Tag Archives: uptick

Austerity, my foot

When my father was really disgusted with something, his favorite phrase was to say whatever that was bothering him and then add “my foot” to it. Currently there’s a trend in Washington and in the lapdog media to say that we need austerity measures. A lot of this comes from the problems that are going on in Europe, where Greece is getting bailed out for the second time. As I mentioned earlier today, we are Greece.

There are several good articles which discuss some of our economic doldrums. First we have Paul Krugman. His input is always valuable and insightful.

I’m not the only one making this point, but when you hear Republicans saying that what we need to do to create jobs is slash government spending and cut government payrolls, that’s exactly what has been happening for the past year, as the Obama stimulus has faded out.

It is clear to me that these austerity measures aren’t working.

Matthew Yglesias from TP has a different look at this issue.

Here’s another look at the fates of the public and private sectors during the recession. Since the overall scale of private sector employment is much larger than the government sector (and rightly so), it’s difficult to get a chart that shows anything if you look at the raw numbers. So instead, this lines indexes both sectors to where they were in January 2009 when Obama took over:

To me, Republicans are simply reciting something they’ve recited for over 60 years. They hate government. They want to shrink government at all costs. The recession is a good excuse. They sold this bag of goods to the public, but, in reality, government is the problem. Let’s break down the numbers a little better. Let’s look at the number of government employees since the end of WWII.

It really doesn’t look like we’ve had significant growth in the federal government since the mid-1960s. Let’s look at the shape of the curve. There’s no significant uptick. The curve is basically flat. Now, let’s compare this to the population growth of the United States since 1970.

So, as we can see, our population has significantly increased over the last several decades yet the size of our federal government has remained relatively stagnant. Let’s drill down a little bit more on the size of our government, because this is exactly what Republicans have been harping on for years.

The number of federal workers actually increased during the Reagan administration and the Bush administration. Let me say that again. The number of federal workers increased during the Reagan years. Yet, we’ve been told time and time again how Ronald Reagan shrank the size of government. This is a lie. As a matter fact, this data clearly shows that Bill Clinton shrank the size of government significantly during his administration. Look at the size of government under George W. Bush. It did not shrink in size. We hired more government employees under his reign.

So, the take-home lesson from these graphs is twofold. First, we have been shrinking the size of government and that has not helped our economy get started. As a matter fact, we have more people unemployed because of it. Secondly, Republican administrations have not shrunk the size of government like they told us.

Domestic Terrorism – Getting a handle on our own

Did you hear about the bomb that was found in Spokane? This was serious.

From TPM:

A bomb found along the route of a Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Wash., on Monday was a sophisticated device with the potential to devastate, an official on the case tells the AP.

“They haven’t seen anything like this in this country,” the official said. “This was the worst device, and most intentional device, I’ve ever seen.”

The official also said the device was rigged to a remote detonator.

Officially, the FBI has not released many details about the bomb, other than that it was viable and could have caused multiple casualties.

An FBI official yesterday told TPM the bomb was an act of “domestic terrorism.”

It was found Monday morning in a parking lot along the parade route, just half an hour before the parade was to begin. Three city workers who found the backpack it was stuffed in called the police, who sealed off several blocks and rerouted the parade. The FBI dismantled the bomb and is handling the investigation. (more…)

This isn’t the first bomb threat or terrorist attempt in the last couple of years. There is a trend. There is an uptick in this kind of terrorism. All of these acts are targeting Liberals or the Government. This a growing problem.

From C&L:

July 2008: A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how “liberals” are “destroying America,” walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others.

October 2008: Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of President Obama.

December 2008: A pair of “Patriot” movement radicals — the father-son team of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who wanted “to attack the political infrastructure” — threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.

December 2008: In Belfast, Maine, police discover the makings of a nuclear “dirty bomb” in the basement of a white supremacist shot dead by his wife. The man, who was independently wealthy, reportedly was agitated about the election of President Obama and was crafting a plan to set off the bomb.

January 2009: A white supremacist named Keith Luke embarks on a killing rampage in Brockton, Mass., raping and wounding a black woman and killing her sister, then killing a homeless man before being captured by police as he is en route to a Jewish community center.

February 2009: A Marine named Kody Brittingham is arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Obama. Brittingham also collected white-supremacist material.

April 2009: A white supremacist named Richard Poplawski opens fire on three Pittsburgh police officers who come to his house on a domestic-violence call and kills all three, because he believed President Obama intended to take away the guns of white citizens like himself. Poplawski is currently awaiting trial.

April 2009: Another gunman in Okaloosa County, Florida, similarly fearful of Obama’s purported gun-grabbing plans, kills two deputies when they come to arrest him in a domestic-violence matter, then is killed himself in a shootout with police.

May 2009: A “sovereign citizen” named Scott Roeder walks into a church in Wichita, Kansas, and assassinates abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

June 2009: A Holocaust denier and right-wing tax protester named James Von Brunn opens fire at the Holocaust Museum, killing a security guard.

February 2010: An angry tax protester named Joseph Ray Stack flies an airplane into the building housing IRS offices in Austin, Texas. (Media are reluctant to label this one “domestic terrorism” too.)

March 2010: Seven militiamen from the Hutaree Militia in Michigan and Ohio are arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate local police officers with the intent of sparking a new civil war.

March 2010: An anti-government extremist named John Patrick Bedell walks into the Pentagon and opens fire, wounding two officers before he is himself shot dead.

May 2010: A “sovereign citizen” from Georgia is arrested in Tennessee and charged with plotting the violent takeover of a local county courthouse.

May 2010: A still-unidentified white man walks into a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque and sets it afire, simultaneously setting off a pipe bomb.

May 2010: Two “sovereign citizens” named Jerry and Joe Kane gun down two police officers who pull them over for a traffic violation, and then wound two more officers in a shootout in which both of them are eventually killed.

July 2010: An agitated right-winger and convict named Byron Williams loads up on weapons and drives to the Bay Area intent on attacking the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, but is intercepted by state patrolmen and engages them in a shootout and armed standoff in which two officers and Williams are wounded.

September 2010: A Concord, N.C., man is arrested and charged with plotting to blow up a North Carolina abortion clinic. The man, 26-year–old Justin Carl Moose, referred to himself as the “Christian counterpart to (Osama) bin Laden” in a taped undercover meeting with a federal informant.

January 2011: A 22-year-old gunman named Jared Lee Loughner with a long grudge against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and a paranoid hatred of the government walks into a public Giffords event and shoots her in the head, then keeps firing, killing six people and wounding 14 more. Gifford miraculously survives.

January 2011: A backpack bomb with the potential of killing or injuring dozens of people is found along the route of a Martin Luther King Day “unity march” in downtown Spokane.

Grab bag — Wednesday afternoon

  • In spite of the uptick in new home starts for June, I still think the housing market is significantly depressed and it will be so for some time. Resale values have yet to show anything like a rebound. Dean Baker, the codirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, agrees with me (and it may be more appropriate to say that I agree with him).
  • New York has started to confront their homeless problem by sending people home. New York has paid for one-way tickets for over 500 families. I guess the question is, do these people want to go home? Are they going into an atmosphere that will help them get back on their feet? Or is New York simply dumping the problems on other cities?
  • Recently, many Americans have come to believe that our government is completely inept and only private business can get things done efficiently and cost-effectively. I have argued vehemently against this notion. Yahoo! is another example of a business that had no vision and poor leadership. Within the last 18 months Yahoo! told Microsoft to go take a hike. Now, with Yahoo! in a considerably weaker position, a deal has been reached with Microsoft over a search partnership. This is another example of how business can make huge mistakes just like everyone else. They aren’t magically smarter than the rest of us.
  • House Democrats have announced a deal that would trim $100 billion from their health care bill. According to press reports, healthcare providers would not be paid based on Medicare reimbursement rates. I’m not sure exactly what this means.
  • On Monday, the Washington Post editorial page advocated for prosecutions of those officers who’ve gone beyond what was outlined in John Yoo’s memo. Again, this goes against the American tradition of holding those who were responsible for the deviant policies responsible. We need to stop looking at the bottom. We need to investigate and prosecute from the top down. Glenn has more.
  • There appears to be some discussion on Capitol Hill that may end SCHIP. This may be good or it may be disastrous. The program has clearly helped millions of children. This program needs to be rolled into a single payer system. We don’t need to be cutting back benefits.