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Obama’s Invisible Achievement

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Posted on Aug 23, 2009
White House / Pete Souza

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

SYDNEY, Australia—The hardest slogan to sell in politics is: “Things could have been a whole lot worse.” No wonder President Barack Obama is having trouble defending his stimulus plan.

If governments around the world, including our own, had not acted aggressively—and had not spent piles of money—a very bad economic situation would have become a cataclysm.

But because the cataclysm was avoided, this is an invisible achievement. Many whose bacon was saved, particularly in the banking and corporate sectors, do not want to admit how important the actions of government were. Anti-government ideologues try to pretend that no serious intervention was required.

So everyone goes back to complaining about high deficits and the shortcomings of government as if nothing had happened. This is now creating problems for Obama on health care.

One person who empathizes with our president is Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. He argues that if the governments of the world’s biggest economies had not injected “$5 trillion plus into the real economy” in stimulus and had not taken other coordinated actions, we would have relived “the tawdry tale of the 1930s.”

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“In March of this year, the world was staring down the barrel of a Great Depression,” Rudd said in an interview here last week. “This is a case study in bringing the world back from the brink, and it was American leadership from President Obama that was the key to that.”

Rudd is Obama’s political kinsman not only because they are philosophically in tune with each other, but also because the 51-year-old Australian’s election victory in November 2007 foreshadowed Obama’s own.

The leader of the center-left Labor Party, Rudd ousted one of George W. Bush’s best friends, conservative Prime Minister John Howard, by riding the same theme of change and the same generational tide that carried in his American friend.

Yet if Rudd praises Obama, he also praises Bush for acting swiftly when the global economy began coming apart in the fall of 2008. As Rudd put it in a speech to the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue, Bush acted in dire circumstances, at a moment when “global financial flows ground to a virtual halt.”

In fact, for all the flaws in the execution of the bank bailout program, Bush’s willingness last fall to put the urgent need for massive action over his own ideological proclivities is likely to go down as the most enduringly constructive act of his presidency.

Rudd argues that in the last months of Bush’s administration and the first months of Obama’s, every economic indicator pointed to “catastrophe.” He speaks of banks running out of money, developers whose credit was frozen and signs of panic among individual savers.

What prevented a repeat of the 1930s, he says, is that the world’s governments actually learned from that era, particularly from “the deliberations on the Great Depression by John Maynard Keynes.” The British economist stressed the imperative of government action at moments when the private economy falters.

If anything, Rudd has it easier than Obama. Australia’s unemployment rate in July was 5.8 percent, compared with 9.4 percent in the United States. Technically, at least, Australia has so far avoided recession.

And Rudd’s conservative predecessor, unlike Obama’s, was fiscally responsible. Thus, Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan points out that even after his government’s large stimulus spending, the country’s budget deficit will peak at 4.9 percent of GDP in 2009-10. In 2009, Swan noted, the U.S. budget deficit will hit 13.6 percent of GDP.

Then there is the biggest difference in the national political situations: Australia already has a national health system. This means that Rudd has been able to concentrate on the economy and cap-and-trade legislation while Obama has found himself battling in the health care trenches.

But Swan has some words of encouragement for Obama. The fight for government-led universal health coverage in Australia during the 1970s and ’80s, Swan said in an interview, was “every bit as tough as the debate in the United States.” He added: “Thirty years on, we’ve got this system which, whatever its flaws, is one of the most effective in the world.”

In other words, once it’s in place, government-guaranteed universal health coverage becomes an unassailable social gain. Obama’s chances of securing such a victory will improve if he can overcome reflexive anti-government propaganda that ignores how governments kept the world economy from falling off the cliff. In Rudd, he has a willing witness.

E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.

© 2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, August 25, 2009 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

George Melendez,

We didn’t have the money to bail out the big banks and insurance companies, but you did, therefore, health care for the Common Population can be done the same way and it will pay for itself in the long run, because everyone won’t be going bankrupt from exorbitant medical bills, which is the alternative.

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By NABNYC, August 25, 2009 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

Obama may have averted a catastrophe for the upper classes, the Wall Street barons, the CEOs, the politicians they own, but he’s done nothing to help the working people of this country. 

Ask yourself this question:  with unemployment probably at over 20% “actual” numbers, individual debt beyond people’s ability to pay, 50 million Americans with no healthcare, more and more jobs leaving the country, people being forced into minimum wage work with no benefits, no hope, no future, no retirement program, foreclosures at epidemic levels, schools being shut down or sold off, lunatics bringing assault weapons to public meetings to terrorize their neighbors, what catastrophe has been averted? 

Some Wall Street scumbucket was worried he wouldn’t get his $2.0 million bonus this summer?  Is that the catastrophe Obama has averted? 

Because most Americans are having trouble paying for groceries every week.  That’s what we call a catastrophe.  Nobody in the Democratic party seems too worried about that.
 
Even the lousy “credit card reform” bill did absolutely nothing to help the working people, and instead snuck in a provision that makes people responsible for the debts of their adult children.  Why didn’t the Democrats limit these credit card companies to 10% interest on charges?  Kick-backs, that’s why.  Pay-offs.  Votes bought and sold.  What a traitorous group of corrupt sell-outs the Democrats are.

And I challenge the underlying assumption that it is “good” for Obama to bail out Wall Street and the Bankers, the people who stole all the money, the people who are mostly responsible for our current economic problems. 

What he should have done is to arrest every person from Wall Street above the level of receptionist, seized their assets, and thrown their asses into prison.  Although normally I oppose the death penalty, I would cheer if most of these people were publicly hung.  And just think, all the unemployed building trades people could have temporary work building the viewing stands for the millions who would pay big money to see this in person.

This article seems to be premised on the view that it is “our” banking system, “our” investment firms on Wall Street, and we need to save “our” businesses.  But the people inside those businesses are criminals and thieves.  The only help I would give any of them is for their own assisted suicide. 

What has Obama done to help the working people?  He and the Democrats have stolen hundreds of billions of dollars from working people, and our grandchildren, and given it to their friends on Wall Street in exchange for a certain percentage kick-back.  That is what’s happened, and everybody knows it. 

If Obama wanted to avert disaster, he should have let them institutions fail, seize the money from the thieving CEOs, take over the shells, and run them for the profit of the country.  You want to give money away?  Give it to the working people, the ones who are broke.

He’s done nothing to help the millions who are losing their homes to foreclosures, instead giving billions to the Wall Street scum so they can rent homes in the Hamptons for the summer.  It’s pretty obvious who’s getting stimulated by Obama.

End the wars?  Not the Democrats. 

Healthcare for the people?  Nope.  They won’t do that either. 

Jobs programs for regular Americans?  None.

So exactly what stimulus program is Obama needing to defend?  The one where he and the Democrats in Congress gave hundreds of billions of dollars to the leading criminal enterprises on Wall Street and got a percentage kick-back for themselves?  That stimulus program?  Good luck defending that one. 

Anyway, it’s not really technically what we should call a “stimulus” program under traditional economic principles.  I’d call it a theft, corruption, and betrayal program.

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By George Melendez, August 25, 2009 at 11:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE EVERYONE.  We can’t spend what we don’t have and right now we have spent $12 Trillion that we don’t have.  We need to start paying down our debt or there will be no America.  We need to push our reprsentatives to have a balance budget amendment and we need to start a catastrophe fund.  This isn’t a right or left issue.  It is an American issue.  Can we stop this right/left bickering and just be Americans?

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, August 25, 2009 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

George Melendez,

Like Bill Clinton, the best REPUBLICAN president ever, according to Alan Greenspan, it increasingly appears President Obama is going to be another best REPUBLICAN president the United States has ever had, so that the country will continue a REPUBLICAN duopoly of either a regular REPUBLICAN or a REPUBLICAN EXTREMIST.  WOW!  What a choice, the Republicans are effectively using the Democratic Party to only represent the upper 30% of the population, and the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION will continue without representation. 

It is actually time for a CHANGE out of autocracy, back to DEMOCRACY; and the only way to do that is a UNITED 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION, forget the EXTREMIST Republican Party, and UNITE to use the PRIMARY ELECTIONS of the Democratic Party to vote out all the CONSERVATIVES and MODERATES; which means that the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION will have to quit crawling around like a bowl of earthworms and UNITE FOR DEMOCRACY in the Democratic Party and force out all those who are voting against the best interests of the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION,  short of bloody revolution there is NO OTHER WAY, and this possibility has not as yet been exhausted, but it must be the next phase.

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By MarthaA, August 25, 2009 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

BlueEagle,

There is a distinction between Democrats and Republicans and the distinction is that the Democrats are the Nearly Nobles and the Republicans are the Nobles.  The Nearly Nobles in the U.S. dictatorship can be taken over completely by the Nobles and tyranny will abound with no ability to return without bloody revolution if the Republican Nobles ever get back into power, which is what nearly happened last election.

The only way to overcome the Democratic Party only being used for the Nearly Noble 20% of the Common Population is for the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION to UNITE by all 70% joining the Democratic Party as members and voting out the CONSERVATIVES and MODERATES that vote for Big Corporations, Big Business and Big Industry against the best interest of the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION.  Big money can’t tyrannize the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION if the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION will UNITE and take back the Democratic Party.

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By Anarcissie, August 25, 2009 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

Hulk2008: —if you’re going to do capitalism, it really won’t do to prevent it from doing its thing, which happens to include periodic excursions through a destructive phase in which businesses collapse, their investors are ruined, their employees are thrown out of work, and their products disappear from the market.  Very inconvenient and sometimes very painful.  New enterprises then pick up the pieces, put them together differently, and the system enters a new boom phase in which credit expands, money flows, everyone is happy and life is a big party—until the next crash.

In theory, the government or some other part of the State like a cabal of rich guys could try to even out the cycles so as to make them less harsh, but they could do this only if they were immune to political pressure.  As it happens in real life, the manipulators always try to keep the booms going because they are so popular.  Unfortunately, this necessarily means the boom, and the credit that drives it, becomes more and more gaseous, until finally even government power cannot sustain it and it collapses.  The longer the collapse is held off, the worse it is likely to be.

In the case of the United States, the problem is compounded by the drive of its ruling class toward imperial power and world domination.  This is a very expensive proposition which would not be popular with the taxpayers if they had to pay for it up front.  So part of the motive towards inflating the recent booms has been the need to fund empire.

Under Mr. O, nothing has seriously changed.  Every effort is being made to reinflate the booms and pursue imperial goals.  My conclusion is that further disasters are not far down the road.

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By MarthaA, August 25, 2009 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

DezzNutz 8/24 11:28am,

Your false dichotomy between CAPITALISM and SOCIALISM is SOPHISTRY. 

Capital, an asset that provides a revenue stream, is not concerned about who owns it; it matters not to capital whether it is owned by social communes or by private individuals, capital performs as an asset that provides revenue irregardless of ownership.

A SOCIALIST or a COMMUNIST government can employ a Capitalist Economy with the same effect as a CAPITALIST government.

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By MarthaA, August 25, 2009 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

voice of truth,

There’s nothing so bad that it can’t be made worse.  Republicans will always make the situation WORSE.

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By George Melendez, August 25, 2009 at 7:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The REAL Truth is that the Federal Government has been spending more money that it is taking in since I can remember.  Which means they have been running a deficit for over 4 decades to the tune of 12 Trillion Dollars.  We can’t continue on this course of fiscal suicide.  Our Interest payment on this debt is over $300 Billion annually.  We need to make sure that all of our representatives are aware that we need a balanced budget no matter what.  Will it painful of course!  But it is also necessary if we want the USA to continue to exist.  We bailed out the world with more debt I don’t think so.  All we did was kick the ball down the road to the next generation.  I wish someone had the guts to speak the truth to power.

I’m requesting that we urge Congress to author a bill for Term Limits for all members of Congress(House & Senate).  I understand that this is a request that is absured on it’s face.  Why would a member of congress want to force themselves out of office.  I believe that by creating a limit of 1 term for 5 years will keep our politicians from going to Washington to serve themselves.  It appears that now a Congressman gets elected and they go to Washington to raise money for the next election instead of concentrating on the job at hand.  The job of the politician should be to represent their constituents to best of their ability not looking forward to their next election.  I’ve forwarded this same request to all my representatives.

This is my soultion to Washington D.C. Coruption.

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By Hulk2008, August 25, 2009 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

So many blogger experts, so few alternatives.  I suppose the “free market” would have pulled US out of these troubles.  Yeah right. 
  I’ll bet two Lehman Bros. and raise you an AIG that it would have been DECADES before the economy even found a bottom left alone - rather than the “horrifying” 6 months Obama has been in office.  Don’t forget that it was W and his cronies that started the TARP - with Paul Baby refusing to even touch the toxic loans - it was his first reaction to bail out his chums in Big Biz. 
  Obama’s mistake was winning the election - instead of being remembered for health care or education or getting us out of 2 wars, he will be forever stained by the Bush 2000-2008 debacles.  If he had cared about his own reputation, he should have taken a dive and let McCain-Palin take the blame.  Just imagine what a wonder world that administration would have been.  I can just see all the “fancy pageant walkin’” ......
  As Bugs Bunny used to say “What a bunch of maroons”.

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By dihey, August 25, 2009 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

DezzNutz

Seriously, John Meynard Keyes is a socialists wet dream. His theories are procluded in socialism and not capitalism.

John Meynard Keyes does not exist. The British economist who predicted that the reparations forced on Germany after WW1 would result in an economic and financial crash was John Maynard Keynes. You might at least get his name right in a commentary full of holes.

Keynes is best characterized as a progressive innovator. A socialist he was not. He has never advocated abolishing capitalism. Keynes principal hypothesis was that when average incomes of the middle class were too low this was a prime contributor to economic crashes. That is not socialism but clear-eyed realism.

When the correct form of the verb in your second sentence is used, that sentence is in 100% disagreement with your first sentence! Hilarious!

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By BlueEagle, August 24, 2009 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

I see a lot of truth here. Mike said it well until he made a distinction between D and R. There is no difference between the D’s and R’s.

The war is between the State and you. It is not left vs. right. It is the banksters (Fed) vs you. Until most realize this the problems will never be solved.

It is freedom and liberty vs government control or corporate (Goldman Sachs) control through Gov’t.

Barack Obama and Ben Bernake are puppets. Once the vernacular changes then we will start to see real change on main street.

Go read Common Sense 2009 by Larry Flynt
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-flynt/common-sense-2009_b_264706.html

Everyone should be directing their voices at the House of Rothschild and the Rockefeller Family.

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By jack, August 24, 2009 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, DezzNutz, on what exactly do you base the presumption that there ever was a
“free market” since the first Neanderthal bashed the head of the chap who tried
setting up a pelt trade next to his?

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, August 24, 2009 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment

The CEO’s and upper management of the corrupt banking corporations and the corrupt insurance corporations should have had to pay a price for their corruption; all money that was liberally and socialistically put into the capitalist banking system from the Common Population should not have been put into any of the corrupt banking/insurance corporations, but should have been put into SOLID banks that had not been involved with the toxic corruption and the solid banks should have taken over the corrupt banks/businesses and started a new market for the toxic assets.

And all corrupt banking CEO’s and insurance CEO’s and all upper management involved in the corrupt scheme should either be in jail or out on bond waiting trial for their corruption.

Hopefully, CONSERVATIVE RIGHT-WING EXTREMIST REPUBLICANS will never get back into power and the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION will be able to vote out in the PRIMARY ELECTION all of the CONSERVATIVES and Moderates in the Democratic Party so such a happening will never happen again.

The way the situation was handled by both Bush and Obama, the criminals will never have to pay the price for their corruption, and it was planned massive corruption; and the corrupt criminals are still holding their toxic assets to foist off at a later date, whereas the toxic assets should have been marketed for the waste they are.

The only part of the population having to pay the price for their corruption is the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION taxpayers for generations, but medical health care is way too expensive for them.  There is something very, very wrong with this picture, when the only ones getting saved is corrupt bankers and corrupt insurance corporations and the common population can make do or die. It really is time for a CHANGE.

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By bluerdier, August 24, 2009 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

voice of truth: with due respect, (1) my earlier post contained NO principle argument at all (let alone a variant of the time-worn Berkeleyan “tree in the forest…” argument, which is a curious observation which I fail to perceive in my post anyways),  (2) Rather, I merely want to know “how do you know this to be true”?  You say your arguments are based on “facts not opinions” - what are the sources, and are they credible?  Surely you wouldn’t post these as facts unless they were derived from legitimate sources.  I’m interested to know….

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By bluerdier, August 24, 2009 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

Moreover, I wish to ask DezzNuts (funny!!?) a simple question about “simple economics”:  if the trickle-down theory that you have lectured us on is the best theory in the “best of all possible worlds”, then why has there been an ever-increasing gap between haves and have-nots in the thirty years since the advent of Reaganomics (a statistically verifiable fact)? Is it in principle a better economic theory if the rich are getting richer while the poor stare into the abyss? Or do we just ignore the plight of the those social groups marginalized by “simple economics”?  And how do this economics conform to the conservative argument that life is not, economically-speaking, a “rigged race”? How you have explained it eviscerates conservative arguments that contend we all are equally lined up at the starting line.

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By voice of truth, August 24, 2009 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

Blue, that is not what I said.  What I did say is that the money spent has had no effect whatsoever on the economy, for all the reasons sent.

Your argument is specious, along the lines of “if a tree fell in the forest and no one was there to hear it, how do you know it didn’t make a sound?”

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By bluerdier, August 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

How can one say with certainty (as ‘Mike’ and ‘voice of truth’ have) that if the bailouts were not undertaken, the economy would have simply stagnated into recession, and nothing worst?  Unless you’re a credentialed economist, such groundless speculation is simply re-hashed garbage collected from some tendentious right-wing critic with an ideological axe to grind.  I ask again:  just how do you know this to be true?

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By voice of truth, August 24, 2009 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

Well Diamond, that was a mature and profound comment.  All I ask is that you point out my so-called ignorance, and please you facts, not opinion or beliefs.

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By diamond, August 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

Avoiceoftruth stop displaying your ignorance, it’s embarrassing.

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By MeHere, August 24, 2009 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

E.J. Dionne:

Thanks to you and to Prime Minister Rudd, Obama’s achievement is no longer “invisible.”  What a relief.  Please…. just about any leader would have had to do something about the economic collapse.  People can go without adequate health care and other things, but they can’t be massively starved to death if they are to continue to produce and consume.  The business world that runs politics knows this much and _they_ don’t want to fall off the cliff.  Do you have any other invisible Obama achievement for us?  Maybe he has called home all the thousands of troops, advisors, and contractors that are scattered all over the Middle East and other places?

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By voice of truth, August 24, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

Mike, you said in a short paragraph what took me half a page.  Amen.

Though I must admit, to me, the prospects of returning back to a chastened (I hope) Republican congress doesn’t seem too bad right now.

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By mike, August 24, 2009 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I couldn’t disagree more. What Obama did in supporting the bailout of his corporate buddies was take what could and should have been a temporary recession and slowdown, into a permanent crisis that will last for years. If they’d let Citicorp, AIG, GM and the others go bankrupt, then there would have been a short crisis, followed by smaller efficient companies emerging to take their place. Instead, we still have all of the same problems, plus the largest debt in history. The stimulus plan was a good idea, but it wasn’t necessary to finance it on borrowed money. He should have balanced the budget first. Now we’re going to be spending hundreds of billions a year on interest to Obama’s corporate buddies that could have been invested in our infrastructure, health care and other needs. Worst of all, Obama’s incompetence and corruption have almost certainly handed Congress and the Presidency back to the Republicans. The next two elections are going to be disastrous for the Democrats.

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By voice of truth, August 24, 2009 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

Am on the same planet as this guy?  Please, anyone, tell me how the Olama administration did anything to help ease a financial crisis?

A - Poured billions into financial institutions.  Not so they could erase the “toxic assets” that were the contributing factor to the crisis.  No, most of the banks simply used the $$ to buy other banks, or to pay off other financial institutions.  And, of course, pay themselves.  At the end of the day, it was essentially money wasted, since the toxic assets are still on the books!

B - Throw billions at automobile manufacturers.  What?  Because their management and their unions have conspired to turn them into the most uncompetitive businesses in America?  Regardless of your stance on unions, it can not be argued that the legacy costs of their contracts (pensions, lifetime health benefits) and the much higher than market wages were a major contributing factor to the company’s demise.  Throw in inept management, and there it goes.  Then pile on the fact that the Olama’s essentially broke the law by dictating the terms of a bankrupty restructuring, and voila!, the very same unions and the government (huh?!) now control the company!  There’s a pair that know how to run a globally competitive company.

C - Throw away almost a TRILLION dollars on a “stimulus” bill that 1) is mostly spent 2 and 3 years from now, 2) is loaded with more pork than there exist pigs in the world and 3) was not even a speed bump on the way to helping anything (unemployment now almost 10%), yet it HAD to be approved IMMEDIATELY.

So, the three main government actions, across two administrations have really done absolutely nothing to slow or reverse an economic crisis, and in fact have worsened it.  How?  Because after piling almost 2 TRILLION dollars onto the national debt AND trying to ram through legislation like cap and trade and health “insurance” reform, all it has done is strike fear into the minds of businesses and US creditors the world over.  I am not arguing the merits of health reform or cap and trade, that is another topic, but it is indisputable that they will significantly add to the Federal debt in a way that has never been seen before.

In 6 months, Obama has either added to, or discussed plans to add to, the federal debt so that the annual deficit is already double what it ever has been, and will add $10 Trillion to the federal debt.  How in the world can that be paid.  It can’t.  Not even if you confiscated 100% of the wealth of the top 20% of taxpayers.

These are all facts, not opinions.  And yet, this idiot writer still believes that Obama is God.  It’s pretty lame anyway when he has to reach and say that something not happening (?) was because Obama is so great.  Again, am I on the same planet as he is?

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By ardee, August 24, 2009 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, August 24 at 12:30 pm #

The Poet Laureate of TD…..Funny , very funny…Like really great comedy true as well.

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By kaydog, August 24, 2009 at 9:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t see much difference twixt Bush and Obama. We’re still in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gitmo, the Cabinet is still full of lobbyists, they’re still trying to shove bills down our throats without reading them, and the White House has both Wall Street AND Main Street lined up around the block with their hands out. Same handouts,just different suits, and more of them. Bush killed Capitalism, but Obama’s trying to conclude the memorial service for it. I still hate Republicans, but I would have to say that Obama is just as deceitful as any old politician. Very disappointed!

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By Folktruther, August 24, 2009 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

You can always count on Dunne to justify giving trillions of dollars to the banksters.  Let us, fellow truth consumers, join in a round of The Democrat Song.

      O I’m a Democrat and I’m okay
      I sleep all night and I Hope all day
      I eat their dreck like a crazedbollweevil
      But I stand tall, I’m The Lesser Evil

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By Night-Gaunt, August 24, 2009 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

I just hope that PM Rudd‘s efforts are more lasting than ours. As was said before the efforts have been “cosmetic” and I would add superficial. All they have done is stabilized the patient, not cured them.

Which means we could still fall into that economic and then cultural abyss if things aren’t done now to fix the system and strengthen the wall.

But will Obama do it? Is that his endotruth job? Or is it part of the agent of change of the republic to a theocracy? When the economy falls the gov’t will too and then the Dominionists will have their window to come out of hiding and offer the survivors of the Great Depression a way out to civilization. One that will give them very few rights but it will have order and be very close to the normality they were accustomed. If I’m right. If I’m wrong I hope it doesn’t happen at all either way. We must not fall into a Great Depression.

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By herewegoagain, August 24, 2009 at 8:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Does anyone know if there’s a definitive list of all the financial institutions that were given money, both directly and indirectly, and how much was given to each? Because without such a list, we really have no way of knowing if this massive giveaway has actually “saved our bacon.” For example, without knowing who all these institutions are, we can’t delve further into what they actually do and fund. We don’t know if these institutions were funding retirement pensions, construction projects, or other investments that impact jobs, savings, and other economic factors of actual importance to American citizens.

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By DezzNutz, August 24, 2009 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rontruth:

Maybe you remeber this little thing called the dot.com bubble burst. It was another economy bubble that burst, and then the job of fixing it up went to the next prez. Sound familiar?

Bush tax cuts helped us avoid a major recession in 2000-01, 911 was part of that recession as well.

As for tax cuts, many of you dont seem to understand how simple economics works so let me explain. 

Gvts are wasteful and chalk full of fraud.  They get their money from us, the producers. Govt. does not produce anything, they only spend money they didnt earn.

So when you issue tax cuts to the “wealthy”, you are actually giving them to small business owners, who are between 60-70% of our economy at any given time. These small business owners are not big corporations or big labor who always have lobbyists in Washington, they are your local businesses, your friends, your neighbors. 

Tax cuts allow those with spendable income to buy a new boat, thus stimualting the boat industry, or they are able to take that money and re-invest it in their business, with the hopes to create even more wealth and even more jobs. Some re-invest their money in stocks, bonds, annuities, or even govt backed bonds. 

Taking monies away from the wasteful power drunk bureaucrats and putting it back in the hands of the people IS ALWAYS a good thing.  Thats how you stimulate an economy, you dont spend 787 Billion on an economic recovery bill and then only give 780 MILLION, with an M, to small businesses.

At least under Bush the avg American got a check, under Obama, jack squat of that 787 billion!

A free market is made up of poeple. Not big govt, big corp or big labor. Its everyday people like us.

Power to the people!!!

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By DezzNutz, August 24, 2009 at 8:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Seriously, John Meynard Keyes is a socialists wet dream. His theories are procluded in socialism and not capitalism.

While we conjecture that TARP may have helped stop our economy from sliding into the abyss, all it did was put a band aid on a bigger problem we will have to address once again in the near future.  Extremely igh taxes and inflation will be dooming our once booming economy once again in the near future. 

One must conjecture on what influenece the federal reserve has on all this…Ever since its creation just prior to the roaring 20’s, we have had boom or bust economies that ride high crest and low valleys.

I mention this because think about it…if the big powerful federal gvt prints and controls our money,  and congress writes the laws that tell them what to do, isnt it logical to think the gvt has to much power in our economy?

Just think, they had the money to bail them out, or lend it to them. Heres a thought, cut taxes, have a smaller federal gvt cuz ours tries to control us to much, and more of us will have more money in our pockets! Individuals and families will have more money to spend, businesse swill have more capital to invest and run our businesses so more than just 1 out of 5 start ups succeed.

All you capitalism haters must no tlive in America or have no idea what its like in non-capitalist countires…I implore you to visit one and you will see why most socialistic countries close there boarders. There socialist systems dont allow for foreigners to come settle, but if we adopt more and more socialist ideals we wont be able to afford to be the “melting pot” anymore. 
People will come just to get free stuff, instead of before when they jsut wanted to make a living, like Mexicans do now. And the US will end up like states that border Mexico, they are all going bankrupt in social systems due to that inlux of illegals using services they dont pay for since they dont get taxed.

Capitalism is freedom at its best, long live the free economy, and the freedom loving people.

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By Rontruth, August 24, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

In Bush’s case, big OIL Dick Cheney was in fact Bush’s real boss. It was likely the first, or one of the first upside down presidencies on record. So, my belief is that the Bush/Cheney policies of giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy, while only a $600.00 rebate check to Mr. and Mrs. Joe American Citizen, which was eaten up in increased state and local taxes and user fees, giving average citizens 0, zip, zilch as a tax cut, plus reduced spending on social programs to help him fund his illegal war in Iraq, that brought about the beginning of the US financial meltdown.

Thus, Bush, whom Rudd gives great credit to for rescuing bankers whom Bush’s administration had de-regulated, along with other industries, in sum total caused his own financial crisis. Of course, he first, and almost totally, only bailed out the banking industry from whence came much of his financial support while a candidate.

Thus, I agree with Rudd, that doing something to take care of a problem that Bush and Cheney created, was “against his natural proclivities.” Indeed!

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, August 24, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

Cataclysm has been postponed, not avoided.

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By jmr, August 24, 2009 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

The town halls have the mobs of right-wing cretins, with their mindless slogans. This left-wing echo chamber has the likes of the charmingly named godistwaddle, with their mindless slogans, proof that the left and the right converge at the wings.

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By Amon Drool, August 24, 2009 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

oh yeah…quantitative easing (aka turning on the printing presses)...this administration has just kicked the can down the road.  dollar devaluation comin’...r u ready?

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By monkframe, August 24, 2009 at 7:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The paying of the piper was put off, not eliminated.
The banks own the government still and are sucking the lifeblood from society.
Mr. Dionne is spouting the “conventional wisdom”.
Look out!

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By tp, August 24, 2009 at 7:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All the kings men agree
but what about we,
the neoliberated into poverty?
Only time will tell what kind of difference the bankster’s plan will have.
Obama is their agent in chief. So, don’t expect any change by hope for the average Joe - and even the above average.
This whole article is a crock of propaganda.
The new world order is at work.
If the economy is so good why has has the feds not raised interest rates?
tp

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By Jim Yell, August 24, 2009 at 7:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Where are the jobs created? Where is the money that was given to the criminal corporate heads, without direction or restriction?

Most of our industry is conducted in China and other low pay countries to avoid paying taxes to our treasury, in order to avoid paying decent wages to our workers, in order to avoid environmental rules and responsible production. None of this has been changed and the tax dollars now slated to be paid to China, can not be spent to employ American citizens or even to keep our infastructure in repair.

How can anyone celebrate the continuing theft of our treasury and the refusal of the mega rich to pay their taxes?

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By dihey, August 24, 2009 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

Mr. Dionne has always been superb in pulling invisible rabbits out of invisible hats.

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By RdV, August 24, 2009 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

Oh please, Obama put on a bandaid and poured billions into Wall St in service of his masters while he cuts Medicare and social security and sets up another enforced pay off of the Insurance and drug Corps.
  Is there anything this author won’t grasp at in his race to crawl across the floor and kiss the hem of Obama’s garment?

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By Kay Johnson, August 24, 2009 at 4:36 am Link to this comment

“Obviously, saving predatory capitalism was important.  How else could the rest of us continue to be exploited, raped, and used.”—godistwaddle

Exactly!

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By Tim Kelly, August 24, 2009 at 3:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All the U.S. did is get a new credit card to make payments on the old credit cards.  The original debt is still there, but now there is a few trillion on top of it.  This is how the blind supporters of Obama have destroyed efforts at real reform by people like Ralph Nader, who argued that the money should have been directed to the homeowners in trouble, thereby making insolvent investments solvent.  Instead, no homeowers were saved - oops, the millionaires facing foreclosure were saved - and the U.S. crossed into the area of “unpayable debt.”  This is not an “achievement.”

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godistwaddle's avatar

By godistwaddle, August 24, 2009 at 2:39 am Link to this comment

Obviously, saving predatory capitalism was important.  How else could the rest of us continue to be exploited, raped, and used.

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By ardee, August 24, 2009 at 2:07 am Link to this comment

While the infusion of almost one trillion dollars into our financial community might have averted a further collapse we see only cosmetic or bandaid approaches to this problem It is the same methodology Obama has used in refusing to deal with the obvious,blatant and still not investigated constitutional violations of the previous administration.

In both cases all the factors that led to abuses are still in place.

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By jack, August 23, 2009 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good shill, E.J. Who is your paymaster? Saving the bankers’ bacon did save them from financial collapse for awhile, but did it save the working classes and production sectors from collapse?

The bankers are not forgiving foreclosures nor are they loaning to the production sector. They are acquiring more financial assets, re-inflating their derivatives positions and even creating new derivatives. Deep analysis predicts the sunshine du jour is just the eye of the storm. The derivatives are not unwound with quadrillions in fictitious capitol still at large awaiting its fate.

As for a National Health Plan, the fix is already in. The insurance companies will be dealt into the mix as the real winners in whatever plan is settled upon. E.J., you know it’s as simple as this: MEDICARE FOR ALL and let the private insurance companies compete with that… if they can compete with anything, since they’re all bankrupt from their own derivatives speculation.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, August 23, 2009 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If all democrats can say is, “we’re not republicans”
it only underscores how useless they are.  Invisible
change.  I don’t remember that campaign promise.

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