Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bush's Stimulus Package II

Yesterday I posted a message about Bush's Stimulus Package, but the graphic left a bit to be desired.

This chart shows the year to year growth (changes) in federal spending.

Note that Bush increased spending significantly - which, by another name, is a stimulus package. This graph shows how much stimulative growth in spending we saw under Bush.*

Also note that the Obama 2009 spike includes (i) TARP spending which was enacted during Bush's administration, and the Recovery Stimulus package, which was enacted to combat the effects of Bush's Recession. We can differ on how much of the 2009 spending is the responsibility of Bush and how much the responsibility of Obama. See, e.g.,

* (Note that my source from which these figures were calculated does not indicate if they include the "off-balance sheet" spending on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which were not included in Bush's budgets, but were paid for with "supplemental appropriations" and noit included in the budget itself. My source was

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bush's Stimulus Package

I have a conservative friend who got all excited when he found out that federal revenues grew during the BushII admin "even with the tax cuts."

Like all good conservatives, he seems to think that the fact that Bush also significantly increased federal spending, thus stimulating the economy, is a fact better left unmentioned and unrecognized. In fact, he called bringing up the increased spending and the stimulus effect of it "twisting the logic."

So, I charted growth in[1] revenues as a percentage of GDP from 93-2008. I also through in a line of GDP growth during those years. which is pretty much a steady increase. (The slopes of the 2 curves don't necessarily match; the significant fact on GDP here is that it pretty steadily grew until Bush's Recession hit)

Through the Clinton years, revenues as a percent of GDP grew at a stead.

Of course, when Bush cut taxes, the revenues as a percent of GDP dropped.

If you assume revenue growth would have pretty much continued on the Clinton era path (as projected with the green line in the graph) you can see just how much revenue we lost because of the Bush tax cuts.

[1] On edit, per correction in first comment made.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Whose Debt Is It?

Republicans love to tell us they are fiscally responsible and the "Tax and Spend" Dems run up a lot of debt. Let's go to the Pie Chart....

If you think the TARP, Iraq and Afghanistan wars and Recovery Act funds spent to stop the economic collapse at the end of the Bus admin are GOP debt, then the GOP has r
un up over 75% of our debt. If you think they should go on Obama's plate with his slice of the pie, then the GOP "only" run up about 62% of the debt. Maybe dems are "Tax and Spend..." but the GOP seems to be into "spend what you don't got AND cut taxes to make sure you'll have even less when the bills come due."


Monday, August 8, 2011

Opps, Maybe

For the moment it looks like I swung at and missed a wild pitch by S&P in this blog entry:

OTOH, compared to what seems to be happening on Wall street:

The markets get scared by S&P, and they react by investing in US treasuries, showing S&P was dead wrong....

Kind of a Wall Street Mobius strip

Friday, August 5, 2011

Go To The Economic Videotape

Let's go to the Economic Videotape and look back to 1936 (and compare it today):

The country is in the grips of the Great Depression, but has begun to recover under Roosevelt's New Deal "pump priming" stimulus plan. But Roosevelt is in a re-election fight and the Republicans have been screaming about deficit spending.

So Roosevelt agrees to an austerity package to enhance his re-election chances. (Sound familiar?)

The country's economic recovery reverses and we go into the '37 recession.

So e go back to the New Deal's deficit spending to stimulate the economy and the recovery recommences.

Then 1941. Something really big happens and the government has to spend vastly higher amounts of money in the economy and borrow to do so.

Look at the economic events - vastly increased government spending and borrowing.

The economy bounds back with the massive government spending program put into place. Yeah, it was done to fight WWII. But if you describe that period from an economic point of view - it was huge stimulus package built on deficit spending.

Are we going to have to have another World War to convince ourselves that the solution is government spending?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Matt Damon, Teachers And Values

I don't pay much attention to Hollywood and movies and TV and actors and stuff. Nothing against 'em, I'm just not all that interested. (My former wife was amazed recently that (1) I remembered the name of the movie "The Legend of Bagger Vance" and (2) that I remembered that it starred Will Smith. I was a little surprised, myself. Good movie - teaches some lessons. The kind of movie I do like. Like "Good Will Hunting" too.)

I don't automatically assume that an actor's comments or views about anything are necessarily worthwhile.

On the other hand, however,I figure it takes some smarts to make it to the top of any field, and I certainly won't dismiss an actor's comments just because he or she is an actor.

I ran across a short clip of Matt Damon speaking about teaching, and a comment he made struck me as going to the heart of a big problem in our society and current politics.

Discussing the teaching profession, an interviewer asked him if it isn't job insecurity which keeps him working hard.

His first, partial response is "I want to be an actor."

And then he hit it out of the park:
"You take this MBA style thinking - it's the problem with ed policy right now. It's this intrinsically paternalistic view of problems that are much more complex than that."
I'm not sure that the issue is really paternalism - but he goes to the core of a real societal problem - the idea that issues are one dimensional and can all be solved by the application of business and corporate values and modes of analysis - that all of life and life's problems are a matter of profit motive and economic fears and dreams.

He goes on in the video to discuss the love of teaching as the motivator for teachers, a factor which just doesn't get much attention in our modern, "corporate-values are all" society. (Looking at his wiki bio, I'm guessing he gets his insights into and knowledge of teaching from his mother, "Nancy Carlsson-Paige, an early childhood education professor at Lesley University.")

Over my life, I have seen a steady shift to the idea that commerce and profits and economic self-inteerst are the end all and be all of life. We see it in attitudes about the environment; we see it when the mall becomes the destination of choice for idle hours. We see when some one says "he'll be a good political candidate, he's a business man...."

Commerce and economic self-interest are important, but we don't serve either our personal nor or national self-interest when we make them the center of our consciousness and of our values.

= = = =

Matt, if your clipping service passes this along (yeah, right, Bob) - I've only seen a few of your films - I was impressed by your performance in 'Bagger Vance,' which maybe shows you just how far out of mainstream Hollywood I am.... BTW, when I was mentioning it to my former wife, I'd forgotten you starred in it, too. Sorry.)

And thanks for standing up for teachers! Makes all that stardom even more valuable, right? (Except to the MBAs maybe)

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Great Obama Spelunking Adventure

I just viewed a message from the President emailed to me Monday morning after The Great Obama Spelunking Adventure. (A.K.A. "He Caved.")

He said "we settled this the only way we could."

The idea that capitulation to the right winger extremists is"only way we could settle this" is nothing if not an admission of your failure of leadship, Mr. President.

President Obama argued that this situation has "launched an important debate about how we approach the big challenges we face...."

No, Mr President, this "deal" has answered that debate, which has been raging throughout your presidency." Sadly, when a strong leader was most needed, your answer has consistently been surrender to the extremists.

"... and about whether we tackle our challenges by calling on our best values as one country."

"One country," Mr President? With a sadly powerful yet tiny minority of extremists willing to scuttle our nations strength and economy, you think we are "one nation?" You think we can be one nation when the GOP can only answer "No?"

"This chapter is over but the work of the great debate continues."

I'm starting to think you really are delusional. A temporary insanity, I hope. This isn't just putting the best face on a bad situation and a timid response to it.

Your speech seems to demonstrate you really don't have a clue as to just how badly you have done as President and in fulfilling the President's role, his duty, as leader of the country.

I weep for America. When we desperately need leader, we get capitulation and your fantasy defense.