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« The Trouble with Theories and Plans | Main | What Might Representational Painters Paint? »

July 08, 2009

In The Times ...

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Time to generate even more debt, or to fret about the debt we've already created?

* Hard to believe, but the people who make porno movies are once again throwing out storylines and plots.

* It's Google vs. Microsoft.

* Designers and builders continue indulging their bizarre obsession with glass. I bitched back here about how sicko it is, the way architects over-do the glass.

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at July 8, 2009




Comments

Funny, ain't it, how the minute the Dems take control, everyone starts wringing their hands about deficits and debt? Reagan/Bush I more than doubled the national debt, from around 30% of GPD to near 70%, and no one seemed to really mind. Then the minute Clinton got into office, I recall how it suddenly became a crushing problem that Greenspan and others insisted that he had to fix right away. Everything else--health care reform, social spending, etc.--had to be put on the back burner.

And here we go again, with Bush II launching unpaid-for wars and cutting taxes like a lunatic with hardly a peep from the MSM about where all the money is going to come from. (Remember the vigorous debate in the NYT about the cost of invading Iraq? Me neither.) And then Obama gets elected...

The politics behind it aren't hard to figure out. Wingers love to use the national debt as an excuse to hamstring liberal initiatives. That's exactly what Greenspan et al were up to with Clinton. (The minute Clinton was gone, lo and behold, the debt that stood at 60% GPD was no longer a concern when it came to approving massive tax cuts.)

I'm not saying that the debt isn't a long-term problem--some of us frugal types thought it was a problem way back during the borrow-and-spend Reagan years. Just be aware that the media "fretting" about it is decidedly cyclical.

Here's a handy graph: http://zfacts.com/p/318.html

Posted by: Steve on July 8, 2009 3:14 PM



I gotta admit that the little kid in me loves the ledges in the Sears Tower, and even the Apple staircase...but I am not, as a matter of fact, a little kid, and living and working in amusement-park architecture gets real old, real fast. Even for little kids. Even people with a love of high, open space, and roller-coaster thrills, are likely going to suffer some serious, if not necessarily conscious, psychological distress at the lack of visual rootedness and security in those buildings (as you discuss in that old post). I have strong conscious stress responses to buildings and rooms, and doubtless all kinds of unconscious ones, and I bet these physiological responses are easy to measure. Has anybody every studied these things? (You may even have discussed such things here, and I missed it. Seems like a pretty obvious area for exploration, beyond just subjective, "glass buildings, hot or not?" questionnaires.)

Posted by: Moira Breen on July 8, 2009 8:38 PM



Steve – here's another graph.

Sometimes things really are much worse.

Posted by: David Fleck on July 8, 2009 10:39 PM



Steve: Funny, ain't it, how the minute the Dems take control, everyone starts wringing their hands about deficits and debt?

Oh yeah, "everyone". Party fanboys and party hacks - that's virtually everybody.

Remember the vigorous debate in the NYT about the cost of invading Iraq? Me neither.

Yep, the NYT. Well that's wingnut central for ya. And "everyone". I have this distinct memory of the anti-war types, left and right, bringing this up, but they're not members of "everyone", so no matter.

Just be aware that the media "fretting" about it is decidedly cyclical.

Gosh, thanks Steve. The readers of this blog surely would benefit from replacing their existing implicit trust in the disinteredness and thoroughness of the MSM with a little skepticism.

Steve? I like to read the comments on this blog because, with one or two exceptions, most of the posters, whether they lean droit or sinister, are mercifully free of party-boy hackery. I would bet that most here, regardless of what's on their voter's reg cards, are independents when it comes to judging and voting, and, regardless of enjoying a bit of general purpose "liberal" v. "reactionary" mud-wrestling now and again, are generally above the tiresome knee-jerk Reaganclinton Bushobama tu quoque-ism that betrays an ovine failure of insight into the political system, and eventually makes a comments section an unreadable idiocratic cesspit.

With one or two exceptions.

Posted by: Moira Breen on July 9, 2009 8:33 AM



Many of us were complaining about the Bush II spending right after he got revved up. Problem was, his own party didn't even try to stop him. It's one reason his popularity was so low and why the Republicans lost so many seats.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on July 9, 2009 8:50 AM



With one or two exceptions.

Hey!

Posted by: PatrickH on July 9, 2009 10:47 AM



Wolverines!

Posted by: Nobody on July 9, 2009 12:26 PM



David, no one denies that the deficits are dire right now. But face it, Obama inherited both those and a depression. Tough to deal with both at the same time. Plus he's only had 6 months in office. Much easier to judge the record of the last 50 years, and it's been one of exploding deficits and debt under Republican presidents--almost entirely due to massive tax cuts and defense spending. It's staggering to think that we started Bush II with a budget *surplus* and wound up here.

Moira, I too get tired of the partisan bickering on other sites and prefer the eclecticism found here, which is why I usually keep my political yap shut. But sometimes the historical record is too stark to ignore. Plus, you're "I'm an above-it-all independent" preening is just as predictable and tiresome.

Posted by: Steve on July 9, 2009 1:07 PM



Don't Obama's deficits extend out quite far into the future? And aren't they waaaay bigger than the ones Bush left? And isn't Obama pushing through enormous spending programs which are contributing to those deficits?

Lordy, we're just going to keep getting Bush Bush Bush aren't we? For however long it takes to get Obama re-elected, I guess. And even after, to provide cover for what would no doubt be a disastrous second term.

I give up. The peer pressure is overwhelming me!

[NEW PATRICK /ON]

Ahem. I blame Bush for all of our past problems. And our present ones, too. And the future.

Orwell had it right: "The future of humanity is liberal Democrats blaming Bush...forever."

Or something to that effect.

Posted by: PatrickH on July 9, 2009 2:03 PM



"David, no one denies that the deficits are dire right now. But face it, Obama inherited both those and a depression. Tough to deal with both at the same time. Plus he's only had 6 months in office. Much easier to judge the record of the last 50 years, and it's been one of exploding deficits and debt under Republican presidents--almost entirely due to massive tax cuts and defense spending. It's staggering to think that we started Bush II with a budget *surplus* and wound up here."

So Barack Obama is unwilling or unable to learn from history, grasp economics or implement an original policy. Probably all 3.

Posted by: Rot on July 9, 2009 2:34 PM



Steve offers a link to a chart graphing actual figures for the past fifty years expressed as a percentage of GDP to make the case that the greatest expansions of the relative amount of deficit occurred during the GOP administrations of supposedly "fiscal conservatives" Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes.

This is countered by David's link to a chart graphing the actual figures during the Bush Administration years along with White House and CBO projections for what the deficit will probably become, expressed as a dollar value rather as a percentage of GDP.

Point to Steve.

Posted by: Chris White on July 9, 2009 4:08 PM



Steve: I too get tired of the partisan bickering...

...but will manfully bear up under my fatigue and do my duty to carry on with the party-fanboy hackery.

Your "too", above, is inaccurate. I said nothing as fuzzy as "partisan bickering", because "partisan" has a wide, and not necessarily negative (unless wielded by hacks), range of meaning. I used the more precise terms "party fanboy" and "party hack" advisedly.

Plus, you're "I'm an above-it-all independent" preening is just as predictable and tiresome.

Because one must be either a fanboy or a political quietist. Are you even consciously aware that you pulled that "above it all" out of your ass and attached it to my use of the word "independent", though neither the term itself nor anything I said implies political detachment?

Fish:water::hack:hackery.


pH: Ahem. I blame Bush for all of our past problems. And our present ones, too. And the future.

Which one? Eh, either one works for me. Or Jeb. Or Neil. Hell, throw in Barbara. It's all good.

Now that we've got that settled, can I get back to the important business of finding some domestically produced torches and pitchforks? Because as a concerned and responsible citizen I would like to burn down Washington without contributing to the trade deficit, at least.

Posted by: Moira Breen on July 9, 2009 4:24 PM



Moira, aren't you also currently scouting the materials for a crucifix (or several)? Now a bonfire too? Relax, you'll wear yourself out.

So Chris, what is the percentage of GDP supposed to be in the Congressional Budget Office projections?

Own goal to Chris!

Of course, as Steve so partisanly (I mean perceptively!) pointed out, you can't trust those CBO, uh, um, partisans. The same way you can't trust that notorious pro-Bush rag the NYT. And the Obama-hating MSM!

It's an interesting experience, sort of, to inhabit the world of party hacks like Chris and Steve. Well, maybe not interesting.

Posted by: PatrickH on July 9, 2009 7:20 PM



Patrick, you really need to curb that tendency to assume facts (and opinions) not in evidence. Purely in terms of debating, when one attempts a rebuttal against a dataset of facts over a long time period with predictions about what is expected to happen in the near future, one fails to score. In no way did I state or imply any broader opinions or conclusions.

FWIW my opinion remains that we need Instant Runoff Balloting to break the too cozy relationship between the Duopoly and the elites (even if you and I might disagree on exactly who is or isn't an "elite" and which factions of the elite are the more egregious scum). The closest I get to party hackery is holding the opinion (backed in part by that chart Steve linked to) that the Good Cop party tends to screw over the average citizen a little less than the Bad Cop party, which tends to more overtly and aggressively pursue the interests of the upper 10% in terms of personal wealth to the detriment of the remaining 90%.

Posted by: Chris White on July 9, 2009 8:32 PM



It's staggering to think that we started Bush II with a budget *surplus* and wound up here.

Yes, it is. But here we are. And while it may give the Chris Whites of America onanistic pleasure to do so, chanting "It's all Bush's fault!" repeatedly isn't going to help. Massive debt is either a problem or it isn't, regardless of who is in charge.

Posted by: David Fleck on July 9, 2009 9:42 PM



No Chris, the Bad Cop party tends to serve the interests of the bottom 50% and the top 2% to the detriment of the remaining 48%.

Posted by: Brutus on July 10, 2009 7:59 AM



Purely in terms of debating, when one attempts a rebuttal against a dataset of facts over a long time period with predictions about what is expected to happen in the near future, one fails to score.

Really? Do you have any reason to doubt the broad tendency of the predictions, from either the WH or CBO? They project ENORMOUS deficits. For that fact to "not score", those projections would have to be massively inflated.

And hmmmm...wonder if you apply the same reasoning to the global warming hoax (I mean hypothesis!)?

Sorry, Chris. Your debating bookkeeping is as faulty as your economic version.

Posted by: PatrickH on July 10, 2009 9:41 AM



Brutus, very few folks in the bottom 50% who give it any serious consideration think either party is really on their side. Both parties pander for votes to distinctly different segments of that bottom 50%, to some effect, but that is far from "serving their interests."

Patrick, being concerned about the deficit is one thing, showing which administrations historically left dramatically higher deficits is another, and contemplating the current projects is yet a different point. I’d be happy to see a very, very, different approach taken, especially toward the “too big to fail” players, than the one being followed thus far by the Obama administration. [Personally, I think anything TBTF should be considered too big to be allowed to exist.] I console myself with the thought that it is likely it would be even more weighted toward the elite special interests were McCain in the White House. Talk about cold comfort!

And it doesn’t take someone with BDS to suggest that W’s administration, due to its tax cuts for the wealthy, its “hands off” approach toward oversight of the financial sector, and its accelerating military expenditures (which were kept “off-book” to avoid easily revealing how much they contribute to the deficit), left us on a trajectory toward the enormous deficit that looms before us.

Posted by: Chris White on July 10, 2009 9:15 PM






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