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A robust defence of George W Bush

This comment by “Armaros”, made in response to a Guardian piece by Michael Tomasky about the former president’s new book, put the case well:

His whole agenda was thrown out the window on 911.

Not since the war of 1812 was the WH directly targeted by an enemy.

He was going to focus on Mexico, L American trade and education.
He recognized that only by bringing Mexico up to par with the rest of N America, can free trade be fair.
He was also for immigration reform and resisted the xenophobic tendencies of the SW states and tried to educate America about why this problem was occurring.

He can claim credit for No Child left behind, along with the late Teddy Kennedy who ran with the bill in the Senate. One of the most memorable stories of bi-partisan co-operation.
He was also instrumental in helping Africa and dealing with AIDS.

Bono and Geldof praised him for that.

His administration was also the most multiracial in American history.
He even offered the VP spot to Powell who decided against it in the end.
He choose a black S of state, a black NSA, and a Hispanic AG.
His Supreme court choices were centrist and sensible in Alito and Roberts.

He addressed crowds in Texas in Spanish and garnered more Latino votes than any republican before him, both as governor and president.

He will be of course remembered for the war(s).

Those will be judged with time. Iraq can be said to be a success. Saddam is gone as is the mad fascist ideology and tyranny. Iraq has proven that democracy can and should work among Arabs.
Most of the criticism of Iraq (aside from the fact that there was a war) was that Arabs cannot live in a democracy.

There have been 4 elections in Iraq with greater turnouts than most Western ones and one can say that democracy did take some hold there.

Afghanistan is still up in the air. I am not sure whether what was done in Iraq can be done there. However it is no longer a base for international terrorism.
In other words, Afghanistan is no longer a threat to us.
Whether it would revert to being that once Western troops leave is a fair question.

Bush was the first US president to declare the necessity for a Palestinian state. Another one of his forgotten positives which the Left omits on the regular.

What do you think?

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66 comments to A robust defence of George W Bush

  • He started the baliouts and paved the way for Obama. Epic fail, just not for the reasons the left thinks.

  • musing market

    Armaros doesn’t understand the concept of comparative advantage with this comment:
    “only by bringing Mexico up to par with the rest of N America, can free trade be fair. ”

    No Child Left Behind, help for Africa and praise from Bono & Geldoff is the kind of well-meaning but ultimately counterproductive waffle contrarian-lefties will point at regarding Bush. Yet, the USA is in the fiscal mire thanks to Bush’s conciliatory agenda and his passing of socialist legislation (most notably the Medicare expansion in 2003).

    A decade ago the US economy looked like it could continue its world leading growth rates (for a mature economy) with a dynamism free from the shackles of fiscal ponzi schemes. Now the US looks like it’ll have the turgid growth rate of Europe with the fiscal timebomb to match.

    If the children of Africa, Mexico and Iraq are better off in a generation they’ll be thanking a more enlightened China, not Old America.

  • mckracken

    i think cherrypicking is cherrypicking, except when it’s called fruit retention engineering:cherry division.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    I am worried that he is still a better President than Al ‘Climategate’ Gore would have been! What does that say about the quality of either party, if these were their candidates?

  • martin

    So glad he can claim credit for the violation of the Constitution that is “No child left behind”. That’s what I think.

    Adressing a crowd in Spanish. The achievement!
    Geez…

  • kevin

    Even relative to the abysmal standard of U.S. presidents, Bush was a bit worse than average, I’d guess.

    The good:

    He signed free-trade agreements.
    He succeeded in bringing about some substantial income tax cuts.

    The bad:

    Pretty much everything else.

    Gore might have been worse, I guess. But since there was a republican congress for most of those 8 years, I doubt he would have done much harm. And the Iraq war, at least may never have happened.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Like Perry, the problem with comments such as this is that apart from the issue of free trade, it praises Bush in large part for the interventionist things he did or tried to do, or the government spending he did (No Child Left Behind, etc).

    Bush was in the WH and the Republicans held power in Congress during a period when, for example, the Federal Reserve, led by Greenspan for that time, engaged in a reckless debauchery of the dollar, which lies behind much of our current financial mess. Also, Bush made a nonsense of any free trade credentials by slapping tariffs on steel soon after he was elected.

    On defence, my view is that he did the right thing, generally, in realising that we needed to hit terror supporting states where there were provable connections, and there is no doubt in my mind that the Taliban, and Saddam, had dirty hands in that regard. As for the execution of the Iraq war after invasion, let’s just say that although the anti-war left and isolationist right will never be happy, Bush and his colleagues did not really get a grip on the situation until the Surge.

    Bush did cut some taxes, true; he also held out – mostly – against the idiots on the Green side; he did have an understanding of problems on the south of the US border that are useful.

    He was not a bad man and in the years after 9/11, there was no major further attack on US soil. He deserves a measure of credit for that.

    I am afraid, however, that the very existence today of the Tea Party proves that there is a vacuum in modern Republicanism, and that gap is partly Bush’s fault.

    Like I said, history might treat Bush more kindly than some do today. Not a great president, but not an abject failure.

  • Bush liked America. Gore and Obama do not. That counts for a lot in my estimation.

  • bradley13

    Armaros seems to think that, in the absence of 9/11, Bush would have concentrated on his campaign promises. Politicians rarely do – there are websites devoted to tracking just how rarely this happens.

    No Child Left Behind? A disaster of a program that has further damaged an already dilapidated educational system.

    Bush was and is a rather dull plodder, who was steered by the company he kept. What would he have done without 9/11? Catered to all the special interests represented by Cheney and others – people pulling the strings of power in the background.

    Consider: After 9/11 a real, effective leader would not have mired the USA in an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. There never was any reason to attack Iraq – this was plain to see by anyone who looked at the public evidence. This was all idiocy, carried through by a dullard – unable to see that these actions were urged by people who stood to profit mightily from the flow of government contracts to Blackwater, Halliburton, and other such companies.

    Of course, that latter is purely supposition on my part. Perhaps it is better not to look for consipiracy, where simple incompetence is an adequate explanation.

    Bush only looks “good” in comparison to Obama, who is not dull at all, but actively, intelligently working to turn the USA into a leftist Utopia, at whatever cost.

  • Obama, who is not dull at all, but actively, intelligently working to turn the USA into a leftist Utopia, at whatever cost.

    True, but still dull.

    Oh, and what Jonathan said.

  • John B

    He started out following what he saw as good and beneficial for America (within the parameters allowed by daddy?) but was destroyed by the “other agenda” that works through the State Department, and other arms of the real government.
    Invasion of Iraq is debatable and I don’t know all the facts.
    But good or bad it was destroyed by sabotage that was able to happen, whether by deliberate intent or the “blind eye”.
    The Abu Ghraib disaster. What the heck happened there? Stupid and of no benefit to anyone other than America’s enemies.
    Allowing Iraq to go mad and be looted internally after the invasion.
    So many things done so badly. I really do strongly suspect sabotage.
    It became blatant with the 2007 NIE report that established a consensus that Iran was no threat regarding nukes.
    He challenged the real Government of America and it destroyed him.
    Or did it?
    What was daddy doing through all this?
    It does not all make sense and thus there must be pieces missing from the picture?

  • Laird

    I think Johnathan has it just about right.

    No one has yet mentioned the Patriot Act or the Real ID Act. Both were (are) unacceptable intrusions into personal freedom perpetrated by Bush (and so of course embraced by Obama).

    It seems to me that Bush is basically a standard-issue pre-Vietnam era Democrat: reasonably strong on national defense but liberal (read: “statist”) on social issues and happy to foster the growth of the federal Leviathan. He and LBJ would have gotten along famously.

  • HAHAHA

    I would count most of those such as “praised by Bono and Bob Geldof” as DAMNING INDICTMENTS.
    Pathetic, is this supposed to be a libertarian/conservative blog or what? Get this shit out of my face. Bush can rot in hell.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Assume for a moment that 9/11 was an inside job. Bush would be a major league war criminal. And for the US, pariah nation status would beckon. That’s why Obama has to try to hold the dam.

  • James Waterton

    Pathetic, is this supposed to be a libertarian/conservative blog or what?

    Contemplationist clearly needs to contemplate the concept of the quotation.

  • Paul Marks

    Bush before 9/11

    The Medicare extention.

    And.

    “No Child Left Behind”.

    Not impressed – to put it mildy.

  • Saxon

    Perry de Haviland must not be familiar with the real world America – Bush “paved” the way for Obama like Day paves the way for night. Do you think a McCain victory would have been better? Everything that is wrong with the world would be blamed on the Right and the leftists would be trashing the country (in a bigger way than now) with bipartisan support

    Obama was inevitable – only an obama presidency would show all the idiots what he is about. You can never prove to people that he was the wrong guy. Now after 2 years of his “rule” a majority of voters understand him.

    As to Bush, he is certainly better than Gore and Kerry – so the US voters did the right thing in 2000 and 04. Jonathan Pearce above on balance has it right about Bush’s presidency. He was not a strong fiscal conservative – that should have been the job for Repub congress, but once they started pigging out, Bush was too nice/weak to cut spending.

  • Saxon

    Re: bank bailouts – the $350 billion Bush gave out to banks is (or will be) returned with some ROI. It is the 2nd $350 billion that Obama distributed to auto companies, Fannie/Freddie, Green jobs, or whatever that is a loser. While I am in principle opposed to bailouts, a case was made that without some action on the part of Govt in Oct/Nov 2008, the banking system might have collapsed.

  • Perry de Haviland must not be familiar with the real world America – Bush “paved” the way for Obama like Day paves the way for night. Do you think a McCain victory would have been better?

    Perry de Havilland is very familiar with real world America… and do I think a McCain victory would have been better?

    Now lets seewhat do you think?

    Bush increased the size of the state and most catastrophically, he started the bailouts (which McCain also supported), thereby provided Obama with all the tools he needed. He took Bush’s bailout and just made it bigger, a political slam dunk courtesy of GWB.

    So yeah, I was calling for the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party.

  • Tom Paine

    George Bush’s America freed 50 million people from two of the most murderous governments on earth. It gave those people two U.N.-approved constitutional democracies, instead of pro-American dictatorships and has protected them, at high cost and little direct benefit, from even more murderous butchers until their own new governments could grow up enough to do it alone.

    When the process is complete, George Bush will be one of the greatest liberators in human history and America will be one for the 7th or 8th time in its history. There will be two new democracies beginning the process of joining the modern world, as Germany, Japan, Italy, South Korea, and the Phillipines did 60 years ago and as Eastern Europe did during the Reagan period.

    As a bonus, America has developed a military that can beat an Islamo-fascist insurgency even at the heart of the ancient Caliphate.

    And none of Bush’s critics could have done any of this better, as well, or at all.

  • Tom Paine

    George Bush’s America freed 50 million people from two of the most murderous governments on earth. It gave those people two U.N.-approved constitutional democracies, instead of pro-American dictatorships and has protected them, at high cost and little direct benefit, from even worse butchers until their own new governments could grow up enough to do it alone.

    When the process is complete, George Bush will be one of the greatest liberators in human history and America will be one for the 7th or 8th time in its history. There will be two new democracies beginning the process of joining the modern world, as Germany, Japan, Italy, South Korea, and the Philippines did 60 years ago and as Eastern Europe did during the Reagan period.

    As a bonus, America has developed a military that can beat an Islamo-fascist insurgency even at the heart of the ancient Caliphate.

    This is a major advance for world civilization.

    And none of Bush’s critics could have done any of this better, as well, or At All.

  • Saxon

    Perry de Haviland is indeed familiar with the real world America! I stand corrected.

    But de Haviland should realize ‘perfect’ is not going to happen any time soon with the cast of characters we have. When Bush presidency is evaluated, you shouldn’t just get stuck on spending alone. No matter what Bush did, the constant beat down by the media would have tired the “moderate/swing” voters and a Dem would have won after 8 yrs of Bush. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that happened to be the empty suit marxist. I don’t see that obama needed Bush’s paving or enabling – obama jumped to trillion dollar boondoggles and wholesale federalization of healthcare sector …

    you may say “Bush did the Medicare prescription drug thing, thus paving the way for Obama’s Health Care ‘reform'”, but my point was that Obama didn’t need any priming. I wish Bush were more fiscally conservative and less of a nation builder – but looking at the choices we had, Bush was a better choice than Gore and Kerry, and a better president than Obama.

  • bob

    W will go down in history as F.D.R. has, provided his fiscal policies do not bankrupt the U.S.. Doris Kearns Goodwin was forced to admit on national radio a while back that perhaps the FDR’s policies did not make sense in the long term, but, she reported, people could eat. That is W’s legacy. Not what one would hope, but he did not screw the pooch.

  • Bart

    1) Bush’s Medicare expansion was a lot less expensive than the Democrats’ alternative, employed market principles, and has been a huge success. The whiners forget that the push for some sort of prescription drug benefit was overwhelmingly backed by the elderly who have real political clout, and was going to happen either on Bush’s terms or the Democrats’ terms. Bush’s legislative ju-jitsu on that matter was a major triumph.

    2) The victory in Iraq and installation of the first true democracy in the heart of the Arab world was a watershed event which will pay positive dividends for humanity for centuries to come. For this accomplishment alone, George W. Bush will be numbered among the greatest US Presidents.

    3) Bush simply did not have the political clout to wield the veto pen with any assurance that he would not have been overridden and diminished even further in power. Why? Because when the going got tough in Iraq, the guys who talk tough and disparage him now covered their butts and ran for the exits. You know who you are, you contemptible swine.

  • mark l.

    i really thought that the decision NOT to put more than 25k troops in afghanistan was actually one of his better moments.

    his successor is just confirming that belief.

    had gore been given the same circumstances of 9/11, 200k in afghanistan would have been likely.

  • Ben

    On the domestic side, the Bush strategy was to strike a compromise: accept the existence of programs (an education dept., a medicare drug benefit, Social Security) but try to shape them to serve conservative social goals (by measuring student performance instead of just dollar inputs, introducing market mechanisms into medicare, shifting SS slightly to include private ownership of assets). This might not have been exactly the right approach, but it was an intelligent and practical governing strategy. It also shows that the Bush administration was playing a long-term game. They thought about how their policies would affect things decades from now.

    Similarly, in the international realm I believe that Bush thought in strategic, long-term ways to a degree that few presidents have done. The war in Iraq was a strategic response to the threat emerging from the Arab Muslim world, designed to shift the balance in our favor over the long run. Bush persevered in his grand strategy in spite of a huge political cost — e.g., surging troops into Iraq even after his party lost the 2006 midterms. He also understood (and said) that a successful strategy would have to be carried on for a long time by administrations of both parties.

    In other words, I am claiming that Bush and his administration were pretty intelligent. They were not always right. I wish they’d done better on the fiscal side. But they look awfully good compared to most of their critics — especially those who dismiss them as a bunch of imbeciles.

  • ic

    What he did was TARP which was a loan to banks to be paid back, eventually, with interest, hopefully. Bailout is Obama’s “stimulus” slush fund for his cronies and “contributors” which will not be paid back.

    There is a difference.

  • Milhouse

    Bush was the first US president to declare the necessity for a Palestinian state. Another one of his forgotten positives which the Left omits on the regular.

    This is a positive?! This is one of his biggest negatives. Fighting terror when it hits the USA, but accommodating it when it hits Israel. There has never been a “necessity” for giving the so-called “Palestinians” their demands; they know well that by right they’re entitled to nothing, and so every concession they get teaches them that terror works. Without terror they would have nothing, so why should they stop?

  • Terrye

    I respect George Bush. He never pretended to be anything he was not. He never pretended to be Tancredo when it came to immigration, so claims that he betrayed conservatives are false. He is as he always was. I also think that some people on the right are willing to look the other way when someone like Reagan raises taxes on social security, or signs onto amnesty, or runs a deficit. They have a double standard when it comes to Bush.

    Bush did not look the other way when terrorists killed innocents, whether it was in Israel or the United States or Baghdad. He was consistent in his principles.

    The same people today on the right who complain about death panels in Obamacare also complain about Part D as excessive.

    Part of the deal with Part D was that it be a public/private plan and that health savings accounts and Medicare Advantage {which conservatives mostly like} be included in the package. Democrats have changed Part D and made it more expensive and they are doing away with health savings accounts and medicare advantage. Why? Because those programs grant more power to the individual and less to the state.

    I think Bush tried to do the best he could with the many challenges he faced. He did so in spite of the hatred of the left and the back stabbing from the right.

    I miss him.

  • Bill Dalasio

    While I agree that TARP was a terrible policy, I have to ask a question. What exactly was the alternative? I remember Fall 2008 well enough to remember that there was a a bit of a banking panic going on and the U.S. financial system was pretty much looking like it was about to collapse. What policy would you have urged? Let the U.S. financial system collapse? I remember a few people I largely agree with were urging just that. It struck me, and still strikes me today, as a profoundly unserious response. It strikes me that I have yet to see a plausible libertarian response to the situation. Hell, I don’t even hear much in the way of libertarian discussion about how to manage the dissolution of financial institutions.

  • He was also for immigration reform and resisted the xenophobic tendencies of the SW states and tried to educate America about why this problem was occurring.
    I find it bloody amazing that wanting to control our national border and do something about crime committed by illegal aliens is considered ‘xenophobic’.

    Yes, Bush is a good man. Doesn’t change that there were times I’d have liked to kick him in the ass and ask “What the hell are you DOING?”

  • JimmyNashville

    Let’s get the history straight here. The economy, regardless of how badly it was talked down in the media, ran fine under Bush 43. In spite of the 2000 down-turn, VC evaporation due to the election uncertainty, 9/11, the war on terrorism, the dot.com bubble burst, and several huge unprecedented natural disasters; everything clicked along OK for 6 years under GWB and a Republican congress. It wasn’t until we got the Reid/Pelosi congress with their war on energy… followed by the promise of electing a hard-left populist that things fell apart.

    You can track the decline in the markets directly against Obama’s gains in the polls. And every day it was another populist gem out of the mouth of this guy. A promise to double the capital gains taxes out of ‘fairness’… a promise to bankrupt the coal industry (our major source of electricity)… a promise to re-write NAFTA in his protective populist image… a promise to expand and create social programs in ways FDR and LBJ couldn’t even have dreamed… and a promise to sock it to the wealthy and make small minority of people already suffering over 50% of the cost of the bloated government pay their ‘fair share’; and as Obama climbed in the polls the S&P and DOW plummeted.

    People with something to lose were paying attention so they sighed a collective ‘sell’ and began to move their money out of American industry and into safer investments for such a climate. And small businesses put ideas of growth on hold because of the uncertainty under a potential administration where their risk and hard work is considered part-of-the-problem with society. Overall, as Obama gained in the polls, the economy slipped into hibernation with a plan to ride out the cold winter.

    And things got even worse after he was elected when it became clear that, not only was he spouting this leftist rhetoric to get elected… he actually believes the populist pabulum and intends to act upon it post-haste; with the cooperation of a leftist-lead congress.

    People sit around and wonder why things have not improved. I’ll tell you why. THE CURE IS THE CAUSE! Any improvement we’ve seen is IN SPITE OF WHAT THEY HAVE DONE; NOT BECAUSE OF IT.

    I don’t disagree with the bank bailout because it was more or less a freebie. We were slipping into a deflation cycle so the only choice was to deflate the dollar to match it; otherwise spending would come to a halt as would our whole economy(and the other world economies that depend upon it). As a benefit to this we significantly increased our money supply, though, without suffering substantial inflation. The government actually got a huge bonus that in time will pay off well. Because we were able to print more money without substantially hurting the dollar relative to other currencies or commodities.

    Add to this that TARP has been mostly repaid and it moves much of the deficit that Bush is blamed for squarely into the Obama, Pelosi, Reid column because they re-spent ALL of the repayments PLUS enough more to run up an addition $3Trillion in debt < 20 month! The latest stimulus has had a huge negative effect because it’s goal evidently wasn’t to stimulate but to pass a litany of long-term social obligations for which we won’t be able to pay. You can see this in the no-confidence vote we’re getting trying to sell US debt. We’re now having to pay higher interest in order to get countries to buy our bonds (which we have to sell to maintain our bloated government). That’s due to the collapse of the stalwart US free market economy in favor of the promise of more and more populist ‘social justice’. Now Bernanke is having to buy treasuries because the value of the dollar is undivorcibly married to the fiscal malfeasance of the last 2 years. The Bush criticisms don’t stick as well as most might like because they are largely unfounded.

  • JimmyNashville

    Bush’s immigration stance was enlightened. It was basically, make it easier to do right than it is to do wrong and you don’t have to focus your energies on people following the more reasonable rules who are just looking for a better life. You can then focus your energies on the people who are trying to subvert a more reasonable system.

    Put yourself in the position of a man in Mexico with no opportunity to support his family… who may be just barely surviving. Hell yeah I’d come to America and break the rules to feed my family and make a better life because the immigration laws are an arbitrary barrier to free trade.

    Make it as easy to do right as it is to do wrong though and I’ll be standing in line with my work visa instead of swimming the Rio Grande. Then the border patrol can focus on the tens of people trying to sneek across the border every day rather than the thousands.

  • Laird

    “While I agree that TARP was a terrible policy, I have to ask a question. What exactly was the alternative?”

    I remember the Fall of 2008, too. I remember the depressing spectacle of a US Treasury Secretary, a Federal Reserve Chairman and the Chairman of the NY Fed (since elevated to Treasury Secretary; no bad deed goes unrewarded) running around like headless chickens in a total panic. Yes, that certainly gave the markets confidence! Not one of these esteemed gentlemen was (or is) competent for the job with which he was entrusted, and their joint fecklessness and irresponsibility was a major contributor to the level of public distress. Had they remained calm, projected confidence, and publicly promised that there would be no governmental bailouts, the market would have settled itself down and the valuation problems* would have been eventually resolved. The panic would have subsided and order restored to the market. And if a few firms had to file for bankruptcy protection, so what? The result would have been an orderly resolution of the specific claims, and a bold reaffirmation of market discipline. There is no possible way that the entire financial system would have collapsed, the protestations of professional cassandras notwithstanding.

    What Paulson, Bernanke and Geithner did was succumb to their own fears. And that’s the worst possible thing they could have done to a market which depends upon confidence.

    * Yes, most of what caused the financial meltdown was problems with assigning reasonable values (theoretical values!) to illiquid securities and contracts. Goldman Sachs (isn’t it funny how their fingerprints can be found on everything dirty?) brought down AIG by demanding that it post additional collateral after GS unilaterally (and irrationally) marked down the “values” of certain contracts using its own proprietary models. Had US governmental assistance not been forthcoming, either the parties would have worked together to determine rational values, or at worst AIG would have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the Court would have done so. Either result would have been vastly preferable to what actually occurred.

  • I don’t disagree with the bank bailout because it was more or less a freebie.

    OMG. A ‘freebie’ eh? This is why I keep pointing out that so many Republican are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Bush put the policies in place and Obama just turned up the dial.

  • Laird

    JimmyNashville’s capsule history of the 2000’s is very good. Where we part ways is over his paragraph which begins with the “freebie” sentence, which I think is mostly wrong. Perry has dealt with the “freebie” part, so I’ll focus on the rest of that paragraph.

    We were “slipping into a deflation cycle” so we had to “deflate the dollar to match”? That makes no sense, and in any event is certainly not what happened; there has been no deflation (salutary as that might have been). And although we did indeed “significantly increase the money supply”, inflation has been kept under control only because the banks aren’t lending and their excess reserves on deposit with the Fed have grown to over $1 Trillion. (See this article of a few months ago.) Explosive inflation is a real risk, a ticking time bomb which will explode whenever the banks start lending again. (Probably when interest rates rise from their current artificial and irrationally low levels.) And the value of the dollar has certainly been hurt relative to other currencies and commodities (have you looked at the price of gold lately?); where on earth did you get the idea that it hadn’t?

    Debasing the currency can never have good long term consequences, and because of that even whatever short-term benefits it may provide will be extremely limited in duration (the market will reflect future expectations).

    Keynes once famously remarked that in the long run we’re all dead (a fatuous comment which is an entirely unsatisfactory justification for foisting off our problems onto our grandchildren). But in any event, these days I don’t think we’ll be able to draw even any meager comfort from that; unfortunately, I think most of us will live to regret the economic and monetary idiocies perpetrated by our governments over the last few years. We’re in for some rocky times, folks. Buckle up!

  • Bart

    JimmyNashville: excellent.

    Laird: He is right. When the mortgage crisis hit, billions of dollars thought to be locked up in real estate essentially vanished overnight. Replenishing those dollars into the system simply reinstated the status quo ante.

  • Bart

    Posted by Perry de Havilland at November 12, 2010 04:38 PM

    Bush put the policies in place and Obama just turned up the dial.

    Ah, yes, the old slippery slope fallacy. Stop me before I kill again! Take away my freedoms so I won’t hurt myself! I am not responsible for my deeds, you are!

    Puh-leeze. Bush is not responsible for Obama’s actions. Obama is.

  • Sunfish

    1) Bush’s Medicare expansion was a lot less expensive than the Democrats’ alternative, employed market principles, and has been a huge success. The whiners forget that the push for some sort of prescription drug benefit was overwhelmingly backed by the elderly who have real political clout, and was going to happen either on Bush’s terms or the Democrats’ terms. Bush’s legislative ju-jitsu on that matter was a major triumph.

    Creation of a new social-spending program is a triumph on whose planet? Bush could have vetoed anything sent to his desk.

    2) The victory in Iraq and installation of the first true democracy in the heart of the Arab world

    Lebanon? Egypt? Or is Iraq magically different and more stable than the others?

    3) Bush simply did not have the political clout to wield the veto pen with any assurance that he would not have been overridden and diminished even further in power. Why? Because when the going got tough in Iraq, the guys who talk tough and disparage him now covered their butts and ran for the exits. You know who you are, you contemptible swine.

    Which 34 senators would have overridden a veto of Part D? Which 34 would have overridden a veto of No Child Left Unmolested?

    And question for the Bush fans: What’s the justification for Jose Padilla?

  • Bart

    Creation of a new social-spending program is a triumph on whose planet? Bush could have vetoed anything sent to his desk.

    So, take the elderly backlash, let the Dems get a veto-proof majority and pass the plan on THEIR terms? F- for strategic thinking.

    Lebanon? Egypt?

    Words have precise meanings. Read it again.

    Which 34 senators would have overridden a veto of Part D? Which 34 would have overridden a veto of No Child Left Unmolested?

    As I suggested with the first comment, you seem incapable of thinking four dimensionally.

    What’s the justification for Jose Padilla?

    Could you be more specific?

  • Laird

    Wow, Bart. Where to begin?

    Those “billions of dollars . . . locked up in real estate” were faux equity, the result of the housing bubble created by artificially low interest rates, disguised federal subsidies at every level of the housing food chain, “stimulative” tax policies, and a litany of insane federal meddling too extensive to list here. And because housing prices have begun* to return to more rational, sustainable levels** you think we should inflate (i.e., debase) our currency to “replace” that “lost” equity? That’s just nuts. First of all, that “equity” wasn’t cash sitting in a bank vault (or even reflected in the M2, M3, etc., monetary aggregates). Taking it away didn’t reduce the nation’s monetary stock, so “replacing” it with newly-printed cash makes no sense. Second, even if you assume that all that lost equity was somehow real, replacing it with an equivalent face amount of fiat currency won’t restore the lost wealth; it will merely reduce even farther the remaining wealth, through the inevitable inflation it creates. And finally***. even if substituting “lost” pseudo-wealth with fiat currency somehow made any economic sense, that newly-printed cash didn’t go to the people who “lost” it, but rather to the government (through monetized debt) so Obama, Pelosi et al could bestow their largesse on favored constituencies.

    Sorry, but you (and JimmyNashville) are just wrong. An economy grows through the creation of wealth, not the confiscation and redistribution of it and certainly not through the debasement of its medium of exchange.

    * I don’t think that the correction has yet run its course; it’s likely there will be continued housing price declines in some markets.

    * The Case-Schiller Index indicates that nationally we have returned to roughly 2004 price levels (inflation-adjusted). Personally, I think we need to get closer to the 2000 levels before things stabilize.

    *** Well, not really “finally”, but this post has gone on long enough already and we don’t really need more details.

  • Sunfish

    What’s the justification for Jose Padilla?

    Could you be more specific?

    Because you have no idea what I mean?

    What justification would you care to offer, for holding an American citizen, taken into custody within the US, to be tried by a military tribunal, without access to the civilian court?

    While we’re talking about security theater, explain the creation of TSA. Explain the claim that, because he’s CinC, he has the power to wiretap American citizens without court approval. Or explain at least why he didn’t fire or repudiate the Attorney General who made this claim.

    And explain why we have not seen a balanced budget in a decade.

    And there was not going to be any veto-proof Dem majority, anywhere. Thinking that to be a possibility that would alleviate the guilt of a President who on his best day was no better than LBJ may give you the comfort that comes from not being responsible because you had no choice, but that doesn’t make it true.

  • Puh-leeze. Bush is not responsible for Obama’s actions. Obama is.

    So did Bush (and indeed McCain) spend political capital to establish the acceptability of the gargantuan bailouts or was he a model of financial rectitude and spat on the fatuous notion of “too big to fail”? No prizes for the correct answer.

    Obama is just IMPLEMENTING BUSH”S POLICY by running the printing presses and there is no escaping that. Bush was the one who signed off on the principle of epic massive state bailouts for failures caused by government policies he did not seriously even try to repeal.

    Sorry Bert but your side, the bi-partisan establishment side, is as culpable for the mess as the current lot. No free ride for you.

    This is why driving the apologists of GWB out of the Republican party needs to be the Tea Party’s most urgent and ruthlessly implemented task… and fortunately quite a lot of Tea Party folks understand that.

  • So, take the elderly backlash, let the Dems get a veto-proof majority and pass the plan on THEIR terms? F- for strategic thinking.

    Yes, I will take that F with enthusiasm. F for Fuck the backlash. No, seriously, fuck ’em. You can make that argument for EVERY rent seeking special interest group and those are numerous beyond counting. You have to be willing to say fuck every damn one of them or you simply do not understand the nature of the problem.

    If the Republicans implement vastly intrusive and economically ruinous statist policies themselves, who cares if the Dems get in and then implement…. vastly intrusive and economically ruinous statist policies. It does not matter.

    You guys are the people who got things where they are, the Dems did not do this alone. And that is why the Dems are not the real problem, you guys are, because Big State Republicans are just an illusion of providing an alternative because if you vote for the Dems, the state keeps growing bur if you vote for Republicans like Bush or McCain…the state keeps growing.

  • Bart

    Laird at November 12, 2010 09:25 PM

    Let me guess, you’re a goldbug?

    Sunfish at November 12, 2010 09:28 PM

    Because you have no idea what I mean?

    Er, no, because I don’t think you do. A move was made to try Padilla in a military court. It failed, because of the protections we have in our Constitution. Far from showing a weakness, that shows the system is robust.

    And explain why we have not seen a balanced budget in a decade.

    Because it’s a stupid notion to drive the creation of new money below the level needed for growth in the economy? Because there is absolutely nothing wrong, and everything right, with running a moderate deficit which is outpaced by growth? Did you even notice that the debt, not the deficit, the debt, was decreasing in Bush’s second term relative to GDP?

    And there was not going to be any veto-proof Dem majority, anywhere.

    Clearly, you have gotten so wrapped up in your argument, you have lost touch with reality.

    Perry de Havilland at November 12, 2010 10:12 PM

    Obama is just IMPLEMENTING BUSH”S POLICY…

    Obama is implementing Obama’s policy. TARP was supposed to be one-off, and pay for itself. You could just as easily, and incoherently, argue that Obama is implementing George Washington’s policy, because he originated the government apparatus here in the first place.

    You can make that argument for EVERY rent seeking special interest group and those are numerous beyond counting.

    I think maybe you have no inkling of the power of the senior citizens lobby here.

  • Bart

    The discussion here has taken a decided turn for the worse. You guys aren’t using your brains, you’re just throwing tantrums, of the kind more usually associated with the Left, and just as futile, founded on half-truths and knee-jerk prejudice, and destined to run aground on the sharp shoals of reality if you do not get a grip on yourselves.

    Obama and the liberals, who believe they can burden our productive capacity with whatsoever their hearts desire, and forcibly yank the golden eggs right out of the goose’s ass, are the enemy. Things were not bad under Bush. Compared to nearly any time within the post-war era other than the height of the Clinton bubble, they were damn good. The mortgage meltdown should have been a temporary shock, not unlike others we have weathered far better in the past decade. The reason we are in a pickle now is THEM. Do not forget it, and do not let what you consider “the better” become the enemy of “the good”.

    We don’t need a revolution. We just need to get back where we started from. Then, you can go out and try radical experiments with at least a little cushion if you fail.

  • Ignim Brites

    Let’s look at Bush’s achievements

    (1) Saved the US economy from the consequences of the bursting of the dotcom bubble.
    (2) Saved the US economy from a collapse of the financial infrastructure after 9/11.
    (3) Saved the US airline industry from collapse after 9/11.
    (4) Rationalized Medicare by including a prescription drug benefit.
    (5) Liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban.
    (6) Liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein.
    (7) Defeated Al Qaeda in Iraq.
    (8) Guaranteed the independence of Kosovo strenghtening the stability of the Balkans.
    (9) Fast tracked the expansion of NATO strengthening the future stability of Europe.
    (10) Made two of the best appointments to the Supreme Court in recent history.
    (11) Created a vast program for addressing the problem of HIV/AIDs in Africa.
    (12) Introduced the first measures of national accountability in US Public Education.
    (13) Paved the way for the election of an African American as President by having, successively, two African Americans in the highest profile cabinet position.
    (14) Laid the legal foundation for the prosecution of the war on terror.
    (15) Strengthened the integrity of the nation by respecting the wishes of a Democratic governor of Southern state to not immediately send in Federal troops after a natural disaster.

  • The discussion here has taken a decided turn for the worse. You guys aren’t using your brains, you’re just throwing tantrums, of the kind more usually associated with the Left, and just as futile, founded on half-truths and knee-jerk prejudice, and destined to run aground on the sharp shoals of reality if you do not get a grip on yourselves.

    Sorry but the crap being wheeled out to justify the expansion of the state by BUSH… is the same old “lesser evil” crap that has incrementally lead the USA to where to is today. A complete lack of principle rooted in a failure to understand that reality and politics are not one and the same thing. The Ponzi scheme has run its course and your guy was in on it the whole time.

    Frankly it mostly comes down to series of collective cowardices by a critical mass of voters…put off the evil day when all the vultures come home to roost by supporting people who, yeah we know they will make the state bigger, but at least they will do it less than the Democrats. That is not ‘compromise’, that is ‘surrender’.

    Well the vultures are now looking in the window and the economic and social lies that wealth is something you can just print has been laid bare.

    You guys are the ones who have been ignoring economic reality but your attempts to blame everything on the other guys, as if they could possibly constructed the staggeringly vast edifice of pervasive regulatory statism without the help of the Republican establishment, just sound hollow.

    The very existence of the Tea Party shows that more and more people don’t believe the lies, don’t believe the excuses any more. Your Emperor has no clothes… but you just can’t see it.

  • Bill Dalasio

    Had they remained calm, projected confidence, and publicly promised that there would be no governmental bailouts, the market would have settled itself down and the valuation problems* would have been eventually resolved. The panic would have subsided and order restored to the market.
    And what evidence do you have of this? We know that of the major broker-dealers, LEH & BSC had already collapsed. MER had to be sold at fire sale. And GS and MS were so short on cash, they needed expanded access to the discount window. Of the large banks, C and WB were already hopeless. BAC was quickly following. Pretty much, JPM and WFC were the only ones reasonably likely to survive. At even a relatively modest 8x leverage, you only need to lose 13% of your funding to go belly up. And the market for short-term paper was simply not waiting around for valuations to be resolved.
    And if a few firms had to file for bankruptcy protection, so what? The result would have been an orderly resolution of the specific claims, and a bold reaffirmation of market discipline.
    A couple of little problems. First of all, you’re looking at the core of the U.S. financial system. These “few firms” represent 66% of the assets of the top 50 financial companies. The numbers don’t go down that much when you look at it relative to the rest of the financial industry. More importantly, there isn’t law to deal with the bankruptcy of a financial services company. About the only thing available is FDIC seizure (and that wouldn’t have done squat for the broker-dealers).
    Goldman Sachs (isn’t it funny how their fingerprints can be found on everything dirty?) brought down AIG by demanding that it post additional collateral after GS unilaterally (and irrationally) marked down the “values” of certain contracts using its own proprietary models.
    Every firm uses their own proprietary models to determine valuations. By most accounts, Goldman’s were pretty accurate. Even AIG’s own accountants said the insurer’s valuations were a steaming turd. That fits with my own experience in reviewing derivative (granted, vanilla) valuations from the two.

  • (1) Saved the US economy from the consequences of the bursting of the dotcom bubble.

    Utter nonsense. Exactly what magic do you think was worked?

    (2) Saved the US economy from a collapse of the financial infrastructure after 9/11.

    Oh good grief. Some perspective PLEASE… NY and DC were not nuked, Pearl Harbor was not bombed. It was a spectacular act of terrorist evil and I was (and still am) all for robust military responses but in the overall scheme of things, 9/11 was history farting not the start of a World War. The US economy was not put in danger of collapse by Al Qaeda… that danger was put in place by successive US governments since LBJ and the bill coming due for that, i.e. unsustainable regulatory welfare statism, cannot be blamed on Osama bin Laden.

    (3) Saved the US airline industry from collapse after 9/11.

    Why? Routes that are economically viable needed no ‘saving’. Companies collapse all the time. Big deal.

    (4) Rationalized Medicare by including a prescription drug benefit.

    When he should have been dismantling it.

    (5) Liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban.

    Well, partially… and yes I am all for that. What a pity he did not confine his action to foreign affairs.

    (6) Liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein.

    Yeah, nice one.

    (7) Defeated Al Qaeda in Iraq.

    Opinions vary on that one.

    (8) Guaranteed the independence of Kosovo strenghtening the stability of the Balkans.

    I was all for that too but actually it was Clinton who gets most of the credit for getting on the right side in the Yugoslav Succession Wars.

    (9) Fast tracked the expansion of NATO strengthening the future stability of Europe.

    Meh. big deal.

    (10) Made two of the best appointments to the Supreme Court in recent history.

    Could have been worse for sure.

    (11) Created a vast program for addressing the problem of HIV/AIDs in Africa.

    Gah. You are very generous with other people’s money, much of which ends up subsidising truly vile governments.

    (12) Introduced the first measures of national accountability in US Public Education.

    Big deal. How about getting the Federal government out of the education business all together?

    (13) Paved the way for the election of an African American as President by having, successively, two African Americans in the highest profile cabinet position.

    Yeah, he did indeed pave the way for Obama in oh so many ways, providing him the political infrastructure of the catastrophic bailouts already in place… and you think this is a GOOD thing?

    (14) Laid the legal foundation for the prosecution of the war on terror.

    Yeah, security theatre at US airports, intrusive financial regulations, extended police powers, pervasive surveillance… and you think this is a good thing, eh?

    (15) Strengthened the integrity of the nation by respecting the wishes of a Democratic governor of Southern state to not immediately send in Federal troops after a natural disaster.

    Er… ok… and this is important… why?

  • Bart

    The very existence of the Tea Party shows that more and more people don’t believe the lies, don’t believe the excuses any more. Your Emperor has no clothes… but you just can’t see it.

    Dude… doesn’t that make your palm sore? The Tea Party has done a great job, and it has won a few battles. But, to win a war, you need allies.

    And, a tall glass of perspective and soda. Before Obama’s Brobdingnagian ramp up in spending and government meddling, things were not bad, and the State both more and less pervasive, averaging to about the same, as at just about any time in the Post-WWII era.

    Not everything government does is bad or parasitic, and the institutions that have been forged in the past half century have done some amount of good. I am guessing you are young – if not, you may frankly need therapy for that hot temper.

    I was all full of piss and vinegar in my early to middle twenties, too. I had confidence in myself, and knew I could handle anything the world chose to throw at me. What I didn’t count on was that people I loved and cared for were not so adept, and I was, in fact, hard pressed to carry their burdens as well as my own, and their troubles were not of their own making.

    I was about to run a little with that, and tell you a little about what might await you as you gather years and wisdom. But, eh, on the other hand, since you presume to know so much about me and my supposed “emperor” already, fuck you and the horse you rode in on. You’ll either learn it yourself the hard way, or you’ll be a lucky shit who skates through life unhindered by personal regrets or care for others.

    Life is about finding balance. Go too far to either extreme, and you are setting yourself up for a fall. One day, perhaps, you will understand what I mean.

  • Sunfish

    Perry, that 20-year-old firebrand that he is, seems to have demolished most of your nonsense.

    I have only one addition:

    Er, no, because I don’t think you do. A move was made to try Padilla in a military court. It failed, because of the protections we have in our Constitution. Far from showing a weakness, that shows the system is robust.

    The attempt to try Padilla in a military court indeed appeared to have failed. That speaks well of the civilian courts. It speaks very poorly of Bush that he even tried. You get credit for doing the right thing. You don’t get credit for doing the right thing when the only way you did right was by attempting to do wrong and failing at it.

    I have enough work rationalizing my decision to vote for GWB in 2004 in order to sleep at night without lying to myself about his “accomplishments,” such as they were.

  • The Tea Party has done a great job, and it has won a few battles. But, to win a war, you need allies.

    Allies? The primary enemy of the Tea Party is not the Democrats but the Big State Republicans (like GWB and McCain), so you are not prospective allies, you are the enemy… and when (if) you have been defeated and marginalised, the Tea Party will not need to make allies with the Republican establishment because it will *be* the Republican establishment. Once that victory has been won the Republicans might once again be worth voting for because a party that puts up the likes of GWB and McCain sure as hell ain’t.

    And, a tall glass of perspective and soda. Before Obama’s Brobdingnagian ramp up in spending and government meddling, things were not bad, and the State both more and less pervasive, averaging to about the same, as at just about any time in the Post-WWII era.

    Really? Just draw the trend line yourself and then tell me you people are not part of the problem.

    If after 9/11 all Bush had done was increase military spending to fund the war whilst deregulating and getting the state out of whole areas of civil life and the economy, he would have been my hero. But he did nothing of the sort. Indeed 9/11 produced the opposite effect and the state expended remorselessly domestically too at the very time it needed to be heading in the other direction… and Obama is nothing more than the continuation of the Bush legacy on steroids.

    …that I didn’t count on was that people I loved and cared for were not so adept, and I was, in fact, hard pressed to carry their burdens as well as my own, and their troubles were not of their own making.

    Yeah and no doubt because these people were important to *you*, that gives them the right to other people’s money when times are hard, yes? You are very generous with other people’s money.

    Life is about finding balance. Go too far to either extreme, and you are setting yourself up for a fall. One day, perhaps, you will understand what I mean.

    I know perfectly well what you mean right now… life is a balance between earning some of your own own money by your own efforts and risks…and taking some by force from others at the ballot box, right? That kind of balance? Well the fall you speak of is indeed now sticking its head up over the horizon and as I have made damn sure as little as possible of my money is in US Dollars (or Pounds or Euros for that matter) I will hopefully not be accompanying you on that particular downward journey.

    Oh and when I was in my twenties, which was a very long time ago indeed, I was much more mellow. Several decades later my tolerance for world views based on perpetually putting off hard reality based decisions into the future has gradually worn away to nothing. ‘Political reality’ does not equal objective reality and in the end the Ponzi scheme reaches the point where it just doesn’t matter how ‘powerful’ a political lobby retired people in the USA are.

    To paraphrase Mencken, you are starting to get what you voted for over the last few decades, good and hard. Have fun.

  • Bart

    The problem with generating propaganda is you start to believe it yourself. The liberals are well down this road. I had hoped conservatives would not surrender to the Dark Side that way. Your link certainly looks outrageous. But, that is only because it is made up of whole cloth. Here is a truthful chart, which matches the figures to be found here.

    … the Tea Party will not need to make allies with the Republican establishment because it will *be* the Republican establishment.

    You really will get carpal tunnel if you keep jerking that way.

    Yeah and no doubt because these people were important to *you*, that gives them the right to other people’s money when times are hard, yes?

    So, I guess it’s “lucky shit who skates through life unhindered by personal regrets or care for others.” Congratulations on winning life’s lottery, or on being a complete sociopath with narcissistic personality disorder, whichever it is.

    I will hopefully not be accompanying you on that particular downward journey.

    Frankly, I’d rather slit my eyeballs than accompany you anywhere. I thought I hated the liberals, but you have taught me that I have an equally bizarrely stupid and smugly ignorant army on my right flank as well. Oh, well. Sic transit gloria patria. It had a good run. But, it can’t survive two large groups of raving lunatics.

  • The liberals are well down this road. I had hoped conservatives would not surrender to the Dark Side that way.

    Firstly I am not a conservative…and secondly neither are you in any meaningful sense of the word ‘conservative’.

    I am a minarchist (a sort-of-libertarian, i.e. a non-suicidal one… hurray for the state dropping bombs on Al Qaeda post 9/11 and redistributing their body parts across Afghanistan, boo for redistributive regulatory statism at home… that sort of thing)…whereas you, like all Big State Republicans, are functionally indistinguishable from the ‘liberals’ (in the weird US sense of the word, i.e. someone who is illiberal).

    Like you, these abominated ‘liberals’ also want a vast regulatory welfare state to look after their nearest and dearest at someone else’s expense. You are a self righteous thieving amoral utilitarian who probably opposes abortion whereas the Democrats you think you are to your ‘left’ are self righteous thieving amoral utilitarians who favour abortion (and indeed want the state to subsidise it). Yeah, you guys are chalk and cheese.

    So, I guess it’s “lucky shit who skates through life unhindered by personal regrets or care for others.” Congratulations on winning life’s lottery, or on being a complete sociopath with narcissistic personality disorder, whichever it is.

    I think states only legitimately exist to maintain neutral law courts and confront collective threats like terrorists, invading hordes, prevent infectious plagues and put out fires before they spread across property lines, not to act as a vast engine of criminality by which people get to vote themselves other people’s money… and that means I do not think I have the right to take other people’s money when the people who are important to me hit a rough patch in life as eventually everyone does.

    Yeah clearly I must be a sociopath for thinking robbing people via a third party because might not wish to contribute to my old folks fading days is wrong. My notion that *I* had to man up and look after them myself is a sign of dangerous narcissism too 🙂

    Frankly, I’d rather slit my eyeballs than accompany you anywhere. I thought I hated the liberals, but you have taught me that I have an equally bizarrely stupid and smugly ignorant army on my right flank as well. Oh, well. Sic transit gloria patria. It had a good run. But, it can’t survive two large groups of raving lunatics.

    Well at least you now know how people like me have always felt about people like you. I am glad to see your time here has been enlightening.

  • John B

    The bailouts were obviously wrong. Anyone who begins to imagine there may have been some justification in them, does not grasp the basic economics of reality and freedom.

    Creating money out of nothing destroys savings (real wealth) and permits (causes) the mis-allocation of resources because credit is cheaper than the realistic balance would otherwise permit.

    Quantative easing, as the recent programme on Channel 4 (Britain’s trillion pound horror story) so clearly demonstrated, is the road to poverty, ruin, and statist economic stasis.

    The procedures that have been followed ever since the New Deal have been the road to economic ruin. (Forgive me if I again link to Garet Garrett’s: The Revolution Was: http://mises.org/daily/2726 ).
    Had there not been brilliant innovation and effort by the private sector we would be totally impoverished. The economic system continues to work (or limp along) despite all the damage being done to it.

    It took just a slight, partial lifting of statist conditions on the economy by Margaret Thatcher’s government, to enable the economic wasteland of the 1970s to be turned into the booming 1990s.
    It is not just Conservative or Labour, or Republican or Democrat.

    It is a question of who is wielding the most influence and to what extend they favour and promote freedom.

    I realise that many people at this blog clearly see this, or something similar, I am just repeating it.
    And in the context of this discussion it would seem to me that Perry is correct.

  • Bart

    And, Perry, allow me to give you a baseline for what I see as being the basis of your morality:

    Every man and woman an island, because my island was not flooded, and that shows that I was successful in the evolutionary struggle, which triggers an endorphin rush, and makes me feel proud

    Try to modify it in a way which pleases you, but I think you will be hard pressed to demonstrate that your morality is significantly other than, fundamentally, a pleasing chemical reaction in your own brain.

    Then, realize that you need an attitude adjustment before you truly have a coherent, widely applicable basis for organizing society.

    (Note: if there is any confusion as to what this post references, that is because there is still another post waiting in the approval queue.)

  • Daveon

    Tis a rare day I find myself in general agreement with Perry.

    In the autumn of 2008 we were within days, if not hours, of people here going to their ATM and getting the error “Funds not available” as the entire transaction system behind Modern banking failed.

    And, for the record, all GWB and friends managed was to swap one inflated asset boom for another. The fact that the bond market created a market that “couldn’t lose” for refinancing and equity removal from over valued homes was just icing on the cake.

    For the US and UK economies until that consumer debt returns to sane levels so that households can afford to start sounding again there’s going to be poor growth and a stagnant economy. Here’s a reason why the recession appears to be over for Germany, despite all their socialist ways.

  • Bart

    Like you, these abominated ‘liberals’ also want a vast regulatory welfare state to look after their nearest and dearest at someone else’s expense. You are a self righteous thieving amoral utilitarian who probably opposes abortion whereas the Democrats you think you are to your ‘left’ are self righteous thieving amoral utilitarians who favour abortion (and indeed want the state to subsidise it). Yeah, you guys are chalk and cheese.

    Apparently, you have not read my previous writing on utilizing market principles. By “utilizing market principles”, I mean a distributed, non-colocated feedback system which can only be effected in a Capitalist, free market system. When the government interferes in that system, they introduce non-minimum phase dynamics which must, of mathematical necessity, either lead to instability, or drag down production to a sluggish pace.

    Tiny brained folk seek simplicity, and this drives them to the boundaries of ideological commitment which, if their induced prejudices are implemented on a large scale, drives societies to the boundaries of survivability. Even those who begin with good intentions, but who help drive the system to where it can only make right or left hand turns, never reckon that there are myriads of their ideological brethren who wish to steer harder than they, and the system always hits the boundary, and collapse ensues.

    And, BTW, I do not oppose abortion, though I do demand some respect for the sanctity of human life. I think the three trimester solution is a reasonable balance. So, that shows how much you know. You are a categorizer. You need a template to make sense of things – everyone into their own neat, tidy little box. Some people are like that, mere cogs in a greater machine. Not I.

    Balance is the key to a productive society. Balance and moderation. Yesterday, I was a scourge of the liberals. Today, I take you on. Because, I am a fully functional, sentient, bi-directional, discrete feedback element which has the brains and confidence to choose my own path without needing the crutch of dogma.

    What about you? Are you a CPU, or a cog?

  • Daveon

    And there is ample reason not to use the iPad all the time.

    “sounding” = spending

    And

    “Here’s” = There’s

  • Sunfish

    Yesterday, I was a scourge of the liberals. Today, I take you on.

    Indeed. Yesterday, you terrified the left by threatening to do what they do but slightly less of it. Today, your Bush apology evades the matter of seizing US citizens and trying to hide them from the courts.

    If you’re going to take us on, then would you kindly get on with it?

  • John B

    Free market common sense with everything finding its own, natural, level is obvious.
    Simplicity is the essence of reality. Things make sense, or they don’t.
    Logic is one thing causing/following another.
    It is not complicated in conceptualisation. In application, okay, things are complex.
    I love Einstein’s comment that one does not truly understand something until one can explain it to one’s grandmother.
    A bit “ageist” on grandmothers, I guess, but I hope they don’t mind.
    One does not have to be unkind or immoral to be for free market.
    When productivity is so released, who knows, the relative non-scarcity of goods might make us all a lot kinder?

  • Your nation and mine, in the past, have been willing to make a bargain, to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability. Longstanding ties often led us to overlook the faults of local elites. Yet this bargain did not bring stability or make us safe. It merely bought time, while problems festered and ideologies of violence took hold. As recent history has shown, we cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own backyard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims, and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found.

    That’s his legacy: the Bush Doctrine, an explicit refutation of so-called realpolitik on the grounds that it was never as realistic or self-interested as its practitioners believed. An idea that took hold, at least among some of us. His implementation of it was undermined and misreported by the rabid Left and the stability fetishist of the Right. The extent to which it will catch on remains to be seen. I for one hope it shapes the world more than most of the other principles out there.

    No argument from me about his shortcomings on the domestic front. But great for the World.

  • Balance is the key to a productive society. Balance and moderation. Yesterday, I was a scourge of the liberals. Today, I take you on. Because, I am a fully functional, sentient, bi-directional, discrete feedback element which has the brains and confidence to choose my own path without needing the crutch of dogma.

    Let me translate this into something a little less pompous and more honest:

    Society needs to balance capitalism with armed robbery and regulation because I want the state state to fund the things I think important. I was the scourge of liberals because I want to spend your money on my pet schemes and not their pet schemes but you don’t want any pet schemes, so now I am going to take on you. I’m so smart I know why this its ok for me to take your money but not those mean old liberals, but you wouldn’t understand and anyway, who needs principle when you are as smart as I am?

    Come on, this guy is such a troll he probably lives under a bridge.

  • Paul Marks

    Daveon – I assume you are being ironic, as Germany (“socialist ways”) has followed a much less less statist policy than Britain or the United States in recent years.

    However, the credit money booms (the dot.com one and the property one) were not the work of President Bush (although he failed to denoucne the policy)

    The credit money was pushed out by Alan Greenspan and directed into property (by the influence of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) by the influence of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank.

    As for George Bush – I like him as a man (I really do), but I do not think he was fit to be President.

    He strikes me as a man who went to a “good” school and then two “good” universities (Yale and Harvard – the only President to have earned degrees from both) and believed the crap he was taught there.

    Reading (even as President, Bush proberly read more academic books than any previous President) is no good if it is UNCRITICAL – i.e. if one just accepts the ideas that are presented in the books of the academics (the mainstream history and economics – which is what Bush read and reads).

    Actually I get the same feeling from Daveon – the establishement opinion is just trotted out in everything he says.

    The difference between Daveon and George Bush is that I do not get a feeling of arrogance from Bush (not just an attack on Daveon – I am an arrogant man myself). I think that Bush would be a nice man to meet (just one with lots of establishment ideas) – whereas I do not think Daveon (or me) would be someone who it would be nice to meet.

    In one thing Bush was more establishment than the establishment – he took literally their supposed belief that democracy (and the pro civil rights bit of social democratic ideology) are universal values.

    The establishment do not really believe in democracy (they believe in the rule of an international elite) – but they pretend to believe in democracy and civil rights.

    So when Bush ordered (in line with American policy passed into statute by Congress and formally supported by President Clinton) the removal of Saddam, I think Bush really expected the mainstream “liberal” establishment to support the policy.

    Of course they did not – because the “liberals” are very different from what Bush thought (and perhaps still thinks) they are.

    Bush tends to see the external appearance of people and things – seldom their core.

    A friendly and trusting nature.

  • John B

    Paul, I agree with your view of GWB, especially to the extent that we are all human and fallible.
    But where did his father figure into all this?
    Would he not have said something along the lines of ‘son, don’t mess with the supper club, now, y’ hear?’