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« Cursive | Main | Pushers »

Feb 25, 2013


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I have a bag with three stones in it. Take away one stone. How many stones are left?

GOP answer: 4.


Cutting government and taxes to prosperity. Yes.

The smaller the percentage of GDP a government accounts for, the greater the growth in GDP for that nation.


But, then, when one accepts that government is not the source of prosperity, then one can accept that when reducing the prosperity sink that is government relative to the source of prosperity that is the private sector the result is increased prosperity.

It is is for this reason I support the sequester as it is now and supported it back in August.

I think it should be noted that for those who believe the shortest path to a balanced budget is a combination of higher taxes and lower spending, that we are on that path to a balanced budget.

Taxes via the debt ceiling, spending cuts via the sequester ... and somehow the blame is evenly spread between the parties. Could congress be working? Could congress be producing results?

Seems so.

Andrew Brod

It tells us nothing to look at data points where each one represents a nation over a period of time. Calls to avoid government austerity are not calls to avoid it always, just to avoid it right now in a depressed economy. Now is when austerity has failed; it could be a perfectly good economic policy when times are good again.

It's hard to see how anyone could deny the obvious fact of austerity's failure, but it doesn't matter. It's apparently not enough for us to watch Europe slide back into recession after embracing austerity -- we're dead set on following suit. The only good news is that sequestration isn't a killer. The cuts aren't big enough to push us back into recession, just to push us closer to one.

Andrew Brod

(Never mind the fact that there's reason to doubt how Frog used the data to create his chart.)


Going back to last years' spending is "austerity"?

The Clinton years were so great. Let's go back to spending at those levels.

Recall that Bush inherited a recession and subsequently spent too much money. A lot of people here complained. But now that spending has doubled since Bush left office, it's just not such a problem for some reason.

One would think that the dismal science isn't partisan. Credit Andrew for admitting that the sky isn't falling.

Regardless, the sequester was Obama's idea and he signed it into law. He got what he bargained for and now he wants to lie about it.

Andrew Brod

Equating spending under Bush and spending now is a great way to demonstrate that one doesn't understand the first thing about macroeconomics. Well done!

As for sequestration, the fact that the sky isn't falling doesn't save the sequester from being deeply, profoundly stupid. It's not the most stupid thing I've heard of, because there's been a lot of competition recently. But it's pretty darned stupid.



It tells us nothing to look at data points where each one represents a nation over a period of time.

I find that viewing data absent annual static can be enlightening, but perhaps you prefer the static. If so, go here. Even in that case annual static does not hide the fact that small governments relative to GDP outperform large governments relative to GDP.

And for what it is worth, we have seen austerity work in Europe where it has been tried" on government rather than the citizenry. We have also seen the failure of the liberal version of austerity imposed on the citizens via increased taxation and continued, albeit more slowly, government growth in the rest of Europe.

In fact we can watch the failure of the big government approach in Europe in motion via this graph I created last year. Watch the strength of the low debt nations of Estonia and Latvia. Compare them to Spain and Ireland, both of which borrowed heavily privately.


"It's not the most stupid thing I've heard of, because there's been a lot of competition recently. But it's pretty darned stupid."

It was the stupid President's stupid idea.

Andrew Brod

Yes, it was a stupid idea, but it was his stupid idea for how to deal with a ransom demand. I'd say the fault lies with the idiots who put the gun to the economy's head in the first place.

Don't blame the victim!


Does it matter whose idea it was? If I was the R's, I'd be more worried that the American public seems to be blaming them regardless.


Wish we could sequester the TBTF banksters.


Right now, deficit as % of GDP is falling at its fastest rate since right after WWII. Austerity is the right idea some of the time, but if we further accelerate the GDP:deficit ratio growth now ongoing at THIS time, the unemployment rate will go back up.

If you're in favor of that, please say so and please tell us why. Otherwise, choose another approach to back.


Do you not like the sequester, Spag?


Isn't Obama the one calling for a "balanced solution"? Isn't that what Simpson-Bowles also recommended?

There was no "ransom". The GOP agreed to continue funding the government in exchange for a promise of spending reductions, the latter being Obama's idea. He did this because like Harry Reid, he doesn't want to name any specific cuts so he came up with the politically inspired idea for across the board cuts.

When the time came, the GOP agreed to some tax increases and now want the promised cuts. But Obama doesn't want to deliver on specific cuts so the across the board cuts that he bargained for will now go into effect. He made a deal and doesn't want to honor it. The same thing happened to Reagan in the 80's.

Obama gives speeches about a "balanced approach" but he doesn't believe in that. All he wants are tax increases which will not generate the needed revenues to bring the debt under control. Only low information voters and deliberate partisans gloss over this fact.

If the GOP are idiots, then so too are Simpson-Bowles- a commission appointed by Obama. He lies constantly about this because his actions don't reflect his words. He won't listen to his own commission. Instead he goes out and spreads his lying rhetoric which is then echoed by his partisan sycophants.

Why not be honest and just admit that he has no interest in cutting spending or making the hard choices that are necessary.

This sequester is a drop in the bucket, yet he pretends that it is the end of the world and is purposely pushing cuts in essential services to scare voters when in fact this sequester could instead involve far less drastic cuts. If he is using scare tactics to avoid trimming fat, I shudder to think how he will react to actual meaningful and substantial cuts.

He has no plan. He never has had a plan. He hasn't offered any plan other than to raise more taxes which is not a long term solution. There aren't enough "rich" people to tax even at 100% to cover government obligations and raising taxes has its own negative effect on growth, a point that is ignored by those who argue about the negative effects of spending cuts on the economy.

The GOP did compromise on taxes, now Obama won't compromise on spending even as he goes around arguing for compromise. It's a damned lie.

PF, I say cut even more.


Thought so.

Andrew Brod

Well, I can understand the logic. Get all the cuts you can, tank the economy, and try to set the stage for a Republican win in 2016. It's evil but it makes sense.

Ed Cone

I'm all for shrinking the military-industrial complex, but I'd prefer a better mechanism than a game of chicken.

My guess is that Congress will cave, to some extent, in the weeks ahead. Even a gerrymandered House will feel a lot of pressure as people remember that "government spending" involves services and jobs they like.

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