“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Slashing Government Works

It Can Happen Here

Government really can be cut: case studies from Canada, New Zealand, and the United States

In an era of frightful budgets and frightened politicians, cutting government may seem like a flatly impossible task. But a look around the world—and at our own recent economic history—turns up a few inspirational examples of knife work that not only trimmed back budget deficits but created the conditions for unprecedented prosperity.

New Zealand, Canada, and the postwar United States all managed to slash the state on a grand scale. Governments shed responsibility for forests, railways, radio spectrum, and more while relaxing labor markets, slimming the welfare state, and ending price controls. Far from damaging economies or increasing unemployment, these reductions in the size and scope of government boosted GDP, improved services, and created jobs.

Government cutters faced opposition along the way, from skeptical Keynesians to Kiwi bureaucrats. But they also found unlikely allies, with left-wing parties playing major roles in the Canadian and New Zealand examples. The stories below should encourage would-be cutters and reassure skeptics: It can be done.

Turning Guns to Butter
How postwar America brought the boys home without bringing the economy down
Arnold Kling

When World War II ended in 1945, President Harry Truman faced a problem. Public opinion called for a rapid demobilization that would bring the boys home as soon as possible. But the Keynesians who were gaining prominence in the economics profession warned that a rapid decline in government spending and the size of the public work force would produce, in the late economist Paul Samuelson’s words, “the greatest period of unemployment and dislocation which any economy has ever faced.”

Thankfully, Truman ignored the Keynesians. Government spending plummeted by nearly two-thirds between 1945 and 1947, from $93 billion to $36.3 billion in nominal terms. If we used the “multiplier” of 1.5 for government spending that is favored by Obama administration economists, that $63.7 billion plunge should have caused GDP to fall by $95 billion, a 40 percent economic decline. In reality, GDP increased almost 10 percent during that period, from $223 billion in 1945 to $244.1 billion in 1947. This is a rare precedent of a large drop in government spending, so its economic consequences are important to understand.

The end of World War II thrust more than 10 million demobilized servicemen back into the labor market, but without the catastrophic consequences Keynesians feared. Close to 1 million took advantage of the GI bill to attend college. In addition, some of the increase in the male work force was offset by a decline in female labor force participation from World War II levels. But if Rosie the Riveter became a housewife, many of her friends continued to work outside the home. Over all, from 1945 to 1947 the civilian labor force increased by 7 million, or 12 percent. The vast majority found work, as civilian employment rose by 5 million, an increase of 9 percent.

In addition to the demobilized servicemen, the federal government let go of more than a third of its civilian employees—over 1 million workers. Many of these civilians had been engaged in government attempts to manage the economy. As the economist Gary M. Anderson has pointed out in The Freeman, more than 150,000 people were employed by various wartime economic regulatory agencies, such as the War Production Board, the War Labor Board, the Office of Civilian Supply, and the Office of Price Administration.

With responsibilities that extended well beyond wartime production to include restrictions and controls on the civilian nonmilitary economy, those agencies and boards disbanded with great reluctance. The 1946 election, which gave Republicans a majority in the House of Representatives for the first time since 1930, prompted a change of heart, with Price Administrator Chester Bowles removing virtually all remaining price controls five days after the vote.

The conversion to a peacetime economy was a remarkable undertaking by the private sector. It did not merely involve converting wartime manufacturing to peacetime uses. For example, of the 2.8 million workers let go by the “other transportation equipment” sector between 1943 and 1948, when military vehicles were no longer needed, just half a million were absorbed by the civilian automobileindustry. The big employment gains turned out not to be in manufacturing at all. The sectors that saw the most hiring were retail trade, services, contract construction, and wholesale trade, which together added nearly 4 million workers.

There are important differences between circumstances today and the circumstances in 1945, of course. Back then, federal spending was much larger as a share of GDP (40 percent, vs. less than 10 percent today), and government employment was a much larger share of the labor force than now (20 percent vs. 2 percent), so a more significant adjustment was required.

But there are other factors that make change more difficult today. During World War II, the personalsavings rate climbed to more than 20 percent, so after the war households were able to offset the decline in government spending by consuming a larger share of their incomes. Today, with a savings rate of about 5 percent, households have much less room to expand. In addition, the skill requirements of today’s industries make it more difficult to match workers with jobs than was the case in the much simpler economy of the 1940s.

Any way you look at it, though, America’s experience from 1945 to 1947 demonstrates that the private sector is capable of overcoming a tremendous drop in government spending. As a percentage of GDP, the decrease in government purchases then was larger than would result from the total elimination of government today. While no one can be sure what would happen if the government were to shrink that quickly, the ’40s boom offers a hopeful example.



  1. We were a strong "Export" Economy, then. Japan, England, France, Poland, and the rest of Europe lay in shambles. Also, the top tax rate was in the 90's IIRC.

    We Must do 3 Things.

    1) Cut ALL Federal Agencies by 10%.
    2) Straighten out the Corporate Tax Code; at present, we are Forcing our Corporations to keep their money overseas.

    3) Put a Sizable Import Tariff on Petroleum, and products from countries that engage in Unfair Trade Practices (most notably China.)

  2. Christine O'Donnell kicked ass in her debate for the Senate seat in Delaware.

  3. Rufus, I would add eliminating some agencies and insane regulations. The Davis-Bacon Act would be a good start.

    Import replacement of oil should be a no brainer.

  4. Unfortunately, Deuce, Democracies aren't very good at being "proactive."

    I'm afraid we're going to have to suffer quite a bit more pain than we've suffered, to date, before we can mobilize the will, necessary, to get the "total" job done.

    But, the "bad" news is, That pain Is coming.

    We need to "catch a break" in 2012. We really, really need to wake up and find a Great Candidate has entered the race.

  5. She started off nervous, and looked a little like a schoolgirl with 3 adults; but when the moderators started piling on her, and it became obvious that it was 3 on 1 she toughened up, and started taking control.

    She was starting to roll at the end. If I were the Marxist I wouldn't agree to a rematch.

    The woman's got guts; I like that.

  6. Why have a federal government at all, is what my wife continually asks.

    Except for defense.

    But she's pretty radical----and easy to get along with.

    She doesn't even want a state government.

    I think she's wrong in that.

    But I'm not sure.

  7. We need the Federals to, as you have often said, bob, "To preserve our Heritage".

    We cannot allow the private economy to own the land in the western United States. You have often said that, stating that it will only benefit desert rat's "rich friends".

    Selling off that land, could balance the Federal budget.

    Even provide for the money Mr Gore had suggested be sequestered in the "lock box"

  8. Federally owned or administered lands constitute some 24 percent of the total land area of the United States; of this federal land, 89 percent is in the American West, and such lands constitute almost one-half of the total land area of the eleven most western states. 63 percent of Idaho is federal lands. Four agencies control more than 99 percent of all federal lands. They are the Departments of the:
    Agriculture and
    Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission.

    The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management controls about 60 percent of the total; the Agriculture Department's Forest Service has nearly 25 percent.

    Bankrupt entities sell assets to balance their books.
    That is one of the the first steps of the process, not the last.

  9. Bullshit

    You have not even seen it.

  10. From the WaP:

    ERUSALEM - Responding to an offer by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to extend a freeze on building in West Bank settlements if Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, a top Palestinian official said Wednesday that such recognition could be granted to Israel within its 1967 borders, without the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

    In media interviews, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, countered Netanyahu's offer in another volley of the verbal ping-pong that has taken the place of direct negotiations.
    In an interview with Israel Radio on Wednesday, Abed Rabbo made a barbed offer of his own. He suggested that the Israelis present the Palestinians with "a map of the state of Israel along the 1967 borders, so that we can recognize it in the way it likes."

    "We will recognize it according to what Israel declares, on condition that it will be along the 1967 borders,"
    he said.

  11. Not seen what, bob?

    I certainly have seen that State.

    The western United States?
    Or the entire United States, of which the Federals lay claim to ownership of 24%.

    Property ownership is the core of Federal Socialism.

    You support Federal Socialism in Idaho. It provides for artificial price supports for the land that you own.

  12. Land that was granted to your forebears in a previous Federal welfare program.

    One that gifted the land to those that would take it and use it.

    You do not want to allow another round of such social benevolence?

  13. Nor do you wish to sell those Federal assets, to private capital in an effort to balance the books, wiping out trillions in Federal debt.

  14. Nor do you support higher taxes.

    Not on capital gains nor upon inheritance.

    You offer no solutions, only multiple levels of hypocrisy.

  15. When he goes schizo, he profers split levels of hypocrisy.

  16. Just another non-Islamic, disgruntled, all American domestic terrorist.

    Probly a Catholic upset about free abortions under Obamacare.
    Lucky he could work out his problems this way instead of molesting the kids in the neighborhood.

    The same street today - give it a minute to refresh and produce a focused picture.

    So Obama is right again:
    We can absorb another attack and keep on ticking.

  17. Selling Federal assets would clear the debt, thus cutting the interest payments from the Federal budget.

    That, along with lower spending would provide for a long term cash flow surplus.

    On the State level the newly privatized lands would provide for greater tax revenues, through property taxes. Or the rates on all the private property could be lowered, due to the greater amounts of taxable properties on the rolls.

  18. Federal authorities also busted a vor, a Eurasian version of a godfather, who headed the ring. Armen Kazrian's arrest in Los Angeles, "marks the first U.S. arrest of a vor v zakone - or "thief-in-law," FBI Assistant Director Janice Fedarcyk said.

    "It puts an end to the largest Medicare fraud ever committed by a single criminal enterprise," Fedarcyk said. "There were no real medical clinics behind the fraudulent billings, just stolen doctors' identities.

    "The whole doctor-patient interaction was a mirage."

  19. HiSS: Selling Federal assets would clear the debt, thus cutting the interest payments from the Federal budget.

    Oh boy, interest of two-and-a-half percent, those Jewish bankers are killing us.

  20. Charlie Chi-com, Ms T.

    Pay off the debt owed to them.
    It is "only" a Trillion USD.>China holds more U.S. debt than indicated

    "The U.S. Treasury data almost certainly understate Chinese holdings of our government debt because [the U.S. figures] do not reveal the ultimate country of ownership when [debt] instruments are held through an intermediary in another jurisdiction," Simon Johnson, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a bipartisan forum established by Congress in 2000 to monitor the security implications of the U.S. economic relationship with China.

    Mr. Johnson told the commission last week that "a great deal" of last year's $170 billion increase in Treasury holdings by the United Kingdom "may be due to China placing offshore dollars in London-based banks" and then using the funds to purchase Treasury debt.

    Mr. Johnson, a former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, estimated that China owns about $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities, or nearly half the $2.37 trillion stock of Treasury debt held by "foreign official" owners.

    The amount of U.S. debt held by China is even higher than that, said Eswar Prasad, an economist at Cornell University.

    Under the widely held assumption that 70 percent of China's $2.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves is invested in dollar-denominated bonds, Mr. Prasad told the commission that China probably holds about $1.7 trillion in U.S. government debt.

    We could retire the entire $2.7 Trillion USD debt held by foreigners.

    Unless, of course, the Federal debt does not matter to the economic health of the country.

  21. In 2009 the US paid in
    Net interest = $170 billion.

    Peanut dough, I know.

  22. Dr Hiss said...

    Dear Readers, please note that "dr hiss" aka "Desert Rat" aka "panama ed" is a known Israel hating, Jew hating troll.

    He has an agenda of Jew hatred. This has been proven over thousands of posts, please understand this bias if you see ANYTHING posted by this person.

    His typical style is to Jew bait, then post normal posts, then return to his themes of vileness.

    Again, the poster who calls himself "dr hiss" (a jew baiting name btw) is unstable and has admitted here in this blog to murder of people in central america.

    Please do not actually try to engage him in rational discussion, in fact he has been censored in the past.

  23. Our Trade Deficit was $46 Billion Last Month. We can't sustain this.

  24. About half was Petroleum/petroleum products; most of the rest was China.

    We're going bankrupt right before our eyes.

  25. We will import about 11 Million Barrels of Oil/Products TODAY.

    The price of oil today is $83.00/bbl. $913,000,000.00, Today

  26. We're fucking morons.

  27. Every Man, Woman, and Child in my county took a Hundred Dollar Bill out of their paycheck, and burned it up last month.

    A man working down at the local plant, married, with two kids sent $400.00 To Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and China last month.

    And, he's going to do it again This Month.

    And, Next Month.

    We're taking a fucking we won't soon recover from.

  28. When you go down to the corner, and buy $60.00 worth of gas you're sending $40.00 to Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. More money "burned up."

    It's Never coming home. Other than Saudi Arabia buying a few F15's every now and then it's gone. Venezuela? You gotta be kidding.

  29. Rufus: Every Man, Woman, and Child in my county took a Hundred Dollar Bill out of their paycheck, and burned it up last month.

    ...burned it up going to work to earn three thousand dollars.

    This fiscal slight-of-hand reminds me of the school they built in Washington State that spent $690,000 for solar panels which will provide 25% of the power for the school. All the politicians talk about is how green the school is, but on a total cost of ownership basis, it will take 200 years to recoup the investment.

    Figures don't lie, but liars can figure.

    When you cite numbers, make sure you take into account both sides of the ledger.

  30. The Crooks in Charge have set our tax structure up so that any multinational company that keeps money, or invests, in the U.S. is a collection of chumps.

    Under our tax laws the Board of Directors should Fire any CEO that shows a profit in the U.S. or that keeps any money in a U.S. bank account.

    This is all Great for the Rockefellers, and Duponts of the World. "We" are getting our heart cut out. We are the chumps.

  31. T, they greatly overpaid for the labor (or, at least, for the "Contractor.") But, at least, that money probably, mostly, stayed in the U.S. - admittedly, they might have used Chinese Solar Panels, but that wasn't even necessary. We build very good solar panels in this country.

    The thing about Solar right now is they're getting HUGE profits for "intallation" - up to Two and Three Dollars/watt. I could turn a profit contracting the installation for $0.50/watt.

    I, ALWAYS, look at Both sides of the ledger, T. That's why I upset some people with what I write.

    I, personally, think the Democrats, and Republicans we have in charge are, ALL, fucking idiots, and thieves. That means I've alienated Every swinging dick that reads this. Tough. I can't find any evidence that either side looks at "both sides" of the ledger.

  32. T, if you'll flip over to Bloomberg you'll see that we ran a $46 Billion Trade Deficit Last Month.

    There ain't no "lying" in them figures. You take the Exports, and subtract the Imports.

    You get a -$46,000,000,000.00.

    I'll guarangoddamnteeyou that either we'll be back in recession this time next year, or the numbers will be worse, and we'll be in an even Worse Recession in 2012. We just can't pay out that much more than we take in, forever. You can't do. Your State can't do it, and the Federal Government can't do it.

    There ain't no 'Money from Heaven.'

  33. The Treasury Statement for Sept will be out in about and hour, and 15 minutes. It will show that we ran a Fiscal Deficit (in other words, we borrowed the amount) of approx $1.3 TRILLION in fiscal year 2010.

    There ain't no lyin' in them figures, either. They come from taking the Revenues, and subtracting the Outlays. $1,300,000,000,000.00

    No lyin' about it.

    $10,000.00 For Every Taxpayer. The Gov borrowed $20,000.00 in you and your sig other's name. Gonna do it again This Year, too.

  34. You just want some land, pricko, you wouldn't even know how to work it.

    You worked for the Federal Government all you life.

  35. And you bitch.

  36. Let's give some land to the whiner.

    He wouldn't know what to do with it.

    It takes generations.

    To know what the hell you are doing.

    There is a market out there.

    That he knows nothing of.

  37. You prick-o.

    Try to farm through 1977.

  38. RE the Armenian Medicare scam. The reappearance of enforcement (and hopefully meaningful indictments?) is a positive development. Best re-form possible. Give the FBI/ATF/Justice more money.


    Just a drive-by on the employment/training issue. Industry won't invest in training. They want/demand shovel-ready employees. Any such investment is considered a sunk cost because the labor force is simultaneously instructed to remain adaptable to changing B&I skill sets and geographic demand (not to mention the impact of a highly mobile work force on home ownership.) The labor-management contract going forward is wobbly. The training issue is just a symptom.

    I see some change - the number of 'labor-friendly' companies seems to be growing, esp in the mid-size service sectors, but the size of the contract is still directly proportional to the back scratching in the back-room deals.

    That's a bit of a minor quibble (humans being what they are), but I heard a variety of commentary during the Chilean miner rescue along the lines of the world might take a lesson about life outside the profit machine. Some of the commentary was very borderline and dreary. The only downside to an otherwise positive endeavor.

  39. I'll guarangoddamnteeyou that either we'll be back in recession this time next year, or the numbers will be worse, and we'll be in an even Worse Recession in 2012.

    A second recession so soon will be devastating because the government has no more bail-out money to QE the financial pain.

    This concerns me as well since I see no short cuts, given the time frame and institutional constraints.

  40. WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US military's heavy dependence on fossil fuels is a dangerous vulnerability, officials said Wednesday as they made a fresh push to develop renewable energy solutions for the battlefield.

    In the wake of a spate of deadly attacks on tankers carrying fuel to foreign troops in Afghanistan, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke of a "strategic imperative" for the US military to become more efficient and find new sources of energy.

    The Department of Defense is burning through 300,000 barrels of oil a day, using more energy per soldier every year and its top import to Afghanistan is fossil fuels, the highest ranking US military officer said as he kicked off a Pentagon discussion on energy security.

    Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, has set a goal of having renewable energy account for 50 percent of power for the Navy and Marines by 2020.

    Pentagon's going green - because it Has to

  41. Rufus: We just can't pay out that much more than we take in, forever. You can't do. Your State can't do it, and the Federal Government can't do it.

    I hope this doesn't come across as lecturing, but it's a simple illustration of free markets and globalism.

    In 2007 we completed a second span of the Tacoma Narrows bridge. I watched them build it every day I went to work. The roadway that is slung under the cables was made of many huge sections of steel in South Korea and brought here by ship. I doubt the US even has the capability to do that kind of work with steel anymore, but even if we did, with unions and all, it would have added tens of millions dollars to the price of the bridge. So we would have paid our union steelworkers more for the work up front, and our trade deficit would have been smaller, but then everyone would pay it all anyway in the back end on higher tolls, plus interest. Free markets automatically allocate work to the most efficient producer. Globalism extends that principle to all the nations. In the end we get the most economical bridge possible, and the value from moving goods and people between the East and West Puget Sound is far greater than the money we spent building the bridge. It's not even revenue neutral, it's a bargain.

  42. Pentagon's going green - because it Has to

    Used to be, Pepsi and Coke just made their cans of thinner and thinner aluminum to save money. Now they still do it, but every time they do, they have to say how "green" the can is so we can pat them on the back.

  43. rufus said...
    Don't start Wio.


    As long as Rat uses a hate filled jew baiting handle "dr hiss" he has started...

    so stick it up your biased ass....

  44. T, it's not a "bargain" if you're unemployed, and can't pay the toll.

  45. As long as Rat uses a hate filled jew baiting handle "dr hiss" he has started...

    Mengele was already taken.

  46. Well Dr Piss, if we knew what we were doing, we'd preserve our heritage ourselves, not needing Uncle Sam.

  47. English Poet From the 1600'sThu Oct 14, 03:52:00 PM EDT

    It's one thing to be all fucked on love, it's another to be fucked up on hate.

  48. Funny stuff.

    The Story of "o" continues his hate filled libels, but cannot or will not defend Jim Crow Israel.

    Dr Hiss is an Israeli hero, stealing and selling body parts under the auspices of the Israeli government.

    That he participates, here at the Elephant Bar, a practical certification of even handedness.

    As for being censored, the Story of "o" takes that crown.

    Whining, bob, Dr Hiss was not whining, nor pissing, just stating the facts.

    Land Grants were a Republican welfare project, to inhabit the western regions, so as to pack the Senate and House, post Civil War.

    They doing a better job of manipulating the Congress than FDR did in his attempts to manipulate the Supreme Court.

    That your own pocket book is enhanced by Federal Socialism, a well known reality. In a State that is 63% Federal lands, there is only so much deeded land available, it being a clear case of real estate market manipulation. We experience it here in AZ, too.

    It is a socialist reality. Calling me names will not change it, not one little bit.

    Eat a pork rind, for allah.

  49. Rat talks truths and yet only has one standard for Israel and no standard for any other nation or people.

    There is no sense in debating him.

    What was that Christian statement about Pearls before SWINE?

  50. My mission at the Bar is clear when it comes to rat/drhiss/panama ed. It is to warn others of his irrational and deep hatred of Israel and Jews.

    It's not to try debate or argue with a true hater like the Rat...

    It's to serve a warning to anyone that reads this blog to know what a vile creature he or she is....

  51. "Free markets automatically allocate work to the most efficient producer. Globalism extends that principle to all the nations. "

    In principle, but not in fact:
    "Free" markets are not free when they are manipulated by the governments of all the players.

    Just remember, Rufus reports both sides.
    ...except regarding healthcare.

  52. Dr Piss is absolutely nuts.

    I think the only explanation is he wants to have four wives, and his first wife 'dropped the kid' and walked out on him, like any sane women would do.

    It's just a guess, but it makes sense.

  53. I think, WiO, the meaning was along the lines of "it's a waste of time", to throw pearls before swine.

    And, it is.

  54. As for Dr Hiss and his Jew baiting, nothing could be further from the truth.

    The truth is Dr Hiss was born in Poland and is now living in Israel. His religion is not a matter of the public record, just his birth place and current nation of residence and employer. He is employed by the Israeli government.
    He has harvested body parts without the permission of the relatives of the deceased.
    Those deceased have been of various nationalities and ethnic groupings.

    The Irish government has complained of a body being processed and returned to its' surviving family, minus a heart.

    There were also Palestinians and Israelis whom had their body parts harvested. Dr Hiss was never prosecuted for his body part harvesting work. Indeed, though he was demoted for a time, he was subsequently returned to his position as chief of his department.

    How this course of action could be considered "bait" is beyond me. Obviously the Israeli government did not object to his activities, so why would any supporter of Israel feel baited by the reminder of his activities?

    What he did was legal, in Israel.

    How the actions of the Israeli government and its employees could possibly reflect poorly upon Judaism, that is solely in the eye of the beholder.

    Personally I do not conflate Israel with Judaism, nor Judaism with Israel.

    Dr Hiss was proud of his surgical skills and boasted of his harvesting work in an interview with a journalist. His employer found no fault in his actions.

    Why should you?

  55. Land Grants were a Republican welfare project

    My ass. It was a simple project of opening up the west.

    We worked our guts out.

    Not being a hired killer for the federal government.

    Like you.

  56. The packing of the United States, with lightly populated western States, allowed the Republicans to pass the "reforms" of the early 20th Century.

    The 1913 Constitutional Amendments, both the 16th and 17th and the Federal Reserve Act authorization.

  57. Your backing of Liberation Theology is showing, again, bob.

    Promoting the position of the communists of Nicaragua in your blogging.

    Just about your normal course.
    A seditionist at heart, you are.

  58. If there was a desire to "open" the West, we should be continuing the Land Grant programs.

    But we are not.

    The Republicans were merely packing the Congress. It was a successful attempt to block the Democrats of the South, who held the majorities in Congress, both before the Civil War and post Reconstruction.

  59. My ass.

    It was an inevitability.

    And, we brought life and learning to the natives.

  60. Idaho is not "open, when only 38% of the land is deeded to private economic interests.

    No, it is closed and controlled.
    Both on the Federal and local levels, as you have often recounted to us, bob.

  61. My 'backing' of liberation theology is ZERO.

    I think, having read, unlike you, it is mostly nonsense.

    And I have said so time and again.

  62. By your account, bob, there is no "National Heritage" worthy of the name, in PA or VA.

    In those States the Federals do not control the majority of the land, private owners do.

    Federal holdings in PA


    Federal holdings in VA

    Even Texas is mostly privately owned

    Federal holdings in VA

    Each of those varied States exemplifying the falsehood of your "National Heritage" argument.

  63. If it keeps you out, I'm for it.

  64. Anyone that claims that the US used "hired killers" in Latin America is parroting the Liberation Theologians of Nicaragua, bob.

  65. bob, our Tea Party activist is also a seditionist, a Liberation Theologian and a supporter of Federal Socialism.

    He is against the Federal government, until it is a direct benefit to him.
    Then it is sacrosanct.

    Comical is the only way to describe it.

  66. Yes, I understand, most of the east is fucked up. I wish it were not so.

    But that's history for you.

    It's hard to change what has taken place.

    Philly is Philly.

    The West is the West.

  67. To describe US soldiers and contractors as "hired killers" employed by the US government, that is truly telling, bob.

  68. Anyone that claims that the US used "hired killers" in Latin America is parroting the Liberation Theologians of Nicaragua, bob.

    I almost agree with that, but not really.

  69. It's because true theology has to with time and consciousness, and not social conditions.

  70. Wio, Bob

    You two doofus motherfuckers, Watch Out. If Rat was a "hired killer," I was a hired killer.

    And, I'm going to tell you two draft-dodging motherfuckers something. I, nor Rat, were "Hired Killers."

    Now, Bob, you need to go get psychiatric help. And, Wio, you need to get your Israel loving ass to Israel. They could use your help.

  71. O Miss Satin
    I'd teach you Latin
    If that's what I'd
    Have to do
    But saving that
    I'd teach you
    It that's what I would have
    To do

  72. godamnit if... if not IT

    But that was pretty good

    Some of the old English poets wrote diitys like this to express in a word what they felt in their heart.

  73. I'm really good at this shit.

    You should see what I write to my wife.

  74. And that's called--


  75. .
    And, we brought life and learning to the natives.



  76. .
    "And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me..."

    - Edgar Allan Poe

    THAT is alliteration.

  77. THAT is deranged babbling.

  78. Jared Bernstein, Biden's chief econ adviser, is on the short-short list to replace Larry Summers as Director of National Economic Council.

  79. Business is unhappy because Bernstein comes from a labor think tank background rather than corporate management.

  80. .
    Are you calling Edgar's Allen Poe's poetry deranged babbling you bumpkin?


  81. The problem being, Bernstein could be a "good guy", which he is, but, if business has him profiled, then he canNOT be effective. Goolsbee got a recent plug from business which called him tough but "practical" - code for willing to negotiate.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    It's ALL about the negotiation.

  82. .

    Goolsbee is a dick.

    Geithner is a dick.

    Bernstein sounds like a dick.


  83. .

    Larry Kudlow is a dick (but a nice guy who finds it hard to say anything bad about people even though he disagrees with them).


  84. Geithner is a dick.

    Goolsbee is on deck.

    Bernstein is a doll.

  85. Bernstein noted - and debated on Kudlow - the flattened income from wages curve under Bush (2000-2008 time frame) as a counter to the Republican theme than incomes have risen under free market economies.

    (Almost) More importantly, Bernstein has demonstrated a clear ability to reach "across the aisle" and connect with thinkers of different stripes.

  86. Come on; If I wrote "And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me..."


    Would I ever hear the end of it?

    Um hum

    That's what I thought.

  87. When I stated on Kudlow's blog that the unemployment rate had never fallen 0.5 points without the country going into recession within a year (a metric I have never seen published anywhere, anytime) Jared was using it on Kudlow's show the next day.

    He does have an active mind. :)

  88. Oops, should have been risen. Oh well, you know what I meant. :)

  89. .
    You need to step out of your comfort zone Ruf.

    "And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me..."

    The alliteration adds a second tier to the poetic theme. The sibulance of the s-sounds is pleasant sounding and adds a third tier.

    The alliteration rests in similar consonant sounds. Now assonance on the other hand involves similar sounding consonant sounds as in,

    "Some hick calling a genius a dick but then that's his schtick, the little prick."


  90. Jared was using it on Kudlow's show the next day.

    I could get pedantic and make the claim that IF some graduate student had been instructed to crunch the numbers, s/he would undoubtedly discover some threshold unemployment number leading to recession within a confidence band of x%.

    You picked a number. Bernstein (presumably:) thought it not preposterous.

    As I said, it it not so much where these people come from as how they move along.

    Bernstein is a negotiator. Better than a dogmatic.

    I think.

  91. .
    Bernstein noted - and debated on Kudlow - the flattened income from wages curve under Bush (2000-2008 time frame) as a counter to the Republican theme than incomes have risen under free market economies.

    I'm not impressed. The same argument could be expanded over the past 30 years with regard the inflation adjusted median wage. Since Bernstein merely used the 2000-2008 time frame he sounds more and more like a partisan hack.

    Sounds like a replay of the constant debate between Steve Moore and Robert Reich. While I agree with Reich, both guys merely select time periods and interpretations that fit their own philosophies.

    Bernstein sounds like a dick.


  92. .

    Hey Ruf.

    I see I forgot the :).

    Just kidding with the assonance comment.


  93. The same argument could be expanded over the past 30 years with regard the inflation adjusted median wage.

    Absolutely not. Quite the opposite. His study included a larger time frame. (I don't recall the exact period.) His point was that real (inflation adjusted) income from wages rose during the study period - until the Bush years when the curve flattened.

    I could look it up but I don't feel like it. The basic idea is, however, correct. Real wages were rising, but they flattened precipitously (?) come 2000. Party over.

  94. :)

    So, NOW you're calling me an ass, eh?


    Powetry lover

  95. And, we brought life and learning to the natives.


    Besides, they didn't have pickup trucks then.

  96. Ah, CL, he IS a partisan hack. He used "wages" instead of "compensation," or disposable income. Either one of those metrics would have changed the curve, considerably.

    Btw, I didn't pluck that number out of thin air. I just got curious after we'd risen about 0.4 if, and when, there was a correlation with recessions beginning. Turned out there was a 100% correlation when you got to 0.5.

  97. You're half white Ruf, I ain't never takin' no shit from you.

    My wife, she's Scotch, for God's sake.

    Has she put me in her place!

    She owns the whole farm, and tells me I owed it to her, just for a fuck or two.

  98. .
    Absolutely not.

    I disagree. What's is true is income inequality expanded at a huge rate in the Bush year's but that is not the same thing.

    Like you, I am not in the mood to look up the numbers (I"m busy with a Wings game). I've posted them here before.


  99. That's making money big time, waltzes in, does a little hip work, waltzes off with the whole damn thing.

  100. And, she's going to put me in a jar when I die.

    On the mantle.

  101. I didn't pluck that number out of thin air.

    I was thinking about asking you about that.

    Why did Kudlow close down the comments on his blog?

  102. And, she's going to put me in a jar when I die.

    Do you think that's a Good Sign?

  103. This comment has been removed by the author.

  104. Ah, CL, he IS a partisan hack. He used "wages" instead of "compensation," or disposable income.

    Aren't wages still the primary compensation for the Middle Class?

  105. It had turned into a zoo. Then, some guy showed up using an avatar of his dick. Went on for awhile. Finally, he gave up.

    Sure, Wages are the "primary" compensation, CL, but Healthcare is where all the marginal money has been going for years.

    For instance, let's say that from one year to the next inflation was 3%, and you got a 3% raise. Your wages, in real income, have been stagnant, right?

    But, wait; what if your employer paid an amount equal to 3% of your income to the insurance company for increased premiums? Your "real wages" have remained the same, but your "Real Compensation" has increased 3%, right?

    Now, what if, instead of taking 39% of your wages in taxes, the government took 35%? Your "real wages" are still flat, but your real "disposable income" has popped by 4%, right? That's what happened under Bush.

    Jared knew all that, but he would never admit it (on tv.)

    To me the guy is just another economist playing politics. That doesn't make him unique; the Republicans have theirs, too. But, it does make him a "Hack."

  106. Dick-man. Posted under the name of Mitch. He showed up here for awhile too. Didn't know he had made his way to Kudlow.

    Too bad about Bernstein.

  107. Cleaning Lady, you are out in the Dakotas somewheres.

    What do you think about your new politician?

    I kinda like her, from what I've seen.

  108. I want to "back off" on something just a little bit. I called Jared a "hack," and he deserves that, I think.

    However, I do think he's a pretty smart cookie, and what he says on tv, and what he'll tell Obama in private just might be two different things.

    I mean, I don't like Any politician right now, but, in all honesty, I don't think he's any worse than most any of the rest.

  109. Yeah, Mitch; that was his name. What a . . . . . . . . . . . er, dick?

  110. Not well informed about her.

    Not that there's much to know about a lot of them.

    So easy to talk the game, until the money is put on the table.

    They'll make their own mistakes. I'm wondering how high their bars will be set relative to their predecessors.

  111. I'm not in the Dakotas bob. My forebears were - what we know of them.**

    **Which is very little, but I doubt any of us are related to Barak or Sarah.

  112. .
    It all depends on the point you are trying to make Rufus.

    I agree with some of the points you are making. But healthcare wasn't where all the marginal money was going. There were plenty of other places. For instance housing costs in the 2000's were double those of a generation earlier.

    You make a good point about compensation for health care. On the other hand many benefits were cut and more and more companies were dropping definded benefits plans in exchange 401k plans to save money. And people on salary gradually found themselves working 60 hours a week instead of 40 with no increase in compensation.

    There were many macro trends that are ignored in many of the analysis such as duel incomes and the effect women had in increasing 'household incomes'. This is especially significant in light of the fact that that trend has tapered off and that in fact real wages for women continue to increase while those for white men have gone flat or actually decreased.

    Then you have temporary blips like the increase in wages in the latter 90's driven by labor shortages tied to the dot com bubble. The other side of this is in the 2007-2008 recession hit where median incomes went from $52k to $50k wiping out much of the gains for the decade.

    There are so many of these issues it's difficult to come up with a model that would give predictive value; yet all the hacks (politicos, commentators, economist) merely pick and choose whatever pieces of info fit their particular story.

    In my opinion, wages is the key variable in judging the 'fairness' of the economic system.

    Also in my opinion productivity is the key issue in determining who is getting screwed when it comes to wages. Productivity is important because it and working age population growth is what drives GPD.

    Who benefits from productivity gains? In the past, it was shared pretty much equally between the workers and the companies. Thirty years ago or so it started to diverge and wages didn't keep up to productivity increases.

    In the last decade, the divergance betwen the ordinary Joe and the top ten percenters has been growing geometrically (well almost).

    Obviously, globalization was the primary cause of a lot of this; however, I think a responsible government tax and trade policies would help.

    (I think I'm turning into a socialist/protectionist.)


  113. Anyway Rufus we should know in a few days. Jimmy P. slipped the info during tonight's Kudlow Report but I wasn't informed who else is on the short-short list:) I'm thinking Bernstein might get the nod. Very cool opportunity for him.

  114. .
    So 'ol Mitch was the reason Kudlow shut down the blog comments.

    At the time, as I recall Sharp used to say I was not really a Blogger there because every so often I'd take off for a couple months before coming back and giving people a hard time.

    At any rate, Kudlow shut down the comments while I was on hiatus. When I came back and could't post anything, I figured Larry or his minions had just banned me for something I'd said.

    It was a month or two before I realized he had cut all the comments. I didn't know why.

    Mitch eh.

    Well understandable.

    Still. Too bad.


  115. "(I think I'm turning into a socialist/protectionist.)"

    To everything a season, Q.

    One thing ol' Jared has going for him - if ever there was a time for a good Keynsian, it's now.

  116. .
    You know Ruf, I kind of wish Kudlow's had still been around when the latest bubble burst.

    I would have loved to see the reaction of guys like TC and CapGains when things went south.

    Of course, the bad part would have been having to listen to OilShock saying "I told you so".

    On balance, maybe it's better Kudlow shut it down.


  117. Why? So you could come over here, and hear Me say, "I told you so?"


  118. .
    I thought I explained my raison d'etre yesterday.


  119. Raisons?


    Are you just following me around trying to piss me off, Boy?

    talkin' about eterin' raisons!

  120. What else would you do with raisons if you didn't eter them?

    I'm startin' to get just a little bit Hot.

  121. .
    Big Ruf.

    Real Big.

    Pee Wee Herman is on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight.

    A don't miss.


  122. Pee Wee Hermam?

    And I don't even have a working TV.

  123. AH, just my luck; I missed it.

    Dangit. Shucks.

    That does it. My night is ruined. I'm going to bed.


    can't catch a break, I tell ya.

  124. Obama is a fiscal conservative,
    and Muslims were not involved in 9-11.

    Whooppie and Behar Storm off set after O'reilly Asserts:
    "Muslims killed us on 9-11.

  125. Whoopie, Whup Eye, Whatever.

  126. LA Times: O'reilly comment "loud and offensive."

    "What they all could have done, and what any real host would have done in the case of a guest making a loud and offensive comment, is offer a small chilly smile and change the subject.

    But O’Reilly was on the show precisely for this reason, so he could get up on the table and do his little dance, then Goldberg and Behar could get mad when he broke a few plates

  127. "63 percent of Idaho is federal lands."


    The ideal is the whole state becomes a National Park.
    Except for Bob's farm.

  128. ...our farm was surrounded by a national park, except for 160 acre neighbors on two sides.

    Slightly different than China and India, but such is life.

    ...or such was life, once humanity covers the surface of the globe.

    (Doug's closet Greenism rears it's ugly head.)

    Meanwhile, Maui is no ka oi.

  129. Maui's motto is, 'Maui No Ka Oi' or "Maui is da bes."

    In Polynesian mythology, and especially in New Zealand and Hawai'i, Maui is an extremely powerful god, for whom the island of Maui was named.

    Maui is said to have created the Hawai'ian Islands by tricking his brothers.

    He convinced them to take him out fishing, but caught his hook upon the ocean floor. He told his brothers that he had caught a big fish, and bid them paddle as hard as they could.

    His brothers paddled with all their might, and being intent with their effort, did not notice the Island rising behind them.

    Maui repeated this trick several times, creating the Hawai'ian Islands.

    The Island of Maui and the constellation Maui's fishhook were named after this legend.


    In truth, being intent with their effort, they did not notice Doug's tumescence rising behind them, and Sonia and Doug lived happily ever after.