A Philosopher's Blog

Obama’s Broken Promises

Posted in Business, Environment, Ethics, Law, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on June 15, 2012
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While I am often accused of bashing Republicans while looking away from the sins of the Democrats, this is not the case. After all, I have written posts critical of Democrats. I will, of course, say that the Republicans generally seem to do more things that are in need of criticism-perhaps because the Democrats are known for being a bit weak and passive.

While I will most likely to continue to favor Obama over Romney, I do have serious concerns about some of the policies and actions of the Obama administration (such as the administration’s policy regarding assassination). Thanks to a recent leak, I now have concerns about Obama’s trade policy.

One concern that seems to be bipartisan in nature is that the administration seems to have provided corporations with more information than has been provided to congress. While Republicans are general pro-corporation, at least some of them seem dismayed by this approach. I agree with this concern. While the people who run the corporations are concerned parties, congress is still the legislative body in this country and hence should be at least as well informed by the administration as the corporations are.

A second concern that should also worry the left and the right is that the agreement being pushed by the Obama administration would allow foreign companies operating on US soil to appeal our laws to an international tribunal that could overrule our laws and impose sanctions on us.

For folks who are seen as left leaning, the obvious concerns are that foreign companies could be allowed to violate our labor and environmental laws in ways detrimental to Americans. Ironically, American corporations have often taken actions aimed at allowing them to be exempt from laws in other countries (or to simply see to it that the laws allow them to do as they wish). While corporations do see clear advantages in being able to operate without the burden of such regulations, the price of such freedom is invariably paid by the people impacted by this freedom. That is, the people who are economically exploited and subject to the environmental damages inflicted by said corporations. Since I have been consistently opposed to corporations using there power to the detriment of people overseas, I am opposed to the United States being treated as a third world country.

Folks who are not left leaning should also be concerned about this agreement. First, while the agreement will allow foreign corporations to potentially violate United States law and regulations, American corporations will not be exempt (unless, of course, they cease to be American corporations-and this new agreement would give them an incentive to do so). This could give foreign corporations an unfair advantage over American corporations. In addition to being unfair, it should also dismay those who are supporters of American corporations. Second, this agreement would allow an international tribunal to override the sovereignty of the United States. While folks on the right generally oppose regulation, they generally also rail against attempts to impose on United States sovereignty. Of course, the past criticism from the right on this matter has typically been in regards to more stringent environmental regulations and other things that might seem to be coming from the left side of the political spectrum. Some on the right might sing a different tune when the imposition is to allow foreign corporations to ignore the laws of the United States.

Given the above arguments, I have two main points. The first is that the administration needs to change its approach to dealing with foreign corporations. To be specific, as much as I dislike Congress, I contend that they need to be kept properly informed. They are, after all, a branch of the government. The second is that the proposed agreement is unacceptable.

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  1. turkischland said, on June 15, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Reblogged this on turkischland and commented:

  2. turkischland said, on June 15, 2012 at 4:53 am

    Reblogged this on turkischland and commented:
    Victory OBAMA

  3. melouisef said, on June 15, 2012 at 7:40 am

    I am not an American (I would have liked to be) but I follow your politics with great interest and read a lot. I even read in Der Spiegel that even they think now Obama makes promises which he cannot possibly keep.

  4. scroungelady said, on June 15, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Interesting perspective. ALL politicians make promises; they are politicians and that’s what they do. What concerns me is that the workin’ man isn’t getting a fair shake anymore.

  5. FRE said, on June 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    You made some very valid points. I could find additional thinks about Obama that I don’t like. But in spite of that, I’d much rather have him as president than Romney.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 15, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      I agree. While Romney was a moderate to liberal conservative as Governor, he had to tack to the right. Also, I suspect that his “solution” to the economy would be to steer hard back to exactly the course that tanked the economy last time around.

      • magus71 said, on June 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm

        “Also, I suspect that his “solution” to the economy would be to steer hard back to exactly the course that tanked the economy last time around.”

        As opposed to Obama’s policies that pulled the economy out of the swamp? So you’re saying he’d make things worse than they are now? You can only hope.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm

          It is always challenging to say “what would have been” when it comes to matters of even modest complexity. Since the economy was nose-diving when Obama took office and has been gradually climbing, it might be reasonable to say that Obama has helped make things better. Of course, the causal impact of the president on the economy is not know.

          I think Romney would try to get things going, but I worry that his approach would be to do what has been done and failed. Obama is also a doing a lot of things that have been shown not to work (like small tax cuts). Perhaps it is time for someone to go big or go home.

          • Anonymous said, on June 18, 2012 at 7:32 pm

            Obama has done nothing at all. You speak from your rectum sir.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 18, 2012 at 8:06 pm

              Nothing at all? How would that even be possible? Are you making some sort of Zen claim, that he does without doing?

            • FRE said, on June 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

              It’s interesting that you say that. I know people who assert that he has done far too much.

  6. magus71 said, on June 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm


    You need to wake up when it comes to the deception in this administration. It goes way beyond dealings with foreign corporations.



    • Jo Losturo said, on June 17, 2012 at 6:22 am

      I am not surprised you would find blogs bashing President Obama on the purely, Right-wing, “Daily Caller” site. I don’t even believe the “leak” talked about in this person’s blog, a story which has been making the rounds since Wednesday. This POTUS would not allow foreign corporations to do whatever they please, thus giving them an “advantage” over American corporations. I believe we will find out a completely adverse and contradictory explanation of this “leaked” document. It has happened before–too many times.

      • magus71 said, on June 17, 2012 at 9:03 am

        Well Jo, welcome to the True Believers Club. You offer no evidence as to why you don’t believe the negative stories.

      • magus71 said, on June 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

        “I am not surprised you would find blogs bashing President Obama on the purely, Right-wing, “Daily Caller” site.”

        Where would you find “real” stories?

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm

        It is reasonable to be critical of sources, especially those with a clear leaning or agenda.

        • FRE said, on June 18, 2012 at 11:46 pm

          Krauthhammer’s leanings are common knowledge. If his material had been presented in print format instead of a video, I would have read it. However, I very seldom view news videos on-line since doing so is excessively time-consuming. In addition to being slow to load, they typically have long commercials followed by cutsy introductions.

          • magus71 said, on June 24, 2012 at 7:28 am

            “It is reasonable to be critical of sources, especially those with a clear leaning or agenda.”

            I keep that in mind when I read your blog. But shouldn’t each individual story be considered on its own merit? As a philosopher, you should want to point to the fallacy that Jo Losturo appealed to here. As a matter of fact, he appealed to fallacious thinking, then made several unsupported statements.

            After all, while I disagreed with much that Chris Hitchens had to say, I also agreed with much. If I would have thrown out everything he said because it came from a militant atheist, I may have missed something.

            Fre said: “Krauthhammer’s leanings are common knowledge.”

            So what? The question is not if he (or anyone else) has leanings, but are those leanings correct? Mike attacks Republicans and conservatives because he sees them as largely un-intellectual etc. Yet I could post forever, videos that show anti-intellectualism on the Left. Begin with Occupy Wall Street. And the libels on this blog don’t like the Tea Party, in part because of its “anti-intellectualism” and apparently don’t like Krauthammer either, a conservative intellectual.

            In fact, the people here are just not conservatives and don’t like them. Never have and never will.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm

              Individual arguments should be assessed on their own merits.

              As you note, rejecting a claim based on the person making it would generally be a fallacy. However, raising questions about credibility based on the standards for assessing authority (education, bias, experience and so on)would not be fallacious.

              While the left does have some anti-intellectuals (like the ones I have criticized for following bad science regarding autism and vaccines), anti-intellectualism is not a core of the mainstream left in the way it has come to be a core of the right these days. For example, consider the rejection of evolution by most of the one-time Republican presidential candidates. Even the Catholic church accepts evolution as good science. Naturally, they still hold to a teleological view of the universe but that is consistent with evolution (and, given the way the theory has been modified, it almost seems to require a hidden teleological component). There are conservatives who are concerned about this as well.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 18, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      I assume that all administrations are based on secrets and lies. I woke up long ago, probably when I was 17.

  7. T. J. Babson said, on June 17, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    And let’s not forget that Obama just ignores the law when it suits his purposes:

    Rather than pushing new laws through a divided Congress to enact his agenda, Obama is relying on federal agencies to ignore, or at least not defend, laws that some of his important supporters — like Hispanic voters and the gay community — don’t like.

    “If the president says we’re not going to enforce the law, there’s really nothing anyone can do about it,” University of Pennsylvania constitutional law professor Kermit Roosevelt said. “It’s clearly a political calculation.”


    • FRE said, on June 17, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      Let us suppose that you were an 18 year old kid who had been brought illegally to the U.S. by your parents and knew no other language than English. How would you feel about being deported to Mexico or some other country where you did not even know the language and had no way to support yourself?

      In some situations, surely stretching the law is the lesser of two evils.

      • magus71 said, on June 18, 2012 at 7:43 am

        That would be a minuscule percentage of the illegal population. 99% of illegals use the native language of their parents.

        • FRE said, on June 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm

          If it happened to you, would you say that it makes no difference since you are only one person out of thousands and therefore don’t count?

          • magus71 said, on June 19, 2012 at 11:13 pm

            Reminds me of the “abortion needs to be legal because of rape and mother’s life in danger” argument. An entire line of thinking based on an incredibly small sample.

      • magus71 said, on June 18, 2012 at 7:45 am

        And the main issue, FRE, is not if it is a good law or not, but that it was law by decree We are a democracy, right? Where is the people’s say in this?

      • T. J. Babson said, on June 18, 2012 at 8:19 am

        We are a nation of laws, not of men. If Congress passes a law, the President is bound by the Constitution to enforce it, whether he likes it or not.

        • FRE said, on June 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm

          So if a corrupt legislative body enacts a law that requires unjust action, those charged with enforcing that action must do so even if it means violating principals generally recognized by civilized people? I don’t think so. Think about the Dred Scott decision.

          • T. J. Babson said, on June 19, 2012 at 8:39 am

            The role of the president, according to Article II, Sec. 3 of the Constitution, is to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Laws were intended by the Founders to be passed by Congress and signed by the president. Obama finds this a mere inconvenience.

            “Whenever Congress refuses to act, Joe and I we’re going to act,” Obama said in February at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, with Vice President Joe Biden off to the side. “In the months to come, wherever we have an opportunity, we’re going to take steps on our own to keep this economy moving.”

            Obama took that opportunity regarding immigration when he announced he was unilaterally suspending the deportation of some young illegal aliens and allowing others to apply for green cards, essentially implementing the provisions of the so-called Dream Act he has been unable to get through Congress, including one in his first two years dominated by his own party.

            Article 1, Sec. 8 of the Constitution, which enumerates the power of Congress, states that “Congress shall have the Power To … establish an (sic) uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Congress has passed numerous laws pertaining to immigration and naturalization, including laws requiring the deportation of illegals. Congress? Obama don’t need no stinkin’ Congress.


            • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm

              Obama is acting in accord with the Cheney Doctrine, which has been a point of serious concern. After all, the executive branch has been pushing into the territory of congress for quite some time (such as the Vietnam “war”). Congress has, unfortunately, generally been unwilling to really stand up to the incursions on its territory. One common accusation is that the folks in congress are afraid to take significant action out of fear that they will not be re-elected. Another hypothesis is that they are too busy raising money to pay much attention to what is happening.

              As the Republicans in Arizona have argued, Washington has dropped the ball on immigration. So, just as Arizona decided to take action on its own, Obama seems to have stepped in to address the problem. Of course, many folks on the right applauded Arizona and the left cursed the governor. Obama has reversed this, although about 60% of Americans seem to be in favor of what he did.

              Congress has dithered on real immigration reform and they need to step up and make tough decisions. Naturally, they are complaining that the president took action-especially since his decision is currently very popular. It could have been them enjoying some positive results-if only they would have done something that Americans favor, namely doing something positive and just about the immigration problem.

        • FRE said, on June 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm

          “Where is the people’s say in this?”

          From what I read this morning, it appears that the vast majority if the people support his decision. However, that should not be the sole criterion for evaluating anything.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

            Also, if the people don’t like it, they can vote him out in November.

            Obama is continuing a tradition set by his predecessors. While this does not make his actions right, it is instructive to look at the reaction from the right and left when Bush was using executive orders. In general, the pundits seem to have this principle: what my guy/gal does is good, what the other guy/gal does is wrong-even when they do the same thing.

            • FRE said, on June 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm

              Quite true. Basically, it’s a matter of whose ox is being gored.

              Obama is certainly not the first president to stretch the Constitution. Lincoln clearly violated it when he admitted West Virginia into the union when it succeeded from Virginia.

              There have been a number of cases in which the failure of Congress to act in a timely manner has resulted in considerable suffering. In the middle of the 19th century, many people died as the result of boiler explosions on riverboats. The public applied considerable pressure for Congress to implement safety regulations, but Congress refused to do so on the basis of states’ rights; it asserted that it lacked power to do anything. So, people continued to die horrible lingering deaths after being scalded by steam and hot water, or after experiencing physical trauma.

              Well into the 20th century, the federal government refused to do anything about the lynching of blacks which, although most common in the South, also occurred in the North.

              Although politicians, including presidents, in theory should stick strictly to the Constitution and laws, there are exceptional circumstances in which not doing so can be justified. Obviously that is a dangerous position which can be, and has been, abused.

            • magus71 said, on June 24, 2012 at 7:47 am

              Your reaction isn’t exactly the same either. You have considerably more vitriol toward Bush.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm

              I certainly did. However, he was in office 8 years and presided over the Iraq war. Obama needs another 4 years to really rile me.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      To be fair to Obama (and even Bush before him), Congress has been unwilling to step up and make hard decisions. As such, Obama and his predecessors have sometimes been pushed into taken action, as have federal agencies.

      However, the President does need to follow the law-or give a good reason as to why the law is unjust, broken or otherwise defective so as to take steps to getting it changed.

      Telling people to simply not enforce a law is generally not a good idea. If the law is bad, it should be repealed. If it is good, it should be enforced. If it is defective, it should be fixed.

      • FRE said, on June 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm

        In general, I agree. Perhaps we would both agree that the deportations in question are a situation in which stretching the law can be justified.

        I am reminded of my late father’s attitude towards the law, which is probably rather common.

        Some executives of large companies, including General Electric and Westinghouse, had to serve time for violating anti-trust legislation. My father was aghast that people in that position should have to serve time and seemed to believe that exceptions should be made for them. He was also aghast when an older pillar of the community was arrested for DWI on the basis that a man of that stature should not be subjected to arrest or at least should not receive publicity because of it. When the police were castigated for wearing their badges under their coats so that they could not be identified, he stated that the law which required them to wear badges probably did not require that the badges be visible and that therefore wearing their badges under their coats was entirely reasonable. But when a member of the hoi polloi was arrested, he favored a long sentence.

        It seems that many people who favor strict obedience to the law make exceptions, depending partly on social class. The illegal immigrants who were brought here as children are generally considered lower class. If one of them had established a multi-million dollar business that employed hundreds of people doing work which was seen as beneficial, probably he would have no trouble avoiding deportation.

        • T. J. Babson said, on June 19, 2012 at 9:34 am

          The President is not the King

          This editorial page has long supported smarter, forward-thinking immigration policies such as those ordered by the Obama administration Friday. Under the order – if it survives certain legal challenges – illegal immigrants will be allowed to live and work in the United States without fear of deportation if they came here before they were 16, are younger than 30, have lived here for five years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or served in the military.

          However, this editorial page has also long held that there are constitutional limits on the power of the president. This led us to criticize George W. Bush’s extremist view that the president has nearly unlimited powers during war and to hail a 2004 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said “a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation’s citizens.”

          We lamented the Bush administration’s belief that it could it indefinitely detain anyone it wanted, including Americans, without judicial review, and noted the high court had held this was contrary to “the essence of a free society.”

          Before reaching the White House, Barack Obama voiced similar concerns. He even signed a pledge that emphasized the limits on executive authority: “We are Americans, and in our America we do not torture, we do not imprison people without charge or legal remedy, we do not tap people’s phones and emails without court order, and above all we do not give any president unchecked power.”

          But this is not remotely how Obama has governed. His administration unilaterally rewrote the immense, complex No Child Left Behind education law – landmark legislation crafted after a year of bipartisan wrangling between President Bush and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. The administration also asserts authority to kill suspected terrorists anywhere, including American citizens, without anything resembling legitimate due process. And now it asserts authority to unilaterally rewrite U.S. immigration policy – even though just last year, the president said it was “just not true” that he could make sweeping changes without congressional approval.


  8. magus71 said, on June 18, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Don’t worry everyone, just as President Obama informed Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev when he thought the mics were off, Mr. Obama will have considerably more “flexibility” when he’s in his second term.

    I’m brushing up on my Trotsky as we speak.

  9. btg5885 said, on June 23, 2012 at 9:23 am

    As an independent voter, Obama has not been perfect, but he has done a better job than the conservatives would give him credit for. My main concerns are two fold – his failure to embrace the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Plan as a working draft back in December, 2010, and managing expectations. The road to recovery was and is going to take time and he should have noted that from the outset. Yet, most of my criticisms for failure on the economy intervention falls on the most ineffective Congress we have ever had. Romney, the individual is a moderate, yet many of the GOP policies he espouses would be detrimental to both American and global citizens. America has to get its economic act together and we cannot do so with spending cuts alone, so tax revenue must be increased. Per the Paris based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the US is the third least taxed country out of 34 that have been measured over time. So, decreasing taxes is at the height of irresponsibility. As bad a decision as that would be, if we do not get our act in order around eco-energy issues and climate change planning, all of the other stuff is irrelevant. Doing away with or gutting the EPA is about the dumbest thing the US could do as a society and the rest of the planet would justifiably being angry with us.

    • T. J. Babson said, on June 23, 2012 at 10:07 am

      So, btg, how do you feel about Obama asserting the right to kill whoever he pleases, US citizen or not, without any due process?

    • T. J. Babson said, on June 23, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Also, btg, are you aware of *any* concrete plan by the Dems to bring our budget into balance? Exactly how would they reform entitlements? Where is the plan?

  10. btg5885 said, on June 23, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Per Jeb Bush, he noted last week that he would have taken the 10 to 1 Boehner/ Obama compromise of last summer where there were $10 of cuts for every $1 of revenue increase. He called this a no brainer, but Congress punted. Instead we have automatic cuts that will occur because the commision could not reach a decision. Obama has a proposal in front of Congress to increase taxes on the top end. I personally favor the Gang of Six approach which advocated the Simpson-Bowles Plan. We must have tax increases otherwise the math will not work. The GOP needs to ignore Grover Norquist and embrace some tax increases. Go to the OECD website and you will see the US as 32nd out of 34 countries in Tax/ GDP ratio. Our 24.1% ratio in 2009 trails the average of 33.8%. When we last had a balanced budget in 2000, we were at 29.5% versus 35.3% To me, Romney’s proposal of tax cuts is irresponsible and the CDO economists say it is deficit accretive. Let me reiterate I am an Independent, but from where I sit, especially with environmental concerns I have, Obama is a much better choice than Romney. I could tolerate the moderate Mitt, but he won’t be able to easily the crazies on the far right who are quite scary.

    • T. J. Babson said, on June 23, 2012 at 11:15 pm

      “Romney, the individual is a moderate, yet many of the GOP policies he espouses would be detrimental to both American and global citizens.”

      What policies in particular would be detrimental?

    • T. J. Babson said, on June 23, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      “We must have tax increases otherwise the math will not work. The GOP needs to ignore Grover Norquist and embrace some tax increases.”

      The Dems ran both house of Congress from 2007-2011. Why did they not raise taxes? Why does the GOP have to be the one to raise taxes?

  11. T. J. Babson said, on June 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    “…Boehner/ Obama compromise of last summer where there were $10 of cuts for every $1 of revenue increase…”

    So where can I find the specifics of what Obama was willing to cut? Let’s say the Republicans would go along with anything he proposes, what would he do? What is his plan to bring the budget into balance?

  12. btg5885 said, on June 24, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Unfortunately raising taxes is difficult for all politicians to swallow, but that is what is needed. That is why the Simpson-Bowles Plan has merit, as it simplifies the tax code at the same time it pulls in more tax revenue. The reference to the GOP reluctance is due to almost all signing the Grover Norquist pledge to not raise taxes. The US needs both Dems and Reps at the table talking tax increases and spending cuts. Obama has a plan in front of Congress, but it only gets at tax increases for the top. I think the whole system needs reworking and Simpson-Bowles is a place to start. At the end of this year, three things will automatically happen unless they are unwound or modified – the Bush Tax Cuts extension will end, the 2% FICA tax employee portion will end and the spending cuts will go into place since the Deficit Commission from last fall failed. The dilemma is all will help the deficit, but may hinder recovery, so there is a balancing act that is needed, but we have to get our arms around the deficit.

    With regards to Romney’s and the GOP positions – the assault on the EPA and other regulators and regulations would be detrimental. Doing away or gutting the EPA would be one of the worst decisions possible for the US and planet. We also have to get at our education concerns. In “That Used to Be Us:How America Fell Behind in the World it Invented and How it Can Come Back.” by Friedman and Mandelbaum, education and innovation are critical to our future. The GOP can talk up education, but through budget cuts around the country, teachers are getting cut and salaries kept constant, the walk they are walking is not supportive of education. I would not want to be a teacher these days.

    • T. J. Babson said, on June 25, 2012 at 11:55 am


      As you seem pretty reasonable, how do you reconcile your support of Obama with the following:

      Nowhere is the Obama model of massive borrowing, vast increases in the size of the state, more regulations, and class warfare successful — not in California or Illinois, not in Greece, Spain, or Italy, not anywhere.


      The Obama model has been shown again and again not to work, yet people again and again choose hope over experience. It would be nice if it would work, but it doesn’t and it won’t.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm

        What about under Reagan? He increased taxes, added regulations, increased the state and ran up a deficit spending.

        • T. J. Babson said, on June 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm

          During the Reagan Administration, federal receipts grew at an average rate of 8.2% (2.5% attributed to higher Social Security receipts), and federal outlays grew at an annual rate of 7.1%


        • magus71 said, on June 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm

          Sounds like you should be a solid Reagan supporter.

        • T. J. Babson said, on June 25, 2012 at 8:40 pm

          It all in the math, Mike. The deficit increased, but modestly in comparison to GDP growth. Regulations were cut for the most part (someone did the deregulating, right?). The state increased, but commensurate with population growth.

          Why do people deny the runaway spending under Obama?

          New projections from the Congressional Budget Office show that without reforms rising federal spending will fundamental reshape America’s economy, and not in a good way. Under the CBO’s “alternative fiscal scenario,” the federal government will consume an 86 percent greater share of the economy in 2035 than it did a decade ago (33.9 percent of GDP compared to 18.2 percent).

          The CBO report and many centrist budget wonks focus more on the problem of rising federal debt than on rising spending. As a result, many wonks clamor for a “balanced” package of spending cuts and tax increases to solve our fiscal problems. But CBO projections show that the long-term debt problem is not a balanced one—it is caused by historic increases in spending, not shortages of revenues.

          This chart shows CBO’s alternative scenario projections, which assume no major fiscal policy changes. All recent tax cuts are extended and entitlement programs are not reformed.


          • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

            “Why do people deny the runaway spending under Obama?”

            1. People might take issue with the loaded term “runaway spending.”
            2. There is a reasonable view that the spending under Obama was directed primarily at countering a falling economy and that the actions of his administration helped keep the country from entering a depression.
            3. Whether it was runaway or not seems to be lost in the political rhetoric, hence people on one side deny while the other affirms. I recall similar talk of Reagan’s spending. Runaway spending seems to be a rhetorical term applied to the guy one does not like.

            • magus71 said, on June 27, 2012 at 8:13 am

              No, it’s a historical fact, in the case of Obama. Do you deny he’s spent more than anyone else? In 2009 House Democrats voted for a $787.billion, two omnibus spending bills of over $700 billion, and also increased non-defense related (of course) spending by 12 percent.

              In one year.

              Comparing this type of spending to reagan’s is like comparing crack cocaine and caffeine.

              In fact, Obama’s policies have little in common with Reagan’s and he got the opposite results:


            • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm

              Is that with the dollars adjusted for inflation?

              One problem with assessing Obama’s spending is that he was spending into a recession that he inherited. As such, his folks will say that they prevented something far worse, while his opponents will want to compare his results with good economic times. To use an analogy, it is like Obama’s people are saying that he got the helm as the ship was burning, taking on water and heading towards the iceberg. So, the fact that the ship is above water and missed the iceberg is quite an accomplishment. His opponents will argue that the ship is not going as well or as fast as a brand new, undamaged ship should be going.

            • magus71 said, on June 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm

              As the article I linked states, the recession that Reagan inherited was worse than the one Obama inherited by quite a bit.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm

              This would indicate a similar strategy to a similar problem: raise taxes and spend.

            • magus71 said, on June 28, 2012 at 6:05 am

              You didn’t read the article.

        • T. J. Babson said, on June 25, 2012 at 10:29 pm

          As we see in New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin, the cure for the present economic malaise is not rocket science — a curbing of the size of government, a revision of the tax code, a modest rollback of regulation, reform of public employment, and holding the line on new taxes. Do that and public confidence returns, businesses start hiring, and finances settle down. Do the opposite — as we see in Mediterranean Europe, California, or Illinois over the last decade — and chaos ensues.


          • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm

            Florida is doing that. Where is our recovery? Also, there is the matter of whether or not these are cases of post hoc ergo propter hoc. Sorting out economic causation is rather tricky.

            • T. J. Babson said, on July 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm

              Turns out that Florida is doing significantly better than the national average:

              Voters in 17 states elected new Republican governors in November 2010. This new breed of fiscally-conservative, tea party-supported Republican governors took office in January 2011. Here is how those states have fared since then, in terms of their unemployment rates:

              Kansas – 6.9% to 6.1% = a decline of 0.8%

              Maine – 8.0% to 7.4% = a decline of 0.6%

              Michigan – 10.9% to 8.5% = a decline of 2.4%

              New Mexico – 7.7% to 6.7% = a decline of 1.0%

              Oklahoma – 6.2% to 4.8% = a decline of 1.4%

              Pennsylvania – 8.0% to 7.4% = a decline of 0.6%

              Tennessee – 9.5% to 7.9% = a decline of 1.6%

              Wisconsin – 7.7% to 6.8% = a decline of 0.9%

              Wyoming – 6.3% to 5.2% = a decline of 1.1%

              Alabama – 9.3% to 7.4% = a decline of 1.9%

              Georgia – 10.1% to 8.9% = a decline of 1.2%

              South Carolina – 10.6% to 9.1% = a decline of 1.5%

              South Dakota – 5.0% to 4.3% = a decline of 0.7%

              Florida – 10.9% to 8.6% = a decline of 2.3%

              Nevada – 13.8% to 11.6% = a decline of 2.2%

              Iowa – 6.1% to 5.1% = a decline of 1.0%

              Ohio – 9.0% to 7.3% = a decline of 1.7%

              Every single one of these 17 states has seen its unemployment rate decline since January 2011. Three of them have had unemployment drop by more than 2% (Michigan, Florida, and Nevada). The average drop in the unemployment rate in these states was 1.35%. For a comparison, in January 2011 the U.S. national unemployment rate stood at 9.1%. It is currently 8.2%, meaning that the national unemployment rate has declined by just 0.9% since then. Based on these percentages, it can be said that the job market in states with new Republican governors is improving a full 50% faster than the job market nationally.


            • Michael LaBossiere said, on July 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm

              Thank goodness for tourism.

            • WTP said, on July 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm

              B-b-but, but, but…post hoc ergo propter hoc. Sorting out economic causation is rather tricky. Duh.

            • Anonymous said, on July 8, 2012 at 8:35 pm

              Now let’s look at the eight states that elected new Democratic governors in 2010. Just like their Republican counterparts, these new Democratic governors took office in January 2011. Here’s how those states have fared since then, in terms of unemployment:

              Colorado – 8.8% to 8.1% = a decline of 0.7%

              New York – 8.2% to 8.6% = an increase of 0.4%

              Oregon – 9.9% to 8.4% = a decline of 1.5%

              California – 12.1% to 10.8% = a decline of 1.3%

              Connecticut – 9.3% to 7.8% = a decline of 1.5%

              Hawaii – 6.7% to 6.3% = a decline of 0.4%

              Minnesota – 6.8% to 5.6% = a decline of 1.2%

              Vermont – 6.0% to 4.6% = a decline of 1.4%

              If nine more states had elected new Dem govs the averages and the comparisons between parties might be equal. Who knows? These Dem figures seem to indicate that it may have been the party change and not the party itself that was the important factor.

            • WTP said, on July 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm

              The average drop in the unemployment rate in these (new Democrat governor) states was 0.95%, approximately the same as the drop seen nationally. It’s interesting to note than one of these states (New York) has actually experienced an increase in its unemployment rate since January 2011…Selective editing indeed.

            • Anonymous said, on July 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm

              Another stab at this. 1st, the entire article.
              If nine more states had elected new Dem govs the averages and the comparisons between parties might be equal. Who knows? These Dem figures seem to indicate that it may have been the party change and not the party itself that was the important factor. 1.35%/.95% or less than half a person per hundred. Any solid proof that such a small difference can’t be accounted for by adverse weather conditions, manufacturing opportunities in certain states compared to others, natural resources and so forth ?

            • WTP said, on July 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm

              And if if’s and but’s were berries and nuts, every day would be Christmas.

              Here’s an “if” for you, IF you average the average unemployment rates for all states led by Republican governors against all states led by Democrat governors (or better yet, non-Republican governors), which average do you suppose would be lower? I leave you to your calculator. Enjoy.

            • Anonymous said, on July 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm

              And still no consideration of the non-ideological factors that could easily affect the differences. I’ll pocket my calculator and the results until someone does a more complex study of possible state-to-state differences that may have led to the unemployment figs. Someone, for example, could start with MIchigan and determine how much of that drop in unemployment had already begun before the gubernatorial change and how much of the change is related to the auto industry.

            • WTP said, on July 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm

              Cherry pick and obfuscate to your heart’s content. Not my words, but fits the discussion: If you had a good response, you would have offered that good response. If you instead flee and change the topic, you don’t have a good response, but do not have the intellectual honesty to admit “that’s a fair point,” and are trying to sound like you’re responding when in fact you’re not responding at all.

            • Anonymous said, on July 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm

              A good response to what? Half an argument based on truly cherry-picked info? Your so-called conclusions have no meat until you can do “a more complex study of possible state-to-state differences that may have led to the unemployment figs. Someone, for example, could start with MIchigan and determine how much of that drop in unemployment had already begun before the gubernatorial change and how much of the change is related to the auto industry.” If you don’t know what factors have led to the final numbers, and apparently you don’t, all your calculation is a bag of air. It’s like a student handing the teacher his homework answers but being unable to show the thinking behind the results.

    • T. J. Babson said, on June 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      Repeated for btg:

      But CBO projections show that the long-term debt problem is not a balanced one—it is caused by historic increases in spending, not shortages of revenues.

  13. btg5885 said, on June 26, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Thanks TJ for your comment on my attempt to be reasonable and I appreciate your points. Yet, you mentioned “math” to Mike. Quite simply, the math won’t work unless we have spending cuts and tax revenue increases. The OECD data, which is from a Paris based global financial organization with no axe to grind, shows we still were less taxed than the global average when we were last balanced in 2000, before the Bush Tax Cuts. I was not opposed to some of the steps taken in Wisconsin, I was just frustrated with the heavy handedness of the approach. My view is we need all parties at the table to develop a long term tax policy, budget (as we have to actually be more than balanced as we have to pay down debt) and to address other issues such as an eco-energy policy which will divorce us more from fossil fuels. On the regulation front, as a business person, I can assure you of two things – business leaders do not want regulations and business leaders need regulations. What we don’t need is as much bureaucracy and we do need to continually test ourselves if the regulations are accomplishing what is needed. I guess what I am saying is we don’t have “either/ or” questions facing us, yet we have political parties who like to paint “either/ or” platforms. The issues are too complex and there has to be trade offs. This is why when I left the GOP, I did not become a Democrat – I am an independent.

    • T. J. Babson said, on June 26, 2012 at 8:43 am

      btg, I actually agree that to dig out of the hole we are in will require both spending cuts and tax increases. But I would also argue that Democrats are in denial that we are in a hole. I have yet to hear, for example, any serious discussion about entitlement reform from Democrats. And the Senate has given up on even producing a budget. Obama of course talks about raising taxes on “millionaires and billionaires,” but the fact of the matter is that the U.S. already has the most progressive tax system according to the OECD.

      For a good discussion of this point, see: http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2011/03/what-nation-has-most-progressive-tax.html

      The fact of the matter is that everybody’s taxes must go up, and I think the nation will agree to this only when they see what must be cut in order for taxes not to rise.

      btg–honestly, can you imagine that if the Dems controlled the House there would be any possible chance of cutting spending or reforming entitlements?

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm

        We are in a big hole. The senate needs to pass a budget. Taxes need to be increased and spending needs to be cut to lower the deficit. But what we really need is a new bubble to puff up the economy and thus generate more tax revenue without raising taxes.

        • WTP said, on June 27, 2012 at 10:29 am

          You obviously don’t understand what a bubble truly is. Such would just compound the problem even more.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm

            I totally get bubbles. The economy rides high on a bubble (like in the Clinton years) then it pops. Then we get a new bubble. Then it pops. It used to be called “boom and bust” and it is the cycle of the American economy.

            • WTP said, on June 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm

              From wikipedia…but of course you’ll spin this like the sophist that you are:

              The impact of economic bubbles is debated within and between schools of economic thought; they are not generally considered beneficial, but it’s debated how harmful their formation and bursting is.

              Within mainstream economics, many believe that bubbles cannot be identified in advance, cannot be prevented from forming, that attempts to “prick” the bubble cause financial crises, and that instead authorities should wait for bubbles to burst of their own accord, dealing with the aftermath via monetary policy and fiscal policy.

              Within Austrian economics, economic bubbles are generally considered to have a negative impact on the economy because they tend to cause misallocation of resources into non-optimal uses; this forms the basis of Austrian business cycle theory.

              Political economist Robert E. Wright argues that bubbles can be identified ex ante with high confidence.[9]

              In addition, the crash which usually follows an economic bubble can destroy a large amount of wealth and cause continuing economic malaise; this view is particularly associated with the debt-deflation theory of Irving Fisher, and elaborated within Post-Keynesian economics.

              A protracted period of low risk premiums can simply prolong the downturn in asset price deflation as was the case of the Great Depression in the 1930s for much of the world and the 1990s for Japan. Not only can the aftermath of a crash devastate the economy of a nation, but its effects can also reverberate beyond its borders.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm

              Why would I spin it? That matches my general definition: empty expansion followed by damaging collapse.

            • WTP said, on June 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm

              So…substituting for x we get: “But what we really need is a new empty expansion followed by damaging collapse to puff up the economy and thus generate more tax revenue without raising taxes.

              Brilliant. You are truly the Rumpelstiltskin of pyrite.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm

              I need to get you a sarcasm detector. I wonder if they are covered under Obamacare?

            • WTP said, on June 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm

              Ahh, so when you said you “totally get bubbles”, you were being sarchastic. I get it. My bad.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 29, 2012 at 9:24 am

              Of course. My goal in life is to provide you with plenty of straw from which you can assemble versions of me. 🙂

            • Anonymous said, on June 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm

              Even I got it, and I’m anonymous.

  14. btg5885 said, on June 26, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Ironically, the kind of people we need are the reasonable compromisers. We have too much zeal that negates reasonable debate. Neither party owns the best ideas and some cannot agree on the problem, so we need the open dialogue. The American people are the ones being cheated by these impasses.

  15. magus71 said, on July 8, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Pandering to the masses is going to get us killed.

    Here’s what doing the right thing did for Gerhard Schroder:


    It just kills liberals that this stuff works every time. He did almost exactly what Reagan did. Why would anyone but an illegal alien vote for a Democrat at this point?

    • T. J. Babson said, on July 8, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      I think it is a form of collective insanity. I don’t know how else to explain it.

  16. T. J. Babson said, on July 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    He is Obama. Laws don’t apply to him. Here he killed a 16 year old American citizen accused of breaking no laws. Due process? We don’t need no stinkin’ due process…

    There has been no similar public discussion over the death of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki because there was, until now, no hard information available about the death of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. A 16-year-old American boy accused of no crimes was killed in American drone attack, and the administration has neither acknowledged his death or acknowledged that it killed him. It has, indeed, done everything it possibly can to avoid saying how and why it killed him, and has answered the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the ACLU with a blanket insistence that it is not obligated to confirm or deny the existence of the CIA’s drone program, much less disclose information about those the drone program has killed. (Current administration officials declined multiple interview requests.)

    And so while the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki conforms to the narrative essential to the creation of the Lethal Presidency — the narrative of a guilty man afforded unprecedented consideration by an administration wielding technology of unprecedented precision — the killing of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki constitutes a counter-narrative that the Lethal Presidency would do anything to avoid: an innocent killed by an administration that has turned its argument that it hardly ever makes mistakes into an appeal for the right make its mistakes in secret, with no public accountability at all, even when one of its mistakes results in the death of an American citizen.


    • WTP said, on July 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      That is nothing a good sophist can’t cure.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on July 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm

      Laws do apply to him, just not all of them.

      • T. J. Babson said, on July 10, 2012 at 10:18 pm

        Maybe only the law of karma.

  17. T. J. Babson said, on July 9, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    The Obama intimidation machine:

    Jane Pitt, mother of actor Brad Pitt, has been scared into silence by the hate-filled, vulgar and even violent reaction to her public assertion that Barack Obama is “a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage.”

    Pitt has even been the subject of death threats following her letter to the editor of Missouri’s Springfield News-Leader in which she asserted failure to vote for Republican presumptive presidential candidate Mitt Romney constituted a vote for Obama.


    • magus71 said, on July 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm

      I read her comments and was waiting for the death threats to pour in. This is why most actors are liberal. they have no other choice.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on July 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      Do you think Obama is directing people to threaten Brad Pitt’s mother?

      Is this sort of intimidation widespread? I would assume that if Obama has such a machine, you’d be getting death threats as well.

      • T. J. Babson said, on July 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm

        If there is a machine, does it imply there is a machine operator?

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