Something That We Can Agree On

Russ Steele

Steven Frisch wrote this on another local blog, known for promoting the color purple.

President Obama inherited an economy in worse shape than at any time since 1933. Economic historians will look back on this time as equally as disruptive as the Depression, and it is going to take a long time to dig out. And the policies of both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the situation–but the lions hare of the problem can be laid squarely at the Republicans feet.

I am not sure that I agree that this is the worst economy since 1933. According to historian Scott Reynolds Nelson todays economic crisis looks more like the Long Depression of 1873, when times were much worse. It started with a banking crisis and insolvent mortgages and the failure of complex financial instruments which quickly spread through out the entire economy. I guess that sounds familiar. It was a time of creative destruction and it took a long time to recover. The 1933 recovery was shortened by WWII, and we do not have WWIII in the wings to shorten the current crisis.

My point of agreement is that both Democrat and Republican were responsible for the current economic situation we are in. The Democrat Congress created the mortgage crisis and the Republican’s spent more money than was coming in as they tried to buy votes like tax and spend Democrats. It did not work, it only created more debt. So, we can agree that both Republican and  Democrats are responsible for the current economic crisis, spending  more than was coming in and borrowing to cover the gap between spending and revenue. An unsustainable situation.

What we may not agree on is that the corrective measures that President Obama has attempted to apply have not worked. In fact they have made the problem even worse, delaying the recovery.  No nation has taxes it self to economic recovery, the only measure that has proven successful is austerity.

Will the Republican’s do any better when they keep the House, win the Senate and White House. Not likely, unless “we the people” hold their feet to the promises they made to cut spending and reduce the size of government. The problem is that once politicians get access of other people money, they seem to lose control.

It will be out job, “we the people”, to be the adults and demand the our political leaders take action to stop spending and reduce the size of government. Yes, they will threaten us with the loss of benefits, but there are multiple useless agencies that have to go first. Return the control of education to the states and get rid the Department of Education. The Energy Department has failed in it mission to reduce our dependency on foreign oil and needs to go, and if Congress cut off the Agriculture subsides, we will not need a Department of Agriculture. Getting the EPA out of the global warming reduction business will enable them to reduce staff and just focus on the environmental dangers that will kill us. Once that is done then we can talk about benefit reduction.

I am hoping that Mr Frisch can agree on some of these changes. What about you?

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About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

14 Responses to Something That We Can Agree On

  1. stevefrisch says:

    Yeah well read Jospeh Stiglitzs’ book on the banking crises and get back to me. Or any of the myriad of other analyses out there, and tell me the crises was a Democratic invention. The most disturbing thing about our time is that people have a tendency to invent their own history and lay blame while and hewing to the line like sheep. I have spoken here and other places about a number of things we can do to try to get back on track, many of them relatively conservative actions, like adopting many of the measures outlined in Simpson-Bowles, like stopping the insane military-industrial build up, like controlling pensions in in gradual and bi-partisan manner, only to railed against as some kind of collectivist. I have even cririqued the President when appropriate and pointed out his weaknesses in a respectful manner. But as long as you and those who read and comment here hew to a partisan orthodoxy you will not be part of the solution–you will be the voice of irrelevance whistling in the wilderness. Our biggest probem today is that there is a clique of party hacks who want the President and thus the nation to fail so you can re-gain power. Obstructionism, my-way-or-the highway, vitriol and wild-eyed conspiracy is the order of the day. To me that is faux patriotism.

    • Russ, you are talking to reasonbly to SteveF. He cannot understand “compromise” apparently.

      The problem is the country is divided along idelogical lines (if that is a problem) and the electeds mirror that. One thing they all have at the egislative level though is the desire to spend. I watched a CSPAN dsebate on some bill and a Congressman wanted to shave 25 million out of it. I think he was a democrat! Anyway, he was defeated! They could not bring themselves to cut 25 million! That is as you say Russ, other people’s ,oney (or debt) and as Alfred E. Newman said {what, me worry?)

      When we have rent seekers who live off the tax dollar giving advice on austerity, we have “met the enemy” and he is not us.

  2. Barry Pruett says:

    Russ: You are asking legitimate questions and offering reasonable discussion points. I am sorry that it was met with condescension and you (a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force) being labeled as unpatriotic. In response to your remarks, we must look at the powers of government and who was in charge.

    First, the Carter administration and a Democrat Congress enacted the CRA which is the genesis of the mortgage collapse.

    Second, Congress has the power of the purse – not the president. Let’s go back from 1993 until today and look at spending by Congress based upon who was in control of both houses. While Democrats exclusively controlled Congress, the average monthly debt accumulated is about $83 billion. While Republcians exclusively controlled the Congress, the average monthly debt accumulated is about $27 billion.

    To be sure and I agree, there is plenty of blame to go around, but to put “the lion’s share” on Republicans is disingenuous. As you said, we get the governemtn that we choose. Ultimately it is neither the Republicans or Democrats fault. It is our (the People’s) fault.

    “We believe that to err is human. To blame it on someone else is politics.” –

  3. stevefrisch says:

    Barry for a guy who wants to improve the civic dialogue you sure leap to some conclusions and promote stife. I did not say Russ is “unpatriotic”, I said that a certain set of traits is “faux patriotism”. In short, I did not point the finger, you are trying to point it for me. That is sort of the antithesis of what you are saying you want over on your own blog. Finally, I did not bring Russ’s servcie into this you did, in an attempt to paint my point a certain color.

    I am wondering how one of the most partisan, bitter, accusatory, vitriolic voices in local politics, one who is even willing to excorate memebrs of his own party with charges of criminal behavior, self serving and self dealing decsions should they reach Congress, has the gall to pretend that they now support “civil dialogue”. I mean really, here you are a short day alter strirring the crap and trying to start a fight. Shame on you.

    And if one looks at CRA they will discover that it was remarkably bi-partisan, as was the consistent stripping of regualtory oversight of the banking industry, both through legislation, and the more insidious tack of using they very power of the purse that you speak of to defund and disempower the very regualtions we needed to have work during the Bush administration. I am willing to grant that this was a bi-partisan mistake, but stripping regualtion and regulatory power was a Republican tactics, and your side must take responsibility for it.

  4. gjrebane says:

    How does a resolution of this dialogue, a reprise of many such identical dialogues, advise and inform us in going forward? Stipulate the most favorable consensus imaginable, then ask, ‘Now what?’

  5. RL Crabb says:

    While it’s true that Republicans bear as much blame in creating the mess that we find ourselves in, their efforts over the years to restrain the tax and spend mentality of the majority have probably kept the state from digging out from a hole even deeper than it is today. Property taxes alone would be astronomical today without prop 13, and many would be unable to afford to drive a car. And even if the Dems had won every tax increase, I’ll bet you a stale donut they’d still be billions off from a balanced budget.
    The only thing that keeps these mathematically-challenged representatives in office is the ultra right wing agenda of the opposition. California is not Alabama.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Bob, what’a keept the Dems controlling the state legislature virtually my entire voting life, since public employee unions were granted the power of collective bargaining of wages and benefits during the first reign of Jerry Brown, is the unholy alliance of Democratic politician’s campaign coffers and public employee unions.

      Californian’s discovered over the last few decades that they could vote themselves rich from the public treasury, but what can’t go on forever, won’t.

    • Todd Juvinall says:

      I have a burr in y saddle about George Deukmajian. He was the Gov during my tenure on the BOS and he was a disaster. Supposedly a conservative R he just would not listen to us at the county and city levels about mandates and regulations. He came in after Brown left and did not fix much if anything. What a lost opportunity.

  6. gjrebane says:

    RL Crabb 953am – That’s a pretty broad charge Bob, that the ruling scumbag Democrats are the fault of “ultra right wing” Republicans. Are there any particular ultra rightwing tenets that come to mind here, or is a blanket blast sufficient?

    • RL Crabb says:

      Well, George, I can only go with the numbers here. Is the GOP floundering in CA. just the effect of demographics, or is it ideology? This used to be the state where Reagan was elected easily to two terms, but nowadays your candidates for statewide office can’t seem to find any traction, except for the socially liberal Governator Schwartenkennedy. The hard right approach may work in the south and midwest, but I believe Californians would have serious problems with a Rick Scott approach to governing.

      • Todd Juvinall says:

        With nine percent of the population and 38 percent of the welfare recipients it is not too hard to figure it out.

      • gjrebane says:

        I take it from your reply that you can put you finger on no ‘ultra rightwing’ tenet that is the cause of “GOP floundering”. The numbers you allude are the effect, and in this discussion we’re trying to find substance for your allegation that would identify a cause. It appears that waving a broad brush is the best that can be done here, and BTW, I fully agree with that conclusion.

  7. Brad Croul says:

    Russ, I think your post is a reasonable assessment of the current state of affairs.
    However, there is no way to tell if a Republican president would have advanced, (or will advance) a recovery in a meaningful way.
    I think these things have to just work themselves out regardless of who is in the Oval
    office.
    If the following statement is true, I think it shows that the economy is not dependent upon political party, “…Over the last 15 years the total real personal income earned by Americans has risen at an annual rate of just 2.6 percent. That is the lowest for any similar period for which G.D.P. data is available. Both the G.D.P. and personal income rates of growth are well below where they were when the cumulative stock returns bottomed out in 1982.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/07/business/economy/a-historical-cycle-bodes-ill-for-the-markets.html?_r=1

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