1/21/2009

In Case You Didn't Get A Ticket...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I didn't but my daughter did, and is going to a smaller party with the President and his family tomorrow.

Fred

Roadkill said...

Sunny,

I missed the "tolerence" part of Lowrey's benediction, but it may have been in there somewhere. Most heard something more along the lines of "Black Resentment.”

I've got to hand it to Mr. 44, however; he's a great politician. Sop to the right, sop to the left, sop to the racial base.

Let's hope he can govern with similar post-partisan and post-racial choreography.

Sunny Badger said...

It's interesting to hear some of my conservative-Republican friends condeming Obama and pridicting gloom two days into the show. They being the ones complaining about the bank bailout and forgetting that Republican McCain took a break in his campaign to go push for the bank bailout. Then again, it's also interesting to hear some of the Democrats complaining about Obama acknowledging the existence of Republicans and treating them with respect and inviting them to have an intelligent discussion of the serious problems facing us.

There might be sops to the Left and Right, but hearing them both complain makes me think he's off to a good start.

Roadkill said...

Sunny,

Some of the center-right blogs are making a big deal of President Obama's comment to a complaining Republican Congressman that he (Obama) will have the last word on policy because "I won." Well, he did win, and that means everything.

As a small-d democrat, I agree with the sentiment because elections matter and the people have spoken clearly that they want Democrats to run things right now. The Republicans lost control of Congress and the Presidency because the people got fed up with their corrupt and ineffective rule. They deserve to be in the political wilderness for now; hopefully they will learn from their mistakes. In the meantime, President Obama should be given the support and respect that he as earned through the democratic process.

Up to this point, I don't have much to complain about with Obama. I understand that he is going to do many things that I disagree with, but so far his appointments and policies have been pretty much centrist. I am particularly heartened with his foreign policy team and his cautious pronouncements regarding the middle-east, Iraq, and the War on Terror. I think the national security briefings he as received since the election have sobered him and made him realize how much he didn’t know about the dangers of Islamic radicalism. He’s plenty smart enough to understand that it’s his watch now, and that keeping the country safe is now his responsibility and his alone. He surely doesn’t want to blow it by clinging to some of his campaign promises which he probably knew at the time were unrealistic.

One of the little things that impressed me so far was some video I saw of Obama and Biden swearing in new administration officials. Biden, the buffoonish gasbag, made a pathetic attempt at humor by referring to the Chief Justice’s gaff with the inauguration oath. Obama, observing in background, remained stoney faced. Good for him; it suggests that he is serious about his job and will have little patience with cheap political sniping. Hopefully he will re-relegate the VP position to political obscurity as was envisioned by the founders.

I’m sure I’ll be complaining about things as time goes by, especially if this next round of bailouts/porkbarrel spending leads to rampant inflation and renewed government regulation leads to economic stagflation (remember “Stagflation”?). Not to mention pressing on with the quixotic quest to slay the Man-made Global Warming windmill.

But here, 4 days in to the new administration, I have to agree: Obama is off to a good start.

Sunny B. said...

"Stagflation" was a big topic during my undergraduate studies (1976-1981) in economics. It was often ponder in the classes I took. In the full-time, factory job I had prior to going to college (1973-1976) we were getting multiple cost of living raises annually. I think as many as four or five in a given year.

The "stagflation" word came up in a discussion I was having with a co-worker who is against all things Democrat. He blamed Carter for stagflation. Actually, it started under Nixon and the 1973 OPEC shock paid a big part. President Ford started the WIN program: Whip Inflation Now. There were WIN buttons.

My co-worker said Reagan solve stagflation by cutting taxes when he came into office. After that, he tells me, the economy took off. Of course, he didn't mention the fact that Reagan stomped on the government spending gas pedal and ramped up military spending. Reagan drove up the budget deficit and took the national debt to record levels. It ultimately force Bush 1 to raise taxes and lose an election because of his "read my lips" remark. The Reagan worshipers seem to have selective memories about what Reagan did. What's your take on this?

Concerning global warming, PBS had a show on last week about global dimming. Evidently, global warming would be a lot worse, if it wasn't for the pollutants in the atmosophere that are blocking the deadly rays of the sun. I'm waiting for Goldie Locks to return to Earth and tells us everything is just right.

I have a copy of a 1976 National Geographic with a cover story on the coming Ice Age. Credible scientists in the 1970s would have been on the Coming Ice Age band wagon.

Biden's comment on ROberts was rather juvenile. Everybody makes mistakes. The bloggers where quacking about whether or not Obama was actually President with the mistake. The birth certificate, middle name Hussein, the unofficial oath of office...if it wasn't for such conspiracy fodder, these people might have to get a live.

Sunny B. said...

RK, on the center-right bloggers complaining about Obama's "I won" comment, the story I read in the paper said everybody at the table understood the humor of the statment. The problem with so many political bloggers is that they don't have a sense of humor and they operate on third-hand information that's twisted by partisan bias.

Roadkill said...

Sunny,

We are contemporaries, and I remember things pretty much as you do. I agree that the OPEC embargo tipped us into recession in the mid-seventies, and that Ford’s “WIN” program was feckless and ineffective. Carter was unable to figure out what to do about it, other than telling us to turn down our thermostats, put on a sweater, and lower our expectations for the future. By the late seventies, we were enduring both high inflation (8-9%) and high interest rates (12 – 14%); the media coined the term “misery index” (inflation rate + prime interest rate) to quantify how bad the economy was performing.

Enter Reagan. While I admit that as a late-70’s college student I worried about him (probably from reading too much MSM – particularly the Star-Tribune and Time Magazine), I think its hard to argue that his economic program did not get the economy back on its feet. Yes, his ramped up military spending and tax cuts drove the budget into deficit, but both produced results. His military spending caused a fatal weakening of the USSR as they stove to keep pace with the US defense industry, and his tax and regulatory reductions led to the resurgence of the US economy which, unhampered by encumbering regulation and incentivized by lower marginal tax rates, has been on a quarter century roll until very recently.

One of the interesting things about the Reagan deficits was that a significant portion of them were due to tax cuts; that is, putting money back into the pockets of producers and consumers. While I am no economist, it does seem to me that if deficits have to be run, its better that they are due to a lack of revenue rather than to excessive government growth and spending. I say that because whereas money in the pockets of producers and consumers can create wealth, money spent by government (which of course has been forcibly taken from these same producers and consumers) does not. Manufacturers and service providers create wealth; government merely redistributes it (with a share skimmed off, of course).

Now of course we are going to see what spending-generated deficits can accomplish. Yes, Obama promises tax cuts, but much of it is really a welfare program in that people with no tax liability are going to get a “tax rebate” just like the people who actually pay taxes. Moreover, the high end taxpayers – the ones who create jobs and wealth – are going to be left out the rebates (if not actually burdened with even higher taxes), so we are going to find out if government spending can really grow us out of recession. I must admit I’m skeptical. But as I said earlier, the people put Obama him in charge, and he can push the programs he thinks will work. Good luck to him (and us).

Sunny B. said...

RK, I been thinking about the Money & Banking class I took back in 1980. I'm thinking a lot has changed since then.

Back then we also discussed Alfred Kahn's ideas about deregulation. It's interesting to note that everybody drives the deregulation stake into Reagan's turf, but it actually started during the Carter administration.

PBS recently aired an American Experience series on the various Presidents and they were all interesting. Carter seemed to be pretty cluless about the domestic economy while he concentrated on peace in the Middle East. I believe Carter also did the grain embargo and kept the US out of the Olympics.

I don't know if you listen to Wisconsin Public Radio, but Ben Merens had an interesting economist on today, Michael Rizzo. Rizzo was discussing the bailout from the free market perspective. Obviously, Rizzo is pretty much no bailout. Myself, I'm not convinced on the bailout and neither is Russ Feingold. Feingold has voted against the bailouts.

Here's a link to Meren's show: http://www.wpr.org/merens/index.cfm?strDirection=Prev&dteShowDate=2009%2D01%2D27%2017%3A00%3A00

It's interesting to see politicians think they can do something fast. Our society has evolved to a point where if change doesn't happen at the snap of a finger, it won't work.

One caller to Meren's program was complaining about how unfair it is for people near retirment who put all their money into their homes thinking it would be their retirement money. Rizzo said he has a house he can't sell that is worth less than want he owes. It's almost like our society can only have winners and it's a bad thing to have losers.

It reminds me of schools where everybody is special and nobody gets an F and everybody gets A's. My experience in life is that everybody doesn't succeed. Some people are smart, hardworking, do things right and end up with things going very wrong. Others coast to the top with little effort and a lot of luck. Is it fair? No. But who ever said life was fair?

Remeber, freeze locally and warm globally!