World Map showing magnetic curves 1850 – Conservatism is The Embrace of Social-Darwinism at The Expense of Enlightened Civilization

World Map showing magnetic curves. c1850. Interesting map in terms of scientific advancement. Magnetic compasses are great, but they do not point to true north. One of the issues that effect that deviation from true north are the earth’s magnetic fields. As the map shows those fields vary according to a ship’s location.

Sloop yacht “Volunteer”. Published by Currier & Ives, c1887. Not all sloops were as upscale as this one. Many were used as small cargo carriers. Not a perfect comparison, but a large frigate of the era would have been like a large tractor-trailer carrier of today, while a slope would have been like a  delivery van. The “Volunteer” was commissioned as a racing yacht built in 1887 to compete in the America’s Cup races. It won the Cup that same year racing against the Scottish sloop Thistle.

There are always conservative memes. They are the frequently utter falsehoods being pushed, sometimes purely emotional appeals that are rooted in fetid imaginations – the kinds of columns Peggy Noonan and Bill O’Reilly write, and most of the editorials on the WSJ opinion page. Fox’s morning program does a weird variation that makes great use of the outrageous push poll – Do You think President Obama kicks kittens one or three times a week – we want to know what you the viewer thinks. They’re still pushing the Libya Embassy lie pretty hard and I’ll get to that, but one of the other major memes is that President Obama is running for a second term without an agenda, without a platform. Republicans frequently run on the barest of platforms, the vast majority consist of the promise to return America back to the golden age of 1850, though certainly some time before FDR and the New Deal. President Obama has plans for a second term. The kind of plans that keep conservatives up at night, concerned that Mitch McConnell (R-KY) might not be able to block them, Right-Wing Media Ignores President Obama’s Plan For Economic Growth

Wall Street Journal: Obama Is “A President Without A Plan.” After the October 16 presidential debate, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial headlined: “A President Without A Plan.” The editorial asked of Obama “What’s his case for four more years?” and opined:

Judging by Tuesday’s debate, the President’s argument for re-election is basically this: He’s not as awful as Mitt Romney. Mr. Obama spent most of his time attacking either Mr. Romney himself (he invests in Chinese companies), his tax plan as a favor for the rich (“that’s been his history”) or this or that statement he has made over the last year (“the 47%,” which Mr. Obama saved for the closing word of the entire debate).

The WSJ’s superiority complex is showing. They are as dismissive of any attempt to help anyone making less than a million dollars a year as Mitt Romney. Conservatives have done their best to keep unemployment as high as possible, because as Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) admitted such tactics increase their electoral chances – Remember it is always the conservative movement first, America last in the conservative mindset.

Economists Say Obama’s Public Sector Investments And Small Business Tax Cuts Would Boost Employment And Grow The Economy

Obama Has Proposed The American Jobs Act, A Package Of Tax Cuts And Investment To Create Jobs. The American Jobs Act, legislation proposed by President Obama, combines investments in infrastructure with targeted tax cuts designed to benefit small businesses and create jobs. [White House, 9/8/11]

Mark Zandi: American Jobs Act Would Add Nearly 2 Million Jobs. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, estimated that the American Jobs Act would increase employment by nearly two million jobs, cut the unemployment rate by a full point, and increase the size of the economy by 2 percent..

..Macroeconomic Advisers: American Jobs Act Would Be “A Significant Boost To GDP And Employment.” In a post on its blog, Macroeconomic Advisers estimated that the American Jobs Act would be “a significant boost to GDP and employment

[Economic Policy Institute, 9/8/11]

EPI: Public Investments “Are Highly Cost-Effective Ways To Boost Aggregate Demand And Employment.” In an analysis of Obama’s and Romney’s economic plans, the Economic Policy Institute found that policies proposed by Obama are particularly stimulative, while Romney’s plans reduce economic growth.

…President Obama’s FY 2013 Budget proposes a bold plan to renew and expand America’s infrastructure. The plan includes a $50 billion up-front investment connected to a $476 billion six-year reauthorization of the surface transportation program and the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank. In support of this commitment, the Department of the Treasury, with the Council of Economic Advisers, has updated our analysis of the economic effects of infrastructure investment. [Council of Economic Advisers, 3/23/12, via the Treasury Department]

CBO: Spending On Infrastructure Is More Stimulative Than Tax Cuts For Wealthy. The Congressional Budget Office’s report on the estimated impact of the stimulus on the economy found that transferring money to state and local governments for infrastructure spending provided one of the highest returns on investment of various policy proposals for increasing economic growth:

…NY Times: “Income Inequality May Take Toll On Economic Growth.” An October 16 New York Times article reported that income inequality has risen to the highest levels since the Great Depression and that as the top 1 percent of earners makes more in comparison to the rest of the population, economic growth decreases:

…Obama Administration’s National Export Initiative On Track To Double Exports By 2014. After proposing the National Export Initiative in his 2010 State of the Union Address, exports have increased by 16% and the initiative is on track to double exports by the end of 2014. From a White House post by Export-Import Bank Board of Directors member Patricia Loui:

White House Sent “Startup America Legislative Agenda” To Congress To Benefit Startup Businesses. The Obama administration proposed the Startup America Legislative Agenda to benefit startup and small businesses. According to the White House’s fact sheet, the agenda “builds on the President’s record of signing into law 17 tax breaks specifically for small businesses”:

There is more at the link, but everyone gets the drift. Conservatives are supposed to be as legend has it the hardest working people on the planet. yet conservative pundits cannot be bothered to argue facts. They just start typing or dictating their fantasies. Those fantasies become the meme pushed by the Republican noise machine. Every conservative nutbar in America memorizes the soundbites and that becomes the intractable dogma, the inerrant truth of events. They’re too lazy to argue facts. I read a few years ago that O’Reilly pulls down about $3 million a year. Conservatives claim that getting $4 a day in food stamps makes people lazy. Well apparently conservative pundits and politicians making from high six figures to millions see no incentive to start being intellectually honest. On the contrary, conservatism rewards laziness. While that might sound like a quip, it is actually based on reality of the conservative base – many of whom do work, but idolize their pundits and pols like infallible gods. The Mitt Romneys, Koch brothers and blue-collar high school grads of the red states do have some things in common. One is the tendency in live in the nether-lands of denial, Blue States are from Scandinavia, Red States are from Guatemala

We’ve come to think of “blue” and “red” states as political and cultural categories. The rift, though, goes much deeper than partisan differences of opinion. The borders of the United States contain two different forms of government, based on two different visions of the social contract. In blue America, state government costs more—and it spends more to ensure that everybody can pay for basic necessities such as food, housing, and health care. It invests more heavily in the long-term welfare of its population, with better-funded public schools, subsidized day care, and support for people with disabilities. In some cases, in fact, state lawmakers have decided that the social contract provided by the federal government is not generous enough. It was a blue state that first established universal health insurance and, today, it is a handful of blue states that offer paid family and medical leave.

In the red states, government is cheaper, which means the people who live there pay lower taxes. But they also get a lot less in return. The unemployment checks run out more quickly and the schools generally aren’t as good. Assistance with health care, child care, and housing is skimpier, if it exists at all. The result of this divergence is that one half of the country looks more and more like Scandinavia, while the other increasingly resembles a social Darwinist’s paradise.

[  ]…By nearly every measure, people who live in the blue states are healthier, wealthier, and generally better off than people in the red states. It’s impossible to prove that this is the direct result of government spending. But the correlation is hard to dismiss. The four states with the highest poverty rates are all red: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas. (The fifth is New Mexico, which has turned blue.) And the five states with the lowest poverty rates are all blue: New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont, Minnesota, and Hawaii. The numbers on infant mortality, life expectancy, teen pregnancy, and obesity break down in similar ways. A recent study by researchers at the American Institute for Physics evaluated how well-prepared high schoolers were for careers in math and science. Massachusetts was best, followed closely by Minnesota and New Jersey. Mississippi was worst, along with Louisiana and West Virginia. In fact, it is difficult to find any indicator of well-being in which red states consistently do better than blue states.

There is more, including more stats, history and details at the link. Conservatism is clever. Being clever has never required an Ivy league degree. All one has to do is appeal to some very base instincts of people. It appears to even native southerners like me, that red state conservatives vote against their own rational self interests. Yet this election cycle I have considered another possibility. That conservative red staters have a deep desire and enjoyment of social-Darwinism. They think that making life as difficult for themselves and others is, through some sick logic, virtuous. Because of the built in hardships of life – accidents, illness, old age, death – I tend to think that even if America became a shining example of progressive governance tomorrow, life would still be hard. Add in that progressive-ism does not and should not guarantee outcomes – conservative straw men to the contrary – the pour outcomes; you don’t get the job you want, you do not get the rise you might deserve, bad investments wipe out half your savings, personal bad habits hold one back, etc. life is still hard. Conservatives seem determined to make it sadistic. To perpetuate suffering for the pure sake of suffering, when there is no moral, economic or political reason to push that agenda. They’re obsessed with someone getting a bag of chips with their food assistance allowance, yet think its great that Wells Fargo Bank, among others bilked millions from working class Americans. Conservatives champion the crony capitalism of Mitt Romney and Sheldon Adelson. Conservatives will spend millions on lobbyists to keep from paying the same amount in taxes. They would rather fund the good ol boy network of lazy cronyism than see that a poor family of four gets basic health care. Democratic bloggers can blog all they like, very moderate centrist politicians can run all the ads they like, bright articulate progressive minded newspaper columnists can spill all the ink they like on the positives of having a more progressive nation – and they are just never going to get through the tin foil of the far right. It is not about politics – here is my study, history, data that shows these are the best policies, it is about progress versus deeply held dogma impenetrable to facts or genuine morality.

Immoral Mitt Romney is hoping for another 1979 Iranian Hostage Crisis,…” I will work to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Audience member: If you get the call as president, and you had hostages…Ronald Reagan was able to make a statement, even before he became, was actually sworn in—

Romney: Yeah—

Audience member: the hostages were released—

Romney: on the day of his inauguration, yeah.

Audience member: So my question is, really, how can you sort of duplicate that scenario?

Romney: Ohhhh. [A few chuckles in audience.] I’m gonna ask you, how do I duplicate that scenario.

Audience member: I think that had to do with the fact that the Iranians perceived Reagan would do something to really get them out. In other words [unintelligible]…and that’s why I’m suggesting that something that you say over the next few months gets the Iranians to understand that their pursuit of the bomb is something that you would predict and I think that’s something that could possibly resonate very well with American Republican voters.

Romney: I appreciate the idea. I can’t—one of the other things that’s frustrating to me is that at a typical day like this, when I do three or four events like this, the number of foreign policy questions that I get are between zero and one. And the American people are not concentrated at all on China, on Russia, Iran, Iraq. This president’s failure to put in place a status forces agreement allowing 10-20,000 troops to stay in Iraq? Unthinkable! And yet, in that election, in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we have hostages in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about. And we had the two helicopters crash in the desert, I mean that’s—that was—that was the focus, and so him solving that made all the difference in the world. I’m afraid today if you said, “We got Iran to agree to stand down a nuclear weapon,” they’d go hold on. It’s really a, but…by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity.

This is why Mitt loves the Libyan embassy attacks and the conservative propaganda machine is so busy spinning it. It is the best they can do for a substitute for an Iranian style hostage crisis.

Some American Park History – And Conservatives Are Too Weak To Win Campaigns Based on Truth

Frederic Auguste Bartholdi ca 1880. Bartholdi is most often thought of as the sculptor who created the Statue of Liberty. While that assures his place in U.S. history, he also created another prominent U.S. icon, the “Fountain of Light and Water” located in Bartholdi Park in Washington D.C.

In 1877 the United States paid $6,000 for an iron fountain sculpted by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (later famous for the Statue of Liberty) that had stood at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia’s Fairmont Park. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., who was redesigning the Capitol grounds at the time, had learned that the fountain was available and recommended to Architect of the Capitol Edward Clark that it be bought and placed in a suitable location.

A new water basin was built opposite the U.S. Botanic Garden’s Conservatory’s principal (north) front, located in the center of the National Mall, to receive the fountain. The fountain then moved to its present location in Bartholdi Park in 1932.

The fountain was a public magnet, a destination for both locals and tourists at the time as it was among the first well lit public spaces where families could enjoy the spectacle of the fountain as they took an evening stroll. Originally is was lit by 12 gas lamps. Battery-powered electric igniters replaced these lamps in 1881. In 1885 the lights surrounding the large basin were added. The fountain was completely electrified in 1915.

Bartholdi Fountain in its original location on the National Mall by the West Front of the Capitol. c. 1890. Barthholdi Park is still in operation, providing about two acres of beautifully maintained green space for escape from all the local asphalt.

Bartholdi Fountain 2011. Over the course of time the fountain had amassed dozens of coats of paint, but was stripped and restored in 2008.

Greater Los Angeles : the wonder city of America 1932. Not as large (1246×8100 as some maps I’ve posted.), still an interesting map historically and culturally. 1932 was not the best of years ( The Depression) and yet the map creators still wanted to present L.A. as a thriving metropolis. L.A. did happen to benefit from the Summer Olympic Games being held that year. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum had been expanded to hold the estimated crowds, but ticket sales were very slow. Some big name Hollywood stars – including Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, and Mary Pickford – offered to entertain the crowd and ticket sales picked up.

This is more or less a recap of the last thirty days: 6 Things Mitt Romney Is Hiding. Includes his old e-mails as governor of Massachusetts, the details of how and why he has offshore bank accounts, has yet to offer public details of his big money bundlers – something both Obama and John McCain have done in the past. The missing years of letters from his father’s archive of letters. Some amazingly intimate letters are in the archive including asking one of Mitt’s about his son’s dating, who he was dating and who he should date, ” good-looking” Mormon girls. So why hide the rest. The tax returns of course. If Mittens makes it to the White House he will be the first modern president to do so with America knowing nothing about his taxes. While it appears legal, technically because of the way he used a loophole in something called a “blocker corporation” to get such a large amount of money into the IRA. We still do not know the details of an IRA account that contains at least $20.7 million and as much as $101.6 million.

Press Barred From Mitt Romney’s Jerusalem Fund-raiser. It seems that the negative reaction to what David Axelrod “punnily” called the Mittness Protection Program has caused a reverse in course and Mittens will allow some press. It is not that Romney’s people are afraid of gaffes, they’re likely afraid that Romney is so comfortable with his own arrogance he does not think about what he says before he says it.

How the U.S. Government Helped Mitt Romney Build His Fortune

At events across the country, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is trying to convince voters that small business owners in fact build the roads and bridges they use every day. Unfortunately, Romney’s “We Did Build It” gatherings have hit some potholes, with many participants revealed to be the recipients of government contracts and subsidies and others unaware of the full context of President Obama’s selectively edited remarks now under attack.

But Mitt Romney has another, much larger problem with his baseless contention that President Obama is “insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America.” Because on his road to becoming a $250 million captain of private equity at Bain Capital, Mitt Romney had a lot of help from his uncle. Uncle Sam, that is. As it turns out, the U.S. tax code doesn’t merely allow Romney to pay a lower rate than many middle class families. Without the public subsidy that is the corporate debt interest deduction, there might not be a Bain Capital–or a private equity industry as we know it–at all.

That tax code which conservative serial liars insist is so unfair to the wealthy, actually pays for the sleazy behavior of the Mitt Romneys in private equity firms. Not only has Mitt never built anything, invented anything, created any valuable service, he parasitizes companies and their employees without even risking his own money. I can’t find the link now, but a liberal writer/political analyst recently called Romney a capitalist. I honestly cannot stick the ice pick deep enough into my brain to find a way to truthfully claim that Romney competes and creates something of value for society. Certainly Bain created great returns for the parasites that invested with them. If two or three layers of vultures feeding on carcasses is capitalism the middle-class is doomed. Australian and international criminal Rupert Murdoch’s continues to feed red meat to  unquestioning American zealots and the Right-Wing Urban Myth Industry: Fox News “Doubling Down” On Deceptively Edited Comments

Fox News accused President Obama of “doubling down” on comments they helped characterize as “insulting” to business owners, but in doing so, Fox itself doubled down on its campaign to strip Obama’s statements out of context to further a political agenda.

Obama spoke at a campaign event and pointed out how benefits such as American infrastructure factor in the success of small businesses. Fox deceptively edited the president’s remarks to accuse him of telling small business owners that if they have a business, “you didn’t build that.”

This morning, Fox returned to the scandal they helped to manufacture, reporting that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Obama’s comments “insulting” to business owners. Fox then turned its sights on another campaign event and accused President Obama of “doubling down.” Here’s the portion of the remarks that Fox chose to play as evidence:

OBAMA: We did not build this country on our own. We built it together. And if Mr. Romney doesn’t understand that, then he doesn’t understand what it takes to grow this economy in the 21st century for everybody.

But the only way these comments can be portrayed as doubling down on an insult to business owners is to completely strip them of context. In the portion of Obama’s speech that Fox chose to ignore, it’s clear that he  explicitly touted the “drive and ingenuity of Americans who start businesses” as crucial to “what makes us such a robust dynamic economy.” Here is what Obama actually said:

OBAMA: As I said, I believe with all my heart that it is the drive and ingenuity of Americans who start businesses that lead to their success.  And by the way, that’s why I’ve cut taxes on small businesses 18 times since I’ve been President.  (Applause.)  I believe the ability for somebody who is willing to work hard, and sweat and sacrifice to turn their idea into a profitable business, that’s what makes us such a robust, dynamic economy.  We prize that.

But I also believe that if you talk to any business owner — small or large — they’ll tell you what also helps them succeed alongside their hard work, their initiative, their great ideas, is the ability to hire workers with the right skills and the right education.

  What helps them succeed is the ability to ship and sell their products on new roads and bridges and ports and wireless networks.  What helps them succeed is having access to cutting-edge technology, which like the Internet often starts with publicly funded research and development.  (Applause.)  And what helps them succeed is a strong and growing middle class, so they’ve got a broader base of customers.

How can anyone tell the difference between Fox News, Mitt Romney and convicted criminal James O’Keefe. They all take video, edit it to make it say what they want to hear and distribute it as the conservative version of reality. This tells everyone about how intrinsically weak the conservative movement is. They cannot win based on the truth. They cannot win a straight up debate about public policy.

Romney and Obama Strain to Show Gap on Foreign Policy

In his latest broadside against the incumbent’s foreign policy, Mitt Romney blamed President Obama for the Arab uprisings last year, arguing that he could have headed them off by pressing the region’s autocrats to reform first.

“President Obama abandoned the freedom agenda,” Mr. Romney told the newspaper Israel Hayom, referring to President George W. Bush’s democracy policy, “and we are seeing today a whirlwind of tumult in the Middle East in part because these nations did not embrace the reforms that could have changed the course of their history in a more peaceful manner.”

The critique was the latest attempt by the presumptive Republican candidate to undercut Mr. Obama’s handling of international affairs. But once the incendiary flourishes are stripped away, the actual foreign policy differences between the two seem more a matter of degree and tone than the articulation of a profound debate about the course of America in the world today.

If you believe Glenn Greenwald, not only is there no daylight between Obama and Bush 43, Obama is worse in terms of authoritarian national security policy. There may not be much daylight, but there is some. As the NYT notes candidates usually make lots of foreign policy promises but find that once in office their choices are limited. Romney actually thinks Russia is the number one security threat to the U.S. yet as the article also notes how big are the chances that Romney would screw up relations with Russia and screw up the Afghanistan/Russian supply route for American troops. Romney will follow the advice of the CIA and the Pentagon, just as Obama is doing as concerns the use of drones and special forces to kill terrorists. The differences are, as is usually the case with conservatives, going that extra mile in hubris. Thinking all problems cannot be solved with force, but much more force. I’m grateful for that little bit of daylight between conservative hawks and liberal hawks. The latter is at least marginally saner and it succeeds where conservative hubris fails.

I would say that all the liberal concern about the abuse of drone warfare is unfounded, but some of it is a little shrill. Lacking in facts, The Moral Case for Drones

But most critics of the Obama administration’s aggressive use of drones for targeted killing have focused on evidence that they are unintentionally killing innocent civilians. From the desolate tribal regions of Pakistan have come heartbreaking tales of families wiped out by mistake and of children as collateral damage in the campaign against Al Qaeda. And there are serious questions about whether American officials have understated civilian deaths.

So it may be a surprise to find that some moral philosophers, political scientists and weapons specialists believe armed, unmanned aircraft offer marked moral advantages over almost any other tool of warfare.

“I had ethical doubts and concerns when I started looking into this,” said Bradley J. Strawser, a former Air Force officer and an assistant professor of philosophy at the Naval Postgraduate School. But after a concentrated study of remotely piloted vehicles, he said, he concluded that using them to go after terrorists not only was ethically permissible but also might be ethically obligatory, because of their advantages in identifying targets and striking with precision.

“You have to start by asking, as for any military action, is the cause just?” Mr. Strawser said. But for extremists who are indeed plotting violence against innocents, he said, “all the evidence we have so far suggests that drones do better at both identifying the terrorist and avoiding collateral damage than anything else we have.”

[  ]…AVERY PLAW, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts, put the C.I.A. drone record in Pakistan up against the ratio of combatant deaths to civilian deaths in other settings. Mr. Plaw considered four studies of drone deaths in Pakistan that estimated the proportion of civilian victims at 4 percent, 6 percent, 17 percent and 20 percent respectively.

But even the high-end count of 20 percent was considerably lower than the rate in other settings, he found. When the Pakistani Army went after militants in the tribal area on the ground, civilians were 46 percent of those killed. In Israel’s targeted killings of militants from Hamas and other groups, using a range of weapons from bombs to missile strikes, the collateral death rate was 41 percent, according to an Israeli human rights group.

In conventional military conflicts over the last two decades, he found that estimates of civilian deaths ranged from about 33 percent to more than 80 percent of all deaths.

Mr. Plaw acknowledged the limitations of such comparisons, which mix different kinds of warfare. But he concluded, “A fair-minded evaluation of the best data we have available suggests that the drone program compares favorably with similar operations and contemporary armed conflict more generally.”

Just something to think about.

 

Antique World Map of Continents and Oceans – After Years of Producing Economic Calamity, Republicans Hope For Another Chance

Antique World Map of Continents and Oceans,1700 CE. This was done by English mathematician and clergyman Edward Wells (1667-1727).

 

Of course Republicans have been trying to shift blame for their management of the economy from 2000 to 2008 on Democrats. Conservatives despite all the shrill noise to contrary have never been big on accepting responsibility. There hubris tends to be a big hurdle to having enough humility for Republican politicians and pundits to accept responsibility. Not to let them off the hook, but the conservatives next door, your neighbors and co-workers just have a difficult time assimilating reality. They watch Fox and they are assured that all the wacky stuff the pundits put out is true. Cutting through all the sub-divisions of conservative Republicans is the belief that some how Obama is responsible for the slow recovery. That narrative is running parallel to the narrative of conservative governors who claim they are making steady progress in their states. So we have to believe two competing conservative narratives. The country is doing so badly only a new president can turn things around and the part of the country that has conservative governors is going great so reelect them. Romney has noticed and asked that Republican governors stop touting any economic positives because it is hurting his campaign – Discussing The Economic Recovery Will Hurt My Election Chances. Some liberals have expressed disappointment in Obama as well. They might want to back up and consider, along with your average Main Street conservative, the measures conservatives have taken to weaken and stall the economic recovery.  Economists Agree Romney’s Plan Would Spark a New Recession

The private sector of the U.S. economy has added jobs for the past 27 months in a row, corporate profits have hit an all-time high, and the U.S. auto industry is back, with manufacturers consistently adding jobs for the longest period since the mid-1990s. Still, as President Barack Obama has said, “we are still not creating (jobs) as fast as we want.” And the biggest hurdle to swifter job creation is the embrace of austerity by Republicans in Congress who refuse to implement measures that would boost employment—a position supported by their presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

This austerity has real—negative—economic consequences. Increasingly, economists are pointing to austerity as a key reason for too-slow job creation. Despite considerable warnings from economic experts that government spending is critical to creating jobs, conservative leaders in Congress are inflicting these austerity programs on us at the federal, state, and local level. According to Yale economists Ben Polak and Peter Schott:

Without this hidden austerity program, the economy would look very different. If state and local governments had followed the pattern of the previous two recessions, they would have added 1.4 million to 1.9 million jobs and overall unemployment would be 7.0 to 7.3 percent instead of 8.2 percent.

Even though austerity is not good for the U.S. economy, this is exactly the economic policy promoted by Romney. His ideologically driven agenda would continue the failed supply-side policies of President George W. Bush by giving even more tax breaks to the rich—a policy that has not generated strong and sustained economic growth—while slashing investments in our middle class and America’s future competitiveness, such as education, public safety, basic research and development, and infrastructure upgrades. Romney’s plan for spending cuts is deliberately vague, but it is clear that it will require drastic cuts to programs that support.

Republicans and their policies – with help from a few democrats as usual – caused the Great Recession. Once President Obama was elected they saw that as a golden political opportunity. They would pull every political trick, take advantage of every Senate parliamentary maneuver, to stall job creation and to make the recession less painful for American families. Let’s say that some terrorists had caused the USA to lose trillions in GDP and then did everything they could to keep the country from an economic recovery – causing immeasurable hardship for millions of American families. But foreign terrorists did not do that. Republicans did. If conservatives manage to convince enough people, as they did in the 2010 mid-terms, that they are the answer to the problems they largely created and exacerbated, it should not surprise anyone. For whatever reasons Republicans seem almost immune from the consequences of economic terrorism. They can heap as much abuse on the USA as they like and a good deal of the public says thank you, may I have some more abuse please. While they would rush to hang a foreign terrorist who had done this much damage. Conservatives have taken the great recession, held it up to the light, said see this, this is why the working and middle-class have to make sacrifices in programs like Medicare and Social Security. Let’s not make the bankers pay for what they did, the poor things, they’re ” job creators”. The consequences of Romneynomics?

The result would bring more austerity and less growth. According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “by 2022, if the [federal] budget had to be balanced while taxes were cut,” which is Romney’s goal, “the proposals would require cutting entitlement and discretionary programs other than Social Security and core defense by more than half.” Specifically, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that Romney’s proposals would deplete Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program by $3.4 trillion over the next 10 years. In addition, the nonpartisan think tank says that, under Romney’s plan, compensation payments for disabled veterans would be cut by one-quarter, and 13 million people struggling to put food on the table for their families would be kicked off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

That last block quote is an appeal to morality. To the best values of human nature. An appeal to decency. That argument will never work on the conservative movement. They in fact cherish, applaud and take pride in the philosophy of nihilism, misery and death. In a recent interview Republican Michelle Malkin showed her genuine core feelings about those Americans who do real work for a living,

    … in the interview, Malkin slammed President Obama’s supporters. “Romney types, of course, are the ones who sign the front of the paycheck, and the Obama types are the one who have spent their entire lives signing the back of them,” she said.

Malkin is responding to an unimpeachably factual statement made to Charlie Rose in a recently released interview clip:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: … if you’re the head of a large private-equity firm or hedge fund, your job is to make money. It’s not to create jobs. It’s not even to create a successful business. It’s to make sure you are maximizing returns for your investor. Now, that’s appropriate. That’s part of the American way. That’s part of the system. But that doesn’t necessarily make you qualified to think about the economy as a whole….

Malkin adds [  ]……. I think that there’s an underlying contempt for the profit motive that drives this economy, that somehow only [makes air quotes] “successful” businesses are those that avoid evil things like cost-cutting, which, of course, is what Romney is under — attacked by by this tape.

As usual Malkin, like any conservative pundit on wing-nut welfare does not produce proof of Obama’s anti-capitalism polices. Malkin only trades in the unsupported assertion. They feel their opinions, they say it, it magically becomes reality. Never mind that conservative economic policies have made work pay less and just having wealth pay more,  CEO Pay Increased 127 Times Faster Than Worker Pay Over Last 30 Years. Conservatives have trended this way for fifty years, but what we are seeing now is that Republicans have become complete captives of the wealthy crazy elite. Federal taxes are the lowest they have been since the 1950s, Obama has given small business 17 tax cuts. Still not good enough. One of the reason conservatives think they will never be low enough is that we still have a safety net. As long as we have food assistance, unemployment insurance and Medicare, taxes will be too high in the mind of conservatives. Government is here exclusively to build missiles ( missiles are necessary,but let’s have a weird fetish about them) not for providing things like minimal sustenance for the disabled. Government should not be protecting your family from food poisoning or bad drugs, we can all just go buy our own chemistry sets.

For the most part we already have a Romney economy,

Consider: in 1928 the richest 1 percent of Americans received 23.9 percent of the nation’s total income. After that, the share going to the richest 1 percent steadily declined. New Deal reforms, followed by World War II, the GI Bill and the Great Society expanded the circle of prosperity. By the late 1970s the top 1 percent raked in only 8 to 9 percent of America’s total annual income. But after that, inequality began to widen again, and income reconcentrated at the top. By 2007 the richest 1 percent were back to where they were in 1928—with 23.5 percent of the total.

Each of America’s two biggest economic crashes occurred in the year immediately following these twin peaks—in 1929 and 2008. This is no mere coincidence. When most of the gains from economic growth go to a small sliver of Americans at the top, the rest don’t have enough purchasing power to buy what the economy is capable of producing. America’s median wage, adjusted for inflation, has barely budged for decades. Between 2000 and 2007 it actually dropped. Under these circumstances the only way the middle class can boost its purchasing power is to borrow, as it did with gusto.

Part of the issue with how Malkin and Romney see how the economy should work is what we value as a nation. Conservatives feel that wealth should be rewarded. Not because wealth concentrated in the hands of the top 10% produces people who just sign the back of a paycheck, but because conservatives believe this is how destiny should work. Workers should act like grateful wage slaves and the elite – who by nature of their unearned wealth – are the truly blessed, virtuous and entitled. You know who else thought like that. The monarchists of Medieval Europe. We should all conveniently forget that progressive economic policies produced the greatest expansion of the middle-class in history. So if you’re an American worker – who wants your share of the capital you produce you just a socialist, not a capitalist who is getting the shaft from the plutocrats.

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” – Abraham Lincoln

Romney may have committed felony lying about role with Bain

Oh but it gets worse. As Factcheck.org so graciously pointed out, if Mitt Romney lied in any federal forms about the extent of his role with Bain, Romney may have committed a felony.  From Factcheck.org:

If the Obama campaign is correct [that Romney remained at Bain past 1999], then Romney is guilty of lying on official federal disclosure forms, committing a felony. But we don’t see evidence of that.

Here’s what Romney has said:

Mitt Romney Public Financial Disclosure Report, Aug. 11, 2011: Mr. Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way.

Romney’s signature appears on the line that states: “I certify that statements I have made on this form and all attached schedules are true, complete and correct to the best of my knowledge.”

Making false statements to the federal government is a serious crime (under 18 USC 1001) carrying possible fines and up to five years in federal prison.

 

This came in today, Romney Adviser: Romney Not Responsible For Bain Because He ‘Retired Retroactively’. If the whole run to be the crooked CEO of American does not work out maybe Romney and friends could start a franchise selling unicorns.

Romney is also specified as being on “As member of the Management Committee of each of BCIP and BCIP Trust” in other SEC filings done in 2001, three years after supposedly having zero say in Bain operations.