# The I's have it

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Pangloss, why interesting, I would have thought it obvious. News media is a business, it exists to make a profit. I'm surprised that so few Americans seem to understand this.

Well a money motivation doesn't necessarily deny an interest in politics, IMO. I really have no way to know that Murdoch's motivation is, and he's a highly successful person, so I think it's interesting when I read about such things. The personal connection you mentioned was also part of why it was interesting.

There is however a deeper factor. Programming is decided not just by Program Managers, but by advertising. Advertisers choose which shows they want their ads in and are willing to pay a premium for that. Advertising influences the way a network develops it's programming. Put simply, what do you do if there are more advertisers wanting to advertise in a given show (let's say someone like a moderate Glen Beck) than there are spaces to sell? You can jack up the price, or have another similar show on a different part of the network. Similarly, if a network had an extreme right wing show that brought in $100k of revenue and an exteme left wing show that brought in$20k, what do you, as management do? There is only one answer that is fiscally defensible. Dump the left wing show and get another right wing one.

Advertisers watch their sales and show ratings very closely and move their advertising to shows that give them the best sales response. That is all they are interested in, not politics. In current affairs and commentary type shows, the shows are driven by the advertising revenue and the advertising revenue is driven by the people who watch the show.

Think of any programming, say the rise and fall of "Reality" shows. One came along, it went big and the advertisers jumped on the bandwagon, therefore there were suddenly heaps of reality shows. As soon as the numbers started to drop the advertisers went elsewhere and funds dried up. So there are few reality shows now. Look at a newspaper and aside from the "classifieds" section, look at the amount of ads in various sections. It varies depending on the popularity of the topics on the pages.

People can complain about "media bias" all they want, but the media is simply giving them what they want. People prove this by buying products advertised on the shows. Why did "Stargate" last so long? Because people watched it and the revenues were up. Why did they bring back Bobby in "Dallas" and make the whole dream sequence garbage? Because revenues dropped and they wanted them to rise again.

It's accepted that Hollywood is a business is out to make a profit, why do people think news media isn't?

All good points. It's the old question of whether the media reflects popular opinion, or vice-versa.

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#### Popular Days

How I know is from experience. We used to have 2 Sunday papers in Brisbane, the slightly conservative Sunday Mail and the slightly liberal Sunday Sun. Murdock owned the Mail and then bought the Sun. He was very happy to let them fight it out because he made money no matter what.

In a fit of brilliance our gov decided that he couldn't own both Sunday papers as that gave him a monopoly, so he was ordered to close one down. This left a lot of people scratching their heads "Owning both papers is a monopoly, but owning the only one isn't?" Since the Sun had the lower circulation, it was decided that it was the one to go. They tried everything to kill the Sun, short of pulling the plates from the press, but it just wouldn't die. Finally they had to bite the bullet and tell everyone "Go home, we're closed."

About 6 years later I was working for Murdock using that building (the presses etc, we were printing local papers) and the upper floors were freaky. An entire building that felt like the "Marie Celeste". Coffee cups still on desks, half written notes for stories, everybody had just taken their personal items and walked away but it looked more like the people had simply disappeared. Just walking around made the hairs on the back of the neck stand up.

I met Mr. Murdock at a Christmas party and asked him about it, so he told me the story.

Cool story.

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It is quite interesting to consider the idea of a fiscally conservative legislative branch coupled with a strong and idealistic executive branch. Really the last two years were just an artifact of anti-Bush/neocon backlash on the basis of economic disenchantment. If people wouldn't react to their dissatisfaction with the attitude of replacing the old with its opposite, the pendulum wouldn't have swung so far in the fiscal-liberal direction in the first place. Now that people have gotten the economic stimulus they rallied for, they're not happy to see the bill so they're going to once again try to reverse directions.

The only reason the Republicans will be "fiscally conservative" this Congress is because Democrats still control the senate and the presidency. If they ever regained control of congress and the executive branch they would show their true colors... hypocritical spendthrifts.

It would seem conservatives are just generally unhappy when liberals spend money, period. There's no other reason to dislike the stimulus. It accomplished its goal of stimulating the economy, and as a result tax revenues are up and the deficit is down, even if spending increased. What's the problem? Seriously, what's the problem? I keep asking this and all I get back is irrational hatred of the stimulus because it spent money. It spent money on infrastructure. It is an investment in this nation. It lowered the deficit. What exactly is the problem.

Sometimes I wonder how many conservatives (or even self-labeled "moderate" conservatives of the variety of the forum moderator here) are actually capable of admitting that sometimes, when liberals spend money, it actually accomplishes good things, and can even bring down the deficit like it did under Obama.

The reason this combination of fiscally conservative legislative and progressive executive can be good, however, is that it challenges people to make changes without doing it for the money. In other words, it is time for people to make personal and professional choices to achieve the goals of less energy dependence, more efficient and better economic practices, etc. (all the things that Obama has preached) . . . to make those things happen because they are directly beneficial; not because there's money in it. There may actually be money in it ultimately, but without direct stimulus funding, the immediate goal will no longer be the carrot.

There's money in it now. Tax revenue is up. The goal of the stimulus is not some hypothetical thing that will happen ten years from now. It's happening now. If anything, we need more stimulus.

The #1 thing that powers our money is consumer confidence. When people are afraid to spend money, the economy slows down, tax revenue goes down, and the deficit goes up. When people aren't afraid to spend money, the economy picks up, tax revenue goes up, and the deficit goes down.

I completely loathe this myopic idea that all spending is bad, or more specifically, that all spending when Democrats are in power is bad. When Republicans are in power, it's okay for them to go completely nuts cutting taxes and throwing us into unnecessary, expensive wars. That spending is totally cool! Spending money on killing people is fine. Spending money on rebuilding America's infrastructure? That's BAD. Very BAD! The spending is out of control!

The blatant hypocrisy here is really infuriating, and worse, extremely prevalent among American conservatives.

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The only reason the Republicans will be "fiscally conservative" this Congress is because Democrats still control the senate and the presidency. If they ever regained control of congress and the executive branch they would show their true colors... hypocritical spendthrifts.

It would seem conservatives are just generally unhappy when liberals spend money, period. There's no other reason to dislike the stimulus. It accomplished its goal of stimulating the economy, and as a result tax revenues are up and the deficit is down, even if spending increased. What's the problem? Seriously, what's the problem? I keep asking this and all I get back is irrational hatred of the stimulus because it spent money. It spent money on infrastructure. It is an investment in this nation. It lowered the deficit. What exactly is the problem.

Sometimes I wonder how many conservatives (or even self-labeled "moderate" conservatives of the variety of the forum moderator here) are actually capable of admitting that sometimes, when liberals spend money, it actually accomplishes good things, and can even bring down the deficit like it did under Obama.

I think there is fundamental ignorance about the ideology of fiscal conservatism and how that relates to the ideology of a republic. Of course spending money accomplishes things, even good things. The problem is that the more you accomplish by spending and taxing, the more dependent you become on government to tax and spend. Republicanism is about decentralizing power to the people. How else can you decentralize economic power except by freeing people from working all the time for liberal spenders? Most fiscal liberals I discuss this with are totally convinced that spending money is the only way anything could ever get done economically. They don't believe in voluntarism or free-market mechanisms that require businesses to lower prices when flows of money dry up. Yes it is tough to restructure and work for what you believe in under constrained means in a fiscally tight economy, but "can we do it, yes we can!" Fiscal liberals don't seem to realize that they by pumping loads of money into things, they are being cynical that those things won't happen without funding. The irony of that is that the more they act on this cynicism and fund every little thing, the more people will think that nothing is possible without money behind. At that point, what hope is there for the poor or others who lose income during a recession? Little to none. Republicanism is about building up economic resources that are recession-proof because the labor is there even when the money isn't flowing, imo.

There's money in it now. Tax revenue is up. The goal of the stimulus is not some hypothetical thing that will happen ten years from now. It's happening now. If anything, we need more stimulus.

Everyone loves more money. I would certainly love some more. The problem is the more we get used to the stimulus, the harder it's going to hit us when someone manages to cut off our money supply. So there is some preventive care in spending cautiously and conservatively.

The #1 thing that powers our money is consumer confidence. When people are afraid to spend money, the economy slows down, tax revenue goes down, and the deficit goes up. When people aren't afraid to spend money, the economy picks up, tax revenue goes up, and the deficit goes down.

Yes, but look closer at the game. The goal is to get so many people spending at such a rate that there's lots of opportunities to make money. But guess what people are doing while that money is flowing so much? They are attempting to secure increasingly higher levels of income and wealth. For example, the stock market is booming so investors are reeling in loads of profits and consistently building up safety nets like insured savings deposits to avoid losing it when the market turns sour. The net effect of this is that more spending leads to more saving, which leads to decreasing money supply. So everytime the economy soars, it crashes that much harder because that many more people secured their fortunes from the boom.

I completely loathe this myopic idea that all spending is bad, or more specifically, that all spending when Democrats are in power is bad. When Republicans are in power, it's okay for them to go completely nuts cutting taxes and throwing us into unnecessary, expensive wars. That spending is totally cool! Spending money on killing people is fine. Spending money on rebuilding America's infrastructure? That's BAD. Very BAD! The spending is out of control!

Well, I can't say I totally understand the logic of republican spending and whether it's just hypocrisy. I do have a theory, though, which is that if you want to stimulate fiscal conservation, you have to move money to people who will conserve and not spend it. So republican spending may have the logic of rerouting money to people who have the most resistance to the temptation to spend. I noticed this pattern during GWB's presidency where, for example, assets were frozen and bailouts were directed to banks, the most secure guardians of money during a deflationary period. Of course liberals hate this because they would do just the opposite, spend as much as possible to get money to others who will do the same. They're just two completely opposite philosophies of economic stimulus. One stimulates working for money, the other stimulates working in the absence of money.

The blatant hypocrisy here is really infuriating, and worse, extremely prevalent among American conservatives.

Well, let's say you did actually believe in stimulating people to work in the absence of money. How would you encourage that if there were loads of money-making opportunities and pressure to "keep up with the rat race" to avoid "falling behind the Joneses?" How would you reduce that pressure to promote more economic at the individual level of self-determining one's labor instead of submitting to the will of whoever is spending it?

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I think there is fundamental ignorance about the ideology of fiscal conservatism

No, especially not on these forums. True fiscal conservatism is politically impossible in America. The Democrats like to spend. The Republicans like to spend while chastising the Democrats for spending. The only people who would actually cut spending are either completely unelectable, unable to convince the rest of the government to do it, or were they actually able to bring it about would spell political disaster.

I'm all for a sundown date on Social Security. I'll happily pay into it, knowing I'll never get money, just to actually have a timetable for winding down the program. I'd like to see more comprehensive healthcare reform in this country, which would be a great way to save money that would've otherwise been wasted in programs like Medicare.

Talking about fiscal conservatism in America is just waxing philosophical. While it'd be great, it isn't going to happen, certainly not now when our economy is trying to recover from one of the worst recessions/depressions in the past 50 years. Obama has been working hard on cutting spending where he can, although (fiscal) conservatives don't seem to care, or realize that the Republicans aren't really going to do anything different.

Edited by bascule
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Most fiscal liberals I discuss this with are totally convinced that spending money is the only way anything could ever get done economically. They don't believe in voluntarism or free-market mechanisms that require businesses to lower prices when flows of money dry up.

Are you certain their reply's not a shorthand way of explaining to you that "spending is the only way to fill the gaps that volunteerism or free markets leave wide open, neglect, and fail to meet"?

Granted, many people you discuss it with are possibly just everday, busy citizens whose knowledge is less than our political leaders and so might use poor wording to convey ideological thoughts, or maybe you've discussed it with an elected -- yet naive -- politician or two who's not quite ideologically savvy.

Well, let's say you did actually believe in stimulating people to work in the absence of money. How would you encourage that if there were loads of money-making opportunities and pressure to "keep up with the rat race" to avoid "falling behind the Joneses?" How would you reduce that pressure to promote more economic at the individual level of self-determining one's labor instead of submitting to the will of whoever is spending it?

Fairly sure I'd like to answer those questions. But first, please clarify what you said a bit (restating it differently to ensure that I do get it)? Thanks.

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Sometimes I wonder how many conservatives (or even self-labeled "moderate" conservatives of the variety of the forum moderator here) are actually capable of admitting that sometimes, when liberals spend money, it actually accomplishes good things, and can even bring down the deficit like it did under Obama.

All I want is for expenditures to match receipts, and for their to be a fair debate (as there has been) when an increase in expenditures is requested. You want a trillion dollar spending program? Fine with me -- just fund it without adding to the deficit, and get the people's elected representatives to fairly agree. That's it.

Call me crazy, but I don't think it's too much to ask.

No BS about how Poor Ol' Thelma, a working mother with three children and two part times jobs, is suffering. No BS about how poor Afghan women need an intervention. No BS about weapons of mass destruction. No BS about how a handful of violent middle eastern terrorists are so threatening that we have to upset our entire way of life from top to bottom. No BS from the left, no BS from the right.

Either we can pay for it, or we cannot. That's it.

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If I might bring up a point that to me is the "Elephant in the Room". I'm quite willing to be declared wrong as I'm not from the US, but this is something that seems rather glaring from the outside.

I think there is fundamental ignorance about the ideology of fiscal conservatism and how that relates to the ideology of a republic.

Which one? You are a Union of States. Americans seem to consider themselves (politically) part of the nation "America" only when it suits them, if it suits them better then they are "Carolinans" or "Texans", or whatever. This means that a national problem that needs to be solved nationally can't be because you would have to override State rights.

You really need to decide what you are, a collection of pissant little nation states or a single Nation. If you're a collection of nation states then you can't expect the Federal govt to solve national problems, but if you're a Nation then the Federal gov has to have the right to squash "State rights" to solve National problems. The problem isn't Republican v Democrat, it's Federal responsibility v State Rights.

Your health care is a shambles because you have 50 State govs all writing their own versions of the law. If President Obama came up with the best health care plan since sliced bread, cheaper, better, more effective, a real "Nobel Prize in politics" effort, there are only two ways to get it passed. Either convince 50 separate govts to give up some of their precious "Rights" (good luck on that one Mr. President.) or to have the Federal power to force the States to toe the line. Neither of these options are currently possible and the mess remains. The same thing applies to all your "National" problems.

So are you a Nation, or not?

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Are you certain their reply's not a shorthand way of explaining to you that "spending is the only way to fill the gaps that volunteerism or free markets leave wide open, neglect, and fail to meet"?

Probably that's how they think about it, but can you see that there's an implicit acceptance of impossibility in such pragmatism? Look at Bascule's post above for the same implicit logic, only with him it is the idea that if true fiscal conservatism is a minority, it ain't gonna happen period. Of course, fiscal conservatism has a few tactics to prove that spending can be controlled. One of those is military- and police- spending because these are the active defenders of property-rights. So when people refuse to seek non-spending methods of surviving economically, they have the option of fighting for the right not to be taxed without representation. It took me a long time to figure out why the struggle against socialism is so epic in republican ideology, but it is directly related to the idea that individiuals should ultimately control their own expenditures regardless of whether others spend themselves into bankruptcy.

Allowing people to spend themselves into bankruptcy and then bail them out never really equally distributes the pressure to conserve money, does it? While some people maintain a tight budget to avoid losing wealth, others spend-it-up with the idea that they will have the right to a certain level of economic welfare, right to a job, etc. if they go bankrupt. In my mind, they do, but I find it so irritating that people would live above the absolute economic minimum knowing that someone else might have to pay the bill for them at some point.

Fairly sure I'd like to answer those questions. But first, please clarify what you said a bit (restating it differently to ensure that I do get it)? Thanks.

In other words, in an economy where spending is liberal, there is lots of money flowing in various directions and people have to cater to the spending to get the money. In other words, you end up devoting as much time as possible to keeping up your income as high as possible, because it is a competition to keep up with rising housing prices, etc.

Now, if you found this type of liberal boom economy undesirable, how would you promote reductions in the various flows of money that would lead people to spend less and use their own labor as much as possible to avoid spending unnecessarily?

You really need to decide what you are, a collection of pissant little nation states or a single Nation. If you're a collection of nation states then you can't expect the Federal govt to solve national problems, but if you're a Nation then the Federal gov has to have the right to squash "State rights" to solve National problems. The problem isn't Republican v Democrat, it's Federal responsibility v State Rights.

Your health care is a shambles because you have 50 State govs all writing their own versions of the law. If President Obama came up with the best health care plan since sliced bread, cheaper, better, more effective, a real "Nobel Prize in politics" effort, there are only two ways to get it passed. Either convince 50 separate govts to give up some of their precious "Rights" (good luck on that one Mr. President.) or to have the Federal power to force the States to toe the line. Neither of these options are currently possible and the mess remains. The same thing applies to all your "National" problems.

So are you a Nation, or not?

I can see how the US would appear this way if you are entrenched in the extreme nationalist ideology that most people are globally. However, you should consider that the US is a national charter that checks and balances its own centralized national government with the ideals of freedom and decentralized self-regulation, which is called 'republic." Now, I know France, China, and other nation-states use the word 'republic' and, like the US, none of them fully achieve the ideals of de-centralized self-governance of the people, by the people, for the people - but I would guess that like the US, each manages to check and balance centralized authority in certain ways that achieves some level of self-governance.

So your question, "are you a nation, or not," was actually foreseen in a way by the designers of a checks-and-balances republican form of governance. This is necessary, in a way, because if you would choose not to be a nation, other nationalists would be free to colonize people and natural resources in their own national interests. However, if you choose to be a monarchy or some other form of centralized nation with unchecked authoritarian rule, you would be defeating the dream of the republic by fighting nationalist-authoritarian fire with fire. So that's where I think you get the third option of having a republic that is a nation but is divided in numerous institutionalized ways that generates conflicts that check-and-balance centralized authority.

What this ultimately amounts to is that anyone (globally) who looks to the US for clearly defined authoritarian guidance will always be frustrated because the whole point of authority in US republican ideology is to frustrate authoritarianism. In other words, it's intentional though sub-conscious in a sense. You will always get led on in one direction only to watch the assumptions you've built up crumble before your eyes. In this way, the US will continue to destabilize all forms of nationalist command-control globally forever. Obama claimed that the US was "ready to lead the world again" but he has no dictatorial power to ensure that, so leadership in the US is never more than individuals expressing what would be a very good idea for people to pursue voluntarily. There's a reason they call the US president, "the leader of the free world." People are free to listen, ignore, or throw their shoes and books. Authoritarians are never satisfied with freedom. They don't see it as being effective enough. People who love freedom dislike people who would so desire effective policy that they would sacrifice freedom to achieve it. It's an epic conflict that is never-ending.

You really need to decide what you are, a collection of pissant little nation states or a single Nation. If you're a collection of nation states then you can't expect the Federal govt to solve national problems, but if you're a Nation then the Federal gov has to have the right to squash "State rights" to solve National problems. The problem isn't Republican v Democrat, it's Federal responsibility v State Rights.

Your health care is a shambles because you have 50 State govs all writing their own versions of the law. If President Obama came up with the best health care plan since sliced bread, cheaper, better, more effective, a real "Nobel Prize in politics" effort, there are only two ways to get it passed. Either convince 50 separate govts to give up some of their precious "Rights" (good luck on that one Mr. President.) or to have the Federal power to force the States to toe the line. Neither of these options are currently possible and the mess remains. The same thing applies to all your "National" problems.

So are you a Nation, or not?

I can see how the US would appear this way if you are entrenched in the extreme nationalist ideology that most people are globally. However, you should consider that the US is a national charter that checks and balances its own centralized national government with the ideals of freedom and decentralized self-regulation, which is called 'republic." Now, I know France, China, and other nation-states use the word 'republic' and, like the US, none of them fully achieve the ideals of de-centralized self-governance of the people, by the people, for the people - but I would guess that like the US, each manages to check and balance centralized authority in certain ways that achieves some level of decentralized self-governance.

So you're question, "are you a nation, or not," was actually foreseen in a way by the designers of a checks-and-balances republican form of governance. This is necessary, in a way, because if you would choose not to be a nation, other nationalists would be free to colonize people and natural resources in their own national interests. However, if you choose to be a monarchy or some other form of centralized nation with unchecked authoritarian rule, you would be defeating the dream of the republic by fighting nationalist-authoritarian fire with fire. So that's where I think you get the third option of having a republic that is a nation but is divided in numerous institutionalized ways that generates conflicts that check-and-balance centralized authority.

What this ultimately amounts to is that anyone (globally) who looks to the US for clearly defined authoritarian guidance will always be frustrated because the whole point of authority in US republican ideology is to frustrate authoritarianism. In other words, it's intentional though sub-conscious in a sense. You will always get led on in one direction only to watch the assumptions you've built up crumble before your eyes. In this way, the US will continue to destabilize all forms of nationalist command-control globally forever. Obama claimed that the US was "ready to lead the world again" but he has no dictatorial power to ensure that, so leadership in the US is never more than individuals expressing what would be a very good idea for people to pursue voluntarily. There's a reason they call the US president, "the leader of the free world." People are free to listen, ignore, or throw their shoes and books. Authoritarians are never satisfied with freedom. They don't see it as being effective enough. People who love freedom dislike people who would so desire effective policy that they would sacrifice freedom to achieve it. It's an epic conflict that is never-ending.

Edited by lemur
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Independents just create gridlock.

There are two independents in the Senate, both of whom caucus with the Democrats. One of them, Bernard Sanders, is far left while the other, Joe Lieberman, remains a registered Democrat and most likely will run as a Democrat in 2012. There are no independents in the House. How can you say that independents "just create gridlock" when there are no true independents in Congress?

Besides, what's wrong with a little gridlock? Gridlock is one of the best ways of keeping Congress from passing stupid laws.

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There are two independents in the Senate, both of whom caucus with the Democrats. One of them, Bernard Sanders, is far left while the other, Joe Lieberman, remains a registered Democrat and most likely will run as a Democrat in 2012. There are no independents in the House. How can you say that independents "just create gridlock" when there are no true independents in Congress?

Besides, what's wrong with a little gridlock? Gridlock is one of the best ways of keeping Congress from passing stupid laws.

It was not referring to independent politicians but to independent voters. Independent voters don’t vote based on party but on which person they think is best regardless of party affiliation. They also swing their voting pattern based on current if not immediate circumstances.

Ignoring party affiliation ignores the importance of majority in the house and senate.

Swing voting based on current or immediate circumstances often gives the winning party the inappropriate impression that they have a mandate to push their favorite policies. Often times such a mandate was not the intention of the voters. In such circumstances the voters simply voted against the losers not for the winners.

With regard to the advantages of gridlock, I often agree that gridlock is preferable. But I’m a conservative and conservatives always prefer the status quo over a move to the left.

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The only reason the Republicans will be "fiscally conservative" this Congress is because Democrats still control the senate and the presidency. If they ever regained control of congress and the executive branch they would show their true colors... hypocritical spendthrifts.

It would seem conservatives are just generally unhappy when liberals spend money, period. There's no other reason to dislike the stimulus. It accomplished its goal of stimulating the economy, and as a result tax revenues are up and the deficit is down, even if spending increased. What's the problem? Seriously, what's the problem? I keep asking this and all I get back is irrational hatred of the stimulus because it spent money. It spent money on infrastructure. It is an investment in this nation. It lowered the deficit. What exactly is the problem.

Sometimes I wonder how many conservatives (or even self-labeled "moderate" conservatives of the variety of the forum moderator here) are actually capable of admitting that sometimes, when liberals spend money, it actually accomplishes good things, and can even bring down the deficit like it did under Obama.

There's money in it now. Tax revenue is up. The goal of the stimulus is not some hypothetical thing that will happen ten years from now. It's happening now. If anything, we need more stimulus.

The #1 thing that powers our money is consumer confidence. When people are afraid to spend money, the economy slows down, tax revenue goes down, and the deficit goes up. When people aren't afraid to spend money, the economy picks up, tax revenue goes up, and the deficit goes down.

I completely loathe this myopic idea that all spending is bad, or more specifically, that all spending when Democrats are in power is bad. When Republicans are in power, it's okay for them to go completely nuts cutting taxes and throwing us into unnecessary, expensive wars. That spending is totally cool! Spending money on killing people is fine. Spending money on rebuilding America's infrastructure? That's BAD. Very BAD! The spending is out of control!

The blatant hypocrisy here is really infuriating, and worse, extremely prevalent among American conservatives.

No, especially not on these forums. True fiscal conservatism is politically impossible in America. The Democrats like to spend. The Republicans like to spend while chastising the Democrats for spending. The only people who would actually cut spending are either completely unelectable, unable to convince the rest of the government to do it, or were they actually able to bring it about would spell political disaster.

This is by and large pretty true. Most republicans are not that fiscally conservative (except when it suits them). Both parties are fiscally liberal, thus the tea party backlash.

If I might bring up a point that to me is the "Elephant in the Room". I'm quite willing to be declared wrong as I'm not from the US, but this is something that seems rather glaring from the outside.

Which one? You are a Union of States. Americans seem to consider themselves (politically) part of the nation "America" only when it suits them, if it suits them better then they are "Carolinans" or "Texans", or whatever. This means that a national problem that needs to be solved nationally can't be because you would have to override State rights.

You really need to decide what you are, a collection of pissant little nation states or a single Nation. If you're a collection of nation states then you can't expect the Federal govt to solve national problems, but if you're a Nation then the Federal gov has to have the right to squash "State rights" to solve National problems. The problem isn't Republican v Democrat, it's Federal responsibility v State Rights.

Your health care is a shambles because you have 50 State govs all writing their own versions of the law. If President Obama came up with the best health care plan since sliced bread, cheaper, better, more effective, a real "Nobel Prize in politics" effort, there are only two ways to get it passed. Either convince 50 separate govts to give up some of their precious "Rights" (good luck on that one Mr. President.) or to have the Federal power to force the States to toe the line. Neither of these options are currently possible and the mess remains. The same thing applies to all your "National" problems.

So are you a Nation, or not?

The United States used to be A LOT more state government controlled (rather than federally controlled). We have historical figures like Lincoln and FDR who we can thank for changing that. Obviously, now there needs to be more federal control (See how conservatism affected the Guided age, etc)

However, I think a fact missed by many Europeans and other developed nations is the shear size of the US population. Being five or six times the size of the UK, just the state of Texas is bigger than Australia, California has more people than Canada, and like two and a half times the size of the Netherlands. The United States is perhaps more usefully compared to the European Union is some cases. In this respect we have MUCH more control from the federal government than the EU has over it's member nations. States really need to administrate their own issues, in fact I think even more so than they do now.

As far as health reform, as least this last bill, it was passed by federal congress and signed by the president. Everything in it is within federal control, I don't think it necessary to 'convince 50 separate govts to give up some of their precious "Rights"'.

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All I want is for expenditures to match receipts, and for their to be a fair debate (as there has been) when an increase in expenditures is requested. You want a trillion dollar spending program? Fine with me -- just fund it without adding to the deficit, and get the people's elected representatives to fairly agree. That's it.

Call me crazy, but I don't think it's too much to ask.

No BS about how Poor Ol' Thelma, a working mother with three children and two part times jobs, is suffering. No BS about how poor Afghan women need an intervention. No BS about weapons of mass destruction. No BS about how a handful of violent middle eastern terrorists are so threatening that we have to upset our entire way of life from top to bottom. No BS from the left, no BS from the right.

Either we can pay for it, or we cannot. That's it.

And your problem with PAYGO is...? I seem to remember the Republicans getting rid of it and the Democrats bringing it back, and yet the conservative furor over Obama's spending has been huge whereas there was virtually no attention paid by conservatives to the massive spending increases that took place under Bush.

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The only reason the Republicans will be "fiscally conservative" this Congress is because Democrats still control the senate and the presidency. If they ever regained control of congress and the executive branch they would show their true colors... hypocritical spendthrifts.[/Quote]

Unfortunately bascule, under Bush this was true and I'll throw in the Republican Establishment bunch, however this years election was a referendum on just that, both parties lack of fiscal responsibility. Most the 640 Republican member gains in State Legislatures, what lead to 31-32 States Republican Governors (+7or 8) and those gaining seats in the US Congress, RAN on the issue and will be held to fiscal responsibility. That is, if the States most Republican controlled in both Executive/Legislative after January, show signs of change and public acceptance, the Federal, regardless of party will have no choice. While digesting this, keep in mind a good deal of money coming from the Federal, both in Welfare and other programs are co- paid to some degree by the States, which would have to be refused to show their own FR.

Frankly I'm not hearing many good things coming from the presumed Republican leaders of the next US Congress, but then I'll wait and see if they maintain their leader status. Another pending problem remains the "lame duck" Congress and what all they could do, for instance the 2011 Budget and the National debt limit. Then both California and NY have some serious financial problems, California alone enough to hurt the Federal and then FED actions, which Congress will have to address (House Investigative authority).

Paygo, really is a useless law, since it cannot address mandatory spending or emergency spending and lately an emergency means welfare or creating additional mandatory spending. Discretionary spending is pretty much used up in Federal Operating Cost, money that goes to the different departments and so forth. Then at least for the next ten FY Budgets, any discretionary spending will be borrowed money, which comes at a higher cost, one way or another, interest or inflation.

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If I might bring up a point that to me is the "Elephant in the Room". I'm quite willing to be declared wrong as I'm not from the US, but this is something that seems rather glaring from the outside.

Which one? You are a Union of States. Americans seem to consider themselves (politically) part of the nation "America" only when it suits them, if it suits them better then they are "Carolinans" or "Texans", or whatever. This means that a national problem that needs to be solved nationally can't be because you would have to override State rights.

You really need to decide what you are, a collection of pissant little nation states or a single Nation. If you're a collection of nation states then you can't expect the Federal govt to solve national problems, but if you're a Nation then the Federal gov has to have the right to squash "State rights" to solve National problems. The problem isn't Republican v Democrat, it's Federal responsibility v State Rights.

Your health care is a shambles because you have 50 State govs all writing their own versions of the law. If President Obama came up with the best health care plan since sliced bread, cheaper, better, more effective, a real "Nobel Prize in politics" effort, there are only two ways to get it passed. Either convince 50 separate govts to give up some of their precious "Rights" (good luck on that one Mr. President.) or to have the Federal power to force the States to toe the line. Neither of these options are currently possible and the mess remains. The same thing applies to all your "National" problems.

So are you a Nation, or not?

It's a valid question. We supposedly decided this in 1865 but it keeps coming back up. The problem isn't really so much a sense of state identity (which was a big part of the problem in 1850), but rather a diversity in cultural norms, with individuals seeking "sanctuary" amongst people who feel similarly.

I think the first step in solving that is recognizing that all of the cultural norms have validity. But there are also pros and cons with federal control in general that have to be weighed. It's not *automatically* a bad thing (IMO) that Arizona passed its immigration-related law. If nothing else it woke up the country to their frustrations. There are many aspects of the immigration issue that have to be dealt with on the local level without a lot of support from the federal government, particularly with regard to day-to-day law enforcement and health care.

This is where the media should be helping rather than hurting. Rather than tell us how dramatic it is and how we're headed for calamity and a big fight, the media should show us the common ground and the allied interests that are pointing the way towards solutions.

And your problem with PAYGO is...?

... that it allows for new spending to simply be attached to the deficit. That's not paying for it, it's slapping it on the credit card and figuring we can deal with it later. We're every bit as addicted to debt as a nation as we are as individuals.

I seem to remember the Republicans getting rid of it and the Democrats bringing it back, and yet the conservative furor over Obama's spending has been huge whereas there was virtually no attention paid by conservatives to the massive spending increases that took place under Bush.

You're right. And they (conservative voters) are paying attention now. Republicans may not realize it yet, but they will.

Thinking that Democrats are more fiscally responsible is the same flaw, IMO. The debt climbed something like $5 trillion on Pelosi's four-year watch. And I'm not saying emergency spending is a bad thing, I'm saying emergency spending while continuing to pay for massive programs we can't afford is a bad thing. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites Thinking that Democrats are more fiscally responsible is the same flaw, IMO. The debt climbed something like$5 trillion on Pelosi's four-year watch.

The increase in debt under "Pelosi's watch" was largely due to two factors: expensive foreign wars started before she became speaker, and the financial crisis, which was caused by years of a "hands off" approach to Wall Street, for which there are several people to blame, most notably Greenspan, Bush, and Clinton. Given the Democrats couldn't even push through Wall Street reform after the financial crisis when they had a supermajority, to even insinuate that the debt is in some way due to the Democrats being too fiscal liberal in comparison to the Republicans is completely disingenuous. If there's a Democrat you want to blame, blame Clinton. The seeds of the financial crisis were sown years before Pelosi became speaker.

That said, the deficit is moving in the right direction. That's progress.

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I think the first step in solving that is recognizing that all of the cultural norms have validity. But there are also pros and cons with federal control in general that have to be weighed. It's not *automatically* a bad thing (IMO) that Arizona passed its immigration-related law. If nothing else it woke up the country to their frustrations. There are many aspects of the immigration issue that have to be dealt with on the local level without a lot of support from the federal government, particularly with regard to day-to-day law enforcement and health care.

This is where the media should be helping rather than hurting. Rather than tell us how dramatic it is and how we're headed for calamity and a big fight, the media should show us the common ground and the allied interests that are pointing the way towards solutions.

Really this deserves another thread, but I just have to comment. You're right that people should discuss specific problems and solutions in a non-nationalist/racist way, but since it basically becomes that once you begin with the native/foreign distinction, the media is right to warn that such politics always work their way toward calamity. This is not specific to the native/foreign distinction. It happens with any ethnic polarization, and even other kinds of polarization like men/women, hetero/homo, liberal/conservative etc. Just analyze any discourse and watch how organizing politics around a polarized dichotomy tend toward essentialism (i.e. blaming social problems on entire slews of individuals just based on them being classified as different from the classification deemed normal). If you start addressing social problems by claiming that the cause is that certain people just don't belong where they are, all you're really doing is questioning the fact that people are where they are because of existing cultures and social patterns and harassing them to go away. Try addressing any person in any situation with this same approach, i.e. tell them they don't belong where they are and being there is in itself a problem and see if it leads to a constructive discussion in any way. It won't. It just makes people defensive, self-righteous, and angry on both ends of the accusation. It's called territorialism and it's the basis for most human and other animal aggression/violence.

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The increase in debt under "Pelosi's watch" was largely due to two factors: expensive foreign wars started before she became speaker, and the financial crisis, which was caused by years of a "hands off" approach to Wall Street, for which there are several people to blame, most notably Greenspan, Bush, and Clinton.

... Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid...

Democrat Barney Frank, the soon-to-be-former head of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the Federal Reserve, Treasury, the SEC, Fannie and Freddie, and all financial services regulation. Frank headed that committee from 2007 to present.

Democrat Chuck Rangel, the former head of the House Ways and Means Committee, arguably the second or third most powerful political position in the entire world, oversaw that committee from 2007 to early this year, and now awaits trial on 13 counts of violating federal laws and house regulations.

Democrat Max Baucus, the head of the Senate Finance Committee, was in that position from 2001-2003 and again from 2007 to present. During his tenure he oversaw every piece of tax legislation, and every issue brought before the committee regarding revenues and expenditures, including the new health care law.

I'm not saying Republicans are better. I'm saying this is who you expected the American people to uphold in power, the ones you can't understand why people are upset about. Even though the only tool they have is to throw people out of office.

There's a meme going around Facebook right now that I think is really appropriate here. It says "Congratulations to Republicans on winning the right to be blamed for everything again!" IMO people do understand what's going on.

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... Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid...

Democrat Barney Frank, the soon-to-be-former head of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the Federal Reserve, Treasury, the SEC, Fannie and Freddie, and all financial services regulation. Frank headed that committee from 2007 to present.

Democrat Chuck Rangel, the former head of the House Ways and Means Committee, arguably the second or third most powerful political position in the entire world, oversaw that committee from 2007 to early this year, and now awaits trial on 13 counts of violating federal laws and house regulations.

Democrat Max Baucus, the head of the Senate Finance Committee, was in that position from 2001-2003 and again from 2007 to present. During his tenure he oversaw every piece of tax legislation, and every issue brought before the committee regarding revenues and expenditures, including the new health care law.

I'm not saying Republicans are better. I'm saying this is who you expected the American people to uphold in power, the ones you can't understand why people are upset about. Even though the only tool they have is to throw people out of office.

There's a meme going around Facebook right now that I think is really appropriate here. It says "Congratulations to Republicans on winning the right to be blamed for everything again!" IMO people do understand what's going on.

Did you have any intention of addressing my post at all, or do you just want to blame the Democrats for the financial crisis? If so, you should blame the right one: Clinton

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I did. My comment was an "and", not an "or".

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Did you have any intention of addressing my post at all, or do you just want to blame the Democrats for the financial crisis? If so, you should blame the right one: Clinton

Yes!

But I still prefer the democrats over the Tea Partiers...*cough*, Republicans.

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I did. My comment was an "and", not an "or".

Now ask yourself who's primarily responsible. I contend there are three individuals who are primarily responsible: Greenspan, Clinton, Bush

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Okay.

And how does voting Democrat 100% of the time fix that?

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And how does voting Democrat 100% of the time fix that?

The Democrats are interested in passing Wall Street reform and the Republicans are not. The Democrats are actually concerned about preventing a financial crisis from happening again. The Republicans are not.

Also as I noted before, I voted for a Republican candidate this election because I liked him more than his Democratic counterpart.

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