Patterico's Pontifications


(Stupid) Post of the Day

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:39 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Steve Benen (who took over Political Animal from Kevin Drum) explains that the Tea Party agenda is nothing less than a plot to destroy the United States:

NONE DARE CALL IT SABOTAGE…. Consider a thought experiment. Imagine you actively disliked the United States, and wanted to deliberately undermine its economy. What kind of positions would you take to do the most damage?

You might start with rejecting the advice of economists and oppose any kind of stimulus investments. You’d also want to cut spending and take money out of the economy, while blocking funds to states and municipalities, forcing them to lay off more workers. You’d no doubt want to cut off stimulative unemployment benefits, and identify the single most effective jobs program of the last two years (the TANF Emergency Fund) so you could kill it.

You might then take steps to stop the Federal Reserve from trying to lower the unemployment rate. You’d also no doubt want to create massive economic uncertainty by vowing to gut the national health care system, promising to re-write the rules overseeing the financial industry, vowing re-write business regulations in general, considering a government shutdown, and even weighing the possibly of sending the United States into default.

You might want to cover your tracks a bit, and say you have an economic plan that would help — a tax policy that’s already been tried — but you’d do so knowing that such a plan has already proven not to work.

Does any of this sound familiar?

(It goes on, but you get the idea.)

Yeah, there is a reason none, or at least very few people, dare call it sabotage.  Because it is so stupid.

I mean two could play this game.  Suppose you wanted to destroy the American economy—or better yet, America itself.  Well, first you would run up massive debt, putting us in hock with countries that hate us, like China.  Then in order to pay for that debt, we start printing money driving inflation through the roof.  And what does that debt pay for?  Jobs programs that don’t actually create jobs with any efficiency.  So you got millions in debt, nothing to pay for it.  And then you raise taxes, including on the most wealthy and most mobile members of society.  You put in a thousand regulations.  You put in a health care bill that will drive up the deficit even further, lying to the CBO about your budgetary intentions in order to claim it is deficit neutral, throwing people out of their insurance and threatening the entire insurance industry with bankruptcy.  You sit with your thumb up your @$$ while the gulf coast is coated in oil and even prevent individual state governors from helping themselves during the crisis and refuse the help of foreign nations.  Then based on the spill that you actively made worse, you misrepresent the views of scientists and experts to impose a disastrous moratorium on drilling, making us even more dependent on foreign oil.  You needlessly insult strong allies, do nothing about a growing Iranian nuclear threat, refuse to support democracy in that country. and bow to the King of Saudi Arabia, the Emperor of Japan and even the mayor of Tampa, I guess because she is Asian.  You then signal surrender in two foreign wars where the casualties are historically a pittance, and then you claim some sort of major triumph in getting Russia to agree not to nuke us.

Does any of that sound familiar?

The difference between your paranoid fantasy, Benen, and mine, is the policies I have described are mostly not proposals, but actual things Obama has done for the last two years, with results we don’t have to generally speculate about because we are living with them now.  And so it really is a question of is Obama doing all this on purpose, or is he really that incompetent?

I mean if keeping spending low, debt low, taxes low, regulations low is an act of deliberate sabotage, then OMG!  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and so on were all engaged in deliberate attempts to destroy America!

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]


  1. America is already pro-actively devaluing its currency.

    This while multitudes of savings-deficient boomers hang poised on the cusp of retirement.

    I don’t think Mr. Benen is taking a particularly clear-eyed look at the deep deep trouble our little country is in.

    Comment by happyfeet (42fd61) — 11/21/2010 @ 8:46 am

  2. Wash Monthly has really gone off the rails since Kevin Drum left. Benen has another thread about how Republicans are stupid not to realize global warming is a crisis. I posted a comment about the Climategate e-mails and the little ice age. It has been deleted, of course. The number of comments on that site are a third of what they were when Drum was the blogger. You can post your own opinions and then delete any argument but it tends to make for a dull blog.

    Benen is far more extreme than Drum was (Who is now at Mother Jones) because Drum, while a lefty, will entertain other opinions.

    Comment by Mike K (568408) — 11/21/2010 @ 9:02 am

  3. I always enjoy it when libs who have never held real jobs or jobs with profit and loss responsibility pontificate on how the economy works. Endlessly entertaining. See Krugman, for example, he usually contradicts himself within weeks or months of putting out a column.

    Comment by daleyrocks (940075) — 11/21/2010 @ 9:09 am

  4. we start printing money driving inflation through the roof

    Yeah. This hasn’t happened yet and there’s no reason to think it will happen.

    Please read this:

    Comment by AJB (d64738) — 11/21/2010 @ 9:12 am

  5. It’s funny…I take a dim view of those who ascribe an “intentionally destroying the country” conspiracy interpretation of Obambi’s motives and behavior. I think he’s certainly helping carry us all down a path of diminishing returns, but the ball was already rolling, and frankly the main reasons it got rolling in the first place were predicted by the founding fathers and why they wanted a representative republic instead of a ‘democracy’ in the first place. Rather than believing in a second shooter, I’m more of the mind he’s doing it out of misguided idealism born of an affirmative-action upbringing, because he’s too focused on his own self-aggrandizement to realize all his petty spiteful attacks and Anti-American mantras have consequences, all topped off with a large dose of outright, incompetent cowardice in the face of subjects beyond his capacity (voting ‘present’ and letting cannier and far more subversive operators to use him).

    I never really thought one could create an equivalent meme about the conservative side, outside of the whole anti-science/religious fundamentalist wingnut/parochial racists canard.

    So in some crazy way…Benen is actually a genius to come up with that masterful of a fantasy world. I wonder if he and Nancy are next door neighbors?

    Comment by rtrski (033232) — 11/21/2010 @ 9:31 am

  6. AJB,
    The whole idea behind QE2 is to inflate the money supply, because the Fed thinks inflation is too low.

    Please read this. (3rd graf).

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90) — 11/21/2010 @ 9:32 am

  7. AJB,

    That Dean Baker article you linked to is comical in its obtuseness. Baker hasn’t a clue about what put the U.S. into recession, so it’s not surprising that his remedy is wrong:

    This is important background—because the economy’s current problem has nothing, zero, nada to do with deficits. Its problem is a lack of demand. If there were more demand, more people would be employed. The government is the only force capable of creating demand right now, since the housing bubble wealth that had been fueling the economy has largely disappeared. This means that if our commission co-chairs had ever bothered to look at the current deficit in the context of the economic crisis, they would be complaining that the deficit is too small rather than too large.

    And why is there a lack of demand, pray tell? Because consumers and companies went wildly over their heads into debt. So Baker wants to cure a debt-caused recession by adding on still more debt to the taxpayers with “creating demand” that’s not naturally there. That’s really brilliant. And Baker has the nerve to claims others are ignorant of basic economics!

    Recessions perform a useful function; they eliminate the economic distortions of the preceding bubble. People and companies pay down debts, and put the money they spend into things that are provably productive or necessary. Prices of commercial and residential real estate come back to earth, so that economic growth can resume on a more rational basis. Government stimulus can at best provide a temporary boost, but it works best when debt is low. When an economy is in hock up to its eyeballs, not so much.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90) — 11/21/2010 @ 9:43 am

  8. Steve Benen (who took over Political Animal from Kevin Drum) explains that the Tea Party agenda is nothing less than a plot to destroy the United States:

    Benen’s brain: “As for our wonderful, magnificent, heroic president’s former pastor proclaiming “Goddamn America!”? He was either misunderstood, misquoted, or, yes, America sometimes deserves a bit of heat and repudiation. After all, this nation can be guilty of racism, imperialism, xenophobia, homophobia…”

    Comment by Mark (3e3a7c) — 11/21/2010 @ 10:17 am

  9. He’s another S Florida import, like Sanchez and Maggie Rodriguez, a former Clinton speechwriter, and
    member of American for Separation of Church and State, what could possibly go wrong

    Comment by narciso (82637e) — 11/21/2010 @ 10:25 am

  10. It’s truly a crisis in the country when ordinary citizens (I think the appropriate term is “the great unwashed”) crawl out from their ranch-style suburban homes and reject the sage advice of the Ivy League-educated coastal elites. These Tea Partiers are just way too dumb to see the many great things that the stimulus package and the health care plan have done for us. It’s bad enough that we should strip influence from a committed and caring patriot like Nancy Pelosi, but we shouldn’t dare to go against the deep wisdom of Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, and Ben Bernanke. Just ask Tom Friedman, participatory democracy is a real handicap.

    Comment by JVW (9bed62) — 11/21/2010 @ 10:36 am

  11. Benen’s argument could be generated by a turn-the-tables projection machine. Sort of like flipping an image left-for-right with Adobe Photoshop.

    Comment by melanerpes (4e3d81) — 11/21/2010 @ 10:55 am

  12. I guess this is what the Left calls a “voice of reason.” I bet he stood behind Bush in Iraq, too.

    Comment by Kevin M (298030) — 11/21/2010 @ 10:56 am

  13. The projection is worse than you think: once they are done with these fevered imaginations of what the evil Rethuglicans are doing, they will pretty quickly use these hallucinations as justification for their own acts.

    (e.g. “Well, Bush wanted to put all the gays in extermination camps, so it’s OK if we do the same to rich people.”)

    Comment by Kevin M (298030) — 11/21/2010 @ 10:59 am

  14. this article proves, once again, that you can’t fix stupid: you can only mock it mercilessly.

    Comment by redc1c4 (fb8750) — 11/21/2010 @ 11:16 am

  15. And why is there a lack of demand, pray tell? Because consumers and companies went wildly over their heads into debt. So Baker wants to cure a debt-caused recession by adding on still more debt to the taxpayers with “creating demand” that’s not naturally there. That’s really brilliant. And Baker has the nerve to claims others are ignorant of basic economics!

    True to some extent, but I think it’s more complicated than that. Since I work in retail, I get to see it up close, as distorted by local conditions (most importantly, a foreclosure rate and unemployment rate that are both above the national average). People were cutting back on debt as much as three or four years ago; the housing bust merely accelerated that. Why they are not spending now is lack of work, or being afraid that they won’t have work; and my company has cut back on inventory and future orders because it believes spending won’t increase that much in the next few months. Individuals reducing their debt is part of it, but a considerably greater part is individuals not wanting to increase their debt beyond a manageable level (by which I mean, not being sure they will have the level of income in the future needed to pay it off).

    Comment by kishnevi (2b3e28) — 11/21/2010 @ 11:30 am

  16. You can always tell when the Republicans are making Democrats nervous. Their rants increase in intensity, irrationality and nastiness. Not to mention outright lies and misrepresentations. Just look at what they’re saying about Sarah Palin.

    Comment by jwarner (a6daed) — 11/21/2010 @ 12:46 pm

  17. I think that the best that can be said about Mr. Benen, as can be said for so many of his contemporaries in his melieu,
    is that he is credentialed, not edjumahkated!

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (1f4eec) — 11/21/2010 @ 1:16 pm

  18. “Imagine you actively disliked the United States, and wanted to deliberately undermine its economy. What kind of positions would you take to do the most damage?”

    I’d take a look at what the Democrats have done in America over the last 150 years (they turned the South into a basket case…and kept it that way for decades), and what communist state directed economies did all over the world in the 20th century (same as the Dems…only more so).

    Or else, I’d just cut to the chase and look at what this Democrat idiot, Obama, and his pals are doing now.

    State directed economies don’t work. Not ever. Democrat policies don’t create prosperity. Not ever.

    What works is the kind of laissez-faire approach the Republicans had when they ran America from 1860 through 1933. That’s when America became, by far, the richest country in the world. Also, the freest…except in places run by the Democrats, of course.

    Comment by Dave Surls (9a00df) — 11/21/2010 @ 1:58 pm

  19. Well, for the leftist, dismantling socialism is “Destroying America” as he wants it to be.

    Comment by SGT Ted (5d10ae) — 11/21/2010 @ 2:40 pm

  20. AJB, why is it that you so boldly demonstrate your own ignorance of current affairs while pretending to correct others?


    Why do you pretend to lecture others who are in fact more informed than you?

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 11/21/2010 @ 3:39 pm

  21. This is what GOP policies have done … a decrease of growth and a rising debt.

    The numbers don’t lie.

    Comment by ajb (c2ddff) — 11/21/2010 @ 4:18 pm

  22. Just for the record, just read a post on the Benen article at Hot Air that uses the ‘grassy knoll’ analogy for comic value like I did. Posted at 4:05 pm, so whatever time zone he or she is in (assuming the US)…I was first. :P

    Nah, it’s not that far of a stretch to go from “wacky conspiracy talk” to “second shooter” or “grassy knoll”.

    Comment by rtrski (033232) — 11/21/2010 @ 6:45 pm

  23. “Imagine you actively disliked the United States, and wanted to deliberately undermine its economy. What kind of positions would you take to do the most damage?”

    Um, “attack capitalism”

    Comment by Kevin M (298030) — 11/21/2010 @ 8:05 pm

  24. Steve Benen is one of the most disingenuous liberal bloggers ever. He’s a leftist shill and a liar. He will write whatver he is told to write and cash his checks with glee.

    His projection is maddening and would be a textbook example for any undergrad psych major looking for a thesis topic.

    The only thing more sad than Benen are the small group of regular commentators over at Benen’s blog.

    Comment by Macgruber (7cefeb) — 11/22/2010 @ 6:43 am

  25. This is what GOP policies have done … a decrease of growth and a rising debt.

    The linked article attributes the growth bust to Bush’s tax cuts using a 5 year average growth barchart graph, as opposed to a regular graph showing continual changes. Gee I wonder why it does that. The last of the 5 year periods 2006-2010, where growth takes a dive, includes the housing bust. As the FIRST article you linked to correctly states:

    We got here because of the bursting of an $8 trillion housing bubble.

    You actually attribute the housing bubble/bust to Bush’s tax cuts I guess.

    The 2001-2005 period shown shows a slight deceleration in growth, but that includes two and half years before Bush’s tax cut, a period which included a recession.

    If the author used a 5 year barchart starting at the date of the tax cut, it would show something a lot different. As I said there’s no reason to use 5 year barcharts at all, unless you’re trying to be misleading, which he is.

    Comment by Gerald A (a8f004) — 11/22/2010 @ 7:38 am

  26. This argument, that the right is out to destroy the economy by crushing spending, may keep Obie’s base from mass desertions.

    Otherwise, it won’t help the weak-kneed GOP or Congressional Dims.

    Comment by gary gulrud (790d43) — 11/22/2010 @ 8:05 am

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