“You Lose, I Win”

“Like many changes that are revolutionary, none of Washington’s problems happened overnight. But slow and steady change over many decades — at a rate barely noticeable while it’s happening — produces change that is transformative. In this instance, it’s the kind of evolution that happens inevitably to rich and powerful states, from imperial Rome to Victorian England. The neural network of money, politics, bureaucracy, and values becomes so tautly interconnected that no individual part can be touched or fixed without affecting the whole organism, which reacts defensively.

“And thus a new president, who was elected with 53 percent of the popular vote, and who began office with 80 percent public-approval ratings and large majorities in both houses of Congress, found himself for much of his first year in office in stalemate, pronounced an incipient failure, until the narrowest possible passage of a health-care bill made him a sudden success in the fickle view of the commentariat, whose opinion curdled again when Obama was unable, with a snap of the fingers or an outburst of anger, to stanch the BP oil spill overnight. And whose opinion spun around once more when he strong-armed BP into putting $20 billion aside to settle claims, and asserted presidential authority by replacing General Stanley McChrystal with General David Petraeus. The commentariat’s opinion will keep spinning with the wind.

“The evidence that Washington cannot function — that it’s ‘broken,’ as Vice President Joe Biden has said — is all around. For two years after Wall Street brought the country close to economic collapse, regulatory reform languished in partisan gridlock. A bipartisan commission to take on the federal deficit was scuttled by Republican fears in Congress that it could lead to higher taxes, and by Democratic worries about cuts to social programs. Obama was forced to create a mere advisory panel instead.

“Four years after Congress nearly passed a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws, the two parties in Washington are farther apart than ever, and hotheaded state legislatures have stepped into the breach. Guantanamo remains an open sore because of fearmongering about the transfer of prisoners to federal prisons on the mainland. What Americans perceive in Washington, as Obama put it in his State of the Union speech, in January, is a ‘perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about the other side — a belief that if you lose, I win.’

“His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, whose Friday-afternoon mantra has become ‘Only two more workdays till Monday!,’ sums up today’s Washington in terms both coarser and more succinct. To him, Washington is just ‘Fucknutsville.’ — from “Washington, We Have A Problem,” a brilliant piece by Vanity Fair‘s Todd Purdum about the absurd dynamic affllicting the Obama administration.

108 thoughts on ““You Lose, I Win”

  1. It all ends with the next American Revolution, coming to a city near you in the not too distant future. See you then.

  2. I’m with HomieCat. Fuck all the Ayn Rand assholes who revere a terrible writer and neo-fascist thinker. They don’t understand government, politics, nada. Crawl back in your social darwinist caves, assholes.

  3. Yeah, I love how people throw out the prospect of revolution like it’s just going to be some block party. It will be bloody and ugly. If revolution does come to this country you can bet the tea party movement will be squarely in the counterrevolution camp.

  4. Homie Cat & Ibeale…

    Safe to say we won’t have your support when it’s time to mobilize? Too bad.

    And HomieC, as a veteran of the Iraq War and as a man who has been shot at, I agree bullets are scary. But they aren’t nearly as frightening as what this country and what it stands for are turning into.

    There is nothing as comforting and reassuring as the status quo. So, as if you needed my prompts, by all means, do nothing. Insult those who aspire for better things. It’s safer and easier that way. Nevertheless, it won’t matter when we roll over you. XOXO

  5. Please oh please God do not let Jeff Wells purge this John Galt character until this thread has properly brought down the house.

    I am sensing comic gold…

  6. Post a scan of your DD 214 then, John.

    Until then, remember that this a movie lovers site, so confine your fanciful comments about revolution to discussions about Wild in the Streets or Red Dawn.

  7. Yeah Homie, you’re right, how dare Galt bring politics into a movie lovers site on a post about politics. The nerve!

  8. John Galt loves Ayn Rand. Thunderballs hated the script for The Social Network. They’re a match made in dumbass heaven. This should be amusing.

  9. Thunderballs, serious, heated political discussion about dem/repubs is terrific, if somewhat futile .

    This “The revolution will not be televised” type nonsense, is just boring gasbaggery by impotent nutbirds, and contributes nothing imho.

  10. TATE: I think it’s obvious what this nation is “turning into”… isn’t it?

    Over 50% of Republicans believe the President was either definitely or probably born outside of the U.S.

    31% of Republicans believe Obama is a secret Muslim.

    Yes, it’s clear what America has turned into… a nation of retards. (Sorry, Ms. Palin)

  11. Yes, Galt, please elaborate “what this country and what it stands for” is turning into?

    You sound like an ignorant child whose only education HAS been in the military. Which is is fine when that type of mind set is needed in military day to day operation; sadly useless in the real world.

    Please, sincerely, ELABORATE. I’m curious if you view on the “US downturn” started with an presidency that started two wars, one based on thier own lies and the other on flawed policy? Or the if you think it started when with the former administration running a country like a CEO’s in a corporation that has no board of directors?? Somehow, I think you are going to target January of last year, after a financial and economical meltdown resulted from the last 8 years and more as your start time for this “downturn” you speak of.

    Except you won’t be talking about that; it’s even money that you are going to target the election of a black man who says we need change from the last 8 years as what frightens you. Galt, use your GI bill (which is better than ever now), go to college and take in some real life. That’s the revolution (of the mind) that you need.

  12. Tate K.

    Thanks for asking. I won’t include such obvious answers as 1) Jersey Shore is the #1 show on TV; 2) The US public educational system fails to rank in the top 20 of industrialized nations (fucking Finland is above us); or 3) our hyper-consumerist society has produced a national debt of close to 14 trillion dollars and growing daily, so I’ll begin and end with this.

    What made America the greatest country in the world 234 years ago was the notion that the individual was respected enough to cast a vote, then his vote was counted with others and those votes elected leaders that in turn went to DC where they collectively worked together with other leaders elected by their respective voters to make America an even better place than it was the day before. A true democracy. Based on nothing but the will of the people. For, by, of…

    However, it seems today that the vast majority of Americas don’t trust Congress anymore, so to me and those others in the majority, the foundation of what makes America America is cracked.

    So my question is… if the core of the American identity has been lost, what are we then?

  13. Hey. Galt:

    “1) Jersey Shore is the #1 show on TV”

    a) It’s not, and b) Even if were– especially if it were– isn’t that a pretty clear sign that most Americans are pretty happy-go-lucky and complacent and just wanna live their own lives, and aren’t gonna be arming themselves to the fucking teeth anytime soon for your fantasyland scenario where every bumpkin dentist in Scranton PA is going door-to-door with an AK-47 mowing down any suburban family that voted the wrong way on the tax laws.

    In the words of Sergeant Hulka: Lighten up.

  14. “You sound like an ignorant child whose only education HAS been in the military. Which is is fine when that type of mind set is needed in military day to day operation; sadly useless in the real world.”

    That’s damn ignorant. You should not talk about what you have no knowledge of. I know quite few guys who graduated from West Point who could write their own ticket in almost any field, if they weren’t more interested in serving our Country instead of themselves.

  15. John Galt:

    Good of you to respond seriously. I fear you may have an overly romantic view of what life was like in the colonies. It wasn’t so hot if you were black or red. Probably not that hot if you were white, either.

    As for me, I can’t get into nationalism. It’s similar to saying, “If Nebraska has lost the core of what it means to be Nebraska, then what is Nebraska, after all?” Who the fuck cares. Nationalism is the same dumbass bullshit on a little bit bigger scale, and we have all been conditioned to it by media and school and church and TV programs no smarter after all than, yes, “Jersey goddam Shore.”

    How many violent revolutions have there been in the course of human history? And yet here we are wanting more of them. It’s idiotic. The problems are human, which in their aggregate become colossal, but being human, the solutions must begin and end with us as individuals. Wipe your own shoes before entering the cathedral, otherwise we just end up with a different set of assholes in charge, and lots of people prematurely dead.

  16. John Galt is reminding me more and more of that “I WOULD STRIKE DOWN MY OWN BROTHER!” cue from the Civil War chess set commercials.

    Like, dude, I love America too and all, though full disclosure: I’ve never lived anywhere else, so for all I know Spain or Japan kick America’s ass in terms of awesomeness… Just luck of the draw, I was born here. Didn’t have much say in it, and just like religion, you or I could’ve just as easily been born half a planet away, and in that case you’d be all GUNG-THE-FUCK-HO about China or Mongolia or wherever. So for that reason if none other, I wouldn’t want to base MY ENTIRE EXISTENCE on “I WOULD DIE FOR THIS SLICE OF REAL ESTATE WHERE I WAS ARBITRARLY BORN!”

    Of course, again, I do love America and I love that we have the freedom to say dumb shit like the above here, but if the JOHN GALT FANTASY ever did come about where we had some Second Civil War, I don’t know… I’d probably look into moving to fucking Canada, or England, or France, because I’d rather be, you know, FUCKING ALIVE than just about anything.

    I have respect and reverence for the U.S. military, but I don’t entirely relate to this new super Tea Party deal where regular everyday folks are suddenly getting all MISTY-EYED and awed of speech when they speak of “the… the… the…. CONSITUTION!” in these HUSHED TONES that should be reserved for me judging a Kristen Stewart Shoe Modeling Contest.

    Again, pro-Constitution, pro-liberty, pro-America, all that…. But I don’t know how any of that supercedes BEING AN INDIVIDUAL and BEING A GOD and at the end of the day, it’s GOD! COUNTRY! CORPS! FAMILY! INDIVIDUAL! No, it’s just INDIVIDUAL. Delightful as the John Galt pipe dream of militaristic self-sacrifice for some old picket-fence powdered-wig fantasia is…. I’m pretty sure if anyone ended up gunned down by some EVIL HIGH TAX SOLDIER MAN, in your last thoughts you wouldn’t be all, “I AM SO PROUD TO DIE FOR THE FLAT TAX!” You’d probably be all, “Shit, I could’ve moved to Ottawa and lived another 40 years.”

    Fortunately, I’d wager that 99.99999% of Tea Partiers are just regular, decent workaday Joes who are just exercising their perfectly entitled and awesome right to express their opinion… I sincerely doubt too many of them are waiting for this BATTLEFIELD AMERICA! shit that seems to give Galt an erection.

  17. Galt: Americans haven’t had much faith in their government for a long time. It’s not a new thing. As bad as things are, and they are bad, it would have to get a lot worse before revolution erupts.

  18. I appreciate the civil tone most of you have reserved for this discussion. HomieCat actually helps to prove my point with his rhetoric. Instead of trying to openly debate me on our philosophical and political differences (again, a basic tenet of the American dream) he resorts to insulting me personally. So, thanks, Homie.

    And when I talk revolution, why does that have to be guns and bullets and people dying as most of you insinuate? I don’t advocate killing or violence. The world has enough of that. a revolution doesn’t have to be violent. It’s a mentality and a resolve that simply says, I’ve had enough. But until a vast majority of us come to that place, nothing will change. But as I stated in an earlier post, maybe that’s what we want. No change. Status quo. I for one want something better, for all of us.

  19. Galt: “What made America the greatest country in the world 234 years ago was the notion that the individual was respected enough to cast a vote, then his vote was counted with others and those votes elected leaders that in turn went to DC where they collectively worked together with other leaders elected by their respective voters to make America an even better place than it was the day before. A true democracy. Based on nothing but the will of the people.”

    Um, except America *wasn’t* a true democracy 200+ years ago.

  20. John G, that’s still pretty vague, isn’t it? Is the fundamental thing what those libertarian Koch billionaires want? In other words, since they’re rich, they just want to be able to do whatever the hell they want to do without any limitations. Such a state of being has no basis in reality anywhere at any time.

    But if we want to get this whole thing working better, who would argue with that. Human life is not perfectible, though. We all buy the farm, rich and poor.

  21. Best LexG comments ever…

    To pile on, the idea that what we need in the United States is a revolution is just as, to use the preferred nomenclature, retarded now as it was in the 1960s.

    Unlike other societies where actual oppression fostered revolutionary movements, we live in a relatively harmless (to its own citizens, anyway) democracy, in which if you want major change to occur, it’s much easier and more efficient to actually work for it (instead of angrily posting on the internet about it) than it is to kill and die for.

  22. And JohnG, any revolution is violent. Name one revolution that wasn’t violent, and I’ll show you a political campaign in a democracy.

  23. Perils of Thinking…

    If you think you and most of those in America aren’t being oppressed in some form or another just reinforces that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

  24. John G, people got beat up and killed. Martin Luther King went to jail and then got shot to death. How is that not violent? If you mean he himself wasn’t violent, OK, but there was violence inherent in the movement, and the other side certainly felt they were being impinged and oppressed and moved in on. Doesn’t the Tea Party feel, “Enough with all the damned civil rights, we’re being oppressed?”

    The ruling class/religion/party/group feels just as oppressed as everybody else, only ludicrously so. They’re oppressed to have to pay a few taxes so that, in some cases, others can merely survive.

  25. #1: Of course we’re oppressed, but not compared to what other societies have to deal with. Tell a Latin American who lived through the 70s and 80s that we live an oppressive society, and they’d laugh in your face if they weren’t so polite. We’re in the top tier of free nations, and actually have more of those freedoms guaranteed as rights than just about any other nation (take a look at the UK’s freedom of speech laws, for example).

    #2: RE: MLK (or Gandhi, or whoever) Proves my point exactly – even if YOUR side is practicing non-violence, it sure as hell doesn’t mean the other side is. Look up how many civil rights activists were murdered during that era, or how many Indians died in their struggle for independence. If you are actually siding against those who have power in a society, you can bet they’re not going to handle you softly just because you promise to be nonviolent….

  26. The industrial revolution? Seriously? And the green revolution in agriculture, too, or the tech revolution in Silicone Valley, or the French New Wave in cinema…

  27. Anyway, the point isn’t that if you truly believe your society needs to change, you should be apathetic or passive about it, just that it’s probably better to use the mechanisms of participatory democracy, not revolution in whatever form you want to refer to it.

  28. Even if you want to really stretch and use MLK’s branch of the civil rights movement (to the exclusion of the Panthers, Fred Hampton, Malcolm X, etc.) as an example, it was still a campaign predicated on building popular and elite support for a change in legal policy and enforcement. The Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts weren’t imposed on the land through extralegal (revolutionary) means or by the overthrow of the government, they were written, voted for, and enacted by politicians who were elected and pressured by their constituencies.

    And the sixties were about as crazy as it gets in modern America…

  29. @HomieCat Read or understand more carefully; West Point itself is much more than standard military experience.

    @JohnGalt With the Usual Suspects reference, you may have just hit a DZ level of nonsense, especially when comparing the industrial revolution to any type of political revolution. But with out knowing it, you may have proven your point in an entirely different direction. It’s not in anyway the government that is oppressing us, it’s CORPORATIONS. Health care, Wall Street, Big Banks, OIL, coal, department chain stores and fast food chain….all lobbying and crafting ways for profit increase at any expense or excess. And people just accept that. THAT is more of a hidden danger to this country, and it’s source is not in the halls of government; it’s in the boardroom.

    Oh yeah, great stuff here, LEXG.

  30. John: “Martin Luthor King’s revolution for one was a non-violent revolution. Turned out pretty well.”

    Until he got shot by the the tea-baggers of his era for arguing against war and poverty, of course. But hey, now they’re trying to do the same to Obama while pretending it’s about “states’ rights” and “the deficit”.

  31. “… Mechanisms of participatory democracy…”

    I hear ya buddy. Couldn’t agree more.

    But that’s just voting. We’re doing that. It doesn’t seem to be working. Congressional and presidential approval ratings aren’t high and this isn’t a republiclican/democrat/tea party thing here. Honestly, do you have any friend that sits back and says, “Congress? Yeah, I like what they’re all about. Because deep down, I know they’re looking out for us, the common man”?

    And every year, stooges like Brock Landers from Thedirty.com get elected to Congress and it gives one pause.

  32. iamjoe: I understood you just fine. No offense, but In terms of life in the military, and the opportunity and importance it places on education, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  33. When Republicans hold the White House: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism”

    When Democratics hold the White House: “America is ungovernable and broken thanks to the racist, fickle fearmongers” Please Wells, tell us if the piece goes into detail later about how women and minorities have been hardest hit by “Republican obstructionism”…

  34. “But that’s just voting. We’re doing that. It doesn’t seem to be working”

    Color me surprised that you rail against the system when you don’t like the result.

  35. “But that’s just voting. We’re doing that. It doesn’t seem to be working.”

    Voting, as they say, is the lowest form of democracy, and the least one can do to influence the shape and direction of their society. And how is it not working? Is the guy who got the most votes not running the country right now?

    Look, I’m as dissatisfied with our current political environment and the overwhelming influence of money in it and the failure of the media and the rest of it as anyone, and if you want to riff on that, I’ll be here all night… but if you’re trying to argue that your own current dissatisfaction is somehow unique in American history and deserves extraordinary methods of expression, well, you’re either wrong or a kook.

  36. All well and good, “John Galt” (incidentally, I’m actually rather fond of personal Objectivism in the abstract), but you, the “new” right and the Tea Party aren’t revolutionaries – your counter-revolutionaries.

    “Let’s go back to 1955… but somehow only the ‘good’ parts” (which is impossible, but whatever) isn’t a revolution. You want to talk revolution? Let’s talk revolution: (appologies in advance for the length)

    America IS changing. Gradually, but profoundly – and not through some fanciful George Soros conspiracy or “liberal” plot, but through simple cultural-evolution, as reliable as the tide. We’re becoming less-overwhelmingly white. We’re becoming less religious. We’re becoming less family-centered socially. We’re becoming less state-to-state “autonomous” on a macro level. We’re transitioning from a manufacturing/producing economy to a service/research economy.

    That last one is the big one – manufacturing (and coming-soon: agriculture) has moved almost-wholly to the Third World, and with that the U.S. is likely going to develop into a more Europe-style “hourglass-shaped” class-system: An upper-class in the tech, science, creative and finance fields, a “lower” (but still higher than most of the world) class in service, and a MUCH smaller middle/working class. You want a revolution? THAT’S revolution, my friend.

    The “Tea Party” don’t get to call themselves a “revolution” simply because they’ve only NOW woken up to the fact that “their” strata of America (white, nominally-religious, working-class) is nearing the end of a slow slide into obsolesence and their “pissy” about it. That’s what this nonsense about Mosques (read: non-Christians) and “illegals” and gay marriage is mostly about: A fading culture swatting at what they see as their “unworthy” replacements.

    But, as there are peaks and valleys even on a strongly-trending line, the “right” will PROBABLY get Congress in November. And Beck etc. will celebrate as though they’ve stopped time in it’s tracks… just like they did when Nixon stomped McGovern, and it’ll mean just as little: Over the next decade or so we’ll STILL get gay marriage, we’ll STILL have legal abortion, the national-complexion will STILL be getting browner, the nuclear-family will keep losing cultural-relevance, and so on and so forth. Cuz “revolution” or not, ya can’t stop EVOLUTION.

  37. The right is the future. You know why we’re the future? Because reality is on our side.

    H-E posters can come up with whatever uber-histories that they wish. The long and short of it is that left-wing economics don’t work. That’s where the rubber meets the road.

  38. Bowen,

    Please define left-wing economics and right-wing economics, so we can adequately compare them without relying solely on your assertion of superiority.

    Thanks,

    Perils

  39. Thanks, THE MovieBob. That is by far the most thoughtful and accurate piece of text that has ever been posted on this site.

  40. It’s disgusting and sad to realize it took the election of a mixed race President for the battle cry of revolution to take hold.

  41. “The right is the future. You know why we’re the future? Because reality is on our side.

    H-E posters can come up with whatever uber-histories that they wish. The long and short of it is that left-wing economics don’t work. That’s where the rubber meets the road. ”

    Care to back any of that up?

    Didn’t think so.

  42. Blah, blah, blah… more sore loser BS from the right, yet more examples of their “well, if we can’t run the country, no one will be allowed to” entirely Unpatriotic attitude.

    And if I saw what the future holds for my party, guess I’d want to take my ball and go home too. End of the road, dipshits. Everyone told you guys that the race-baiting and other shit might win elections today, but it ultimately just painted you into a corner.

    Nice rant, Lex, the only thing worth reading on this page.

  43. As a friend of mine said recently, Obama’s a company man.

    Expecting more of the “What did you expect Barack Obama to be? Superman?” spin as 2012 approaches.

  44. Homie: “No offense, but In terms of life in the military, and “the opportunity and importance it places on education, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    Is it the kind of education where they let idiots like Perle say Iraq will be a “cakewalk”? Or where the former Commander-in-Chief doesn’t know there are two sects of Islam? Or where they allow the kind of shoddy worksmanship which shocks our own troops while taking a fucking shower?

    Farris: “When Republicans hold the White House: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism”

    Except when it’s about questioning the war or BP, of course.

    “When Democratics hold the White House: “America is ungovernable and broken thanks to the racist, fickle fearmongers”

    Yeah, as opposed to, “It’s Clinton’s fault!”

    Bob: “But, as there are peaks and valleys even on a strongly-trending line, the “right” will PROBABLY get Congress in November. ”

    Doubt it. Seats will be lost, but the Republicans do not have a plan or a vision like they pretended to do under Newt.

    Bowen: “The long and short of it is that left-wing economics don’t work.”

    Yes, that’s why China’s ready to knock us from the #1 economic super-power in a decade.

  45. Re 4th grade army’s post:

    Howard Stern shoed a flash of the old genius by alternating Beck’s rally speech with Beck’s on-air patter from Top 40 DJ days.

  46. Watching that YT video of Beck rally attendees from two posts up… Pretty funny, and you always have to enjoy cheap-shot shit like this (Alexandra Pelosi is making a cottage industry out of it) almost regardless of personal bias, just because, face it, rubes and dumb-asses are funny…

    But you could (and others have) rightly make an equally damning portrait of idiotic liberal sheep at any number of events; Just hit up ANY college campus and you’ll get a treasure trove of over-opinionated blowhards on par with this crew, just preaching the opposite side…

    And, really, in the end, doesn’t all that speak to the probability that as with all things, the TRUTH LIES SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE, or in complete Zen indifference? Why are these guys or you guys or anybody gonna fixate on this shit that YOU CAN’T CONTROL? Like Galt up above working himself into a lather… Just be an INDIVIDUAL… You think TOMMY LEE gives a shit about Socialism or The Tea Party or Flat Tax or Bailouts? Doesn’t affect him in the slightest….shouldn’t affect you.

    Though if I had to harbor a guess, I’d say Mr. Lee wouldn’t be caught within a hundred miles of this rally or any Tea event… Not a lot of hot pussy at this thing, that’s for sure.

    And doesn’t the fact that HOT YOUNG WOMEN– the ONLY thing that matters in this life– couldn’t care FUCK ALL about politics… doesn’t that tell you that YOU don’t need to either?

  47. While I do agree with MovieBob’s assertions about the right, there’s something else that needs to be said about the right.

    Earlier, there was talk of “taking back this country”. Now, whether that was meant literally (as in, a civil war) or politically (as in, voting conservatives into office), they want to “bring this nation back to what the founding fathers intended”. The problem is, the left is running America the way the founders intended. And 2 years ago, the right was doing the same.

    You see, the founders knew that people would disagree; they couldn’t even agree on what the Constitution would have in it. So, they came together and compromised. They compromised on the Constitution (the Bill of Rights only exist because it was a compromise to the Anti-Federalists to get them to ratify the Constitution), and created one of the best forms of government ever devised from it.

    They hoped that, even if one ideology had a majority in government, that they majority and the minority would come together to create laws that would be liked by almost everyone and be the most beneficial to the nation. And, for the most part, history has shown that bipartisan legislation is the best legislation.

    To think that solely Reaganomics or Keynesian Economics will solve the economy is idiotic. Those 2 sides should come together to form a comprehensive, effective bill to fix job loss and overall economic slide. (In fact, much of Obama’s economic policy is a mixture of both, with tax cuts and entitlements being pushed).

    So, stop fighting the other side, and sit down and be reasonable with them. Have an intelligent conversation about the pros and cons of each side, and come to a conclusion as to what parts from each side would work the best. That’s what the founders intended.

  48. Thing, I’m for people talking respectably about each other’s ideas. But Reaganomics is not the other side of Keynesian economics. Reaganomics never worked. How do you talk about old ideas that are proven to fail. Do you say “sure let’s give rich people tax breaks,” even though they don’t work for the rest of Americans?

  49. “Reaganomics never worked.”

    I can show you a whole private jet industry that would beg to differ.

    It’s not a failure to operate that you’re observing, it’s a failure to understand the anticipated outcome that is causing you issues.

  50. so this “anger” by Tea Party has nothing to do with:

    TARP

    Stimulus

    Bank bailouts

    Wall St bailouts

    Automotive bailouts

    Looming Cap and Trade

    Health Care fiasco

    Generally crappy economy

    SS insolvency

    Medicaid/Medicare insolvency

    and all sorts of other things spending related.

    People are fed up with government spending that has put us on a financial precipice. Everything came to a head with TARP under Bush. That is where the Tea Party was birthed. It is not a right/left thing. It is a government spending thing.

    But it is easier to play the race card and say it is all because the President is black so that they can end the debate and hope these people just go away.

  51. If Tea Partiers are so pissed about the financial situation, why aren’t they expressing this anger in the direction of Wall Street?

    And if the Tea Party isn’t a right-wing movement, why are all of its leaders (Dick Armey, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, etc.) and an overwhelming majority of its members conservatives and/or Republicans?

    And if they’re really so concerned with deficits in a non-ideological way, why don’t they ever support tax increases, even if only on the super-rich?

  52. @Perils: They have expressed anger at wall street. What you seem to be missing is that government was just as culpable if not more so in all this financial mess then wall street. Why are you not more angry at the government?

    Conservatives have generally been small government types. So a movement that is about smaller government and less spending would naturally these individuals. The anger is not just directed at Dems. There have been plenty of anger directed at Repubs too, hence Tea Party candidates beating long term Rs in the primaries.

    I think Tea Partiers would support tax increases as long as it is coupled with SPENDING CUTS. I would. The problem is the spending side of things. The last few decades have been either tax increases coupled with increased spending, or tax cuts with increased spending. The spending has to stop. It is killing us.

  53. Re: Taxes: Well, Johnny, then you certainly sound more reasonable than most Tea Party leaders…

    I’m not denying that there is legitimate anger and frustration driving your average Tea Partier, but the larger movement stays within the lines carefully proscribed by its leaders/media patrons: cut taxes, cut social spending, hate on immigrants/Muslims, etc., but don’t really do anything to regulate Wall Street, don’t hold the Republican leadership responsible for the vast majority of the deficit, etc.

    As for my anger, I’ve got plenty of it for the politicians and lobbyists, but when it comes to destroying the financial sector, it wasn’t Pelosi or Boehner who bundled and sold bad mortgages 15 times over, magnifying the impact of the housing bubble collapse by an order of magnitude over what it needed to be.

  54. Fannie and Freddie were selling these bad mortgages and many banks were pressured with the threat of fines by our government if they did not approve mortgages to high-risk individuals.

    The banks were told to sell the mortgages and if they lender fell through then the government would pick up the bill, so the risk was mitigated.

    The market tends to clean itself up, but the government has bailed out these institutions that took these risks rather than let them be culled by the market.

    Congress passed Wall Street reform, and now the Tea Party and November elections will pass Congress Reform.

  55. Again, it’s not that there weren’t bad governmental policies causing problems in the housing market, but the popping of the housing bubble on its own would have been damaging, maybe even to the point of recession, but certainly nothing crippling to the largest economy in the world. The self-correcting market, on the other hand, is what turned the housing collapse into the largest and deepest financial crisis in 70+ years.

    And if you think a) TARP b)bank bailouts and c)Fannie/Freddie were the primary issues here, then a replacement of the government that pursued the policies behind them already happened, in 2008.

    As for Congress Reform, I’m being sincere when I say good luck with that. I seriously doubt that sending a few more “pure” right-wing Republicans to Congress to put John Boehner and the Republicans who ran things into the ground in the first place back in control of the legislative branch is going to improve things much, but maybe I’m wrong.

  56. It’s so nice when left wing morons trot out the old canard “tax the rich!” as a solution to any revenue problem.

    “Rich” people pay almost 70% of all taxes, and you want them to pay even more?

    How about we cut defense spending? How about we start cutting off foreign aid to other countries? How about we start bringing our troops home from Korea and Germany and Iraq and Afghanistan?

    I am so sick of the whole “soak the rich” mentality. When otherwise smart seeming people resort to that argument you truly see how stupid and ignorant they are of economics and governance.

  57. Perils, please, you seem like a smart guy, but you know less than nothing about free markets, capitalism, or economics. Stop embarrassing yourself.

  58. Im with you in one regard. I’m all for throwing all the bums out regardless of party affiliation. Im no fan of Boehner or Mitch McConnell. In fact, McConnell is not liked very much by the Tea Partiers, but he is not up for reelection this year.

  59. The only good thing about the Tea Parties is the attitude they embody, namely, Don’t Tread on Me. Otherwise, they’re a bunch of easily herded sheep, just like any other “protest” group, like the anti-war protesters. A bunch of ignorant sheep who think going to rallies actually does anything.

  60. any serious spending cuts would have to come from Defense, SocSec, and Medicare/Medicaid, since they are three largest portions of our budget.

  61. For the solvency of Social Security, you could also continue to draw benefits from earnings above the current ceiling, which I think is around $200k. And, whether, you think it’s going to happen or not, the health care bill is supposed to cut Medicare/aid costs and spending through a variety of mechanisms…

  62. The health care bill just made my insurance payments go up $176 a month. It was a terrible bill.

    I love the arguments about how the Top 2% pay 70% of the taxes when the Top 2% have 70% of the wealth.

    The Tea Party movement started out of something pure – outrage at the same-ol/same-ol in DC – and that started under Bush w/ the economic collapse. It was given a voice by that CNBC guy and exploded. The Tea Party has since been co-opted by other forces and therefore is turning into another cynical machine.

    Politics is about passion, and anger’s one of the easiest fans to flame. That’s why extremists control the parties, Fox’s ratings have gone up under Obama, and Keitho’s the highest rated show on MSNBC.

  63. I read that article when it came out Perils.

    He says “A few extra brackets at the top could also bring in tens of billions of dollars in additional revenue.”

    So you are in favor of this? Yet you think cutting off foreign aid is worth nothing? I think we give out more in foreign aid in a week than we would get from raising taxes the way Surowiecki says.

  64. @4th Grade: Reaganomics does work as long as there is a descent economy to build off of. The 80′s saw unprecedented growth under Reagan. But it’s not a sustainable economic policy.

    Keynesian economics works as long as the economy is in the gutter. FDR did wonders during the Great Depression. But it’s not a good policy to grow with once the economy is fixed.

    But a a combination of both should (hypothetically) work great at sustaining an economy. And it’s that kind of thinking that will make America great again

  65. Actually, we gave around $25 billion in foreign aid last year, if I remember correctly.

    But even if your assertions were correct, cutting off aid would be worth less than nothing, because foreign aid actually does something productive for the country (promotes a positive image of the country, serves as leverage to promote our foreign policy, and actually helps people who need it, occasionally).

    Allowing billionaires to keep a few extra million dollars, on the other hand, is also worth less than nothing, because that money is often stagnant, or, if it is invested, is just more of the paper being moved around Wall Street to make more lightly-taxed millions for its owner.

    So, yes, keep (or raise) foreign aid and raise taxes on the top margins of income.

  66. Perils, so now we’re talking about taxing billionaires? I agree, billionaires should be taxed higher, but then maybe they won’t give as much to charity. But I think it’s funny how you go from tax the rich to “tax the billionaires.” Lots of “rich” people are nowhere close to being billionaires.

    I also find it funny how making 500,000 a year is considered rich. If you live in Manhattan, 500,000 a year is well off, but it is certainly not rich, especially if you have kids and elderly parents to take care of. Everything is relative!

  67. Just using an extreme example with the $1,000,000,000-aires… as Surowiecki points describes, we can set the brackets however we choose, so let’s call “the rich” upon whom this soaking will be imposed only people who earn a million or more a year. Surely, if you’re earning a mil a year, an extra five percent on anything over that isn’t going to make your kids or elderly parents resort to dog food.

  68. Yeah, that extra 5% isn’t going to deleteriously hurt them, but that’s not an argument for imposing the tax. A friend of mine makes 4 times what I do in a year, does that mean anytime we go out he has to treat me? At what point does a rich person’s tax burden end? 80% of their income? 90%? What is a good rate for millionaires to pay?

    It’s amazing how many people advocate the forcible taking of one’s property by the government. People who make a lot of money deserve to have over half their earnings confiscated?

  69. Yes, they do deserve it. But they don’t do it now, since Obama’s attempt to raise the top marginal rate would only increase it to 39.6%, meaning that a moderately rich person only pays maybe a third of their total income in taxes (assuming they haven’t figured out how to use tax shelters yet).

    And the top marginal tax rate was 91% through Eisenhower and into the early sixties, which wasn’t exactly a time of economic stagnation and crisis. People pretending that rich people suffer so much here should love it or leave it, and go somewhere else if they don’t like it. Support your country or go live in Mexico, I say.

  70. “Fannie and Freddie were selling these bad mortgages and many banks were pressured with the threat of fines by our government if they did not approve mortgages to high-risk individuals. ”

    Bullshit. Fannie & Freddie weren’t allowed in the subprime game until very late, and they never had more than 20% of their loans in that mess. The Teabagger’s have their own facts of course.

    http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/business/hancock/blog/2010/08/fannie_freddie_did_not_cause_t.html

  71. Yeah I love the whole thing with the tea baggers holding using the constitution to back up whatever they think up and all that..

    Trying to stop the ‘ground zero mosque’ . . . violation of First Amendment.

    Trying to stop ‘anchor babies’ . . . violation of 14th Amendment.

    Arizona ‘Papers Please’ law . . . violation of constitution per Federal Judge.

    Anti-gay marriage amendment . . . violation of US constitution per Federal judge appointed by Reagan & Bush.

    Attacking healthcare reform on constitutional basis? Garbage, it is legal as per many decades of constitutional law.

    Attacking separation of church in state as not being in the constitution? Garbage . . . that is decided constitutional law for centuries.

  72. Johnny: “Everything came to a head with TARP under Bush. That is where the Tea Party was birthed. ”

    Bullshit. If they cared about Bush’s reckless spending, they would’ve voted his ass out in 2004.

    “But it is easier to play the race card and say it is all because the President is black”

    How many people were black at that Beck rally again?

    “What you seem to be missing is that government was just as culpable if not more so in all this financial mess then wall street. Why are you not more angry at the government?”

    Because it’s trying to take care of BP’s mess, while the tea-baggers supported “Drill, baby, drill”?

    “There have been plenty of anger directed at Repubs too,”

    Yeah, seven years too late.

    “I think Tea Partiers would support tax increases as long as it is coupled with SPENDING CUTS. ”

    Spending cuts for everyone who’s poor and disabled, but the military’s fine.

    “Fannie and Freddie were selling these bad mortgages and many banks were pressured with the threat of fines by our government if they did not approve mortgages to high-risk individuals. ”

    Again, that’s bullshit. They knew the mortgages were bad, because they were rigging a fucking housing bubble in their favor.

    “any serious spending cuts would have to come from Defense, SocSec, and Medicare/Medicaid, since they are three largest portions of our budget.”

    Bullshit for the third time. Social programs only take up a fraction of what we spend on defense.

    Thunder: “It’s so nice when left wing morons trot out the old canard “tax the rich!” as a solution to any revenue problem.

    “Rich” people pay almost 70% of all taxes, and you want them to pay even more?”

    Yeah, I totally see it when Hayward’s able to walk off with $18 million and help a terrorist get out of prison so he can do business with Libya. Or when

    a farm can sell hundreds of millions of bad eggs. Poor fucking corporations.

    “but then maybe they won’t give as much to charity.”

    The only thing they’ll do with that money is ship jobs overseas.

    “Lots of “rich” people are nowhere close to being billionaires.”

    And lots of people who work their asses off can’t even get to middle class any more.

    “A friend of mine makes 4 times what I do in a year, does that mean anytime we go out he has to treat me?”

    No, but if he wants to drive on a bridge without it crashing, because there wasn’t any money left to pay for upgrading it…

    “People who make a lot of money deserve to have over half their earnings confiscated? ”

    If they’re scumbags like Ken Lay, they deserve a lot more than that.

  73. It’s not about how much the government takes from you; it’s about how much you need to live comfortably. If you make a million dollars a year, you can still can still live like you did with 500,000, or even 400,000.

    On top of that, you’re helping your country. You’re funding the military, building roads, educating children, feeding the poor. Why wouldn’t you want to do that? Because you need a second helicopter or a 32nd car?

  74. @kakihara: Social Security is 20% of our budget, medicare/medicaid is 21%, and defense is 20%. So 60% of the Federal budget goes to these 3 categories. https://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258

    “How many people were black at that Beck rally again?”

    Actually, there were quite a few, but that is just you avoiding debate by crying racism. How many black people are at global warming rallies or anti-war rallies? Are these rallies racist?

  75. @SpinDozer – I am not saying Fannie and Freddie caused the bubble, I am just pointing out and your article backs it up, that the government was a player in this whole financial mess. From their policies at Fannie and Freddie to their strong arming financial institutions to give risky loans. These banks and Wall Street are also responsible as well, but to lay all the blame at their feet and to let the govt off scott free is a bit naive.

  76. JohnnyM:

    The Government deserves blame. It deserves all the blame. They are the ones who implemented idiotic Free-market policys (mainly Republicans) that caused the mess. End of story.

    Oh, except now there’s a bunch of knuckleheads blubbering about keeping Government from regulating, real smart.

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