Sunday, July 31, 2011

More Krautlogic

Another week, and another example of Charles Krauthammer defecating on perfectly good paper. What a waste.

Earlier this week, Krauthammer wasted our time with his twisted logic on why the House should pass the John Boehner plan - mind you this was the original plan that Boehner couldn't garner support for from his own party, long before it actually passed on it's third incarnation which included a balanced budget amendment necessary for getting the votes needed, only to die a quick and merciful death in the Senate a short two hours later. All totaled, Boehner spent the entire week trying to pass a bill that he knew would be rejected in the Senate, while the clock is ticking down to D-Day. ("D" for "Default.")

The basis for Krauthammer's column:

...The distinctive visions of the two parties — social-democratic vs. limited-government — have underlain every debate on every issue since Barack Obama’s inauguration: the stimulus, the auto bailouts, health-care reform, financial regulation, deficit spending. Everything. The debt ceiling is but the latest focus of this fundamental divide.
Sigh... must I go over each of the supposed examples in that last paragraph? I must, I must.

Well, we can't really start off with a "limited government" lie posed as a fact so I'll refer you to a chart broken down by presidential terms showing federal spending and national debt. You'll immediately notice something when comparing the numbers:
Economist Mike Kimel notes that the last five Democratic Presidents (Clinton, Carter, LBJ, JFK, and Truman) all reduced public debt as a share of GDP, while the last four Republican Presidents (GW Bush, GHW Bush, Reagan, and Ford) all oversaw an increase in the country’s indebtedness.
So you can take that limited government bullshit and shove it. Reagan tripled the national debt. George W. Bush doubled it. So the next time some conservative starts with the myth that we somehow were completely fine until that no good Obama got his hands on the credit card, punch him in the neck.

The stimulus that Krauthammer wets his pants on wasn't some kind of socialist spending spree. It was necessitated by a nosediving GDP to shore up the continual loss of jobs (700,000+ per month by the time Bush left office), and not because of some imaginary European style socialist agenda.

Had President Obama not bailed out the auto industry, a bailout that began under Bush, but Obama honed into a reorganization to make the American auto industry profitable again, we would have been more than another million jobs in the hole.

Had President Obama truly wanted a European model of health care in the United States, he would have shot for a single payer system at the beginning of negotiations. And let's not forget that practically every president since Teddy Roosevelt has tried to pass some kind of health care legislation. Don't begrudge Obama for getting it done.

And Krauthammer's complaint about financial regulation is laughable considering the 2007 financial collapse brought on by the deregulatory decisions of both Presidents Clinton and GW Bush. Should we just forget all that's happened and assume the banks and markets can police themselves after a lesson learned?

And finally, deficit spending. I didn't know our country operated in the black until January 20th, 2009. Oh, wait. It didn't.
"The lesson we should have learned [from the Reagan years] is that deficits have little or no short-term economic impacts," said William A. Niskanen, a member of Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers.
...The fiscal shift in the Reagan years was staggering. In January 1981, when Reagan declared the federal budget to be "out of control," the deficit had reached almost $74 billion, the federal debt $930 billion. Within two years, the deficit was $208 billion. The debt by 1988 totaled $2.6 trillion. In those eight years, the United States moved from being the world's largest international creditor to the largest debtor nation.
So is Charles Krauthammer at risk of being shot in the face by disagreeing with Dick Cheney's now famous, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter" line?

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