulation to prevent bubbles isnt stopping businesses selling things at a reasonable profit, but preventing speculators from hyperinflating something to the point it creates a crash. Since you mentioned you are a libertarianI will assume you response to bubbles is that people will act rationally and will ‘correct’ rather than ‘crash’. But history doesnt show that. economics is always at least in part dealing with people’s fears. Market panic happens. Regulation can discourage the bubble which causes the panic. Then there is other regulation such as workers conditions, child labor laws, things like OSHA, minimum wage, etc. These prevent a monopolization from occurring due to workers being taken advantage of or put into unsafe conditions. Generally speaking, if regulation prevents bubbles, and protects workers from being trated unfairly, you get a solid economy (boring but consistent profit) and a strong middle class. Uhm, as I’ve already stated I don’t support Bush Yes, I’m aware of what you’ve said. I don’t believe you. I think you voted for Bush twice and McCain once, and that means you own their actions. As to your other points, they are 1) wrong, and 2) the equivalent of someone half way through a heart bypass operation suddenly deciding that it costs too much and shutting down the surgeon and their team. Shockingly, the patient doesn’t seem to be doing so well, now, do they? Conservatives ran the country off the cliff, economically and militarily, and now they have no credibility at all in these discussions. Eating ice cream; listening to “When Everything Changed” in preparation for the sequel which starts Tuesday. Explain to me how Tax hikes and Regulation help employment Tax hikes don’t help employment. Spending helps employment. It helps employment by the mechanism of hiring people directly for government jobs. Those people then have money to buy the things they need, and that ripples through the whole economy. I know that for supply-siders, government jobs (with the possible exception of the military and Republican politicans) are not real jobs and the people who work them don’t count. But the fact is, the people who work these jobs also want to spend money if they have it, which creates demand for all of the things they might want to spend the money on. This is a way of keeping money circulating that would otherwise be saved somehow. These aren’t animal spirits I’m talking about, it’s dollars. If you can afford it you’re going to start buying things. Those people may, depending on how wisely the money is spent, also perform important functions. But even if they’re being paid for something completely stupid and wasteful, like digging holes and filling them up again, they’ll still spend their paychecks, and that will stimulate private-sector employment by boosting demand. We don’t have to pay people to do that, though, because there’s plenty that needs doing. Now if the government spends money, where does it come from? It could just print the money, it could borrow money or it could tax people. All of these approaches do have risks and disadvantages; the question is just whether we’re at the point that those disadvantages become fatal. If the government just creates all the money it needs, the money supply explodes and starts creating punishing inflation. So we can’t just do that as much as we want. But right now, if anything, we’re on the verge of deflation, which is far worse. That might change if chaos ensues, but it’s where things stand. A little bit of inflation wouldn’t be bad. So intentionally expanding the money supply some might be feasible. If the government taxes people too much, the incentive to work goes away and investors don’t have enough capital to invest in the private sector. These are the things Republicans and Libertarians worry about. They’d happen if we were taxing everyone’s income at enormous rates. But are we anywhere near that point? Taxes have just gone down, down, down. They were higher in the Clinton years and things were relatively fine then. The idea that we’re somewhere near the high tail of the Laffer curve is absurd. That leaves debt. Too much debt and we start to have trouble paying the interest on it. But interest rates got pulled down so low in the wake of the financial crisis that this isn’t even a major concern right now. It could become one, granted, if the government starts defaulting, but the hardcore conservatives seem to want default, which makes no sense. So there are all these things that are anathema to conservatives because of the terrible things they might do in some plausible situation, but in fact they’re not doing these things at the present time, and if conditions change, it’s wholly because of the intransigence of conservatives who want to force some kind of crisis. I’m almost tempted to say they want to create a situation in which supply-side economics is the only kind that works, by fomenting a disaster that destroys all the other options we have available to us. As for regulation, that could hurt employment but it can also help employment in any number of ways. It can keep people from getting removed from the workforce because they’ve been maimed or sickened. It can keep companies from crushing their competitors with unfair monopolistic practices. It really depends on the regulation. taxes can help unemployment exactly the same way that taxes allowed the government to have a huge budget during WW2, which they spent much of on military construction, which created jobs, which eventually encouraged people to spend again, which improved the economy, which decreased unemployment. During a depression or recession, consumers stop spending because they dont have the money to spend or because they are saving the money so they can buy food when the apocolypse comes. stimulus generates jobs and gets the economy back on its feet because people start having faith in the economy again and stop hoarding the money and start spending some of it. and it gives unemployed people an income so they have money to spend as well. the biggest thing of stimulous isnt to be a permanent amount of money the federal government has to spend every year. The biggest thing of stimulous is to be *enough* of a stimulus to get people employed and getting them confident in the long term economy so that they arent hoarding their money preparing for the debtapocalypse. taxes allows for stimulus. stimulus restores jobs. restoring jobs restores confidence. confidence restores both business investing and consumer spending. at which point the economy is back on its feet and you dont need stimulus any more. libertarian response to all this is either that individuals are ultra rational and will get confidence if thats what the economy needs. Or that people get what they deserve. the first one isnt true. the second one doesnt fix anything. Wow Greg, you’re still on this WW 2 as stimulus kick huh? Leaving World War II as a policy prescription for a moment, when in history has Keynesian stimulus actually worked in the real world? I do understand that it works great in economic models. There is a whole list of per dollar multipliers that look nice on paper, but don’t translate into real world results. Our most recent stimulus attempt seems modeled on the Japanese attempt, which dealt with their real estate bust caused recession by infrastructure spending. The result of that is that Japan has had a weak, slow growth economy. Remember back in the 80’s when the Japanese were going to rule the world? Now back to World War II. If you have to resort to WW2 as your ONE example of successful government stimulus, than sorry, you’ve lost the argument. The unemployment problem was solved by having a military of 15 million, all employed, but at piss poor wages. Plus the war jobs created in factories. Those wages were low too, since the country was governed by wage and price controls during the war years.Then you had an extremely high savings rate based on there being very little consumer goods available, and items that were available were rationed. So people had little to spend their money on. So the war years sucked. This was a good set up for good economic times after the war though. Industry switched to consumer goods, and the populace had the money, due to wartime savings and war bonds, to buy them. So your example of a successful stimulus, WW2, is exactly the opposite of what you claim a successful stimulus does, “stimulus generates jobs and gets the economy back on its feet because people start having faith in the economy again and stop hoarding the money and start spending some of it.” I would really be curious though, on how you would implement a WW2 style “stimulus” in peacetime. Leaving World War II as a policy prescription for a moment, when in history has Keynesian stimulus actually worked in the real world? Uh, every time it’s been used effectively? There, that was an easy answer. And no, excluding the New Deal and WWII as irrelevant is not an effective argument. It’s funny the binary, “Us vs. Them”, tribal way lefties think. Well, there goes the circuit breaker on *my* irony detector. Again. Guys, I hope you are getting something out of arguing with Scorpius on this, but you know the saying about how you can’t reason somebody out of a position they weren’t reasoned into. Scorpius, if you think it is valid to exclude every point in history where government stimulus worked, and then develop some economic policy based on what is left, uhm, well, then I guess the deeper issue is I was trying to fix a real world proble and you apparently are trying to disqualify anything that doesnt jive with you Ayn Rand model of the world. Generally speaking, the scientific approach to understanding doesnt start by ignoring things that dont fit your model. So I dont know what to tell you. John, this is why (see above comments) deptpocalypses suck, no zombies! Zombie problems have simple solutions; head shot, total dismemberment, and/or lots of fire. This deptpocalypse is complicated and involves lots of silly notions like blame and what is or what isn’t a real or imagined spending cut. Us Americans, (I am sure this is true of non-Americans as well) like simple problems with simple solutions, like Zombie Apocalypse. Which is a problem that is easily written out and proven; Zombies + Non-Zombies = More Zombies! The conflict is linear and easily understood and the solution is universally satisfying, well except for the ones who get eaten, but that is not important, cause they are zombies. @Silbey I would certainly like to know which times stimulus was used effectively. I guess you are not going to count our most recent one? If you had read further you would have seen that I did address World War II. It was nothing like any “stimulus” we’ve had. As for the New Deal, I think its record speaks for itself. Every other country (with the exception of Germany, for obvious reasons) recovered from the depression years earlier; without a stimulus. We had to wait for WW2. As for the New Deal, I think its record speaks for itself. Every other country (with the exception of Germany, for obvious reasons) recovered from the depression years earlier; without a stimulus. We had to wait for WW2. Oh piffle. American GDP started growing again quite nicely in 1933-34, just as the stimulus of the New Deal was taking hold. It then grew steadily throughout the 1930s (with the exception of 1937-38), when Roosevelt made the mistake of tightening fiscal policy because the deficit hawks (sound familiar?) got to him. By 1940, before the start of the war, the American economy was back to the size it had been before the crash. In other words, the US had recovered GDP-wise completely from the crash even before the war started for us. http://www.economics-charts.com/gdp/gdp-1929-2004.html You may have swallowed right-wing talking points wholesale. That does not mean the rest of us have to. http://m.cnn.com/primary/_47M1ku-iqUltF1MaM cnn is reporting a deal. 3 trillion in spending cuts. no tax increases. My new nicknname for Obama is “Captain Caveman”. He has caved on every campaign promise he has made. He has caved on every promise he has made in speeches since getting elected. Alan Grayson for president 2012. http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/07/31/democrats/index.html Grover Norquist is excited about the deal. And it is being reported over and over that Obama proposed far more cuts in spending than Boehner and his buddies ever did. Clearly, democrats are going to have to work extremely hard to get a Democrat in the white house in 2012, cause obviously there isnt one in there now. Well, the votes haven’t happen yet, but it looks like the hostage situation may be coming to an end. The hostages will be allowed to live (for now), and the only teenie-tiny little drawback is that the hostage-takers will be allowed to leave with the loot for their bosses and all of their weapons, including their leaking canisters of weaponized idiocy. This is the part where we’re supposed to cheer, isn’t it? Greg @ 163: Well, he’s keeping one promise, I guess. He’s changing how Washington operates. These aren’t the sort of operational changes I thought he had in mind, though … a Democrat president that ignores his base and gives the right whatever they want to appear centric, then campaigns to his base on a ‘hey, vote for me or THEY will get elected’ is such old hat that I am depressed right now. Obama is further to the right than Bush. Obamas main complaint about the deal wasnt that it didnt raise taxes, but that it didnt contain sufficient ‘entitlement reform’. had he campaigned the way he runs the white house, he would have been competing with McCain for the republican nomination. Somebody has to find a democrat nominee for 2012 and let the republicans have Obama. @Bearpaw, You do know it’s not very conducive to a healthy democracy to call people who disagree with you “hostage takers”, right? Neither is it healthy to call people “Terrorists” (as the VPOTUS has), “Traitors”, “Fascists” or other terms. I mean, how DARE someone fight passionately in a peaceful and civil way for those things they believe in. How DARE they disagree with YOU. Once again prima facia evidence of the Left just losing it and swirling down deeper into that fetid pit of hate that has become their new home. And before anyone says something about my comment at #107. I was emphasizing the absurdity of the left and Obama by being absurd. I was using their language against them. tea party peaceful and civil? no, I got it was absurd from the get go. Silbey, I think we have different definitions of what constitute a successful stimulus. The unemployment rate was at 14.45% in 1940. The recession in a depression that you mention, 37 – 38 also coincides with an increase in the marginal tax rate in 1937. Coincidence? I guess you would suggest that the decrease in the deficit in 1938 is the actual cause of the recession? A strained argument. By those standards you would consider the most current stimulus a success since we do have positive (although feeble) economic growth and unemployment has declined (slightly). The recession did end in July 2009. I suppose we can wait a decade or so for unemployment to decline to their pre-recession levels. I do trust the President will run in 2012 on his success and tell all those crybaby unemployed to shut their yaps. Greg, I think it would be awesome if Alan Grayson primaries Obama! Grayson does feel he is destined for greater things (just ask him) however sadly, he seems to want to get his old House seat back, by running in the primary against the most popular Democrat in his district, Val Demings. I suspect that can only help the Republican incumbent. Grayson should just sit tight and wait till the next MSNBC host gets fired, and then he can sweep in. @Greg, Name one single event of Tea Party violence. You can’t. The only time there has been violence at Tea Party rallies was when it was done against Tea Party protestors, usually by Union Thugs (redundant). Just look at Ken Gladley. Scorpius You do know it’s not very conducive to a healthy democracy to call people who disagree with you “hostage takers”, right? It’s far less conducive for the hostage takers to be, y’know, taking hostages with regard to the nation’s economy. Whereas calling them on their misdeeds is indeed healthy for a democracy. Just look at Ken Gladley. The same Ken Gladley whose video did not show what he claimed it did? The one who had to be pulled off a union supporter that he was beating? The one who walked around in public for days with no signs of injury, yet claimed in his court filing that he had to be treated for injuries to his face? the one whose lawyer had a prepared statement ready to go within minutes of the incident? Heh. Yeah, by all means, bring up Ken Galdley. , I think we have different definitions of what constitute a successful stimulus I have a definition which includes economic growth. You appear not to, which makes yours a very strange definition indeed. The unemployment rate was at 14.45% in 1940. Down from 24% in 1932. I guess you would suggest that the decrease in the deficit in 1938 is the actual cause of the recession? A strained argument The cause of the recession of 1938 was the sudden monetary tightening brought on by, wait for it, deficit reduction. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/the-fed-and-the-1938-recession/ I’m glad to know that’s a strained argument; I’d be even gladder for some evidence for your side. And no, Amity Shlaes who is neither an economist nor a historian, does not count as evidence. By those standards you would consider the most current stimulus a success since we do have positive (although feeble) economic growth and unemployment has declined (slightly). A partial success sure; it would have been better if it had been larger. But compare the unemployment rate at the peak, which was about 10%, to that at the peak of the Great Depression, when it was 24%. John Boehner tells Steve Drehouse if you vote yes on healthcare “you may be a dead man” Palin tells Minnesota to be “armed and dangerous” RNC chair Steele says he’s getting Nancy Pelosi “ready for the firing line” George Peterson reads the defi.ition of “revolution” as a “forcible overthrow”. Sharon Engle discusses “second ammendment solutions”. Speaks about “taking out Harry Reid”. When asked if there will be a violent revolution if she is not elected says “anything is possible”. Palin: “if you see an Obama sticker, stop the driver” (a man is then stopped and attacked by TP for having an Obama sticker on his car.) Tea Party members post what they thought was the address of Congressman Perriello’s address and suggest peolle “drop by”. Someone ended up cutting his gas line. Turned out it was the wrong house. Rep Steve Cohen says Tea Party is violent and dangerous. In an effort to prove him wrong many Tea Party folks call him and make death threats. Senator Murray was threatened for his suport of Healthcare reform, “there is a target on your back now” and “I want to fucking kill you”. man was arrested for death threats. nice place you have here. be a shame if something happened to it. the above are examples of the Tea Party being “peaceful and civil” by the way….. I think bringing guns to a debate promotes an underlying threat that one could easily interpret as terrorism. David @ 174 First (and this really stuck out to me), how can you compare the unemployment high during the Depression with the unemployment high of the recession? As a comparison, that makes no sense; particularly since you are arguing that both the Great Depression and the Great Recession as evidence of successful stimulus. Secondly, you either didn’t read the link you cited as an explanation of the 37-38 recession, or didn’t understand it. I find myself in agreement with the article that the FED actions in tightening the money supply probably contributed to the severity of that little recession. “The Fed prematurely tightened by doubling reserve requirements at banks.” Not, as you said, by deficit reduction. Deficit reduction isn’t one of the options in the FED’s toolbox. Although I a consider economic growth (measured by percentage increase in GDP) as A measure of recovery, I would find it hard to consider taking a decade to get the economy back to the same size as it was in 1929, and still crippled by massive unemployment, as much of a success. Historically speaking, we’ve not had a depression that lasted that long with unemployment rates still that high. Of course, our previous depressions didn’t have the benefits of the New Deal. But if that is a success to you, small wonder you regard our current “recovery” as partial success. If you are measuring the actual unemployment high of 10.1% against the White House economic prediction that without stimulus unemployment would have topped out at 8.8%, we are worse off with the stimulus. The CBO predicted that without a stimulus the recession would end in the middle of 2009, exactly when it ended WITH the stimulus. It was a good try though. I’m stock-piling bacon. Yes, all of it. Because… well, BACON, man! Soon you will all be in thrall to my bacon-ness, and my bacon-hood will take over the WORLD! Muuuuu-ah-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa………! And you will call me… The Prince of Dark-crispy-ness! well the Tea Party and their Republican cohorts got everything they wanted and more. Spending cuts galore and no new taxes to cover new stimulus programs or anything like that. The market response? 5% drop in the Dow Jones one week after the Republican plan. Good job you clear thinking right wingers you. All we need is about 19 more of your plans and the economy will be completely nonexistent. Yay you. @lilmike The high in unemployment came before FDR was President and thus before there was any stimulus from the New Deal. Once he came in, and started the New Deal stimulus, GDP started growing rapidly, and unemployment dropped quickly. Until, of course, 1937, when a misguided attempt at deficit reduction, including Fed tightening (golly, who do you think might have been pressuring them to do that?) threw the country back into recession. The article says exactly what I said it did, thanks. Your understanding of both economics and history is the normal litany of rightwing fantasies. Most importantly, as I noted ( and you’ve ignored or hand waved), GDP was back above the 1929 level by 1940, and unemployment had been cut in half. Both of these things came before WWII started. Not even a nice try. @David Sorry David but no, the article didn’t say what you said it did. What you said was: “The cause of the recession of 1938 was the sudden monetary tightening brought on by, wait for it, deficit reduction.” Then gave a link that said the FED’s monetary policy caused the recession. Even Keynes didn’t believe that balanced budgets caused recessions. The evidence that the reduced federal deficit caused the recession is exactly the same for saying that the increase in tax rates caused the recession; in other words they happened in the same time period. I think the history of Monetary Policy clearly shows that it has a greater influence over the economy then either the deficit or tax rates (at least in the small period of time we are talking about, 1937-38). As far as unemployment goes, I didn’t hand wave it away, I addressed it. I just didn’t think that a 14.5 % unemployment rate after decade of your policy proved its success. Nor does bringing the GDP back to where it was in 1929 decade later. One assumes that if we are still not back to 2007 unemployment levels a decade from now you will still pronounce the Obama stimulus a success. In fact, given your standards, it’s hard to imagine circumstances in which it could be pronounced a failure. @Greg The Tea Party wanted a 4 Trillion cut over 10 years. They got a compromise. That is what S & P said that they needed to see to have avoided a downgrade. If the President had his way, a “clean” debt bill with no cuts, we still would have gotten the downgrade. Relax, you own the downgrade, enjoy it! @lilmike: As far as unemployment goes, I didn’t hand wave it away, I addressed it. I just didn’t think that a 14.5 % unemployment rate after decade of your policy proved its success. Nor does bringing the GDP back to where it was in 1929 decade later. One assumes that if we are still not back to 2007 unemployment levels a decade from now you will still pronounce the Obama stimulus a success. In fact, given your standards, it’s hard to imagine circumstances in which it could be pronounced a failure. You most certainly did handwave it away, and you’re doing it again. Almost halving the unemployment rate is a sign of a policy’s failure? That’s a ridiculous assertion. Getting the GDP back to where it was before one of the largest economic collapses in American history? That’s another ridiculous assertion. If you are measuring the actual unemployment high of 10.1% against the White House economic prediction that without stimulus unemployment would have topped out at 8.8%, we are worse off with the stimulus. Of course, that prediction was made using the original, inaccurate numbers of the Bush collapse. Where the first number for GDP drop in the last part of 2008 was ~3.5%, it’s now been revamped to 8.9%, an enormous contraction. Given that, it’s not surprising that estimates were off. That unemployment only went to 10% is pretty remarkable given the size of the fall in GDP, and speaks well for the stimulus. That stimulus should have been larger, for an even better effect. If the President had his way, a “clean” debt bill with no cuts, we still would have gotten the downgrade. S&P has explicitly said that a large factor in the downgrade was the speculation by people (aka Republicans) that a default wouldn’t matter. Dave, I suggest that you go back and read S & P’s news release. Their very first bullet point was : “The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.” I can’t say that find any comment in their release that Republicans (or other people) said that default wouldn’t matter as a reason for the downgrade. Maybe I’m just missing it though. As I had said in my last post, it’s hard to imagine a circumstance in which you would call the stimulus a failure. You’ve seemed to have double downed on that. Your premise is that the Great Depression was the first depression in history that could not be recovered from without Keynesian stimulus. Therefore, a 10 year economic tragedy is actually a victory for Keynesianism because the unemployment was half of what it was a decade later. You assume that there would have been no unemployment recovery without the New Deal. 1940 would have seen the same 24% unemployment rate as 1932 had. That’s counterhistorical, and if you track the end date of US recessions since WWII, economic “stimulus” plans usually don’t get started until after the recession is over. Thats why I don’t believe in stimulus. Most of the time the recession is over before the stimulus starts. And I suppose you apply that to our most recent recession. It would still be going on, with unemployment at 10% or more, if not for the stimulus. Even economic models don’t back that up, and they accept the Keynesian mulipliers of spending. So in short, discussing stimulus with you is like discussing the existence of god with a religious believer. No matter how bad the results are, they demonstrate the stimulus worked because we can’t rerun the economy with out it. We do have history though, and as I previously mentioned, the recession ended exactly when economic models said they would end without stimulus. @lilmike: The name is “David.” S&P note on the “default is no problem” speculation is here: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/61147.html Your premise is that the Great Depression was the first depression in history that could not be recovered from without Keynesian stimulus. If you’d like to make up imaginary arguments for me, that’s your business, but I’m not required to defend them. What I have actually said is that the stimulus of the New Deal worked quite effectively in the 1933-37 period, causing GDP to grow (by over 10% in some years, and unemployment to drop massively), and that it was partly undone by a turn to deficit fighting in 1937-38. That says nothing about any other recessions or depressions. Strawman arguments are usually a sign that someone is losing the discussion. Therefore, a 10 year economic tragedy is actually a victory for Keynesianism because the unemployment was half of what it was a decade later. You assume that there would have been no unemployment recovery without the New Deal. 1940 would have seen the same 24% unemployment rate as 1932 had. Wait, so your argument is that the house would have magically put its own fire out? Entertaining, if delusional. (oh, another article for your reading pleasure: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/business/economy/from-world-war-ii-economic-lessons-for-today.html?scp=2&sq=romer&st=cse ) By the way, it would be lovely if you would bring some of your evidence into the discussion. You are making a range of assertions that are backed up by nothing. Bring evidence next time (and not Amity Shlaes, but actual economists or historians), or you have no credibility. OK David. I’m not making up your arguments for you. Those are your arguments. You credited the New Deal for the halving in unemployment over a decade. And in case you left any doubt that ONLY the New Deal could have delivered any economic respite you added: “Wait, so your argument is that the house would have magically put its own fire out? Entertaining, if delusional.” So yes, you are in fact arguing exactly what I said: “Your premise is that the Great Depression was the first depression in history that could not be recovered from without Keynesian stimulus. Therefore, a 10 year economic tragedy is actually a victory for Keynesianism because the unemployment was half of what it was a decade later. You assume that there would have been no unemployment recovery without the New Deal. 1940 would have seen the same 24% unemployment rate as 1932 had.” No strawman required. The argument is all yours. And trying to deny the argument that you just made I would say is a sign of losing the argument. And once again, you are posting an article that fails to back up your point. At least this is written by a real economist, but what good does that do you if the article fails to back up your point? As Romer writes: “As I showed in an academic paper years ago, the war first affected the economy through monetary developments. Starting in the mid-1930s, Hitler’s aggression caused capital flight from Europe. People wanted to invest somewhere safer — particularly in the United States. Under the gold standard of that time, the flight to safety caused large gold flows to America. The Treasury Department under President Franklin D. Roosevelt used that inflow to increase the money supply. The result was an aggressive monetary expansion that effectively ended deflation. Real borrowing costs decreased and interest-sensitive spending rose rapidly. The economy responded strongly. From 1933 to 1937, real gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of almost 10 percent, and unemployment fell from 25 percent to 14. To put that in perspective, G.D.P. growth has averaged just 2.5 percent in the current recovery, and unemployment has barely budged.” So… it was monetary policy… just as I wrote in my last post! As far as the downgrade goes, please read the S & P release: http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2011/08/05/sp-downgrades-u-s-debt-rating-press-release/ So yes, you are in fact arguing exactly what I said: “Your premise is that the Great Depression was the first depression in history that could not be recovered from without Keynesian stimulus. Therefore, a 10 year economic tragedy is actually a victory for Keynesianism because the unemployment was half of what it was a decade later. You assume that there would have been no unemployment recovery without the New Deal. 1940 would have seen the same 24% unemployment rate as 1932 had.” If you’d like to quote me saying that, rather than you saying that, your argument would hold more water. As to the rest of the Great Depression discussion, provide some of your own evidence, please. Otherwise, you have no credibility. As far as the downgrade goes, please read the S & P release: http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2011/08/05/sp-downgrades-u-s-debt-rating-press-release/ Sure, and in the link I cited, an S&P official pointed to people acting as if the default wouldn’t matter. Actually I did quote you: “Wait, so your argument is that the house would have magically put its own fire out? Entertaining, if delusional.” As far as the Depression discussion goes, I did provide evidence. In fact, I don’t think we’ve actually disputed any actual facts or statistics, only the interpretation of them. Other than the links you curiously provided that not only failed to back up you case on the 1937-38 recession, but refuted it. That was just odd. As far as the S& P downgrade goes, here is the link from S& P’s site: http://www.standardandpoors.com/ratings/articles/en/us/?assetID=1245316529563 • We have lowered our long-term sovereign credit rating on the United • States of America to ‘AA+’ from ‘AAA’ and affirmed the ‘A-1+’ short-term • rating. • We have also removed both the short- and long-term ratings from • CreditWatch negative. • The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan • that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of • what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s • medium-term debt dynamics. • More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, • stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political • institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic • challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a • negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011. • Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the • gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us • pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be • able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal • consolidation plan that stabilizes the government’s debt dynamics any • time soon. • The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. We could lower the • long-term rating to ‘AA’ within the next two years if we see that less • reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new • fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government • debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case. I think S& P is pretty clear. Actually I did quote you: You quoted a chunk and then put your own meaning to it, a meaning I’ve already explicitly said was ridiculous. Try again. Again, bring some of your own evidence about the Great Depression or your comments are useless. I think S& P is pretty clear. Yep: “A Standard & Poor’s director said for the first time Thursday that one reason the United States lost its triple-A credit rating was that several lawmakers expressed skepticism about the serious consequences of a credit default — a position put forth by some Republicans. Without specifically mentioning Republicans, S&P senior director Joydeep Mukherji said the stability and effectiveness of American political institutions were undermined by the fact that “people in the political arena were even talking about a potential default,” Mukherji said. “That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,” he added. “This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.” http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/61147.html#ixzz1VKlKbHxO Try again. I think this is the part of the discussion in which you ignore my response to your statement, and then you repeat it again, as if I never responded to it. So… you said, “As to the rest of the Great Depression discussion, provide some of your own evidence, please. Otherwise, you have no credibility.” To which I replied: “As far as the Depression discussion goes, I did provide evidence. In fact, I don’t think we’ve actually disputed any actual facts or statistics, only the interpretation of them. Other than the links you curiously provided that not only failed to back up you case on the 1937-38 recession, but refuted it. That was just odd.” So, here you go again: “Again, bring some of your own evidence about the Great Depression or your comments are useless.” So I guess I can just short cut my reply with a quick cut and paste: As far as the Depression discussion goes, I did provide evidence. In fact, I don’t think we’ve actually disputed any actual facts or statistics, only the interpretation of them. Other than the links you curiously provided that not only failed to back up you case on the 1937-38 recession, but refuted it. That was just odd. If you really need links of evidence, I refer you to your own links: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/business/economy/from-world-war-ii-economic-lessons-for-today.html?scp=2&sq=romer&st=cse ) http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/the-fed-and-the-1938-recession/ Which actually backed up my points, not yours. As far as the S & P downgrade goes, I actually provided the link with S&P’s own statement as to why they downgraded. What was the first thing they mentioned? “The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.” In fact, the entire statement fails to mention anything about “people in the political arena were even talking about a potential default.” Now, I appreciate that an S & P senior director has those opinions, but that was not the official reason given by S & P. Why you would think this person’s personal opinion would override the actual official statement is beyond me. And I’m not even sure how you think it helps your argument. Most of the people in the “political arena” who discussed openly a potential default were with the administration. They waved that stick for weeks. So what point are you trying to make exactly? So I guess I can just short cut my reply with a quick cut and paste: As far as the Depression discussion goes, I did provide evidence. In fact, I don’t think we’ve actually disputed any actual facts or statistics, only the interpretation of them. Other than the links you curiously provided that not only failed to back up you case on the 1937-38 recession, but refuted it. That was just odd. I disagree that my evidence did not show what I said it showed. Why are you so unable to provide your own evidence? Economists/historians stating that the 1937-38 contraction was largely caused by deficit fighting? If it’s so obvious, why are you unable to do it? Provide your own evidence, or your statements are not credible, no matter how often repeated. As to the S&P, you can handwave away the statements of a senior director of S&P but I’ll stay with my interpretation, thanks. Again with the evidence. I provided it. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/the-fed-and-the-1938-recession/ Incidentally it’s your own evidence. I admit, I was amused first that you posted it when it said something different than what you said, and I’m amused now that I get to post it for your in response to your demand for evidence. So this link says Fed monetary policy caused that recession inside a depression, not a reduced deficit. There’s your evidence. It’s you who has provided no evidence to back up your case. As far as the S & P downgrade, I think you stated it (from my POV) perfectly: “..you can handwave away the statements of a senior director of S&P but I’ll stay with my interpretation, thanks.” So you made a choice to disregard S& P’s official statement in favor of of the opinion of one of their directors. That’s clearly your choice, but don’t expect to persuade when you freely admit to cheery picking less authoritative sources that agree with your prejudices rather than more authoritative ones that don’t. Bring your own evidence or you have no credibility. You don’t accept the evidence that you brought? The links you posted ARE my evidence! Thanks by the way. You don’t accept the evidence that you brought? The links you posted ARE my evidence! Bring your own evidence or you have no credibility. The evidence that you brought to the table didn’t back up your points. I don’t know if you were just lying about what they said and never expected me to check or if you really didn’t understand them. In either case, your credibility is the one that seems weakened. Not mine. Not only did I successfully make my points, you helped me. When it comes to credibility, remove the tree from your eye before you begin to worry about the speck in mine. When it comes to credibility, remove the tree from your eye before you begin to worry about the speck in mine. Now I’m getting fascinated. What makes it so problematic to bring your own evidence? It should be 30 seconds of a Google search to find some benighted economist who takes your side. Why can’t you manage it? Are you worried you’ll find out you’re wrong? What’s going on, lil mike? I’ve seen refusals before, but this is creeping into a whole new level. You’re quite right. I could Google references in a couple of seconds, but then what? The pointlessness of me bringing evidence is the fact that you’ve already decided, and made clear that your mind cannot be changed, by any evidence. You’re an ideologue. And you’ve made that quite clear. You cherry picked the S & P statement that suited you best, even though as a consequence you had to totally disregard the official S & P statement. Your response? “I’ll stay with my interpretation, thanks” So what possible evidence could I bring that would make any difference? You actually posted a link to an article that you said confirmed your theory that the 37-38 recession was caused by the closing of the deficit during that period. You could have at least entertained the notion that the tax increases that went hand in hand with that deficit reduction, but no, you referred me to a link that said…. what? It said that Fed Monetary policy was the cause of that recession. This was your link by the way, and when I pointed it out, you blithely ignored it. So let me ask you, if you will ignore your own evidence because it doesn’t fit your preconceived ideological straight-jacket, what would be the point of me going on posting 5 or 6 links? Since it’s clear you don’t even read your own links, we both know you are not going to read any that I post. So while you may be fascinated that I’ve already made my case and no longer feel the need to keep re-making it, I’ve no illusions of educating you. That’s not why you’re here. And I doubt in the history of the internet, no “argument” has ever been won. At least not in the case that both parties agree that there was a winner and a loser. And that’s not my goal either. You’ve made it clear that you won’t even let your own evidence change your mind, so you sure don’t need to worry about mine. In the meantime, I get to enjoy pointing out your cognitive dissonance. If you were really really interested in in the relation of monetary policy to the great depression, I would recommend A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960. You more quickly you could google Ben Bernanke + great depression. He has a lot to say on the issue. And he’s on your ideological side. And for you, isn’t that really the only thing that matters? You’re quite right. I could Google references in a couple of seconds, but then what? The pointlessness of me bringing evidence is the fact that you’ve already decided, and made clear that your mind cannot be changed, by any evidence. And you would know this, how? You haven’t presented any evidence to dismiss, you’ve just asserted things over and over and over again. Bring your own evidence or you have no credibility. I’m in phoenix AZ. When “no law day” arrives the Valley of the Sun will be a death trap. I prepare by by having usgs maps and by prescouting escape routes from the city. I will have to get to the high country where food is grown and where there is water to drink before the millions of other urbanites and hope that the locals will acept me as a conscript in the -“kill the useless ubanite hordes before they destroy our farmland and eat us all” militia. I plan to arrive with arms and more importantly ammo and some silver bullion. Remember kids having 40 firearms and only 2000 roundsof ammo means you get to participate in 1 firefight if you arm your 39 closest henchmen or you get perhaps a dozen firefights (small ones) if you arm your family of 4. Whereas the guy who has been violating federal law and illegally stockpiling ammo can fight and fight and fight. It won’t be about how many guns you have but how much irreplaceable ammo you have. (the last man with ammo is king see the Road Warrior.) I also troll financial web sites with jokes about how its not your stock to gold ratio that matters it is your lead to gold ratio that matters. Not enuf gold and farmers wont give you food. Not enuf lead and bandits take your shit. “And you would know this, how? You haven’t presented any evidence to dismiss, you’ve just asserted things over and over and over again.” I know that because when you posted this: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/the-fed-and-the-1938-recession/ I responded with this: “Secondly, you either didn’t read the link you cited as an explanation of the 37-38 recession, or didn’t understand it. I find myself in agreement with the article that the FED actions in tightening the money supply probably contributed to the severity of that little recession. “The Fed prematurely tightened by doubling reserve requirements at banks.” Not, as you said, by deficit reduction. Deficit reduction isn’t one of the options in the FED’s toolbox.” You just continued with your pre-programmed talking points. And for the S& P reasons for downgrading, you totally disregarded the official statement from S & P to accept the opinion of one S & P director. So in fact, it’s been you asserting the same things over and over and over again, without any evidence. And of course your response? “I’ll stay with my interpretation, thanks” Best robotic talking point answer ever! So that’s why any evidence provided to you will prove useless. You’re not going to deviate from the Think Progress line regardless of evidence. I told you to google Ben Bernanke + great depression for your evidence, but that appears to be too much for you. So here you go: http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/speeches/2004/200403022/default.htm http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-08-08/news/29864574_1_recession-interest-rates-reserve-chairman-ben-bernanke http://www.realclearmarkets.com/news/reuters/finance_business/2011/Aug/07/that_1937_feeling_all_over_again.html http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/the-great-depression-according-to-milton-friedman/ So that’s why any evidence provided to you will prove useless Provide some evidence and we’ll find out, won’t we? Until you do that, you have no credibility. My apologies to all; I hit return before I should have. Excellent! Let’s take a look at the evidence you’ve provided. (By the way, this “I told you to google Ben Bernanke + great depression for your evidence, but that appears to be too much for you” is just ridiculous: you cannot make an argument and then assert others are being lazy because they won’t provide your evidence for you) First, let’s remind ourselves of my position about 1937-38: From earlier: “until, of course, 1937, when a misguided attempt at deficit reduction, including Fed tightening” contributed to a renewed recession. Now, let’s see what Bernanke said: In the first link, the only discussion of 37-38 was this: “Friedman and Schwartz discuss other episodes and policy actions as well, such as the Federal Reserve’s misguided tightening of policy in 1937-38 which contributed to a new recession in those years.” “Contributed to” ie was one factor but not the only one. No problem for my argument there. Second link, the only comment from Bernanke is “Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.” Not clear to what he is referring (though the article unconvincingly makes it out to be). Still not a problem. Third link, same quote as the first. Still not a problem (and note it’s the same quote at the same conference, so it’s a duplicate). Fourth quote: same quote again. Other than that, nothing from Bernanke. The article itself uses “contributed” again. “Since 1935 the [Federal Reserve] System has presided over—and greatly contributed to—a major recession of 1937–38, ” Again, no problem for my position. So you have four pieces of evidence, three of which use the same (birthday tribute to Milton Friedman) quote, and one which says the same thing I’m saying. No academic articles, nothing that actually brings in evidence of its own. Nope, I appreciate that you finally brought some evidence, but it doesn’t say what you want it to. “First, let’s remind ourselves of my position about 1937-38: From earlier: “until, of course, 1937, when a misguided attempt at deficit reduction, including Fed tightening” contributed to a renewed recession.” Let’s not rewrite history. Your original position was this, “The cause of the recession of 1938 was the sudden monetary tightening brought on by, wait for it, deficit reduction.” Deficit reduction. Your “evidence” was about Fed Monetary policy, it said nothing about fiscal policy; deficit reduction. Yet you’ve maintained that position, referring to that same article, which does not address deficit reduction. Since I’m a Monetarist that seemed to affirm my position; not yours. Now as to those links, you seem to regard them as “not a problem” for your position because… why? None of them said that deficit reduction was the reason for the recession in question. So they didn’t support your position. Are you serious? I mean, I won this a long time ago, back on message #178, when I pointed out the sole bit of evidence you brought didn’t support your argument. And instead of being able to rebut it, or bring any other evidence to the table, you insist that I bring my own evidence (because your own link wasn’t good enough for you!). I did that, you failed to rebut it, and somehow, you still think you won. If your purpose is to boost my ego by making me appear smarter than I actually am, your plan is working in spades! I would suggest in the future you have an idea of what sort of evidence supports your argument before you post it, and actually read the links that you post as evidence, so you won’t be embarrassed again. Although as I’ve already pointed out, you are probably too ideological for that, so evidence be damned. Let’s not rewrite history. Your original position was this, “The cause of the recession of 1938 was the sudden monetary tightening brought on by, wait for it, deficit reduction.” Which I then modified. No one’s allowed to change their mind? I mean, I won this a long time ago, back on message #178, when I pointed out the sole bit of evidence you brought didn’t support your argumen It wasn’t the sole bit of evidence I brought and I disagree with your interpretation. I would suggest in the future you have an idea of what sort of evidence supports your argument before you post it, and actually read the links that you post as evidence, so you won’t be embarrassed again. Although as I’ve already pointed out, you are probably too ideological for that, so evidence be damned. So, not even going to try and defend your evidence, huh? Basically admitting that it was wrong? Good to know. Just to be clear, let me lay out what I am arguing, and what I think is the consensus of historians who’ve studied this era: The recession of 1937-38 was caused by a misguided return to fiscal conservatism. This manifested in both aggressive deficit cutting and a severe tightening of the money supply. These had the combined effect of throwing the US economy back into recession. The fiscal conservatism followed a sustained recovery driven by the Keynesian policies of the New Deal, including substantial government spending and a loose monetary policy. Really? You still want to continue? I mean, to what end? You have decided by fiat that your link: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/the-fed-and-the-1938-recession/ Also says that deficit reduction contributed to the recession, even when it says nothing of the sort. And you’ve also decided, again by some sort of executive decision, that the links I provided are “no problem” for your position. I can only assume that they are “no problem” because your preferred causation isn’t mentioned in those links; a rather thin reed to hang your argument on. A rather recent event in history, the deficit reduction of the late 1990’s, should show that deficit reduction and reduced government spending don’t throw the country into a recession. If there was any opportunity to prove your thesis, that period of time should have done it. By the way, I don’t begrudge someone changing their mind, particularly in the face of new evidence, but honestly, you didn’t. You merely added monetary policy as a contributing factor to the real enemy, deficit reduction. Really? You still want to continue? I mean, to what end? You have decided by fiat that your link: Actually, yes. I do enjoy the way that you’re so entirely unconfident in your evidence that you won’t defend it. “Decide by fiat” is the same thing as “understand your evidence.” “Fail to ever mention my evidence again” is the same as “having thrown together some google links that I don’t really believe in.” And you’ve also decided, again by some sort of executive decision, that the links I provided are “no problem” for your position Oh, no, child. I actually looked through your evidence and pointed out why it’s not evidence at all. Keep trying. We’ll go as long as you want. One couldn’t help but notice that you added nothing to your argument nor rebutted my last point about the deficit reduction of the late 90’s. Keep going! Until you come up with convincing evidence about 1937-38, I’ll stay on that, thanks. I have a feeling that at this point the two of you are (perhaps intentionally) talking past each other, so unless this really going to go anywhere, you should probably wrap it up. Sure, I’m willing, just as soon as David admits that I won this back on message #178 when I rebutted the only evidence that he provided. Since then he has failed to provide any other evidence to support his position or to explain why the evidence he did submit; an article about Fed monetary policy that has nothing to do with deficit reduction, explains the 37-38 recession as one brought on by deficit reduction. Actually who am I kidding? I know he’s not going to do that. I do enjoy the venue you’ve provided for allowing this to play out though. [Deleted because the Special Olympics quote regarding arguing is at this point neither original nor interesting. Let’s try harder next time — JS] Sure, I’m willing, just as soon as David admits that I won this back on message #178 when I rebutted the only evidence that he provided. I can’t help but imagine that you’re going to be disappointed. Actually who am I kidding? I know he’s not going to do that Yep, see? Wow David, you even read my non political statements incorrectly. If I say that I know that you are not going to do that (admit I was right) than no, I will not be disappointed when you don’t. If I say that I know that you are not going to do that (admit I was right) than no, I will not be disappointed when you don’t. As EB White once said, explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You can do it, but the frog tends to die in the process. Because you say it’s a joke doesn’t make it one. So how do you feel about Krugman’s space alien stimulus? Because you say it’s a joke doesn’t make it one. And the frog is dying. At this point, I think a big hook should appear from stage left and slowly tug you offstage. #219 by lil mike on September 1, 2011 – 5:55 pm At this point, I think a big hook should appear from stage left and slowly tug you offstage. And now there’s a whole host of frogs dying. And, gee whillikers, lil mike, here we go again. The stimulus has faded out of the system, the GOP is obsessed with deficit reduction, and the economy is going bang again: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/03/business/economy/united-states-showed-no-job-growth-in-august.html?_r=1&hp It’s 1937 all over again. Guys, you’re talking past each other at this point. Then let me try to get things on track and talk directly to the issue. David, once again, you’ve posted a link that doesn’t say what you said it does. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/03/business/economy/united-states-showed-no-job-growth-in-august.html?_r=2&hp The only possible reference I could find in your article about the stimulus fading out of the system was the loss of local government jobs. I would love to get a breakdown of that, however as a Keynesian, I’m sure you know that the real stimulus has been well over 4 trillion dollars, the total of the deficits since the start of the Obama administration. In Keynesian terms, that represents “new money” into the system. When you consider the increasing annual budget deficit, total costs of unemployment and food stamps (the very best stimulus in Keynesian terms- with a 1.73 “multiplier”), that is a pretty powerful, and accelerating, Keynesian stimulus. And yet here we are, with zero net new jobs for August. And although you blame the GOP for being obsessed with deficit reduction, what actual reduction have they accomplished? None I would say so far. It seems like the GOP’s efforts to stand athwart deficits yelling “stop” have been pretty fruitless. So as a Keynesian, I think even you must admit that the Republicans have made no headway in reducing any sort of Keynesian stimulus. It’s still going full blast. I think the real purpose of posting that article was to try to control the spin and keep someone else from posting it as a rebuke to the economic policies you are trying to support; spinning its real, serious, bad news on unemployment by trying to somehow lay it at the feet somehow of the Republican Congress. A fair reading of the article would show that that’s not the case. Republicans are mostly irrelevant to actual decisions being made. So your article, once again, makes a better case for my position than yours. No surprise there. So as a Keynesian, I think even you must admit that the Republicans have made no headway in reducing any sort of Keynesian stimulus. It’s still going full blast. Oh piffle. The article was to show that the lack of new jobs. The original stimulus has certainly faded out of the system, and your assertion that it was $4 trillion because that’s the deficit spending since Obama took office is ridiculous. By that measure all of the modern Presidents have been Keynesians. I’m sure Reagan would be surprised. The real stimulus was too small to begin with, and was undercut by the states cutting spending as federal money ramped up. It’s out of the system now, and the result is that the economy is stalling, just as it did in 1937-38. A July 2010 estimation of the stimulus: http://www.economy.com/mark-zandi/documents/End-of-Great-Recession.pdf And then what’s going on now: http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/06/03/end-of-stimulus-causing-major-drag-on-jobs-and-growth/ Feel free to come up with your own evidence. Credible stuff this time, please. Whether or not all modern Presidents are Keynesians would seem to be dependent on if they thought they intended their deficit spending to be “stimulus.”I didn’t claim that all Presidents were Keynesians (although Nixon famously declared that “we are all Keynesians now”). I claimed that Keynesians say deficit spending is stimulus. As the President declared to Republican criticism that the Stimulus Bill was just a spending bill, “What do they think a stimulus is?” So certainly the current President would agree that he’s a Keynesian and that his deficits are stimulus, so why do you deny it? When he said that by the way, was my clue that he had no idea what he was talking about in terms of economic matters, as our current economic situation shows. So why would you say that deficit spending isn’t Keynesian stimulus? Isn’t that the very formula Keynes gave? For your link to Mark Zandi’s paper, he certainly overestimated 2010 GDP (he said it would be 3.4%, it actually was 2.8%). Now what point were you trying make by posting that? Much of that paper has turned out to be wildly inaccurate so I’m not really getting its relevance. Posting a paper of predictions from the middle of 2010 that turned out to be wrong doesn’t really add to your argument. But at least Zandi is an economist. As far as you blog post from that lefty website… really, is that what you have in mind as a “credible source?” It didn’t even source the main argument that you are taking from that; that the running down of the stimulus is what’s causing the drop in growth of employment. Mark Zandi certainly didn’t have that view in his paper you posted. He predicted blue skies and clear sailing for the economy and unemployment as the stimulus tapered off. If you were asking people in February of 2009 their predictions of what the economy would be like by August of 2011, I would have been more accurate than either FireDogLake or Mark Zandi. Feel free to come up with your own (credible) evidence. You haven’t, yet. I’ve noticed that in discussions with people online, some of them have a “go to” response when they really have no response. “Feel free to come up with your own (credible) evidence” or some variation, seems to be yours. Ironic considering the “credible” sources you’ve provided have either proven my point rather than yours, were predictions that proved incorrect, or were some sort of crazy blog post. That’s credibility? You’re search for “credible “sources don’t even seem relevant since we are not contesting basic facts, such as the unemployment rate, or GDP. We seem to be in agreement (as far as I can tell) on those numbers. Further, you’ve responded to none of my points or questions to you. So I don’t even know what “credible” sources I should bring to bear to rebut your argument since you are not making one. You responded to none of my points. Come on now, it’s no fun when you just give up and don’t even try! Any evidence at all. You guys realize that lil milke thinks that WW2 wasn’t government stimulus, right? I mean, come on, WW2 wasn’t government stimulus????? And every economist on the planet says WW2 fixed the economy. You think you’re going to convince him about 1937 deficit reduction policy? Think about that for a second…. You think you’re going to convince him about 1937 deficit reduction policy? At this point, I’m largely just replying to see how long he will. No, at this point, you’ve not been able to respond to a single point I’ve made. Like I said, I won this back on 178. But as a stubborn ideologue you must continue to defend your religion against infidels. No, at this point, you’ve not been able to respond to a single point I’ve made. Like I said, I won this back on 178. But as a stubborn ideologue you must continue to defend your religion against infidels Naughty, naughty. No wasting your time posting, you have evidence to find. Hurry! Oh, and I’m invoking Danth’s Law: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Danth's_Law Well, I have rammed my point home several times and you’ve ignored everything I’ve said. So this thread might be an example. Well, I have rammed my point home several times and you’ve ignored everything I’ve said. So this thread might be an example. I can help you with search terms if you’re finding Google too difficult. Is this a reference to your “go to” response? Instead, why don’t you try answering a few questions you’ve passed by? So how do you feel about Krugman’s space alien stimulus? He is your Grand Poohbah of Keynesian-ism, even though he that isn’t his specialty. Although you blame the GOP for being obsessed with deficit reduction, what actual reduction have they accomplished So certainly the current President would agree that he’s a Keynesian and that his deficits are stimulus, so why do you deny it? So why would you say that deficit spending isn’t Keynesian stimulus? Isn’t that the very formula Keynes gave? For your link to Mark Zandi’s paper, he certainly overestimated 2010 GDP (he said it would be 3.4%, it actually was 2.8%). Now what point were you trying make by posting that? As far as you blog post from that lefty website… [Firedoglake] really, is that what you have in mind as a “credible source? Or Bing. I’ve got some good tips for Bing. So you’re not even going to try to answer a single question huh? That’s doubling down on failure. Good for you! Or Yahoo. I think you guys are done now. Say good night. Comments are closed.