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Spending Cuts in Name Only?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:03 pm - August 4, 2011.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Debt Crisis

Kudos to Yahoo! for this headline on their homepage yesterday:

More than anything this exposes the emptiness of the Democratic and left-wing bellyaching about the deal and reminds those of us who wish to reduce the size and scope of the federal government that we still have our work cut out to us.

But, at least Yahoo!’s Chris Moody is acknowledging that in Washington-ese a spending cut is not a reduction in the current level of spending, but a reduction of projected future spending:

Much of the problem has to do with the language of Washington, which, you might have noticed, is different from the speech you hear almost every other place on Earth. When most politicians talk of “cutting” spending, they don’t always literally mean that they intend to reduce current spending levels. Instead, under this version of fiscal discipline, Congress merely agrees not to spend as much money as it initially had planned. Once that deal is struck lawmakers then turn around to sell their proposals as “cuts.”

Take the “debt ceiling deal” President Obama signed on Tuesday. Let’s say that the federal government, when all is said and done, actually slows the growth of spending by $2 trillion over a decade–the minimum amount promised. After 10 years’ time, if all $2 trillion is not spent, there will actually be an increase of about $1.8 trillion.

Read the whole thing, especially for the video on the minuscule nature of the cuts in the recent deal.

In the coverage of the Reagan budget “cuts” in the 1980s, we only saw such candor in the conservative media.

SOMEWHAT RELATED: Paul Ryan asks, Where’s Your Budget, Mr. President? Via Instapundit.

UPDATE:  So, the “public backlash” the president is enduring from his liberal base over the deal is anger that spending increases aren’t going to be as large as forecast?

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84 Comments

  1. TGC, not quite: the broken window story involves destruction of wealth (the window), and the loss to other actors in the community despite the fact that the window-maker got some new business which was then added to GDP (another reason the GDP statistic is crap).

    On tax hikes… FTR, the Bush cuts increased revenues. That is prima facie evidence of what part of the Laffer Curve we’re on: namely, the wrong part for tax hikes to increase revenue (beyond their first several months of operation). As Byron York puts it:

    Revenues fell in Bush’s first two years because of a combination of the tech bust [ed: the Clinton recession, that Bush inherited] and the start of the tax cuts. But then things took off. After taking in $1.782 trillion in tax revenues in 2003, the government collected $1.88 trillion in 2004; $2.153 trillion in 2005; $2.406 trillion in 2006; and $2.567 trillion in 2007, according to figures compiled by the Office of Management and Budget. That’s a 44 percent increase from 2003 to 2007. (Revenues slid downward a bit in 2008, and a lot in 2009, when the financial crisis sent the economy into a tailspin.) “Everybody talks about how much the Bush tax cuts ‘cost,'” says one GOP strategist. “We’re saying, no, they led to a huge increase in revenue.”

    And deficits shrank. After beginning with a Clinton-era surplus in 2001 [ed: but again, also a Clinton recession], the Bush administration ran up deficits of $158 billion in 2002; $378 billion in 2003; and $413 billion in 2004. Then, with revenues pouring in, the deficits began to fall: $318 billion in 2005; $248 billion in 2006; and $161 billion in 2007. That 2007 deficit, with the tax cuts in effect, was one-tenth of today’s $1.6 trillion deficit.

    Deficits went up in 2008 with the beginning of the economic downturn — and, not coincidentally, with the first full year of a Democratic House and Senate [ed: who, even then, were jacking up spending].

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 5, 2011 @ 5:01 pm - August 5, 2011

  2. Hi ILC,

    Deficit spending is always and only a result of one thing, Cas: SPENDING.

    Sorry, ILC, but you appear to ignore that a deficit is made up of two parts, so it just isn’t “spending.”
    Deficit = Government Spending – Taxation.
    It is inaccurate to talk about “deficit spending”, because you assume the very thing you are trying to claim. A deficit can be caused by a couple of things, one of which you ignore–namely, too low levels of taxation, and/or too high levels of spending. Given the fixation that many folks here have with the desirability of low levels of taxation, this lacunae is understandable.

    What could you be talking about there? What “important avenue” is not available to them? Any Euro country can, in practice, run all the deficit “stimulus” it wants to.

    You miss the point. Depreciating an exchange rates is the mechanism that I discussed. To ignore it, seems cock-eyed, to say the least. As to your query, they can do so (run deficits) but whether they can is beyond their control in a crisis. They do not have the ability to print money to finance this deficit (as a last resort)–which is part of this deal. They can issue bonds, but in a crisis, the interest on them can be ruinous–if, they can get people to buy them. They have the Euro as their currency, and this is a downside for these governments. As long as others are willing to lend them the Euros, they can deficit finance. If they stop lending, they are SOL. That is the downside of being tied to the Euro, and one reason that Greece (and others) may leave the Euro. So, they can print their own currency and depreciate their currency. After all, that is one way the Swedish miracle of the 1990s occurred–right? They depreciated their currency. And they increased aggregate demand and exported their way out of difficulties. I had assumed that you knew that, given your admiration for Swedish economic performance of the later 1990s, but maybe not?

    A cut in our standard of living. As a known consequence of policy: a feature, not a bug. Given the existence of alternatives – of policies that would raise our standard of living – I infer that it is a *desired* consequence: that Cas has just admitted, probably without meaning to, that she not only knows her policies will lead us to penury, she intends them to.

    I’m sorry–I didn’t realize that my comment would give you and perhaps others, an attack of the vapours.

    I do not believe that the policies that you offer are going to do anything more than send us back into recession (i.e., cut our overall average standard of living). So, what about that lower standard of living that I state? After all, what do you think we have now, ILC, in this country? The difference is that currently, those bearing the brunt of the cut in the standard of living are those who are un- or under-employed; or those who are seeing their wages going backwards in nominal terms. At least, with exchange rate depreciation, that sacrifice would be shared equally by all including the wealthy (who would pay more for their imported luxury items), with the added benefit of increased overall domestic employment (Remember your poster child, Sweden!)

    Finally, as for this:

    Not when you post them days late to a thread that has dropped off the blog’s front page, no.

    I would simply point out that:
    August 2, 2011 @ 3:57 pm – August 2, 2011 Your last entry
    August 2, 2011 @ 4:01 pm – August 2, 2011 My reply

    Wow, a whole 4 minutes later. Pretty slow of me, I know. Then, I followed up a day later because you hadn’t replied. Its all good, ILC. I am sure the Sweden issue will pop up again, and I will still ask you to explain the apparent surface incoherency of your claims.

    Comment by Cas — August 5, 2011 @ 7:46 pm - August 5, 2011

  3. A deficit can be caused by a couple of things, one of which you ignore–namely, too low levels of taxation, and/or too high levels of spending. Given the fixation that many folks here have with the desirability of low levels of taxation, this lacunae is understandable.

    Ah, the power of positive thinking and compromise. Every dollar increase in deficit spending should be offset by: a) a dollar in tax increase; b) 50 cents in tax increase and 50 cents cut in spending; c) a dollar cut in spending.

    But, Hi Cas! you do not address the fact that the budget base line increases by 6% and more per year even when the Democrats don’t even present and pass a budget.

    Shall we drop the budget back to the zero base, or is that too Draconian for your brand of economics?

    Comment by Heliotrope — August 5, 2011 @ 11:59 pm - August 5, 2011

  4. After all, that is one way the Swedish miracle of the 1990s occurred–right? They depreciated their currency. And they increased aggregate demand and exported their way out of difficulties.

    I do so love when the childish and incoherent Cas gets cornered.

    You see, Cas, you have insisted repeatedly that cutting government spending and lowering taxes DECREASES “aggregate demand”.

    Yet when you cite Sweden, you are citing a country where MASSIVE cuts to government spending and taxation were made — and you admit that “aggregate demand” INCREASED.

    Furthermore, Cas, you are epically stupid. Did you forget something that you mentioned above?

    Another difference is that the US dollar is used nearly universally as a means to settle international trade ion a number of goods.

    Number one: OIL.

    And thanks to you and your Barack Obama, the US is overwhelmingly dependent on imported oil – to the tune of nearly $350 billion dollars, or over 16% of our total imports.

    So what’s the moronic Cas’s recipe for success? Let’s devalue our currency and drive up the price of our number-one import, one on which our economy rests in innumerable ways, to stratospheric levels.

    And even better, since stupid Cas and Cas’s Obama Party adamantly oppose ANY domestic oil and gas production, we CAN’T make more of it, nor can we export it.

    If you had even bothered to research this in the least, Cas, you would realize that what you’re advocating is economic suicide. But of course, you didn’t research, you didn’t think, and you certainly didn’t bother to investigate; you just spouted class-warfare parasite talking points.

    And now you look like a complete and total idiot.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 6, 2011 @ 12:08 am - August 6, 2011

  5. If you had even bothered to research this in the least, Cas, you would realize that what you’re advocating is economic suicide.

    NDT, that’s where I disagree. Cas confessed earlier, and in effect (perhaps not fully realizing her confession), that she does realize that she’s advocating economic suicide, i.e. that her policies make nations poorer. And she was fine with it. She would “rather the poor were poorer, provided the rich were less rich” (Thatcher).

    Wow, a whole 4 minutes later.

    I’m not even going to bother verifying that. I mean, so what? Perhaps I had things to do and left for some hours, not noticing your comments until today. And still not caring, the more so as it is (in fact) days-old, well off the front page.

    too low levels of taxation

    Seriously? You seriously think that Americans aren’t taxed enough? That well over $2 trillion in revenue isn’t enough to run a large country’s government? That the government America had under Bill Clinton, which was in fact far smaller than the one we have now, wasn’t already pretty darn big, and already pretty well engaged in the kind of coercive redistribution that you lust to impose?

    You miss the point. Depreciating an exchange rates is the mechanism that I discussed.

    No, I didn’t miss the point. You did. And, “as usual”. I knew exactly what you were talking about: spend, borrow, print, spend, print, borrow until depreciation is accomplished, and the world is forced to recognize it. At which point, and as you put with such charm, “We get a cut in our standard of living” – yay! Feel the hope, people! the CHANGE!

    That was my point, which you missed: Currency destruction, and the poverty that goes with it, is (among sane people) something to be avoided or prevented by economic policy. Not viewed as a perfectly acceptable result of normal (and indeed desirable) policy.

    [the PIIGS] do not have the ability to print money to finance th[eir] deficit

    Which shall ultimately prove a blessing to them. Because of the austerity measures they are taking, in five years (or less) their economies will be stronger than ours.

    one way the Swedish miracle of the 1990s occurred–right? They depreciated their currency.

    No, actually. Repeated depreciations did not solve Sweden’s problems. They were a recognition of reality: that Sweden had, in fact, undertaken 3 decades of terrible fiscal and monetary policies (you know, the ones you advocate) which gutted its currency and, as you put it with such charm, gave them “a cut in their standard of living.”

    Depreciation is the economic equivalent of getting an F. It is a recognition of the reality that you have messed up. It contributes to recovery, only in the back-handed (if not warped) sense that admitting the facts about your giant alcohol problem is a first step in your alcohol recovery. It’s a recognition of a negative set of facts; not a positive accomplishment. When you take steps to actually reform your economy (or yourself), *then* you have an accomplishment, and cause your recovery.

    I do not believe that the policies that you offer are going to do anything more than send us back into recession (i.e., cut our overall average standard of living). So, what about that lower standard of living that I state?

    And now, the Cas red herrings come out.

    I truly believe – indeed, I know – that the policies I advocate will cause, within a few years or perhaps less, an explosion of prosperity. You can disagree with me; but I take the position that economic policy is supposed to produce prosperity, and I advocate policies accordingly.

    You don’t. You admit that your policies lead a nation to the poor house or, as you put it with such charm, “it gets a cut in its standard of living.” Moreover, you seem fine with it. That is the opposite attitude of sane economic policy. Even if you prove to be right on one small point or another, no one should ever listen to you.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 6, 2011 @ 1:50 am - August 6, 2011

  6. Hi NDT,
    Talking to you is like swimming in a cesspool. Why you cannot even pretend to maintain a civil tongue in your head and in your typing fingers is almost beyond me.

    The one thing I do notice–the more “threatened” and less able to defend your point of view that you feel given what I say, the more likely you are to resort to insults. I guess that means that you feel you are unable to carry an argument by reason alone, and feel the need to insult people. I never felt like I intimidate people, but clearly, that appears to be the case with you. So, in dealing with your insults, I take comfort from the fact that you feel rattled by what I have been saying. Cool.

    My answers to you–sans your “epically stupid childish manner in which you speak” rhetoric are as follows:

    Oil prices are not tied in a one to one relationship with US currency depreciation, as we have talked about before. I would further point out that Sweden during the 1990s was (and still is) a net oil importer. So, even so, it still improved its economic position, something that shouldn’t happen, if oil is the be all and end all of imports. It is sizeable for the US, I grant. But notice–all imports will go up in price–so by your logic, why pick on oil alone, as the cause of skyrocketing import costs? As the US dollar falls, all imports will be more expensive. Oil is not special in this regard. So, how did things improve for Sweden? You focus on imports to the exclusion of exports, and I find that strange. Why do you do that? The effect on aggregate demand of the trade sector is the change in X – M, not just M, alone. So why do you expect exports to remain stagnant or fall (as you appear to be suggesting)? Would it give you pause to realize that Swedish EXPORTS rose from approx 27% of GDP in the early 90s to almost 50% of GDP in 2000?

    Yet when you cite Sweden, you are citing a country where MASSIVE cuts to government spending and taxation were made — and you admit that “aggregate demand” INCREASED.

    So, you agree that it increased its money supply AND that its currency depreciated–two moves of which you do not approve. And which, according to your model of how economies work should have helped sink the Swedish economy. Further, even granting your claim that Sweden cut expenditures and taxes, though a net loss on aggregate demand, it was more than made up for by increased exports and easier money supply conditions (and lower interest rates in the second half of the 1990s; e.g., the Central Bank’s discount rate fell) conditions.

    And that still leaves us with the question I left you with on the last thread, namely, even granting your points (which do not prove what you think they do), you champion an economy that is doing better then the US–Sweden–and whose current levels of government spending and taxation are way above what we have in the US; levels that you would find an abomination if they were reproduced here in the US. I find it endearing and quite peculiar for you to be defending what is still, in many ways, a Swedish socialist paradise, and–something that the model you have in your head cannot apparently explain. How do you explain that, NDT?

    Comment by Cas — August 6, 2011 @ 3:21 am - August 6, 2011

  7. Hi ILC,
    What interests me, in all of this is that you still cannot bring yourself to answer the question I left you with on the last thread–and one that I conveniently laid out for NDT above. Your model cannot explain why Sweden is doing well now, given its much higher levels of taxation and government spending. After all, these should have put Sweden in the poop hole, according to the model and rhetoric you have previously used. So, explain that result, if you can.

    Second, just because you want to chat about three decades of mismanagement, you have to actually look at what Sweden did–it abandoned is peg, and allowed its exchange rate to float, and it immediately depreciated. And that, together with a deliberately loose monetary policy helped lead it out of its crisis. That is what history says. Knock it all you want, but that is the bottom line.

    Finally, I notice how astutely you avoid engaging what I said US standards of living falling, whilst again having a case of the vapours concerning my view of what is plainly obvious to anyone with eyes. You can feign outrage all you want, but I made my stance clear–you want the lower standard of living that we inherited from this economic mess (and it has to be lower because we ain’t producing anywhere near what we should be) to fall on a particular segment of the population, rather than the population as a whole. Well, good for you! But being silent about it doesn’t change the fact that that is what you think will work best for the country. I happen to disagree, and the fact you won’t own your own particular preferences is very telling.

    Comment by Cas — August 6, 2011 @ 3:32 am - August 6, 2011

  8. Actually, Cas, what we notice is how, when you are humiliated and exposed as a fraud, your response is to throw a tantrum, whining and screaming and repeating your inanities over and over again. Your imbecilic belief that we should destroy the US economy by jacking up the price of our major import and destroying our currency’s value demonstrates how little you know about economic policy and how wedded you are to simple class warfare and envy. You would destroy the country’s whole economy to punish those who are wealthier than you are. That is sick.

    Sweden proves you are a fraud. Their economy nearly collapsed when they put in place what you demand – complete redistribution of wealth and total state control of the economy. It is only by REVERSING everything that you demand that they have managed to survive. Their near-collapse proves that your policies are failures, and you hilariously try to insist that their success is due to your policies — not because they were intelligent enough to STOP listening to you.

    Moreover, Cas, ILC has you correctly cornered. You admit that your policies do not create wealth; they destroy it. Your goal is to make the United States poorer. You admit it. Since you are too lazy and incompetent to raise yourself out of the cesspool in which you wallow, your goal is to make everyone as poverty-stricken, welfare-dependent, and helpless as you are.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 6, 2011 @ 4:15 am - August 6, 2011

  9. Hi NDT,
    As I said, all we see is you insulting me and searching about to assign hyperbolic opinions that I do not hold, as well as to avoid answering the OBVIOUS question I earlier raised. And, again, I feel disappointed by the fact that you cannot mount a rational argument and engage the issues you yourself raised earlier and which I answered. I am sorry that you feel cornered by the case I have presented, but if you could get over your attack of the vapours, and realize that I am not attacking you but questioning your ideological framework, we could have a respectful conversation that could be mutually beneficial.

    Comment by Cas — August 6, 2011 @ 12:42 pm - August 6, 2011

  10. And now we move to phase two; Cas’s tantrums didn’t work, so now it tries its usual passive-aggressive lies as it squirms and tries to get away after its imbecilic beliefs are publicly called out.

    You made yourself abundantly clear, Cas. The only thing you care about is perpetuating your parasitic existence and destroying the wealth of anyone who has more than you do. You WANT living standards cut. Your only concern is punishing the rich. And your shortsightedness is such that you are openly advocating destroying the US currency and massively driving up the price of oil out of some insane desire to hurt the “wealthy”.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 6, 2011 @ 3:39 pm - August 6, 2011

  11. Hi NDT,
    Nope. Just pointing out what is plainly obvious. When you feel up to actually putting forth a rational argument, let me know.

    Comment by Cas — August 6, 2011 @ 3:59 pm - August 6, 2011

  12. Hi Cas is all atwitter over how Sweden has hit the magic formula. As passing strange as it may seem, KOS has been pumping the same nonsense:

    The Scandinavian nanny state is the fastest growing economy in the Western world amidst a global crisis. Funny how that won’t be reported in the US media. Instead it’s all about Greece and other ineffective/sclerotic southern European economies.

    5,7% GDP growth in 2010 and continuing at the same pace in 2011. 7% unemployment rate and sinking fast. 30% total deficit projected to become 20% in two years (US deficit is almost 100%). That’s liberalism/socialism in practice folks.

    I’m not writing this diary to brag about Sweden, although I am a Swede. I am not proud of Sweden or its culture per se, I am proud of the Swedish welfare state and its liberal/socialist policies. I wish to give US progressives more ammunition to use in their fight against conservatism for the soul of America.

    Usually, when the success of the Swedish economy is brought up US conservatives (and sometimes also liberals) claim that it is a special case of a small, homogenous country which is very different from the US. Funny how conservatives – according to this logic – thinks that socialism works, but only in small countries. I find this reply inadequate. Yes, there are many differences between the US and Sweden but there are certain economic laws and tendencies which remain constant. High taxes do not kill jobs, quite the contrary (if wisely designed). I am no expert but it seems to me that the US would be better off implementing some of the policies which have led to Sweden’s success. Also, Sweden is not very homogenous anymore. We have had a massive wave of immigration the past 20 years, especially from Muslim countries. The picture of a country of blond, blue-eyed persons is no longer true (if it ever was). I would argue that it is not because of its small size or cultural homogenity that Sweden is successful, but because of its liberal/socialist policies and because of a political culture where economical issues are seen as fundamental, not bogus issues pushed by right wing fundies. To be sure, sometimes Swedish politics can go too far in the direction of soulless technocratic pragmatism but I prefer that to the Tea Party insanity.

    And yes, we have a center-right government right now, but they are far to the left of the US Democratic Party so labels are misleading.

    Anyway, my 2 cents. Hopefully some of you progressives will find this diary informative, helpful or inspiring in your fight for America. I am with you in spirit from the other side of the ocean.

    I won’t tear up additional space over this, but those interested in the opposing point of view might click on this link:

    http://www.paoracle.com/SocialismWORKS!/index.php?sw=Sweden

    Comment by Heliotrope — August 6, 2011 @ 7:33 pm - August 6, 2011

  13. Just pointing out what is plainly obvious

    LOL – Cas, what is “plainly obvious” is that you couldn’t hope to argue your way out of a pile of leaves.

    you still cannot bring yourself to answer the question I left you with on the last thread

    As of this moment – as I type these words, having not yet read further into your comment – I still don’t know what the question is. As I’ve already explained to you – on more than one occasion, both current and previous – I don’t value your comments so much that I dig back into days-old threads long after they have dropped off the main page.

    I guess you just can’t accept that. And as well, I guess it’s time to add “lying”, Cas, to the list of your other faults (since in fact I probably could bring myself to answer your question, if only I knew what it was).

    Moving on, wondering if next you will actually state what that question is…

    and one that I conveniently laid out for NDT above

    No, still not yet. Oops. I don’t always read, and in this particular instance I didn’t read, your comment(s) addressed to NDT. But maybe, now that you’ve satisfied your own self-importance by imagining several times that I would or should hang on your every comment, maybe now, you will finally get to whatever the question is. Maybe it’s next.

    Your model cannot explain why Sweden is doing well now, given its much higher levels of taxation and government spending.

    [rolling eyes] Is that it? Is that the famous question? Because first of all, it’s in the form of an assertion, not a question. But more important, again I guess it’s time to add “lying”, Cas, to the list of your other faults. Because I did already explain it. To you. At length.

    Because I’m refuting a lie at this point, I will finally dig into the old thread for a link or a quote. See here: http://www.gaypatriot.net/2011/07/30/seems-the-media-cover-isnt-working/#comment-642181
    And here: http://www.gaypatriot.net/2011/07/30/seems-the-media-cover-isnt-working/#comment-642228
    And here: http://www.gaypatriot.net/2011/07/30/seems-the-media-cover-isnt-working/#comment-642230
    And here: http://www.gaypatriot.net/2011/07/30/seems-the-media-cover-isnt-working/#comment-642345
    And here: http://www.gaypatriot.net/2011/07/30/seems-the-media-cover-isnt-working/#comment-642353
    And here: http://www.gaypatriot.net/2011/07/30/seems-the-media-cover-isnt-working/#comment-642355
    And here: http://www.gaypatriot.net/2011/07/30/seems-the-media-cover-isnt-working/#comment-642361

    Heck, I’ll even quote it for you so you don’t have to go there:

    But Sweden has been headed in the right direction – toward greater economic freedom – for some years now. Just as the U.S. has been heading in the wrong direction.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 1, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

    Sweden also has lower public deficits and debt than the U.S., having cut back on spending significantly from where they used to be in the 1990s.

    I put that under the general heading of “heading in the right direction – toward greater economic freedom”, since public spending and debt are essentially threats of future taxation and/or inflation: the greater the debt, the greater the threat. But it is worth mentioning in its own right.

    You see, deficits don’t work. “Stimulus” doesn’t work, particularly in high-debt countries. Expanding your government spending, “stimulus” and debt is a way to take your economy down. Getting responsible and contracting them is a way to get your economy growing again. Even bogged-down, over-socialized ol’ Sweden has found that to be true.

    All the more reason why it is amazing, Cas, that you (or Obama or Krugman or anyone) could seriously believe that the U.S. should have even greater spending, “stimulus”, deficit and debt. Clearly, evidence is not something that moves you.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 1, 2011 @ 7:08 pm

    Economics 101: Learning from Sweden’s Free Market Renaissance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvtxT0qPJoQ

    Narrated by a Swede:

    … How did we become rich [in the period 1870-1970]? Sweden had robust and secure property rights and the Rule of Law… Sweden also had a relatively small government for most of that period, with taxes and spending about the same level as the United States [i.e., significantly under 30% of GDP].

    But in the 1970s, things began to go wrong, and the Swedish economy began to lag… The government gave subsidies to industries in trouble, instead of letting inefficient companies fail… Taxes were sharply increased… the marginal tax rate was over 100% for some people… new regulations on the labor market…

    And that was the time when government’s share of GDP grew to over 50%. In other words: Big Government equals malaise.

    … the krona was devalued several times… until the country plunged into a crisis in the beginning of the 90s… [But in the last 12 years, Sweden] has privatized many State-owned firms, liberalized the credit market, deregulated [the currency], and lowered the marginal income tax rate. Also, unemployment and sickness compensation payments have been reduced. We have reformed the school and health care system [with] private incentives.

    Sweden is more of a market economy today, with fewer unpredictable government interventions. There is still much to do… but we are moving in the right direction.

    Lessons Learned:
    1) Smaller Government Boosts Growth
    2) Economic Tinkering Hurts Rather than Helps
    3) Free Trade is Good for Prosperity
    4) Policies that Supposedly Help Workers Actually Cause Unemployment

    … trying to smooth out booms and busts in the economy often leads to the opposite…

    Really Cas: You make this too easy. You should never, ever, ever have thought that Sweden was a good example for your side or that you could mention it around me with safety (for your viewpoint).

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 1, 2011

    Sweden is going in the right direction >50% government spending as % of GDP; an individual average tax rate of >57% in 2010; universal health care; with levels of entitlements that would be jaw dropping amazing here.

    Finally, a clean statement of your true agenda.

    But no, Cas: Sweden has been going in the right direction the last 12 years, to the extent it has been rolling those things back: reducing taxes, reducing spending, trimming entitlements, etc.. That is reality. Again, you appear to be not driven by it.

    you want Sweden as your model for America–really?

    As a model for malaise and crisis? (1970s/80s/90s Sweden). No.

    As a model for waking up from the Cas-left-liberal nightmare and moving in a free market direction? Sure.

    I already made that clear in my comments. Seriously Cas, are you dumb? Or is your lack of comprehension of my comments a choice?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 2, 2011

    Sweden is an economy that RIGHT NOW you would find totally abhorrent, if replicated here

    Not so. First, as much as the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction, the “full Sweden” would still be a step down from what we have here: i.e., from where we are, further in the wrong direction and a creator of yet more unemployment and malaise and crisis in the U.S. Second, as already stated, Sweden has begun to reform its society with market-oriented incentives including a reduction in unemployment and sickness compensation, school vouchers and more. The U.S. is bad enough off now (thank you, Obama and Cas) that yes, we could actually learn a thing or two from a Sweden that is in the process of reforming itself.

    Really Cas, are you dumb? Or is your lack of comprehension of my comments a choice?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 2, 2011

    To make this absolutely clear (though I shouldn’t have to):

    1) An economy can be a mixture of good and bad policies. That is called, a “MIXED ECONOMY”. The U.S. is an example of one such economy. Sweden is another.

    2) Whatever an economy’s policy mix is, it ends up at a certain equilibrium in terms of living standards, growth and employment (or lack thereof).

    3) When a society adjusts its policies in the Good direction, its equilibrium “target” (the equilibrium which is feasible for that economy, and toward which that economy finds itself being driven) gets better. This is true even if the resulting economy still isn’t perfect, or is still less-good than some other economies out there. It’s the direction, the movement, the progress, the improvement that creates new results.

    4) Conversely, when a society adjusts its policies in the Bad direction, its equilibrium “target” gets worse – even if the resulting economy still isn’t the worst conceivable economy, or is still better than some other economies out there. And it suffers lower living standards, less growth and more unemployment. It’s the direction, the movement, the progress, the degradation that creates new results.

    5) The histories of Sweden, the U.S., and many many other countries illustrate the above points.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 2, 2011

    … including the fact that the Good Direction is:
    – effective rights to life, liberty and property
    – Small Government / less of a government burden on the economy
    – more economic freedom
    – fiscal responsibility i.e. fiscal conservatism

    while the Bad Direction is:
    – ineffective rights to life, liberty and/or property
    – Big Government / more of a government burden on society
    – less economic freedom
    – fiscal irresponsibility i.e. fiscal liberalism

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 2, 2011

    And that, Cas, is a more-than-sufficient answer to your “question”. You simply choose, as usual, not to comprehend. But that isn’t my problem. It’s your problem.

    That’s all I have time for. I mean, that right there, even though much of it was copying, took 20 minutes of my valuable life. You really don’t deserve any more, Cas.

    So, whatever the rest of your comment was – and I expect it was probably as much nonsense as anything you post – I haven’t read it, and I probably won’t get around to it. Sorry about that; but really, you are the one with the problem here. You need to do several things here, if you want more from me (or even this much, in the future):

    1) Most of all, spew a lot less ridiculous garbage.
    2) Be briefer.
    3) Don’t expect me to hang on your every word. You may think yourself that important, but it’s just not realistic.
    4) Start choosing to comprehend my comments.
    5) Stop choosing to lie about me.

    Peace 🙂

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 6, 2011 @ 7:55 pm - August 6, 2011

  14. spamfilter

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 6, 2011 @ 7:56 pm - August 6, 2011

  15. (i.e., stay tuned for a long comment of mine that should appear after Heliotrope’s, once Dan gets to it)

    And now we move to phase two; Cas’s tantrums didn’t work, so now it tries its usual passive-aggressive lies as it squirms and tries to get away after its imbecilic beliefs are publicly called out.

    You made yourself abundantly clear, Cas… You WANT living standards cut. Your only concern is punishing the rich. And your shortsightedness is such that you are openly advocating destroying the US currency and massively driving up the price of oil out of some insane desire to hurt the “wealthy”.

    NDT, ain’t that the truth!

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 6, 2011 @ 8:07 pm - August 6, 2011

  16. P.S. “Start choosing to comprehend my comments”, *if* you are going to respond to them and then expect my further responses.

    I should have put in the ‘if’, as another alternative exists: don’t read or respond to my comments to begin with, as I with some of yours.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 6, 2011 @ 10:16 pm - August 6, 2011

  17. Hi ILC,
    “1) Most of all, spew a lot less ridiculous garbage.
    2) Be briefer.
    3) Don’t expect me to hang on your every word. You may think yourself that important, but it’s just not realistic.
    4) Start choosing to comprehend my comments.
    5) Stop choosing to lie about me.”

    Follow your own advice, ILC.

    Comment by Cas — August 6, 2011 @ 10:59 pm - August 6, 2011

  18. Already do, Cas. No problem.

    Now how about you? Again, you are the one with the problem here. You need to do several things here, if you want more from me (or even this much, in the future):

    1) Most of all, spew a lot less ridiculous garbage.
    2) Be briefer.
    3) Don’t expect me to hang on your every word. You may think yourself that important, but it’s just not realistic.
    4) Start choosing to actually comprehend my comments, if you are going to respond to them and then expect my further responses.
    5) Stop choosing to lie about me.

    Peace 🙂

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 6, 2011 @ 11:01 pm - August 6, 2011

  19. And HT,
    I wasn’t the one who ORIGINALLY touted Sweden as being an exemplar of right wing talking points, ILC was. He made it clear that I couldn’t claim Sweden in the “this makes no sense from ILC’s model’s perspective” because ILC argued that Sweden’s success was an example of ILC’s brand of economic medicine. Don’t believe me, go back and look at the original thread.

    In any case HT, from your lofty perch, please do explain then how Sweden could be doing so well, with all of the socialist claptrap you point to in your link, which ILC originally touted as being a success story for his economic thinking. I won’t hold my breath, though! 🙂

    Comment by Cas — August 6, 2011 @ 11:09 pm - August 6, 2011

  20. And ILC,

    Already do, Cas. No problem.

    Then if “Be briefer” is your mantra, you’ll have to explain the brevity of #63; or 45; or one of your patented multi-part answers–32,34-36. You get excited, you go on, passionate in your detail. So, please do not ask of others, what you find difficult to do, yourself.

    And that, Cas, is a more-than-sufficient answer to your “question”. You simply choose, as usual, not to comprehend. But that isn’t my problem. It’s your problem.

    Your answer consisted of lecturing me on the principles of “the right” and “wrong” directions in economic policy. You then ASSERT without proof or argument, that Sweden today (I assume, as it is unclear what “full Sweden” actually means) would be a “step backward” for the US, without explaining why Sweden is doing so well today, even with all those socialist policies in place. That you refuse to explain, I suspect because it doesn’t fit within your “implicit” model of how an economy works. Your beliefs (shared with us) suggest that what is happening in Sweden, right now is an impossible result. They are doing well in categories of economic statistics that they shouldn’t be. How can that possibly be the case? You have not offered an answer to that question. The questions I ask of you are variants of this.

    And please, stop confusing the fact that I disagree with you as meaning I do not comprehend what you are saying. I do. Assuming that disagreement can only be because I don’t understand the light you offer, is akin to a preacher rationalizing that one doesn’t believe in a particular divinity, because one doesn’t understand.

    In the spirit of brevity–I end there. I would be happy to continue on, if you desire.

    Comment by Cas — August 6, 2011 @ 11:31 pm - August 6, 2011

  21. Assuming that disagreement can only be because I don’t understand the light you offer, is akin to a preacher rationalizing that one doesn’t believe in a particular divinity, because one doesn’t understand.

    Which is what you do whenever anyone disagrees with you, Cas.

    For example, when you were caught lying about Texas having a state property tax and senior citizens being exempt from it, which is patently untrue, this is what you stated:

    Because what I am going to say has some subtlety, I am going to ask you to bear with me, rather than go for your knee-jerk response.

    There’s no subtlety. The tax flat-out does not exist, and senior citizens are not exempt from the local taxes that do. You lied, you got caught, and you argued that the reason someone presented facts that clearly contradicted what you were saying was that they didn’t understand.

    You are a total hypocrite, Cas. No wonder you’re a welfare dependent. And what’s really sick is that, rather than evaluating your own failures and making changes so that you can be successful, you actively try to manipulate both the government and the economy to destroy those who ARE successful and steal what they worked to build.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 7, 2011 @ 2:12 am - August 7, 2011

  22. NDT!
    Taxes in Texas. Are you doing this just to avoid answering simple but uncomfortable questions? I answered your questions earlier, yet you won’t even try answering mine. Funny.

    I should feel flattered that you appear to be feeling a bit desperate, I guess. But my aim isn’t to try and make you feel bad, NDT. But shifting the topic away from answering a simple question when evidence does not apparently accord with your world view, is pretty lame, and with the barrage of insults/personal attacks you offer, and the subject changing, further evidence that you do feel rather defensive about all of this. Give up the insult throwing NDT. We can have a rational conversation. You might like it. You never know until you try it, NDT.

    Comment by Cas — August 7, 2011 @ 3:30 am - August 7, 2011

  23. Taxes in Texas. Are you doing this just to avoid answering simple but uncomfortable questions?

    Projection. You would know about that, Cas; welfare addicts and failures like yourself inevitably blame everyone else for their problems. That’s why you support such vindictive policies, demand that government punish those who are successful, and insist that productivity is irrelevant and only “entitlements” matter.

    Why do you hate people who have more money than you do, Cas? What do you think gives you the right to steal their money? Why do you think other people should be forced to work to finance your lifestyle? Is your hatred of capitalism and work due to your failure in it? Is that why you insist that the government should redistribute all wealth and pay people based on “entitlement”, rather than on their productivity or contribution to society?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 7, 2011 @ 3:28 pm - August 7, 2011

  24. Hi NDT,
    Still notice that you can’t address the economic issues raised earlier in the thread. Its OK, we run out the clock on the thread, but, I just want you to know that you shouldn’t feel threatened by my style. I can be a bit blunt at times, but I am most interested in a good conversation. So sorry for hurting your feelings. It continues to be my hope that you will get over your need to try and insult and belittle when you feel threatened, and try just arguing your case on its merits. We would have a more enjoyable chat that way. Anyway, that continues to be my hope.

    Comment by Cas — August 7, 2011 @ 4:04 pm - August 7, 2011

  25. And out comes the passive-aggressive temper tantrum, as little Cas screams and whines and cries and stomps its feet with its little backhanded insults.

    Sorry, Cas, we are adults here. You have to take ownership for your statements and actions. We know you are threatened by that, because you’ve never had to do it before, but you are now accountable for your statements that the government’s only concern should be forcibly redistributing wealth, that the government should punish everyone who has more than you do, and that what a person has should be based, not on their productivity, experience, and skills, but on their “entitlement”.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 7, 2011 @ 4:24 pm - August 7, 2011

  26. Hi ILC,

    And out comes the passive-aggressive temper tantrum, as little Cas screams and whines and cries and stomps its feet with its little backhanded insults.

    I do not call you naughty names, like you do. I just ask for a rational conversation, something you cannot offer. And as for accountability–there is none here, NDT. Otherwise folks would have told you a long time ago to chill out and try being rational. But they don’t, so this “accountability” thing you talk about is so much “air.” Sorry–the accountability on this site is only in terms of people choosing to refrain from being rude or choosing to be rational. You choose not to argue rationally. So, why exactly is it you think I am having a tantrum again? I am not the one calling you rude names, or making hyperbolic statements! I know you don’t like it when I point out the obvious. As long as it works for you, keep going, I guess, but I find your approach not very conducive to rational discourse. Sorry, just my opinion. Again, I hold out hope for the possibility that you might try a different approach.

    Comment by Cas — August 7, 2011 @ 9:34 pm - August 7, 2011

  27. More passive-aggressive temper tantrums as the little child Cas screams and whines and cries as it is held accountable for its stupid and foolish statements that the government’s only concern should be forcibly redistributing wealth, that the government should punish everyone who has more than Cas does, and that what a person has should be based, not on their productivity, experience, and skills, but on their “entitlement”.

    And as is typical in the case of a tantrum, the child screams something completely irrational and contradictory to its previous statements.

    And as for accountability–there is none here, NDT. Otherwise folks would have told you a long time ago to chill out and try being rational.

    Which directly contradicts this statement:

    Assuming that disagreement can only be because I don’t understand the light you offer, is akin to a preacher rationalizing that one doesn’t believe in a particular divinity, because one doesn’t understand.

    You see, Cas, you’re a hypocrite. You constantly insist that anyone who disagrees with you is wrong. In this example now, you insist that there is “no accountability” because things aren’t happening the way you demand.

    And that really is the point of your childish tantrum throwing. You aren’t getting your way, and you are screaming and crying and throwing things until you do. Fortunately, I am more than willing to keep pointing out your tantrum throwing and humiliating you.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 7, 2011 @ 10:27 pm - August 7, 2011

  28. Hmm, NDT, so what exactly is hypocritical about the statement that you quoted? I make no secret of the fact that I suspect that ILC has an inherently non-falsifiable position. It is asking me (and anyone else) to take things he believes on faith. And faith is a religious concept. I am sorry that shocks you. I can’t tell if you have a similar position, because you refuse to engage, and rather spend your time attempting to insult and belittle, rather than answer simple questions (and I answer so many of yours–and not even an acknowledgement…sigh). And as to why I think you feel threatened, that is one reason why. Because if you really felt clear about what you believe and why, you would engage, and answer (even some) questions about your economic position when I ask them. But you do not. So, by all means think of me to be “having a tantrum” but your actions are consistent with being someone who is –would “worried” be the right word here?–and that I will not treat your views gently. After all, you do not treat other’s views gently when they offer them. So, I can guess that you worry that others will treat you the way they treat them. If you are open, I will do my best to gently engage you. But it is hard to do do, in your current state.

    Comment by Cas — August 7, 2011 @ 10:52 pm - August 7, 2011

  29. Cas, why don’t you chill out and try being rational?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 7, 2011 @ 11:17 pm - August 7, 2011

  30. Hi ILC,
    I don’t know, when others do the same, ahem… 🙂

    Comment by Cas — August 7, 2011 @ 11:20 pm - August 7, 2011

  31. … then you still won’t 🙂

    Because you have established a long and sorry track record of not 🙂

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 8, 2011 @ 1:47 am - August 8, 2011

  32. Hi ILC,
    “Because you have established a long and sorry track record of not …”
    …being very religious in my beliefs. Yeah, I get it. 🙂

    Comment by Cas — August 8, 2011 @ 2:07 am - August 8, 2011

  33. Hmm, NDT, so what exactly is hypocritical about the statement that you quoted? I make no secret of the fact that I suspect that ILC has an inherently non-falsifiable position.

    Of course. Since he doesn’t agree with you, you state automatically that he is wrong. Then you accuse him of doing that.

    Therein lies the hypocrisy.

    The rest of what you’re doing is your usual passive-aggressive temper tantrum, typical childish behavior from a welfare-addicted leftist with no useful skills and a vendetta against “the rich”. You are a failure who is incapable of functioning in a capitalist system due to your lack of education, responsibility, and work ethic, so you set out to use government to bring low those who do work, those who do educate themselves, and those who are responsible.

    Very sick. But very typical of the welfare addict.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 8, 2011 @ 2:53 pm - August 8, 2011

  34. Hi NDT,

    Of course. Since he doesn’t agree with you, you state automatically that he is wrong. Then you accuse him of doing that.

    I see your confusion now. You think that diagreement with an interlocutor means that I think they are wrong. No. That is your MO, NDT. If I disagree with someone, it is because I present evidence that disagrees with someone’s contention. It is the next step that is important to keep an eye on. If someone makes a claim, then when shown evidence that contradicts that position, argues that actual results do not conform to theory because “lags are variable and asymmetric” or that “human activity” has uncertain time paths, I find that a problem. Why? Because such a position, if consistently applied, means that every event that happens fits nicely within the framework, and cannot be used to disprove the worldview under consideration. No event can be evidence that the world view is wrong. It isn’t falsifiable; it isn’t testable.

    In this case, I am not saying that ILC is wrong, anymore than I would say that those who believe in God are wrong. It just can’t be rationally proved, that is all. You believe or you don’t; and that is a question of faith, not reason.

    Comment by Cas — August 8, 2011 @ 3:09 pm - August 8, 2011

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