Thursday, February 10, 2011

Obama's Report Card After Two Years in Office

I came across an interesting article written by K. E. Campbell in the American Thinker a few weeks back that quantified what most of us Americans already instinctively know.  President Obama has been in office for two years now, and until last month had a Democratic congress supporting him and indeed doing the heavy lifting for him.  The real question is, after what President Obama and the Democrats have brought us thus far, are you better off now than you were $4 Trillion ago... er, I mean two years ago?

  Jan-09   Current  % chg Source
Avg. retail price/gallon gas in U.S.                 (regular conventional) $1.83  $3.10  69.60%     1
                                                                Selected commodities:
     Crude oil, European Brent (barrel) $43.48  $99.02  127.70%     2
     Crude oil, West TX Inter. (barrel) $38.74  $91.38  135.90%     2
     Natural gas, Henry Hub, $ per MMbtu  $4.85  $4.48  -7.60%     2
     Gold: London  (per troy oz.) $853.25  $1,369.50  60.50%     2
     Corn, No.2 yellow, Central IL $3.56  $6.33  78.10%     2
     Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, IL $9.66  $13.75  42.30%     2
     Sugar, cane, raw, world, lb. fob $13.37  $35.39  164.70%     2
Consumer Price Index                                 (for all urban consumers) 211.1 219.2 3.80%     3
Producer Price Index: finished goods 170.3 183 7.50%     3
Producer Price Index: all commodities 171 189.9 11.10%     3
Unemployment rate, non-farm, overall 7.60% 9.40% 23.70%     3
Unemployment rate, blacks 12.60% 15.80% 25.40%     3
Number of unemployed 11,616,000 14,485,000 24.70%     3
Number of fed. employees, ex. uniformed military (curr = 12/10 prelim) 2,779,000 2,840,000 2.20%     3
Real median household income                 (2008 vs 2009) $50,112  $49,777  -0.70%     4
Number of food stamp recipients             (curr = 10/10) 31,983,716 43,200,878 35.10%     5
Number of unemployment benefit recipients   (curr = 12/10) 7,526,598 9,193,838 22.20%     6
Number of long-term unemployed,              in millions 2.6 6.4 146.20%     3
Poverty rate, individuals (2008 vs 2009) 13.20% 14.30% 8.30%     4
People in poverty in U.S.,                              in millions (2008 vs 2009) 39.8 43.6 9.50%     4
House price index (current = Q3 2010) 198.7 192.7 -3.00%     7
S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index:            20 city composite (curr = 10/10) 146.4 145.3 -0.80%     8
Number of properties subject of                  foreclosure filings, in millions 2.82 2.87 1.70%     9
DJIA (12,403 on 6/3/08,                             date BHO clinched Dem. nomination) 7,949 11,825 48.80%     2
NASDAQ (2,480 on 6/3/08) 1,441 2,725 89.10%     2
S&P 500 (1,378 on 6/3/08) 805 1,282 59.20%     2
Global Dow 1,356 2,153 58.80%     2
U.S. rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings      5       9   n/a    10
Consumer Confidence Index  (curr = 12/10) 37.7 52.5 39.30%     11
Present Situation Index (curr = 12/10) 29.9 23.5 -21.40%    11
Failed banks (curr = 2010 + 2011 to date) 140 164 17.10%    12
U.S. dollar versus Japanese yen exchange rate 89.76 82.03 -8.60%     2
U.S. money supply, M1,                                in billions (curr = 12/10 preliminary) 1,575.10 1,865.70 18.40%    13
U.S. money supply, M2, in billions               (curr = 12/10 preliminary) 8,310.90 8,852.30 6.50%    13
National debt, in trillions $10.63  $14.05  32.20%    14

1 - U.S. Energy Information Admin.
2 - Wall Street Journal
3 - Bureau of Labor Statistics
4 - Census Bureau
5 - USDA
6 - U.S. Dept. of Labor
7 - FHFA
8 - Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller
9 - RealtyTrac
10 - Heritage Foundation and WSJ
11 - The Conference Board
12 - FDIC
13 - Federal Reserve
14 - U.S. Treasury


John Myste said...

You used the percentage increase of a bunch of things. The relevant numbers are the rate of increase, as Bush already launched a disaster that has continually gained speed. Comparing Bushes rate of change to Obama's rate of change (and to Clinton's) would have been a more relevant number, if done honestly. I would do it, but I don't have the energy to gather up numbers to prove the obvious.

If you do it, I will not have faith in the lack of bias, so my only response to this is:

Hooey! I wish I had the energy to gather meaningful data. I also wish the author of this post had.

And by the way, I cannot count this a Paine post, which is still overdue. This was borrowing someone else’s nonsense.


free0352 said...

So your answer is "It's Bush's fault!"


Try this on for size... We didn't like how Bush ran things either, and we think Obama is Bush on steroids.

Guys like Paine and I would like to dump the Keynesian model for a free market one like we had prior to the New Deal... and things were not so stupid.

And BTW, if this is all Bush's fault, why has Obama continued or incacted policy that keeps status quo or makes it worse?

John Myste said...


You made so many good points, I don't know where to begin, so I guess I will just take them in the order in which they were received.

1. Point: Typical. Answer: Touche.

2. Point: We didn't like how Bush ran things either, and we think Obama is Bush on steroids. Answer: Touche. Stinking Obama! He has disappointed extremists on both sides of the fence. I am a bit extreme at times and he has disappointed me for the precise reason you mention.

3. Point: Guys like Paine and I would like to dump the Keynesian model for a free market one like we had prior to the New Deal. Answer: I know you would. The Keynesian model should be used sparingly, but the New Deal should be used with gusto. I haven’t the energy to prove this now, but I will in due time. I will probably convert you.

4. Point: If this is all Bush's fault, why has Obama continued or enacted policy that keeps status quo or makes it worse? Answer: Touche. Stinking Obama!


It probably is not all Bush’s fault. Just as it is probably not all Obama’s fault. Lots of the issues are not presidentially regulated. It is a big world and even our small piece is very large. You and I are in the middle of a religious argument. You cannot prove blame with so many factors involved. My conclusion was not based on fact or spinning of numbers, so it is faith-based. But really it is not even faith-based, since I agree with most of your rebuttal. It is just a wild response. Your opinion, so far as I can see and so far as this post would suggest, is also spinning of numbers. I have seen the same type of “report cards” on liberal sites with the opposite grades. It is all sophistry used in the presence of conflicting data and the absence of solid data. Sophistry mixed with interpretation to suit what we already think.

I believe I am guilty as charged. If it helps, I commit the same crimes on liberal sites. I actually debated that the cost of healthcare was bogusly expressed on both sides and I believe it is true. I attacked a good liberal friend’s article with this. He fired back with a post attacking my position in turn. I fired back with a very long comment attacking his rebutting post. He then posted my attack as a post. I argue with anyone who has an opinion, even it’s a copy of my own.

The liberal summed up my position better than I could about my opinion of the details of most political issues. He called me a political agnostic, and that is exactly what I am. “Facts” as used and presented by most conservative arguments and most liberal arguments are merely selections from a pool of data given to you from a source in which you have faith. Some people may read Paine’s borrowed post here and point back to it as fact. It is just one presentation of very specific numbers as someone calculated them. You can get an equal valid opposing view if one wants to take the time to construct it. I don’t try to do such things anymore. I was never as good at as others, and seeing their efforts has caused me to lose the faith.
Just to show you that I am just as hard on liberals as conservatives (and perhaps just as irrational in my effort):

That rebuttal is my real opinion about the numbers Paine posted and all such posts.

T. Paine said...

First, I think you can extrapolate the rate of change on some of the key components of this report card. For instance, the economically incompetent Bush increased the national debt a couple trillion is eight years with the necessity of fighting two wars. Obama has doubled that amount of the deficit in two years with NOTHING of substance to show for it, Myste.

Second, I would argue that the New Deal was quintessential pump priming Keynsian economics which resulted in the economy effectively being stagnant at best during its tenure.

Indeed, it took WWII to bring us out of the recession and NOT the asinine and fruitless spending of the FDR administration.

John Myste said...

You make a good point. War is excellent for the economy (accept when Bush does it, in which case it explains why the deficit is so high).

Obama increased the debt trying to fix the devastated economy he inherited. Again, this is a religious argument, but one could claim the only thing that lacked substance was that horrible tax compromise. We did get one step closer to Universal Healthcare. I know you are happy about that. That was a long-fought war.

The Clinton economy boomed because of the Reagan tax cuts. Reagan’s eight year made the Clinton the man he was. Obama’s economy failed because what Obama did after he got in. Bush’s eight years had nothing to do with it. And let us all say amen, brother.

As for the New Deal (and the new socialist way of thinking that went with it), I am sure you admit that the nation became more human from that point forward.

I agree that the production and spending of WWII is what made our economy boom, no question. It was spending, sir. The idea that not spending is always the way out of recession is flawed. The idea that you can always buy your way out of a recession is also flawed.

Ideally if Obama could have reversed the Bush Effect in total, that would have gone a long way to solving the problem, but it takes a long time to undo Bush.

Again, it is all a religious argument. I feel silly for even praying.

free0352 said...

Where to begin? Convert me on the New Deal? Many have tried... with PHDs in Macro economics. Be my guest, but don't get your hopes up.

Next, Keynsian economics. Um, don't even use sparingly. We've been using stimulus like crack addicts since 2007 and look where that got us?

As for Bush and Obama, they're both using the same play book, and not suprizingly they're getting the same results. You know the definition of insanity right?

Last, War is terrible for economies historically. Just crack a history book. You might generate a temporary "war bubble" but you almost always have to go into major debt to fight a war... and the bust always follows that is deeper than the boom that preceeded it. That is, assuming you win the war.

John Myste said...

1. Point: "Where to begin." Answer: "Once upon a time," as Genesis does.

2. Point: "We've been using stimulus like crack addicts since 2007 look where that got us?" Answer: Glad to see a republican attack Bush.

3. Point: "As for Bush and Obama, they're both using the same play book, and not suprizingly they're getting the same results." Touche, sir.

4. "You know the definition of insanity right?" Answer: Bush.

5. Point: "War is terrible for economies historically." Answer: Exactly.

Extra point: "Convert me on the New Deal? Many have tried... with PHDs in Macro economics." I don't have a PHD, and I debate slowly and carelessly until I become passionate, and then look out. You will not see it coming and you will not comprehend until you experience it firsthand; but then it’s too late. You’re a liberal.

free0352 said...

Answer: Glad to see a republican attack Bush.

I'm not a Republican, I'm a Libertarian. I joined the Republican party in 2001 after my party's insane position on anti-terrorism. I went back the day Bush signed TARP. I had been holding my nose since NCLB and Medicare Part D, however I just couldn't be in the same party as the idiots that came up with that keynesian monster. Welfare for citizens makes me angry, corporate welfare just drives me over the edge. So just FYI, I haven't been a republican for nearly 3.5 years.

Answer: Bush. No. Answer: Keynesian economics, and anyone daft enough to use them.

"War is terrible for economies historically." Answer: Exactly.

Doesn't mean you don't sometimes have to fight them, or fight premptively to avoid a larger conflict. I'd rather loose little than loose whole cities. Total war isn't pretty, I'll take a counter insurgency in a middle eastern dump any day.

You will not see it coming and you will not comprehend until you experience it firsthand; but then it’s too late. You’re a liberal.

I do have a degree in economics. And second, you must not know about me...

John Myste said...

You are correct. I do not know you yet.

"I'd rather lose little than lose whole cities. Total war isn't pretty. I'll take a counter insurgency in a middle eastern dump any day." = False dichotomy.

"Keynesian economics, and anyone daft enough to use them." = False correlation. The world of philosophy, including economic philosophy, is not black and white. You DO NOT understand macroeconomics. No one does.

I don’t want to get into a long debate, but I don’t think I believe in the generic Libertarian. If there is such a thing, I have never met him. I worked with a guy who insisted that we are all libertarians and we just don’t know it. I think the reverse may be true. None of us are, and we don’t know it. I do belief in “right libertarians and left libertarians.” I see them as unhappy republicans and democrats.

I would love a large number of parties to exist, but only if the electoral process was revised. As the process works now, multiple parties are a philosophical device that can be mistaken for more, and mess up the electoral process. It is good in theory, but doesn’t work very well in reality. There are other parties, plenty of them: Libertarian, Reform, Green, (Tea, do I now count Tea? Are they forming a presidential ballot? In our next election is there going to be a republican candidate, a democratic candidate, a right libertarian candidate and a Tea candidate? O could it be?! That would be awesome), there are Independent, now Citizens, and I am sure tons of other parties. I always try to figure out which party’s core philosophies the malcontents in these other parties actually embrace. With some of them, like the Tea Party, you don’t have to think about it because they still admit they are Republicans, by affiliation. If I know the party from which one of these fringe parties defected, I usually have my answer. Republicans can defect on the grounds that his party has “gone crazy,” or on the grounds that his party no longer embraces the core value of limited government or that his party is moved to the left in an effort to be moderate (oh yes, now Centrist is a thing, let us not forget that), or that his party is “bought” by big money. None of that is equal to a new philosophical entity. They are simply disgruntled republicans.

I am a dabbler in politics. I have some interest, but nothing like that of T. Paine, and probably you also. I fundamentally disagree with the logic of how “the learned” form their conclusions and I consider it more of a game than anything else. I think the methodology used by the political learned is mostly fallacious and completely biased and could never take them to the correct conclusions, even if such a thing exists. Since many of the issues are philosophical in nature, to even seek correctness can be problematic. To make some issues about what is “correct” and deny that they are philosophical turns many of them into contests over nonsense immediately. This is a discussion for another thread, but I point it out only because I see most political defections as more of this phenomenon. I understand that if your party stops supporting a principle that you consider core, you must defect if you cannot change that. However, those that people the new party can only remain until that new party develops a single distasteful principle. I am not saying defection is wrong. I am simply pointing out a logistic problem in the solution; and also pointing out that the need for a republican to defect and now be something else, does not make him something else. He is a philosophical republican, who now rejects some pieces of the republican platform. I believe any thinking republican would probably reject some of the platform, as any thinking liberal would reject some of his. I see liberalesque comments made by T. Paine all the time, but I consider him nothing other than a conservative republican (so far).

Oh, well, I am bumping up against my 4096 character limit.

free0352 said...

You DO NOT understand macroeconomics. No one does.

Exactly F.A. Hayek and my own point against stimulus. That and the unjust factor of redistributive taxation.

As for war, it is one of two areas I deviate from the offical party platform. That doesn't make me an angry Republican, when I was voting Republican it made me an angry Libertarian.

T. Paine said...

Myste, economics, politics, and life are not necessarily black and white in the choices available, as you have stated; however, I would submit to you that far more is black and white than what our morally relativistic society today would have us believe.

Politically, I left the Republican party because Bush governed as an old school Democrat. Hell, JFK was arguably more conservative than George W. was, not that JFK could even get the Democratic nomination, let alone be elected as a Democrat, with todays hijacking of that party by the militant left.

Myste, you are right that my general philosophies are that of a conservative Republican, but I'll be damned before I'll donate a nickel to the party until they once again become worth of the title of Republicans. Frankly, I don't see that happening, and will therefore support good men and women of honor regardless of party if they espouse and act on the same things in which I believe.

John Myste said...

“Exactly F.A. Hayek and my own point against stimulus.” Without this understanding, the truth of Keynesian philosophy is not easily known. Stimulus or no stimulus – via tax cuts or building a bridge or giving John a credit for 100.00. It cannot be known. One can try to do the best they can, as Obama has, and even Bush before him, but the effect it will have is really unknowable, as is the effect it had. Someone is not a fool for embracing Keynesian philosophy any more than one is a fool for rejecting it. Thinking one has the answer when no one else does seems slightly foolish to me, though.

“That and the unjust factor of redistributive taxation.” What a loaded statement. Progressive taxation is the only just kind. I would like to prove it to you right now, but I know I cannot. The reason is that it is a very long discussion and we have different core axioms. Your position is very logical if your axioms are accurate. My position is very logical, if my axioms are accurate. Without discussing the underlying axioms from whence our perspectives emerge, the discussion is pointless. The axioms ultimately are resolved in faith in competing philosophies. I used to think if I could only assist the naysayer, I could convince him. I am no longer abused by this idea.

“As for war, it is one of two areas I deviate from the official party platform. That doesn't make me an angry Republican, when I was voting Republican it made me an angry Libertarian.”


John Myste said...


“I would submit to you that far more is black and white than what our morally relativistic society today would have us believe.” I would counter that it is less, and graciously allow you to withdraw your submission. An example of my position, which I make no attempt to back up today, as there is a long post on this exact subject in the hopper, is this: I believe that almost all of the pro-choice arguments are relatively invalid and some of the pro-life arguments are valid. I nonetheless support pro-choice. In the common case, birth control, I do not support pro-choice for ethical reasons, as I believe it to be unethical, but I still support it. I think by almost any ethical standards someone embraces it is not ethical. I support the execution of these innocent humans out of practical need, and I yet think it is wrong. The issue of abortion is not black and white. The issue of whether it is ethical isn’t either. Most people claim it is black and white as they take a hard position on the issue. I think they are committed to a general idea, coupled with moral imperatives, and the hard position they take follows.

While the issue is not black and white, which can be clearly seen by the level of controversy involved, it is more black and white than most people who claim it is not black and white claim it is. It is less black and white than most people who claim it is black and white think it is. I suspect almost all major issues fall into this paradigm. I see it with abortion and I think I see it clearly. With other issues, such as the economy and when committing to war is justified, I don’t see anything resembling black or white and so I tend to think they are ultimately very gray. However, intellectually, I suspect they more follow the pattern of the abortion argument. They probably are more black and white than the epistemologically resigned would know and less than those who are certain about things can comprehend.

I think the reasons things fall into “the abortion pattern” and the thing that keeps us from seeing more things in this pattern are the same. It is cognitive dissonance leading to false certainty on one side: people have slight opinions and keep gravitating toward confirming data to support it; and a lack of understanding of the axioms involved in each side’s argument on the other side: most opinion rise from a pool of axioms and only make sense if you accept the axioms to be true (I wrote and never published a long essay on this topic). However, when people hear someone’s opinion, they never hear of the axioms creating it. Because of mistaken axioms, very intelligent people can have ridiculous opinions. We hear the ridiculous opinion and are baffled at how someone who seems so intelligent can think that way. It is because the opinion is the conclusion to a long story explaining how those who hold it think. It could be that their axioms are intelligent, but just different from ours, and thus the opinion is intelligent. Or it could be our axioms that are flawed, which cause us to see an intelligent opinion as ridiculous. The problem, in this case, is that our axioms are what is at odds and we are only looking at an irrelevant opinion they produce on some very specific topic. We are not focusing on the real area of disagreement, the axioms, but are instead focusing on a necessary conclusion anyone owning those axioms would hold, for example, abortion is murder. When is murder wrong? Are moral imperatives practical? Is there a high power guiding the answer? These must be answered before the question of abortion, per se, becomes meaningful. If we disagree on any one of these higher level question, the abortion debate becomes absurd. When people tell us what they think about something, we hear the conclusion of very long story, and the supporting reasons. These reasons assume the answers to some very complex questions on which conservatives and liberals typically disagree. The final paragraph is utterly meaningless unless it follows a novel you have both read and found to make sense.

T. Paine said...

While I understand your point regarding the various axioms we each hold in determining the opinions we espouse or conclusions we reach, I guess I am choosing to be hard-headed and un-bending here.

I try to back my opinions with logical arguments based on axioms of a hopefully untarnished view of history and what has worked or not worked in society, economics, politics, and war.

As for abortion, all moral aspects aside, is it logical to allow the procedure with the exception of saving the life of the mother?

Putting my faith axioms aside, does it make sense to kill off our own species for convenience or short-term economic expedience?

The pyscological trauma and long-term guilt often suffered by the would-be mother alone don't serve to provide for a healthier populace mentally.

And with the short falls in tax revenue for social security and Medicare we are seeing, it sure would have been nice to have those millions of other people still alive to contribute to support the retiring Baby Boomers, if only they had not been aborted.

Logically, the short term gain of convenience in abortion doesn't trump the long term benefits of choosing life instead.

Heck, even the black and white behind the necessity of stopping completely at a stop sign, instead of coming to a rolling stop becomes apparent when the kid that you didn't see runs across the street from the bus stand as you roll on over him past the restraining line of the cross walk.

We had a lady killed in a crosswalk here this week by just such an incident. And yet, I continue to see the rolling stoppers daily. Black and white!

Yes, there are gray areas in many a thing, but from a standpoint of logic, far more issues are indeed black and white, in my unassailable opinion.

I realize that you will point to this as having made your point with me holding to my own axioms, but alas, my friend, the black and white of the matter would be that you are incorrect and I am not! :)

John Myste said...

The temptation to address each of your abortion questions individually is almost irrepressible. However, I will for now, as that is such a large and explosive topic, and I already have the task to throw myself into it. I am slow to act, but I much appreciate your points, which I will now incorporate into my thinking.

"The black and white of the matter is that you are incorrect and I am not."

That argument is amusing irrefutable on many levels. Where would I begin?

I will defer that discussion to a later date, as your conversion to a free-thinker cannot be rushed, sir.

free0352 said...
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free0352 said...

Thinking one has the answer when no one else does seems slightly foolish to me, though.

It's only common sense that one cannot borrow their way out of debt or poor financial prospects. We all have that friend that went bankupt on the credit cards. Our government is no different. Keynes supported government spending to boost an economy thorough a recession- and I suppose that would work if you could-

A:Not have to borrow the money and obtain valuable currency out of thin air or savings.

B:Not take the money away from a "have" and give it to a "have not."

C:Not screw up the finances through recless tax cuts.

The idea that central planing can anticipate the needs of the macroeconomic system is absurd. The laws of supply and demand and Adam Smith's "invisible hand" are much better stewards of the economic ship, as they rely on the collective brain trust of the market as opposed to a few government apointees who as you said... can't possibly grasp it all.

Anyone who says otherwise (Bush, Obama) is selling someting, and it probably smells bad.

I do not support pro-choice for ethical reasons, as I believe it to be unethical, but I still support it. I think by almost any ethical standards someone embraces it is not ethical. I support the execution of these innocent humans out of practical need

Intelectually honest. Hitlerian, but intelectually honest. You would have fit right in, in Munich in 1932. I'm not one to throw the Nazi card, but lets be honest... you don't seem to grant rights to "useless eaters" any more than the NSDAP did. When it comes to human rights, I'm not big on the whole "grey area" thing.

John Myste said...


“It’s only common sense that one cannot borrow their way out of debt.” That alone is a very shallow view. As this nation is in debt, God bless Bush, all spending could be construed as borrowing. If the economy was truly stimulated and more revenue was coming in as a result of the borrowing, borrowing your way out of debt would work. It does not work for an individual unless he is willing to build things with the borrowed money. Borrowing and going shopping does not solve debt (I would expect an economist to realize that this is not the whole theory). The same could be true for the government. An individual cannot bring more revenue in by stimulating his economy unless he starts a small business or otherwise busies himself with entrepreneurial endeavors. Most people, who start their first small business, start from a position of debt that skyrockets the day they open the doors. Those who succeed climb out of debt on borrowed money. They borrow money, then spend it, to increase revenue, and stimulate their personal economy. People visit their shop or use their goods or services and bring money back in. They only reason they are able to make this work is that they do not realize that common sense will not allow it. There are other people who borrow money and compound their debt and go bankrupt. See, grey, not black and white. It was black and white for you, because unlike those who would borrow, you see things clearly and reject the rest. They try to discover truth, but they are really looking in the wrong place. They need to come to you, truth’s owner, and stop wasting their time looking elsewhere.

Please do not jump to defend this specific stimulus effort, as tonight, I am indifferent to the discussion. My point is to challenge the black and white world in which you live.

I will accept your comparison to Hitler, and your claim that it is not typical. Comparing those with whom we do not agree to Hitler and at once denying that is in character for us, has become fashionable. For as long as it is cool to do so, lots of people will use it as their catharsis to ease the pain caused by others who refuse to think just as they do, despite their ownership of truth. I am happy to help.

Your idea that I would have fit right in, in Munich is misguided. I debate both conservatives and liberals routinely and I have yet to find a single human who argues a position that is anything like mine on abortion. I probably would have been executed pretty quickly, and I think you well may have survived.

“When it comes to human rights, I’m not big on the whole grey area thing.” I know, you own truth about human rights and though the subject is very complex for intellectuals everywhere, they have but to consult Mr. Free0352 for the answers. It is tragic that so few people have heard of you and all this confusion has to remain.

On a side note, there have been others who have owned the truth throughout history. It gives one just cause to take action. Once you have the answers, it is illogical to respect anyone’s opinion when they disagree with you. It is rubbish. Respect can only flow freely over a grey surface; and why should it be any other way. If you have the truth about human rights and you see others violating them, you have a moral obligation to do what you can to stop it, even if this means an Inquisition or a war, the burning of an abortion clinic, and some truth holders think, even terrorism. We must get truth running things. Lots of groups have historically used truth combined with power for noble purposes with great success. But you have to have it first. Be careful as you ease down this narrow slope, my friend. A closed mind is a dangerous mind, and the stuff fanatics and maniacs are made of. Thump thump, bang.

free0352 said...
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free0352 said...
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free0352 said...
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free0352 said...

Never post via blackburry, it's insanely irritating and you have to delete posts because the text software does odd things. On to the point-

That alone is a very shallow view.

No it's not, it's just the way it is. The government gets money by two means- various forms of taxation and borrowing from the FED in exchange for treasuries. That's a fact, there is no grey area.

Both means of funding have consequences both positive and negative. Tax too much, you ruin your economy, borrow too much you do same because the money must be paid back to the FED some day. You might temporarily enflate an economy with stimulus, but it perverts incentives and can't match agrigate demand. That concept is a little more abstract compared to how the government funds its self, however the events and data of the last three years demonstrate I'm correct. The government is 14.3 trillion in debt, the economy is worse off since TARP and ARRA... thats demonstrable. The idea those two bail outs mitigated greater disaster is shallow. Certainly they proped up a sick system while not healing it, of that I have no argument. But the crutch can't go on forever, and the longer economic correction is delayed only increases the severity of that inevitable correction. It's like taking asprin to avoid the chemotherapy.

I use data as evidence and from evidence I draw conclusion. I buy your assertion of black/white world view if you mean I use evidence to come to conclusion, in that assumption you would be correct. Reality is not subjective, it is objective, and this is the flaw in your logic.

As for a Nazi comparison, you think it's acceptable to kill unborn children for socioeconomic reasons though it is distasteful. I do not. I will grant you this, in your stance at least you aren't lying to yourself.

You're a big Thomas Nigel fan aren't you? Perhaps Immanuel Kant?

free0352 said...

As for why I per your example don't burn abortion clinics to the ground is simple. I do. However I use the law and not violence. Violence is only justified when lawful means are failed. In the Case of US law, that has not occured. If law is ignored there is anarchy, and I have a vested self interest (as do all citizens) to see that does not happen. Cutting off one's nose to spite the face isn't a bright idea.

The concept that truth is totally subjective is, well... reserved for someone whose logic is too flawed to accept truth.

John Myste said...


If I had known such a debate would ensue, I would never have spoken. I am a limp-wristed liberal. I detest conflict.

Point: The government is 14.3 million dollars in debt. The economy is worse since TARP and ARRA and that’s demonstrable. Answer: The economy was already in a tailspin. Your assumption of causality is known in the science of critical thinking as a Post Hoc Fallacy. The colloquial term is rubbish. I am not saying your conclusion is wrong. I am only that your reasoning is fallacious.

Point: The government gets money by two means, taxation and treasury purchases. Answer: I don’t mean to nitpick, but I agree that the government gets funding by taxation, the SALE of T bills, notes and bonds, and other business activities, such as loaning money in the form of a bailout and then earning profit on the interest of the loan. This fact is not relevant and certainly was not the target of my shallow view comment, as you know already. You completely bypassed my entire argument in favor of trying to prove the government gets tax revenue and borrows money through the sale of various notes. I accept your rebuttal as both true and a subject change. I am not complaining, as I seek no rebuttal.

Point: Borrowing is propping up a sick system. Answer: I assume you mean in this case, as borrowing and the flow of credit is one indicator of a healthy system when not abused. I think most economists such as yourself agree on this.

Point: I use evidence to come to a conclusion. Reality is objective, not subjective. Answer: Reality is definitely objective. Your ability to know truth is not. You are not required to have knowledge where proof is absent. I concede that you use evidence to come to a conclusion. Others use other evidence to arrive at a different conclusion and you both feel really right. You each use evidence to arrive at opposite conclusion. Must be some grey areas. That was my point to begin with, so I dare not disagree with you when you concede to my position.

Point: Nazi, baby killer. Answer: I don’t know if abortion is acceptable. I see shades of grey.

Point: You’re a big Thomas Nigel fan. Answer: I am going to Google him when I get a chance and then I will get back to you. I am tired and lazy, or in other words, a liberal baby killer, right now.

Point: You are an Immanuel Kant fan: Answer: Another German! I have never thought to identify myself as such. I think I agree with some of his ideas, though I know I disagree with some. He questioned epistemological truth. I do not. I question our false claims to having arrived at the truth because we came up with an argument form it. I do not question truth to the degree that Kant did, perhaps only because he thought more about it than I have. I do not believe in moral imperatives as they are used today (something I mentioned earlier today, I believe, and probably why you compare me to Kant) and I think he believed that moral imperatives would have to be categorical imperatives, which eliminates most of them. I think I ultimately reject the notion of a categorical imperative as fact, though I do think we should live by some.

I see facts used and abused on both sides of the aisle. There are huge disagreements about facts and we are picking and choosing the ones to believe. We choose the ones that support our philosophical positions. Your interpretation of the uselessness of Keynesian Theory is what started all of this, but you now apply it to other things.

I am content to resign at this point, as we are not going to agree on anything. We have different axioms. I am a religious agnostic and an agnostic on all things that are logically questionable. You pick a side, find or interpret facts to support it and come to me with the “truth” on your side. I cannot have fruitful debate with someone who knows the truth. The mind closes once the truth is known, as it must, by definition. There is no need to search for something once we have it entirely.

John Myste said...


"As for why I per your example don't burn abortion clinics to the ground is simple. I do. However I use the law and not violence. Violence is only justified when lawful means are failed. In the Case of US law, that has not occurred. If law is ignored there is anarchy, and I have a vested self interest (as do all citizens) to see that does not happen. Cutting off one's nose to spite the face isn't a bright idea."

That is a very intelligent response. Touche.

"The concept that truth is totally subjective is, well... reserved for someone whose logic is too flawed to accept truth."

The truth is absolutely not subjective, which is one of the reasons you don't get to decide what it is. Your discovery of your opinion on an issue is not the discovery of truth. Don't feel bad, I have this same argument with liberals who think they get to call their best guess truth all the time also, and like you, they have no answer other than to reiterate that despite all the other intellectuals and experts disagreeing, their best guess is the God's truth. You are not required to know everything. You do not have to believe you have the answer to everything. There is no shame in saying “I don’t know, but here is my opinion.”

Just remember the whole point I have been trying to make: The truth IS NOT subjective. We do not get to choose from our pool of facts, form an opinion and call it fact. You think Keynesian Theory is the incorrect approach and you think you see evidence to support this. Lots of intelligent experts disagree, think the opposite, and they see facts other than the ones you use. You think the FDR approach did not work. Lots of experts think the opposite, though everyone seems to agree that WWII was very useful. You and the experts who disagree all have the truth on your side, so you know.

If you knew the law would never overturn Row V. Wade, it would be incumbent upon you to take whatever action was needed. Truth backs you up.

I cannot understand how people can be so sure of their opinions and the facts they cull from the pile and so sure everyone who doesn’t think like them must be a fool. I do not have the truth any of you have. There are lots of competing opinions and choosing of competing facts and interpretation of complex data. As a very wise man once taught me, the truth is not subjective! And he should know, as he is the owner.

John Myste said...


I am not sure I will have the willpower, but I am going to try to stop this debate now. It is not logical to continue. Our fundamental axiom break is in the assumption that one can or cannot distill facts from a competing list and know he found the right ones and landed on the truth. I think that if one did happen to grab the right ones, the ones that happen to support his philosophy, and they happened to be true, he still could not know it. If you believe lots of intelligent people hold opinions opposite from your own, you must conclude that this or axiomatic pre-requisites are causing the disagreements. With that kind of confusion in place, it would be foolish to declare that you have found the truth.

You fundamentally disagree with this, as evidenced by the fact that you hold the facts, the right interpretation of the facts and the truth as the learned rational man knows it, in your grubby little handles. Nothing I can say could ever change your view on this, since I don’t have the truth.

Good debate, sir.


free0352 said...

I probably would have been executed pretty quickly, and I think you well may have survived.

Had I met Hitler in 1932 very likely WWII would not have occured. I'm pretty sure I could have taken Adolph in a fight. Between 1932 and 1945 I would have certainly tried, just as I did in 2002 with Mullah Omar and in 2003 with Saddam Hussien, in 2005 I tried with Zarqaui and in 2008 with
Muqtada Al'Sader. I didn't manage to bag the big elephants personally, however I got a few of the little fish. I have quite the tyrant fighting track record.

As for economics, there is surely great grey area to play in. What will work cannot be known until it is tried. Keynes was tried. It failed, three times now turning that grey firmly to black. I merely observe the evidence and wonder allowed why those still clinging to the general monitary theory still do so. I figure not everyone can be as smart as myself and millions of other Americans.

As to Abortion, there isn't a grey area I can see. Either a fetus is a living humn individual or it is not. If not, it deserves nothing, and can be delt with as it's owner pleases. However, you seem to agree with me that it is a human being... where we differ is weather or not to grant it equal protection under the law. You see a grey area, I see a murder victim.

If there are other grey areas, I'd like to be enlightened.

You pick a side, find or interpret facts to support it and come to me with the “truth” on your side.

You have me completely backwards. I examine data, and formulate opinions based on the data. Sometimes the data is incorrect and I end up having to admit I was wrong. However, in the case of both abortion and Keynesianism... I have true confidence I am right, and no fear of saying so. On things I know little of, I don't debate. If a person wants to consturct a philosophy, you first find facts as foundation, and build accordingly- not the other way arround. As I said you must not know about me. I spend most of my spare time pouring over charts and graphs compiled by many diverse sources. It's my chief hobby. I am easily swayed with correct numbers, but rarely with long blog posts I must admit. I have a gift of remembering numbers nearly photograhipcally, and I use mathmatical skill to determine most of my stances on economics... and economics influences the majority of my political opinions. I do have tremendous confidence in my abilities, beause fact is I really am seldom wrong. That is a luxury we who seldom commit to an opinion until certain get to injoy.

Nothing I can say could ever change your view on this, since I don’t have the truth

I did warn you, as you may recall.

Dave Dubya said...

Wow! That was fun to read. I didn't learn a damned thing, but who cares? It's like watching "fair and balanced" media pundits, complete with Nazis.

One truth I really think I know for certain is that there is more of it than we can possibly comprehend, and nobody owns it. But that doesn't stop true believers from clinging to their guns and Bibles or fascistic, corporatist, trickle down ideas of the common good. We may as well bow to the lunatics hearing the voice of God reverberating between their ears.

I think it’s true that the economic elite have become exponentially wealthier in the past decades, and the less affluent and middle class are far less secure in employment and retirement prospects.

I wonder if there's any truth to the notion that those with the most wealth have more political influence and thus more power in a government full of politicians corrupted by campaign cash, lobbyists, and crony favoritism. And I wonder if the inverse were true, that those with the least wealth are more marginalized and less represented in government. America is really a great country for the elites. That seems to be another bit of truth, even though it sounds more like neo-feudalism than a free democratic republic.

I suppose it's the lunatic in me that would dare think there's truth in such foolishness. Maybe we'll have to ask the senators from Goldman Sachs, Blue Cross, GE, and Exxon/Mobile.

MRMacrum said...

Excellent exchange here guys. Enthusiastic and it did not fall into a flame war. Remember it's not about wining, it's about conversations.

What a hoot to read this.

T. Paine said...

Dubya, in certain aspects I agree with you. It is not so much that your diagnosis of the problem is inaccurate but rather your proposed medicine will kill the patient.

Further empowering corrupt unions and spreading the wealth around through redistribution will not solve the problem but rather switch the role of the bad guy from wealthy corporatists to them.

I would far rather have a capitalistic society where there is a relatively equal opportunity for individual success, instead of a socialistic society where there is an equal opportunity for misery.

Unknown said...

Believing in yourself is the first secret to success. Thanks for sharing your knowledge :)