Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Optimism, National Pride, and Karl Rove

February 8, 2012 3 comments

I happened to see Karl Rove on TV last night and was a bit astonished to find out he’s actually slamming the Chrysler/Clint Eastwood Superbowl ad, half time in America.

To me, the ad was pretty cool, and the other people at the party liked it too. But Karl Rove doesn’t like it. Here’s John Cohn saying what needs to be said (via Kevin Drum):

I have no idea whether Rove really believes Chrysler produced that ad in order to do President Obama a political favor. But the fact that he and other Republicans are so worked up could mean that they are scared—not of the advertisement itself, but of the themes it contains.

Those themes are optimism and national pride. As Salon’s Joan Walsh noted on the Ed Show Monday evening, Republicans have basically owned those themes since the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan won an election with them. But lately President Obama has been the one making the case that it’s morning in America or, at least, just before dawn. He did it in the State of the Union and he’s done it in a series of major speeches since.

The message wouldn’t resonate if it had no basis in reality. But the latest economic indicators suggest the economy really is starting to grow, albeit slowly and tentatively. And nowhere is that more obvious than in the Midwest and Michigan, where the auto industry’s rebound has helped reduce unemployment to levels not seen since before Obama took office.

This seems right to me. I’ve done a small amount of marketing in my life, and have been exposed to an industry which is heavily involved in marketing. If I think about Karl Rove as the worlds greatest political marketing person, he’s gotta be terrified by this development.

Marketing in politics is a zero sum game. You own an issue, or get owned by it. And if the dems start making progress on national pride and optimism, well that means the R’s are loosing ground on those same core values.

You can go to my word cloud and see how I do on issues like Optimism and Recovery. Someone pointed out these were prominent issues for me.  🙂  I guess I need to throw a bit more national pride in the mix, because I am proud of the U.S.

Mosler started calling for the Obama boom to begin last year, and unfortunately, it was sucked away by the spike in oil prices. We’re starting to see the benefits of higher spending plus lower oil prices over the last few months.


Winning even when you lose vs. losing even when you win

August 6, 2011 7 comments

I like to win even when I lose.  I like to frame debates where even when someone doesn’t agree with my strongest claims, the result is I win the intellectual battle.

This is something that Republicans know. They lost the battle on the debt ceiling – but even talking about the debt ceiling is a huge win.

This is why I am nearly furious at Paul Krugman.  Payroll tax cuts are a winning political stance – we win even when we lose.

The payroll tax cut is excellent politics.  You mean we get to have Republicans reject a tax cut that helps working people over and over?  This is a fight that we win even when we lose.

If we get the tax cuts – Great!  We have a better economy.

If Republicans block the tax cuts – great! They are exposed as odious monsters that dont’ like working people.

But Paul said we should lay down in front of the freight train – We’re doomed:

“I mean, there’s good reason on economic grounds to be skeptical about the effectiveness of temporary tax cuts as stimulus; Milton Friedman’s permanent income hypothesis tells us that much of such cuts will be saved, not spent. But leave that on one side, and consider a point Mr. Roche doesn’t seem aware of: Republicans have already rejected a payroll tax cut.”

Cullen smacks down PK with an effortless backhand:

” For instance, President Obama made it pretty clear that he was going to reject any debt ceiling agreement that involved a balanced budget agreement last week.  But you didn’t see John Boehner roll over like a dog and take his ball and go home.  No, he turned into a bull dog and ultimately, the Republicans ended upgetting something for nothing.  THAT’SPOLITICS.  It’s called tough negotiating.”

We need to act like progressives.  Stephanie Kelton says:

“Is this really what it’s come to?  Experts in the field — even those with a Nobel Prize — can’t stand up for what they believe in unless they consider it politically feasible? An extension of the payroll tax cut — or, far better, a full payroll tax holiday (a 0% withholding for employers and employees) should have been a key component of the stimulus from the beginning.  But the deficit doves (the most high-profile progressives out there) never supported it.  Had they advocated such a policy, there’s a good chance the economy would be on sound footing by now.  “

I want Paul Krugman to think about this.  He is avoiding a fight that turns out great for us even if we lose it.

Someone call Paul Krugman and tell him to fight this fight.  Get a payroll tax holiday out there into their minds.

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Not interested in the Truth

July 11, 2011 5 comments

Here is a chart about our deficits from an article that tries to allocate blame for deficits:

The article pretends to try and determine who is responsible for our deficits, Bush or Obama.  But there is important information missing from the chart.  How would someone be able to tell who did what from this chart?

I’d change it slightly and put a few important points on it.  I think with a very small amount of information on the graph, the chart could tell a much more truthful story.

For example, we need to know when Obama took office.  We also need to know when his first budget took effect. Let’s put those on the chart so everyone can see them easily.

Remember, I am a fan of deficits in the current environment, but I’ve we’re laying blame for people to cause deficits, we need to know these basic facts.

It’s pretty basic timeline information that should be included in charts.

I say that someone isn’t interested in finding out the truth if this information isn’t included.

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Peak Grover Norquist?

June 7, 2011 1 comment

Grover Norquist is likely to be far less powerful.  Here is something from my last post that I want to expand a bit.

For example – Grover Norquist is currently a very powerful person.  But as it becomes widely recognized that Grover Norquist believes in unicorns, he will become much less powerful.  His entire career is built on making people believe something that cannot be true.  Take away the potential for default, and the obsession with trying to make the government smaller through a U.S. default does not make sense at all. It’s like going around claiming the sky is falling or something equally preposterous. Grover Norquist will be a much less powerful person in the near future.  He has reached his apex of power, and in 5 years, his message will seem anti-U.S., because his basic framework will be recognized as factually incorrect.

It is impossible to lead a fight against taxation as being bad when the most people accept that the government is not spending constrained, but rather inflation constrained.

The U.S. government is not spending constrained and this idea is rapidly becoming conventional wisdom.  When John Boehner starts to say “The U.S. cannot default.”, the days of an anti-government, anti-spending crusader are numbered, no matter how funny the guy is.

When the debate moves to inflation rather default, the idea that lower taxes are usually good will become far less contentious.  This too will be accepted as conventional wisdom.

Mr. Norquist’s major idea is to keep his party pushing for tax cuts, but to blame democrats for spending. But in the new world where everyone recognizes default is impossible, the backlash from spending will become much smaller.  His entire strategy to push for republican dominance over the political process loses is animating force, because the backlash from spending won’t be that great.

So he changes from a visionary, to a hard money crank.   But that doesn’t sell very well in the homeland over any 10 year period.

The Budget Deal: Why we should be concerned about the word “Solvency”

April 11, 2011 4 comments

Tom Hickey brings up a great point:

Nice analysis, TC, but I wonder why we are so absorbed in the “solvency” issue wrt MMT. Everyone recognizes that fiat currencies have advantages and disadvantages and that one of the disadvantages is debasement. Given certain conditions including “fiscal irresponsibility,” of course a fiat currency can implode. So what? Fixed rates have their advantages and disadvantages, too. But the fact is that the world is running on fiat currency at present and that is the system we have to deal with. The question is, what is the best approach to this.

The possibility of “solvency” or debasement is a red herring — a distraction. It certainly is not a good argument against the use of MMT principles in economic policy. This is the monetary system we have, whether one understands MMT or not. Stupidity is a risk of liberal democracy. If the people elect fools (not mentioning any names but you know who), they will have to suffer the consequences. But if they elect wise people who understand how the monetary system works (so far in very short supply) and how to deal with it, then the outcome can be expected to be better than otherwise.

Unfortunately, Tom is only right if by everybody he means “a small highly educated fraction of the population”.  Most people believe the government can “go broke”.

So we now have the new budget deal, and it will be horrible for most working U.S. citizens, and probably not so good for the rest of the world either.  If this reduction in spending and tightening of rates reminds you of 1937, it should.  We have a nice recession in 2012 to look forward to experiencing.

Corporate profits will begin to deteriorate rapidly once this bill is passed.  The actual implementation of the spending cuts will cause huge disruptions in profits quite quickly.  Basically, begin to short the stock market in a similar manner to exiting in a May seasonal pattern beginning once the budget is passed.   “Sell in May and go away” is a good idea for this year…Ritholtz readers, take notice.

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