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Dress 'em up Dubya
July 17, 2001 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Dress 'em up Dubya - I like the guy and was still awfully amused at this. The MeFi anti-bush jihad should enjoy this.
posted by revbrian (84 comments total)

 
His brother appointed a woman as the State Attorney general here in Florida. There's just one catch...she hasn't taken the Bar Exam.

Oh, and the guy with a prior felony arrest for embezzlement he appointed to run the monolithic and all-powerful State Technology Office (earning $95,000.00/yr with no oversight commitee of any kind and negotiating billions of dollars in state contracts) just got arrested for grand theft.
posted by Spanktacular at 6:38 PM on July 17, 2001


Oh, great. I laughed so hard I pissed myself.

thanks alot.
posted by ColdChef at 7:07 PM on July 17, 2001


I'm glad you can laugh at this. Just like I laughed at all them cigar jokes....
posted by brucec at 7:48 PM on July 17, 2001


Well, that's just cause you're a sick pervert, Bruce.
posted by Doug at 7:53 PM on July 17, 2001


I too am a non-basher, but this was just damn damn funny...
posted by fooljay at 8:09 PM on July 17, 2001


brucec : thats making a pretty subjective statement.... just because someone dislikes Bush doesnt automatically mean they necessarily liked Clinton for the past 8 years. I say they are both idiots. Actually, everyone who has ran for the past 50 years has been an idiot. Except maybe nice old loveable Jack from Jack in the Box.
posted by Satapher at 9:34 PM on July 17, 2001


I'm glad you can laugh at this. Just like I laughed at all them cigar jokes....

When they impeach Bush for just generally being a moron, then everything will be even, bruce.

Actually, everyone who has ran [sic] for the past 50 years has been an idiot.

Say what you will, but Jimmy Carter is as far from an "idiot" as anyone I've ever seen. The greatest President? No. The greatest ex-President? No doubt.
posted by jpoulos at 9:40 PM on July 17, 2001


"The MeFi anti-bush jihad..."

its not a holy war my friend. it's called 'keeping an eye on him'.
posted by jcterminal at 9:41 PM on July 17, 2001


"The MeFi anti-bush jihad..."

its not a holy war my friend. it's called 'keeping an eye on him'.

No, no, no, you've both got it wrong. It's not a holy war, it's "a faith-based initiative."
posted by drywall at 11:38 PM on July 17, 2001


jpoulos: amen

Anyone in a cartoon orange mohawk is funny. I thought this was a kick.
posted by frykitty at 11:48 PM on July 17, 2001


No, no, no, you've both got it wrong. It's not a holy war, it's "a faith-based initiative."

You mean a "Lack-of-faith-based-initiative" :-)
posted by fooljay at 11:57 PM on July 17, 2001


Say what you will, but Jimmy Carter is as far from an "idiot" as anyone I've ever seen. The greatest President? No. The greatest ex-President? No doubt.

Whatever. Jimmy Carter will have to be building those Habitat for Humanity houses until the apes take over the planet to make up for his incompetence in the White House.
posted by ljromanoff at 6:29 AM on July 18, 2001


ljr: you are so far wrong it's pathetic.

Carter confronted several huge problems with steadiness, courage, and idealism. He was elected in the backwash of an unprecedented moral crisis, but the biggest problems he faced especially in the domestic arena were not primarily moral problems. They were primarily managerial, technical problems, involving tremendous vested interests and offering few political rewards.

His presidency is remembered for the events that overwhelmed it - inflation, energy crisis, war in Afghanistan, and hostages in Iran. Sadly, voters rejected Carter's honest outlook in favor of Ronald Reagan's out of touch optimism ("shining city on a hill"). Where Carter stood at the podium advocating austerity, Reagan bounded onstage waving the American flag.

Image mattered more than outcomes. All flash and no dash. Reagan understood intuitively what the modern American presidency demanded, and it wasn't facts and figures. And look where it's led.
posted by mac at 6:58 AM on July 18, 2001


To be fair to the pResident, if we'd had this technology for making fun of Carter while he was in office, we'd have been laughing just as hard.

Frykitty, I must demur: the Hunter S Thompson-stylee sunglasses are, in my view, the ne plus ultra for giggles. Orange mohawk a close second.

Slightly off-topic: Has anybody clicked on the Other Virtual Hosts link below Dubya? The woman who comes up when I do is...creeeeepy...
posted by BT at 7:04 AM on July 18, 2001


Huh. I fiddled with Dubya a bit and turned him into . . . Paul Shaffer. Huh.
posted by iceberg273 at 7:12 AM on July 18, 2001


Jihad? I don't think it's a jihad. I'm sure he'd be okay as a neighbor. He recognizes that being president is an "awesome responsibility". Totally! It's just that Charley Bukowski could talk better. And write better. And think better. And see better. Although he probably smelled even more.
posted by Twang at 7:17 AM on July 18, 2001


im republican and carter was a decent president for what he inherited(though i rallied my 4th grade class against him) he is a damn fine elder Statesman. YES, doc. thompsom is the first thing i thought of (take this up with my lawyer, hes at the gunrange now but lets go pay a courtsey call, you dont have any spare .50 ammo or ludes?)
posted by clavdivs at 8:01 AM on July 18, 2001


Jimmy Carter will have to be building those Habitat for Humanity houses until the apes take over the planet...

They already have.
posted by jpoulos at 8:21 AM on July 18, 2001


His presidency is remembered for the events that overwhelmed it - inflation, energy crisis, war in Afghanistan, and hostages in Iran. Sadly, voters rejected Carter's honest outlook in favor of Ronald Reagan's out of touch optimism ("shining city on a hill"). Where Carter stood at the podium advocating austerity, Reagan bounded onstage waving the American flag.

As Carter managed to do nothing but exacerbate all the problems you describe, Reagan inherited them all as well. However, he, unlike Carter, was actually an effective leader and led to an extended period of economic growth and turned around the spread of international Communism. You can dismiss Reagan as all style and no substance if you want, but you're wrong, and history makes that clear.
posted by ljromanoff at 8:24 AM on July 18, 2001


Reagan, was about substance. The road he took the country on is very controversial, but he put the teeth back into this country.
posted by clavdivs at 8:32 AM on July 18, 2001


what the hell am i saying...substance. He was scary and precieved to be full of conviction and that is a start.
posted by clavdivs at 8:35 AM on July 18, 2001


When we pay off the deficit Reagan left us with, then we'll call it history. We're still paying bills on that legacy at the rate of $300 billion a year.
posted by boaz at 9:03 AM on July 18, 2001


You can dismiss Reagan as all style and no substance if you want, but you're wrong, and history makes that clear.

My apologies, ljr. You're right; the man certainly had substance.

However, he, unlike Carter, was actually an effective leader and led to an extended period of economic growth and turned around the spread of international Communism.

Again: so wrong, so wrong, in so many ways.

Between naps, he shattered the budget, instilled national nightmares of nuclear incineration, poisoned the air and water, dealt arms to a nation that had killed our military, did nothing when AIDS and addiction and homelessness stalked the citizenry, and still looked good on television while in the hands of brilliant speechwriters and handlers.

International policies pursued by Reagan haunt us to this day: missing suitcase bombs, nuclear scientists available to the highest bidder, the terrible lie of Star Wars, and the chaos of shattered international loyalties. The Reagan administration sold Saddam Hussein the weapons that became the ultimate justification for the Gulf War.

The obscene amount of money spent by the Reagan administration to achieve nuclear superiority over the Soviets had terrible repercussions on the home front. Schools collapsed, social aid withered, and the fabric of American life became tattered and frayed. George Herbert Walker Bush in 1980 referred to Reagan's financial plans as "voodoo economics," and this was an apt a description as he ever uttered.

Republicans today deride "liberals" as being the wastrels of government funds, but Reagan gave enormous lie to this assumption. The reason we have a broken social infrastructure, burdensome taxes and a heavy international load is the manner in which the Reagan administration went about their business. They spent more than it had and destroyed intelligent governmental budgeting forever.

Astoundingly, Reagan clawed his way into the eighth spot on a recent ranking of Presidents. Some want him added to Mount Rushmore. If this is the way Americans who were in grade school in 1980 truly feel, that Reagan was great in any commonly accepted way and Carter was a joke, then God help us.
posted by mac at 9:09 AM on July 18, 2001


I can only stand aside and giggle as revisionist history credits one person with the entirety of a society's downfalls.
posted by Dreama at 9:17 AM on July 18, 2001


I can only stand aside and giggle as revisionist history credits one person with the entirety of a society's downfalls.

Gosh, Dreama, when did that start?!
posted by mac at 9:20 AM on July 18, 2001


Gosh, mac, I think that the time on your post was 9:09 a.m.

Btw, my Dress-up Dubya looks just like Art Alexakis from Everclear. Is that wrong?
posted by Dreama at 9:24 AM on July 18, 2001


Ben Stein: "something d-o-o economics. Anyone? Voo-doo economics."

-Ferris Bueller's Day Off
posted by OneBallJay at 9:40 AM on July 18, 2001


When we pay off the deficit Reagan left us with, then we'll call it history. We're still paying bills on that legacy at the rate of $300 billion a year.

OK, I can't believe we're really getting into a discussion about 20 year old presidential policy, but fine.

Had we had a more responsible House of Representatives at that time (like we've had for the last six years, for example), instead of the one who couldn't wait to spend the increased revenue from the economic expansion, we wouldn't have had deficit spending. Reagan's 1981 tax cut was part of a larger agreement that also included spending limits that the Democrat-controlled House convientently ignored - hence, bigger deficits.

International policies pursued by Reagan haunt us to this day: missing suitcase bombs, nuclear scientists available to the highest bidder, the terrible lie of Star Wars, and the chaos of shattered international loyalties.

International policies pursued by Reagan delivered the USSR and Eastern Europe from the tyranny of communism. Your suggestion that we would actually be better off without the 'chaos', as you describe it, from the fall of oppressive regimes is absurd.

The Reagan administration sold Saddam Hussein the weapons that became the ultimate justification for the Gulf War.

The weapons were not the 'justification' for the war, and many Western nations were selling weapons to both Iran and Iraq.

The obscene amount of money spent by the Reagan administration to achieve nuclear superiority over the Soviets had terrible repercussions on the home front. Schools collapsed, social aid withered, and the fabric of American life became tattered and frayed.

As spending on social programs continued to go up during the Reagan era, your propaganda lacks a factual foundation.

George Herbert Walker Bush in 1980 referred to Reagan's financial plans as "voodoo economics," and this was an apt a description as he ever uttered.

Bush's lack of understanding of the effects of taxes on the economy is what led to his failure to earn a second term. His description of Reagan's economic policies says much more about his lack of understanding of economics than it does about Reagan's.

The reason we have a broken social infrastructure, burdensome taxes and a heavy international load is the manner in which the Reagan administration went about their business. They spent more than it had and destroyed intelligent governmental budgeting forever.

Yes, blame high taxes on a man who slashed tax rates. That's pretty rational. We have burdensome taxes because the left has no hesitation in burdening the American public with more taxes in order to pay for their version of good government.

As for 'intelligent governmental budgeting', that's laughable. Government budgeting is notoriously unintelligent in that the Congressional Budget Office budgets with the assumption that current budgetary policies or current services are continued without change. So if a program only grows by 75% instead of the planned 100%, that's considered a cut of 25%. This accounting trick existed long before Reagan.

Thanks in no small part to Carter's inability to achieve anything in office, the U.S. was rocketing towards economic depression and international decline. Reagan is considered one of the great presidents because he counteracted the powerful inertia of 1970's failure and brought the U.S. out of malaise. I'm sorry that that fact does not fit in with your clouded view of recent history.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:44 AM on July 18, 2001


The greatest ex-President? No doubt.

Well I dunno about that, whenever I see them on SNL, reagan always gets more punches in it seems, and Ford looks more gallant...
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 10:50 AM on July 18, 2001


Had we had a more responsible House of Representatives at that time (like we've had for the last six years, for example)

By more repsonsible, I assume you mean more responsible than Reagan. The enormous deficit was a direct result of two policy changes, a massive tax cut and a massive increase in military spending. Less in + more out = deficit.

And yes lj, that was in Reagan's very first budget. I guess he couldn't wait to spend it either

As spending on social programs continued to go up during the Reagan era, your propaganda lacks a factual foundation.

True, but isn't this the ultimate example of wanting it both ways? Military spending up is good; Tax relief is good, and, what the hell, we'll pay for all those social programs too. This is of course the exact kind of thinking that got us in debt, and I find it extremely validating to hear it coming from you.

Bush's lack of understanding of the effects of taxes on the economy is what led to his failure to earn a second term. His description of Reagan's economic policies says much more about his lack of understanding of economics than it does about Reagan's.

Sob... 20 years ago this was voodoo economics. Now it's so pervasive among a certain class it should be recoined Republimath.

Yes, blame high taxes on a man who slashed tax rates. That's pretty rational. We have burdensome taxes because the left has no hesitation in burdening the American public with more taxes in order to pay for their version of good government.

Sure, versus the republican method of borrowing money for their shiny missile shields, I'll take taxes any day. In the end, we have to decide what we want the government to do and give them the money to do it and clueless GOPers preaching free lunches isn't helping things one bit.
posted by boaz at 10:57 AM on July 18, 2001


I can only stand aside and giggle as revisionist history credits one person with the entirety of a society's downfalls.

I can only assume you're referring to the claims of some that Reagan single-handedly destroyed the evil Soviet Empire.
posted by jpoulos at 11:24 AM on July 18, 2001


The enormous deficit was a direct result of two policy changes, a massive tax cut and a massive increase in military spending. Less in + more out = deficit.

Sorry, incorrect. Revenue increased steadily during the Reagan years, from 599,272 million in 1981 to 908,954 million in 1988. The tax cuts did not reduce revenue as you claim, since the relaxing of the tax burden helped to invigorate the economy and therefore government revenue increased. Therefore, your less in + more out equation is false.

It should also be pointed out that deficit or not, the military badly needed increased spending, and that said spending did provide enormous positive results.

True, but isn't this the ultimate example of wanting it both ways? Military spending up is good; Tax relief is good, and, what the hell, we'll pay for all those social programs too. This is of course the exact kind of thinking that got us in debt

Again, that's not the way it was supposed to be. Had the Democrats kept their half of the tax agreement, we wouldn't have had higher deficits. You can't blame Reagan because the Democrat legislature couldn't resist throwing billions into the Memory Hole of failed government social programs.

In the end, we have to decide what we want the government to do and give them the money to do it and clueless GOPers preaching free lunches isn't helping things one bit.

We've already decided what we want the federal government to do, and it's conveniently written down in a little document called the U.S. Constitution. The fact that the Democrat left has promised cradle to grave handouts to several generations of Americans is what isn't helping one bit.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:29 AM on July 18, 2001


"Shall we dance again?"
posted by owillis at 11:35 AM on July 18, 2001


As spending on social programs continued to go up during the Reagan era, your propaganda lacks a factual foundation.

Not so. Actually, what changed in the Reagan era was the way social programs were funded - through block grants to states. Individual states then were required to match these funds, or cut back drastically on even the most basic services. Thus states indulged in wildly inconsistent provision of services, pitting states against each other in attempts to slough off their responsibilities (e.g. free bus tickets to neighboring states), and clamoring for more and more pork (even in Republican-controlled states).
posted by mac at 11:36 AM on July 18, 2001


perhaps a larger issue is "security" at any cost. perhaps to reduce the debts, the system had to be changed in ways that are still being debated and still being changed. I think alot of americans perceived Carter as being the lesser good or lesser evil in some ways. Call me the field marshal of generalizations, but perhaps all the American people wanted was someone else, some one bigger. So hire an actor. In no way does this explain the truth, im talking perceptions and influencing rhetoric being issues that influence a persons vote. Moving into a "Big Labor" town at that time, i know alot of die-hard dems who voted for reagan and voted for ...mondale, etc. A further tangent would be a little catch phrase some republicans use "come over to the dark side". Ya know, we can kid ourselfs but that is abit to ...juvenile. Shit like that is a key reason i dont vote though i voted for Dole in the primaries when i lived in florida. ((hehn-hehn))
posted by clavdivs at 11:43 AM on July 18, 2001


wheres my bike
posted by clavdivs at 11:45 AM on July 18, 2001


Not so. Actually, what changed in the Reagan era was the way social programs were funded - through block grants to states. Individual states then were required to match these funds, or cut back drastically on even the most basic services. Thus states indulged in wildly inconsistent provision of services, pitting states against each other in attempts to slough off their responsibilities (e.g. free bus tickets to neighboring states), and clamoring for more and more pork (even in Republican-controlled states).

Block granting was only a fairly minor part of Reagan budgets. For example, the 1981 Omnibus budget act was only cut by about $10 billion as a result of block granting. Hardly enough to result in the chaos you suggest. And besides, block granting was not a Reagan innovation anyway.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:48 AM on July 18, 2001


Block granting was only a fairly minor part of Reagan budgets. For example, the 1981 Omnibus budget act was only cut by about $10 billion as a result of block granting.

"Only $10 billion"? Out of the trickle it received, and the ways it was expected to stratch, "only $10 billion" is a fair chunk of change.

Hardly enough to result in the chaos you suggest.

Dude, don't start. Social worker for 21 years. Well beyond grade school in the Reagan years. I saw the chaos.

And besides, block granting was not a Reagan innovation anyway.

You're right, it wasn't. And it's not even categorically a bad idea. Just not for human services. Per Mark Twain: "When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything ends up looking like a nail."
posted by mac at 12:16 PM on July 18, 2001


Twain is the garlic for dogmatic republicanism.
posted by clavdivs at 12:23 PM on July 18, 2001


10 bucks says this thread ends in name-calling.
posted by jpoulos at 12:36 PM on July 18, 2001


10 bucks says this thread ends in name-calling.

Not by me, jpoulos! I'm gone.
posted by mac at 12:42 PM on July 18, 2001


"Only $10 billion"? Out of the trickle it received, and the ways it was expected to stratch, "only $10 billion" is a fair chunk of change.

$10 billion was about 1.5% of the federal budget that year, or 0.33% of GDP. You're mistaken if you really believe that a spending cut of such an insignificant amount would really produce economic ruin.
posted by ljromanoff at 12:46 PM on July 18, 2001


ill e-mail a real pic of me at the white house to the winner.(no shit, ill find a why, i have a friend...that adobe thing, i got that.yeah)
posted by clavdivs at 2:53 PM on July 18, 2001


Sorry, incorrect. Revenue increased steadily during the Reagan years, from 599,272 million in 1981 to 908,954 million in 1988. The tax cuts did not reduce revenue as you claim, since the relaxing of the tax burden helped to invigorate the economy and therefore government revenue increased. Therefore, your less in + more out equation is false.
Untrue. Once you take inflation into account, the government did not get back to its 1981 revenue levels until 1985. Once you also factor out the increased revenue from deficit spending, i.e. the amount the government got back in taxes from giving away the money it didn't have, the
budget didn't reach its former level until 1987. The rest of your paragraph is pure speculation that is not supported, in fact contrary, to the numbers. My earlier statement stands.

Again, that's not the way it was supposed to be. Had the Democrats kept their half of the tax agreement, we wouldn't have had higher deficits. You can't blame Reagan because the Democrat legislature couldn't resist throwing billions into the Memory Hole of failed government social programs.
As for the 'tax agreement', I'm stumped. Are you perhaps referring to the agreement where Reagan agreed to cut the defense budget and the Congressional Democrats would cut the social programs? I seem to remember it was Reagan who broke his side first with his proposed budget. Once one side breaks an agreement, the other side usually doesn't feel compelled to continue complying. See ABM treaty/NMD for a modern example of this.
Also, what is a Memory Hole? I haven't been keeping up with the lingo of the vast right-wing conspiracy; I'd appreciate some help on this one.

We've already decided what we want the federal government to do, and it's conveniently written down in a little document called the U.S. Constitution. The fact that the Democrat left has promised cradle to grave handouts to several generations of Americans is what isn't helping one bit.
Tell me lj, if the constitution is really the be-all end-all you claim, why is so much of it devoted to the methods to be used for enacting new laws and amendments? Just asking.
I'm not saying that the left-wing's spending conceits are any healthier, just that they're not lying about how it's being paid for.
posted by boaz at 10:30 PM on July 18, 2001


Untrue. Once you take inflation into account, the government did not get back to its 1981 revenue levels until 1985.

Once inflation is factored in, real revenue growth was still up 24% during the Reagan years. Your suggestion that tax cuts reduced revenue remains false.

As for the 'tax agreement', I'm stumped. Are you perhaps referring to the agreement where Reagan agreed to cut the defense budget and the Congressional Democrats would cut the social programs?

Reagan never agreed to reduce defense spending. It was a primary tenet of his administration to rebuild the military. I don't know where you're getting that from. In any event, I'm referring to the amount of spending versus the amount of tax cuts. Reagan consistently sent budgets to Congress that they inflated to budget busting levels. Congress appropriated 24.5% more in the 1980s than Reagan requested. Had that extra money not been spent, we would have had a surplus in 1989, not a deficit - which is what I was referring to when I mentioned a more responsible House of Representatives.

ABM treaty/NMD for a modern example of this.

You are apparently unaware that the ABM treaty allows each side to install an ABM installation with 100 missiles. We can build an anti-missile system without violating the treaty should we choose to. Russia has had their anti-missile system in place for several years.

Also, what is a Memory Hole? I haven't been keeping up with the lingo of the vast right-wing conspiracy; I'd appreciate some help on this one.

Try reading some Orwell, then. The "Memory Hole" is the waste bin where items sent into it are destroyed by fire.

Tell me lj, if the constitution is really the be-all end-all you claim, why is so much of it devoted to the methods to be used for enacting new laws and amendments?

Well, the amendment system is also part of the Constitution, isn't it? If the government chose to go through the amendment process every time they want to establish a scheme for which they have no Constitutional authority, you wouldn't find me complaining.
posted by ljromanoff at 8:05 AM on July 19, 2001


Once inflation is factored in, real revenue growth was still up 24% during the Reagan years. Your suggestion that tax cuts reduced revenue remains false.
I feel like I'm trying to prove the Pope is Catholic. You are obviously not going to believe this unless you see the numbers, here they are:
Individual Income Tax Collections (millions) (1)
Year Current Constant (87 dollars)
-------------------------------------------
1981 285,917 367,692
1982 297,744 356,366
1983 288,938 332,033
1984 298,415 328,470
1985 334,531 354,677
1986 348,959 359,307
1987 392,557 392,557
1988 401,181 387,128
1989 445,690 411,533
-----------------------------
82-89 total: 2,922,691
1981 (times 8) -2,941,536
-----------------------------
Net 8-year loss -18,845

Note that this chart is based on the dubiously pessimistic assumption that there would have been no revenue growth whatsoever from 81-89 and we still would have collected more tax revenue without the tax cut. Again, tax cuts may be a fine thing, but they do in fact decrease tax revenue.

Reagan never agreed to reduce defense spending. It was a primary tenet of his administration to rebuild the military. I don't know where you're getting that from. In any event, I'm referring to the amount of spending versus the amount of tax cuts.
I have to admit that this is why I said I was stumped. Did this 'agreement' actually exist or is it just some right-wing fever dream? In the end, Reagan never kept an agreement beyond 'I'll cut taxes; cutting spending is your job.'

Reagan consistently sent budgets to Congress that they inflated to budget busting levels. Congress appropriated 24.5% more in the 1980s than Reagan requested. Had that extra money not been spent, we would have had a surplus in 1989, not a deficit - which is what I was referring to when I mentioned a more responsible House of Representatives.
The budgets that Reagan submitted were based on ridiculously rosy estimates. Also, since the only budget of Reagan's that was largely accepted, his first, coincided with (caused?) the the recession of 1982, the Dems had good reason to doubt his budgetmaking. The economic growth of the Reagan era, incidentally, coincided with the years that the Dems threw out his budget. Go figure.

Try reading some Orwell, then. The "Memory Hole" is the waste bin where items sent into it are destroyed by fire.
I thought this was a discussion board, not a book-of-the-month club. Still, sounds like a pretty good description of NMD.

Well, the amendment system is also part of the Constitution, isn't it? If the government chose to go through the amendment process every time they want to establish a scheme for which they have no Constitutional authority, you wouldn't find me complaining.
I'm not sure I follow your point. The Constitution specifically spells out the limits of governmental authority (well mostly in the Bill of Rights), and they did in fact pass an amendment to start collecting income taxes. What about this is relevant to our current discussion?
posted by boaz at 12:02 PM on July 19, 2001


Individual Income Tax Collections

Nice try. Revenue from income tax is only a percentage (about a third) of all government revenue. You can't expect to only look at one small part of the picture and prove a point from that.

I have to admit that this is why I said I was stumped. Did this 'agreement' actually exist or is it just some right-wing fever dream?

Of course it did - Reagan didn't scale back his tax cut for laughs, it was due to compromise with Congress. In fact, I believe the 1986 tax plan involved a specific formula of tax cuts versus spending cuts, but I'll have to get some firm documentation of that.

The budgets that Reagan submitted were based on ridiculously rosy estimates.

Nonsense. If anything his budgets were based on numbers that were excessively pessimistic. Cite some evidence for your claim.

The Constitution specifically spells out the limits of governmental authority (well mostly in the Bill of Rights), and they did in fact pass an amendment to start collecting income taxes. What about this is relevant to our current discussion?

Did you not state earlier that "In the end, we have to decide what we want the government to do and give them the money to do it"? If the government limited itself to it's Consitutionally authorized actions, the budget would need to be anywhere nearly as large as it is. That is what's relevant about it.
posted by ljromanoff at 2:46 PM on July 19, 2001


Nice try. Revenue from income tax is only a percentage (about a third) of all government revenue. You can't expect to only look at one small part of the picture and prove a point from that.
Wait, it gets better (as in worse)....

Corporate Income Taxes (millions)

Year Current Constant (87 dollars)
1981 $61,137 $78,623
1982 49,207 58,991
1983 37,022 42,544
1984 56,893 62,623
1985 61,331 65,024
1986 63,143 65,015
1987 83,926 83,926
1988 94,508 91,224
1989 103,291 98,092
------------------------------
82-89 total: 567,439
1981 (times 8) -628,984
------------------------------
Net 8-year loss -69,545

The actual percentage was about 60-75%; it varied year-to-year. Almost the entire remaining balance of tax revenue is social security tax(~33%) and capital gains tax(~3%), neither of which were cut in 1981 and both of which were raised in 1986. Which, to make a long story short, exactly proves my point; the taxes that were lowered provided declining revenue, while the ones that were raised provided increased revenue.

Of course it did - Reagan didn't scale back his tax cut for laughs, it was due to compromise with Congress. In fact, I believe the 1986 tax plan involved a specific formula of tax cuts versus spending cuts, but I'll have to get some firm documentation of that.
Actually, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was intended as a 'revenue-neutral' tax bill that would lower income tax rates and make up the difference by eliminating or capping certain deductions and loopholes and increasing rates on some ancillary taxes. Of course, when politicians start yammering about 'tax simplification' and 'revenue-neutrality', they're are really raising taxes. You can see this effect as in 1987, as tax revenues jumped 8.1% on economic growth of on 3.2%. I assume you will concede that when tax revenue growth almost triples economic growth, that's not a tax cut.

Did you not state earlier that "In the end, we have to decide what we want the government to do and give them the money to do it"? If the government limited itself to it's Consitutionally authorized actions, the budget would need to be anywhere nearly as large as it is. That is what's relevant about it.
This is a logical fallacy; there is no list in the Constitution of 'authorized actions'. Rather, there is a list of forbidden actions, i.e. Congress may make no law.... Since they list the forbidden actions, it is logical to assume that items not listed are therefore allowed. This is what the saying 'The exception that proves the rule' refers to.
posted by boaz at 8:25 PM on July 19, 2001


. . .Boaz. . .

This guy knows his shit! It's great to see LJR's dogma taken to task with real figures. My only want is that such figures, the kind which do benefit real social change, in interest of the people, make such a barnstorm today, in contemporary policies with contemporary legislators. Who are the haves and those who do not have? Whose side are our representatives on? The money's or the people's? But sadly, we will always have those to remind us that Reagan deserves shit to be named after him.

Clinton's choda never smelled so clean.
posted by crasspastor at 9:50 PM on July 19, 2001


Corporate Income Taxes (millions)

Again, you can't prove your point by looking at an even smaller component of revenue than you were looking at before. Total federal revenue increased during the Reagan administration, the data proves this - and disproves your allegation of "less in + more out = deficit." Had the Congress passed Reagan's budgets, the amount out would have resulted in a surplus. You can slice that statistic pie even thinner if you like, but it becomes less and less relevant every time.

effect as in 1987, as tax revenues jumped 8.1% on economic growth of on 3.2%. I assume you will concede that when tax revenue growth almost triples economic growth, that's not a tax cut.

Tax revenues were up 6.7 and 6.4 percent in 1984 and 1985, respectively. As there was no new tax plan in place at that time, your claim that a tax increase is needed to produce that level of growth in revenue is false.

This is a logical fallacy; there is no list in the Constitution of 'authorized actions'.

Oh really? What do you call this:

Section. 8.

Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties,
Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Clause 2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Clause 4: To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

Clause 5: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

Clause 6: To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

Clause 7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

Clause 8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Clause 9: To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;

Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the
Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Clause 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, byCession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat
of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines,
Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

Clause 18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in
any Department or Officer thereof.

... and so on.
posted by ljromanoff at 6:30 AM on July 20, 2001


Again, you can't prove your point by looking at an even smaller component of revenue than you were looking at before. Total federal revenue increased during the Reagan administration, the data proves this - and disproves your allegation of "less in + more out = deficit." Had the Congress passed Reagan's budgets, the amount out would have resulted in a surplus. You can slice that statistic pie even thinner if you like, but it becomes less and less relevant every time.
That's why you have to read the comment below that chart. The taxes that Reagan slashed were personal and corporate income taxes. The taxes that he raised were social security and capital gains. Your insistence that the taxes Reagan raised be included fundamentally undermines your argument. Of course the taxes he raised went up; that's my point.

Tax revenues were up 6.7 and 6.4 percent in 1984 and 1985, respectively. As there was no new tax plan in place at that time, your claim that a tax increase is needed to produce that level of growth in revenue is false.
You are forgetting about the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, which actually took effect in July 1983. While this tax plan did not change the tax brackets, it expanded withholding, the amount taken directly out of your paycheck. Basically, they took more money earlier and pocketed the extra interest they earned on it. Another one of those 'invisible' tax hikes; Isn't tax law fun? Also note that I was not commenting on the growth rate but the disparity between tax revenue and economic growth rates.

Rather than quote your lengthy citation. Allow me to quote founding father Alexander Hamilton on this point:
I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted.

He foresaw my point 220 years ago and posited that the only reasonable way to forestall it was not to have a Bill or Rights. Of course we all know how this story ends. We passed a Bill of Rights, and it was used as a 'colorable pretext' by the Marshall Supreme Court to expand federal power to anything that supported 'the general welfare' (see clause 1). Sorry, but right or wrong, you guys lost this one 200 years ago. It was probably wrong to steal all the Indians' land too, but we're sure as hell not giving it back now. You may not like it, but, tough nookie, it's the law as interpreted by the Supreme Court, i.e. the court the Constitution set up to interpret it.
posted by boaz at 9:35 AM on July 20, 2001


The taxes that Reagan slashed were personal and corporate income taxes. The taxes that he raised were social security and capital gains. Your insistence that the taxes Reagan raised be included fundamentally undermines your argument.

Reagan did not increase Social Security taxes, Carter did - phased in over 10 years (many of which were during the Reagan presidency). As for capital gains, they were returned to their 1981 levels in 1986 - such is the nature of having to compromise with a leftist House of Representatives.

Of course the taxes he raised went up; that's my point.

The point that you seem to have abandoned defending is that Reagan's financial planning in your view led to higher deficits, when in fact they did not. Revenue increased throughout the Reagan presidency. Even if had not grown as much as it had, Reagan still submitted budgets that would have reduced the decifit to zero and moved the federal government into surplus by 1989. Furthermore, you conviently ignore that Reagan's economic policies in regard to lower taxes and a tighter money supply vastly reduced inflation, cut unemployment, and produced higher rates of economic growth than the decade before or after.

While this tax plan did not change the tax brackets, it expanded withholding, the amount taken directly out of your paycheck. Basically, they took more money earlier and pocketed the extra interest they earned on it.

It expanded withholding to 10% of interest and dividend income, hardly enough to explain tax revenue increases. Especially since it was repealed a month after it went into effect!

We passed a Bill of Rights, and it was used as a 'colorable pretext' by the Marshall Supreme Court to expand federal power to anything that supported 'the general welfare' (see clause 1).

I'm glad to see you've had a look over the Constitution since your last post where you made this obviously bogus claim: there is no list in the Constitution of 'authorized actions'

Whether or not Alexander Hamilton was right about the federal government claiming additional powers not in the Constitution is not debatable - obviously it has, particularly during the New Deal period and after. I never disputed this, I was in fact arguing that this behavior of the federal government is wrong, dangerous, and destructive - and that if the federal government restored itself to its mandated functions (as listed above), we would not need to debate the causes of deficits as the federal budget would be much smaller (and taxes much lower) than they are now.
posted by ljromanoff at 10:16 AM on July 20, 2001


It expanded withholding to 10% of interest and dividend income, hardly enough to explain tax revenue increases. Especially since it was repealed a month after it went into effect!
Mea culpa; I should've known better than to just read the bill summary. It was actually a much wider bill than the summary indicated; even after the portion you mentioned was repealed, the bill still increased the tax rate 1.16% , which I think more than qualifies it as a tax hike.

Reagan did not increase Social Security taxes, Carter did - phased in over 10 years (many of which were during the Reagan presidency). As for capital gains, they were returned to their 1981 levels in 1986 - such is the nature of having to compromise with a leftist House of Representatives.
You are dancing around the issue. I am not concerned with who raised them, just the fact that they were raised. Since the taxes were hiked during the Reagan Administration, they would naturally have their economic effect during the Reagan Administration. You 'prove' that tax cuts raise revenue by quoting growth figures over an eight-year range which includes two large tax hikes as well. Of course what actually happened was that the tax cut of 1981 was immediately followed by two years of sharply decreased real tax revenue as it was phased in while the two tax hikes were immediately followed by substantial increases in tax revenue as they were phased in.

Revenue increased throughout the Reagan presidency.
Even ignoring inflation, this is untrue; in 1983, tax revenue fell 17 billion dollars before inflation. Once inflation is factored in, tax levels did not reach the 1980 level again until 1985. Your continued use of this bogus factoid is becoming tiresome.

Even if had not grown as much as it had, Reagan still submitted budgets that would have reduced the decifit to zero and moved the federal government into surplus by 1989.
Here's the proposed vs. actual budget numbers:

1982 695.3 745.8
1984 862.5 851.8
1985 940.3 946.4
1986 973.7 990.3
1987 994.0 1,003.9
1988 1,024.3 1,064.1
1989 1,094.2 1,144.2
Total 7,357.6 7,554.9

The actual difference between Reagan's proposed spending and congress's actual spending was only $196 billion dollars for his entire administration; that's not even as much as the deficit was in 1989! Your contention that this difference was enough to reverse the deficit is laughable. Your contention that even if [the economy?] had not grown as much is doubly ludicrous; are you going to claim now that lower growth increases tax revenue?

Furthermore, you conviently ignore that Reagan's economic policies in regard to lower taxes and a tighter money supply vastly reduced inflation, cut unemployment, and produced higher rates of economic growth than the decade before or after.
Except that as you yourself have vociferously pointed out, it wasn't Reagan's economic policy; it was a combination of Reagan's policies and the Democrats' policies. This is another example of you wanting to have your cake and eat it too; blame the Dems for all the problems and give Reagan all the credit for the successes. I especially like the 'decade before or after' line; this is a transparent attempt to muddy the obvious comparison between the Clinton and Reagan Administrations. Bush is a Republican; you can leave him out, you can lump him with Reagan, but you can't lump him in with Clinton. Of course what you really did was give the 2 years the economy blossomed under him to Reagan and the 2 years it foundered to Clinton, the most dishonest possible interpretation.

I was in fact arguing that this behavior of the federal government is wrong, dangerous, and destructive
Interesting how after nearly 70 years of this destructive behavior our GDP has increased over 150-fold. I think that level of gain definitely suggest that spending supported 'the general welfare'. Do you actually have some non-anecdotal evidence of this danger and destruction?

and that if the federal government restored itself to its mandated functions (as listed above), we would not need to debate the causes of deficits as the federal budget would be much smaller (and taxes much lower) than they are now.
lj, you seem to suggest here that lower taxes decrease government revenue. Exactly the opposite of what you were arguing, say, 20 lines up. Please explain this discrepancy.
posted by boaz at 12:12 AM on July 21, 2001


You 'prove' that tax cuts raise revenue by quoting growth figures over an eight-year range which includes two large tax hikes as well.

First of all, I never stated that tax cuts raise revenue as a general rule. I was responding to this specific example, where revenue did increase over the period of the Reagan presidency as a result of increased growth. The bills you categorize as tax increases also included tax cuts. And, when one totals all increases (the bulk of which were Carter's SS increases) there still was more in cuts than there were in increases.

Even ignoring inflation, this is untrue; in 1983, tax revenue fell 17 billion dollars before inflation. Once inflation is factored in, tax levels did not reach the 1980 level again until 1985. Your continued use of this fact is becoming tiresome.

Your continued inaccuracy on this is tiresome as well. 1984 revenue, with inflation factored in, was 8 billion less than 1982 levels. The 1983 dip likely would have happened regardless of changes in the tax policy due to the recession in 1982. Even if your numbers were accurate, you yourself admit that by 1985 revenue levels were equivalent to their 1980 levels, which disproves your allegation that revenue decreased during the Reagan presidency.

The actual difference between Reagan's proposed spending and congress's actual spending was only $196 billion dollars for his entire administration; that's not even as much as the deficit was in 1989!

Actually, $196 billion would have easily paid for 1989's $152 billion dollar deficit.

Anyway, Reagan's budget for any particular year had to have the increases from the Congress's previous year budget built into it, due to baseline budgeting and because had any major cuts been proposed, Reagan would never have been able to get any of his priorities funded by an adversarial Congress. If you look at the numbers you'll see that the proposed budget for any year is only the bare minimum above the amount actually spent the year before. Had Reagan been getting the budget he wanted in 1983 and 1984, for example, his 1989 budget proposal would have been much less than the amount he proposed based on several years of higher spending from Congress.

Your contention that even if [the economy?] had not grown as much is doubly ludicrous; are you going to claim now that lower growth increases tax revenue?

Try going back and reading it again. It's clear that the 'it' I was referring to was govt. revenue, not the ecomony.

Except that as you yourself have vociferously pointed out, it wasn't Reagan's economic policy; it was a combination of Reagan's policies and the Democrats' policies.

The Democrats were not proposing income tax cuts or a tighter money supply - they fought Reagan all the way on these issues. You can't give them credit for something they opposed.

Bush is a Republican; you can leave him out, you can lump him with Reagan, but you can't lump him in with Clinton. Of course what you really did was give the 2 years the economy blossomed under him to Reagan and the 2 years it foundered to Clinton, the most dishonest possible interpretation.

Reagan's policies were in effect through 1989. And just because Bush and Reagan were both Republicans doesn't mean they were both conservatives or had much of a shared political viewpoint. It's not difficult to point out the differences. Bush and Clinton's economic plans had more in common with each other than with Reagan, as both continued Reagan's money supply policy (thank you Alan Greenspan) and both passed broad tax increases and many more economic regulations. And, furthermore, both Bush and Clinton benefitted from Reagan coming before them in regards to the economy.

Interesting how after nearly 70 years of this destructive behavior our GDP has increased over 150-fold.

Please cite some evidence about how either the New Deal or the Great Society actually contributed to economic growth.

and that if the federal government restored itself to its mandated functions (as listed above), we would not need to debate the causes of deficits as the federal budget would be much smaller (and taxes much lower) than they are now.
lj, you seem to suggest here that lower taxes decrease government revenue. Exactly the opposite of what you were arguing, say, 20 lines up. Please explain this discrepancy.


What I was pointing out was that smaller outlays result in a lesser need for taxation. No discrepancy.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:11 PM on July 21, 2001


First of all, I never stated that tax cuts raise revenue as a general rule. I was responding to this specific example, where revenue did increase over the period of the Reagan presidency as a result of increased growth. The bills you categorize as tax increases also included tax cuts. And, when one totals all increases (the bulk of which were Carter's SS increases) there still was more in cuts than there were in increases.
The two bills that I said were tax increases were in fact tax increases; I was talking about the net effect of the bills, not doing a line item accounting. The Social Security Act of 1983 accelerated the timetable for Carter's SS increases; this is why we're paying 15.3% now instead of in 2030. Rush Limbaugh himself called the 1986 Tax Reform Act "the first of the three largest tax increases in history."

Your continued inaccuracy on this is tiresome as well. 1984 revenue, with inflation factored in, was 8 billion less than 1982 levels. The 1983 dip likely would have happened regardless of changes in the tax policy due to the recession in 1982.
So my claim was that revenue dropped between 1981 and 1984, and your counterargument was that revenue dropped from 1982-1984. And of course, it also dropped from 1981-1982. With enemies like these, who needs friends?
BTW, that little change from 'bogus factoid' to 'fact' in your quoting me was cute, but doesn't something have to be true to be a fact?

Even if your numbers were accurate, you yourself admit that by 1985 revenue levels were equivalent to their 1980 levels, which disproves your allegation that revenue decreased during the Reagan presidency.
I have already accounted for this in an earlier post; the taxes that Reagan lowered resulted in lost revenue even when compared to 8 years of 0% growth. Of course, our GDP has actually been skyrocketing for almost 70 years now. Even a measly 1% growth, less than half the lowest 8-year average since the New Deal, would net $130 billion more than Reagan did in taxes. So yes, compared to any realistic alternative, Reagan's tax cuts lost us money. Of course, you're probably of the opinion that we'd be chiseling stone knives and living in mud huts without Reagan's tax cut, so you can feel free to believe it increased revenue.

Actually, $196 billion would have easily paid for 1989's $152 billion dollar deficit.
I was only including on-budget items; Funny how when you want the numbers to work, The Social Security Act of 1983 suddenly become your best friend.

Anyway, Reagan's budget for any particular year had to have the increases from the Congress's previous year budget built into it, due to baseline budgeting and because had any major cuts been proposed, Reagan would never have been able to get any of his priorities funded by an adversarial Congress. If you look at the numbers you'll see that the proposed budget for any year is only the bare minimum above the amount actually spent the year before. Had Reagan been getting the budget he wanted in 1983 and 1984, for example, his 1989 budget proposal would have been much less than the amount he proposed based on several years of higher spending from Congress.
My apologies. When you said 'the budgets Reagan submitted', I thought you were referring to the budgets Reagan submitted. Since I have no way of finding out what the budgets you imagine Reagan would have submitted were, I'll let this drop. However, I can only assume that if Reagan wanted a balanced budget, he would have submitted at least one during his administration.
If you wish to continue, please provide some solid numbers as to what you believe Reagan would have proposed.

Reagan's policies were in effect through 1989. And just because Bush and Reagan were both Republicans doesn't mean they were both conservatives or had much of a shared political viewpoint. It's not difficult to point out the differences. Bush and Clinton's economic plans had more in common with each other than with Reagan
Actually, the tax rate fell almost the exact same amount during Bush's presidency as during Reagan's. The tax rate fell 1 point during Reagan's presidency and .8 points during Bush's. When you consider that Bush served only 1 term vs Reagan's 2 terms, he overall did a better job of cutting taxes than Reagan did. Also, inflation was at 4.8% when Reagan left and 3.0% when Bush left. So economically speaking, Bush picked up right where Reagan left off. Of course, he had the bad luck to cause a recession near the end of his first term rather than near the beginning.

The Democrats were not proposing income tax cuts or a tighter money supply - they fought Reagan all the way on these issues. You can't give them credit for something they opposed.
Uh, lj, the Democratic house passed the tax cut; if they had really 'fought it all the way', it wouldn't have become law. As for the tighter money supply being Reagan's doing, that was actually the work of Paul Volcker, a Carter appointee. My point was that the policies that were in place during the Reagan presidency were the result of compromises made between Reagan and Congressional Democrats, something which you have already admitted when we were talking taxes.

Please cite some evidence about how either the New Deal or the Great Society actually contributed to economic growth.
Seems like an awful lot of growth to be a coincidence. Ok, I'll play this game:
FDR Administration GDP growth:(1st 8 years): 65.3%
Kennedy/Johnson Administration GDP growth: 41.9%
Reagan Administration GDP growth: 24.9%
As economic programs, both of these were far more successful than Reaganomics.
posted by boaz at 9:23 PM on July 21, 2001


The two bills that I said were tax increases were in fact tax increases; I was talking about the net effect of the bills, not doing a line item accounting.

As the net result of Reagan tax bills was a tax reduction, my point stands.

Rush Limbaugh himself called the 1986 Tax Reform Act "the first of the three largest tax increases in history."

I'm fascinated that you've resorted to quoting Rush Limbaugh to support your argument.

So my claim was that revenue dropped between 1981 and 1984, and your counterargument was that revenue dropped from 1982-1984. And of course, it also dropped from 1981-1982. With enemies like these, who needs friends?

Well, again, if you wish to conveniently edit out the years of the Reagan administration that disprove your point, and only focus on a recession period when revenue would inevitably go down due to economic conditions, be my guest.

BTW, that little change from 'bogus factoid' to 'fact' in your quoting me was cute, but doesn't something have to be true to be a fact?

The fact that you can't acknowledge a true statement when you read one is not my problem.

Even a measly 1% growth, less than half the lowest 8-year average since the New Deal, would net $130 billion more than Reagan did in taxes.

Once again, you ignore half the facts. The tax cut resulted in greater growth. You can't divorce those two things and only focus on one half of the equation.

I was only including on-budget items

Funny how when you're trying to make a point you're more than willing to manipulate the numbers in your favor.

I can only assume that if Reagan wanted a balanced budget, he would have submitted at least one during his administration.

And I can only assume if the Democrats wanted one they would have passed one. In any event, as I said before, had Reagan proposed a balanced budget it would have resulted in the Congress using his lower numbers on the programs he needed and their own numbers on everything else, and we still would have been left with a deficit. You have apparently forgotten that the Democrats were always happy to announce to the press that Reagan's budgets were "D.O.A."

The tax rate fell 1 point during Reagan's presidency and .8 points during Bush's.

Can you explain how you're calculating these numbers? A 1 point drop of the tax rate? Overall? Compared to GDP? What are you talking about?

Uh, lj, the Democratic house passed the tax cut; if they had really 'fought it all the way', it wouldn't have become law.

If they had continued to oppose a popular president on one of his key issues, it would have been political suicide (not unlike Clinton's weak 'support' of welfare reform.) Again, they don't get credit for passing a bill out of political expediency that they never would have supported on their own accord.

As for the tighter money supply being Reagan's doing, that was actually the work of Paul Volcker, a Carter appointee.

One of the few wise moves made by Carter, however, it was Reagan who publicly supported Volcker at a time when many warned that Volcker's policies were choking the prospects of economic recovery. Furthermore, Reagan appointed Volcker to a second term in 1983. And in 1987, Reagan appointed another tight money supply advocate, Alan Greenspan. To suggest that you can just hand the credit for the national fiscal policy over to Volcker is a wild exaggeration.

Seems like an awful lot of growth to be a coincidence.

The growth numbers alone are not evidence. I ask again, show some proof that those programs actually benefited the economy.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:44 AM on July 22, 2001


As the net result of Reagan tax bills was a tax reduction, my point stands.
Yes, a very small tax reduction, exactly why the revenue numbers at the end seemed so high.

I'm fascinated that you've resorted to quoting Rush Limbaugh to support your argument.
Yet if I had quoted a liberal windbag to make my point, you doubtless would've ignored it out of hand. I quoted him because I suspect you have a certain level of respect for him and therefore would heed his words. If not, well, I tried; take it up with Rush if you've got a problem with the quote.

Once again, you ignore half the facts. The tax cut resulted in greater growth. You can't divorce those two things and only focus on one half of the equation.
Nothing is being ignored. 1% yearly was far less than the actual growth during the Reagan Administration. This post was about tax revenue because that's what we were discussing. There's a discussion about economic growth starting up at the bottom if you want to jump in.

Well, again, if you wish to conveniently edit out the years of the Reagan administration that disprove your point, and only focus on a recession period when revenue would inevitably go down due to economic conditions, be my guest.
You were the one talking about those years; I had just thought it was weird that you were repeating my argument but thought you were contradicting me. I still think it's weird.

The fact that you can't acknowledge a true statement when you read one is not my problem.
The statement I was responding to was: "Revenue increased throughout the Reagan presidency." This is false. It went down in 1983. Next point please.

Funny how when you're trying to make a point you're more than willing to manipulate the numbers in your favor.
It may be possible that I am choosing the numbers that best support my arguments; it may be that you are doing the exact same thing. Interesting how that works.

Can you explain how you're calculating these numbers? A 1 point drop of the tax rate? Overall? Compared to GDP?
Sure, happy to help. The tax rate, defined here as the percent of GDP that government receipts form, was 20.2 % in 1981, 19.2% in 1989 and 18.4% in 1993. Therefore, the drop in the tax rate during the Reagan Administration was 20.2%-19.2% = 1 point and 19.2%-18.4% = .8 points during the Bush Administration. The reason they don't say 1 percent is because the percent drops are really 20.2%/19.2%=5.2% and 19.2%/18.4%=4.3%. The term point in this context signifies that you're are talking about an absolute drop in a percentage value.

If they had continued to oppose a popular president on one of his key issues, it would have been political suicide (not unlike Clinton's weak 'support' of welfare reform.) Again, they don't get credit for passing a bill out of political expediency that they never would have supported on their own accord.
Funny, how they could both '[fight] him all the way' and '[pass] a bill out of political expediency'. Yes, it was for political expediency; I never denied that. The point is that they did not fight him on that. Being mad at Democrats for not being Republicans seems kinda silly if you ask me.

To suggest that you can just hand the credit for the national fiscal policy over to Volcker is a wild exaggeration.
Since you had just handed the entire credit for the economy under Clinton to Greenspan in your previous post, your remark is really only good for irony value. As head of the Federal Reserve, Volcker controlled key interest rates that are the major factor in determining the 'tightness' of the money supply. This is exactly what I credited him with, not the whole of national fiscal policy.

The growth numbers alone are not evidence. I ask again, show some proof that those programs actually benefited the economy.
Since that is exactly what you are using as 'evidence' of the success of Reaganomics, it seems quite apt. Anyway, I can do even better:
8-year growth rates:
before FDR: -21.9%
during FDR (1st 8 yrs): 65.3%
before JFK/LBJ: 20.1%
during JFK/LBJ: 41.9%
before RR: 17.6%
during RR: 24.9%
So they both pulled off much better increases in the growth rate than Reagan as well.
posted by boaz at 7:19 PM on July 22, 2001


You were the one talking about those years; I had just thought it was weird that you were repeating my argument but thought you were contradicting me. I still think it's weird.

Once again, I'm talking about 1981 - 1989, not some in between two year period. For you to only focus on two years of an eight year period distorts the reality of the situation.

The statement I was responding to was: "Revenue increased throughout the Reagan presidency." This is false. It went down in 1983. Next point please.

The Reagan presidency was eight years long, not one. The statement remains accurate.

The tax rate, defined here as the percent of GDP that government receipts form

Tax rate as a percentage of GDP is not an accurate measure of rate cuts. If the tax rate remains the same, but the GDP increases, the tax rate may appear to reduce when it, in fact, has not changed.

Being mad at Democrats for not being Republicans seems kinda silly if you ask me.

I'm not mad at them for not being Republicans, just not giving them credit for a Republican accomplishment.

Since you had just handed the entire credit for the economy under Clinton to Greenspan in your previous post

No, I didn't, although I do believe he deserves a large share of the credit.

the Federal Reserve, Volcker controlled key interest rates that are the major factor in determining the 'tightness' of the money supply

I'm well aware what his job is. As I said before, without Reagan's support Volcker would have been out of office in 1983. This suggestion that Volcker was some sort of independent agent doesn't fly.

Since that is exactly what you are using as 'evidence' of the success of Reaganomics, it seems quite apt

Taxes, budgeting, and fiscal policy are the most intimately linked parts of the federal government to how the economy functions. Levels of taxation and government borrowing have a direct effect on the economy, which is why discussing growth rates are relevant when discussing taxation. Until you can show some link between the New Deal & Great Society to how the economy performed (I'm not saying necessarily that you can't, but so far you haven't) the growth figures are not proof by any means.
posted by ljromanoff at 6:17 AM on July 23, 2001


lj ahead by two lengths.
posted by clavdivs at 6:54 AM on July 23, 2001


Once again, I'm talking about 1981 - 1989, not some in between two year period. For you to only focus on two years of an eight year period distorts the reality of the situation.

Again, I was only responding to one point; I have already covered the full view in great length elsewhere.

The Reagan presidency was eight years long, not one. The statement remains accurate.

When you said "Revenue increased during the Reagan Presidency", you were accurate if somewhat misleading. When you said "Revenue increased throughout the Reagan Presidency" and ". Revenue increased steadily during the Reagan years" [italics mine throughout], you were not. It's only a demagogical point, but you're the one continuing to pursue this.

I'm not mad at them for not being Republicans, just not giving them credit for a Republican accomplishment.

I never denied that it was a Republican accomplishment; I was just pointing out that their acquiescence was necessary for its passage. And also that they very successfully 'fought' it by getting taxes almost to the same level by the end of his Administration.

I'm well aware what his job is. As I said before, without Reagan's support Volcker would have been out of office in 1983. This suggestion that Volcker was some sort of independent agent doesn't fly.

Of course, inflation was already lower in 1983 than it was when Reagan left office. The fact that he could have lost his job after he had already lowered inflation is hardly the counter-example you claim. The federal reserve is empowered to change these key interest rates without consulting the Executive or Legislative branch. Volcker was not an independant agent; he represents the Federal Reserve, an independant agency.

Tax rate as a percentage of GDP is not an accurate measure of rate cuts.

If I get richer, but I am still paying the same dollar amount of taxes, then my tax rate has been reduced. I don't know about you, but I think that the percentage of the money that we collectively earn that the government takes as taxes is a near-perfect measurement of the tax rate. I know that I think of my 'tax rate' as the percentage of my money that I pay in taxes, and I'm sure that Bill Gates isn't crying in his soup from paying more taxes than me. If you have an alternative, more accurate, metric, I'd like to hear it.

If the tax rate remains the same, but the GDP increases, the tax rate may appear to reduce when it, in fact, has not changed.

This sentence makes my head hurt. If the tax rate remains the same, then it won't 'appear to reduce' because it'll be the same number. Can you please restate this using different terms in the first and second half? Something of the form "if [lj's tax rate measurement] remains the same, but the GDP increases, the [percentage of GDP that forms Government Receipts] may appear to reduce when [lj's tax rate measurement], in fact, has not changed." I assume.

Taxes, budgeting, and fiscal policy are the most intimately linked parts of the federal government to how the economy functions.

Yes, and FDR raised taxes, raised inflation and raised spending, all the opposite of Reagan's supposed economic policies. Now, given their comparative success at growing the economy, how would you support the contention that lower taxes, lower inflation and lower spending help grow the economy? In fact, it seems from the data we have so far that the exact opposite is the case.

Levels of taxation and government borrowing have a direct effect on the economy, which is why discussing growth rates are relevant when discussing taxation.

The direct effect of the Reagan tax cuts were, if anything, to suppress economic growth. I know you don't like me talking about those first three years, but those were the years that taxes were being cut and also the years of least economic growth. Calling something that happens three years and a tax hike later a direct effect is insubstantiable. Of course you have plenty of excuses for this, but FDR and JFK didn't need any; their Administrations saw an immediate, direct positive effect on the economy. Stop the wouldas and couldas and give me an argument based on what actually happened.
posted by boaz at 1:24 PM on July 23, 2001


It's only a demagogical point, but you're the one continuing to pursue this.

I thought you were still trying to argue your bankrupt "Less in + more out = deficit" argument. I didn't realize you were merely being pedantic. My apologies.

I never denied that it was a Republican accomplishment;

In fact, you did just that: "it was a combination of Reagan's policies and the Democrats' policies".

Volcker was not an independant agent; he represents the Federal Reserve, an independant agency.

All true, and all beside the point. Both Volcker and Reagan, unlike Volcker and Carter, had a shared vision of what would work to counteract the malaise of the 1970s economy. Had Reagan not been an advocate of a tighter, more stable money supply from the beginning of his presidency, Volcker never would have had a second term, Greenspan never would have been appointed, and the fiscal policy of the nation in the 1980s would have been quite different. Your attempt to cut Reagan out of the picture and hand all credit to Volcker is a wild overstatement of the autonomy of the Fed chairman.

If the tax rate remains the same, but the GDP increases, the tax rate may appear to reduce when it, in fact, has not changed.

This sentence makes my head hurt. If the tax rate remains the same, then it won't 'appear to reduce' because it'll be the same number.


No, you're wrong. The percentage of taxes collected as a measure of GDP can vary without the tax rates changing. Tax rates are a political function, not an economic one - they are changed through legislation. For example, if the economy grows by x%, tax revenues will increase due to more wealth, but they will also increase due to bracket creep. Therefore, tax revenue as a percentage of GDP will increase without any variation of the tax rate. Consequently, using tax as a percentage of GDP is not an accurate measure of the amount of tax cuts.


Yes, and FDR raised taxes, raised inflation and raised spending, all the opposite of Reagan's supposed economic policies. Now, given their comparative success at growing the economy, how would you support the contention that lower taxes, lower inflation and lower spending help grow the economy? In fact, it seems from the data we have so far that the exact opposite is the case.

FDR's numbers only look at all good as they are growth numbers in a period immediately following a major depression. The worst of the depression happened at the end of the Hoover administration and the begining of FDR's first term, after which a broad recovery followed. FDR's "impressive" numbers are only impressive as they are percentage growth in comparison to a very bad period immediately preceding.

You suggestion that you actually believe removing revenue from the economy in the form of taxation and high inflation rates could actually be a good thing is beyond ridiculous.

The direct effect of the Reagan tax cuts were, if anything, to suppress economic growth.

Nonsense. Cite some proof of this. Tax rates were reduced, inflation was brought under control, interest rates were sharply reduced, and unemployment dropped sharply during the Reagan years, and growth rates were higher than the preceding or subsequent period.

Of course you have plenty of excuses for this, but FDR and JFK didn't need any; their Administrations saw an immediate, direct positive effect on the economy. Stop the wouldas and couldas and give me an argument based on what actually happened.

I don't know why you're dragging JFK into this, he cut taxes. JFK: "Tax rates are too high today, and tax revenues are too low, and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates."

From a 1966 U.S. News and World Report:"Tax collections are beginning to astonish even those who pushed hardest for tax cuts in the first place."

As for the 'wouldas' and 'couldas', you're the one who has claimed that Reagan used 'rosy' economic projections for his budgets without citing your basis for this claim, and you have repeatedly claimed that the un-Constitutional functions of the federal government over the past century are somehow responsible for the century's economic growth, also without any supporting evidence.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:57 PM on July 23, 2001


In fact, you did just that: "it was a combination of Reagan's policies and the Democrats' policies".

Go back and read that one again, lj; it's extremely clear that I was referring to the myriad economic policies implemented throughout the Reagan Administration, not just Reagan's tax cut. If you are trying to have Reagan take credit for TEFRA, SSA and TRA, just say so.

No, you're wrong. The percentage of taxes collected as a measure of GDP can vary without the tax rates changing. Tax rates are a political function, not an economic one - they are changed through legislation. For example, if the economy grows by x%, tax revenues will increase due to more wealth, but they will also increase due to bracket creep. Therefore, tax revenue as a percentage of GDP will increase without any variation of the tax rate. Consequently, using tax as a percentage of GDP is not an accurate measure of the amount of tax cuts.

You forgot to mention how tax code enforcement levels, death rates, asset holding lengths, etc. etc. etc can effect tax collection levels. Percent of GDP is the standard by which economists judge the net effect of tax code changes, and that is how I am using it. In fact, you were using it when you made this statement: "And, when one totals all increases (the bulk of which were Carter's SS increases) there still was more in cuts than there were in increases." It's not fair to complain about a metric you were using once it starts revealing things you'd rather not hear. Again, if you have an alternative metric, I'd love to hear it; if not, why are you continuing to carp on this?

FDR's numbers only look at all good as they are growth numbers in a period immediately following a major depression. The worst of the depression happened at the end of the Hoover administration and the begining of FDR's first term, after which a broad recovery followed.

None of which had anything to do with FDR, even though he spearheaded an ambitious recovery program which raised the GDP back to it's previous level in a mere 4 years and by the end of his last term (the one Truman served out) had it 56.6% higher than it had ever been before the Great Depression. So FDR overall had a slightly better economic record than Reagan even ignoring the entire effect of the Great Depression.

FDR's "impressive" numbers are only impressive as they are percentage growth in comparison to a very bad period immediately preceding.

Reagan's "impressive" numbers, oh wait, they aren't that impressive. Cmon, a 7.3% gain over Ford/Carter, over 8 years. If that's the best supply-side can pull off, I'll take Keynesian anyday.


You suggestion that you actually believe removing revenue from the economy in the form of taxation and high inflation rates could actually be a good thing is beyond ridiculous.

Your argument is the ridiculous one; removed revenue in the form of higher taxes was more than offset by the increased revenue pumped into the economy by FDR's increased spending. As for inflation, as long as growth outpaces inflation, it can not be said to be removing revenue from the economy either; that is why economic and revenue growth numbers are always inflation-adjusted (except by right-wing axe-grinders).

Nonsense. Cite some proof of this. Tax rates were reduced, inflation was brought under control, interest rates were sharply reduced, and unemployment dropped sharply during the Reagan years, and growth rates were higher than the preceding or subsequent period.

Better growth than Carter or Bush. Next I'll get to hear how he was more honest than Nixon and better looking than Truman. As for the rest; none of that directly contradicts my claim.
It's funny how you snipped out the section where I did give proof and responded as if I hadn't; Again, I am offering real numbers while you are offering empty speculation. Show me what the 'real' economic impact of Reagan's tax cut was if you can; if you can not, stop repeating your empty rhetoric.

I don't know why you're dragging JFK into this, he cut taxes. JFK: "Tax rates are too high today, and tax revenues are too low, and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates."

It is no coincidence that the two least intelligent presidents we've had this century both subscribe to this dogma. Of course, when JFK was preaching this, the top tax rate was 91%.

As for the 'wouldas' and 'couldas', you're the one who has claimed that Reagan used 'rosy' economic projections for his budgets without citing your basis for this claim,

Reagan's claimed 5 percent economic growth in his original budget; the real number turned out to be -2.1 percent. There was only 1 year in which Reagan's budget predicted a worse rate of economic growth than actually occurred. Thanks for reminding me of this; I had lost it in the shuffle.

and you have repeatedly claimed that the un-Constitutional functions of the federal government over the past century are somehow responsible for the century's economic growth, also without any supporting evidence.

The numbers are the evidence; just becuase you're ignoring them doesn't mean they don't exist.
posted by boaz at 9:06 PM on July 23, 2001


Whoops, forgot one point....

All true, and all beside the point. Both Volcker and Reagan, unlike Volcker and Carter, had a shared vision of what would work to counteract the malaise of the 1970s economy. Had Reagan not been an advocate of a tighter, more stable money supply from the beginning of his presidency, Volcker never would have had a second term, Greenspan never would have been appointed, and the fiscal policy of the nation in the 1980s would have been quite different. Your attempt to cut Reagan out of the picture and hand all credit to Volcker is a wild overstatement of the autonomy of the Fed chairman.

Two points, both made before: The Federal Reserve Chairman does not in any way shape or form work for the President and all the 'tightening' of the money supply was done before 1983. You are the one painting someone into a picture who does not belong. Of course, you pulled out the 'woulda' again; do you have some proof of your conjectures?
posted by boaz at 9:39 PM on July 23, 2001


And another...

I thought you were still trying to argue your bankrupt "Less in + more out = deficit" argument. I didn't realize you were merely being pedantic. My apologies.

Just to raise this to pedantry squared: Having less coming in than you have going out is the definition of a deficit.
posted by boaz at 9:49 PM on July 23, 2001


Percent of GDP is the standard by which economists judge the net effect of tax code changes, and that is how I am using it.

Percentage of GDP is only one method of looking at taxation, and not the relevant one when comparing tax policy.

None of which had anything to do with FDR, even though he spearheaded an ambitious recovery program which raised the GDP back to it's previous level in a mere 4 years and by the end of his last term (the one Truman served out) had it 56.6% higher than it had ever been before the Great Depression.

His 'ambitious recovery program' had little to do with the economic recovery of the mid-1930's - if anything, FDR's mismanagement of his own anti-Constitutional programs led directly to another recession in 1936-37. And as for the post-depression growth, we all know where that came from - if you want a hint, it's two words plus a number and has a lot to do with Germany, Italy and Japan.

Reagan's "impressive" numbers, oh wait, they aren't that impressive. Cmon, a 7.3% gain over Ford/Carter, over 8 years. If that's the best supply-side can pull off, I'll take Keynesian anyday.

A 7% gain over Ford/Carter, 17 million new jobs, unemployment down by several points, inflation cut from 14% to 4%, interest rates down 10 points, etc. etc. That is impressive.

removed revenue in the form of higher taxes was more than offset by the increased revenue pumped into the economy by FDR's increased spending.

First you chastise Reagan for what you consider his deficit spending, and now you suggest that deficit spending is fine as a 'stimulus' measure. Talk about contradicting yourself.

As for inflation, as long as growth outpaces inflation, it can not be said to be removing revenue from the economy either; that is why economic and revenue growth numbers are always inflation-adjusted (except by right-wing axe-grinders).

So, some inflation is OK as long as the economy is growing? Absurd. Inflation is always an economic drain in all circumstances. To suggest that some is fine under certain circumstances is ridiculous.

It's funny how you snipped out the section where I did give proof and responded as if I hadn't

I snipped out no 'proof'. If there was any 'proof' I would have responded to it.

It is no coincidence that the two least intelligent presidents we've had this century both subscribe to this dogma. Of course, when JFK was preaching this, the top tax rate was 91%.

So now you've resorted to calling people stupid - very impressive. JFK's tax cuts resulted in a 50% boost in tax revenue over the 5 years following their implementation. Another historical fact that contradicts your confused view of economic history.

Reagan's claimed 5 percent economic growth in his original budget; the real number turned out to be -2.1 percent. There was only 1 year in which Reagan's budget predicted a worse rate of economic growth than actually occurred. Thanks for reminding me of this; I had lost it in the shuffle.

The official Reagan projections were quite close to the CBO revenue projections. Even the Democrat-controlled CBO projected that deficits would fall after the enactment of the Reagan tax cuts. The discrepancy you refer to was the result of a recession that neither CBO nor OMB could foresee.

The numbers are the evidence; just becuase you're ignoring them doesn't mean they don't exist.

I'm not ignoring them - just pointing out that they alone prove nothing. You apparently have no actual evidence to back up your claims.

Two points, both made before: The Federal Reserve Chairman does not in any way shape or form work for the President and all the 'tightening' of the money supply was done before 1983.

If you don't recognize the close relationship between the Fed and the White House you are deluded. The money supply remained restrained long after 1983. A tighter money supply and lower interest rates existed for the remainder of the decade.

Just to raise this to pedantry squared: Having less coming in than you have going out is the definition of a deficit.

Your "less in + more out = deficit" statement was not merely a definition of a deficit, it was an argument that Reagan's tax cuts (that you falsely describe as "less in") and military spending ("more out", also false as it was the Democrats budgets that were too large, not Reagan's) equals a deficit.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:10 AM on July 24, 2001


Percentage of GDP is only one method of looking at taxation, and not the relevant one when comparing tax policy.

Interesting claim; not true, but interesting. So, what is the relevant one? Your continued refusal to answer this has me convinced that you simply don't want Reagan's tax cut measured. You have also still not explained why you were using it earlier if it's not relevant.

His 'ambitious recovery program' had little to do with the economic recovery of the mid-1930's - if anything, FDR's mismanagement of his own anti-Constitutional programs led directly to another recession in 1936-37. And as for the post-depression growth, we all know where that came from - if you want a hint, it's two words plus a number and has a lot to do with Germany, Italy and Japan.

Again, this is pure conjecture on your part. WWII's been over for 55 years; FDR's social programs are still going strong. Post New Deal Economic growth is still easily the greatest in the country's history. The New Deal is looking fine on the 1-year, 2-year, 5-year, 8-year, 15-year, 50-year and and 70-year records.

First you chastise Reagan for what you consider his deficit spending, and now you suggest that deficit spending is fine as a 'stimulus' measure. Talk about contradicting yourself.

Of course, that's exactly the point. Deficit spending was Reagan's stimulus measure too, not his tax cut. His tax cut was only a stimulus insofar as it contributed to the deficit spending. Whether's it's fine or not is besides the point; the fact that it's an economic stimulus is undeniable.

I snipped out no 'proof'. If there was any 'proof' I would have responded to it.

'Proof' of course being defined to specify exclude any facts that undermine your arguments. If you were being truthful about this, you would have responded to that snipped portion; since you didn't, your bombastic claim is just grandstanding.

So, some inflation is OK as long as the economy is growing? Absurd. Inflation is always an economic drain in all circumstances. To suggest that some is fine under certain circumstances is ridiculous.

You have no clue what you're talking about here. We have had 2 years of negative inflation in the last 60 years, and we're richer than we've ever been and have had greater economic growth. Again, your arguments seem to be describing what's happening in an alternate universe.

So now you've resorted to calling people stupid - very impressive.

Not stupid, just least intelligent; we have not had any truly idiotic presidents that I can think of offhand. Not that I'm the least bit interested in hearing your opinions on this matter.

JFK's tax cuts resulted in a 50% boost in tax revenue over the 5 years following their implementation. Another historical fact that contradicts your confused view of economic history.

Yes, ignoring inflation. I mentioned something about right-wing axe-grinders and ignoring inflation earlier; thanks for proving my point. Of course, you are conveniently ignoring that there was a sharp increase in capital-gains tax in the late 60's. it's funny how there's alway a big tax hike between the start and end dates of your 'proofs' of tax cuts increasing revenue.

The official Reagan projections were quite close to the CBO revenue projections. Even the Democrat-controlled CBO projected that deficits would fall after the enactment of the Reagan tax cuts. The discrepancy you refer to was the result of a recession that neither CBO nor OMB could foresee.

The Reagan projections were higher than the CBO all 8 years. Sorry, try again.

If you don't recognize the close relationship between the Fed and the White House you are deluded. The money supply remained restrained long after 1983. A tighter money supply and lower interest rates existed for the remainder of the decade.

But all the actual heavy lifting involved was done before 1983; There's a not-too-subtle difference between causing something and not screwing it up once it's happened. As for the name-calling, put up or shut up. You've got a whole internet; Find one document showing that Volcker's actions were at Reagan's behest.

Your "less in + more out = deficit" statement was not merely a definition of a deficit, it was an argument that Reagan's tax cuts (that you falsely describe as "less in") and military spending ("more out", also false as it was the Democrats budgets that were too large, not Reagan's) equals a deficit.

Jesus, lj, I admitted I was being pedantic, and you still got all bent out of shape; I think you could use some fresh air.
posted by boaz at 12:50 PM on July 24, 2001


Percentage of GDP is only one method of looking at taxation, and not the relevant one when comparing tax policy.

Interesting claim; not true, but interesting. So, what is the relevant one? Your continued refusal to answer this has me convinced that you simply don't want Reagan's tax cut measured. You have also still not explained why you were using it earlier if it's not relevant.


It's true because it is a value that can vary without any policy changes, making it an inaccurate gauge of policy - which I already stated. And I wasn't using it earlier - your falsehoods continue to stack up.

Again, this is pure conjecture on your part. WWII's been over for 55 years; FDR's social programs are still going strong. Post New Deal Economic growth is still easily the greatest in the country's history. The New Deal is looking fine on the 1-year, 2-year, 5-year, 8-year, 15-year, 50-year and and 70-year records.

So it's pure conjecture that WWII provided that growth that ended the Great Depression, but it's fact that it was FDR's New Deal progams that ended it? And you've proved this how? Oh yeah, you still have yet to provide any evidence.

Of course, that's exactly the point. Deficit spending was Reagan's stimulus measure too, not his tax cut. His tax cut was only a stimulus insofar as it contributed to the deficit spending. Whether's it's fine or not is besides the point; the fact that it's an economic stimulus is undeniable.

If that's so, why did you dive into this thread by complaining about deficit spending? And once again, the tax cut did not contribute to deficit spending - even Reagan's political adversaries acknowledge this. As for deficit spending being an economic stimulus, it's highly debatable - hardly 'undeniable' by any means.

'Proof' of course being defined to specify exclude any facts that undermine your arguments

I snipped no 'facts' either.

You have no clue what you're talking about here. We have had 2 years of negative inflation in the last 60 years, and we're richer than we've ever been and have had greater economic growth. Again, your arguments seem to be describing what's happening in an alternate universe.

That's like saying the gold medal runner Olympics did it with a broken toe, so having that broken toe must have been the key to his success, rather than something that hindered his performance. Inflation is a drag on the economy, any economy where it exists - period, regardless of how well that economy is performing over any period.

Not stupid, just least intelligent;

Talk about splitting hairs. He's not stupid, just not intelligent. Great.

Yes, ignoring inflation. I mentioned something about right-wing axe-grinders and ignoring inflation earlier; thanks for proving my point.

Right, the whopping increase to 3% in 1967. Hardly significant. The real inflation only started when LBJ started up his Great Society programs, again undermining your argument.

Of course, you are conveniently ignoring that there was a sharp increase in capital-gains tax in the late 60's.

The rate for individuals was 25% for the entire period I'm talking about. And the corporate rate only went up 2.5 points in the final year.

The Reagan projections were higher than the CBO all 8 years. Sorry, try again.

Not in any appreciable way. Besides, this further points the finger of blame at Democrats who were spending even more than Reagan.

But all the actual heavy lifting involved was done before 1983; There's a not-too-subtle difference between causing something and not screwing it up once it's happened. As for the name-calling, put up or shut up. You've got a whole internet; Find one document showing that Volcker's actions were at Reagan's behest.

Are you suggesting that Reagan was somehow not a supporter of what Volcker was doing? Why did he reappoint him? Why did he appoint someone with a similar view following Volcker? You suggestion somehow that Reagan wasn't advocating these things long before he was in office is totall at odds with history.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:28 PM on July 24, 2001


It's true because it is a value that can vary without any policy changes, making it an inaccurate gauge of policy - which I already stated. And I wasn't using it earlier - your falsehoods continue to stack up.

This is because our tax code is designed to charge people different rates based on myriad factors. This is a measure of what that means on the ground. Until you answer my 2 questions, you have no credibility on this complaint:
What is the relevant metric?
Why did you use it if it wasn't a relevant metric?

So it's pure conjecture that WWII provided that growth that ended the Great Depression, but it's fact that it was FDR's New Deal progams that ended it? And you've proved this how? Oh yeah, you still have yet to provide any evidence.

Actually, it's pure falsehood that 'WWII provided that growth that ended the Great Depression'; The Great Depression was over before we entered WWII. A cause can not precede an effect no matter how much you want it to. Again, a ton of growth immediately coinciding with what you termed a 'destructive' policy is too great a coincidence for me to believe. Your ridiculous idea of proof is why our court system uses a standard of 'reasonable doubt'; I can't prove little green men didn't cause the growth either, but I can reasonably doubt it.
It is a measure of the fantasy world you live in that you believe 2 1/3 times the growth of the president you were lauding is a historical accident, while a mere .7 point annual improvement in economic growth between 2 administrations is proof positive of Reagan's greatness.

If that's so, why did you dive into this thread by complaining about deficit spending? And once again, the tax cut did not contribute to deficit spending - even Reagan's political adversaries acknowledge this.

No they don't; while you may be able to dig up a quote here or there, the general consensus among Democrats is that the tax cuts cost us money. This is ridiculous; you can't effectively argue that they don't so you claim that we believe otherwise. Give me a break.

As for deficit spending being an economic stimulus, it's highly debatable - hardly 'undeniable' by any means.

If you're admitting that it's 'debatable', then I can only assume it must be true. Of course, it stimulates the economy in the same way that maxing out your credit cards makes you richer. You have more money right away, but you have interest payments waiting for you later. This isn't rocket science; people make these kinds of decisions at a personal level every day.

I snipped no 'facts' either.

It's very easy to believe exactly what you want to believe when you get to choose what the 'facts' are.

That's like saying the gold medal runner Olympics did it with a broken toe, so having that broken toe must have been the key to his success, rather than something that hindered his performance. Inflation is a drag on the economy, any economy where it exists - period, regardless of how well that economy is performing over any period.

You know generally people first look at the facts and then form theories based on them rather than coming up with a theory and throwing out all the facts that don't fit them. Of course, if 40 straight olympians won 40 gold medals with 40 broken toes, I would fully support that theory. Until that happens, your argument is specious.

Talk about splitting hairs. He's not stupid, just not intelligent. Great.

Not not intelligent either, just least intelligent. I don't see you putting up a factual argument to this one.

Right, the whopping increase to 3% in 1967. Hardly significant. The real inflation only started when LBJ started up his Great Society programs, again undermining your argument.

The 5 years following the tax cuts were 1965-1970. Notwithstanding your wild accusation, inflation was a significant factor in that period.

The rate for individuals was 25% for the entire period I'm talking about. And the corporate rate only went up 2.5 points in the final year.

Again, the 5 years following the tax cuts were 1965-1970. Go back and check your facts on this one.

Not in any appreciable way. Besides, this further points the finger of blame at Democrats who were spending even more than Reagan.

I was talking about economic growth projections, not revenue or budget projections; Since lower economic growth increases the budget, the effect of optimistic projections is the opposite of your claim.

Are you suggesting that Reagan was somehow not a supporter of what Volcker was doing? Why did he reappoint him? Why did he appoint someone with a similar view following Volcker? You suggestion somehow that Reagan wasn't advocating these things long before he was in office is totall at odds with history.

Hell, lj, you might have been advocating what he was doing back then. The only 'advocate' that matters is Volcker, since he's the one who controlled the interest rates. As we go on lj, you're offering up more wild allegations and fewer solid facts; it's not a pretty trend.
posted by boaz at 6:09 PM on July 24, 2001


Actually, it's pure falsehood that 'WWII provided that growth that ended the Great Depression'; The Great Depression was over before we entered WWII.

Sure, it's a pure falsehood that the massive increase in manufacturing demand as a result of the war did not help to mitigate the continued economic weakness due to the late 1920's tariff wars and worldwide monetary mismanagement. OK.

It is a measure of the fantasy world you live in that you believe 2 1/3 times the growth of the president you were lauding is a historical accident, while a mere .7 point annual improvement in economic growth between 2 administrations is proof positive of Reagan's greatness.

When you actually cite some connection between FDR's New Deal policies and the growth you're talking about, we can debate this. As you haven't done so, we are at an impasse. As for Reagan, I already pointed out why his policies provided a positive influence on the economy.

No they don't; while you may be able to dig up a quote here or there, the general consensus among Democrats is that the tax cuts cost us money.

As I've already pointed out, revenue grew during the Reagan administration - your repeated mantra that the tax cuts cost us money flies in the face of facts.

Of course, it stimulates the economy in the same way that maxing out your credit cards makes you richer. You have more money right away, but you have interest payments waiting for you later. This isn't rocket science; people make these kinds of decisions at a personal level every day.

I wasn't the one advocating deficit spending, you were, in an obvious contradiction of your earlier position. And like credit card spending, you won't find many people who actually believe it's a good thing.

It's very easy to believe exactly what you want to believe when you get to choose what the 'facts' are.

You have yet to come up with any relevant facts. If you choose to believe I 'snipped' something, be my guest, but you're wrong.

Of course, if 40 straight olympians won 40 gold medals with 40 broken toes, I would fully support that theory.

Yes, you probably would. You are apparently determined to shape the data to suit your argument without any actual evidence, including when your argument is contrary to logic. Inflation provides no economic benefit, and for you to continue to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.

Not not intelligent either, just least intelligent. I don't see you putting up a factual argument to this one.

Since your argument consists of "those with whom I disagree are stupid" there really is little point in even bothering.

The 5 years following the tax cuts were 1965-1970. Notwithstanding your wild accusation, inflation was a significant factor in that period.

The relevant period is 1964 - 1968, and inflation was not a significant factor in that period.

Hell, lj, you might have been advocating what he was doing back then. The only 'advocate' that matters is Volcker, since he's the one who controlled the interest rates.

No, the only advocate that matters is Reagan. It is utterly unreasonable to suggest that Volcker would have embarked on any monetary policy in which the White House did not have full faith. You have yet to produce a single shred of evidence that suggests otherwise.

As we go on lj, you're offering up more wild allegations and fewer solid facts; it's not a pretty trend.

As we go on, you have offered up nothing more than unsubstantiated theories, no relevant facts, and cheap smears.
posted by ljromanoff at 6:37 AM on July 25, 2001


Sure, it's a pure falsehood that the massive increase in manufacturing demand as a result of the war did not help to mitigate the continued economic weakness due to the late 1920's tariff wars and worldwide monetary mismanagement. OK.

Wow. I got you to pull out your American History textbook; I think I deserve a pat on the back. Whoever actually wrote that is entirely correct; what you said originally is still time-warped.

I wasn't the one advocating deficit spending, you were, in an obvious contradiction of your earlier position. And like credit card spending, you won't find many people who actually believe it's a good thing.

I wasn't 'advocating' it; I was merely pointing out that it helps economic growth in the short-term. If there was no upside to deficit spending, it would never happen. And to a politician facing re-election, short-term economic growth seems just fine.

You have yet to come up with any relevant facts. If you choose to believe I 'snipped' something, be my guest, but you're wrong.

If the last 68 years of history are irrelevant, then I don't want to be relevant.

When you actually cite some connection between FDR's New Deal policies and the growth you're talking about, we can debate this. As you haven't done so, we are at an impasse. As for Reagan, I already pointed out why his policies provided a positive influence on the economy.

Again, happy to help you out here. The 'secret' of FDR's explosive growth was the same as of Reagan's growth: deficit spending. By spending more than it took in, the US government injected money into the economy and spurred growth. While WWII provided the economic growth to pay off much of the accumulated debt for FDR, it was the Clinton Administration that provided the growth to start paying off the debt accrued under Reagan. Or would have had we not elected Dubya.

Yes, you probably would. You are apparently determined to shape the data to suit your argument without any actual evidence, including when your argument is contrary to logic. Inflation provides no economic benefit, and for you to continue to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.

That was the shape of the data when I found it. You should consider the case of Galileo; people at the time derided his ideas that the Earth revolved around the Sun and that objects fell at the same rate regardless of weight as illogical. Of course, Galileo had real data rather than speculation and in the end was proved correct.

No, the only advocate that matters is Reagan. It is utterly unreasonable to suggest that Volcker would have embarked on any monetary policy in which the White House did not have full faith. You have yet to produce a single shred of evidence that suggests otherwise.

Fine. Here's what the Federal Reserve itself has to say about it's position:

As it carries out its responsibilities, the Federal Reserve is independent within the government and generally insulated from day-to-day political pressures. On the one hand, the Fed was created by and reports to Congress; its highest officials, the members of the Board of Governors, are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Most of the Fed's earnings are returned to the U.S. Treasury. But the Federal Reserve is, indeed, broadly involved in the nation's political processes because the Fed's basic purpose is to help the nation meet its long-run economic goals, and it must be responsive to the nation's needs as expressed by the public. However, the Federal Reserve was designed to be insulated from short-run political and economic pressures. For example, if the Fed were subject to political influences, political office-holders might try to fulfill campaign promises through monetary policy that is not in the best interests of the nation over the long run. This insulation has several elements: (1) the Fed operates on its own earnings rather than money appropriated by Congress; these earnings come from interest earned on the Fed's portfolio of securities and money received in payment for services provided to financial institutions such as check clearing; (2) the terms of the members of the Board of Governors are long (14 years) and staggered so no one President can pick the entire board; and (3) the Fed is separate from the U.S. Treasury.

You're beating a dead horse on this one; the Federal Reserve was designed to be resistant to political pressures, even Reagan's.
posted by boaz at 4:31 PM on July 25, 2001


Whoever actually wrote that is entirely correct; what you said originally is still time-warped.

Your ability to mistake obvious sarcasm for sincerity is quite remarkable.

I wasn't 'advocating' it; I was merely pointing out that it helps economic growth in the short-term. If there was no upside to deficit spending, it would never happen.

I suppose the upside couldn't be that it is advantageous for Congressmen to funnel as much federal money back to their own districts as possible to assist in their continued elections. Fortunately, a somewhat more responsible viewpoint emerged in the House in 1994.

The 'secret' of FDR's explosive growth was the same as of Reagan's growth: deficit spending. By spending more than it took in, the US government injected money into the economy and spurred growth.

That theory is dependent on the assumption that the money spent by the government is spent on things that improve the economy. Neither the New Deal or the programs that Democrats were funding were actually providing any sort of economic stimulus. The 'secret' of Reagan's growth is more money in the economy by lessening the tax burden on the citizenry and more responsible monetary policy.

While WWII provided the economic growth to pay off much of the accumulated debt for FDR, it was the Clinton Administration that provided the growth to start paying off the debt accrued under Reagan.

Clinton never introduced a balanced budget until he had an opposition party in the House. Had the Democrats remained in control of that body we would still have deficit spending today.

You should consider the case of Galileo; people at the time derided his ideas that the Earth revolved around the Sun and that objects fell at the same rate regardless of weight as illogical.

No one criticized Galileo as illogical, they criticized him for being heretical.

the Federal Reserve was designed to be resistant to political pressures, even Reagan's.

As Volcker and Reagan has a shared monetary philosophy, no 'pressure' was required. Had Reagan not been a supporter of Volcker, he would have been out of his position in 1983, and Volcker knew that. If you really believe that Volcker was somehow acting contrary to Reagan's desires, you believe he was doing so at the cost of his own career and reputation, which is extremely unlikely.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:22 PM on July 25, 2001


Whoever actually wrote that is entirely correct; what you said originally is still time-warped.

Your ability to mistake obvious sarcasm for sincerity is quite remarkable.


Ditto.

I suppose the upside couldn't be that it is advantageous for Congressmen to funnel as much federal money back to their own districts as possible to assist in their continued elections. Fortunately, a somewhat more responsible viewpoint emerged in the House in 1994.

It's of course perfectly possible to balance the budget and still funnel tons of money back to your constituents; we've done that 3 straight years. The fact that the amount being funneled back is greater than the amount being paid in taxes is the important part. That's called deficit spending. I'm glad you agree with me on this; now let's stop arguing.

That theory is dependent on the assumption that the money spent by the government is spent on things that improve the economy. Neither the New Deal or the programs that Democrats were funding were actually providing any sort of economic stimulus. The 'secret' of Reagan's growth is more money in the economy by lessening the tax burden on the citizenry and more responsible monetary policy.

Not true; whenever you pay people to do something, you are providing them with money, which increases the GDP. FDR could have been paying them to carve ice statues in summer and it still would have grown the economy. The growth numbers speak for themselves on this point.
Also, your 'responsible monetary policy' line ignores the huge deficit spending, a decidedly irresponsible monetary policy; something that did not happen can not cause something that did happen.

Clinton never introduced a balanced budget until he had an opposition party in the House. Had the Democrats remained in control of that body we would still have deficit spending today.

Speculation. I assume you'll take me to visit the alternate reality where this actually happened. The fact is that neither party submitted a balanced budget until we had already had one; the growth of '98 was predicted by neither the president's nor congress's budget, both of which had predicted small deficits.

As Volcker and Reagan has a shared monetary philosophy, no 'pressure' was required. Had Reagan not been a supporter of Volcker, he would have been out of his position in 1983, and Volcker knew that. If you really believe that Volcker was somehow acting contrary to Reagan's desires, you believe he was doing so at the cost of his own career and reputation, which is extremely unlikely.

Again, the power to throw someone out after they've already implemented their policy falls directly under the 'not fucking-it-up' rather than 'causing' category; I think it's time for you to supply some proof of your allegations or stop repeating them now.

This interview snippet should put your claim that Volcker is some right-wing supply-sider to rest:

MR. WATTENBERG: Paul, just hold on for one minute, I want to talk to our viewers, we at Think Tank depend on your mail to make our show better. Please do take a moment and send us at email at thinktank@pbs.org.
Paul, there has been so much criticism of the way the government works now, you look back at the last ten years and the general comment has been there's not only this nasty bickering, but there has been gridlock, government doesn't work. And yet first here is this economy booming along. And secondly, you know, when you look back over the last 10 or 20 years, this fuddy-duddy government that does nothing but bicker has deregulated just about the whole damn economy. How bad is it?
MR. VOLCKER: Well, it's hard to argue with success. And in some ways the relative gridlock, the Congress under control of one party, the executive under control of another party, has prevented either side from doing things that might have been damaging, in my view. Republicans don't let the Democrats spend money, and the Democrats don't let the Republicans reduce taxes. The result is a wonderful surplus in the budget, as the economy grows, and it lends a certain stability to things. [italics mine] But, what worries me is there are a lot of things the government has to do, and should do. And just for sheer efficiency, for one thing, there are a lot of social problems, economic problems, environmental problems that I don't think are being dealt with as well as they should be.

So I've got Volcker on my side on this whole tax cuts reduce revenue issue as well. Of course, this interview was from before Dubya became president.
posted by boaz at 7:43 PM on July 25, 2001


It's of course perfectly possible to balance the budget and still funnel tons of money back to your constituents; we've done that 3 straight years

At least the Republican House has been responsible enough to send money back to their districts without spending more than the government receives in tax revenue, unlike the Democrat House.

Not true; whenever you pay people to do something, you are providing them with money, which increases the GDP.

When the government takes money from citizen A and gives it to citizen B without getting anything valuable for that money in the process, it does not increase the GDP.

Speculation.

Accurate speculation. Clinton argued repeatedly for pushing back deficit reduction in plans that wouldn't have balanced the budget until he was out of office for several years. Without the Republican Congress the budget would not have been balanced.

Again, the power to throw someone out after they've already implemented their policy falls directly under the 'not fucking-it-up' rather than 'causing' category; I think it's time for you to supply some proof of your allegations or stop repeating them now.

You're the one alleging that Volcker was solely responsible for the economic recovery of the 1980's without providing any proof. Again, Reagan very easily could have established a different monetary policy for his administration had he chosen to do so; Volcker could have been out 2 years into the Reagan presidency.

So I've got Volcker on my side on this whole tax cuts reduce revenue issue as well.

No you don't, he's arguing in favor of gridlock, not that tax cuts reduce revenue.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:23 AM on July 26, 2001


When the government takes money from citizen A and gives it to citizen B without getting anything valuable for that money in the process, it does not increase the GDP.

Not true. The GDP is a measure of the total income of the American people; government salaries and handouts both count in this calculation. If you don't understand what the GDP is, you're really in no position to argue economics.

You're the one alleging that Volcker was solely responsible for the economic recovery of the 1980's without providing any proof. Again, Reagan very easily could have established a different monetary policy for his administration had he chosen to do so; Volcker could have been out 2 years into the Reagan presidency.

No, I'm the one alleging that Volcker controlled the key interest rates and that he was the one who used that power to lower inflation. Again, I've proved that point; don't claim that I said something else. Again, Reagan could have only kicked him out after he was already done.

No you don't, he's arguing in favor of gridlock, not that tax cuts reduce revenue.

Read that again, lj; He's arguing that Democrat's blocking of possible Republican tax cuts helped to create budget surpluses.

The other two sections are pure speculation and spin-doctoring and unworthy of serious discussion.
posted by boaz at 8:39 AM on July 26, 2001


Not true. The GDP is a measure of the total income of the American people; government salaries and handouts both count in this calculation.

Government handouts provide no new income into the economy, they are purely a wealth transfer. GDP is the total market value of all goods and services produced.

If you don't understand what the GDP is, you're really in no position to argue economics.

You've been confusing interest rates and money supply during our entire exchange, which puts you in no postion to argue economics.

Again, Reagan could have only kicked him out after he was already done.

He wasn't 'done' in 1983. Interest rates and inflation continued to drop through the rest of the Reagan presidency. It is a fallacy to suggest that the economic turnaround was fully accomplished by 1983 and that the other 5 years of the Reagan presidency were economically irrelevant.

He's arguing that Democrat's blocking of possible Republican tax cuts helped to create budget surpluses.

He's arguing that high taxes produce revenue, that's completely obvious. He is not arguing that tax cuts produce a deficit causing drop in revenue. There is a difference.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:20 AM on July 26, 2001


Government handouts provide no new income into the economy, they are purely a wealth transfer. GDP is the total market value of all goods and services produced.

Which would have some relevance if the recipients of government handouts buried them in their backyards; Of course, what really happens is they spend them, which stimulates the economy in exactly the way I said earlier. Of course, it's not wealth transfer if they raise the money by borrowing instead of taxing.

You've been confusing interest rates and money supply during our entire exchange, which puts you in no postion to argue economics.

Huh? Some context please.

He wasn't 'done' in 1983. Interest rates and inflation continued to drop through the rest of the Reagan presidency. It is a fallacy to suggest that the economic turnaround was fully accomplished by 1983 and that the other 5 years of the Reagan presidency were economically irrelevant.

Inflation rate drop from 79-83: 8.1 points
Inflation rate drop from 83-87: -.4 points <-- a rise
Not true; not accurate; not representative of my position.

He's arguing that high taxes produce revenue, that's completely obvious. He is not arguing that tax cuts produce a deficit causing drop in revenue. There is a difference.

This is completely incoherent; all taxes, high or low, produce revenue and the deficit mention is a nonsequitor. So, lj, do tax cuts produce a drop in revenue?
posted by boaz at 9:53 AM on July 26, 2001


Which would have some relevance if the recipients of government handouts buried them in their backyards; Of course, what really happens is they spend them

But those funds would have been spent anyway. The government moving them from one person to another doesn't produce any growth.

Inflation rate drop from 79-83: 8.1 points
Inflation rate drop from 83-87: -.4 points


Interest rates:

1981 19.440
1982 15.960
1983 11.220
1984 12.110
1985 10.600
1986 10.550
1987 9.560
1988 10.740

Inflation:

1981 10.32
1982 6.16
1983 3.21
1984 4.32
1985 3.56
1986 1.86
1987 3.65
1988 4.14

Them numbers show clearly that the economic recovery period lasted well past 1983. Hardly 'done' as you suggest.

So, lj, do tax cuts produce a drop in revenue?

It depends on the circumstances. In the case of the 1980's cuts, no.
posted by ljromanoff at 10:19 AM on July 26, 2001


Them numbers

Typo (a funny one, though). Should be 'The numbers'.
posted by ljromanoff at 10:21 AM on July 26, 2001


But those funds would have been spent anyway. The government moving them from one person to another doesn't produce any growth.

Again, if it's borrowed money rather than taxed money, it's not money that would have been spent anyway. My point has only been about deficit spending all along.

The numbers show clearly that the economic recovery period lasted well past 1983. Hardly 'done' as you suggest.

'lasted'??; it didn't start until almost 1983. Again, I am perfectly willing to admit these numbers represent something Reagan 'did not fuck up' by reappointing Volcker (and Greenspan too), an interpretation perfectly illustrated by the numbers you posted.

It depends on the circumstances. In the case of the 1980's cuts, no.

Again, only based on your faulty comparison to 0% economic growth. Absolute revenue growth in a period does not prove there was no loss of revenue. Also, I wouldn't be the least bit bitter about any of this if we would take the effects of our growth now and use it to pay back (a large portion of) the debt, but I don't see a politician in either party willing to commit to that. Volcker's analysis of the two competing forces conspiring against this happening is spot-on. Thank god we're back to gridlock again.
posted by boaz at 11:14 AM on July 26, 2001


Again, if it's borrowed money rather than taxed money, it's not money that would have been spent anyway. My point has only been about deficit spending all along.

Regardless, if the distributed borrowed money does not produce a good or service, it doesn't contribute to GDP. And besides, you assume that the money the government borrows would not otherwise be borrowed by someone else and used for purposes that would produce GDP-enhancing goods and services.

'lasted'??; it didn't start until almost 1983. Again, I am perfectly willing to admit these numbers represent something Reagan 'did not fuck up' by reappointing Volcker (and Greenspan too), an interpretation perfectly illustrated by the numbers you posted.

The point is that 'did not fuck up' is hardly giving Reagan enough credit.

Again, only based on your faulty comparison to 0% economic growth. Absolute revenue growth in a period does not prove there was no loss of revenue.

No, the fact that there was absolute revenue growth is proof that the 1980's cuts did not produce a drop in revenue, period. A 24% increase is not a loss.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:44 AM on July 26, 2001


Regardless, if the distributed borrowed money does not produce a good or service, it doesn't contribute to GDP. And besides, you assume that the money the government borrows would not otherwise be borrowed by someone else and used for purposes that would produce GDP-enhancing goods and services.

If the money is used to buy goods or services, it creates demand, which in turn spurs the further production of goods & services. As for your second point, you are correct; that was a major problem with the Reagan tax cut, but since the New Deal social programs were targeted towards people without enough credit to borrow, it is irrelevant to your argument.

The point is that 'did not fuck up' is hardly giving Reagan enough credit

Again, when you're willing to provide some evidence of this, i'll concede the point; until then, senseless repetition of your speculation does not help your case.

No, the fact that there was absolute revenue growth is proof that the 1980's cuts did not produce a drop in revenue, period. A 24% increase is not a loss.

We've been over this before. If you want to continue discussing this, please have the courtesy to pick up where we left off rather than starting from scratch.
posted by boaz at 8:43 AM on July 27, 2001


If the money is used to buy goods or services, it creates demand

True, but the distribution itself creates no demand. Furthermore, the transfer is inefficient, thereby destroying wealth. And generally, the transfer goes from more economically productive to less so, meaning that the money likely would have been better invested or capitalized had it not been transferred.

As for your second point, you are correct; that was a major problem with the Reagan tax cut, but since the New Deal social programs were targeted towards people without enough credit to borrow, it is irrelevant to your argument.

But the government is borrowing money that might otherwise have been borrowed by individuals or groups WITH credit. As there is not an infinite amount of money, the money that is made available to lend to the government is unavailable for someone else to borrow.

Again, when you're willing to provide some evidence of this, i'll concede the point; until then, senseless repetition of your speculation does not help your case.

Since you're the only laying all the credit on Volcker, you're the one with the burden of evidence - which you have not yet provided. You claim that Volcker's 'job was done' by 1983, when in fact the economic recovery lasted long afterward. You claim that Reagan 'did not fuck up' when Volcker was adhering to Reagan policy positions the entire time he was Fed Chairman. You suggest that Reagan simply had the good fortune to have Volcker as Fed Chairman, when Reagan was responsible for his reappointment and appointed a man with similar views in 1987. To suggest that the prime mover of the monetary policy shift in Washington in the 1980's was Volcker and not Reagan is to have it exactly backwards.

A 24% increase is not a loss.

We've been over this before.


Yes we have. If you wish to continue holding the illogical position that 24% growth is in fact a 'loss', I feel obligated to continue to point out that you're wrong.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:12 AM on July 27, 2001


Since you have run out of new points to raise, and that you have rather decided to repeat yourself endlessly, I feel this is a good point for me to exit.
Have a good summer and maybe I'll see you in another thread here.
posted by boaz at 3:56 PM on July 27, 2001


Since you have run out of new points to raise, and that you have rather decided to repeat yourself endlessly

The truth does not grow tiresome no matter how often it is spoken.

I feel this is a good point for me to exit.
Have a good summer and maybe I'll see you in another thread here.


You have a good summer, too. See you at MetaFilter!
posted by ljromanoff at 3:04 PM on July 29, 2001


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