Bad Choices for the GOP

Historians of Barack Obama’s political career have always noted that he’s been pretty lucky when it comes to his opponents. 2012 certainly will not change that narrative. It seems to me that the Republicans are now faced with a bad choice between Romney and Gingrich-either one will lead to self destruction.

The Republican establishment clearly is scared witless by the prospect of Gingrich being their standard bearer. Last night Matt Drudge brought the full weight of his huge reach to try to destroy Gingrich. His banner , “Insider: Gingrich repeatedly insulted Reagan” linked to NeoCon kingpin Eliot Abrams National Review takedown of Gingrich’s pretension to carrying the Reagan mantle. In another lead link, Drudge links to Emmet Tyrrell (Bill Clinton’s nemesis) who writes of William Jefferson Gingrich.

Newt and Bill are 1960s generation narcissists, and they share the same problems: waywardness and deviancy. Newt, like Bill, has a proclivity for girl hopping. It is not as egregious as Bill’s, but then Newt is not as drop-dead beautiful. His public record is already besmeared with tawdry divorces, and there are private encounters with the fair sex that doubtless will come out.

It may be that the combined weight of Drudge, the National Review, George Will and Anne Coulter trashing Newt may influence the vote in Florida, but if Newt is smart in tonights debate, he will continue his line that “the elites” (right and left) hate him, and he is proud of that.

But if the GOP establishment attacks work, then the party is left with Romney as the candidate. And that would be equally disastrous. Romney releasing last year’s tax returns will not be enough for the Democrats. Because at some basic level the average American says, “why did he need Swiss and Cayman Island offshore accounts if he wasn’t trying to hide something?” Gingrich previewed the Democratic attack line yesterday.

“You have to live in a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts, and making $20 million for no work, to have some fantasy this far from reality,” Mr. Gingrich said when asked about Mr. Romney’s suggestion that illegal immigrants could be persuaded to “self-deport” from the United States.

But that’s just the start. Already good investigative reporters are starting to ask very pointed questions.

In the wake of news reports last week that presidential contender Mitt Romney owns an individual retirement account worth as much as $101 million, questions are growing over how it could have gotten so big when contribution limits are capped at $5,000 or $6,000 a year.

As one wag pointed out, Romney would have to be 3000 years old to accumulate that much in an IRA if he had played by the rules. Of course by undervaluing assets he put into his Cayman Island IRA, he could escape the tax burden, but in the world of Presidential politics, this is too clever by half.

As for the President, he is on a roll. The economy is improving and since he was inaugurated the Dow has almost doubled, moving from 6469 to 12,791. Moreover he has realized that he must fight a populist campaign for the soul of America. Having Romney as his opponent is the perfect foil and he laid out the electoral challenge in his State of the Union.

We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules.

I think the President’s chances of reelection get better every day.


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31 Responses to Bad Choices for the GOP

  1. Nick Dager says:

    I’m a fan of your work, Jonathan, but I think comparing the Republican primary to Sophie’s Choice is an unfortunate (even egregious) analogy. Sophie’s choice was a horrific and gut wrenching decision forced on a young Mother by a Nazi thug. The GOP primary is a tedious contest between two (okay, four) career politicians. That said, you make many interesting points here. A question I have concerns the possible VP choices of either Romney or Gingrich. Romney would presumably choose a genuine conservative such as Sen. Rubio of Florida. But who on earth would Gingrich select?

  2. len says:

    @nick: If he’s savvy, Rick Santorum.

    Running a real Reaganesque election requires him to get the evangelicals and with his personal history, that may be tough. The blacks are a wash for him so he has to get Hispanics and he needs as much of the Christian vote as he can get.

    Reagan won by making Carter look like a nebbish with a weak spine and no savoir faire. Gingrich has plenty of both and an ego big as a mountain. He needs a frame about him that projects hard mindedness yet awareness of the values that make most of the country go. Obama opened with a lot of promises but not much state and if the delusion of a failed presidency is used as it will be, then NG is headed down the Reagan path.

    Up to the point that Gingrich took CNN apart on camera, I thought this would be easy too. Then I saw him “appear” Presidential, something Obama has a tough time doing despite the fact that a rational observer knows Obama is doing the job and succeeding at it. If it is a split between rational and delusional voters, a side story of the election will be to make sane cool again to offset Gingrich collecting all the closet types who don’t like Obama no matter, the yearners-for-the-old-days-of-Donna-Reed, and quite possibly a significant Hispanic vote.

    Obama has almost eviscerated his core base at this point and will have a helluva bad time convincing them to drink the kool-aid again. Outside his cult followers, there is a real mistrust of the man given things he has signed such as the NDAA that breaks the spine of the Constitution. He has to come up with a good story there or find a way to reverse that and fast because at this point for all the Gang that Can’t Stay Straight has done, they didn’t sign away American rights to due process and posse commitatus. IOW, for all the theatre these folks are mounting, some of us won’t be dazzled again and intend to be plenty loud about Obama’s inability to live up not simply to promises but to the values he claimed to represent.

    I could care less who Gingrich slept with. Clinton either. I care a lot about the Constitution and if that topic becomes topic number one (say jobs are on the rise and in consternation, Obama is succeeding which enables the rights topic to take center stage), Obama is in real trouble.

    So put Gingrich in the debate to hold Obama’s rhetoric in place and Santorum against Biden to make Biden look like and old meanie, and this will be a contest, intellect and heart.

  3. Jon Taplin says:

    @Nick- You were right. I changed it.

  4. Dana M Davis says:

    Perfect first sentence, and how right you are.
    Sat at a dinner table peopleed by diverse locales last September in NY when a banker declared that “Wall Street is backing Romney” and positing he would be elected.
    Not so fast.
    Some of us from the hinterlands said that this would be overlooking the problem that many evangelical voters will have with a Mormon and received quizzical looks from the banker.
    Still predicting that Obama accepts the nod in Charlotte (who noted yesterday that the Gov. in NC is not seeking re-election and that Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx is expressing some interest?) and snags a second term.

  5. Roman says:

    It’s hard to imagine picking up my ballot on Tues Nov 6 to find




    What’s difficult isn’t its plausibility. Gingrich has the moxie to pull it off, and although he deserves it, no one will openly challenge Obama. So, barring some goofy twist of fate (see below), both names are likely to appear on Nov’s ballot. And Len’s right, the debates would be priceless.

    But what’s tough to square is Gingrich isn’t the ABO (Anybody But Obama) candidate – he’s the ABR (Anybody But Romney) candidate. Although he fancies himself the ABO, and is getting comfortable posturing as such, I can’t imagine the Rep elite and MSM allowing that meme to gel much longer. But to get rid of Gingrich, Romney has to go first. Watch for Romney to implode – soon. Once Romney is no longer a threat, the MSM will frame the looniness of a ‘Gingrich presidency’, and the air will slowly (or quickly) drain from his campaign balloon.

    Then what? Santorum, Paul? Nope, no traction.

    Watch the current buzz concerning a Republican ‘brokered convention’. Just imagine the MSM field day, think billing bonanza ~ Clinton’s 92’ campaign!

    But wouldn’t a ‘brokered convention’ skirt the ‘primary vetting process’? Sure, but look where the ‘longest campaign’ got us.

    But is there enough time to build name recognition? Actually, the MSM will take of that; the attention given the Rep nominee will swamp anything Barry’s campaign could muster (except…goodbye Biden, hello HRC?). Imagine 24/7 cable, radio, newspapers, magazines, web etc.

    But is a ‘brokered convention nomine’ electable given just 60-days’ from convention to election? Maybe. Most who vote don’t tune in until after Labor Day, and the Rep convention is the week prior. Primary topic of conversation Labor Day weekend?

    If this plays out, will the country choose a president like it chooses so many other things in life today? We live in and for the moment. Deliberate thought has been replaced by reflexive action. We dwell, obsess, and brood, but we don’t think. We act. And increasingly, our action is based on the emotion of the moment.

    IF the country is working, IF the stock market is soaring, IF there’s a ‘housing market’, and IF someone’s on trial, or better yet, in jail for crimes associated with the mortgage – finance debacle, then Barry’s in for another four years.

    IF not, the 60-day wonder is the next president of the United States.

  6. Percival says:

    The GOP gets to choose between the Mormon and the Polygamist :-)

  7. John Papola says:

    The way this is shaping up, this election couldn’t matter any LESS than it does. No change coming. More cronyism. More war. More clearly defunct and unequivocally failed keynesian crackpot policies.

    Obama’s rhetoric is utterly, totally empty. He has no idea how an economy grows. None. Zero. And so we policies that make the economy weaker, consume our scarce savings in unproductive boondoggles, and reduce the incentives to work while raising new barriers to entrepreneurship and competition. This guy sucks. Romney or Gingrich will be, perhaps, better on the econ (though I doubt that seriously, as Bush wasn’t) but they’ll be just as bad or worse in terms of Obama’s horrible war and civil liberties record.

    No change. No good choices. Focus on your local community and your state and ignore the general election. It’s hopeless.

  8. Morgan Warstler says:

    I’m fine with either. I’d probably let Gingrich roll the dice just because he’s a hero of the GOP, and I like starker choices, but I’m fine with Romney winning too.

    Ultimately, for me this is about a bet with the economist Scott Sumner.

    He makes a compelling argument that the smart conservative should focus on a very specific monetary policy (level targeted NGDP at 4.5%), precisely because it will keep the highs and lows of boom bust at bay, and will whittle the government down slowly but surely.

    He views both FDR and Obama as mistakes of monetary policy.

    My bet with him is that we’ve actually become a smarter, more libertarian people since the Depression. And that as such, the right spending all the money the way it has since Reagan is the winning formula, because we can get the economy so torqued up that any paying off of liberal voters causes the economy to slow down….

    Essentially, my bet is that no matter who we run, Obama loses because when the economy goes south, we the people are now far less likely to trust government.


    It’s a big bet. If per chance I’m wrong, and Obama wins, I’ll stop thinking about much more then Monetary policy around politics.

    If he gets crushed under bad economic news, Sumner’s wrong, and we’ll truly see the age of the Tea Party take hold.

  9. Jon Taplin says:

    @Morgan-Obama can probably beat either Romney or Gingrich, barring some huge shock to the economy like Israel invading Iran and oil going to $150/ barrel. That being said, I think this idea of NGDP Targeting is a good idea. Here is Ezra Klein’s take.

  10. Morgan Warstler says:

    Jon, that’s a bet I’m obviously willing to take.

    some news for you: like most things Ezra / Matty claim to want, they don’t really want NGDP targeting.

    let me explain it for you.

    what they don’t get, can’t make themselves believe, even though Sumner is so very, very clear about his plans – is that level NGDP essentially KILLS the entire concept of fiscal stimulus. Dead.

    All the liberals who want money printing because they like the idea of screwing savers, or at minimum they don’t care about savers first, only see the first part of Scott’s agenda – not focusing on inflation RIGHT NOW.

    But, the reality is that if you model the past 10 years, or 10 years before that, etc. with 4.5% level NGDP – we’d have had FAR LESS INFLATION.

    Moreover, when you so clearly have a single simple target of 4.5% NGDP – then ANYTIME the public employees start agitating for a pay raise (which eats up that 4.5% growth), the Fed instantly has to raise rates, screwing businesses and home buyers etc.

    If it make it easier, realize that 4.5% NGDP is actually a CAP on growth. One where any inflation growth is bad (no money printing unless in crisis) and it is US or THEM for where the growth can occur.

    When oil prices shoot up to $150, under the level target, the computer (futures market) now running monetary policy raises rates so RDGP stops growing.

    Scott’s a hard core small government libertarian, I didn’t come over to his thinking easily – it is very, very tricky – it is a step closer to the Austrian model. A small step, but a step none the less.

    Its proof of either Ezra’s lack of insight or his dishonesty around Sumner’s thinking. Although, they do that with all economists – only hear the parts they like – KEYNES thinking clearly says you CANNOT give public employees raises past inflation even in good times, even in GREAT TIMES precisely so when shit goes south, we can keep them around.

    And even DeKrugman has never uttered that part of the theory has he? It’s all just economic theory as shirt term political gamesmanship – nothing else.

    Also, you owe an “I was wrong” for all those times you just talked smack about Drew, I told ya you operated by caricature and fear of bogeyman without actually reading what was being said.

  11. John Papola says:

    @Jon Taplin

    Morgan’s right about the left-wing supporters of NGDP targeting. They see it as a tool for justifying inflation right now and will surely abandon it as soon as it no longer serves their ends. They also fundamentally misunderstand why Scott’s NGDP approach is different from Keynesian Aggregate Demand management. Scott’s is purely nominal. It’s about a money rule. Their’s is this confused cluster of misunderstandings where “fiscal policy” can create demand without creating new supply to back it up. Hence you get the ongoing lunacy of claiming that increased consumption will lead to growth, which is 100% false, and the demented idea that unemployment benefits create jobs, which is insane.

    NGDP monetary policy isn’t “keynesian”. As Morgan (and Scott) suggest, it’s much more consistent with a Hayekian approach, though DeKrugman would dishonestly deny that even as it’s right in his work.

    This is the best place to learn about scott:

  12. Fentex says:

    This NGDP thing isn’t a plan. It’s a declared aspiration intended to signal political allegiance to action.

    A plan is specific, hopefully declares it’s premises, it’s logic and it’s intended consequence. To simply say “our plan is to let governmnet do whatever it can to raise nominal GDP” is no plan.

    The government always wants any measure of economic growth to increase so as to claim it as a success of incumbent policy.

    That article claiming it will bring long term interets rates down seems blind to their already being low and presumably symptomatic of the core problems in encouraging more economic activity and growth.

    Of course Krugman supports the idea because it serves as a political fig leaf for accepting his argument that public expenditure in lean times should increase to replace slack private activity. I don’t understand how professed Libertarians can at one time disregard such behaviour as wishful thinking but suddenly accept it under the rubic of ‘NGDP’.

    Personally I think given lowborrowing interest rates it always makes sense, as it does when anyone judges their investment options, for public expenditure that needs spending to be spent. If it’s true that U.S public infrastructure is inadequate now is the time to replace and expand it because it’s never going to get cheaper, regardless of other policy plans.

    Redirect at least a quarter of that wasteful eternal war encouraing military spending first though. Find out if borrowing is really needed in the first place.

  13. John Papola says:



    Sumner actually has a specific plan for how he’d implement NGDP targeting: through a market for NGDP futures contracts which the Fed would create and redeem with dollars. It’s very interesting.

    On the flip side, I remain pretty uneasy about the whole concept. Theoretically, a properly functioning monetary/financial system should generally stabilize nominal spending by increasing money supply when there are increases in demand (eliminating money-demand deflation). But a free banking theory of nominal spending is NOT the same thing as a central bank simulating the same effect.

    Moreover, nominal spending shouldn’t grow at all. It should be flat, like Japan. Japan’s NGDP hasn’t budged. Instead, productivity growth has translated into productivity-norm deflation. This is good. Japan’s economy has slowed per capita for two reasons (in my opinion): #1, a stable/shrinking workforce and increasing elderly population who are net consumers. #2. keynesian stimulus wrecked their economy, unproductively consuming trillions in real resources.

    We will always be doomed to a shoddy second best with central banks. The optimum second best is stable NGDP. One step farther away is stable (and low) NGDP growth. But the problem is that easy credit created by NGDP growth creates cumulative bubbles whose burst can be so damaging to the financial system that maintaining NGDP stability becomes dubious and unseemly.

    The complete other perspective, of course, is that these aggregates are simply nonsense. NGDP is nonsense. It’s an ex-post accounting identity, nothing more. Aggregate supply IS aggregate demand because our purchasing power comes into existence by producing value and when taken in the aggregate, our “supply” and our “demand” are the same thing (again, assuming there is value for others created). History is littered with rapid recoveries without “countercyclical” policy. The Harding recovery of the early 1920s isn’t the only example, though it’s an amazing one as it was rapid even amid steep deflation.

    As a side note, today’s “keynesians” have a definition of what is “keynesian” so loose and so contradictory to their own stated preferences for policy that it’s worthless. What can be reasonable called truly “keynesian” policy is deficit financed government spending. Not money creation. Not tax cuts. Spending. That’s what Keynes advocates vociferously in the General Theory. That’s what all of the Keynesians have advocated throughout this crisis. Only now, since it’s failed, have some begun to try and slap “keynesian” on other policy ideas. The fact remains that they still seem to want more spending by the government directed by the political apparatus rather than decentralized individuals with the incentives and knowledge to make better choices. Keynes advocated “the socialization of investment” as a long term reform. Obama clearly agrees.

  14. Morgan Warstler says:

    Fentex, the reason NGDP makes great strides towards harder money is because it is a CAP on growth.

    At 4% NGDP, anytime inflation heads toward 3%, the Fed is raising rates.

    Suddenly raising entitlements MEANS “oh, shit that’ll put NGDP over 4.5% and we’ll have to have a recession to to get back to trend – sorry grandma!

    It means no raises for public employees.

    it makes choices on money supply and fiscal spending CLEAR AS DAY – everything comes with a “how does this effect NGDP?” pricetag.

    Even wars – for you dirty hippies.

    Essentially, the true GOOD – RGDP lead by main street SMBs quickly trumps everything and everybody else.

    It empowers the guys on my team.

  15. John Papola says:

    Listen to the podcast I linked to with Sumner. It’s not as weird as it sounds. So long as we have this stupid central bank, it’s going to target SOMETHING. Right now, it targets inflation (implicitly) with all kinds of corrupt, horrible discretion that has lead to trillions in bailouts to the richest people alive. That has failed us even as they’ve succeeded in their goal. Notice, too, that they’ve succeeded in generating inflation EVEN WITH “SLACK”, ending the “slack capacity” model of inflation… yet again (and please, stay dead). All the NGDP target does is change the metric they look at and talk about.

    If you’re going to have a central bank, and they’re terrible idea and empirical failure, they will ALWAYS be doing something and targeting their policy. This would ground it in a rule. But targeting NGDP isn’t much different from targeting inflation in terms of how they’d do it.

  16. len says:

    Innovation by example:

    An unregulated market is a nightmare. A market regulated to create the most favorable conditions for the seller (caveat emptor) or buyer (caveat vendor) is an abomination. This is administered capitalism’s dog collar polarity: too loose, the dog goes wild in the neighbor’s. Too tight, the dog dies and is buried in yours.

  17. John Papola says:


    Len, this is a broad, tired trope of a criticism. Truly. “Working conditions” are HORRIBLE on the rural subsistence farms in China, where weather changes can mean starvation and your and your children all work to the bone to make ends meet. Improving working conditions is the direct result of rising wealth from productivity gains and increased demand for higher skilled workers, who can increasingly bargain based on not just wage but quality. This is not something that top-down solutions improves.

    Now, unions can be a very useful and important force for informing workers of their options and negotiating on their behalf. Unions aren’t anti-free market. They’re part of it. They’re free associations. Of course, once they get in league with the state, earn themselves special laws and courts and “boards”, they cease being free associations and become parasitic. And many of their efforts are ultimately anti-worker insofar as they prevent the kinds of competition that provide opportunity to new workers. Unions are, after all, a form of cartelization. But they do have value in a more free market.

    Isn’t the Chinese government preventing unionization at these factories, in league with the factories themselves? That’s not a free market outcome. Governments have NEVER been pro-“worker”. Never. From the East India company and the British Crown to GM and the Obama Crown, the state/monoarch and the crony “capitalist” have gone hand-in-hand.

    This is why many of the earliest classical liberal proponents of laissez faire were also strong pro-worker, pro-union advocates.

    There’s surely all kinds of bad stuff happening at Foxconn, but it’s not because of a lack of government intervention. Free markets don’t make life easier for capitalists. They make it harder. So, if you want to say that “capitalism” is “what’s good for capitalists”… then yes, capitalism is a problem for workers among other things. But that definition of capitalism (however historically accurate it may be) is NOT the same thing as the free market, which is the way I interpret your use here.

    Free Market anti-capitalism is the ideal.

  18. len says:

    This is not something that top-down solutions improves.

    It is something top-enforced regulations can manage. It is something bottom-up voluntary compliance can control. It isn’t about solutions; it is about tuning processes that left unchecked tend toward a polarity. There is no perfect dynamic system if open to the environment. Such are managed by observations that enable well-constructed controls to be applied which then regulate them, in dynamics parlance, “thumpers”.

    Free-market jingoism is just as harmful as it’s opposite number in socialist jingoism. Note what the Chinese managers say about Apple priorities and understand the controls hidden in the nudge-nudge wink based on precisely the fact that a Chinese worker from the fields desperately needs that job. It is little different here in the US except scale. Where the standard of living is quite high, the little differences make big differences and the desperation is just as felt even if not as experienced.

    This is where Jon’s values and his solutions or symbolic solutions are in awful conflict: it takes a lot of slave labor misery to put the shine on the faceplate of the Apple and we dare not base the American recovery on resources that on their face are as horribly disfigured as these are.

    Karma is a bitch. Stupid regulations are harmful. Companies coldly taking advantage of the misery of their workers are evil. Somewhere in the moving middle there is a better way and the reason we have these brains on our shoulders is to observe and find the better ways. And no, we can’t leave it be nor dare we molest it too often.

  19. John Papola says:

    Top down regulations aren’t about tuning and re-calibrating, though. They’re about layering, calcification, dug-in special interests and rigidity. That’s the problem with

    I have no idea what “free market jingoism” is, but it appears to be a contradictory collection of terms. When the state directly aids a firm in preventing workers from organizing, that’s not free market anything. It’s not. Period. It may be “capitalism” as Marx used the term. But it’s not free market.

    Again, though, let’s not get lost in demagoguery, talking about “slave labor”. Is Apple’s fault that the rural Chinese live a life of misery such that working at Foxconn is a serious step up? And what are we to make of the steadily rising wages in China?

    Favoring the “free market” never meaning “leaving it be”. It simply means rejecting monopoly solutions from the state, an institution whose track record warrants this position. The first order of business should be to look at the ways the state is making things worse for people. Chances are, you’ll find plenty of reform opportunity there and plenty of crony “capitalism” to attack.

  20. rhbee says:

    “Free market jingoism” in other words the blind trying to lead the blinded. Sure, if you want to argue about it then you can mistake Len’s statement, say that jingoism is something like the extreme belief that your own country is always best but really John aren’t you and Morgan just arguing that your country/belief is always the best. I don’t believe for a minute that either of you own a small business. Or that either of you has any real sense of just how desperate most small business owners are these days.

    Meanwhile, back to Jon’s hopeful post. Jon there has to be some way to get Obama to realize just how disappointing his success has been. The Republicans have a strategy these use in times like these. They say if you don’t know who to vote for then don’t vote. It has won them many an election by simply reducing the percentage voters they need to win. The OWSers hope to bring the machine of things in this country to a grinding halt so that we, all of us can redefine what we really need to do as a people, a country and ultimately a world. All the blah blah about ecomonic policy and government restriction, all the opposite blah, blah about “free markets” and capitalism are incredibly off the real target.

    As Len so aptly puts it, ” Somewhere in the moving middle there is a better way and the reason we have these brains on our shoulders is to observe and find the better ways. And no, we can’t leave it be nor dare we molest it too often.”

  21. John Papola says:


    John aren’t you and Morgan just arguing that your country/belief is always the best.

    I’m arguing for NO SUCH THING. I have no idea what kinds of social institutions will emerge in a more free China. None. They likely won’t resemble the USA along many dimensions. Freedom doesn’t have a blueprint. It’s not a “system”. The men of system are the top-down statist tinkerers, who foolishly believe that they can “build a nation to last”, or that they can “build” a “nation” at all. Social systems emerge. They aren’t consciously “built”. The economy-as-a-car crowd is trapped in a narrow, hubristic model of the world. The world is complex. The outcomes of social activity are unknown. I seek to impose no “system” on anyone. The Chinese government, on the other hand, is doing PLENTY of imposition on it’s own, as is ours.

    Again, none of this is about leaving anything be. In fact, it’s those who wish to put on the state the crucial roles of civil society which are being lazy and seek to, well, leave it to someone else. Jon nails it when he talks about New Federalism and subsidiarity. The smaller and more local our governance, the more it will not only reflect and respond to our needs in diverse ways, the more we the people will have a stake in engaging in it. The death of de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America was the rise of the big, centralized, executive-powered administrative state. It’s the state that Obama loves. It’s the state model he embodies. It’s a disaster for society.

    “I don’t believe for a minute that either of you own a small business. Or that either of you has any real sense of just how desperate most small business owners are these days.”

    Ehem. I’ve spent the past week readying our taxes and 1099s to go out tomorrow for our 3 person company and all the people we’ve worked with, which is my ONLY source of income. I left my job at Spike to start Emergent Order 9 months ago. So you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. Zero. And I’m FULLY aware of how credit-constrained small business is today, in particular. All the talk from Keynesians about low interest rates is BS. They’re low in the massive money markets and for the broker-dealers on Wall street. For the rest of use, credit is TIGHT. Why did you go here? I don’t get it. This is a very weird ad hominem approach.

  22. Morgan Warstler says:

    OWSers are a JOKE.

    1. no money
    2. horrible optics.
    3. barely vote.

    rhbee, I’m not opposed to many parts of their anger, but OWS kiddies are far too dumb and intellectually dishonest to be worthy champions of the ideas I agree with

    The way it works is OWS says they want to reduce the importance of Wall Street, and then they STFU and let those of us who know how to permanently drive the best and brightest out of finance forever – make the calls, and OWS supports our policy choices to drive the best and brightest out of finance.

    OWS has no such depth, and you know they do not REALLY want what they claim to ask for.

    They really want more free shit. And rhbee, lets cut tot he chase: there is going to be less FREE SHIT, and by free shit I don’t just mean, people don’t get to sit on the couch, by free shit I mean people don’t get to borrow $150K in govt. backed loans and study women’s studies or anthropology.

    By free shit I mean, sure we’ll give you flour, eggs, butter, milk, meat – we’ll even give you cookware, we’ll even give you cooking lessons – but you won’t be paying for KFC wih your food stamps card.

    By free shit I mean, sure we’ll give you health care, but it will be “last year’s” care – the cheap older out of patent drugs and less complicated services that were GREAT 20 years ago – people with coverage now don’t want to be queuing for the good stuff and letting the gvt. decide who gets served first – the guy with $ gets served first EVERY TIME.

    Beggars can’t be choosers rhbee, and as soon as OWS admits they are beggars, we can get down to figuring out how to make sure they all get the KIA version of food, health, education, etc.

    This is a very clear and too the point fact for you to deal with buddy – when you can read “beggars can’t be choosers” and not get mad, but instead agree to those terms, you’ll pull a solid majority because MANY of the folks on the right will PAY for the bottom half as soon as they know for sure, the bottom half can’t possibly under any circumstances get away with being lazy.

    Guarantee that one thing rhbee, and you’ll never have to worry about the poor getting what they NEED.

  23. rhbee says:

    I dunno, John, maybe conflating with the likes of that “dirty hippy” hater Wastler was a “free” choice you shouldn’t have chosen. Meanwhile, feel “free” to go on debating Economix 101 while the only economies that are working are the ones where the citizens and the government work together to solve for all.

  24. John Papola says:


    I dunno, John, maybe conflating with the likes of that “dirty hippy” hater Wastler was a “free” choice you shouldn’t have chosen.

    I don’t know what this means. I know that Jon Taplin and I have a very nice friendship and have shared a meal and a live conversation many times. I’ve now done the same with Morgan and his lovely family. That’s really all I can say about my “conflations”.

    With regard to what Morgan writes here, well, sometimes I agree and sometimes I don’t. When I agree I say so. Otherwise, you should read my posts for what they are and not conflate my words with anyone else. Can you try doing that?

    while the only economies that are working are the ones where the citizens and the government work together to solve for all.

    What does this even mean? This claim also sounds like unprovable, ideological pandering nonsense. Which economies are these? Care to elaborate with some causal details? What does it even mean for an “economy” to be “working”? How do “the citizens” and the government “work together”? Since when are the needs of “the citizens” able to be reasonable averaged into one set of priorities or preferences instead of millions of different ones? Sounds like Mussolini nationalist economics to me (aka corporatism).

  25. rhbee says:

    Holy Felix the Cat, John, you thrown back to Hitlerville with one swell foop.

    Meanwhile, Morgan, since we know you are not a hippy and certainly only invest on Wall
    Street but would never try to Occupy it, I find it laughable when you try to explain what a Hippy is or what the Occupiers want. The only one I hear getting frantic about hippies and Occupiers is you. The only one afraid of change or being without is you. Less is MORE, dude. More is more is just you being greedy.

  26. John Papola says:

    So no examples or deeper digging, huh? The quality of your replies is unfortunate. I said nothing about Hitler, btw. And your description of “economies that are working” to “solve for all” really is consistent with Mussolini’s vision of the nation-centric corpus, where everyone “works together” with the aims of advancing “the nation”. That’s how that rhetoric sounds to me. It sounds like pandering and demagoguery. It’s selling a bill of goods. But if you want to take faux umbrage at that, go ahead. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s all rhetoric, no substance.

    Now, if you want to dig in and give examples of these economies and WHY you see them as “working”, please be my guest. I would love to hear about them.

  27. rhbee says:

    Soo … we can’t work together unless the government forces us to and we know that’s not something you want soo … let’s try a free market where no one works together unless there’s a personal profit in it. That’s your solution. How is that working for you?

  28. Morgan Warstler says:

    pretty good.

  29. John Papola says:

    I will take this to mean that you have no actual examples of your assertions regarding economies “that work” nor any explanation for why said economies are “working”.

    Soo … we can’t work together unless the government forces us to and we know that’s not something you want soo … let’s try a free market where no one works together unless there’s a personal profit in it. That’s your solution. How is that working for you?

    Rhbee, this comment is utter nonsense. It’s frankly ludicrous. MILLIONS of people are working together every day. Some for profit, some not, at least not directly. Most people make decisions based on a whole set of complex motivations, all of which are personal and subjective and NONE of which can be guessed by corrupt, self-interested politicians and central planners. Moreover, if “no one works together” without force… um… who is going to force us to work together? You do realize that “no one” includes everyone… including the political class. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that people are devils but government is angels. Plato was wrong. Philosopher kings don’t exist. But he’s also irrelevant, because the people elect these politicians. So if the people suck, their favorite candidates will surely suck even worse.

    You insult (and doom) humanity and reveal the total demagogic blinders driving your comments with this stuff.

    NOTHING about freedom demands all human interaction be driven by cold profit calculation. Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t a profit-maximizing organization, nor are the legion of other non-governmental non-profits. Did they all suddenly vanish? Have all the churches on earth disappeared? All the neighborhood community groups are gone? All the families on earth have been replaced with commodity exchanges?

    Seriously, that is what you are saying when you claim that “no one works together unless there’s a personal profit”.

    And no, there’s nothing wrong with honest profit. Commerce IS people “working together”, usually by creating value for others. Commerce is inherently social. It’s service. Honest profit is useful signal that you’re adding more value than you consume in the process. It helps us abandon efforts that are wasteful and encourages more people to work together where the needs are the greatest.

    Meanwhile, we can look at REAL government in action. It’s scumbaggery writ large. It’s massive transfers to the richest people on earth. It’s “regulations” written by incumbent corporations to raise the barrier to competition. It’s drone murder, prohibition, immigration restrictions and war. It inflation, ponzi lies and fraud all justified by demagoguery.

    How is THAT working for YOU?

  30. John Papola says:

    oh… and make “MILLIONS” into “BILLIONS”.

  31. rhbee says:

    John, you make my point. And Morgan, wow.

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