Buccaneers and Bookkeepers

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One of our astute commenters recently referred me to this article by Peggy Noonan:



http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/government-270326-people-character.html


Noonan says Americans resent the “elites” who run things.


“… because Americans weren’t born to be accountants. It’s not in our DNA! We’re supposed to be building the Empire State Building. We were meant, to be romantic about it, and why not, to be a pioneer people, to push on, invent electricity, shoot the bear, bootleg the beer, write the novel, create, reform and modernize great industries. We weren’t meant to be neat and tidy record keepers. We weren’t meant to wear green eyeshades. We looked better in a coonskin cap!



There is, I think, a powerful rebellion against all this. It isn’t a new rebellion – it was part of Goldwaterism, and Reaganism – but it’s rising again.”


Now, setting aside the delicious irony of a Republican complaining about “elites”… plus any personal feelings I may have about Peggy Noonan (I always picture her gazing at her computer screen and thinking… ‘Look at this passage I just wrote! God, it’s so beautiful…’). But I digress.


I think in this instance Noonan may actually be getting at the root of what differentiates Republicans from Democrats way down at the molecular level, and why Republicans are good at getting elected but terrible at governing. Republicans are buccaneers. They like to invade and conquer, to swashbuckle and loot and plunder, to explore and exploit and get rich. Democrats, on the other hand, are bookkeepers. They like to manage well, keep things orderly, look after the environment, create a nation where everybody can live a pleasant life, and get the trains to run on time.


The problem is this: People, businesses and nations all run though a fairly predictable growth cycle that requires both mindsets at different times. It can’t be all one or the other… and it’s important to know which is needed at a given time. America has had three glorious centuries of buccaneering. Now it needs competent bookkeepers to manage what’s been built and keep it all from slipping away.


I had an uncle who was a buccaneer. He loved the thrill of starting a new business…. the terror, the excitement, the big push and 20 hour days, the risk and reward and acclaim that came with success. But once a business was established, running well and showing a profit, he lost interest. It just became a management task, and that wasn’t his thing. He’d sell and move on, and lose money on the next venture. By the time he died, he’d started half a dozen businesses that other people were running very profitably… and he had nothing but a lot of debts and a set of custom-made golf clubs.


Noonan implies bookkeepers are a mildly contemptible species, and there’s something more admirable and exciting… more American… about the buccaneer personality; the one that enjoys the exciting start-up but is bored by the trivia of day-to-day management. I think this is a very juvenile, short-sighted, selfish outlook, and not so much an American ideal but quintessentially Republican (It reminds me of those immature people who love getting married but are bored by being married).


America makes the same mistake over and over, and never seems to learn. The country is on the verge of going down that same path again, while wiser folks shake their heads in despair. I wonder if the country will ever learn the simple truth every smart mother tells her daughter: buccaneers are exciting as boyfriends… but bookkeepers make better husbands.

 


About filistro

Filistro is a Canadian writer and prairie dog who maintains burrows on both sides of the 49th parallel. Like all prairie dogs, she is keenly interested in politics and language. (Prairie dogs have been known to build organized towns the size of Maryland, and are the only furry mammal with a documented language.)
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83 Responses to Buccaneers and Bookkeepers

  1. Realist says:

    I think that buccaneer attitude is central to the American culture, but moreover is the engine that drives the hyperingenuity that has historically caused so much new technology to arise in the US.To me, it’d be a genuine loss for everyone if that facet of American culture were to fade.

  2. marc mierdz says:

    Beautifully written Filistro. Well done.It is sad that as Bill Clinton said the other day,we are about to turn the shovels over to the guys that spent 8 years digging this hole were in.

  3. filistro says:

    I agree… but as I said above.. a country (or a business) needs BOTH.The Republican attitude has now evolved into romanticizing the buccaneer spirit while showing a really sneering contempt (as Noonan does in her piece) for competent and effective management of what the buccaneers have achieved.And once you cease to value good management, you will lose everything.

  4. filistro says:

    Mr U or Treme… Alki has proposed that we have a dedicated thread (renewed every day or two to keep it near the top of the page) that’s just for posting news, thoughts, polls, and anything else pertaining to the election.I think that’s an excellent idea.Can we have one, please? We’ll promise to look after it, brush it, feed it, take it out for walks and make sure it doesn’t get cooties.

  5. filistro says:

    Sorry.. in my first post up there I was agreeing with Realist.

  6. Jeff says:

    AARRRRGGGHHHHHH !!!!I just wrote a brilliant and articulate response that would have had you running across the border to join the Tea Party, and got an error message and lost all 2979 characters.Musta been those socialists and lefties who programmed this sucker….Aaarrrggghhhh!

  7. Jeff says:

    AARRRRGGGHHHHHH !!!!I just wrote a brilliant and articulate response that would have had you running across the border to join the Tea Party, and got an error message and lost all 2979 characters.Musta been those socialists and lefties who programmed this sucker….=============And when I posted the above, it went into “moderation.” Proof positive that I’m being censored by the evil left….Aaarrrggghhhh!

  8. Jeff says:

    Aarrgh!I just wrote a brilliant and articulate response that would have had you running across the border to join the Tea Party, and got an error message and lost all 2979 characters.Musta been those socialists and lefties who programmed this sucker….And aarrggh again! Went into moderation. Proof positive of insidious left-wing censorship of pure at heart wingers….

  9. Jeff says:

    I just wrote a brilliant and articulate response that would have had you running across the border to join the Tea Party, and got an error message and lost all 2979 characters.Musta been those socialists and lefties who programmed this sucker….I then wrote the above, and it went into moderation three times, even after I got rid of the exclamation points. Proof positive that evil left-wingers are trying to shut down truth and light and wisdom…..

  10. Jeff says:

    I just wrote a brilliant and articulate response that would have had you running across the border to join the Tea Party, and got an error message and lost all 2979 characters.Musta been those socialists and lefties who programmed this sucker….I then wrote the above, and it went into moderation three times, even after I got rid of the exclamation points. Proof positive that evil left-wingers are trying to shut down truth and light and wisdom…..

  11. Alki says:

    I am sorry if these elections were simply about the differences between buccaneers and bookkeepers, I wouldn’t even be paying attention to what’s happening. Rs may be buccaneers in their fantasies but that’s not what’s motivating them to win. Its greed, the need for power, and the fear that white people are becoming obsolete in these disunited states.As for Dems not have an entrepeneurial spirit, what’s wrong with Bezos of Amazon or Gates of Microsoft or Page and Brin of Google. Many of the innovative, cutting edge people in this culture lean left. You don’t have to be crazy or racist to be a buccaneer or an entrepenuer.Don’t fall into the faux trap that Noonan is creating. She’s applying a fantasy coat on the Rs to offset all the negative press they are getting. The GOP brand is badly damaged. Noonan is simply doing some damage control. In the past 30 years, the GOP has become its worst elements. It fears diversity, equality and the sharing of wealth. It has forgotten how to govern and to legislate. It cares only about the wealthy and the power they derive from catering to those wealthy. Making them into something glamorous does not serve them and only enables them to stay in the negative place to which they have fallen. All IMO of course.

  12. filistro says:

    It looks like marc is the only one who really got what I was trying to say. I’m NOT romanticizing the buccaneers… I’ve known too many of them in my time.Actually I was trying to point out the puerile immaturity of mocking the people who ..”like to manage well, keep things orderly, look after the environment, create a nation where everybody can live a pleasant life, and get the trains to run on time”… as if those things are somehow lesser, nerdy preoccupations when we should all be running around in “coonskin caps” and “shooting bears.”I mean.. Puh-leeze, Peggy! GIMMEE A FREAKING BREAK!(Maybe that’s how I should have said it. Because truly, that’s how I felt when I read her article 🙂

  13. Alki says:

    @ filistro…..But you can’t ignore what Noonan is doing. I think she knows Rs aren’t buccaneers and that bean counters are important to this society. She’s trying to glamorize the Rs at the expense of Dems, suggesting that all Rs are exciting, brash buccaneers while Dems are lowly, boring accountants. Of course its hogwash but didn’t Jeff lap it up on another thread?

  14. shiloh says:

    Seems like puerile is 538’s new cause célèbre word as even Mule has used it. Soooo, in that respect, Jeffrey is a trendsetter.Too bad his autoeroticisim slur has not caught on also. ;)>As regards to Peggy Noonan I’ll apply The Golden Rule, although it is interesting she is another die hard conservative who used to be a liberal. Maybe that’s why she and Reagan were such a good fit.But her voice is soooo … nevermind.

  15. Mr. Universe says:

    @Filibuster (I love that), AlkiWell I was thinking about a Twitterbox (get your mind out of the gutter, you guys). I just don’t understand Tweeting that well. Is that something like what you had in mind?

  16. filistro says:

    @Alki.. She’s trying to glamorize the Rs at the expense of Dems, Of course she is. That’s what she does. That’s what they ALL do.It’s one of the conundrums I spend a lot of my time musing about: “establishment Republican leaders” are the most boring, emotionless people on earth. I mean, they’re Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. They have no flair, no imagination, no empathy. Those guys could be replaced by machines and it would be months before anybody would notice.And yet all their public messaging is a naked, shameless appeal to emotion rather than reason. The wicked, godless, degenerate Dems are the ones who deal on the level of calm logic (and actually expect it to persuade voters.)Republican messaging, as I said earlier, is all amygdala, no frontal lobes.Go figure.

  17. filistro says:

    Mr U…Twitter! You’ve GOT to be kidding. I don’t even like to E-MAIL (as you well know :-)What I had in mind is a thread like this one… only instead of “Buccaneers and Bookkeepers” it is titled “Election Thoughts and Trivia” or whatever… and a new one goes up every couple days until the election so it doesn’t go way down to the bottom of teh “recent entries” list.

  18. Jeff says:

    I wrote the most incredibly brilliant, articulate response to your post, almost immediately after it went up (only 1 comment). The damned system gliched and I lost it. I then tried to post another comment and that went into moderation, then again, and again…. I’m very frustrated, and think this is proof of a communist socialist plot on the part of the programmers, and a deliberate attempt to destroy America as we know and adore it.I’ll try again, but probably not until morning. But in brief, I’ll agree that this exemplifies perfectly the split between right and left, and I’ll disagree on your basic premise.There are times I hate computers even more than (to quote Rush) “long-haired, maggot infested hippie lefties 🙂

  19. Alki says:

    Mr. U…..to add to what filistro is saying….a place where we can discuss the latest polls, what’s happening in each person’s locality, the day to day stuff of the elections. A place where we can commiserate, kick the tires, etc. I agree with filistro…twitter is not what I had in mind. Tweets are too short.

  20. Monotreme says:

    Methinks someone has been reading too much Ayn Rand.We need to explain to Ms. Noonan that the world is not a Randian place, divided up into do-ers and wastrels. Rather, there are people who get lucky, and those who do not. A slightly different roll of the genetic and/or geographic dice, and you can be an Ethiopian goatherder with a 145 IQ.

  21. Mr. Universe says:

    @JeffI don’t show any of your posts as being moderated by the spam filter (although I did just knock out some of your AAARRRRGH!!! duplicates). So it must have gotten lost before it got here. Sorry. I always have to reload the browser before my post shows up.

  22. filistro says:

    Poor Jeff 😦 That’s one of life’s really frustrating little experiences. (And tangling with that moderation screen is no fun… it seems so random, and yet so diabolical, somehow.)And the worst thing is, if you lose a good piece of writing you can never quire recapture it. No matter how hard you try to get it just right, the rewrite never has quite the same flow or strength as the original. I don’t know why.I’ve gotten in the habit of copying my longer posts here just before I click “submit”… just in case.

  23. Number Seven says:

    But what about Pirate Accountants? Oh wait, that was what Enron was about. Never mind…

  24. Monotreme says:

    Mr U and others,Jeff contacted me about his spam filter problem. I just went and “approved” all the posts he had made, without regard to duplicates, figuring that someone else could sort them out.I think that’s where Mr U came in.If it’s any consolation, I’ve taken the same approach as filistro. I had rashly thought that my moderator privileges would make me immune to the dreaded moderator screen, but I was wrong.

  25. shiloh says:

    Just wrote a brilliant and articulate response sayin’ Jeff was the most intelligent winger troll in the universe, but apparently 538 has a bullshit filter and it was forever lost in the omnipresent, ever changing, vast time/warp continuum …It happens!I’ll try to muddle thru as best I can.>btw, did mention about a wk ago w/all of 538’s computer glitches it would be wise to copy all your replies before you hit enter, eh. Jeff would have then not lost his dazzling/scintillating piece of magnificence!Just sayin’

  26. filistro says:

    @shiloh… Jeff was the most intelligent winger troll in the universe..Well, you gotta admit at this immediate moment Jeff is the most intelligent winger in OUR little universe.Or at least the most articulate. Maybe there are others lurking out there who just are not presently favoring us with their winger brilliance…Of course there’s also Bart, but I still haven’t fully determined what universe Bart belongs to 😉

  27. Monotreme says:

    filistro wrote:Of course there’s also Bart, but I still haven’t fully determined what universe Bart belongs toOr what color the sky is in his world.Or, to put it Italian, Quando fanno il lor nido in America i pettirossi? (When do robins in Bart’s country make their nests?)

  28. shiloh says:

    @FiliWell, you gotta admit at this immediate moment Jeff is the most intelligent winger in OUR little universe.~~~~~Especially since Jeffrey keeps tellin’ us how intelligent he is: He has (2) degrees and his wife has (3) yada, yada, yada.hmm, have this theory, totally untested 😉 that peeps who continually tell us how intelligent they are, actually suffer from a flagitious inferiority complex!But as mentioned, totally untested and it would be deleterious of me to presume anything.I’ll leave you w/these brief words of wisdom: Transgression has no remuneration! which I learned in 5th grade at St. Patrick’s.

  29. mclever says:

    I’ll add my appreciation of Jeff for being an articulate and generally reasonable conservative. 🙂 He’s also pretty good at keeping a civil tone.It’s always nice to be able to have a discussion rather than a shouting match. And that is especially true when we disagree. I find I learn a lot more during a healthy disagreement than if everyone agrees.

  30. Jeff says:

    filistro said: “establishment Republican leaders” are the most boring, emotionless people on earth. I mean, they’re Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. They have no flair, no imagination, no empathy. =========So, Harry Reid moonlights as a standup comic? And I won’t even comment on Pelosi.The classic question is who you’d rather have a beer with — Obama vs. McCain, no contest. Bill Clinton vs. almost anybody, no contest. But almost anybody would be a better companion than Harry Reid!

  31. Mainer says:

    Too many Republicans go through the day humming (my heroes have always been cowboys) just keep riding and never look behind you.Bucaneers were for their time pretty adventursom. They were smart people and they pushed the envelope of navigation, naval design and even concepts of water bourn combat. Ok they were not the nicest people at times but some of them were in the trade because our government hired them to be just what they were. A N D many of them when the life of a pirate became less than a good way to go became some of the most productive marriners going. Ok a little sensitive here because I had both free booters and officially sanctioned pirates in my past but the non-movie types were for the most part pretty brave and smart. They also could be strong patriots….think letters of marque, Jean Lafette etal.Republicans might want us to think they are Swash buckling, swaggering, devil may care types but they are the really the green eye shade types, worrying about the next quartely profits ( about as far into the future as they are capable of thinking)If the present Republicans had been in charge when Lewis and Clark had been looking for backing we still would be wondering what was to the west of the East coast.

  32. shiloh says:

    @JeffreySo, Harry Reid moonlights as a standup comic? And I won’t even comment on Pelosi.~~~~~Jeffrey, I expect better deflections than your above sarcasm.ok, I’m lying …

  33. Mainer says:

    Come on Jeff that is seriously lame. I would make a wager that McBoring and Orange man are equally as dull as either Pelosi or Reed. Actually Pelosi seems to me to be the only one of the lot not on behind the curtains life support.Now Orange man is an interesting case…I expect him to live long….or is that to have a really long hard liver? Always get confused with that.

  34. filistro says:

    Okay, I must be the dimmest bulb on the planet (apologies to Senator Inhofe)… because I just now figured out marc miwerdz’s username! I should have got it right away. I’ve even met his cousin, Mekno Mystek.

  35. Jeff says:

    You’re absolutely right and you have identified one of the key differences between Republicans and Democrats. But, you won’t be surprised that I disagree with your diagnosis.You make it sound as if your uncle was a failure. From the personal financial standpoint, perhaps that’s true. From the societal standpoint, it’s clearly false. Your uncle started a half-dozen successful businesses. That means that unless he was a serial criminal or con artist, his six companies provided a better product or service, or a better price, or some improvement for his customers. I call that person an entrepreneur, not a buccaneer. Perhaps he even invented something new. Those six companies not only provide value to his customers, but also to his employees, and I assume that Canada collects taxes from profitable businesses. Finally, his six companies provided investment opportunities for six (or more) other people who had the “bookkeeping” and management skills needed. All I can say is WOW! Your uncle contributed far more benefit to society than some lawyer who charged a lot of money to move money from one person’s pocket to another, but died rich.Personally, I’m a bookkeeper. I don’t have what it takes to dream of something new, then turn it into a reality. “Buccaneers” built the railroads, electrified homes, and brought us the telephone and the flush toilet and the radio and the TV and the movies. They are the people who brought us from the 17th century, populated mostly by peasants, to the 21st century, where even the poorest live lives that are imaginably rich in comparison. You call your uncle a buccaneer. To me, a buccaneer is a pirate who steals from others and doesn’t create. I call your uncle an entrepreneur – and we should call him a hero of society.Instead of encouraging people who create – products, services, jobs, you just want to maintain what we have and distribute the pie more equitably, because we only have one pie and can’t make it bigger. And you don’t understand why 10% of the country can’t find any job at all, and why people are getting poorer.That translates into policy. Obama’s stimulus program came from that mentality. In round numbers, it cost $800 billion. The Administration CLAIMS it saved or created 2 million jobs. Do the arithmetic – that’s $400,000 per job. And since we borrowed the money and will never pay off the debt, we’ll be paying the interest on that $400K per job forever.In the meantime, entrepreneurs can’t get the capital they need to start or expand a business. That means they can’t create jobs. And it’s more than money. Every nonsensical regulation costs. Every extremely complex form takes time away from their business. Every bit of uncertainty – be it cap and trade or HC “reform” or tax policy – increases their risk and lowers not only their probability of success, but their odds of even trying. Yes, we need the bookkeepers. But we especially need the swashbuckling entrepreneurs.

  36. filistro says:

    Jeff, your response contains the same internal logical fallacy that puzzles me so much from modern Republicans. You praise my uncle for all his adventurous abandoned businesses. You even call him a “benefit to society.” Then in the same breath you go on to lump him together with a bunch of “entrepreneurs” who apparently won’t start a business at all anymore because if it’s successful they might have to pay a bit more in taxes.Those people have NOTHING in common with my uncle, who was in business for the sheer thrill of it. What you call “entrepreneurs” look to me more like a bunch of gamblers in a closed casino, moving their money around amongst themselves and dipping down to squeeze a bit more out of the working class whenever one of them runs short and needs a fresh stake. You say :Yes, we need the bookkeepers. But we especially need the swashbuckling entrepreneurs.I say a TRUE swashbuckling entrepreneur doesn’t stop swashing his buckles (or buckling his swashes) just because his tax rate goes from 35 to 39%.

  37. Mainer says:

    Flat out wrong Jeff. We have had industrial Buccaneers…..they were called robber barrons. Not sure we need that.We have many talented entrepreneurs that do make bold moves and keep moving along. I doubt many of them are Republicans. Entrepreneurs are more concerned with doing some thing new and interesting……your side can only think of safe and predictable. Oh my taxes. Republicans only can see safe bets and owning the table. You guys suck at pushing the envelope.

  38. shrinkers says:

    Instead of encouraging people who create – products, services, jobs, you just want to maintain what we have and distribute the pie more equitably, because we only have one pie and can’t make it bigger. This is a common enough Republican talking point. Completely untrue, of course.It’s interesting that the Republicans are the ones opposed to investment in science, education, research, brand-new green technologies, etc. — the very things that would “make the pie bigger”.Republicans pretend that Democratic policies are anti-business and anti-gowth and anti-jobs — yet the economy skyrocketed under Clinton. And it stagnated — then collapsed — under Republican rule.The more Republicans cut taxes and deregulated and stifled labor, the more the economy slowed down and moved off shore. Coincidence?Republicans pretend that paying workers a living wage will “stifle” business — forgetting that it gives consumers more cash to use to consume with.Republicans are great with telling lies over and over and over, until people begin to think they’re true. It’s time for this Republican meme to die.We have the historical data. Republicans kill economies. Democrats not only grow the economy, but balance the budget.Jeff, you”re free to offer some evidence for your statement about progressives wanting to simply “redistribute the pie” rather than making it grow. It’s one of the most absurd statements I’ve heard. Well, today.

  39. Jeff says:

    filistro wrote:Jeff, your response contains the same internal logical fallacy that puzzles me so much from modern Republicans. You praise my uncle for all his adventurous abandoned businesses. You even call him a “benefit to society.” Then in the same breath you go on to lump him together with a bunch of “entrepreneurs” who apparently won’t start a business at all anymore because if it’s successful they might have to pay a bit more in taxes.Those people have NOTHING in common with my uncle, who was in business for the sheer thrill of it. What you call “entrepreneurs” look to me more like a bunch of gamblers in a closed casino, moving their money around amongst themselves and dipping down to squeeze a bit more out of the working class whenever one of them runs short and needs a fresh stake.You say :Yes, we need the bookkeepers. But we especially need the swashbuckling entrepreneurs.I say a TRUE swashbuckling entrepreneur doesn’t stop swashing his buckles (or buckling his swashes) just because his tax rate goes from 35 to 39%.============Yes, most entrepreneurs are in it because of the thrill. That doesn’t change the outcome. Perhaps your uncle’s secret goal in life was to own a set of custom golf clubs, but that was still enough incentive to let him start six successful businesses. You describe “a bunch of gamblers in a closed casino, moving their money around amongst themselves and dipping down to squeeze a bit more out of the working class whenever one of them runs short and needs a fresh stake” That may describe Wall Street. It doesn’t describe the average small business person. It’s not very often that people who start businesses have so much market power that they can “squeeze more out of the working class.” Another thing you don’t understand about entrepreneurs is that they take on risk. Usually, they end up putting everything they own on the line. That means house, car, retirement savings, etc. Lower the rate of return, and you lower the incentive by some amount. But for the sake of argument, I’ll accept your premise.But you miss the point that there is always some risk/reward analysis, however informal. When you don’t know what the rules of the game will be, it makes it harder to jump in. What will tax rates be in 3 months? Nobody knows.What will the effects of HC be in 3 years? Nobody knows. What impact will cap & trade and card check and all that other good stuff have? Who knows? It’s one thing to drive full speed ahead on a long clear stretch of road, and another thing to do so when it’s so foggy you can’t see 50 feet in front of you.Finally, you totally ignore the inhibiting and discouraging effects of over-regulation. Noonan’s point was that people don’t start businesses so they can do a lot of paperwork. I don’t know if you’re in a small business, nor do I know what Canada does, but I can absolutely assure you that it is hell to have a business in California and comply with all the regs.

  40. Jeff says:

    filistro said: Actually I was trying to point out the puerile immaturity of mocking the people who ..”like to manage well, keep things orderly, look after the environment, create a nation where everybody can live a pleasant life, and get the trains to run on time”… as if those things are somehow lesser, nerdy preoccupations when we should all be running around in “coonskin caps” and “shooting bears.”==========I agree with you that we need the nerdy types. Since you follow US elections, you probably know that the Republican running for governor in Michigan bills himself as “One Tough Nerd.”And I’m also one of those “make the trains run on time and keep things orderly” people. But I’ve never started businesses and created wealth and jobs.Noonan isn’t attacking the nerdy types so much as she’s trying to point out that we’re discouraging the swashbucklers and making their job of creation tougher every year.The pioneers lead the way (and often are found filled with arrows), and the play it safe farmers and merchants follow. You need both kinds. And you don’t get anywhere without the pioneers.

  41. filistro says:

    @Jeff… The pioneers lead the way (and often are found filled with arrows)Yeah, well MY ancestors were the ones who shot the arrows! (Does that make me an obstacle to progress? 🙂

  42. Jeff says:

    Two general comments:1. It doesn’t really matter that Gates and Bezos are Democrats. They’re hardly the typical small business owner/entrepreneur. Most jobs are created by small companies, not large. I would be very happy if 200,000 Republicans, Democrats, or Monarchists started successful companies and they each employed 15 people. 3 milliion unemployed people would also be happy, as well as all those states that are going broke.2. I notice that nobody has questioned my arithmetic. I said: Obama’s stimulus program came from that mentality. In round numbers, it cost $800 billion. The Administration CLAIMS it saved or created 2 million jobs. Do the arithmetic – that’s $400,000 per job. And since we borrowed the money and will never pay off the debt, we’ll be paying the interest on that $400K per job forever.”I would like to hear from anybody who thinks that spending $400,000 of other people’s money to create a job is an productive use of funds. If you think it was/is productive, do you also think that providing $400,000 worth of tax and regulatory relief to 2 million small businesses and would be start-ups would have a greater, lesser, or the same impact on jobs and the economy?Just curious…..

  43. Jeff says:

    filistro wrote:@Jeff… The pioneers lead the way (and often are found filled with arrows)Yeah, well MY ancestors were the ones who shot the arrows!(Does that make me an obstacle to progress? ==========Only if your ancestors were the good shots who actually hit the pioneers and not the trees.But based on your politics, I’m guessing you come from a long line of ancestors who didn’t hit the target….:-)

  44. filistro says:

    @Jeff… based on your politics, I’m guessing you come from a long line of ancestors who didn’t hit the target….I… (hic) resemble that remark.Sorry.. I’ve been celebrating the last of the miners coming out. Before that I was taking a sip of wine every time ODonnell said something cringe-worthy… and by now I’m too plastered to come up with a suitably scathing rejoinder (or an accurate arrow…) Tomorrrow, dude :-)(Hick. Up.)

  45. Michael Weiss says:

    Jeff, you said:”I would like to hear from anybody who thinks that spending $400,000 of other people’s money to create a job is an productive use of funds.”You already know I consider 40% of the ARRA money to have been spent on tax credits that were more marketing than anything else.Further, you know that about a third of the money went to filling gaps in the current government infrastructure, to prevent the economic death spiral from taking hold.You also know that I believe a large chunk of the remaining 17% is long-term investment, which wouldn’t create many jobs in the short term.So it’s a disingenuous question to ask in the first place, at least if you were asking me.I don’t believe that personal income tax credits do much for the economy, as a general rule. That this particular set of credits went mostly to taking money out of the economy (in the form of paying off personal debt) makes it all the worse.But the point of the stimulus money is not to just pay salaries. A lot of it goes to materials, which has nothing to do with salaries. As you yourself noted, far fewer people work per mile of road building than would have in the Depression. So a bigger chunk goes to materials. So it shouldn’t be surprising that the dollars per job is as high as it is.

  46. shortchain says:

    Ooooops. So embarassing.Ignore that last one. Insufficient coffee. Gee, it would be nice to have a “delete comment” capability.

  47. Mainer says:

    So what is the considered opinion of the debate last night? I didn’t get to watch so will need to rely on others take on it. My only friend with strong Delaware connections and I talked yesterday and as a serious fiscal conservative he thinks most of his family from the southern county is probably sitting this one out or even voting for Coons. According to him his Republican kif and kin were serious Castle supporters and would cross the divide and put another Dem in before they would embarass their state with O’Donnell. Yes, yes I know annecdotal but the same kind of annecdotes up here now seem to inicate that a Republican teaper could end up in third behind a Dem and an Indy. Now Raz is fighting the god fight and still showing the Republican leading but I can’t find any one that actually knows this states politics buying it and that includes some pretty savey Republicans. No shortchain lack of coffee aside I think you are probably on to some thing. The profit motive is great, it is at some level what makes our little world work but I fear we have more people concerned with amassing wealth than contributing to our greater society.Grog is right that the only poll that counts is the November one. Now if we could just have had a loyal opposition that accepted that concept.

  48. shortchain says:

    Mainer,Well, I’m no bookkeeper, so maybe I’m not a true Democrat. I also have run a business of my own for 20 years (renegade consulting, the closest legal thing to piracy in the high-tech field).I’d take GROG and his crew a lot more seriously in their talk about “the only poll that counts” if they had been saying that for the last two years, rather than claiming, virtually nonstop, that the “will of the people” is opposed to this, that, or the other thing.

  49. shrinkers says:

    So what is the considered opinion of the debate last night? I didn’t get to watch so will need to rely on others take on it. You can find it online. I just now listened. O’Donnell is a lot more articulate than Palin (which, I suppose, isn’t saying much) but all she did was string together right wing talking points is a sort of random sequence vaguely associated with the questions she was asked. She struck me as a well-programmed Republican phrase generator. My favorite part came when she was blasting the Supreme Court for “making law” (as if ruling on Constitutional matters was not the job of SCOTUS) and then could not name a single SCOTUS decision she disagreed with (wow, where have I heard that before?)Coons came across as informed, articulate, and very independent, if something of a nerdy wonk. Of course, I think we should elect more nerdy wonks, so that’s not a problem for me.So, in short, O’Donnell seemed like a barbie doll with a talking pull-string in her back. Coons seemed real and thoughtful and dedicated.

  50. Mainer says:

    Thanks guys. I should have realized it would be on the net some where. D U H.I suspect we have a number of individuals in congress that are nothing but pull string dolls and as sad as that is the thing that troubles me is who it is that is pulling the string or programming the little clip talk messages.

  51. filistro says:

    Speaking of left-wing ideology (rugged individualism vs working together to achieve a goal)..It strikes me the Chilean miners are perfect exemplars of this. The only thing that kept them alive was dedicated, unflinching communal action and constant group support.If every miner down there had been a rugged individual… we would have 33 dead miners.Extrapolating the analogy… when a country is trapped and marooned in a deep dark place… maybe it’s time to work together to get back to the sunlight. In dire emergencies… “All for one and one for all” is not such a bad mantra.

  52. filistro says:

    Sorry, on re-reading that last post, I just need to say..my name is filistro… and I’m addicted to ellipses.

  53. mclever says:

    Don’t sweat it, filistro. My name is mclever (no, it’s not McLever or M.C. Lever) and I’m addicted to parenthesis (mostly because I’m always thinking of sub-points that don’t fit well in standard sentence structure without creating run-ons).:-)

  54. shrinkers says:

    @filistroIf every miner down there had been a rugged individual… we would have 33 dead miners.But then, that would have been their choice. At least, they wouldn’t have been forced to pay for someone else’s health care.

  55. shortchain says:

    shrinkers,As far as addictions go, the one you’ve got isn’t too bad. And curing it is only a two-step process. Try cutting back to just two periods, then to one. That’s what I did — except I made the mistake of trying hyphens instead, and look what that got me.There are times when rugged individualism is a successful strategy for the individual, and occasionally it benefits society — if we define “society” as the descendants of the individual in question.On the whole, however, rugged individualists lose out and cause other people to get killed. There’s a reason that societies tend to form by aggregation (individuals into family groups, family groups into clans, clans into tribes, and tribes into — but we haven’t managed to progress any farther down that path, apparently.)

  56. mclever says:

    @shortchainand tribes into… BIGGER tribes! :-)You’re right, humans are still pretty tribal, aren’t we?

  57. shrinkers says:

    @shortchain It was filistro with the ellipsis addiction — go back and check — you’ll find it’s true. I have a problem — well, not a problem, more of a relationship — with double hyphens.

  58. shiloh says:

    I’m addicted to spoonerisms, danglin’ participles and onomatopoeiae. 😉

  59. Jeff says:

    Michael,We previously had a discussion about the stimulus bill in which I agreed with you that some of it made sense. One can even make an argument that the majority of it was good. My point in this thread, which is about entrepreneurs (buccaneers), is that small businesses are the BEST job generators, and that successful new companies create not just jobs and wealth, but also provide better products and services, which makes their customers better off as well.The $800 billion stimulus plan was sold as a “jobs bill.” Defenders of the bill today do so on the basis that it “saved or created 2 million jobs.” That equates to a cost of $400,000 per job.There’s general agreement that small business is suffering because of difficulty in getting credit. There’s general agreement that small businesses are the leading job creators. There’s less than general agreement that political uncertainty, such as uncertainty about HC costs, is also inhibiting many of those businesses who do have access to capital from investing in growth. On balance, the business press seems to think it’s a problem, while the left seems convinced otherwise. As a fiscal conservative, I am absolutely convinced that we are on a trajectory towards a debt crisis that will have devastating effects that make the last three years look tame. We don’t have unlimited resources. The stimulus program may have been our last bullet before we go down the path of Argentina.A re-orientation of policy to support business, especially small business, would have done far more to stimulate economic activity and growth, and cost much less, than the $800 billion stimulus program — much of which you also think had little beneficial effect.You may be right — the stimulus program may have been the best possible program that could have been passed, given the Administration and the current composition of Congress. And in that case, perhaps it was a good idea.But it wasn’t the best way to deal with the problems we face, and that may be why the current composition of Congress is about to change dramatically.

  60. shortchain says:

    shrinkers,Hyphen-brother.Jeff,Actually, according to a report I heard (you can probably find it with a search), it isn’t “small businesses” which provide job growth, but rather small businesses that grow into large businesses.Which makes sense, as the vast majority of small businesses stay small and don’t hire that many people.So if you want to stimulate job growth, you want to provide an environment in which there are opportunities for small businesses to grow larger. One good way to do this is provide opportunities for them in the line of infrastructure jobs.Providing the typical owners of small businesses with tax breaks simply results in the owners pocketing more money, especially in the present situation, where the problem isn’t that employees are too expensive, or that medical insurance is too expensive, but that their potential customers aren’t spending money (because they don’t have any).

  61. Jeff says:

    shortchain said: “Actually, according to a report I heard (you can probably find it with a search), it isn’t “small businesses” which provide job growth, but rather small businesses that grow into large businesses.Which makes sense, as the vast majority of small businesses stay small and don’t hire that many people.So if you want to stimulate job growth, you want to provide an environment in which there are opportunities for small businesses to grow larger. One good way to do this is provide opportunities for them in the line of infrastructure jobs.============I don’t disagree that the ideal situation is a small company that grows larger. Germany’s economy is probably the most robust of the major industrial nations, and their economy is built on the “Mittelstrand” of highly nimble, often family-owned companies in the 500-employee range. They are far more dynamic than the Fortune 500. I disagree that we’re going to create a lot of growth companies by investing in infrastructure projects, for a variety of reasons: 1) government procurement has lots of tedious and expensive paperwork requirements that only larger firms can deal with. A construction company with 18 employees isn’t going to want – or be able to – deal with the paperwork attendant on repaving 10 miles of interstate. 2) If they tried, they probably wouldn’t be deemed a “qualified” bidder (meaning that they’ve already shown the capacity to do a project of that scope). 3) Small businesses usually don’t have the capital to take on major jobs, and infrastructure jobs are a lot larger than repaving a driveway or remodeling a house. 4) The Davis-Bacon Act basically results in only union contractors being deemed “qualified” bidders, and most small contractors are non-union. 5) Larger contractors have idle equipment and overhead to pay for, and can bid lower than a small guy who would have to scale up by purchasing equipment and hiring staff.Getting job creation from small, growing companies is a multi-step project that takes place over time. First, you need to get people to invest risk capital, and uncertainty about the future discourages risk-taking. Second, a fledgling company has to overcome regulatory handicaps (some of which, admittedly, are necessary, but others are not). Third, they need ongoing access to capital to make it possible to grow and hire. The first and third points are why some people believe that capital gains rates are so critically important — your investment hurdle rate goes down as your tax rate goes down.

  62. shortchain says:

    Jeff,You really need to get out more.1. As a one-person company I qualified to be a sub-contractor for a bid on a federal contract. The rules aren’t that onerous unless you have trouble keeping records. And, as I pointed out above, I’m no bookkeeper.2. I worked for a large company (and then a not-so large company) which did government contracting. I know what I’m talking about.3. All your comments about how to grow a company miss the first and most important thing, without which no company is going to grow: customers. You can have all the investment capital in the world, and an environment so predictable it could as well be dead, and no regulation whatsoever, and if you don’t have a customer you won’t go anywhere.And the government, as a customer, is a damned good one, speaking as a small business operator.

  63. Jeff says:

    shortchain wrote:Jeff, You really need to get out more.1. As a one-person company I qualified to be a sub-contractor for a bid on a federal contract. The rules aren’t that onerous unless you have trouble keeping records. And, as I pointed out above, I’m no bookkeeper.2. I worked for a large company (and then a not-so large company) which did government contracting. I know what I’m talking about.3. All your comments about how to grow a company miss the first and most important thing, without which no company is going to grow: customers. You can have all the investment capital in the world, and an environment so predictable it could as well be dead, and no regulation whatsoever, and if you don’t have a customer you won’t go anywhere.===========My comment was over companies bidding on infrastructure contracts, not consulting contracts. The people I know who are consultants find the work very lucrative — as do you. But consulting on the environmental impact from building a new highway interchange is not quite the same thing as actually building the interchange. Tell me, as a one-person company, how many bridges do you build?2. You are correct thattancy getting customers is absolutely essential to any business. However, I would point out that the unemployment problem of today means that we’ve gone from 95% of people being employed, to 90%. There are plenty of customers out there if you have something with which to appeal to them.You’re going to argue that people are just going to use a tax break to pay down debt, not to start a business. Yes, some will (and that’s a good thing for long-term economic health). Others won’t. But there is no reason why “tax breaks” need to be $250 per person. Nouriel Roubini, who was one of the first to predict the 07-08 crash, published an article in which he recommended slashing payroll taxes, (disproportionately for business!)while maintaining the Bush tax cuts for all but the over $250K earners.http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/10/11/avoid_the_double_dip This might be a tradeoff that Republicans could accept, but I doubt if the current Congress and Administration would go along with it. They’d rather bail out unionized employees — especially unionized government employees — and pour money into pet projects.

  64. shortchain says:

    Jeff,There is no evidence whatsoever that the Republicans will accept anything except continuation of the tax cuts for the wealthy. You also have no evidence for the theory that “they’d rather bail out unionized employees”. Your doubts are disjointed from reality.As a one-person company, I don’t build bridges. What does that have to do with anything? If I provide a service to a company that does build bridges, I get paid just the same.Your statement that “there are plenty of customers” flies in the face of the current ground truth, which is that people are not spending money (because they don’t have any to spare).If you have evidence to the contrary, please supply it.

  65. shortchain says:

    Jeff,Oh, and by an amazing coincidence, my great-uncle started his own construction company back in the ’50’s. He got his start building … wait for it … bridges to repair the crumbling first-generation bridges on the back roads of our state.Which he parlayed into a pretty good-sized company.

  66. Jeff says:

    shortchain wrote:Jeff,There is no evidence whatsoever that the Republicans will accept anything except continuation of the tax cuts for the wealthy. You also have no evidence for the theory that “they’d rather bail out unionized employees”. Your doubts are disjointed from reality.===============Unless you have an unassailable majority and can dictate terms, politics is the art of compromise. The Republicans have staked out their position on the expiring Bush tax cuts, so have the Dems. I merely pointed out that a major payroll tax cut — tilted towards business — might be an acceptable compromise.As for evidence for saying the Dems prefer bailouts for the unions ……..Yup, you’re right. Absolutely no evidence…. Nothing that would ever lead one to suspicion…..Except screwing the secured bondholders at Government Motors to make sure the UAW got protected.Except a stimulus package that targeted money to the construction trades unions.Except the bailouts of prolifigate states who would otherwise have had to lay off or cut wages of unionized government workers.Except card check, which would take away the secret ballot from non-unionized workers.I’m soooooooooo sorry for saying something for which there isn’t a shred of evidence, not a scintilla.

  67. shortchain says:

    Jeff,Well, it’s all a matter of interpretation, isn’t it? “Making sure the UAW got protected” rather than “keeping Dan Quayle and crew from forcing GM into a destructive bankruptcy”. “Targeting a stimulus to the construction trade unions” rather than “putting money into infrastructure” (oh, and BTW, I know personally about one small business that got a lot of money — and grew dramatically — by the current stimulus road projects). “Bailouts of profligate states” rather than “keeping tens of thousands of teachers, firemen, and policemen from being laid off”. As for card check, having worked in a non-union shop and seen what they’ll do in order to avoid unionization, I’m not so sure it’s such a bad idea.You are welcome to your interpretation. I personally think it requires an ideologically warped view of reality, one which I do not share.I’ve worked in both union towns and non-union towns — and I vastly prefer the union towns, even with the problems entrenched unions bring with them.

  68. shrinkers says:

    @JeffExcept card check, which would take away the secret ballot from non-unionized workers.You do realize this is completely untrue, right? I mean, it is utterly and totally false. You realize that, don’t you?I”ll let others address your other false statements — I just like this one. There’s not even any sort of spin that makes it true. It is a baldfaced lie. Are you aware of that, or have you been fooled by the propaganda?

  69. filistro says:

    Jeff seems quite susceptible to winger propaganda. In Michael’s thread just below, he said that “Canada rations health care.”Kind of a foolish thing to say when it is provably untrue… and there are Canadians here in this very forum who are actually living and experiencing the opposite reality.

  70. Jeff says:

    filistro wrote:Jeff seems quite susceptible to winger propaganda.In Michael’s thread just below, he said that “Canada rations health care.” Kind of a foolish thing to say when it is provably untrue… and there are Canadians here in this very forum who are actually living and experiencing the opposite reality.=============What are we always told when we make claims based on anecdotal evidence? The fact that your experience is good doesn’t necessarily prove anything. I googled “Canadian Healthcare Rationing” and got almost 1.6 million hits. Here’s a sample, from the WS Journal:Only half of ER patients are treated in a timely manner by national and international standards, according to a government study. The physician shortage is so severe that some towns hold lotteries, with the winners gaining access to the local doc.Overall, according to a study published in Lancet Oncology last year, five-year cancer survival rates are higher in the U.S. than those in Canada. Based on data from the Joint Canada/U.S. Survey of Health (done by Statistics Canada and the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics), Americans have greater access to preventive screening tests and have higher treatment rates for chronic illnesses. No wonder: To limit the growth in health spending, governments restrict the supply of health care by rationing it through waiting. The same survey data show, as June and Paul O’Neill note in a paper published in 2007 in the Forum for Health Economics & Policy, that the poor under socialized medicine seem to be less healthy relative to the nonpoor than their American counterparts.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124451570546396929.html

  71. filistro says:

    @ Jeff the poor under socialized medicine seem to be less healthy relative to the nonpoor than their American counterparts. That line is lifted directly from the writings of Dr. David Gratzer, who has been widely debunked and discredited. In fact I could give you a thousand links showing what a jackass this darling of the Republican propaganda machine really is. But if you want to watch something even more cringeworthy than the Christine O’Donnell debate, watch David Gratzer being being utterly dismantled by Dennis Kucinich.Watch it right to the end. I dare you. It’s a painful experience.

  72. Jeff says:

    shortchain wrote:Jeff, Well, it’s all a matter of interpretation, isn’t it? “Making sure the UAW got protected” rather than “keeping Dan Quayle and crew from forcing GM into a destructive bankruptcy”.============Government Motors could have gone through a “prepackaged bankruptcy.” Or the government could have respected bankruptcy law instead of shoveling my money into the pockets of their supporters. And I’m astonished that suddenly the “idiot” Dan Quayle the left used to laugh at, is suddenly this sinister Wall Street eminence. But here’s what some notorious right-wing rags say about the stimulus:In the current issue of The New York Times Magazine, Obama admits that there’s “no such thing as shovel-ready” when it comes to public works.It’s not that Obama was lying when he said all that stuff. It’s just that he didn’t know what he was talking about. All it took was nearly a trillion dollars in stimulus money and 20-plus months of on-the-job training for him to discover that he was talking nonsense.It seems to me that, if I were president, and I not only staked vast swaths of my credibility but gambled the prosperity of the country generally on this concept of “shovel-ready jobs,” I might be a bit miffed with the staffers who swore that shovel-ready jobs were, like, you know, a real thing. Washington Post recently editorialized Congress’s “emergency” bailout to avoid “a teachers crisis” was a fraud to simply transfer billions to the teachers’ unions in advance of the midterms (not doing so well with that…)Maybe it’s unfair for people to think Obama is just another tax-and-spend Democrat. After all, some tax-and-spend Democrats are actually competent at it.

  73. Realist says:

    @Jeff,Assuming you don’t want to come across as a partisan hack, you should avoid terms like “Government Motors”.Sure, the government could have respected bankruptcy law. And there’s a good case to be made for doing so. But you have to wear pretty partisan glasses to conclude that the only reason for doing what they did is that the people protected were union employees.

  74. shortchain says:

    Jeff,Since you don’t give links, I cannot speak precisely to the editorials you refer to. However, the WaPo editorial page is hardly a page I go to in order to find unbiased analysis — and hasn’t been for about 10 years. As for “shovel ready”, well, that’s another matter of interpretation, isn’t it?Unless somebody is standing there with a shovel ready, it’s not really “shovel ready”. And there’s always more red tape, especially when there’s an effort to make sure the money is spent properly. I’m sure if Obama forewent the care in regulating the funds so that they could be spent faster, you’d be all for it, and damn the fraud and waste that would result when all those small businesses got their hands in the pot with no auditing.Of course, what you were looking for was confirmation of your bias in regarding Obama as naive, and you found it. Just remember that other people looking at the same information who do not share your bias may not come away with the same conclusions.

  75. shiloh says:

    @JeffreyGovernment Motors~~~~~Indeed, Jeffrey would never/ever make a snide comment at 538. 😉

  76. Jeff says:

    Realist wrote:@Jeff,Assuming you don’t want to come across as a partisan hack, you should avoid terms like “Government Motors”.Sure, the government could have respected bankruptcy law. And there’s a good case to be made for doing so. But you have to wear pretty partisan glasses to conclude that the only reason for doing what they did is that the people protected were union employees.===========There’s a certain amount of “partisan hack” in everybody who posts here. None of us have superhuman impartiality of Nate Silver (who I somethings think is “Deep Blue’s” child).You say there’s a “good case for respecting bankruptcy law,” but that I shouldn’t assume their actions in not respecting it were due to taking care of the UAW. So, what reasons were there to ignore the law? They must have been hugely compelling, and there must have been a clear explanation as to why they did what they did. Wish I had seen it….I find utterly repelling the concept that “we’re so smart and good that the laws are made for other people, not us.” Obama did the same thing when he decided — outside of the court system — that BP should fork over $20 billion. Who lost an election and made him king?Absent a DAMNED good explanation, there are absolutely zero good reasons for bypassing the laws. That’s what separates us from a banana republic. And by the way, GM sales have been weak because a whole lot of people have decided that they ARE “Government Motors” and won’t buy from them.

  77. Realist says:

    @Jeff,There’s a certain amount of “partisan hack” in everybody who posts here.Sure, but until recently you’ve kept it to a minimum. I notice that your restraint is slipping, and it doesn’t help your credibility.So, what reasons were there to ignore the law? They must have been hugely compelling, and there must have been a clear explanation as to why they did what they did.Avoidance of having a large number of people suddenly flooding the already-strained safety net comes to mind.Obama did the same thing when he decided — outside of the court system — that BP should fork over $20 billion.Is this different from settling other civil cases out of court? If so, explain how.And by the way, GM sales have been weak because a whole lot of people have decided that they ARE “Government Motors” and won’t buy from them.Oh, is that why? Could I see the poll questions and results for myself? You do have them, right?

  78. Jeff says:

    @Realist:(Jeff Said) So, what reasons were there to ignore the law (re GM bailout)? They must have been hugely compelling, and there must have been a clear explanation as to why they did what they did.(Realist answered) Avoidance of having a large number of people suddenly flooding the already-strained safety net comes to mind. ===========I don’t find that a compelling reason because it wasn’t a necessary outcome. GM could have been rescued and the jobs kept in place without the UAW bailout. Bankruptcy law could have been followed without one person being thrown on the social safety net. It was pure and simple a choice to make the UAW happy through an extra-legal maneuver. There was a choice between following the law and letting the Pension Guarantee Board reduce (not eliminate) pensions, vs. ignoring bankruptcy law and screwing the bondholders (and yet people on here don’t understand why people and businesses won’t hire and invest). (Jeff said)Obama did the same thing when he decided — outside of the court system — that BP should fork over $20 billion.(Realist said) Is this different from settling other civil cases out of court? If so, explain how.This wasn’t an out-of-court settlement! It didn’t discharge one cent of liability. Zero. Nada. Zilch.Obama basically said “Give me $20 billion.” When Vito and Scarface do it, it’s called extortion.(Jeff Said): And by the way, GM sales have been weak because a whole lot of people have decided that they ARE “Government Motors” and won’t buy from them.(Realist Said) Oh, is that why? Could I see the poll questions and results for myself? You do have them, right?Nope, I have no polls, only anecdotal accounts that I’ve read. For what it’s worth, I’m looking for a car and won’t consider GM.I also feel sorry for Ford. They didn’t get a bailout, didn’t get debts released, etc. They did everything right and now they’re at a terrible disadvantage because their greatest rival is financed by the US Treasury.I guess we have a new economic model — manage your company well and do everything right, and the government will step in, rescue your biggest competitor, give them cheap debt financing, and make it even tougher for you to compete. Not exactly the way capitalism is supposed to work….

  79. shrinkers says:

    @JeffOh. My. God.Obama failed to allow the America economy to entirely collapse and add maybe 20 million more unemployed.We are not having a repeat of the 1930s, because our President actually took some emergency actions.Impeach the bastard.

  80. Jeff says:

    shrinkers wrote:@JeffOh. My. God.Obama failed to allow the America economy to entirely collapse and add maybe 20 million more unemployed.We are not having a repeat of the 1930s, because our President actually took some emergency actions.===========Non sequitor. Rescuing GM is one thing. Deciding that secured bondholders aren’t actually secured, and punishing them to save the UAW is quite different. In other words, he could have saved the jobs and not thrown away basic bankruptcy law.

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