Thursday, March 26, 2009

He's Not Joe the Plumber

I'm actually talking about Joe Conason, a writer for the New York Observer. A recent editorial he wrote can be used as a case-study of how liberals view history. I'll point out some of his more obvious mis-statements, but I don't have the time or room here for a line-by-line blow, so don't accuse me of cherry-picking.

The only sentence in his piece that is factually true is the first one:

As Barack Obama's economic advisers confront choices that vary from bad to worse in their mission to revive the financial sector and the broader economy, it is worth remembering that those choices were in essence inherited by the president, who is still new to his office.
Choices that vary from bad to worse. Well, there are better choices, such as tax reform, fiscal constraint, a balanced budget, just not what Obama is actually doing. But he did inherit this mess, so these two statements are mostly true.


Listening to his critics, especially on the right, it would be easy to believe that the president is personally responsible for ballooning deficits, gigantic bailouts, ridiculous bonuses, nationalized institutions and careening markets.
But the president (along with Congress) is responsible for ballooning deficits, gigantic bailouts (even though started by Bush, but continued by this president), ridiculous bonuses (signed into law by Obama), nationalized institutions (taking over AIG; Geithner's expanded power request), and careening markets.

And of course,

Ever since Election Day 2008, the usual suspects have been hard at work, deflecting responsibility from the Bush administration (and the Republicans in Congress) for the catastrophic effects of conservative policy enacted during the past eight years.

But if you actually paid any attention, you'd know this is not really true. Of course, many Republicans are to blame as well, but it is the Democrats who are mostly responsible for this mess, starting with the Community Investment Act during Jimmy Carter's years, then strengthened during Bill Clinton's reign, with the continued pressure applied to financial institutions to lend, lend, lend...and when the Bush adminstration saw problems six years ago, they were blocked by the Democrats (Franks and Dodd) of any regulatory overall.

He goes on about how it's all a con game, how Republicans never get blamed for anything, how it's always Democrats who get blamed for economic woes, and on and on. Since when have Republicans never been blamed for everything. What world does Joe live in.

But here's one of my favorites, used by anyone on the left:

According to conservative theory, the mere announcement of massive tax cuts for the rich by a Republican president ought to have stimulated euphoria in the markets and rapid growth.

Tax cuts for the rich is not part of conservative theory. Obviously Mr. Conason has not bothered to study conservative theory. This is part of the kool-aid crowd's attempt to advance class warfare, so we know where he gets this theory. Yes, the last two tax cuts did cut taxes for the rich -- they cut taxes for everyone. I got one. I'm sure he got one.

Actual studies have shown that rebates and government spending are not stimulatory. But long-term tax relief for everyone -- including small business (which make around $250,000, or part of the "rich") are the real engines of growth, because growth is then put in the hands of people who create growth. Governments never create growth. This is a fact, based on economic history.

But I guess, for Mr. Conason, facts are truely an inconvenience.

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