Seeing Red and Blue

We are happy to have this post-election analysis from Robert David Sullivan, who blogged about the presidential and vice-presidential debates for America. You can read his blog on politics and TV here, and his analysis of the 2008 election here. -- Tim Reidy

The most striking aspect of the 2012 red vs. blue map of the United States is how little it’s changed. Forty states have voted for the same party for the past four consecutive elections, despite the huge events (9/11, two wars, the Great Recession, the passage of Obamacare) that have reshaped American politics during that time, and 33 states haven’t flipped sides since 1996.

With one big exception, the states that supported George W. Bush’s re-election and also backed a second term for Barack Obama switched sides because of demographic changes brought on population growth, not because of any change in voter opinion. That’s a danger sign for the Republican Party; they’ve lost Colorado, Florida (assuming Obama keeps his thin lead), New Mexico, and Virginia because their brand has become toxic among the racial minorities and urbanites that have grown in those states. (The big exception is Ohio, where the Obama administration’s loans to the keep the auto industry afloat seem to have earned the loyalty of some former Bush supporters.)

A lot of today’s headlines refer to Obama’s sizable, even “landslide” victory in the Electoral College of 332-206 (again, assuming he keeps Florida). Technically, Mitt Romney only had to flip two states to win. But one of them had to be California, which was a hotly contested state in every close race of the 20th century and this time gave its 55 electoral votes to Obama thanks to a popular vote margin by more than 20 points. The GOP is noncompetitive in the biggest state in the US, with the biggest chunk of electoral votes in American history, because a negligible share of California’s population lives in overwhelmingly white small towns. It’s the same with New Jersey, which could have been the second flipped state and which also was competitive throughout the 20th century: Its almost completely urban and increasingly nonwhite population is a nonstarter for the GOP.

This reality must have been quite frustrating for Mitt Romney, who built his political career in the heavily urban, highly educated and immigrant-rich state of Massachusetts and then lost the state by 23 points as a presidential nominee. Even more bitter was his 21-point defeat in Belmont, where he lives and is just the kind of upscale, white-collar suburb that his “Moderate Mitt” persona should have played well.

As was evident in the presidential debates, Romney hoped to win as a Mr. Fix-It, someone who had the expertise to turn the national economy around without getting bogged down in ideological debates. But he was weighed down by the Republican Party’s flirtations with extremism. We’ll never know how hard Romney would have worked toward a privatization of Medicare, or zeroing out government spending on things like public broadcasting, but the Tea Party faction of the GOP would have demanded payback after working so hard to elect him. That prospect doomed Romney in places like the Philadelphia suburbs, where he went in the closing days of the campaign in a futile attempt to put Pennsylvania in play. Those suburbs, as well as similarly upscale suburbs around places like New York City and Washington, D.C., remained loyal to the Democratic Party of Bill Clinton, who first dragged them away from the GOP.

The electoral map is changing slowly, but the Republican Party has no choice but to rehabilitate its poor image with city dwellers and racial minorities. Conservatives have long hoped that they would make gains with black and Latino voters through social issues like opposition to abortion and gay marriage. But the Republican Party’s insistence on passing laws making it harder to vote, and its intransigence on liberalizing immigration law, have only alienated such groups. (Yesterday’s results in Maryland, where a successful referendum approving same-sex marriage lost by 2 points in heavily black Prince George’s County, indicates social conservatism, but less so than in the past.)

At least in the early stages of the campaign, it seemed possible for Mitt Romney to reach out to minority communities on economic issues, based on the idea that reduced tax rates and regulations could help promote small businesses. But his party’s insistence on repealing “Obamacare,” with its guarantee of affordable health insurance for self-employed and part-time workers, probably didn’t help his message of economic opportunity. Hostility toward urban amenities such as public transportation may be another millstone for the GOP.

As always, Barack Obama didn’t win a mandate so much as he put together a winning coalition of demographic groups and voters with particular interests. Geographically, that translated to a big advantage in the Electoral College, and there’s bound to be talk of a Democratic Party “lock” based on the states they’ve won consistently for the past quarter-century. (They include former members of the 1972-88 Republican Party “lock,” including California, Illinois, Michigan and New Jersey.) This winning streak will surely come to an end, but only when the Republicans make a serious effort to improve their image in the places where most of us live.

Robert David Sullivan

J Cosgrove
4 years 3 months ago
There are a couple things that were not said in the above OP.


1.  The Republicans won a majority in House.  Maybe that is demographics or maybe it is something else.  What is the flirtation with extremism that produced this?  Just how is the Tea Party extreme?  I know that it is popular liberal rhetoric among some to criticize the Tea Party but what are the Tea Party's objectives?  They would be happy with the budgets of Bill Clinton.


2.  The vote results is not like talking to an interior designer who offers 4 different kitchen designs and accoutrements for you to choose.  I want kitchen B because it seems to fit my needs and personal expression better while kitchen D is cheaper and too austere for my tastes.  The homeowner says that he/she deserves better so let's go for it.  


But there is no way that Obama and the Democrats can promise kitchen B and deliver within the cost originally promised.  It may turn out that the kitchen the homeowner gets may be kitchen E which wasn't on the original list and is far worse than kitchen D.


Delivering is not the strong suit of the the Democrats.  They can promise a lot and give a bunch of little things but when it comes to the big things like a good job and a higher salary, well look you got healthcare and while it is much more expensive, at least you got it.  And we have food stamps for you instead of that higher salary or better job.  Hang in there because things will get better, just you wait. 


Yes we will have to wait and those that have bought the Democratic promises will have to see what kitchen they end up with.  So far a lot of those who bought the 2008 kitchen have ended up on soup lines.  Will that trend continue.  Meanwhile, those who can, had better start building their own kitchen because it may be the only one you will get.  If you build it, it is definitely yours.  Well at least it used to be that way.
Marie Rehbein
4 years 3 months ago
In the past deficits and debt have been taken care of by inflation.
ed gleason
4 years 3 months ago
JR... your debt worries will all go away when defense budget is cut 20%.. Pick-up trucks with machine guns and RPGs don't require us to have aircraft carriers and B2 bombers.
And Israel is not going to attack Iran no matter what the bluffing PM says. And Debt will be  on it way to be eased by Marie R's inflation.  
Tom Maher
4 years 3 months ago
JR Cosgrove # 25

talk about radical Democratic proposals.  One of the dire consquences of having a national debt that will become at least 20 trillion dollars by the end of Obama's term in office is you have to pay interest on this massive debt.  Currently with interest near to zero this is not a problem.  However at some point when the nation's economy finally recovers from recsssion interest rates will rise to normal historic levels say aroud 5%.  A little math shows a big problem.  5% of a 20 trillion dollars debt is one trillion dollars per year. 

A recovery of normal economic activity will require payment of massive interest of around one trillion dollars per year to finance a national debt of 20 trillion dollars.  

One does have to ask nobel prize winner and Princeton professor of economics Paul Krugman how can additional trillions of dollars be added to our massive public debt when a recovery will generate between 750 billion to one trillion dollars of additon interst expense?  What kind of deathwish does Krugman have to advocate massively increaseing an already massive national debt when interest payments are already projected to become  around a third of the federal budget?   It is not sustainable to finance a trillion dollars in interset payments each year.  The nation's debt and budget processes are perilously out of control.
Vince Killoran
4 years 3 months ago
I disagree with Friedman on just about everything but I didn't stoop to name  calling.

But please tell us that you don't think Krugman actually advocated for preparing for an alien attack?! The comment was made as a somewhat facetious way of explaining government deficit spending.  Here's how TIME magazine reported it back in June:

"While Krugman is obviously using the idea as a provocative thought experiment, there's a serious argument behind it, which boils down to the government gaining the incentive to raise taxes so it could build war-fighting materials, muck like the U.S. did during World War II when tax rates were astronomical.  The war was the single biggest factor in finally helping the U.S. dig out of the Great Depression, largely because it generated jobs and exports."

Re. tax cuts: sure-but for whom?  There is no evidence that trickle down economics works.
Tom Maher
4 years 3 months ago
JR Cosgrove # 36

World War II had a profound effect on the economy and most certanly did end the Depression once and for all.  

The book Freedom's Forge by Arthur Herman subtitled "How American Business producedd victory in World War II"  document the huge expansion of private industry during the war from the urgeent neccessity of defending the nation.  People forget that through most of 1942 America, Britain and the Soviet Union were badly on the defensive.  As my farther pointed out had we not decisively won the Battle od Midway we would all be speaking Japanese who were an exteremely powerful military force as were the Germans.

The major new element of warfare during WW II was the use of aircraft of every type in huge quantities.  Remeber the United States was attack massive waves of Japanese aircraft in 1941 intent on a decisive military victory or "first strke" taht would ileiminate the United States as a Pacific military power.  This required a prompt response by United States industry to build masive quantities of everything - planes, ship, tanks,  guns, munitions of which the United States had almost nothing in 1941.  The United States calvary actually still had horses rather than tanks and mechanized vehicles which German formation along with aircraft destroy combined armies of several nations in a matter of days.   War materials orf every type were in super red hot urgent demand for the United States to survive.  In particular the aircraft industry expanded like a supernova as the most essential needed weapon. This titatanic demand for aircraft created toady's American aircraft industry with companies such as Boeing, Lockhee-Martin, Grumman producting much of the world's demand for aircraft.  This was a girant wealth creation and employment surge the remains a giant productive industry today enmploying hundreds of thousands across America in developing and producaing civilian and military aircraft and also space vehicles.  

The problem is that the 800 billion of the federal stimulus was given away as charity where no industry was crated and no new products or jobs were created.  The investment in green energy were politcal not commercail need that were practicle or affordable.  Politicaian of the Democratic party decided who to give out politcal favor where value and economic need were not consideratios.  

By the awy most peopel working in factories during WW II made out very well.  Maany hoped that the war would never end they were getting such great paycheck with overtime.  But many brand new industrie ssuch as aircraft and airline and new products were created by the urgent survival deamnds of WW II.  This demand can not ve duplicated or financed today especially with a 16 trillion national debt. 
Alfred Chavez
4 years 3 months ago
This comment thread looks a lot like the inane comments one reads on a Washington Post or LA Times comment thread on the election.  So much for America readers adding light to a conversation like this.
Marie Rehbein
4 years 3 months ago
JR#48, money that is exempted from taxes is money the government must cover with borrowing.  Clearly, if more tax is collected, less money needs to be borrowed.  What I understand you to say is that money the government spends to make life easier for people is money the government should not be spending.  It's not clear to me what you would consider a reasonable type of government expenditure.

Money paid in social security benefits, Medicare, and Medicaid come out of our family income every pay check.  They are defined as such.  What I understand you to say is that, despite this being quite a high percentage of our gross pay, it doesn't cover what is being paid out in benefits.  Your solution, it seems, is to deny people benefits they were promised in exchange for allowing this arrangement of taxation.  Part of the solution, it seems to me, is to increase the amount of income that is subject to social security taxes.  Why should there be an upper limit after which this tax no longer applies?

Had the House of Representatives not obstructed it, President Obama's jobs bill would have allocated money to things that would result in returns, such as infrastructure and educaton. 

RE #46 & #47:  What would you expect to read in comments about "Seeing Red and Blue"?
ed gleason
4 years 3 months ago
JR says " The next four years are going to be very contentious.' no they're not.
The Dems are going to dare the GOP to hold hands and have them go  over the fiscal cliff.

Obama to Boehner like Abraham ' " Do not be angry with me if I ask.. would you increase taxes on those making 300K? how about 500K? how about 1 million? ..  how much can one make and still be called by you  "small' business? 
How about that 15% carried interest Speaker? sputter sputter 
ed gleason
4 years 3 months ago
Vince says "My early new year's resolution to stick to commenting only when the posts include issues of religion or faith'
Not me .. When  My Giants won the World Serious we will fly the banner over the stadium till next Oct and root to keep it flying through 2014 too. Elections & ball games have consequences.
And pious resolutions are never kept.  (-:
Vince Killoran
4 years 3 months ago
You may be right Ed!! I'm from Detroit so we look at our Tigers etc. differently. . .
Rick Fueyo
4 years 3 months ago
As a matter of statistical probability, the President will almost certainly obtain an exceedingly narrow victory in Florida.
Tom Maher
4 years 3 months ago


Sorry Mr. Balckburn but I can not agree with Robert David Sullivvan's ideas about what is wrong with the Repbulican Party.  The Democartic party genreally and specifically President Obama have no plan or ability to address the country's national budget and debt crisis,  a critically serious problems that are not solved by raised by rasing taxes. 

This is the kind of problem that if the United States under a Democratic President does not fix the budget , debt and economy these problems will severlty impact the United States.  The satand ard tax and spend Democratic party response just does not work when the nation runs a 1.3 trillion budget deficits every years.. You do know that there are 23 million people unable to find any job and the number is increasing every month ?  It is not a matter of opinion but of fact that fewere people are employed today tahn four years ago and their is no viable plan of policy by any Democrat to correct our growing joblessness and run away governemnt financing.   The nation is headed for fiancial and economic due to the continued ineffective economic policies of the Obama administration and the Democratic party.
Vince Killoran
4 years 3 months ago
There's nothing wrong with deficits Cosgrove-it just depends on how it's spent.

Although you may disagree with him Paul Krugman-a Princeton professor and a Nobel prize winner-is not a "kook." Why don't you knock off that kind of behavior? It's unbecoming of an adult who is blogging on a Catholic website. 
Carlos Orozco
4 years 3 months ago
What is money nowadays? Ben Bernanke doesn't even bother printing Federal Reserve notes anymore, he just creates his phony fiat currency through a computer and keeps the "economy" working yet another day.
J Cosgrove
4 years 3 months ago
''you old Bourbon. Shouldn't you be taking a few more days to try to figure out what happened to your theories under the stress of a national election Tuesday?''


I haven't a clue what you are trying to say.  What theories are you talking about?  I don't drink except for the occasional beer, so I don't understand the Bourbon comment.  And if you mean the House of Bourbon then they are at the other end of the spectrum from me since I am an advocate of democracy and a free market economic system, sort of antithetical to the Sun King.  You will have to decode your comments.  Why all the numbers?  It would be funny if it was a winning lottery number tonight.


''Paul Krugman-a Princeton professor and a Nobel prize winner-is not a ''kook.'' Why don't you knock off that kind of behavior?''


Someone who advocates mobilizing the economy against a fake alien attack is a ''kook'' even if he has a Nobel prize.  On top of being a kook, Krugman is a phony.  The fastest way to put money in people's hand for spending is by a tax cut, not government spending but that is anathema to the left because it doesn't allow them to control who gets the money.  Some of it may go to Republicans and no one is then beholden to the people writing the checks as it was in the stimulus so the Democrats would not be able to demand political contributions and favors in return.   The stimulus was immoral as a lot of it was just plain bribery.


Milton Friedman has a Nobel prize and I have seen you mock Friedman more than once.
Marie Rehbein
4 years 3 months ago
"The fastest way to put money in people's hand for spending is by a tax cut..."

Actually, mailing out lump sums like was done under GW Bush is faster.  Concentrating it the hands of the richest is one of the worst ways, though.  They don't need to spend it, so they hold it waiting for the right investment opportunity.  That's why they are not really job creators.
Tom Maher
4 years 3 months ago
Vince Killloran # 34

When Keynes was asked about Keynesian deficit spending in the long run he dodged the question and answered "In the long run we are all dead."  We are now finding out countires can indeed accumulate more national debt than a country's Gross National Product can support.  The Euro zone had to bailout Greece, Spain and Portugal and Ireland becasue their national debt was in excess of 100% of their Gross National Products.  Greece's national debt is 174% of its GDP and is in constant faincial trouble becasue of its massive debt. 

It is correct that we we able to afford massive expansions of private industires devoted to war production during World War II  by the governemnt buying at a fixed price under wasr control everything a private factory could produce.  The governemnt paid for these blanket orders only from high income taxes but the governement huge ability to barrow.  In the 1940s the United States had almost no debt.  And the United States by itself was very wealthy where massive amount of debt could be sold to investors most of whom were American citizens.

In contrast today we have barrowed up to about 100% of our GDP whixh the IMF says specifocally about the United States is way too high  - debt should not exceed 70% of our GDP.  And we would not use this debt to purchase all of the output of private industres making war materials as happened in WW II.  Most of the governemtns outlays are transfer payments to individuals that do not expand privat ndustries or create many jobs which is why the 800 billion federal stimulus of 2009 had so little effect on the economy or job creation.  Keynesian deficit spending does not work well in a mature economy that se have today and it further increase our national debt without much benefit to show.
Vince Killoran
4 years 3 months ago
I agree w/Fred-I have long thought that squabbles over politics and economics is not appropriate for OIAT.  And I have certainly been drawn into such exchanges!

My early new year's resolution to stick to commenting only when the posts include issues of  religion or faith.
ed gleason
4 years 3 months ago
JR says " The next four years are going to be very contentious.' no they're not.
The Dems are going to dare the GOP to hold hands and have them go  over the fiscal cliff.

Obama to Boehner like Abraham ' " Do not be angry with me if I ask.. would you increase taxes on those making 300K? how about 500K? how about 1 million? ..  how much can one make and still be called by you  "small' business? 
How about that 15% carried interest Speaker? sputter sputter 
Carlos Orozco
4 years 3 months ago
"Deficits don't matter"

-Dick Cheney.
Rick Fueyo
4 years 3 months ago
William:

Thanks for your question.  I don't think it will be nearly that thin a margin.  The Florida Secretary of State website only shows the counties with outstanding ballots. But it does list them by category, and many are provisional/absentee. Absentee ballots traditionally favor the Republican side, although far less in this cycle due to the emphasis on early voting.

In any event, the President has an approximate 47,000 vote advantage with approximately 200,000 ballots left to count. Even if Gov. Romney wins 60% of the $200,000, which is statistically highly unlikely, he would not be able to the close margin.  He would have to win over 70% of the remaining ballots, roughly as well as he did in Utah. That's almost inconceivable.

My best guess is that the remaining ballots will split about 50-50, and the margin will remain somewhere between 45,000 and 50,000. That's a very modest victory with over 8 million votes cast, but nowhere approaches the 527 vote margin from 2000.
4 years 3 months ago
Tom Maher, sorry, but the country decided what it wants to do about how it has been working out for the country. You are too late with your fretting. Today is your day for licking your wounds.

And don't worry about being bored. The race for the Republican nomination in 2016 begins Friday.
Stephen SCHEWE
4 years 3 months ago
I doubt the next Republican president will play well in Massachusetts, but I do think it's possible to conceive of one who could win the Electoral College.  Somewhere, there's a military veteran (or a successful professional with close ties to the military like Gary Sinise) gaining experience as a district attorney, state legislator, or as a tech or social entrepreneur.  She might be Hispanic, like Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico.  The future candidate might be part of a two income family who understands the challenges of raising children in today's society; maybe he’s cutting his political teeth advocating for educational choice or charter public schools.  Maybe the next Republican president is a doctor with experience working overseas and struggling with the regulations and bureaucracy of healthcare delivery here.  This candidate will be highly educated, articulate, and pragmatic about social issues.  He or she will deplore abortion, for example, but will focus on harm reduction (fewer abortions) rather than attempting to overturn Roe vs. Wade.  Perhaps the candidate will be one of the conservative attorneys in Colorado or Washington who led the fight for legal marijuana because the War on Drugs was lost.  The next Republican president is probably about to turn 40; that’s how old Barack Obama was in 2000, when he went home early from the Democratic convention in LA because he couldn’t get in.
As a Democrat, I think it’s a good day to celebrate, but I wouldn’t be resting on our laurels.  If we don’t reach across the aisle to address the pressing, fundamental problems of our country, someone we’ve never heard of today will in 2020 or 2024.  That’s one of the lessons of Barack Obama; the future can strike from nowhere when you’re not looking.
Tom Maher
4 years 3 months ago
The probem that is not solved is the economy.  At best th e economy was in decline before the election at a satgnant 2% which is not enough to employ people entering the labor force. Nothing is on the  horizon to improve this stagnant, jobless economy.  But worse the talk is now the economy may lapse back into a recession.  And still we will have no plan to employ people entering the job market for the first time let alone the 23 million people who are not able to find a job. 

The old 1930s goverenment public works are not available becasue the country can not affort to pay for our very large 3.6 trillion federal budget where over 40 cents on the dollar is new fderal barrowing of debt. 

This has nothing to do with public opinion.  The facts are we have a governemnt and spending crisis that does impact the economy.   An example of how bad this can get is the several nations of the Euro zone such as Greece, Spain and Portugal that can no longer finance their governement spending and also have massive unemployment as high as 25% and cutbacks ov every tyfpe becasue they do not have enough money anymore.  The impact of our debt will be the same as their debt.  We also canhave chronic double digit unemployment especially of young people .  Sooner or later everyone will recongzine the severe consequences of the failed economic and fiscal policies of the Obama adminsitration.
Carlos Orozco
4 years 3 months ago
The race is over! Thank God we won't have to be reading august theologians bending and putting upside down Catholic teachings in order to justify voting for a certain candidate.

It turns out Hope and Change had reserve gas to run on. Well, now Obama can get back on making good on his promises to cut the exploding deficit; closing Guantanamo; stop the attack on individual liberties under the excuse of the false war on terror (Patriot Act and NDAA provisions); stop new imperial wars in the Middle East and Africa; call for a complete audit on the private banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve; put an end to the inconfesable relations that the CIA has with drug trafficking (Sinaloa and Zeta drug cartels in Mexico and the huge poppy fields in Afghanistan) and Islamist radicals (useful idiots that serve as excuse for new foreign interventions).

Political "narratives" on Big Bird, War on Women and Binders will only a politician reelected. Nothing more.
sarah gregory
4 years 3 months ago
I'm perplexed by the people, from McConnell and  Boehner to commenters here and elsewhere, who see the House retaining control as an indicator that ''the people'' somehow want divided government or no new taxes or whatever the current agenda of the party might be. House races are inherently local, a fact made so clear by the blistering fights every ten years to draw district lines, and subtle census-based adjustments to determine which states get more seats, which lose them. I vote for the name on the ballot that I believe will represent me best, and in my heavily gerrymandered district (not specifically - nearly all of yours are, too), that's who will win. Very, very few House seats are actually competitive, because very few seats are from districts that themselves are not segregated into ''people like us''. The real test of who controls the house is often the state legislative bodies or judiciaries who decide on the district lines. 

In the past four years, I've moved from one entirely noncompetitive district to another, and in recent months, to yet another. My vote (and yours) has nothing to do with the House I want to see, and everything to do with the quiet segregation - if not balkanization - of the congressional districts enough. In some cases, reasons for lines being drawn were to give certain constituencies a voice and a vote, but as a practical matter today, the boundaries serve to divide us further and tokenize certain populations, and little else. The House vote says nothing at all about the collective will of the people. It just shows our fragmentation.

Time will change the makeup of the house, time and demographics.  
J Cosgrove
4 years 3 months ago
''Bush paid for two major wars on a credit card. Do you think that might have contributed to significantly to the debt?''


No!!!  http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/153013/


The biggest Obama lie was that it was the bad economy was all the fault of Bush and not due to maybe housing policies starting with Clinton and Fannie Mae in the early 1990's.  About half the country bought this argument.  And the hypocrisy of it all is the argument from the left and people like their favorite, Paul Krugman,  that the government did not spend enough.  So maybe the problem was that George Bush didn't attack Russia or China.  Then we would have had a large debt and just what Krugman recommends.  By the way Krugman suggest we spend like we are at war with aliens from outer space.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhMAV9VLvHA


So according to Krugman, Bush was too timid and should have mobilized for World War III maybe or a space invasion.  Ludicrous but this is what the left is about.
Tom Maher
4 years 3 months ago
Notice any analysis of foriegn policy in  Robert David Sullivan article as if the Democratic party did not have huge vunerabilities in foriegn policy?   Will always matter more to the electorate how many states allow gay marraige when Iran (any day now) developes nuclear weapons or Eygpt's  Islamist governement joins with other Islamist states as a politcal block encouraging and enabling trerrorist attacks against the United States and its foriegn embassy?  

The probelm is the Democratic party over the decades has become more and more radicalized on American forieign policy and defense of American interest in the world.
But the United States does have significant nation interest including defense from attack and terrorism which will allways exist.  The Democratic party can not be relied on to adequately defend United States interests in a world.  Democrates can not assume relative peace and security will exit in the future or can be ignored.   Otherwise they will do as they did in 2004 attempt to run Howard Dean for President, an anti-war Democrat that even most Democrates found not to be credible. The nation does not share the Boston and dnortheast anti-war, anti-military and pacifistic sentiment but especailly in times of world threat which we will always have.  Radical Democrats are their own worst enemy and the Democratic party has plenty of radical elements that will prevent them from selecting an electable candidates and making effective forign policy.
Tom Maher
4 years 3 months ago
Marie Rehbein
Ed Gleason

Maria.  Don't kid yourself.  Greece only this moring is going through political and economic convulsions due to their debt.  The Greece had to cutback yet again on even more governemnt spending by layoffs, and further reduction of salaries, pensions and governemnt benefits.  There was volent rioting inthe streets of Athen as there has been for the last two years over the Greek Parliament voting in new autsterity measures demanded by the Euro zone for Greece to get more Euro zone bailout to keep their governemnt from being completely broke.  And there is no end in sight.  The reality is that even nations have limits to the amount of money they can borrow.  This applies to the United States and its massive 16 trillion dollar debt.  At some point investors do not lend nation any more money becasue the country is their debt because it becomes impossible for the country to continue to service its massive debt.  Default on a nation's debt of course is a multi decade disaster.

Ed.  Isn't that what western Europe said just before World War II spread from a nation such as Spain in the Spanish civil war into a regional conflict into a mjor six year long world war?  Too bad you did't get to serve in WW II you would understand most people were not paid overtime in American factories to produce war materials for six long years.  Dpn't take peace for granted just becasue you have never persoanlly experienced war.. War must be fprevented from happening and not just assumed it will not happen.  The world has always had conflicts and wars.  But especially when one sie such as Iran gets a major strategic advantage like possessin nuclear weapons which by the way can be used.  Iran's governemnt  does not have San Francisco peace and love values.  War is a constant human reality. 
Stephen SCHEWE
4 years 3 months ago
From a thought for the day service I subscribe to:
''I have conservative friends who lead lives of sacrifice and service yet believe things about Jesus that I do not believe. But their lives count far more to me than their beliefs. 
Besides, they may be right and I may be wrong.  I can only hope that they feel the same way about me. Otherwise we are all in trouble.''
 Robin Meyers, Underground Church

Peace to all.
J Cosgrove
4 years 3 months ago
World War II did not end the Great Depression.  It employed the people that is for sure, over 12 million in the military and millions more in war production.  But none of that was wealth creating processes, just the opposite.  Some of it later was able to translate into productive capacity such as the factories for the automotive industry and other manufacturing infrastructure.  But in general there was little wealth creation during the war as nearly everyone lived very frugally.  People were employed but not living better than in previous generations.  Rationing was widespread and was justified because of the war.  My mother used to tell me of the hard times during the war years.


There was tremendous worry as what to do with 11 million returning servicemen and those in industry that would no longer be needed.  There were no jobs for them as no industry was available to absorb them.  But two things happened.  The first is that Roosevelt died and Truman became president.  Truman was much more sympathetic with business and he was not strong enough politically to continue the Roosevelt assault on business.  In other words business now thought they could expand and they became more optimistic about their future and were willing to invest.  Roosevelt had planned a Depression type series of programs of the government employing everyone after the war but since he was dead, this folly was abandoned and congress took more control.  A lot of the Democrats in Congress hated Roosevelt and were business friendly and supported the private sector instead of Roosevelt's crazy government programs.


The second thing that helped end the Depression was the fact that the war had crippled the industrial capacity of a lot of the world.  Europe and Japan were bombed out and the US had its manufacturing infrastructure in place completely unaffected by the war.  


So it wasn't the massive spending of WWII that ended the Depression, it was mainly a different attitude towards business and a lack of competition from abroad.  Something similar happened after WWI as most of Wilson's nonsense was abandoned and the country returned to normalcy in a couple years and was able to absorb the returning soldiers as well as the laid off from war time production.  


Also the Bill of Rights allowed a delay of a couple years for millions to enter the work force and educated a large part of the population which then allowed this investment in education to pay off in more efficient processes of production. 


So Krugman's analogy of a make believe war with aliens or with a real adversary such as China or Russia would be folly since it would produce no wealth, just a redistribution of money.  If the government invests in things that create wealth then maybe it has value but only if the outcome of the investment then allows the private sector to create the wealth and expand it.  War making per se does not do this.  Defense is only necessary if it facilitates the freedom to trade and expand wealth creation both for ourselves and others.  Of itself it does not produce wealth except in cases where the research produces products or processes that allow the private sector to use it to create wealth.  


For example, Silicon Valley, the source of much of our current wealth, was the result of government investment in electronic warfare technology.  But private business was allowed the fruits of this and the investment per se did not create our present wealth but the businesses that used and expanded on this research.  Eventually the origins of computers and microchip technology remains in the distant past as it should be.  Government research helped start it but it was private business that ran with it.  That is the model that works.  It is when the government gets too involved that problems arise.  Support research into solar or wind technology, do not try to pick which companies to support.


Thus, investment in research is a useful use of government money but not an actual investment in actual companies per se.  Support useful and even speculative research but do not support any specific industry.  Let the market and private investment do that.  They are so much better at it as the decisions are based on the creation of wealth and not political patronage.


Preparing for war does employ a lot of people but seldom leads to wealth creation and that is what is needed to employ people fruitfully for the benefit of everyone.  What I find ironic in all this is the complaint of Bush's Wars as the origin or our economic problems and then to turn around and say to multiply what Bush did by 10 is the answer to our economic problems.  Absolute absurdity and that is a definition of a kook.  So Krugman is indeed a ''kook'' as he should know the above.
Stanley Kopacz
4 years 3 months ago
Republicans and democrats should not be our only choices  We need more parties.  A friend of mine just voted for Romney even though he's pro-abortion access. Libertarian would have been a closer fit. I voted for Obama in spite of my disgust at the pro-abortion rhetoric from the democrats and Obama being to the right of Richard Milhouse Nixon.  Wouldn't it be possible to even have a party closer in fit to Catholicism?  We need to think ourselves out of this box.  First and second choice on ballots might help.  We need to wrest power from this duopoly.
Mike Evans
4 years 3 months ago
If we can afford trillions to go to war and destroy things and people wantonly, we certainly can afford trillions to rebuild and invest in our own country and its people. This sick fear of debt would constrain us to never venture forward or make new progress. The fact is that large infrastructure investments cannot be supported from the extremely small revenue increases (or decreases) in state and federal budgets from year to year. The current austerity model imposed on Greece, Spain and other countries has simply sapped their energy, reduced them as markets for goods from us and others and made people in general more miserable only to make a few bankers happy. We are much better people than that. The election seems to indicate hope and change are not dead!
J Cosgrove
4 years 3 months ago
There was a substantial drop off in voting this year and the final talley is several weeks away.  An interesting article that discusses this is


http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/11/08/the_case_of_the_missing_white_voters_116106.htm


Essentially the reduction of voters for this election is all white voters who decided not to vote.  I am sure this will be analyzed to death in the next couple years but it belays the claim of demographic shifts that have happened explains the outcome.  
Marie Rehbein
4 years 3 months ago
JR#41, there is no intent to keep borrowing in order to be operational.  I don't know why you presume what you do.

I agree with Mike#40, there is no difference between borrowing money to finance war and borrowing money to support alternative energies, for example. 

Here's how we subsidize oil now: http://www.forbes.com/sites/energysource/2012/04/25/the-surprising-reason-that-oil-subsidies-persist-even-liberals-love-them/2/

What this says is that tax breaks - taxes that the government could, but doesn't, collect - are the major way oil production is subsidized.  The result: the government has to borrow money to operate.

In other words, JR, you are missing the big picture of government spending and borrowing.
William Lindsey
4 years 3 months ago
How thin do you imagine it might be, Rick?

As thin, perhaps, as Mr. Bush's margin of victory in Florida in 2000, once the Supreme Court stopped the recount there? 
4 years 3 months ago
O Bummer,  What's the Church going to do now? Pretty rough seas ahead. I'm ready for it!
William Lindsey
4 years 3 months ago
I agree with your projection of the possible outcome in FL, Rick-and I very much appreciate your reply to me.
Tom Maher
4 years 3 months ago
Robert David Suyllivan, a Boston liberal Democrat (aren't we all all really?) analysis is that the  Republican party problem is that it does not run a Ted Kennedy-like Democrat as the Republican presidential candidate.   The Republican party would be much better nationally if it became more like the Republican party in Massachuesset - almost non-existant where less than 11% of the registered voters are Republicans.  Iran, China or the former Soviet Union has a more political choices over the last forty years than one party rule of the Democratic party in Massachusetts. 

How is it working out for the country to have accumulated a 16 trillion dollar debt which willgrow to at least 20 trillion in the next four years?  And that is before full costs of  Obamacare impact the federal budget to drive up the national debt even higher.and faster.  The federal budget and debt is out of control and the Democrats do not have any plans to prevent a national financial collapse from the accumulation of massive and unsustainable national debt. 
4 years 3 months ago
The "standard Democratic blah blah blah" has been changed by President Obama (second term) to $2.50 of cuts for $1 increased revenue (which can come through tax reform, not rate increases). Your information is as out of date as Romney's "surge." Go back to licking your wounds, Tom, your tale is not going to sell.
Vince Killoran
4 years 3 months ago
The GOP is an exceedingly conservative party-far more than any in any other developed country. The Dems. are actually fairly moderate-their center-right would pass for a "conservative" party in some places.

The increasingly diverse-and younger- population are rejecting the GOP positions on most everything.
David Smith
4 years 3 months ago
Tim, Mr. Sullivan's is a partisan piece, and so not worth much as analysis. As a partisan piece, though, it's fine.  Democrats understand and speak for the people and Republicans are twisted and mired in an imaginary past.  Got it.
J Cosgrove
4 years 3 months ago
Someone just pointed out the following:

Obama 2008 -  69,456897
Obama 2012 -  60.662,601

McCain 2008 - 59,934,814
Romney 2012 - 57,821,399

Of course the 2012 will be adjusted in the coming weeks as more votes are counted but the overall trend is one that no one commented on so far.  Did 10-11 million fewer people vote this time and why?


 
JOHN SULLIVAN
4 years 3 months ago
Bush paid for two major wars on a credit card. Do you think that might have contributed tosignificantly to the debt?
J Cosgrove
4 years 3 months ago
''In the past deficits and debt have been taken care of by inflation.''

Inflation, no worries.  How about the late 1970's when we had a term called ''stagflation.''  Inflation created havoc with salaries, lending and a lot of other things.  The best book to read on this is


http://www.amazon.com/Great-Inflation-Its-Aftermath-Affluence/dp/B004JZWMWG/ref=la_B001JRWF5Q_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352394973&sr=1-1


It is available for your Kindle or Nook and anyone can be reading it in 5 minutes.  Very good description of the period by an economics reporter.  Inflation advocacy is another reason why Krugman is a kook.  By the way then no one should be upset with George Bush's deficits because they were chump change compared to Obama's and the Democratic Congress starting with the 2008 budget.


I had a friend from Brazil who described life in the 1980's in Brazil.  He would get paid every day at lunch and at the end of work.  His wife would get the money each time and go and shop because they knew by tomorrow the goods would cost more.  Inflation can destroy a country quickly unless it is brought under control.  Inflation as a tool for getting rid of debt has been proposed by lots of people but it is a fools game.  Would you invest in anything if you thought the return would be worthless in a couple years?  No and neither would the pros who lend the treasury trillions of dollars.  They would demand higher than inflation returns on the investment and if you want to see the country bankrupt that is a really fast way to do it.

Sound money that draws investment is a much better answer but then we have kooks like Krugman who will tell people anything.  And by the way, what do you think Bernacke has been doing the last 3 years with all the ''Quantitative Easing''
Marie Rehbein
4 years 3 months ago
Economic well-being depends on keeping money in circulation more than it depends on having things of value, since value is something that is not absolute.  By quantitative easing, the treasury made it possible for money to keep circulating when people began hoarding it. 

Not only is US currency in circulation in the US, but it is held by people in other countries - in accounts and in mattresses - because, ultimately, there is no other currency of greater value or likelier soundness.  The Euro was established to make doing business throughout Europe easier, but what value does it have if it is not circulated?

If every debt in the world were called in at the same time, which pockets would end up empty?  Is it fair to insist that one point in time is the appropriate moment to ante up?  If Greece's debt exceeds it's current ability to repay it, the answer is to get more money moving, not to force it to settle up when it has nothing to settle up with.

People who worry a lot about debt and deficit and who advocate austerity to address their worries are likeliest to bring about the thing they seem most to fear.  If I were a European leader facing the economic pressure coming from Angela Merkel, I would be out of the union and minting my own currency.
4 years 3 months ago
JR (15, 17, 20, 25 etc.), you old Bourbon. Shouldn't you be taking a few more days to try to figure out what happened to your theories under the stress of a national election Tuesday?

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