Tuesday, July 08, 2008

If you'll just hold on for one more second

Guess what, everyone? It's "Random Discussion Tuesday!"

So if you're not regular readers of the Hillbilly Mansion, then you won't be aware that Hillbilly Mom dedicated an entire post to me and a comment I made regarding where to assign credit/blame for the state of the economy. This is, of course a signal honor, considering that it's not a political blog. I would have replied in the comments , but I wanted to include some text formatting and a graph. (thanks, Dr. Stapp!) So if this sort of thing interests you, you'll first want to read up on her post, so you know where we all stand.

An entire post dedicated to me? Gosh, I'm flattered. (I'm sure the Economy is flattered as well) Now, while my main point was that assigning all blame to one party for the state of the US economy is hardly fair, I'm happy to reply to your answer.

To start with, you are entirely correct that the Democrats have not had a veto-proof majority for the past 6 years. They still have control over committees, where legislation is drafted, and the legislative calendar, which determines the bills that will be debated on the floor. So let's keep in mind that every bill voted on by Congress has already passed a Democrat-controlled committee of both houses, and the Democrat leadership's legislative calendar of both houses.
This, of course, does not actually prevent Congress from passing laws and forcing the President to veto them - a useful tactic as it puts the President on defense for his veto, rather than pressure on Congress for failing to act. But you can imagine how many more Democrat-preferred spending and economic bills make it to the floor than do Republican-preferred bills.
Naturally, the President can only sign or veto bills that actually get to his desk. He doesn't have any power to draft laws himself, and must depend on Congress to author responsible laws based on solid economic principles (and good luck with THAT, no matter who's in power)
If a bad law was signed, then I think that equal blame must be shared by the Democrat-led Congress that wrote it, and the President who signed it. Again, that's all I asked.
So, are you saying that there are some bills that would have strengthened the economy that President Bush vetoed, but shouldn't have? I'd be interested to hear your take on his very few exercises of the veto.

Moving on, I do indeed recall two government shutdowns (of "non-essential employees") during the 90s. As I remember it, Congress passed budget bills that weren't big enough for your man Bill. Bill wanted to spend more money, and raise taxes along to way to make sure that he could do it.
The Republican-led Congress refused, and let the government's authorization to spend money expire. There may have been other times prior to this when this happened, but my political memory only goes back so far - to the mid 80s. This particular time I remember well because I wondered why the hell the government was employing those people in the first place if they were non-essential.

As to our comparative educations in History, I'll take a pass on that. My schooling in US Government came primarily from my creepy 9th grade teacher Mrs. Eichmann, who always had a big smile on her face, regardless of how gruesome the subject was. Stalin? Viking Wing Death? It's grins all around from Mrs. E.
I'll also have to skip over your unemployment office experience, since you didn't say when it happened or for how long. It wouldn't be gentlemanly of me to ask a lady to supply such salacious (what a great word that is) things as dates and times.

I really like your National Debt chart though. Granted, it's from a politically biased source, (an LA County Democrat Party) so it should be discounted out of hand, and we should go look up the raw data ourselves. As we both have important things to do like watch Food Network and Ice Road Truckers, let's just assume that their data is accurate and move on.
This graph really cuts to the core of my (and the Economy's) point made in the earlier comment. Replace all the labels that refer to the party of the President in power, with the party in control of Congress, and we see a very different graph. Practically all of the large increases in the debt occur under Democrat-controlled Congresses, and the period of reduction in debt increases occur during a Republican-led Congress.

So when we assign some blame to the branch of government in which spending originates, it's not so clear-cut, is it? As my Congressionally-labeled graph shows, 9 of the 10 largest increases occurred under Democrat-led Congresses. (1985, 1990-1993, 2003-2006) 10 out of 10, if we include 2007, which does not appear on this graph. Incidentally, the NEW Records! that the Gardena Valley Democrats thought were so important to mention all happened under Democrat Congresses as well.
It's also important to note that this is a graph of INCREASES to the debt. Notice that not once does it ever decrease. Ever.

I've been dirt poor through both Clinton and Bush, though I've never felt poor enough to say I was "penny pinching." There was economic growth during both periods, but how it was reported by the media is mainly what makes people feel about good or bad economic times. Regardless, our individual experiences are statistically insignificant when talking about something as massive as the largest economy on the planet.

I'm with you on BO, though. I get lost trying to keep up with what he believes from day-to-day. About the only thing that's stayed consistent is that any criticism of his proposals or personal deficiencies is "a distraction from the issues" or "isn't helping [Michelle Obama's] kids."
If BO's like me, and can't stand the liquid annoying-ness that oozes off of Lindsey Buckingham, then I don't blame him for taking a pass on the Mac. If he's looking for a song from the era, I'd suggest Journey's "Any Way You Want It."

"Any way you want it
Thats the way you need it
Any way you want it"

There's a bunch of stuff in there about lovin' touchin' and/or squeezin' (hey, they should have written a song about that stuff too) but the BO-centric part gets mentioned over and over. I'm sure that makes me and Journey (and possibly the Economy, too) a bunch of racists.

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Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

Well done, my man Stew! I shall address the parts I wish to on Wednesday. Hope that doesn't rain on your Random Discussion Tuesday.

I will limit your salacious inquiry by only replying that I spent five years (time enough TO THE DAY to earn vested retirement) working for the glorious Missouri Division of Employment Security, on the cusp of the Old Bush/My Man Bill transfer of power.

While I DO think that Lindsey Buckingham has always needed the shit kicked out of him, I quite enjoyed his solo effort GO INSANE.

Now I await Miss Ann's comment that YOU schooled ME, and changed her back to a Republican.

I won't tag you with the 'racist' label, but your Word Verification thingy just popped up with THREE Ks. Seriously.

8:46 PM, July 08, 2008  
Blogger Stewed Hamm said...

Welcome to everyone from the State of Missouri Employment Security Division, that doesn't have anything better to do than slack off on the internet. Glad to know that I'm helping to keep you too busy to redistribute my wealth.

9:21 PM, November 30, 2008  

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