82 comments on “The trick just keeps getting bigger

  1. The problem is still the same…(continued spending like drunken sailors), only the amount of debt has changed…16.1 Trillion in 2012, the forecast for the national debt at the end of the new budget deal in 2017 – 20 Trillion…(with neither amounts including unfunded mandates). So a little recycling is in order I’d say…(apologies to drunken sailors). These are the 18 RINO Republican Senators (traitors) who went along with the smiling Democrats to bust the budget again: Alexander, Tenn.; Ayotte, N.H.; Barrasso, Wyo.; Capito, W.V.; Cochran, Miss.; Collins, Maine; Cornyn, Texas; Graham, S.C.; Hatch, Utah; Kirk, Ill.; McCain, Ariz.; McConnell, Ky.; Murkowski,Alaska; Roberts, Kan.; Rounds, S.D.; Thune, S.D.; Tillis, N.C.; Wicker, Miss.

  2. Patrick says:

    Here’s a conservative trick that never stops working (given the number of people who absolutely WANT to be fooled)

    ” They found that the company’s knowledge of climate change dates back to July 1977, when its senior scientist James Black delivered a sobering message on the topic. “In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels,” Black told Exxon’s management committee. A year later he warned Exxon that doubling CO2 gases in the atmosphere would increase average global temperatures by two or three degrees—a number that is consistent with the scientific consensus today. He continued to warn that “present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to 10 years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.”


  3. nyp says:

    I guess you can’t complain about the federal deficit any more, because it keeps declining. So you throw some sand over the national debt.

  4. Actually I can complain about it…after the skyrocketing deficits in the first three or four years of our Community Organizer in Chief’s spending sprees…the only way they could go without collapsing the economy is down…that’s called gravity and it’s nothing to crow about.

  5. nyp says:

    The “skyrocketing deficits” consisted of automatic stabilizers (unemployment benefits, et al) and short-term stabilizers that took us out of the Great Recession and avoided another Depression. Textbook economics. Once Obama and Bernanke got us growing again, the deficits shrank to the level that you guys aren’t bitching about it anymore.
    The national debt has little to do with Obma’s stimulus program. The long-term debt problem relate to the costs of a projected again cohort of baby boomers — Medicare and Social Security. Different set of issues. Of course, when Obama cut payments to Medicare Advantage providers you guys screamed bloody murder.

  6. Steve says:

    “Once Obama and Bernanke got us growing again”

    Ummm….sort of. Growth is described as lethargic, at best.

  7. And unfortunately as this latest excursion into budgetary insanity clearly illustrates…the establishment Republicans are equally to blame for this level of gluttonous spending and fiscal irresponsibility.

  8. Rincon says:

    The problem you are whining about has been with us for 35 years. As a percentage of GDP, which is the only honest way to assess it, today’s debt is smaller than that of the Reagan and George H.W. administrations. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/jan/20/barack-obama/barack-obama-claims-deficit-has-decreased-two-thir/ Also, don’t forget that there are two sides to the debt. Could our taxes be just a touch too low? It depends on whether we consider two of our nongovernmental taxes

    We pay 17% of GDP for medical care compared to 11% and less for all other countries. If government soaked us like that, you guys would be howling at the top of your lungs, but since it’s private enterprise, you claim that we must be getting better care than anyone else despite the fact that most of the OECD people live longer than us. Amazing. Since we have no choice except paying for it, I call it a 6% private enterprise tax. We don’t even get to vote for the people charging us the money.

    Our greatest tax though, is the tax we pay to the rich. If everyone would have shared equally (I know, I know. AAAHHH, he’s a socialist! I’m just saying IF) in our productivity gains over the past 50 years, our rich people would make TWICE as much money as they did before (that’s not good enough for them?), and our average family income would be $106,000 per year! Go ahead, do the math. We could EASILY afford to pay for our deficit and, over time, our debt. Unfortunately, we have little choice but to pay them what they demand; thus, a tax equal to 100% of our present income – a little bigger than the government’s taxes.

  9. Barbara says:

    Brien – thanks for the link to Senator’s Cruz speech. With very little time to review this legislation and prepare a speech, Cruz demonstrates his amazing intellect and skill. He appropriately characterizes this legislation as bipartisan corruption. It is absolutely the last straw for me. I cannot see me voting for any downstream Republican unless Cruz is at the top of the ticket.

  10. You’re most welcome Barbara…and I concur.

  11. “As a percentage of GDP, which is the only honest way to assess it, today’s debt is smaller than that of the Reagan and George H.W. administrations.” I’m callin’ bull_hit.


  12. Rincon says:

    OOPS! I meant deficit, not debt. Sorry about that. Thank you for calling me out on that Brien. That should not have stood. Please let me try again: The DEFICIT during several years of both the Reagan and Bush administrations was greater than today as a percentage of GDP.

  13. Steve says:

    Deficits under Obama have gone down as he claimed and Politifact proved.
    However, taken as a percentage over the years in office, Obama’s years; with average spending to date at 24.1% of GDP; have been without any doubt, the highest of all since Reagan.
    Obama’s years have the highest average deficit for the time period covered.
    Since deficits add to the debt, Obama’s years have added the most seen in a very long time.

    The average deficit during the Reagan and Bush administrations were lower than the average deficit (to date) under Obama. What Rincon shopwed is how much the deficit under Obama has DECREASED, not how large it has been as a percentage of GDP.
    Additionally, laying blame on any one presidency is difficult due to the many influences outside the term or control of any single administration on government spending.
    (One obvious example is Congress holds the purse strings. The executive branch can only spend money Congress budgets.)


  14. nyp says:

    today’s Second Amendment moment: four shot dead in Colorado Springs.

  15. Steve says:

    Apparently it would have been fine with Nyp if the guy had just burnt down a house with people in it.

  16. Patrick says:

    I wonder where Winston is when these events happen quoting some of our founding fathers wisdom about “our Constitution only being workable in a nation of Christians”? Can it possibly be that all these second amendment moments are committed by Christians? And if so, maybe what the founding father quoted ad nauseum by Winston gave too much credit to the members of that religion, and if not, then maybe the second amendment protections ought not apply to them?

  17. Patrick says:

    Here it is (because you can never seem to count on these guys to quote this stuff when it might apply to something they’d rather not apply it to.

    “We have no goverrnment armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    John Adams

  18. Steve says:

    Its entertaining to read Patrick’s twisted and tortured form of “logic”. But its not much more than entertainment.
    Attempting to conflate religion with the second amendment is absurd.


  19. Rincon says:

    The AVERAGE deficit during the Obama administration is indeed greater than that of the others. TODAY’S deficit is significantly smaller than those of Reagan and Bush. I believe that Obama was stuck with large deficits for the first few years because he was stuck with a Republican induced recession. At the time, a large majority of economists advised higher spending, not lower. Of course, Conservatives think that the proper response to a threatening depression is austerity.

    I lay the recession at the doorstep of the Republicans because it occurred after 8 years of a Republican President and 12 continuous years of Republican control of Congress (except that the House was split for the 107th) Somehow though, with the Democrats having almost no power for 8 years, Conservatives manage to convince themselves that the recession was the fault of Democrat programs that the Republicans could have changed at any time over an 8 year period with essentially the wave of a hand. I guess people are capable of believing almost anything if they’re motivated.

  20. Steve says:

    “I believe that Obama was stuck with large deficits for the first few years because he was stuck with a Republican induced recession.”
    Conversely, (since history shows during the Clinton years much of the Reagan policies remained in force) The Clinton economy was due to the Reagan presidency! Though Congress during the Reagan years was controlled by Democrats and during the Clinton years Congress was controled by Republicans….

    There is far much more to an economy than what party happens to be occupying what branch of government at the time.

    This “recession” is not really over yet, if it was the FED would have raised rates long ago. The technical description of recession has ended but the reality is things are not recovering like they should be.

    And you seem to be a bit clouded about party control of the various branches over the years, it’s much more fluid than you let on. Here’s a chart.

  21. Which leads me back to the ranch of common sense and fiscal sanity. Our “more perfect union” simply cannot endure the profligate spending that is rampant in DC. To say that the founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves due to this economic disaster is an understatement. Both parties are to blame for this mess…and thus the undercurrent of dissension and anger that’s driving the appeal of “outsiders” in Republican presidential race. The same dissatisfaction is bubbling up here at home in Nevada…over the Governor’s massive tax increase. Particularly after the electorate soundly defeated the same sort of tax (with a different handle) resoundingly in the last election. If this makes it back on the ballot…it will be soundly defeated again. Is the culpability the same in both parties? I think not…one party smiles at the thought of more taxing and spending, while the other party has to deceive the electorate with promises…only to break them and then cite numerous excuses to try and excuse their duplicity. The folks have had enough!

  22. Rincon says:

    Your chart, to alleviate my supposed confusion, shows the Bush administration with a Republican majority throughout his administration (except for the split for 2 years, as I properly noted), just as I claimed. So just how is it that I’m “clouded”?

    Somehow, you determine that Clinton benefited from Reagan’s policies “…since history shows during the Clinton years much of the Reagan policies remained in force.” This is a blanket statement with nothing backing it up. By the same logic, would you then say, “since history shows during the Obama years much of the Bush policies remained in force – or is it Clinton’s policies, since you somehow skipped over George H.W.’s four years?” Are you saying that lots of Bush policies were reversed, but that Clinton didn’t reverse any of Reagan’s policies?

  23. Rincon says:

    You continue to ignore the billionaires, Brien. We pay a tax* equal to 100% of our 1973 income to them. The government taxes and deficits are puny in comparison.

    * I am using definition #2 of the word tax for any nitpickers in the crowd.

    noun: tax; plural noun: taxes

    1. a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.
    synonyms: duty, tariff, excise, customs, dues; More
    levy, toll, impost, tithe, charge, fee
    “they have to pay tax on the interest”
    antonyms: rebate
    2. a strain or heavy demand.
    “a heavy tax on the reader’s attention”
    synonyms: burden, load, weight, demand, strain, pressure, stress, drain, imposition
    “a heavy tax on one’s attention”

  24. I’m not ignoring anyone…the problem isn’t that there’s not enough revenue – the problem is our government spends too much and wastes too much. Everyone should pay their “fair share” to provide certain services…I’m just waiting for you and the little nyper to tell me what your definition of fair share is. I’m also saying the federal budget needs to be pruned radically, and the waste & fraud needs to be confronted. This simply cannot be allowed to continue unabated.

  25. Patrick says:

    No, the problem is that the wealthiest people in the country, the people that have benefited not by the system of government we have in this country, don’t pay NEARLY, what they ought to for receiving that benefit.

    And, almost as importantly, the money that the government does take in, is spent MOSTLY (defense spending) on things that we ought not be spending them on.

    “Fraud and waste” are as mere far right wing code words much like “welfare queens” or “voter fraud” or “flag burning” were for various republicans trying to whip up their base. Ask a republican WHERE the fraud and waste are and, like every time the question was asked in the past, you’ll either get vague nonsensical responses like “welfare cheats” or “social security disability cheats” or “paying illegal immigrants, blah, blah, blah” when what they truly mean are that programs designed to assist the poor, old, or disabled in general, should be stopped. Of course, the fronge margins of even possible “savings” that MIGHT result from the crackdown on such fraud that they envision would be a pittance, equivalent to a single shipment of $400 toilet seats, or a no-bid contract to Halliburton to pay $40. Gallon for gasoline (that was never provided by Halliburton) but this is never mentioned.

    Cut the defense budget on half, raise the capital gains tax, and marginal rate on incomes above $500,000.00 back to levels that existed during “conservative hero” Ronald Reagan’s presidency, and begin a MASSIVE infrastructure investment program in this country. Make college free for all, institute a student loan forgiveness program, and just watch s this country’s economy booms like never before.

  26. Spoken like a true Bolshevik. So tell us then, how much should the wealthy pay, what percent of their income? In fact…why don’t you break out YOUR income tax plan for all to see?

  27. Patrick says:

    Tell me HFB, if I suggest a return to taing income at the marginal rates that existed when Ronald Reagan was president, and you accuse me of being a “Bolshevik”; what did that make him?

    See, the far right, has moved so far to the right, that even guys formerly said to be “arch conservatives” like Reagan, seem communistic. If that don’t say it all, I don’t know what does.

  28. Enough blather…you didn’t answer the question.

  29. Steve says:

    Patrick never will answer questions. His only purpose in life is to call everyone else wrong.

    Rincon said the Republicans caused the “Great Recession” that occurred during Obama’s terms. Therefore the good times during the Clinton years must have been due to the previous administrations efforts to make them happen.
    Simple…. (at the risk of repeating myself,,,again) except the economy is not under the control of any one party or the other, no matter which one happens to be in control of whatever branch of the government at the time.

  30. Rincon says:

    In the first seven decades of the 20th century, everyone benefited from our increased productivity and we enjoyed a great expansion of the middle class. In the past 4 decades, only the plutocrats have benefited and the middle class is slowly collapsing.. Do you think the first seven decades of the 20th century were unfair to the rich?

    “…the problem isn’t that there’s not enough revenue…” Of course there’s enough revenue. Let me repeat myself in case you didn’t see it:. Our median income would be $106,000 if everybody received the same share of our increased productivity and the rich would still make DOUBLE what they made 40 years ago (I know, I know. That would be SO unfair to the rich). If that was the case, we could easily pay our “fair share” and have plenty left over. It’s all about power, Brien, and the rich have it in spades. They have used it to screw over the middle class for 40 years. Simple math says things will hit the fan soon, because capital earns money faster than GDP increases today. The only way that can happen is at the expense of the work force, and the 1% are already worth more than the bottom 90% There’s nobody left to take money from.

  31. Still waiting for the left’s definition of “fair share”…what percentage to you want to extract from the top 1%…or the top 2%…or the top 10%, or hell, the top 25%. Class warfare as a political tool…is alive and well on the left side of the aisle, just ask Bernie or Hillary…and it’s roots are from the Bolsheviks.

  32. Steve says:

    In so far as the “rich” owning power and control over the “last forty years” take a look at that chart and tell us who had huge majorities of control in the congress during most of those “forty years”
    Than try and tell us it was all the Republicans fault.

  33. Patrick says:

    The only “class warfare” that has been, nd I currently being waged, is by the richest, against everyone else. And their killing us, and it’s not even close.

    And HFB, I thought I made it pretty clear that the rich, as I defined rich, “earning” $500,000 a year, ought to be paying income taxes at the same rates they paid when Reagan said that is wht they should be paying. And because there I no difference between a dollar “earned” by working for it, and a dollar “earned” through the increase in the value of an asset sold, the difference between money received from capital gains, and income received, should be taxed at the same marginal rate.

    And as I said, the fact tht Reagan “approved” of those rates, and I agree with them, means either this policy is either “Bolshevism” or it’s not.

  34. Barbara says:

    The Washington Cartel has indeed brought about a consolidation of power to the detriment of the poor and middle class. Both the Democrats and Republicans (in league with K Street doling out campaign contributions) have used the tax code to benefit those in power. The Federal Reserve is alsoto to blame. The rich have done so well under Obama only because of the Feds ZIRP and QE 1,2,and 3, – not to an increase in productivity or an expanding economy.

    Look better example exists than the bipartisan budget bill that was just passed. Spending will increase by 80 billion over the next 2 years and how does the Cartel pay for this spending? By selling oil from our reserves at $86 per barrel when the market price is half that and scheduling other tax cuts to occurr 10 years from now. Nothing but lies and corruption.

    Tax the rich more, and the Cartel will spend it and not on anything to benefit the middle class or poor. We have given the Cartel more than 4 trillion in tax revenue this year, and what do we have to show for it – certainly not a vibrant economy with plenty of good paying jobs.

    History shows that if you raise taxes too high you will get less not more of what is being taxed. The Tax Foundation has scored all the Republican candidates tax plans:

    Click to access Online%20Charts%20%28combined%29_1.pdf

    I don’t believe Hillary or Bernie have come out with a plan other than platitudes on how much free stuff they want to give away. I’ve heard Bernie wants 90% tax rates, but I’ve never heard on who would pay this rate.

  35. Rincon says:

    No question that both Democrats and Republicans are in collusion with the rich. I do have one question though. If the cartel will merely spend any increase in tax money, then how do you propose that we pay off the debt? Your defeatism is discouraging, although possibly accurate.

    I guess I have two questions, not one. Does anyone justify the lower rate for capital gains than for earned income? The mantra has always been that a lower rate for capital gains encourages investment, but that makes no sense to me. If some rich guy has an extra 100 million laying around, what else can he do with the money other than investing it? There is no need to encourage investment. The only alternative is to stuff the money into the mattress.

  36. Barbara says:

    He can take it overseas where he won’t be taxed or taxed at a lower rate.

  37. Barbara says:

    As to your first question, if the Cartel wanted to pay off the debt they would. The fact that it keeps growing shows they have no intention of ever paying it off. They love debt when they can borrow at .25 or lower and leverage it to invest.

  38. Barbara says:

    To pay off the debt, you have to brake the Cartel. The only way to brake the Cartel is to get rid of their power which is the tax code. The tax code must be made more transparent by eliminating deductions and going to a flat tax or consumption tax. I think the flat tax is more likely. This would be a good start.

  39. Barbara says:

    And to accomplish this you could join me in voting for Senator Cruz. Ha!

  40. Patrick says:

    The only people supporting a “flat tax” are the rich; guess why?

    And, it makes no sense to pay off the national debt, or to even pay it down, and the only people who think it is, are those who would benefit; the richest of the rich.

    Look why pay a single dime of the debt when people are willing to send us their money FOR FREE?

    I’ve asked a hundred people this question, and it’s really only fete thinking about it, and I mean REALLY thinking about it, that not paying down the debt today is the best idea anyone could espouse.

    “How much money would you borrow, if you were told that all you have to do is pay it back in 10 or 30 years, if you could invest what you borrowed at 1%?”

    This is where we are today, and is why, repaying the debt would be just plain dumb.

  41. Steve says:

    “The only people supporting a “flat tax” are the rich; guess why?”

    Patrick pushing his conspiracy theories.

  42. Steve says:

    “Look why pay a single dime of the debt when people are willing to send us their money FOR FREE?”

    In a volatile world economy, the US is currently considered a safe placeholder for money, but that money is due for payback, at whatever interest rate is on the bond.
    They want it back at some point, Patrick. It’s not free money.

  43. Steve says:

    Japan owned $1.2244 trillion worth of U.S. government securities at the end of February, compared to $1.2237 trillion for China…meanwhile the FED, at last count, owned around $2.5 trillion worth of Treasuries….

    Looks like not paying the debt will severely shortchange our children and their children, Patrick…hopefully, you are young enough to feel the benefits of your theories.

  44. Rincon says:

    “U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are generally taxed on their worldwide income, including income from the sale of foreign stocks.” http://finance.zacks.com/pay-income-tax-foreign-stock-sold-8026.html There is an investment tax credit for taxes paid in a foreign country, but the investor must make up the difference. One cannot escape capital gains tax nor pay a lower rate by investing overseas.

  45. Rincon says:

    The “cartel” has only one motive that I can see for continuing to run deficits: The voters demand it. Spending lots of government money brings good times, which brings reelection. We have met the enemy and he is us.

    BTW, Reagan began this habit. He nearly tripled the debt and was rewarded with godlike status among gullible Conservatives. Others saw what worked then followed suit such that Dick Cheney famously said, “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.”. Conservatives, of course, still defend their administrations

    The fact remains that special tax treatment for capital gains is a perk for the rich and nothing more. It has no valid justification..

  46. Barbara says:

    Perhaps you are too young to remember President Reagan’s administration.. Even when he was President he was hated by the Washington Cartel including membesr of his own Party. I remember him advocating for the line-item veto so he could cut of pork from bloated budgets sent to him by Congress.

    From the Heritage Foundation:

    “The annual federal deficit as a share of GDP fell significantly from 6.3 percent in 1983 to 2.9 percent in 1989. As Reagan left office, CBO (the Congressional Budget Office) projected that “deficits were on a path to fall to about 1 percent of GDP” by 1993.”

    You are very quick to dismiss Obama’s deficits as a result of the recession. However, President Reagan also inherited a recession coupled with high inflation and high interest rates.

    “If we examine the economic report cards of postwar presidents from Truman through Reagan, according to Harvard economist Robert Barro, Reagan easily finishes first. Using the change each year in inflation, unemployment, interest rates, and growth in gross national product, Reagan ranks first. He engineered the largest reduction in the misery index (inflation plus unemployment) in history — 50 percent. The 1980s, says economist Richard B. McKenzie, were, up to then, “the most prosperous decade in American history.”

    Perhaps this is why President Reagan received the largest electoral votes of any President in history – 525 out of 538 in 1984. Despite liberal attempts to discredit his record, he remains the only President to have overwhelmingly won the hearts of the American people as demonstrated by his re-election record carrying every state but one.

  47. Steve says:

    “U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are generally taxed on their worldwide income, including income from the sale of foreign stocks.”

    Rincon, this tax is collected only if (or when) the proceeds of those transactions are repatriated. And the USA is one of only two OECD contries that taxes its citizens earnings on foreign soil. (This amounts to double taxation as that money is taxed by the country in which the proceeds were realized.)

  48. Rincon says:

    Lies, damn lies and statistics. The single last year of Reagan’s administration does not negate the fact that he more than doubled the national debt while in office. I never claimed that Obama wasn’t a big spender. My claim was that Reagan was also and that he began the tradition. Reagan also had the huge benefit of drastically falling oil prices during his administration (as did Clinton and now, finally, Obama.). Funny how the economy improves when oil prices fall and declines when they rise. But we ignore external factors when bashing Presidents. Makes them seem less omnipotent.

  49. Rincon says:

    “Rincon, this tax is collected only if (or when) the proceeds of those transactions are repatriated. And the USA is one of only two OECD contries that taxes its citizens earnings on foreign soil.” Of course. When you sell an international stock, the profit suddenly becomes repatriated. You pay income tax on your profits just as you would for a domestic stock minus whatever tax you paid in the country of origin.

  50. Barbara says:

    How true! I have a hard time understanding how anyone things government is the answer. Talk about being felony stupid!

  51. Barbara says:

    Rincon – you cannot change the fact that Reagan was in fact beloved by the American people and did in fact win more states than any other President in his re-election and thus the highest electoral votes ever.

    By the way, I lived in Texas during Reagan’s administration. Falling oil prices were not just an accident. Texas suffered greatly during this time period and many companies when bankrupt. I had a politician tell me he and a group of Texas people met with VP Bush to ask the administration to take action to shore up the price of oil. They were told Reagan was going to purposely do everything he could to keep the price low so as to bankrupt the Russian economy. Texas could expect no help from the administration as Reagan believed the long term benefit of ending Soviet domination of Eastern Europe outweighed the hit to our economy in the short term.

    Another achievement of Reagan’s – ending Soviet domination of Eastern Europe in spite of those in his administration that fought him at every turn.

  52. Nyp says:

    Saint Reagan interfered with the oil market in order to beat the commies?
    Wow. Who knew ?

    Hey – isn’t that what Obama is doing now with oil prices to Putin?

  53. Steve says:

    “When you sell an international stock, the profit suddenly becomes repatriated.”

    Not necessarily (nyp might be able to confirm this) The proceeds from selling a foreign security do not have to be repatriated if the account they are held at is not located in the USA.

  54. Rincon says:

    “I have a hard time understanding how anyone things government is the answer. Talk about being felony stupid!” Government isn’t the answer. Neither is private enterprise. They both play necessary roles.

  55. Rincon says:

    Suddenly increase the price of a commodity and the industry will respond by producing more, thus driving the price downward. Economics 101. Reagan didn’t control the price of oil, simple economics did. He may be your anointed saint, but don’t try to claim he was a god.

  56. Barbara says:

    The meeting I had concerned budgets for local government. I was told that there would be no quick recovery for the oil industry which funded a great deal of the local economy., I’m not sure what they want Reagan to do (tariffs on imports, lifts restrictions on selling oil overseas). I was never told what they had asked the admininstation to do, only the reason they could expect no help from Washington.

  57. Rincon says:

    So Reagan didn’t take protectionist measures, which would have raised gas prices for millions of Americans. Sounds to me like he was just avoiding political suicide. Nyp’s point is well taken. Obama’s doing the same thing. Is he a hero too?

    As far as busting the Soviet Union goes, the writing was on the wall. From what I read in the years after, Reagan and our entire defense industry had greatly overrated their strength and abilities. The Soviet Union would have collapsed even if Reagan hadn’t spent us into a hole. He was in the right place at the right time.

    Reagan and Obama both ran large deficits in response to recession, but Reagan’s a hero and Obama’s Satan. Only in Conservative Fantasyland.

  58. Steve says:

    Ummm, no.
    Reagan is a pariah in liberal unicorns and rainbows land while Obama is a god.
    In conservative circles, these things are reversed.

    From a (new) investors point of view, the FED made the needed moves that have pushed the economy. Tarp was a drop in the bucket by comparison.

  59. Rincon says:

    “I never claimed that Obama wasn’t a big spender. My claim was that Reagan was also and that he began the tradition.” These were my words. Does that sound like I’m making Obama into a god?

  60. Barbara says:

    The difference (one of them) between Reagan and Obama is that Reagan made the case to the American people against Congress for the bloated budgets sent to him by a Democratic House. Obama urges Congress to more and more spending. There is no equivalency. Reagan controlled what he could; federal civilian employment actually shrank about 5 percent under his administration.

    I specifically stated I did not know what the Texas oilmen asked of the Administration. It was speculation on my part what they could have proposed. It is a fact that in 1981, Reagan deregulated oil prices which led to lower prices. Obama has done everything he can to restrict drilling and interfere in the free market including refusing to authorized the Keystone pipeline.

    Reagan was widely criticized and ridiculed for his stance against the Soviet Union. Here is another take on his leadership from Dr. Lee Edwards:

    There is one Western leader above all others who forced the Soviets to give up the Brezhnev Doctrine and abandon the arms race, who brought down the Berlin Wall, and who ended the Cold War at the bargaining table and not on the battlefield. The one leader responsible more than any other for leading the West to victory in the Cold War is President Ronald Reagan.

    “We Win and They Lose”

    In 1980, after 35 years of containment, the Cold War seemed to be going poorly for the West. From martial law in Poland and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua and Communist rule in Mozambique and Angola, Marxism-Leninism was on the march.

    The Atlantic alliance was seriously strained, some said broken. The Soviets had deployed SS-20s armed with nuclear warheads and aimed at major European cities. Western European governments wavered in their resolve to counter the Soviets, even on their own soil.

    America and the West clearly needed a new strategy. And one was forthcoming, but not from an Ivy League university professor or a Washington think tank analyst or the editor of The New York Times but from a one-time film actor and governor.

    In January 1977, four years before he was sworn in as the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan told a visitor that he had been thinking about the Cold War and he had a solution: “We win and they lose.”

    For 40 years, the United States and the West had been following a policy of containment, détente, accommodation. Ronald Reagan decided it was time to stop playing for a tie and seek victory in the Cold War.

    From his first week in office, President Reagan went on the offensive against the Soviet Union. In his first presidential news conference, Reagan denounced the Soviet leadership as still dedicated to “world revolution and a one-world Socialist-Communist state.”

    The establishment was appalled at what it called saber-rattling and uninformed analysis. Harvard intellectuals like Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and John Kenneth Galbraith insisted that the Soviet Union was economically strong and militarily powerful– the only responsible policy was a continuation of détente leading at some future time to convergence between Communism and democracy.

    Reagan did not agree. Based on intelligence reports and his own analysis, the President concluded that Communism was cracking and ready to crumble. He took personal control of the new victory strategy, chairing 57 meetings of the National Security Council in his first year in the White House.

    The President was determined to reassure those who had lived behind the Iron Curtain for nearly 40 years that they had not been forgotten and that a new day of freedom would soon dawn for them. He never tired, for example, of praising the Hungarian people for their courageous stand for freedom and against tyranny in 1956. In October 1981, on the 25th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution, he said that the Freedom Fighters’ example had given “new strength” to America’s commitment to freedom and justice for all people. In his address to the British Parliament in 1982, Reagan described how “man’s instinctive desire for freedom and self-determination” surfaces again and again as shown in Hungary in 1956.

    He first went public with his Cold War analysis in May 1982 when he declared in a speech at his alma mater that the Soviet empire was “faltering because rigid centralized control has destroyed incentives for innovation, efficiency, and individual achievement.”

    A month later, he told the British Parliament at Westminster that the Soviet Union was gripped by a “great revolutionary crisis” and that a “global campaign for freedom” would ultimately prevail. In memorable language, he predicted that “the march of freedom and democracy…will leave Marxism- Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.”

    Reagan directed his national security team to come up with the necessary tactics to implement his victory strategy. The result was a series of top-secret national security decision directives (NSDDs).
    ◾NSDD-32 declared that the United States would seek to “neutralize” Soviet control over Eastern and Central Europe and authorized the use of covert action and other means to support anti-Soviet groups in the region, especially in Poland.
    ◾NSDD-66 stated that it would be U.S. policy to disrupt the Soviet economy by attacking a “strategic triad” of critical resources–financial credits, high technology, and natural gas. The directive was tantamount to a “secret declaration of economic war on the Soviet Union.”
    ◾NSDD-75 stated that the U.S. would no longer coexist with the Soviet system but would seek to change it fundamentally. America intended to roll back Soviet influence at every opportunity.

    “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!”

    A subset of the Reagan strategy was U.S. support of pro-freedom forces in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola, and Cambodia. A key decision was to supply Stinger ground-to-air missiles to the mujahideen in Afghanistan, who used them to shoot down the Soviet helicopters that had kept them on the defensive for years.

    The year 1983 was a critical one for President Reagan and the course of the Cold War. In March, he told a group of evangelical ministers that the Soviets “are the focus of evil in this modern world” and the masters of “an evil empire.”

    The same month, the President announced that development and deployment of a comprehensive anti-ballistic missile system would be his top defense priority. The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was called “Star Wars” by liberal detractors, but Soviet leader Yuri Andropov took SDI very seriously, calling it a “strike weapon” and a preparation for a U.S. nuclear attack.

    Moscow’s intense opposition to SDI showed that Soviet scientists regarded the initiative not as a pipe dream but as a technological feat they could not match. A decade later, the general who headed the department of strategic analysis in the Soviet Ministry of Defense revealed what he had told the Politburo in 1983: “Not only could we not defeat SDI, SDI defeated all our possible countermeasures.”

    In October 1983, Reagan dispatched 2,000 American troops, along with military units from six Caribbean states, to the island of Grenada to oust a Marxist regime that had seized power. It was the first time in nearly 40 years of the Cold War that America had acted to restore democracy to a Communist country. The Brezhnev Doctrine was successfully challenged, anticipating Gorbachev’s abandonment of it six years later.

    When Gorbachev became chairman of the Soviet Politburo in March 1985, he took command of a disintegrating empire. President Reagan understood this fundamental fact and, negotiating from strength, forced Gorbachev over the course of four summit meetings to concede that the Soviet Union could not win an arms race but had to sue for peace.

    In addition to the summits, two events stand out in the second half of the Reagan presidency.
    ◾In June 1987, Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate and challenged the Soviet leader: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” No Western leader had ever before dared to issue such a direct challenge.
    ◾In the spring of 1988, President Reagan traveled to Moscow and beneath a gigantic white bust of Lenin at Moscow State University delivered an eloquent address on the blessings of democracy, individual freedom, and free enterprise. He quoted the beloved Russian poet Pushkin: “It’s time, my friend, it’s time.” It was clear the President meant it was time for a free Russia.

    The following year, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down and Communism collapsed in Eastern and Central Europe. A pivotal event of “The Year of Miracles” came in September when Hungary opened its borders with Austria for more than 13,000 East Germans–the first breaching of the once-impregnable Berlin Wall.

    President Reagan forced the Soviet Union to abandon its goal of world socialization by challenging the Soviet regime’s legitimacy, by regaining superiority in the arms race, and by using human rights as a weapon as powerful as any in the U.S. or Soviet arsenal.

    “We…Owe Him Our Liberty”

    The crucial role of leadership in any war, including a cold one, is demonstrated by the example of Ronald Reagan.

    The Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky was in an eight-by-ten foot cell in a Siberian prison in early 1983 when his Soviet jailers permitted him to read the latest issue of Pravda, the official Communist Party newspaper.

    Splashed across the front page, Sharansky recalled, was a condemnation of Reagan for calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” Tapping on the walls and talking through toilets, political prisoners spread the word of Reagan’s “provocation.” The dissidents were ecstatic. Finally, Sharansky wrote, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth–a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us.

    Lech Walesa, the founder of the Solidarity movement that brought down Communism in Poland and prepared the way for the end of Communism throughout Eastern and Central Europe, put his feelings about Reagan simply: “We in Poland…owe him our liberty.”

    So too do the many millions who lived behind the Iron Curtain and were caught up in one of the longest conflicts in history–the Cold War–which, because of leaders like Ronald Reagan, ended in victory for the forces of freedom.

    Obama will never have such a legacy.

    Lee Edwards, Ph.D., is Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at The Heritage Foundation and Chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. He delivered these remarks at a meeting of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest.

  61. Steve says:

    Rincon, this;

    “Reagan and Obama both ran large deficits in response to recession, but Reagan’s a hero and Obama’s Satan. Only in Conservative Fantasyland.”

    was your conclusion.

  62. Spot on Barbara…thank you!

  63. Anonymous says:

    You are most welcome.

  64. Barbara says:

    opps, changed computers

  65. Rincon says:

    Whew! O.K. Barbara, I’ll try not to ever accuse you of using bumper sticker arguments. Reagan’s challenging of the Soviet Union was perhaps his most productive action. On economics, he did a great deal of long term harm, but enjoyed short term success mostly through 1) The lucky timing of being in office at the time that the world had greatly increased oil production in response to high oil prices thus reducing the price of oil dramatically and 2) Spending so much that he more than doubled our debt bought good times. He famously promoted “trickle down economics”, which history has shown to be devoid of merit. The middle class still lives with a massive hangover from this stupidity.

    “…federal civilian employment actually shrank about 5 percent under his administration.” You don’t expect us to let that one by, do you? How about noncivilian federal employment and the growth pf private contractors paid by the government? You can’t double a deficit by cutting government spending.

  66. Barbara says:

    Rincon – So Reagan’s expansion of the economy, creation of jobs, increase in wages was all due to luck and spending. I guess Obama must be the unluckiest President then as he (with Republican cooperation) has certainly not been constrained by a lack of funds having increased our national debt to $19 trillion.

    Trickle down economics which history has shown to be devoid of merit… Well only by revisionist history.

    Reagan didn’t invent TDE. It has been used by other Presidents with similar results. Calvin Coolidge “inherited one of the worst economic disasters in American history. In 1921, the unemployment rate was 11.7 percent. The national debt had shot up from $1.5 billion in 1916 to $24 billion in 1919. Gross national product decreased from $91.5 billion in 1920 to $69.6 billion in 1921.”

    Coolidge reduced spending 43% from 5.1 billion to 2.9 billion. ” The purpose of reducing spending, he noted, was to protect the property rights of citizens.“A government which lays taxes on the people not required by urgent necessity…is not a protector of liberty, but an instrument of tyranny. It condemns the citizen to servitude.” In a series of tax cuts the top income tax rate was reduced from 73% to 24%. Combined with regulatory relief, the result was the Roaring 20’s. Yes – TDE works.

    Next consider John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, who also believed in TDE. Kennedy also came to power amidst a recession and high unemployment. He cut taxes from 91% to 70% declaring, ““Every dollar released from taxation that is spared or invested will help create a new job and a new salary.” According to the Heritage Foundation, ““Tax revenues climbed from $94 billion in 1961 to $153 billion in 1968, an increase of 62 percent (33 percent after adjusting for inflation).” It was Kennedy who famously said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” After his death, between 1962 and 1966 America enjoyed robust growth. Democrats never mention Kennedy’s belief in TDE.

    Contrast this with the administrations of FDR and Obama. Both profligate spenders, their economic policies extended the depression (FDR) and led to stagnant economies.

    Reagan’s success was due to his heart-felt belief in the American Spirit, our founding doctrines, and a willingness to go against both Democrats, Republicans, and the media in putting his conservatives principals first.

  67. Rincon says:

    I suppose the fact that no money trickled down to the middle class since Reagan took office doesn’t count.

    Coolidge left office in 1929, just before the onset of the Great Depression. Coincidence?

    Our great recession occurred just as we finished 8 years under a Republican administration that also advocated trickle down economics. Coincidence?

    Kennedy dropped the highest tax rate from 91 to 70%. I’m still willing to try Kennedy’s trickle down if it means a 70% tax on the rich. Silly me, I didn’t think anyone could have trickle down with a tax rate of 70%. Let’s do it! BTW, note that with a 70% tax, the economy flourished. And you didn’t think it was possible. 🙂

    We also had trickle down economics in the Gilded Age with low taxes. Nothing trickled down.

    I’m going to try trickle down economics on my employees. Here’s a draft of my speech to them: ” I’m going to make you all a great deal of money by not giving you raises. Instead, I’ll invest the money in more equipment and marketing. If that works, I’ll keep reinvesting rather than giving you any of the money. After all, I’m the boss, and what’s good for me is good for you. After 40 years, I’ll let you know how it’s going but don’t expect any money that soon.” Some of my employees are Republicans, so I’m hopeful that they just might swallow it hook, line and sinker.

  68. Patrick says:

    Not only will the republican employees swallow it, they will be the ones fighting for your right to screw them.

    God Bless America!

  69. Steve says:

    In the current job market, Rincon, you just may get away with that!

  70. Barbara says:

    Again a distortion of both Coolidge and Reagan’s policies. Both advocated cutting the scope of government, taxes and regulations. Real median family income increased 7.7 percent under Reagan according to the American Enterprise Institute. The African-American columnist Joseph Perkins has calculated that black unemployment fell from 19.5 percent in 1983 to 11.4 percent in 1989. The income of black-owned businesses rose almost one-third between 1982 and 1987. The black middle class grew from 3.6 million to 4.8 million during the Reagan years, while the cash income of black households (adjusted for inflation) rose by 12 percent. By contrast, the median income of black households fell by 2.2 percent during the Obama years from 2010 to 2013.

    There have been many arguments for what caused the Great Depression, but I have not heard of any (even the most extreme leftist) economist argue that the economic policies of Coolidge were to blame. Most look to the policies of Hoover. See this take from a UCLA Professor on the effect of Labor Unions:


    Many economist argue that it was the policies of FDR that actually turned what would have been a recession into the Great Depression. George Mason University economics professor Don Boudreaux makes a convincing case on this point.

    Just because George Bush was a Republican and cut taxes does not mean he was a conservative. He certainly did not continue Reagan’s policies of shrinking government. He did just the opposite. He expanded the role of the government in education as well as health care.

    As for the Gilded Age and it’s economy, I would recommend reading:

    “Understanding Economic Change in the Gilded Age, Ballard C Campbell, OAH Magazine of History, Vol. 13, No 4, The Gilded Age (Sumner, 1999).

    Since the income tax did not exist until 1913, I don’t think low taxes on the rich would be a factor in the Gilded Age. Corruption, 13.5 immigrants (more than the entire population of the states) chiefly uneducated and poor, societal shifts from rural to urban settings, all factored into the age. Yes, great wealth was accumulated by a few, but there was also a vibrant upper income and middle class society.

    You are free to do what you want with profits in your business just as your employees are free to work for your competitors or start their own business. I would imagine, even your Democrat employees, would seek employment elsewhere if their compensation was below the value they bring to your business.

    As for my business, my employees receive a raise every year as their compensation is based on profit – fully disclosed for all to see. In 9 years, we have always had growth. Now that is TDE at it’s best.

  71. Patrick says:

    “Reagan ended his 1988 farewell speech with the memorable line, “man is not free unless government is limited.” The line is still a rallying cry for the right wing, but the speech came at the end of a long period of government expansion. Under Reagan, the federal workforce increased by about 324,000 to almost 5.3 million people. (The new hires weren’t just soldiers to fight the communists, either: uniformed military personnel only accounted for 26 percent of the increase.) In 2012, the federal government employed almost a million fewer people than it did in the last year of Reagan’s presidency.”

    “Under Reagan, the national debt almost tripled, from $907 billion in 1980 to $2.6 trillion in 1988”


    “But even this measure takes no account of a population that is steadily rising. Today’s population is 82 million higher than it was at the time of Reagan’s 1982 increase, and 56 million higher than it was when Clinton signed the 1993 increase. So the average tax increases in those years was accordingly higher on a per-person basis than the ACA.”


    “During Reagan’s full term — January 1981 to January 1989 — black unemployment fell from 14.6 percent to 11.8 percent. That’s a decline of 2.8 percentage points, or 19 percent. That’s close to what the meme said.

    But during Obama’s first five years — January 2009 to January 2014 — black unemployment didn’t rise at all, which is what the meme said. Rather, it fell from 12.7 percent to 12.1 — a decline of 0.6 percentage points, or about 5 percent. The meme’s claim of a 42 percent increase is way off.

    Now let’s look at the first five years of each presidency — a more reasonable comparison to make.

    During Reagan’s first five years — January 1981 to January 1986 — black unemployment fell from 14.6 percent to 14.5 percent. That’s a decline of 0.1 percentage point, or less than a 1 percent decrease. This is a lot less impressive than the meme’s favored eight-year decline of 20 percent. It’s also less impressive than the 5 percent decline during Obama’s first five years.

    If we instead look at Obama’s entire term to date — January 2009 to April 2015 — black unemployment fell from 12.7 percent to 9.6 percent. That’s down 3.1 percentage points, or a decrease of 24 percent. That’s a more impressive decline than under Reagan’s entire term.”


  72. Rincon says:

    “There is an ongoing debate between historians as to what extent President Calvin Coolidge’s laissez-faire hands-off attitude has contributed to the Great Depression. Despite a growing rate of bank failures he did not heed voices that predicted the lack of banking regulation as potentially dangerous. He did not listen to members of Congress warning that stock speculation had gone too far and he ignored criticisms that workers did not participate sufficiently in the prosperity of the Roaring Twenties.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_Great_Depression#Calvin_Coolidge_.281923.E2.80.9329.29 Maybe you didn’t hear about this because you read too much Conservative propaganda.

    As I said, both the Great Depression and our greatest recession were preceded by many years of trickle down economics. It could be a coincidence, but added to 40 years of no growth in middle class income under trickle down, it’s track record hasn’t been very impressive. So what was your evidence that this is so great? Oh yeah. I’m still willing to try trickle down with a 70% tax rate (and no loopholes).

    My Republican employees didn’t seem to keen on my trickle down idea. Funny how ideology changes when it gets personal.

  73. Barbara says:

    Wikipedia is not exactly an economist. In fact,all my daughters teachers since 5th grade year have refused to use allow this website to be used as a source for any of her scholarly papers. This has been true in both private and public school. Something about anyone being able to write anything on it. Maybe you should consult websites that are accepted by scholars.

    Todays Tea Party Moment – Matt Bevin overwhelmingly elected Gov of Kentucky with the first black female conservative Lt Gov. Can’t wait until Nov 2016!

  74. Rincon says:

    OK, OK. If we’re going to get feisty, let’s look at your statements. 90% are completely unsupported. You give no source at all. When you did give the source above, you chose to use an article written by Conn Carroll, a worker in the ever so trusted (gag) Heritage Foundation. Next time, why don’t you see if I swallow a quote from Rush Limbaugh? Same thing.

    So far as I know, the reason some teachers don’t approve Wikipedia is because Wikipedia shows its sources. Good scholarly researchers go back to the original source and the schools try to instill that into their students. The Wikipedia quote I selected came from Columbia University Professor of History and Director of Doctoral Program in Public Policy & Administration Melvin Urofsky. Not good enough for you?

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