Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why Obamanomics Will Fail

This letter was forwarded to me by Jeffrie Givens, a regular reader of this blog. 

I do not know if the letter is real or not but it explains, better than I have on this blog, why Obama's economic spending and taxation plan is likely to make matters worse, much worse.

To All My Valued Employees:

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges.

However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.

Of course, as your employer, I am forbidden to tell you how to think politically- it is against the law to discriminate based on political affiliation, race, creed, religion, etc. Yes, the elections are now over, but as Americans, we still have a powerful voice through letter writing, placing phone calls to Congress, and volunteering our time & effort for causes near & dear to us. After all, they were elected to represent you. Please do (or not do) whatever you think will serve your interests and the interests of the country the best.

However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interest.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You've seen my big home at last year’s Christmas party. I'm sure all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.

However, what you don't see is the back story:

I started this company 12 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you. My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business – hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the Goodwill store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the
office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, shit, and breathe this company every minute of the day.

There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden -- the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations... you never realize the back story and the sacrifices I've made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.
Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why: I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my "stimulus" check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts.

Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.

Here is what many of you don't understand ... to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the mud of America is the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.

So where am I going with all this?

It's quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem anymore.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

While tax cuts to 95% of America sounds great on paper, don't forget the back story: If there is no job, there is no income to tax. A tax cut on zero dollars is zero.

So, when you make your decision whether to support or fight against the President Obama’s tax & economic plans, ask yourself, who understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn't? Whose policies will endanger your job?

Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of saving your job. While the media wants to tell you "It's the economy stupid" I'm telling you it isn't.

If you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me in the South Caribbean sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

Your Boss


hmp said...

"The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts."

Why yes, I'd love to keep all my money so the road I drive on can fall apart on the way to work while my car (that hasn't been safety tested, and hell, who needs laws and regulations requiring safety belts) is destroyed by a drunk driver (who also happens to be an obsessive workaholic and runs his own business) and my brain injury is left untreated by a doctor that won't accept medicaid.

And while I'm sure we'd all love the private sector completely unleashed and see those succulent market forces at work, I'd rather have an efficient government than a government dismantled. If given a choice between Washington and Wall Street, I choose neither. I would rather both be in servitude to each other than one dominant over the other.

libertarians: "rage, rage against the government-imposed social contract!"

Anonymous said...

This is great stuff. A google search suggests strongly that it's a fabrication. The original mentions a firm in Wake Forst NC which was not founded until 2001 (so it can't have been 12 years ago.) The principal at that firm had been a high ranking exec at other engineering firms before founding his own firm.

(good analysis in the comments:
http://www.chrismartenson.com/forum/real-letter-ceo-his-employers/11293 )

The rhetoric is worth thinking about, as is the business context. The firm the letter supposedly came from is a "designer of water supply, treatment and storage projects, regional sewage lift station design, and residential and commercial site development projects."

In other words, many of the projects the real company does are paid for by taxes. Most of the other projects are driven by regulations and are essentially costs of doing business or living imposed on others by the government the writer thought worth complaining about.

Most amusing, of course, is the claim the bailout funds are going to unemployed lazy welfare moms. The author of the letter doesn't come right out and say what race of welfare mom he's talking about, but it reeks of Reagan-era bitter white ranting.

In fact they bailouts are going to the Bernie Madoffs who've made off with 20% on average of everyone's life savings.

And of course this is also tagged Obama and not Bush. I see that you're claiming "the bailout" was mostly backed by democrats.

The majority of the funds were NEVER authorized by congress. That's the point of the 8T price tag estimated by the LA Times piece.

The Federal Reserve started giving out money without mentioning it and denying FOIA requests about the practice. The reporting by Bloomberg indicates the loot started there in the spring.

Yes, it's politically expedient for you to praise the repubs for being against the bill that was passed - but 90% of the funds were committed at the discretion of executive branch without authorization, as near as I can tell.

That makes it the Bush Bailout.

Marty Nemko said...

So you have faith in government. I don't. Pleased with what you've gotten for your $350 billion in bank bailout money? Happy that it takes millions and years to build a little road? Do you really believe that society derives sufficient benefit for all the taxes and regulations? I don't.

Marty Nemko said...

It's arguable who is more responsible for the bailouts so far, but there's no doubt that Obama is a fan of far bigger bailouts. And as a Libertarian-leaning guy, I am opposed to bailouts whether they come from the Republicans or the Democrats.

Anonymous said...

"hmp" fails to mention the 40,000 people killed annually on Govt roads. Moreover, he implies private roads would "fall apart on the way to work." He offers no evidence to support this assertion.

Private roads worked well before they were nationalized. There is a vast literature on this. For example:
Block, Walter, 2003, "Overcoming Difficulties in Road Privatization," Etica e Politica/ Ethics & Politics
Block, Walter, 9/12/01, "The Motor Vehicle Bureau"
Block, Walter, "Roads, Bridges, Sunlight and Private Property: Reply to Tullock," Journal Des Economistes Et Des Etudes Humanes, Vol. VIII, No. 2/3, June-September 1998, 315-326
Block, Walter and Block, Matthew, "Roads, Bridges, Sunlight and Private Property Rights,"Journal Des Economistes Et Des Etudes Humanes, Vol. VII, No. 2/3, June-September 1996, pp. 351-362
Block, Walter, Compromising the Uncompromisable: Speed Limits, Parades, Cigarettes, Asian Economic Review, Vol. 40, No. 1 (April 1998): pp. 15-29
Block, Walter, "Private Roads, Competition, Automobile Insurance and Price Controls," Competitiveness Review, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1998, pp. 55-64
Cadin, Michelle and Walter Block, "Privatize the Public Highway System," The Freeman, February 1997, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 96-97
Block, Walter, Road Socialism, International Journal of Value-Based Management, 9 (1996): 195-207
Block, Walter, "Public Goods and Externalities: The Case of Roads," The Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. VII, No. 1, Spring 1983, pp. 1-34.
Block, Walter, Theories of Highway Safety, Transportation Research Record, #912, pp. 7-10
Block, Walter, "Congestion and Road Pricing," The Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. IV, No. 3, Fall 1980, pp. 299-330.
Block, Walter, "Free Market Transportation: Denationalizing the Roads," Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. III, No. 2, Summer 1979, pp. 209-238

Dr. Michael R. Edelstein

Anonymous said...

The only way to make the bailout look like a democratic project is by referring to it in terms that minimize its actual size.

You posted a link yourself to 8 trillion calculation. Unless that calculation has been shown to be wrong, I'm not sure why you're moving away from it except out of a desire to be able to use what has been approved to grind an axe.

To my knowledge, the 700B approved by Congress - the institution that supposedly has the power to control finances in the Constitution - is only 1/10th of the money in question.

Bush and his people arranged this huge, silent transfer of wealth starting long before September. They are Republicans, and they have refused to detail their actions in response to FOIA requests from Bloomberg.

90% of the bailout to date has been without Congressional approval, and probably 98% has gone directly into the financial sector from what I've read.

Has the reporting by Bloomberg and the LA Times been shown to be wrong? It's the only explanation I can come up with for your stance, but I haven't seen the counterargument.

Seriously, the scandal is that extralegal commitment of monies under the general charter of the Treasury (guaranteeing or granting large scale loans, for example.)

Mike said...

This article is the classic "the government represses the small business" line I've heard over and over. The majority of the assertions implied in it fail to hold up to scrutiny.

The fact of the matter is government has failed...for the last 8 years or longer. Bridges in Minneapolis collapse. Under-regulation of sophisticated financial products and institution led to the demise of the same institutions. Not to mention the utter collapse of the US "brand" among international constituents.

The fact of the matter is taxes have always been present, and prior to Reagan, at a much higher rate. The discussion of having a top tax bracket above 50% is long gone.

Yes, the government is borrowing. But the problem started long before Obama. In fact, when Clinton left office there was a budgetary surplus.

So, we're in a rut. No one will lend (even to small businesses) to get the economy moving. I didn't hear answers from this tripe, only complaints.

In the spirit of Obama's speech, this country is in some disturbing times. Instead of just complaining, how about we all get working to improve the country? Do your part. Pay your share. Chip in, and quit bitching, please.

Marty Nemko said...

Candidly, I don't follow this issue that closely because I don't care much whether it's the Republicans or Dems. that are primarily responsible. It is the policy itself that I find very problematic.

My focusing on the Dems is mainly because. ,moving forward, the Dems are in power and because Mr. Obama has called for a massive increase in bailouts--extending to people who overspent their credit card debt and bought more house than they could afford.

Plus he continually vaguely refers to more "stimulus."--translation: taking money from the people and businesses that have been successful and giving it to the people and businesses that have been unsuccessful--a formula for ensuring the nation's demise.

Marty Nemko said...

I reiterate: the failure to include derivatives under existing regulation should not be generalized to the notion that we need more regulation in general.

And I have seen no arguments from the commenters that challenge my assertions that bailouts and job creation are likely to be merely short-term heroin shots yielding long-term disaster.

Nor have I heard viable responses to my assertion that almost always, the government does things more poorly and more expensively than the private sector could.

And nowhere have I heard responses to my question, "How can you look the working and middle class taxpayer who is struggling to pay his rent or mortgage and say, 'We're going to force you to give up more of your money to pay for risky alternative energy schemes that every single energy company has deemed unlikely to yield payoff in even a decade'"?(Otherwise those companies would have invested in them.)

Mike said...

I understand your skepticism, but you can't easily calculate how government spending will eventually help. Sure, it may be "heroin," as you say, but the same could have been said of the military research spending in the Reagan years. Who knew at the time that the spending could have created the largest growth expansion in recent (more more) times - the Internet. The whole internet industry (Cisco, Amazon, Ebay et.al) now employ millions.

Is it efficient? Maybe not as efficient as the private sector. But guess what? The private sector is not spending right now. Who else can stimulate things?

True, if the excessive spending runs on forever, it's a problem. In the short-run, I am happy someone is doing something.

If left to Marty Nemko's world, there'd be nothing done by anyone for a decade, Japan style.

And the whole "taking money from the successful and giving it to the unsuccessful" blah blah blah reasoning is tired. We live in a progressive society wherein the people who can contribute - and are able to contribute - have an obligation to do so. The boomer ethic of "I am taking the most for myself, to hell with everyone else" is expired.

Time to hold ourselves accountable to making a better society.

Marty Nemko said...

I wonder how people can continue to have faith in government's ability to regulate when, for example, regulators were informed, multiple times, about Bernie Madoff's multi-billion dollar schemes and the regulators chose to ignore it.

In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley phalanx of regulations, which every year, cost corporations (And then indirectly, all of us) literally billions, will not deter the dishonest, including, obviously, Bernie Madoff.

Marty Nemko said...

Now, Obama is talking about a TWO TRILLION dollar spending "stimulus" package--most of which will go to those least likely for that stimulus to have a positive ripple effect on society.

The idea of stimulating the economy by allowing people and businesses to keep their money so they can spend and invest it as they see fit is only a dead idea to the Left. To libertarians (and some conservatives), it is the approach most likely to help the most Americans to thrive.

Mike, you imply I'm a conservative. I am not. I am pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, atheist, against a high-consumption-based society, believe deeply in the importance of voluntary charity, and pro-stem cell and nearly all medical research. I am against big government, because it takes a lot of money from people and businesses who are much better at spending and investing it than is the government, which is MASSIVELY wasteful and inept--unalterably. Its bureaucracy is just too big, too overlapping, and unavoidably unaccountable--in part thanks to it being nearly impossible to fire a government employee because of union and government restrictions.

Worst of all, government metastasizes. It gets ever bigger, even as a percentage of GDP. And Obama is committed to increasing the size of government more than any president in history.

That's why as a concerned citizen, I'm posting so much on this topic. I believe America has contributed more to the world's quality of life than any other country. I believe the Obama/liberal Congress path will accelerate America's inability to do that. Obama/Liberal Congress is accelerating the end of the American empire. America WILL be in the coming decades, just another giant third-world nation, but instead of being a "developing nation," it will be a devolving nation.

Anonymous said...

"[The letter] explains, better than I have on this blog, why Obama's economic spending and taxation plan is likely to make matters worse"

Well, since it appears to have been made up, do you still think that this screed explains much?

Would someone who's such a whiner actually found a successful business?

As a side note, you use 'explain' in a way very different from what most people understand the word to mean; your usage appears to have more in common with 'assert' or 'assume.'

explain: to make plain or clear; render understandable or intelligible; to make known in detail


assert: to state with assurance, confidence, or force; state strongly or positively; affirm; aver

assume: to take for granted or without proof; suppose; postulate; posit.

The letter is apparently entirely fact free; it is a fantasy about what someone *would* do *if* he had *already* run a successful firm for years *and* could up and leave.

Your own blogging on the bailout is uninterested in the facts, and you explain why in one of your more honest comments - that you 'don't follow this issue that closely.'

There is a granularity in particulars that's worth knowing; it lets you use evidence to illustrate your points. (One particular that would be interesting would be a source on the 2T you attribute to Obama's plan. Bush's bailout dwarfs Obama's still, at a scale of four to one even accepting the 2T figure.)

Finally, I just read the first sentence of the first article on road privatization, and it's a corker, so I wanted to share:

"We will take it as a matter of stipulation that it is desirable to privatize all traffic arteries."

Which pretty much saves the reader the chore of finishing the paper.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe Obama said anything about keeping congress' spending under control, meaning, as usual, it will remain rampant.

Our expenses will be the same, or he'll lose a lot of his supporters he promised malted milk balls will rain from the clouds and all our problems will just suddenly vanish if he gets elected (until Nov. 5th anyway, then he started being more realistic, but he cares about his image)

Anyway, the point is, our expenses will be the same PLUS whatever the bailouts and lending will cost us, and if he keeps to his word to punish the upper 5% with extra taxes, then THEY have to shoulder ALL of the extra cost, you think they're going to stick around and do business here? No, they'll leave, and manufacture goods for cheaper (and more reward) elsewhere, and maybe only SELL their goods here if it benefits them.

Good riddance you say? The producers are GONE, and anyone who steps up to the plate will get consumed by so much taxation and extra responsibility (no one every mentions that!) that's it just not worth whatever they're making over (or soon to be under) their average employee.

Like Marty, I am against larger government, simply put it's very inefficient compared to even the worst parts of the private sector, and Obama wants to expand it.

Recessions and Depressions have their part in market cycles, believe it or not, things go up and down naturally, and to take a lesson from horticulture, you snip the branches of a tree that are useless (read: inefficient) to the tree, all that growth will go to the earning branches when you snip the branches that won't get any sunlight on the leaves and only take up space. The tree looks nicer too.

Well, in a recession or depression, it's easier to see what branches, programs, businesses are not getting enough bang for their buck, and they will naturally just disappear, the people running them will leave because there is no money to be made.

But the government? Oh no, every last person must be KEPT ON (and if a layoff is to be made, it's going to be a White, Heterosexual Male), all the programs that are proven to be WASTING MONEY with NO result are KEPT ON. The cycle isn't allowed to snip the undeserving from the resources and we just keep getting more and more waste.

I've read letters like this one, and seen it happen only a few times, I've also read the reactions people so kindly place about how "whining" it is. In reality? These are people's livlihoods, they really do eat drink and sleep their business, they are like Scrooge McDuck where they have all this money for no reason and they just spend their days diving in and out of a huge bin full of money (in fact, I know no one who even keeps a lot of money around in that form for any reason, it's in the form of investments and actually out there WORKING).

But all the people who can't believe this and write it off in their minds as "baloney, he/she just wants to keep their money they make off of OUR backs", are really just inexperienced and don't think for themselves about the economy, it's okay, it's natural, few want to be told how the big picture works and at best you have to grasp at someone you trust to tell you how everything works, namely, the media.

Even if you don't believe the media has a liberal/big gov't bias, it has a reason to keep everyone in the dark about anyone's fault, if said blame can be traced to Democrats (and subsequently Obama), no one will have faith in the system and things will only get worse.

It looks like I've contradicted myself, in that people knowing "the truth (tm)" causes problems, why am I spouting it? Well, in truth, it's no PARTY'S fault, unless you count big gov't supporters as a party. Big gov't allowed these horrible loans to be made, and made sure they were without the slightest enforcement of making sure they'd be repaid, this in turn created a lot of distrust between banks because they all knew that each one was sitting on bad assets (the bad mortgages) and lending is at a standstill.

Point is, before I ramble on, is that gov't takes your money for any reason, to fund any program they THINK will do good (even when it hasn't for the last 20 years) and once they have one way to take your money, they keep it (you know those bridges that have tolls to levy the expense of building it? once that's paid off and the bridge is built, the fee never disappears or gets smaller, I could understand keeping a fee for maintenance, but it never ever gets much smaller, it's the same with any tax, they just don't abolish any useless or unjust ones, they like your money)

As for the typical "we need roads!" argument, I agree, we need roads, but I also think that 1. we don't need a gov't THIS big taking as MUCH of our money to give us the essentials, and 2. the gov't is wasteful with it anyway. It's a fallacy to say that we libertarians (I'm never going back to Repub, they ALSO want all your money and to keep big gov't to control) are ANARCHISTS, we do NOT. We simply want the gov't to stay small enough to fufill whatever can't be done by ourselves (read: very little) and to not intrude on our rights and freedoms.

"Without law, there can be no Freedom"

We still want SOME gov't to be funded by SOME taxes, but you start adding tax after tax after tax, taking OUR hard earned money when we see it going to people who don't even get off their butt(s) to do something, or funding idiotic additions that NO ONE ASKED FOR, or fueling jobs that shouldn't be there and we have a problem handing so much of it over.

I know Marty's not going to agree with everything I say, and I'm proud of it,

"I don't trust anyone who agrees with everything I say, I don't even agree with everything I say"

however, I'd like to know his point of view on these issues, not to flame those who disagree, I just believe your want to believe in big gov't success clouds your judgment on who should be getting what.

-The Other Miles

Anonymous said...

I also started a business 12 years ago and realize that even though I pay high taxes I would not be eligible for unemployment benefits if I lose clients due to the economic downturn and go out of business. Nevertheless, I admit I want to live in a country with a safety net for everyone. After living in poor country in the 70s I decided that paying taxes was the price I paid for a civil society.

I also don't drive a Mercedes or live in a big house but living simply doesn't bother me.

Marty Nemko said...

Dear Miles,

I completely agree with you. I am economically right where you are: I believe in small government and not taking tax dollars from people who are struggling to pay the rent to give to bad banks, car companies, or people who bought more house or incurred more credit card debt than they could comfortably afford.

Marty Nemko said...


As I stipulated at the beginning of my post, I do not know if the letter is real or a parable, but in either case, it explains, yes explains well the libertarian position I've been trying to present re the bailout.

With regard to your playing gotcha in response to my comment "I don't follow this closely," I was referring to the fact that I do not closely follow which pieces of the bailout were primarily Republican-driven or Democrat-driven. As an supporter of largely libertarian economic theory, my concern is the use of bailouts, not which party initiates it.

Your comment makes clear that you are a regular reader of my blog. So, you know that I welcome disagreement, even praise it when I'm particularly edified by it. Indeed that is what blogs are supposed to be--the free marketplace of responsibly held ideas. That should be what universities are but thanks to people like you (if I am correct in inferring who you are----the retired academic) have destroyed. Am I right in guessing that you are the "Anonymous" who started the unfair and often ad hominem attacks on me when I was the guest blogger on the Chronicle of Higher Education site? If you're not ashamed of your posts, why don't you reveal your real name and profile as I have? I rarely choose to not post people's comments but I'm wondering if in the future it would be wisest to not publish comments such as yours. For me to publish them without comment would seem unjust and for me to respond requires a lot of time.

Recognize that I blog for no personal gain. Indeed it takes significant time from my absurdly busy life, including the time to respond to what I believe is your very unfair comment(s). I do so only because I believe in the importance of civic engagement. I view my blog as a blend of a Virtual Town Hall Meeting mixed with some practical advice about career and education issues. It is dispiriting that you would be so personally venomous in response.

I invite you to ask yourself whether the pleasure you get from playing "gotcha" might be outweighed by your negative impact on the world. I am rarely the target of meanness so I'm guessing that you are mean to many other people as well.

I do thank you for your comment. It reminds me of the importance of focusing my energies on improving things, and certainly not on tearing down well-intentioned people, even if I disagree with them.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for every anonymous poster. I'm the commenter who pointed out that you continue to steadfastly refuse to address the size of the Bush/Paulson bailout versus the Congressionally approved bailout, that you continue to try tying 'the bailout' to democrats and when asked about it, you shrug and claim 'not paying attention.' I note that you
are not providing a source for your 2 T number.

Since - on this very blog, even - you posted the 8 T number, and you surely understand 8 T > 800 B, I don't see how you can honestly say you are unaware that the funds were pledged entirely without what little process the Economic Patriot Act gave us to express ourselves. It was an outrageous executive branch call. You noted its size when it was reported, but have had far less to say about it than about the far smaller subsequent amounts under consideration.

You're a bright boy, and you read Ayn Rand. I find it difficult to believe that you are innumerate enough to have missed the difference in scale between what was brought before a quaking public and what the Republicans - not in Congress but in the Executive, the ones who supposedly have no spending authority of their own - had been doing on all summer behind our backs.

I am not a retired academic (I work in IT, but had the benefit of the education you encourage others not to pursue. I find it valuable every day - intrinsically and in itself, and just this evening when I needed to make a fast numerical estimate.)

I did not read your contribution to the CHE and wasn't first drawn here by it.

In general, trying to do mindreading via a keyboard is a mug's game. Since I'm not setting myself up as a public intellectual, I will continue to be a private one.

You believe yourself to be well-intentioned; I believe you to be well mannered, but am not as confident as you claim to be on the matter of your intentions.

Taking you at your word that they are good, we're still left with the issue of where the road you're paving with them leads.

Marty Nemko said...

Wanting a safety net shouldn't require working half your year to pay all the taxes, from federal to state, to parking meter fees. The only reason it does is that government is so inefficient.

Marty Nemko said...

The 2 trillion number is the total of TARP bailouts plus the 800 billion stimulus, plus the average projections that third parties indicate are likely in the next year or so. The 8 trillion longer-term number is the number mentioned in the title of a Los Angeles Times analysis of about a month ago.

With regard to the nature of the road I'm paving, a moderate length answer appears in my blog post of about a month ago which was titled something like, "What I'd Do If I Were President." The shorter answer is:
1. A small safety-net for all Americans including basic health care, dormitory food and housing for all legal Americans, paid for by taxes but provided by private companies on contract with the government. (The bidding process would be extremely transparent and competitive--no cronyism tolerated.)

2.I would allow the free market to let bad companies, overspending homebuyers and credit card holders suffer the consequences. I would refund the resulting tax dollars to the people who are more worthy: people and businesses who were successful enough to pay taxes. They in turn would buy things and invest in their businesses creating real jobs.

3. I would get the government out of people's lives: more regulation generally results in lots of cost, onerous burdens, and little benefit. I would allow gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, etc--Those are personal matters. The government has no right to dictate such decisions.

4. I would massively shrink the size of government by cutting entitlements, eliminating the enormous redundancy, and moving most projects to the private sector--for example, education, and impose few regulations on them other than true accountability for results.

4. I would negotiate toughly with China and other countries so there truly is free trade. Currently that is not the case and the US suffers unfairly.

I'd do much more, but I hope that gives you a sense of the road I'm paving.