American Dream On

For many years now, Republicans have had no reservations about growing a record-setting deficit looking for non-existent WMDs and any amount of admonishment over the debt we were creating was shot down with spittle-flecked cries of treason.  Now that Democrats want to spend a gob of money in an attempt to mitigate an increasingly burdensome recession, Republicans like Senator John Cornyn have the gall to bring up how it will be our children and grandchildren paying off the proposed stimulus package.

I’m left to conclude that, to the Republican mind, having future generations pay for what boils down to retributive mass murder is patriotic, while attempting to avoid an even worse depression than that of the 30s-40s by injecting money into the U.S. economy is akin to systematically dismantling the Great American Way of Life.

Sorry. I don’t get it. My nation’s ability to kick everyone’s ass and impose her belief systems upon them has never been a part of what I saw as the American Dream. I’ve always appreciated America’s willingness to defend freedom all over the world, but it’s what happens inside our borders that really defines what it is to be American. When I see kids climbing aboard a yellow school bus, I see the American Dream. When I watch Karin utilize public transit daily, fully undaunted by the possibility of a suicide bomber being aboard*, I see the American Dream. Protesters shouting about the oppression of Tibet or the insidious practices of the tobacco industry or the coming of the Holy Rapture are living the American Dream. Those people who tried to buy a house they couldn’t afford were trying to live the American Dream, but ended up being the unfortunate casualties of the very same deregulatory mentality that got us this staggeringly fucked economy.

I’ve no doubt President Obama’s stimulus plan gets hard-core right-wingers all sorts of twitchy and rabid. It might surprise some of you to learn that it makes me furious, as well – just not for the same reasons. I’m inclined to agree with brilliant economists like James Galbraith on this sort of thing. Galbraith suggests we need to increase the package as much as possible.

“…demonstrating that the stimulus is too small is a matter of basic math. The $400 billion it will inject into the economy each of the next two years is equal to about two to three percent of GDP, he noted. But the economy is falling at a much faster rate …

“For the stimulus to be able to turn around an economy spiraling down at that rate, the money injected into the economy would have to be multiplied many times over. But, Galbraith says, the economy is currently stuck in a "liquidity trap." People aren't spending because they're insecure about the future; companies aren't borrowing and expanding because the business climate looks stormy; and banks aren't lending because when the economy's tanking almost everyone looks like a bad credit risk…

“Galbraith hopes that Obama won't play along [with Republicans ‘playing chicken’ with the economy] and… argues that the president should instead do everything that needs to be done and add it up when the storm passes.”

I think Charles Hugh Smith put it quite well when he wrote:

"Human nature dictates that our first and last reaction to unsustainable systems will be denial until the flood has swept away all hope of repairing the broken dikes."

So, peeps, now that the NeoCons have been allowed to waste trillions on a war that accomplished next to nothing and have deregulated the banking industry with undeniably devastating consequences, don’t you sort of think it’s time for us to start demanding that a shitload of money be used for something constructive for a change? The economy sucks and the only way to fix it is to keep buying and stop wasting. The dike metaphor employed by Smith in the above quote really is quite apropos. We can’t be skimping on the sandbags.

*Please see this comment for clarification. Karin's courage has nothing to do with George W. Bush's cowardice.

Read and post comments

Advertisements

About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
This entry was posted in Can I Say Something? and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to American Dream On

  1. Bookmole says:

    <sound of hands clapping>

  2. Kzinti says:

    I will give Obama much credit for making the attempt to do what is right versus what is popular. He has said from the beginning that it will take all of us doing our parts to turn this country around. So tell them there penis jockey nancy boys on Capitol Hill to step it up or step out.

  3. Toe-Knee says:

    Here's the thing, this stimulus package ultimately will not create any long-term benefit to the US. Economies go up and down just like climate temperatures and hooker's underpants. When they're up it's all good, but when they're down lawmakers have to make a choice, to print money on the hopes that taxpayers will be able to pay it back in the up-times and anesthetize the pain of a down economy, or do nothing, let free market realign it's self as it will and put in ear-plugs to the cries of a starving populace. China right now is in that boat literally, which is why their stimulus package makes Obama's look like your grandma's sunday jewelry next to Fort Knox. 8 Billion starving Chinese folks can oust a government pretty quickly if they put their mind to it after-all.

  4. Kirk says:

    An astute comment, ToeKnee.I've long said that what we need in this country is a Bastille-style revolution. The problem is that Americans are, by and large, unforgivably lazy imbeciles. JP Morgan Chase — who just swallowed WaMu whole with the help of BushCo — has just announced they will be extracting an additional $120 dollars a year from those credit accounts where customers are having trouble making payments. They're also going to raise the minimum payment to 5% (up from 2%). These are credit accounts that were signed up for under a "fixed rate" contract, by the way. That's all grossly unfair and yet you won't see hordes of Americans closing their Chase accounts and switching to a credit union. Why not? Because that might get in the way of watching Survivor and American Idol. So Chase will get away with it. I'd like to inspire my countrymen to stop being such complacent, spoiled tools. It's a hard road, but I keep trying."Oh you'll get your socialist subsidies, but you'll give up financial
    freedom at the same time. You've seen it. "You can't buy that sandwich
    with food stamps." The same thing is embedded in your stimulus package.
    It includes stipulations dictating that doctors use government mandated
    practices based on cost effectiveness."That's certainly a problem that must be addressed. But simply letting the U.S. populace "eat cake" (so to speak) is not going to fix anything at all. Of course, neither will being half-assed about a stimulus package.Fact is, Republicans will make the package so small and burdened with earmarks it will do no good. Then, when it fails and the economy is no better, they will harp long and loud about how it's Obama's fault the economy is bad. They'll neglect to mention their surplus-turned-deficit. They'll forget all about the deregulation they pushed that caused the collapse. They'll say Obama failed even though they were the ones who made the package useless. Mark my words. You heard it hear first.I'll agree that government seldom does anything correctly or efficiently or honorably. On the other hand, anarchy seems to be just as problematic, doesn't it? I think the solution is electing the most responsible people we can (knowing all politicains suck to some degree). Barack Obama is quite possibly the most ethical president since Carter, though I think he'll be far more effective.

  5. Toe-Knee says:

    "Fact is, Republicans will make the package so small and burdened with earmarks it will do no good. Then, when it fails and the economy is no better, they will harp long and loud about how it's Obama's fault the economy is bad."Opposite is true as well. If the stimulus doesn't work the Dem's can say it was because the GOP stonewalled it and riddled it with earmarks. Interesting thing here is that BUSH pushed for the stimulus package first… 'nother interesting thing is that Joe Biden has repeatedly bragged about how he was the guy who drafted the original PATRIOT act. Here's the thing, can you actually name one specific thing within this stimulus package that will directly benefit you or someone you know? I can't. It's wonderfully vague, and when does wonderfully vague ever benefit anyone the way they want? "MY product can help you lose weight!" What I don't tell you is that my product destroys your liver. Well not in the slogan anyways, read the fine print and you'll find it embedded there, but who has the time to do that? Obama can cut and paste the bill on his blog and people will not understand a word, but we still all believe that it's good, kuz it's Obama and he's a good guy. He wouldn't steer us wrong, and even if he does it's really the fault of those dastardly Republicans who have been undermining him every step of the way!I'd rather Obama stick to his original plan, building clean energy facilities (which have the nice up-side of generating real revenue) and healthcare and education reform. Those are things that would have real lasting benefit for the american people, rather than spending money employing people to dig holes and then fill them in again which is what a bridge and road building project is. (Bridges and roads are the realm of state and municipalities and should stay as such.) The thing is, I don't see this stimulus package as innately bad, I don't blame Bush or Obama for pushing it, but I don't blame the GOP for trying to slow it down either. I blame the American people for buying into the same crap that ALWAYS gets them into trouble again and again. "Oh WMD's save us! Save us!" is no different than the cries of the jobless are today. Your government will swoop in on their magical unicorn to give you exactly what you want and you'll be regretting it 3 years later. I also blame the media for propagating this thing as the magical mystical cure that "economists" say "will fix things". Should there be some market stimulus? Probably? Should it be called a "Stimulus Package"? Hell NO! It should be looked at in small bites individually. An injection into specific steel plants over 3 years. A University built. A Government Hospital. These are real things that you can see, they don't have fancy catch phrases and huge promises, but they don't have as much sneaky shit earmarking the hell out of them either.

  6. Steve B says:

    Those people who tried to buy a house they couldn’t afford were trying to live the American Dream, but ended up being the unfortunate casualties of the very same deregulatory mentality that got us this staggeringly fucked economy.
    Or, they were incredibly short-sighted? Seeing only the cool house they could buy, and not the potential long-term impacts if their adjustable rate mortgage actually, you know, adjusted? When you make the governement to blame for your problems, and the government responsible for your solutions, then they own you body and soul.
    And some of us actually see a relationship between this:

    So, peeps, now that the NeoCons have been allowed to waste trillions on a war that accomplished next to nothing
    …and this:

    When I watch Karin utilize public transit daily, fully undaunted by the possibility of a suicide bomber being aboard.

  7. Steve B says:

    what we need in this country is a Bastille-style revolution
    To replace what we have with what?

    by injecting money into the U.S. economy
    I still maintain that the best way to do that is provide incentives for people to spend their OWN money, not tax them so that the government can do it for them.
    The simple fact is that the bulk of the stimulous package goes to infrastructure development, special interest groups, and banks. Not sure how giving money to non-profit organizations helps the economy. Or how giving high-speed internet to rural homes helps the economy…unless we assume that they'll be using it to shop on ebay.
    The stimulous package is nothing more than a Progressive orgasm of spending, finally shmooshing through all the paybacks to PACs and special inerest groups they knew wouldn't fly under Bush.
    Republicans will make the package so small and burdened with earmarks it will do no good.
    Another simple fact: With three exceptions, the Republicans won't touch this with a 10-foot pole. It is a Democrat sponsored, led, and maintained initiative. It's success or failure should not, therefore, be placed in any way on the Republicans. Their failure to be "bi-partisan" is immaterial if it gets signed, which it looks like it will.
    Then, will it does nothing but balloon the national debt, the Dems will be the only one with egg on their collectiv(ist) faces.
    I would think that it would be common sense that the way to solve your economic problems is NOT to go further into debt. That's the thing, here. These are not loans. There is NO mechanism in place for ever getting any of this money back. It's just a free money giveaway.
    You cannot create long-term solutions by throwing money at the problem. We need to reduce the size of our govenrment, and have that reflected in savings in tax money which in turn becomes disposable income for everyone. NOT increase the scope and power of an already bloated government, raising taxes to support spurts of "stimulous" which get sucked into the void and do no tangible good. There is absolutely no oversight in place to see that this money actually goes where it is supposed, no penalties if it doesn't. Just stupid.

  8. Kirk says:

    Or, they were incredibly short-sighted?Or maybe uneducated in real estate finance and being fed lies by their banker whom they were naive enough to trust? Perhaps ignorant to just how many of the protections they had been granted in the Glass-Steagall Act had been systematically removed until this very sort of exploitation was not only possible but inevitable?And some of us actually see a relationship between this:
    So, peeps, now that the NeoCons have been allowed to waste trillions on a war that accomplished next to nothing …and this:
    When I watch Karin utilize public transit daily, fully undaunted by the possibility of a suicide bomber being aboard.

    Ack. I'm afraid I didn't make my point very well with that last sentence you quoted. Please allow me to clarify what I meant.Karin's refusal to live in fear has positively nothing to do with the bullshit war in Iraq. Karin is unafraid because she's not a reactionary, paranoid coward — something I can't say about all these boo-ya toughguys who seem to think the fact we can blow up their buildings better than they blew up ours makes us right in our completely misguided and misdirected retribution.Make no mistake: Neither of us feels any safer than we did immediately after 9/11, but we won't go around forever frightened just because some terrorists got lucky. I was speaking to Karin's courage, not Dubya's cowardice.

  9. Kirk says:

    There is absolutely no oversight in place to see that this money actually goes where it is supposed, no penalties if it doesn't. Sort of like most of the money spent on the war that got us this enormous deficit in the first place. Fascinating.But, forgoing the snark for a moment, I'd like to point out that I never said it shouldn't be regulated and carefully watched. I'm all about good, solid regulation of government spending. Thing is, I'm not a politician.

  10. Kirk says:

    There's a lot in your comment to touch on, but I wanted to just get to this for now:…the American people for buying into the same crap that ALWAYS gets them
    into trouble again and again. "Oh WMD's save us! Save us!" is no
    different than the cries of the jobless are today…Considering Karin will be unemployed very soon as a direct result of the housing market collapse, I think her fear of being jobless and the potential compromise to our ability to pay our own mortgage (which we've responsibly maintained for over a decade, by the way) is a far more realistic and tangible fear than some innocuous, non-existent warheads in a Middle-Eastern desert.Comparing the two so glibly is, to my mind, both insensitive and logically negligent.

  11. Toe-Knee says:

    I don't mean to seem glib, I was keeping the tone light because we're friends here, however while the economic troubles are closer to home for many americans than the threat of mass destruction by a group of religious extremists on the other side of the world, the flip side one is amounting to real lives of real people, while the other amounts only to livelyhoods, and while both are important but one's the life of many people and the other is just some property.

  12. Kirk says:

    "…the flip side one is amounting to real lives of real people, while the
    other amounts only to livelyhoods, and while both are important but
    one's the life of many people and the other is just some property."I hear you, and I'm certainly not saying I have it as rough as those who face missile attacks daily. But the major difference is that the WMDs Bush based all his fear-mongering on were completely illusory, whereas the plummeting economy is all too real and it's not contained to the U.S."…NO ONE should trust them blindly… blind trust in Bush got America into Iraq. Blind trust in Obama
    will cause problems too…"There appears to be a major assumption that my support of economic stimulus somehow indicates I don't expect the entire process to be regulated. Nothing could be further from the truth. I want every penny scrutinized. Hell, I'd like to see President Obama go through line-by-line as he promised during his campaign.It's a waste of time to talk about now, though. As I suspected, the amout approved is far too small. It's nhot going to work. Not well, anyway. For my own part, I intend to spend whatever I get. I'm not paying off debt. I'm not hording it. Let's hope my fellow middle-class Americans do the same.

  13. Steve B says:

    I still maintain that the stimulous package B.S. is far less about doing any tangible good, and far more about continuing to build greater and greater dependency on an overly-centralized governmnet, subtly but inexorably nationalizing the means of production through government "blood money."
    As for it not being enough, how much is enough? How much money does the federal government need to give states, and individual citizens for you to feel that they've done "enough" to fix the problems?
    But even more fundamental than that, where the $%#$&* does the money come from? There are NO assets, NO receivables, NO forecast income behind this thing. It's smoke and mirrors. Robbing peter, jake, jack and bob to pay paul. Giving people more money does no good if in the process you make that money worthless.
    I guess I don't see it as the federal government's responsibility to create a job for me. That is socialism/communism, not a free-market republic.
    There is great security in captivity, but there is no freedom in dependence.

  14. Kirk says:

    "As for it not being enough, how much is enough?" The article I referenced when I cited Galbraith is titled Why The Stimulus Is Too Small and contains a more detailed account of the economic wrangling. Obama said economists called for more than a trillion. I'm guessing they said more like two trillion.It's all based on GDP numbers and stuff, and I fully admit to not being an economist. I'm just a silly liberal artist with a reading fetish and some opinions. But I try to listen to the experts on the difficult topics."Robbing peter, jake, jack and bob to pay paul…"Please tell me how putting our tax money into things like awarding groundless no-bid contracts and promoting GOP candidates is any different.The newest bill cuts aid to state governments (which would both spend money and provide jobs) while simultaneously cutting the provisions to cap executive salaries at $400,000 for any banks seeking additional government aid. Give more to the rich and screw the kids out of better schools and safer roads. Awesome.It's a waste of time for me to go on. It's fucked. It won't help much, if at all. And everything a liberal thinker like me wanted to see from it was roundly nixed. Feh.

  15. petermcc says:

    Nice pick up, Kirk. I have put it on Dig and FaceBook.Some folk seem to not realise the process is about keeping goods and services in place while things settle down. It's much easier to keep something ticking over quietly than to tank a business and start again.In Oz, the alternative was suggested to lower taxes. That's fine for approaching a different problem but useless if your intention is to inject money quickly into a failing economy.As to where it all ends, I don't think Economists even know what the rules should be. It will be a whole new ball game and the rule books rewritten when the dust settles.

  16. Steve B says:

    "Please tell me how putting our tax money into things like awarding groundless no-bid contracts and promoting GOP candidates is any different."
    I can't, because it isn't. Two wrong-headed politically motivated abuses of power don't make something right, etc.
    I agree, it's fucked, and the Classic Liberal in me doesn't see much to recommend it either. So if nobody wants it, why are they doing it?
    I'm just a supply-side economics kind of guy, so the whole Kenysian thing gives me hives. We'll just wait and see. Hopefully I'm wrong.

  17. Kirk says:

    "Two wrong-headed politically motivated abuses of power don't make something right, etc." Ah, but can we decide which of these abuses was more deleterious? I mean, if your tax money is going to go one of two places, would you rather have it go back to you or out to some rich Halliburton exec?"So if nobody wants it, why are they doing it?"That's easy. As I said above, Republicans want to hobble it enough to pass Congress, but fail to work. That way, they can mitigate the immense damage they've done over the past eight years with some bombastic rhetoric about socialism and incompetence. Dems are going for it because they're evidently incapable of knocking a hardball right back in the Repubs faces. It's all bullshit.

  18. Steve B says:

    Republicans want to hobble it enough to pass Congress, but fail to work.
    Dude. Just…dude. Not a single f*cking republican voted for this travesty. I don't count the 3 RINOs. And yet the Left has already managed to install the meme that if it fails, it will somehow be the Republicans' fault!?!
    This is part and parcel a Democrat brain child, blessed by the Holy One himself. The Republicans were frozen out of several key planning sessions. How can they be responsible for effin' it up, when they weren't even allowed to comment on it at several key junctures?
    Let me just say that I don't hold many politicians – Republican or Democrat – in very high esteem these days. I know they both have their own brand of malfesance and agenda setting,
    But this thing flies or dies on the Dem's back, plain and simple.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s