Thursday, February 19, 2009

Unasked Question

How often in recent weeks did you hear some version of the following question?

#1) Liberal journalist to Republican opponent of the stimulus spending: "Why is it that you now oppose spending but you did not try to stop the excessive spending that occured during the Bush administration?"

Now how often have you heard this question?

#2) Republican to liberal journalist: "Why, if spending was excessive during the Bush administration, as your question suggests, does it make sense to massively increase spending?"

Question #1 is meant to embarrass Republicans and, truth be told, they deserve it. But question #2 is the far more important question and yet it never was asked.


Anonymous said...

Question #2 has been asked, repeatedly. Perhaps you have to be a cable news or talk radio junkie to have heard that part of the discussion, but it has been tossed around. The answer usually supplied to question #2 is that the dire economic straights we find ourselves in require government intervention - according to a preponderence of economists anyhow.

As for question #1, Republicans cutting taxes while fighting two wars seems counter-intuitive. The second war in Iraq was arguably optional and an over-reaction to 9/11. This however was the course they chose to lead us on and there were good stand-alone arguments for tax cuts and by most reasonable people the war in Afghanistan was totally justified. But where the Republicans blew their credibility on fiscal issues, was the huge amount of simulataneous discretionary spending they added to the federal budget.

So, at the same time that unregulated credit markets were forming a realestate bubble and becoming securitized poison to the banking/investment system, the Republicans threw discretionary spending/gasoline onto the fire. Our financial system flamed out.

Now when we need to spend to get the engine primed and going again, we're in in a bad position because Republicans established a federal budget that assumes huge annual deficits.

We're in a bad spot. If the Republican Party had enforced budget discipline, perhaps we'd be better positioned to take the drastic measures most economists believe we need to take.

Denis Navratil said...

True enough anon, the question was asked but there was hardly any time to really debate it as the bill was passed before anyone could possibly read its contents.

Cutting taxes does seem counter-intuitive it is true, but cutting taxes has, throughout history proven to stimulate investment and greater profits, which even if taxed at a lower rate will often produce greater tax receipts, and this is exactly what happened. The problem was the spending and here both parties are guilty.

Speaking of counter-intuitive arguments, how is it that a "huge amount of...discretionary spending" was a bad idea, that destroyed the credibility of Republicans, can so quickly be rehabilitated into a great idea when enacted by Democrats? Republicans threw discretionary spending/gasoline on a fire and they flamed out but now a firebombing by Dems will do the trick? Really, I don't get it. Please dumb it down for me and explain.

Anonymous said...

Read David Kay Johnston, a journalist whom goes through the voluminous tax records and explains how the records show 'WELFARE FOR THE RICH'.

Take off your idieological blinders Navratil...

Anonymous said...

Increase spending?

It is called Keynsianism - demand side to help the supply side.

Are you dense?

Denis Navratil said...

So you can't really dumb it down for me can you anon? And you ask if I'm dense.

So if borrowing money to spend and stimulate demand is such a good idea, why don't we do it all the time. Why stop at $800 billion? Why not give every American $5 billion. This would stimulate demand even more than Obama's plan wouldn't it anon. So tell me anon, since you are so bright, why wouldn't my plan work?