Sunday, August 07, 2011

Record profits, yet businesses refude to hire ...

Record profits.

Businesses refuse to hire the unemployed.

I guess pundits, if not candidates, did start talking about deficits before the 2010 midterms, since Krugman said we have a revenue problem (instead of a spending problem)in October of 2010. We do understand why this is important, yeah?

Another thing causing the deficit I have read about, but I don't think I can find a satisfactory link for, is "automatic stabilizers". This is the notion that when the nation goes into recession, the demand for unemployment benefits goes up, and as the recession lasts longer, demand for poverty services such as food stamps starts to rise. Do we blame Obama for this component of increased spending (of course, silly blogger)?

Standards and Poor's downgraded us, but why? The implication CBS (Robert Hendin) gives us is that perhaps we were downgraded because we don't play well with each other. Of course Republicans blame the President, say that he never actually put deals on the table, just talked about them, that he and the Democrats are addicted to spending (see Krugman above). If you read and agree with my blog, then you can guess what my opinion is.

Bill Maher's three guests on Friday were Neil Degrasse Tyson, Joan Walsh of, and a Tea Party person who I guess produced the film about Sarah Palin (Stephen Bannon something?). From what I remember, he said only three things of note, but I can only remember two (I'll update when I remember the third). He called the stimulus a) failed, b) the biggest Keynesian stimulus ever tried, bigger proportionately than the Great Depression and c) a billion dollars (with interest?). He also said that Tea Partiers feel like the government tax structure/economy is socialist for both the rich and the poor, but brutally capitalist for the middle class.

For his part, Jack Kelly this week suggests the the cuts in the debt ceiling deal might be too small to make much of a difference. From his point of view, I can see where he might think that, and with some justification. The cuts will reduce the increase in the deficit over the ten years, not really the deficit, not to mention the debt at all. All that will happen is the debt will grow more slowly.

Although when I say all that will happen ... This is not to mention the coming double dip recession, the worsening crumbling of our infrastructure, kids dropping out of college because they don't have enough money (but will now have college loans to pay off) and poor and middle class families falling further behind. The rich will be doing OK, of course, thanks to Kelly's Tea Party pals. Then there is the awful precedent itself (never tried when a Republican was President) of forcing the President to come up with a deal to pass the increase in the debt ceiling. And Kelly suggests that Democrats want to increase spending and regulations just because they do. Apparently Kelly is unaware of the current recession, or the financial meltdown that occurred at the end of the Bush administration. I think the term for what Kelly says is slander.

Meanwhile, what does all this mean to this point on the road to the 2012 elections? Republicans (like Kelly) are sure that no matter how bad the crisis is that they provoke, the bulk of the blame will stick to Obama as President. I am not sure about that, but it is clear that the Democratic party voters are becoming disheartened. Obama won in 2008 as an unknown with a fairly narrow margin because he was able to get young people to vote in record percentages. Now Obama is a known quantity, seemingly ineffectual but still relatively well liked. But I can't see those young people coming out to vote again, while the Tea Party will get all of their relatively limited numbers to the polls. Which means ,,, I dunno.

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