Category Archives: Fiscal Policy

Rand Paul’s Criticism of Reagan Is Unfair, Misplaced.

Recently-although not that recently, since I can’t work and keep totally on top of everything that happens in the world-Senator Rand Paul criticized the record of President Ronald Reagan on spending, comparing him unfavorably to Carter. I’m obviously saddened to hear this, as I’m actually a fan of Paul, and more obviously, and fan of Reagan. But I’m not afraid to criticize people I generally like when I think they’re wrong, even if their going astray really is a rare miss. Rand Paul cites statistics that are, as a matter of literal fact, accurate. However, Paul has fallen victim to a dangerous political myth: that of the All Powerful President. It is wrong to give all of the credit, or all of the blame, to the President of the United States for everything that happens during their term(s) in office. It is especially wrong to do so when the Congress is controlled by the opposition party. Although Republicans controlled the Senate from January 1981 to January 1987, at no point during Reagan’s Presidency-and indeed at no point from 1953 to 1995 did Republicans control the House of Representatives at all. You should consider that last point for a bit, also: the House of Representatives was at one point controlled by Democrats for forty two years. It is Congress, not the President, which ultimately possesses the power of the purse. And the House in particular is important in this regard. Measures for raising revenue-which in practice generally means the entire budget-must originate in the House of Representatives. So under the Reagan administration, a significant degree of the blame for increased spending should fall on Congress, with only a relatively small portion of the blame falling on Reagan for not fighting hard to restrain spending. Cynically, it is likely that doing so would have insured a Mondale Presidency-who would have basically run the country into the ground, to be perfectly frank. Similarly, Bill Clinton does not deserve the credit he is given for the restrained of Government growth in the 1990’s-the fact that Republicans regained control of the House for the first time in two generations-that’s 21 elections!-and fought impressively for an agenda today’s GOP wouldn’t dream of achieving, actually succeeding in achieving most of their ambitious goals. Clinton fought this every step of the way, but not quite to the bitter end the way Obama has proven frighteningly willing to. It is remarkable enough that Reagan managed to achieve as much as he did, in fact it’s likely that much of his agenda had to be achieved by giving spending to the House Democrats. But there is much, in retrospect, that we have learned from the Reagan years. Certainly not the lessons many people think we ought to have learned. But perhaps Paul has mostly learned the right lessons. For example, we have learned that deals to cut spending, traded for higher taxes, lead to higher taxes and higher spending-hence the familiar left wing talking point about how many times “Reagan raised taxes” (which, again, and even more strongly, is the responsibility of Congress and in particular the Democrats running the part of it from which revenue measures must originate. We have learned that “comprehensive immigration reform” meaning deals cut to secure the border traded for amnesty for illegal aliens, results in more illegal aliens and no actual border security-and leads, gradually, and unfortunately inevitably, to the demographic suicide of the United States of America. In short, we’ve learned what we should have known all along. The other side is evil and not to be trusted. You don’t compromise with the devil (speaking metaphorically here, butthurt atheists).

If you fault Reagan for anything, as a Conservative, or a True Liberal (rather than these Pre-Liberals who call themselves “Progressives” who would advance society by advancing an agenda to reconstruct Medieval society) it is being too compromising. Too willing to reach across the aisle and work with the other side. The struggle between individualism and collectivism is a fight between right and wrong, a moral battle. So I’d be quite pleased if, say, a President Paul would be unwilling to compromise in this fight. But be fair. Intellectually, I believe Reagan understood that. But unfortunately it is difficult to act like this in practice. The Leftists are our friends, our neighbors, our countrymen. As much victims of their own hateful, repugnant ideology as they are perpetrators. And Reagan was sentimental, and friendly to a fault. A man who could write, privately, of JFK being, underneath the boyish haircut, still old Karl Marx, but who never the less considered his adversary in Majority leader Tip O’Neill a friend. Hate the sin love the sinner, better Christians would say. These days it is easy to criticize that sort of sentimentality. The stakes are too high these days, to be that way anymore. Still, I really do think that Paul has erred, and done a disservice to Reagan and to history, with a criticism that is not really fair.

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Filed under Conservatism, Fiscal Policy, General, History, Liberals, Republicans

Eaten Lunch

(Not to be confused with the W S Burroughs novel)

The Southern Bell has put it unusually well:

“When it’s all going to be said and done, Harry Reid has eaten our lunch…This has been a capitulation in two weeks of dramatic proportions of policies that wouldn’t have passed in the new Congress.”

How poignant. A rather nice way of saying that the GOP has utterly and completely dropped the ball during the lame duck session. The reinforcements don’t arrive until January, but we had to count on the GOP to hold the line until then. It seems to me that they have failed to do so in almost every way. DADT should have been extended to forbidden open straightness instead of eliminated-which would be both fair and would prevent sexuality from become a distraction from the mission. The Republicans utterly failed to stop it and now Barney Frank doesn’t seem to think that there is anything wrong with gays in the same showers as straights, even though he apparently does see that men and women shouldn’t shower together (HOW IS THAT NOT THE SAME THING??????) no serious, he actually has said that. The START treaty actually got a bunch of Republicans on board, even though it is blatantly going to be unilateral disarmament, even though the “verification regime” that Obama says it is needed to create IS A COMPLETE FICTION and even though the Russians have made it quite clear that they believe it limits our ability to develop missile defense. And why did Republicans unnecessarily capitulate on the “tax deal”? It should have been simple. Their mission was nothing but stall until reinforcements arrived. They failed. Some of them seemed to fail on purpose. The establishment GOP doesn’t want to stick it’s neck out and say they hope Obama fails, maybe because what they really want to say is “I hope we fail.” These mistakes won’t be possible to undo for two more years! Sigh…

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Filed under Conservatism, Dumbasses, elections, Fiscal Policy, General, Liberals, Republicans

Already Messing Up

In January, the new Congress will come in, and Republicans will have control of the House of Representatives. But before that even happens, the GOP is preparing for their new, more powerful role in the Federal government. Unfortunately, based on what they are doing so far, it looks like they are not serious about their limited government mandate. They have decided not to waive the term limit on being committee chair for Energy and Commerce for Joe Barton of Texas, which in and of itself is not a bad thing, except who they are replacing him with is, well, horrifying. Fred Upton of Michigan is, in fact, the man behind the Light Bulb Ban (the Corporation behind the ban is, ironically, General Electric) and is just about the absolute worst choice they could make. And yet that is who they have named as the man they want to put in charge. Equally disturbing is the choice of Hal Rogers of Kentucky to head the Appropriations committee-they have just put an Earmark master in charge of deciding how money will be spent, essentially, in the new Congress. So much for the ban…

What the heck are the Republicans thinking? Are they under the impression that they have trust among us left to squander? Do they even believe in what they claim to stand for? These picks are not finalized yet, AFAIK, but they are almost inevitable. I have scarcely been so disappointed in my life.

On the tax “compromise” I have to say, I’m utterly baffled. Obama believes he is in a position to be making demands, and to insult and spit in the face of the GOP even as he claims to be seeking peace. He continues to remind people of how horrible the Republicans are, how they have forced him into this compromise which he deep down finds abhorrent. He keeps going on with all the same old class warfare crap. All this when he would get, if the Republicans stupidly agree to this monstrosity, an unfunded extension of unemployment benefits out to a grand total of THREE YEARS, already near two years now. All this when he is insisting on the return of the Estate-AKA Death-tax, albeit at lower rates than it would come back if nothing is done-in other words he is insisting that there be SOME tax increase!!! When he will be moving revenue out of the Social Security funds straight into the general revenue by cutting payroll taxes (not that they wouldn’t just raid Social Security as if it was not supposed to be separate funds anyway…). Obama gets so much out of this deal, and Republicans so little, you’d think that they must have lost the last election, instead of the other way around. This whole business makes so little sense, the Republicans are probably best to refuse this deal and tell Obama that he doesn’t get to make demands anymore. Much like Obama’s attitude after the 2008 election. I want to hear the GOP go up to Obama and throw his own words back at him:

We Won

Get over it.

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Filed under Dumbasses, elections, Fiscal Policy, General, Liberals, Republicans, Weird Stuff

Death and…

You probably don’t even know this, but there is a 143% tax on imported Peanut Butter.

No seriously. This is incredible. No wonder politicians always seem sure they can find more revenue.

This needs to stop.

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A Trillion here, A Trillion there, but when it’s a war it’s real money

Democrats suddenly care about how much a program will cost when it’s a war. Figures.

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Filed under Dumbasses, Fiscal Policy, Liberals

Arthur Laffer on the Great Depression: Fiscal Policy More important?

Art says that focusing on monetary policy misses the most important policy mistakes made during the depression.

(Oh, and Tom Frank had an article in the Journal which is pretty moronic. Go read it if you like drivel! 🙂 )

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Thank you for smoking spending.


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