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The Midas Untouch

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"Iraq could be one of the great achievements of this administration"
- Vice President Joe Biden on CNN

The Obama administration is no different from any of its predecessors when it comes to shifting blame for failure and taking undeserved credit for success. All administrations engage in minor hypocrisy for their political benefit. It is expected and accepted for the most part. However the Obama administration has taken it to a ridiculous extreme. This is evident when the president uses Bush era deficits to rack up exponentially more debt. It is also evident in the prosecution of terrorists in Federal courts. But nowhere is it more blatant than in the recent comments by the Vice President taking credit for the progress in Iraq.

In 2007 then Senator Obama vehemently opposed the surge, which is responsible for the continued stabilization and political reconciliation seen in Iraq. He did not just oppose the surge; he gave speeches guaranteeing that additional troops will only lead to more violence and instability. He wanted nothing short of a troop withdrawal because the war was a lost cause, a sentiment echoed by congressional Democrats. Meanwhile, then Senator Joe Biden had the brainstorm of dividing Iraq into three different countries. He was convinced that this was the only way to have any semblance of peace in Iraq. Neither Senator Obama nor Senator Biden expressed an iota of confidence or support for the Bush surge strategy.

Candidate Obama ran on the platform that the only thing to do about Iraq was to bring the troops home. Never once did he admit to the gains of the surge or accept the evidence of stability. In fact he made it a cornerstone of the campaign to summarily dismiss it. Now that the candidate is president, he is more than willing to tout Iraqi success and take credit for it. Even when faced with overwhelming evidence of success, the administration has yet to acknowledge that the Obama/Biden stance against the surge was wrong. A debate on the potential outcome of Iraq if either of their ideas were followed has been conveniently missing. The leap from vehement opposition to the surge strategy to self congratulation on the success of the same strategy has been phenomenal.

President Bush set the stage for an Iraqi success not because of, but in spite of Obama and Biden. The military success, the Sunni awakening, the political progress, and the withdrawal timeline are all Bush legacies. The current administration's contribution to the progress in Iraq has been to leave it alone. Ironically President Obama's Afghanistan strategy mirrors his predecessor's "secure and hold" surge strategy in Iraq. Now no one expects this administration to give George Bush credit for anything. Their motto has always been, "if it works, credit Obama; if it fails, blame Bush." It worked for them in the campaign and it worked in the first few months of the presidency. But in this case, as Charles Krauthammer points out, they should at least have the decency to say Iraq will be an American success.

The truth is that almost everything President Obama has tried to fix has gone from bad to worse. Obama’s thirteen-month obsession over health care has caused a countrywide revolt leading to Democrats jumping ship. The economy (even after the $862B hoodwink they call stimulus) is still flatlining at best. A whopping 6% of Americans think that the so called Recovery Act has created jobs. As the joke goes – the only "shovel ready" projects available are related to clearing the snow in DC. The deficit has skyrocketed, and the jobless rate is bleaker than before the stimulus. In response to the people's concerns over jobs, the President convened a televised bipartisan health care summit. On the international front, Iran is more belligerent than ever, and moving toward a dictatorship. Who would have thought that the personal letter Obama wrote to Iranian leaders would fall on deaf ears?

Thus, besides AfPak (where there is genuine progress and Obama deserves credit), everything this President touches becomes radioactive. The only thing he didn't touch, Iraq, has blossomed. To take credit for that is like a motorist taking credit for saving pedestrian lives just because he did not run them over.  Although, to be fair, perhaps Obama deserves a little credit here. The temptation to change the Iraq policy must have been profound. Letting things be, and thus devoid of the Obama stamp, is not something this administration does well. So in a way, it is an achievement that they left Iraq alone. One might just conclude that if Obama wants anything to work, he should leave it alone.

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About Krutic

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Quite a biting critique, Mr. Krutic.

    I’m certain you’re not going to endear yourself in the eyes of our resident liberals.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Mr. Krutic –

    I agree that President Obama shouldn’t take credit for the results of the Iraq surge…even though the surge was only part of the solution – what had a greater effect was the “Sunni Awakening”. The same principle applies to Afghanistan GEN McChrystal has stated that the increased forces are very important…but it’s implementation of the ‘government in a box’ and gaining the trust of the people that will make the difference.

    Without the ‘Sunni Awakening’, the surge in Iraq would have been nothing more than what’s now called ‘mowing the grass’ in Afghanistan.

    The truth is that almost everything President Obama has tried to fix has gone from bad to worse.

    Oh? Let’s check your claims.

    Obama’s thirteen-month obsession over health care has caused a countrywide revolt leading to Democrats jumping ship.

    Guess you haven’t been reading the news lately. It’s not a done deal yet…but a reconciliation vote in the Senate is coming.

    The economy (even after the $862B hoodwink they call stimulus) is still flatlining at best.

    Flatlining? Gee, I guess the articles in the WSJ and on Bloomberg’s showing GROWTH since this past August are all lies, all part of the vast left-wing conspiracy. Yeah, those liberals over at the WSJ and Bloomberg’s are at it again….

    And since you’re an economist by education, surely you watch the S&P index more than the Dow, and surely you KNOW that the S&P index is up over 60% from its low when President Obama got the stimulus bill passed.

    And are you aware that ONLY one-third of the stimulus has been spent? Are you aware that one-third of the stimulus was comprised of tax cuts? Frankly, I believe we should NOT have cut taxes…but that’s a different story.

    A whopping 6% of Americans think that the so called Recovery Act has created jobs. As the joke goes – the only “shovel ready” projects available are related to clearing the snow in DC.

    The RNC and its wholly-owned subsidiary Fox ‘News’ have done a wonderful job of pointing out how terrible the Recovery Act was…but I guess you didn’t see the recent statements by GOP governors Schwarznegger and Crist saying something completely different. Oh! But I forgot – they’re RINOs and anything they say must be lies.

    And BTW – here’s a list of over 100 Republicans and several Democrats who voted against the stimulus…and then eagerly sought the stimulus funds and claimed credit for the jobs thus created!

    The deficit has skyrocketed, and the jobless rate is bleaker than before the stimulus.

    Since your education is as an economist, surely you know that there are people you listen to, and people you don’t…and I suspect that IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomics Advisers, and Moody’s are three firms whose word carries some weight with you. And here’s what they say about the stimulus:

    “Perhaps the best-known economic research firms are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s Economy.com. They all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.”

    But you know better than they do, I suppose.

    Oh yeah – since you have so much professional experience in the field, I’m also sure that you pay more attention to TRENDS than to the present situation…so surely you’re aware of how the TREND of the new jobless claims clearly show a vast improvement. The improvement is beginning to flatten out somewhat…but remember, we’re in the first quarter of the year – historically the worst time for businesses IIRC – and only one-third of the stimulus has been spent. There’s still a significant chance of that ‘double-dip’ recession…but that’s not likely.

    A double-dip recession is also your only hope to regain the White House in 2012. That, sir, is the real reason why conservatives want Obama to fail.

    In response to the people’s concerns over jobs, the President convened a televised bipartisan health care summit.

    Ah, just like John McCain you have an aversion to multitasking!

    On the international front, Iran is more belligerent than ever, and moving toward a dictatorship.

    Yes, and I’m SO sure that McCain – or anyone else on the conservative side – would have been able to get Russia AND China to join in efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear power program. And if you’ll do some research, you’d find that if Dick Cheney had had his way, we’d already be at war with Iran!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Mr. Krutic –

    I prefer to keep my language in comments and articles more…palatable than what’s in the above comment. However, when I see someone (whose education and professional experience would indicate that they should know better) publish an article that contains accusations that are so easily disproven, I think it’s quite proper to open up with both barrels.

    Here’s a suggestion: if you’re going to make accusations and declarations as you did in this article, please include links to reputable sites that back up your claims…or at least be prepared to do so, because BC readers will call your bluff. I’ve had to eat crow several times because I couldn’t back up my claims – as Dave and Clavos can tell you with smiles on their faces – so I try to make a habit of either providing a proof-link to a reputable site…or I’m well-prepared to do so when someone thinks I’m bluffing.

    It’s a good habit learned the hard way. Perhaps it would help you, too.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Ah, Glenn. So selective in your statistics.

    You do realize, do you not, that even 2.5 million jobs is less than a third of the number of jobs lost since the recession began? In fact, given the timeframe it’s likely that at best the stimulus was job neutral, creating jobs at about the same rate other jobs were lost. And most of the jobs created were short-term, low pay or with the government, and only a fraction of them can even be causally connected to stimulus spending.

    And the 60% rise in the S&P? Surely by now you’re familiar with the concept of a stock bubble? If not I suspect that lesson will be hammered home for the third time in a decade before too long.

    But let me add this. I’m fine with Obama taking credit for things improving in Iraq, so long as he also takes the blame for the devastating cost of the war. Or maybe he’d be wiser to leave both of those in the Bush legacy.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    2.5 million jobs is still 2.5 million jobs, isn’t it? What would our jobless rate – and our economy – be without those jobs?

    most of the jobs created were short-term, low pay or with the government,

    Prove your first two claims…and as for the third, remember – people WITH jobs (government or not) are able to spend and contribute to the economy FAR more than someone without a job. Remember the saying back in the early 80’s recession? “We just need a war.” And every single job thus created would’ve been funded by the government in one way or another.

    and only a fraction of them can even be causally connected to stimulus spending.

    I didn’t know that you were more authoritative than IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomics Advisers, and Moody’s! Guess I was wrong…. Not!

    Surely by now you’re familiar with the concept of a stock bubble?

    The real estate bubble was a bubble because real estate was greatly overvalued. The dot-com bubble was a bubble because the dot-com stocks were hideously overvalued. So WHAT major segment of the market is vastly overvalued right now, Dave? Please enlighten me!

    Obama taking credit for ending the Iraq war is akin to someone taking credit for helping the previous occupant to close the barn door after the horses got out. Obama helped, but it was under Bush that we saw the beginning of the end of the Iraq war.

    BUT that does NOT and can NEVER take away from Bush/Cheney the responsibility for wasting so many lives, so many hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq.

    And IIRC, you not only supported their decision, but you supported an expansion against the war on terror. And you should take responsibility for some of that ‘devastating cost of the war’.

  • Mark

    So WHAT major segment of the market is vastly overvalued right now, Dave?

    The public trough.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I just thought I’d note that the Iraqi civilian body count (from terror attacks and fighting) from 3/09 to 2/10 was 2,592 people. This against 3,640 civilians in the previous 12 month period – this according to iCasualties.

    That sounds like peace to me, boys and girls – it’s a veritable pounding of – flesh into explosives. The Americans and friends have brought nothing but the stink of death to the Middle East, and now their pulsillanity (sp?) promises to do the same to Israel via Persia and its lapdog, HizbAllah.

    Peace! Peace! Halleluyá! Peace! [gag- vomit]

  • Clavos

    So WHAT major segment of the market is vastly overvalued right now, Dave?

    Pretty much all of it…

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    By the way, is 6,000 civilian deaths over two years anyone’s definition of “success”?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    As to the American equities market, it is swollen with stimulus money right now. When the swelling goes down, so will the market. As for the “lagging unemployment rate”, one would do well to read what the Grey Lady has to say. Obama-Whore that she is, she still reports something worth while every now and again.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I would have thought it ran into hundreds of thousands, Ruvy.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    The point, Roger, is that peace has not been restored to Iraq. It’s not a success – not by any stretch of the imagination. Afghanistan is bleeding like a slit milk cow, Yemen is in the midst of a war (this one, not the fault of the Americans), and the rest of the region hovers on the edge of a war that will be ostensibly to kill the Jews – but will wind up with more Arab dead anyway.

    But one cannot blame Obama for this, anymore than one can blame Bush. That is to say that both are at fault, for American foreign policy is responsible for much to the sword hanging over the head quality of life in this region.

    The only good thing about it all is that most Israelis now understand that America is no friend of Israel – that, courtesy of the unusually honest (and therefore openly hostile) policy Obama pursues here.

  • Mark

    I question the use of the term ‘blossoming’ to describe Iraq, as well. It would appear from the Brookings’ latest Iraq Index that the benchmarks established in the late Bush administrations are not close to being met, and that the number of dislocated people remains in the millions. There are positive signs in extending the reach of basic ‘public’ services, however. And the level of violence remains comparatively low.

  • Cindy

    Mouths that speak about war and ‘success’?

    WTF do you want from an economist who works for banks?! This author should be as marginalized as a white supremacist.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Of course, not.

    Why on earth would anyone expect our State department to be able to do so is beyond belief?

    The Americans are notoriously incompetent when it comes to reading the geopolitical pulse. It’s the arrogance that stands in the way, the insane idea that all nations and people want to be like us and adopt our values.

    John Foster Dulles was the most vocal exponent of this insane idea. And he had followers in such as Kissinger and Brzezinski.

    And the show goes on.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I know I’ll get nothing but venom from such as STM, to name but one, for making such sacrilegious remarks, so beholden they all are to the the tradition of Anglo-Saxon.

    But to turn their argument upside down, it’s all bullocks.

    The West has been the greatest force in today’s imperialism, all the worse for the fact that it is imperialism of the worst kind, an imperialism with a kindly face, hiding its evil intentions under the guise of the rule of law, supposedly protecting all and all alike from imperialistic tyranny.

    Utter bullocks, that’s all I have got to say to this.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Just today, McCrystal apologized for US forces killing over twenty civilians. He’d assured everyone that all necessary precautions will be taken from now on not to make similar mistakes. He asked the Afghan people for forgiveness, saying it’s necessary to obtain their good will, to understand that America fights Taliban for their own good.

    Good luck, McCrystal and Obama and all the parties complicit in this insane operations. If you want to help Afghanis, help them to fight their own wars. But your presence, America is stained. It stinks to high heavens.

    Everyone knows it. How come you are the only one who doesn’t have the inkling?

    It must be the Statue of Liberty syndrome, our gift to the world.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    The West has been the greatest force in today’s imperialism, all the worse for the fact that it is imperialism of the worst kind, an imperialism with a kindly face, hiding its evil intentions under the guise of the rule of law, supposedly protecting all and all alike from imperialistic tyranny.

    Now, now – be nice, or we’ll bring democracy to you, too!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And I see Mark and Clavos chimed in with throwaway suggestions as to what market in America is overvalued.

    Of course they backed up their contentions with absolutely nothing at all…but then such is the modus operandi of most conservatives these days since the facts aren’t on their side….

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Gosh, Glenn,

    I hoped my innocent little remark would be promptly ignored. Fat chance of that now.

    But no, don’t do me any favors. I’ll try to do without.

  • doug m

    I couldn’t make it past the first page because the author creates no confidence of his knowledge about subjects or his blinded by partisanship.

    Where’s the hypocrisy in prosecuting terrorists in Federal court? Didn’t the Bush administration do the exact same thing?

    The author also appears unaware what quelled the violence because the influx of soldiers was a very small part. And spare the Sunni Awakening nonsense. The words sound great from a marketing sense but really it was a massive bribe.

    What’s wrong with the idea of dividing Iraq into three countries? If you know history, you know the people didn’t come together through the people’s own volition. Also, the strategy seemed to work in Eastern Europe.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Mark ain’t no conservative, Glenn. And he ain’t no liberal either.

    I should hope that Mark is analytical first and foremost. And if you’re “analytical,” you don’t need facts.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That should have been the game plan from the get-go, doug. To deal with ethnic strife and divisions in the same manner as with broken Yugoslavia.

    But that of course was too simple a concept for Bush and Brenner. They were so keen on displaying the united front and the power of American diplomacy that common sense simply stood in the way.

    And we’re still spewing out the same old propaganda, how the Iraqis are all united and willing to live in peace despite all evidence to the contrary, simply because we choose to believe so.

    Pathetic.

  • Mark

    Glenn, as I understand it, US federal debt as a percentage of GDP has gone over 90% and is quickly headed for 100% which Standard and Poor’s has stated would be incompatible with a AAA credit rating.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Mark –

    Here’s the stats on the federal debt as a percentage of GDP. We’re at 83.4 percent – which is really, really not good – but we’ve got a lower percentage than, say, Japan, Germany, Israel, Belgium, Singapore…but we just passed France.

    Not only that, but we’ve got a significantly BETTER debt-to-GDP ratio than we did after WWII…and remember how our economy in the 1950’s and 1960’s was the envy of the world? During the 1950’s our top marginal tax rate was 91% (even during the Eisenhower administration) – that’s how we paid off almost all the debt from WWII – and JFK cut the top marginal tax rate to the low 70’s, IIRC. Our top marginal tax rate remained in the 40’s until Reagan came in and slashed it to the low 30’s…which was soon followed by the worst recession since the Depression.

    Federal spending was then increased under Reagan – the Cold War, remember? – and we got out of that recession…and then the Savings-and-Loan bust hit (remember the Keating Five? McCain was one of them) where more banks and S&L’s failed than even during the Great Recession that we just got out of.

    Bush (“No new taxes!”) got the economy back on track by raising taxes…but not quickly enough to get re-elected. We did really well under Clinton (there was talk of a ‘Goldilocks economy’), and then Dubya comes in, slashes taxes to the lowest point since the Roaring 20’s…and guess what? It’s the Great Recession!

    IN OTHER WORDS, Mark, while it’s not good to have sky-high taxes, it’s ALSO not good to have taxes too low…because then government (from police to Medicare to fire departments to schools to municipal governments to regulatory agencies) cannot do its job…and the economy as a whole slows down.

    Government can’t run the economy, but what the government DOES do is provide the grease and oil that allows the machinery of the economy to function. Take away the grease and oil, and the economy starts to grind and things get ugly real quick.

    Okay? I think you might agree that most conservatives really don’t understand that last sentence…but that’s a fact not of life, but of civilization.

    A recommendation – start edjimicating yourself, to use a Southern colloquialism. Forget what you think you know, stop demanding that facts must fit your worldview – for there are many who know history, but do not understand history.

    Instead, read the history, consider the facts over the months and years, and maybe, just maybe you’ll see things a little differently…and you just might see that things really aren’t so bad right now – but they coulda, maybe woulda been without Bush’s TARP and Obama’s stimulus.

    You don’t hear me praise Bush often – he IS a war criminal – but even Hitler something right (the autobahn) and so did Stalin (defeated Hitler). Bush increased AIDS funding, resisted Cheney’s (and others’) calls to invade Iran and expand the ‘war on terror’, and got the TARP – imperfect as it certainly was – passed when it was desperately needed.

    One last thing – if you’re one of the majority of Americans who think the TARP and stimulus was a huge waste of money, then write an article about it and I’ll do some more edjimicatin’ for all and sundry.

  • Mark

    Glenn, maybe this guy got it wrong with his numbers. Or maybe your source is a few months behind.

  • Mark

    I did enjoy the rest of your lecture. However, I’m not convinced that the ‘public trough bubble’ can expand enough to pull us through this contraction without bursting. Time will tell.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Mark –

    If you’ll check (my source – Wikipedia – got it from the latest edition of the CIA World Factbook), they’re pretty much the same.

    When it comes to government statistics, I do tend to trust non-partisan government sources more than partisan dot-com websites…

    …in fact, I checked out the website a little more. In order to get a better understanding on whether things are really, truly that bad right now, check out this page which has charts obviously showing it’s not as bad as it could be…yet also read the rhetoric on the same page. The website’s authors would have you believe that doom and gloom are on your very doorstep.

    Here’s a wonderful example from the same page of what these guys are trying to sell:

    “Back in 1842 Horace Mann promised that public schools would cut the crime rate by 90 percent. That was when nearly all Americans were able to read. Today the government reckons that only 13 percent of adult Americans are “proficient” in literacy and numeracy.”

    Anyone with a decent knowledge of history can tell you that in 1842, illiteracy was a MUCH bigger problem than now. Perhaps the site’s authors could benefit from reading some REAL statistics instead of making up claims all on their own. Granted, my reference refers to total illiteracy rate…but it easily puts the lie to usgovernmentspending.com’s claim that in 1842, nearly ALL Americans could read.

    So please be cautious about where you’re getting your stats and facts from, Mark – a lot of them will do their worst to use Orwellian doublespeak, just like the owners of usgovernmentspending.com obviously did.

  • Mark

    Glenn, usgovernmentspending.com is the source for your 83.4% figure. Check the chart sources from your wiki link.

  • Mark

    …and take your head out of your butt and follow you own advice: please be cautious about where you’re getting your stats and facts from

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Glenn and Mark,

    Could you please both understand that statistics don’t mean a damn thing.

    It’s all about ideas, Glenn. How many times do I have to press this stupid point. Once you get your ideas right – both of you, because I don’t want to offend anyone – facts will follow,

    I should be charging fucking $100 an hour for this lecture. Yet, stupid me, I’m giving it all for free.

  • http://cqpinion.blogspot.com/ Krutic A

    #1: Prophetic!

    #14 – I hope that’s sarcasm?

    #2: Guess you haven’t been reading the news lately. It’s not a done deal yet…but a reconciliation vote in the Senate is coming.

    You talk about it as if its something to be proud of. After a year of *owning* Washington, if it still takes you 13 months to get something done, and even then if you have to rely on backroom deals and legislative tricks, thats just pathetic.

    Moreoever reconciliation is a word being thrown around as if its a done deal. The House doesn’t have the votes to pass the Senate bill. Secondly, the people who were responsible for coming up with this ‘reconciliation’ process are expressing doubts about if it can and should be used for something as far reaching as this healthcare bill. Robert Byrd being one of those people.

    That 6% believe that the stimulus has created jobs is a NY Times/CBS poll – you know the bastions of conservative thought.
    So even if you may think it worked, perception of the voters is what matters.

    Moreover when you throw hundreds of billions of dollars, it is bound to create/save jobs. A monkey can do that too. The point is how much did it cost to create the jobs. And the answer is hundreds of thousands of dollars per job and that too mostly union/govt jobs like public school teachers. Private sector has had minimal growth at best.
    Look up Robert Barro’s empirical analysis in the Wall Street Journal about the effect of the stimulus. He’s a Harvard professor (you know, another den of Republicans).

    Secondly, people mention that only a 1/3rd of the stimulus has been spent so far. Is that really a defense? A stimulus is supposed to stimulate right away. So if you’re going to spend the majority of it a year after the bill had passed – how exactly does it stimulate? By the time the money is spent, the natural economic/business cycle will contribute to the growth of the economy and not the stimulus. All it is is a hoodwink to appease the base. Not to mention phony congressional districts, dubious ways of counting jobs saved and just pure ridiculous waste like hundreds of thousands of dollars to Univ of Buffalo to study link between pot and malt liquor. That’s just one example I read about the other day. A job could be created just to find such gems. And this grant is certainly stimulating – just not to the economy.

    Not to mention, everyone was told the stimulus HAD to passed right now or we’re doomed. The unemployment will go (Oh my God) over 8%. Remind me what the rate is now. It was such an urgency to pass the bill that no one was even allowed to read it. So the Stimulus did not accomplish the most basic goal of stemming the unemployment numbers. Thus a a colossal trillion dollar (with interest) failure.

    Evan Bayh thinks that if he creates ONE job, it will be more than what Congress has created in the past 6 months. But of course the solution of the left has been to demonize Bayh instead of coming up with intelligent arguments refuting his claim.

    Of course, the administration is just now getting to a ‘Jobs Bill’. 13 months after taking office. I thought the stimulus was supposed to create jobs. If a trillion bucks couldn’t do it, what will a few more Billion do? Nothing. its a con job.

    As for the stock market, it is up not because of but in spite of Obama policies. Anyone who thinks Obama is business friendly has be delusional. So lets not cite random stock market statistics.

    By that logic, you should be grateful to Bush for the years of Stock boom (from ’02 to ’07) when the Dow was over 15,000 and the unemployment averaged less than 5%. You know, what could be referred to as the good old days.

    And if you must cite random stats, lets look at bank failures for 2009 and consumer confidence numbers that came out this week (lowest in 10 months). So economy still flat-lining might be a *bit* of an exaggeration but not really.

    Now, Obama wouldn’t be criticized as harshly as he has been, if he had made jobs and economy a priority from day 1. Healthcare was the sole obsession. You’d think there is a plague imminent if you look at how much time they have wasted on healthcare. I understand it stems from the decades of frustration but at least have an ear for the public’s mood and concerns.

    As for people who think Iraq isn’t succeeding, you’re irreparably in denial. Even Biden sees it as a success and hence the self congratulation.
    Whatever you may think of the Sunni awakening, it is no thanks to Obama. Obama has contributed absolutely zero to the progress in Iraq.

    Am I saying Iraq is a dream destination for business and people in search of a better life? Def not, but it is exponentially better than it was 3 years ago. Thus blossoming. Citing civilian deaths and all that does not negate the progress.

    Finally, I actually want the Democrats and Obama to continue down this Kamikaze path. Please continue talking about healthcare, passing massive spending bills to appease the unions, try cases of hardcore terrorists in midtown Manhattan and so forth.
    So please, don’t stop due to those obstructive Republicans, or due to the message from voters in MA and the countless polls saying nothing is improving, Obama shouldn’t be reelected, Healthcare bill is utterly unappetizing, no jobs are being created.. I mean what do those those moron voters know anyway. Continue Democrats, please. November can’t get here sooner.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Mark –

    So it is from usgovernmentspending.com…I didn’t look to see the #6 footnote was from.

    But most of the rest IS from the IMF, OECD, and CIA.

    And everything I said concerning being careful of your sources, of how they will take good statistics – as the 83.4% figure appears to be – and use it to say something else completely…is absolutely true.

    And I proved it using your reference as an example.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Mr. Krutic –

    Two things.

    First,

    That 6% believe that the stimulus has created jobs is a NY Times/CBS poll – you know the bastions of conservative thought.

    I didn’t deny that, did I? No, I didn’t. I DID point out how it’s an example of how effective the RNC and its fully-owned subsidiary Fox ‘News’ was at twisting public perception.

    Second,

    Given a choice between taking your (and Dave’s) opinion, or taking the opinions of HS Global Insight, Macroeconomics Advisers, and Moody’s – not to mention the CBO and additional facts and figures published by the WSJ and Bloombergs’…

    …sorry, Mr. Krutic, but your credibility suffers greatly compared to theirs.

  • Mark

    Glenn #33, the relevant number for this discussion is the one concerning the US.

    Since the 83.4 figure is acceptable to you, then can I reasonably assume that you accept the same site’s more up to date figures that I linked to above?

    So, as I said earlier: …as I understand it, US federal debt as a percentage of GDP has gone over 90% and is quickly headed for 100% which Standard and Poor’s has stated would be incompatible with a AAA credit rating.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, you can believe or not believe the things I say as you choose, but keep in mind that my facts come from much the same sources you reference, so the question comes down to whether you’re really looking at the issue objectively.

    DAve

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    2.5 million jobs is still 2.5 million jobs, isn’t it? What would our jobless rate – and our economy – be without those jobs?

    11.5% would be the official unemployment rate. The real unemployment rate would be correspondingly higher. The point is that the claim (unsubstantiable) of 2.5 million jobs created is not the amazing accomplishment or turnaround which you and others are heralding it as.

    Prove your first two claims…

    The data is all available at the BLS if you’d like to wade through it. I’ve done it before and I’d do it again, but I have a kidney stone and it’s making me testy and impatient.

    and as for the third, remember – people WITH jobs (government or not) are able to spend and contribute to the economy FAR more than someone without a job.

    Well sure, but it’s not the kind of sustained expansion of the job market which we need and which we would get from ending all this insane spending and cutting corporate taxes.


    I didn’t know that you were more authoritative than IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomics Advisers, and Moody’s! Guess I was wrong…. Not!

    Nothing I’ve said contradicts their findings, actually.

    So WHAT major segment of the market is vastly overvalued right now, Dave? Please enlighten me!

    All of them. Our entire stock market is floating on a bubble of borrowed money and a currency which is on the verge of collapse. I don’t think the next crash will be as devastating as many economists do, but it’s going to be bad.

    Dave

  • Mark

    (gak, sorry to hear about your stone, Dave.)

  • Tony

    The point everyone seems to be missing is that there is nothing to take credit for. The second we leave that country, no matter which party is in office, it will descend into chaos. Furthermore, there was no real goal to accomplish anyway (aside from rebuilding their country when we should be rebuilding are own), so what exactly can Obama take credit for?

    Both of these idiotic presidents have continued a pointless war in which it has taken longer for us to accomplish nothing then it did to vanquish the Axis (over twice as long). The only credit that should be taken from this disaster is the president who finally pulls us out of that mess, cuts the defense budget in half, and uses that money on the AMERICAN PEOPLE.

    Any president or citizen that believes our tax dollars are better spent building schools for Iraqi children as our schools crumble and our citizens are thrown into the streets in un-American.

    And all you teabagger idiots who care so scared of socialism. What the hell do you think we are doing in Iraq? Ironic isn’t it that the way to stimulate and grow Iraq is for us (and their government) to rebuild the country but here our government is supposed to stay out of the business of building infrastructure. “spend my taxes dollars on killing Arabs but not on the American people” right teabaggers!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    No Krutic. 14 was not entirely sarcasm. But let me explain. For me, this whole business of taking for granted that wars can be successful is as objectionable as talking about actually murdering people. It doesn’t make it less so merely because it’s done all the time. I don’t think it’s acceptable and I find it as objectionable as the blather of a white supremacist or other extremely objectionable person with an objectionable pov (which I used as an example…because apparently murder won’t do as an example…being that it’s normal to discuss murdering other people as if it is nothing).

    And I have read your work before. Your pov is offensive to me.

  • Baronius

    “I have a kidney stone and it’s making me testy and impatient.”

    Dave, my prayers are with you. Before the end of the day, you may find yourself praying too. You’ll also develop a profound love for Afghanistan’s primary agricultural export.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    When it comes to your kidney stone, I’m deeply thankful that I can’t say that “I feel your pain”. Gallstones were bad enough, but kidney stones? As far as I’m concerned, until they’re gone you’ve got a free pass to be forgiven for just about anything you do or say. I wish you a very speedy recovery.

    11.5% would be the official unemployment rate. The real unemployment rate would be correspondingly higher. The point is that the claim (unsubstantiable) of 2.5 million jobs created is not the amazing accomplishment or turnaround which you and others are heralding it as.

    Problem is, Dave, the higher we allow the unemployment rate to go, the harder it becomes to recover from said unemployment…and I think I can honestly say that the difficulty would rise on a nearly logarithmic scale because of the vicious circle it entails. Economy’s bad, so businesses cut prices and cut jobs…and less people have money to spend, so economy gets worse and businesses cut prices more and cut jobs more…and so on. You do get the picture.

    THAT is where the government comes in with a stimulus to jump-start the economy. The government’s efforts are NOT meant to immediately create jobs that are sustainable in and of themselves…but to temporarily improve the economy to the point where businesses begin hiring again so that sustainable jobs ARE created.

    Dave, it’s really just like a person whose heart has stopped. If you use a defibrillator on him, the energy from the defibrillator is not what’s going to sustain the man – of course not! What it does – just like the economic stimulus – is jumpstart the man’s heart so that it and the rest of his body can sustain itself.

    The use of an economic stimulus to jump-start an economy is really a rather easily-understood – and well-tested – concept.

    The data is all available at the BLS if you’d like to wade through it. I’ve done it before and I’d do it again, but I have a kidney stone and it’s making me testy and impatient.

    Okay…what’s BLS?

    Well sure, but it’s not the kind of sustained expansion of the job market which we need and which we would get from ending all this insane spending and cutting corporate taxes.

    As far as the sustained expansion of the job market, see above in my comment. And when it comes to insane spending…who bears by far the lion’s share of the blame? The Republicans…and everyone who supports them.

    Dave, you’re SO eager to attack Obama and the Dems when it comes to fiscal responsibility. You’ve complained before about Bush and the Republicans’ fiscal irresponsibility, but it’s like you gently scold the conservatives while you’re treating the liberals like the proverbial red-headed stepchild (no offense to the gingers out there).

    The lion’s share of the butt-chewing and castigation and flame-throwing should be directed at those who bear the lion’s share of the blame…and my problem with you, Dave, is that you don’t do that.

    Nothing I’ve said contradicts their findings, actually.

    So, unlike Mark you believe that the stimulus has created between 1.2 and 1.8 million jobs? That’s good.

    All of them. Our entire stock market is floating on a bubble of borrowed money and a currency which is on the verge of collapse. I don’t think the next crash will be as devastating as many economists do, but it’s going to be bad.

    Overvaluation and too much debt are TWO completely different factors. If you’re going to claim that we’re overvalued, then provide the proof of your claim.

    When it comes to debt – yeah, we’re neck-deep in it (but we’ve been in worse straits before)…and remember whose efforts put us most of the way there.

    “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” – Dick Cheney

    I do have a healthy respect for you, and I think you know that. When you start pointing the lion’s share of the virulent rhetoric at those who bear the lion’s share of the blame, I’ll have a great deal more respect for you. Think about it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Dave, my prayers are with you. Before the end of the day, you may find yourself praying too. You’ll also develop a profound love for Afghanistan’s primary agricultural export.

    quoted for truth and a belly laugh!

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I have a kidney stone and it’s making me testy and impatient

    Dave, when I worked at BK in the States, one of the employees I got on with rather well had a kidney stone, and from him as well as my wife, I learned that they are extremely painful. I realize that you do not recognize G-d, but He recognizes you, for you have done good things to others. So my prayers for your full recovery are also with you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Glenn, Ruvy

    I didn’t think is was such a serious condition. Painful as hell, but you just pass ‘em under the urologist’s supervision.

    Can’t the passing be induced? I’ve gone through it myself.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Dave,

    If I were you, I would take Glenn on his offer. Say something outrageous.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Okay…what’s BLS?

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics, I’m assuming.

  • Baronius

    They’re about as bad as gallstones, from what I understand. The experience can vary considerably. As long as the stone doesn’t get impacted, and there’s no infection, it’s not serious.

    I’m guessing that Dave will be testy for several hours, then vicious, then offline for a bit, then talking about how Alex Jones makes sense (that’ll be when the morphine kicks in). I remember thinking about “Dark Side of the Moon” on the cab ride home from the hospital. It was sweet.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I may be confusing the two.

    I know I passed something. But until I did, it felt like childbirth.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I’ve had gallstones…and the subsequent gall-bladder-ectomy. It was no fun at all, but by most accounts didn’t even approach kidney stones.

  • Mark

    So, unlike Mark you believe that the stimulus has created between 1.2 and 1.8 million jobs?

    Slipshod research and defamation to boot. tsk, tsk

  • John Wilson

    “So, as I said earlier: …as I understand it, US federal debt as a percentage of GDP has gone over 90% and is quickly headed for 100% which Standard and Poor’s has stated would be incompatible with a AAA credit rating.”

    So, why would anyone believe S&P these days? They AAA-rated MBSs and CDSs to bump up their own take. Why would you trust them now?

  • http://cqpinion.blogspot.com/ Krutic A

    #40:

    Well glad you can refute my article with facts and policy ideas.

    “Find your pov offensive”

    Happy to oblige.

    Oh and, A white supremacist is ‘White’ by definition. I know facts don’t matter but just a suggestion for next time you feel like refuting claims by childish name calling.

    Wishing a world without war doesn’t make it so. I’m glad subsequent Presidents from FDR to Obama don’t share your views.. or this conversation would be in Japanese.

    I’m sorry that the the world isn’t a giant drum circle where guitars and pot (government supplied of course) solve all world problems.
    Peace *V* dooood.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Krutic, you need to watch your HTML codes.

    That’s twice now you’ve left an italics tag open…

    Thanks,
    Dr Dreadful
    Assistant Comments Editor

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I really think you ought to leave Obama or Bush when talking of necessary wars. (And LBJ and Kennedy, too.)

    Somehow, it doesn’t ring true.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Wishing a world without war doesn’t make it so. I’m glad subsequent Presidents from FDR to Obama don’t share your views – or this conversation would be in Japanese.

    I’m sorry that the the world isn’t a giant drum circle where guitars and pot (government supplied of course) solve all world problems.

    Hi Cindy!!

    Last I recall discussing this with you, you did not want to sacrifice your home for the sake of some “poor Palestinian”. But you are willing to force me to sacrifice mine – sweet of you. Put simply, you are willing to give away what doesn’t belong to you to satisfy your guilty conscience. I find your POV offensive and disgusting.

    I suggest you remember well what Mr. Krutic tells you above. I find war to be despicable. But unfortunately, some of my neighbors do not. Not only that, but a whole bunch of “Christians” have decided to wear their hakenkreuzer on their sleeves, bless their little stone hearts. Let them be so blessed as to burn in the hell their preachers tell them about in church.

    So long as I have enemies willing to murder me off, I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks. I’ll fight to kill them – because I intend to live. MY POV is that I intend to see grandchildren, G-d willing.

    See you later! It’s a pleasure talking to you!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Afghanistan and Iraq do not fall into the neat categories, Ruvy, that you and Mr. Krutic are trying to saddle us with.

    And neither does Vietnam or the Korean conflict – both consequences of the Cold War mentality and the domino theory.

    So let’s keep things in perspective, shall we?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Roger,

    So let’s keep things in perspective, shall we?

    I have told you guys often enough that you should have taken out the Saudi thugs in Arabia instead of wasting all your money in Iraq. But since Cindy decided to talk about the “offensive” point of view of Mr. Krutic, I decided to throw it all back in her face. Her own point of view – one which endorses Jew-hatred (under the heading of a self-hating Jew, Chomsky) is offensive to me – and disgusting. I saw comment #53 and remembered the discussion we had had on a different thread. It all came roaring back, as I remembered her Chomsky produced documentary that wept for the poor Arabs.

    We Jews and Israelis get a lot of unwanted shit from the world – in addition to the Arab terrorism, there are the self-righteous assholes who would sue on behalf of a spoiled mall rat stupid enough to get in front of a bulldozer, there are the false charges of genocide, there are the false charges of organ transplantation, the false charges of war-crimes, the false charges and continual lying of the European and American media, the insipid Jew-hatred that seems to seep into what passes for journalism these days, the hostility and murderousness toward our speakers at universities across Europe, and the open intimidation of Jews at universities in the United States and Canada, backed up by cowardly and Jew-hating (or self-hating) administrators there, and finally, the self-hating Jew-bastards in the Obama “administration” who would move you all towards more fascism than you already have.

    It’s enough to make a man puke.

    That is my perspective, Roger. Much of your so-called politics is nothing more than vomitus hurled by self-righteous bastards who have forgotten civil discourse, honesty and even argumentation. To the degree that it impugns the honor of my people, I’ll call bullshit.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I was’t addressing the Jewish question, Ruvy, just the righteousness that tends to accompany all West-instigated wars.

    The crusade syndrome, one might call it, for lack of a better word.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    You might not be addressing Jewish issues. Frankly, I’m glad you don’t. But those issues are close to my heart, the crap we have to take from the entire world gets to me every now and again.

    If Americans are stupid enough to waste their money on crusades and spend money you haven’t got; and Europeans haven’t got the brains to expel the Muslim “immigrants” they have imported to do their stoop labor, who am I to criticize? I don’t suffer – you and they do.

  • Krutic A

    Ah yes,
    The time has come for self congratulation on the success of the very strategy that the current occupants of this White House continuously mocked.

    I plan to watch tonight’s speech even though its a given that President Obama will not even mention former President Bush; let alone credit him for making this honorable withdrawal possible.

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