Senator John Kerry, along with the two other Democratic senators appointed to the “Super Committee”, had a column in the Wall Street Journal yesterday on their approach to the committee’s work. This
piece is infuriating for its empty platitudes and the refusal to
acknowledge economic reality. In just 700 words the piece promulgated 3 major economic myths while ignoring the fundamental truths about the economy and the budget.
First, the piece told readers about the confidence fairy: businesses
are not investing because they lack confidence in the economy and
Congress. The data on investment actually show the opposite.
Investment in equipment and software is nearly back at its pre-
recession level measured as a share of GDP. This is quite impressive
since most sectors of the economy have huge amounts of excess
capacity. In other words, tales of business uncertainty might be a
clever line to repeat at Washington cocktail parties, but the data
show it is not an issue.
The second myth is that we now have to be very very worried because
Standard and Poor’s downgraded our debt, sending the stock market
plummeting. First, Standard and Poor’s has a disastrous track record
in assessing credit quality. It decided to downgrade based on a $2
trillion arithmetic error and didn’t change its decision when the
mistake was corrected. Like the decision to go to war in Iraq, the
downgrade appears to be a policy that was determined independent of
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The protests over the economy and the right-wing government are massive and growing. For some reason, coverage on U.S. television is non-existent!
I wonder why. I guess we wouldn’t want people getting ideas about social justice, or other crazy things like that.
Woke up to a prolonged thunderstorm this morning, which always puts me in a good mood and reminded me of this Essra Mohawk song:
Maxine Waters wants to go after Obama over jobs:
U.S. House Rep. Maxine Waters is asking black voters who are struggling with an unemployment rate nearly twice the national average to “unleash” her and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus on President Obama.
The California Democrat, speaking at a raucous town hall in Detroit hosted by the CBC on Tuesday, said she doesn’t want to attack the president from his base unless the base gives her the go-ahead.
“If we go after the president too hard, you’re going after us,” Waters said. “When you tell us it’s all right and you unleash us and you’re ready to have this conversation, we’re ready to have the conversation.”
Judging by the reaction of the audience, including someone yelling to Waters, “It’s all right,” the president will be hearing very soon from the congresswoman and her fellow caucus members.
Since Obama took office, he has resisted pressure from the CBC to create jobs programs specifically targeting blacks, saying that improving the entire economy will help all groups.
Aug 18th, 2011 at 9:42 am by susie
Good Huffington Post piece about how the defense industry is closing ranks to lobby against defense cuts. Apparently they’d much rather see cuts to Social Security and Medicare, but hey, who wouldn’t?
Significant budget cuts would undoubtedly require the Pentagon to dramatically reassess how it currently spends its money. But some critics say that wouldn’t be a bad thing.
The Pentagon has embarked on an unsustainable path of increased spending, with less and less to show for it, Wheeler said. And the primary culprit is new, expensive hardware.
“It’s not just that new hardware is more expensive, it’s that the new hardware is so expensive that we cannot afford to replace the inventory,” he said. “When you replace 600 $60 million dollar F-15s with 188 $400 million per-copy F-22s, you both shrink the force and you add to its costs,” he said.
The Pentagon has also dramatically increased its personnel costs — “not just on combat pay and enlistment and retention bonuses,” Wheeler said, but “on all sorts of political constituencies that were knocking on doors on Capitol Hill.”
“What we’ve been talking about here is a money party,” he said.
“Costs are always growing faster than budgets, and that creates a perpetual crisis,” said Chuck Spinney, a former military analyst for the Pentagon who criticized the budget process even when he was there. “And a budget crisis is good for business,” he said. “It creates extortionary pressure.”
But Spinney said legislators should resist any such pressure. For decades now, he pointed out, the Pentagon has been unable to audit its books and fully account for how it spends its money. Without that kind of information, Spinney said, “for Panetta to say this is going to cause a crisis is horse shit.”