Sunday, July 13, 2014

Jack Kelly vs (un-named) regulation

Today Jack Kelly takes on ... regulations: "Jack Kelly / The high cost of regulations Congress should suspend all regs imposed since 2000 and assess whether they've been worthwhile".

I suppose this is supposed to be a populist thing, but I find Kelly blaming all of our economic ills on regulations, with no better than a partisan jab at the increasing income gap, to be entirely unconvincing. Below is the comment I made on the online PG.

Jack Kelly fails to name one example of a regulation he would see eliminated. That in and of itself should raise red flags.

In the last thirty five or so years, there has been steady and even somewhat spectacular productivity growth. But wages at the median, adjusted for inflation, have stagnated. Women have gone to work, families have maxed out first credit cards and then the excess value in their homes in an effort to keep up a middle class standard of living and now those who still have jobs after the great recession started on President's Bush's watch are cutting way back on spending. That strikes me as equally or maybe a more plausible explanation for the slow down in the economy as regulations. But the question is why wages are not keeping pace with increases in productivity, why the increases are going almost entirely to the people at the top, why the wealth is not, as conservatives/Republicans repeatedly reference, "trickling down".

Conservatives only bring this issue up during the Presidency of a Democrat, and always act as if it started at the beginning of the Democrats Presidency. In Obama's case, George Bush left him a ruined economy, totally mishandled by the Bush administration and the Republican Congress of January 2003 to December of 2006. The current gridlock caused by Republicans in Congress has stymied all efforts to improve the economy.

Blaming regulations for problems started in the Reagan administration with anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-union and anti-middle class policies that were all designed to concentrate income and wealth in the hands of the 1% is the height of disingenuous commentary. .

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Jack Kelly is still a populist??? although I confess he is not wrong about Democrats corruption

So today Jack Kelly is still on the populist horse, with this column "Jack Kelly / Regulations for the rich Crony capitalism infects Washington, especially Democrats" He points out all sorts of shifty things Democrats do, and I have to say I don't think he is wrong, at least about a lot of them. Still, I think there remains ideological difference between the parties. Now, are the Democrats as agressive about going after Wall Street as I would like? Nope, but they do still vote to keep food stamps (usually) and for women's reproductive rights (unless they are Catholic or some such thing). It's a pain being a liberal Democrat in this day and age, but it would be more embarrassing to be Republican. Here's my comment about Mr Kelly's column, first published on the PG online.

OK, first of all, the funny thing is how conservatives go from calling Democrats wannabe Communists and/or Socialists (If Socialism can be stretched to include Social Security and/or Medicare as socialist programs, then the word is becoming nearly meaningless) to "Crony Capitalists". I thought Democrats hate capitalism, according to conservatives and Republicans.

But I will say on one line of thought, I actually agree with Jack Kelly. The Democrats are pretty corrupt now. I mean, conservatives thought they caught Harry Reid red-handed in something with the Cliven Bundy thing (and solar somethings, yada yada). Of course they didn't, but I will say they did shed some (more) light on Reid's corrupt escapades in Nevada. And as far as I can see Nancy Pelosi and the majority of other Democrats in Congress are much the same as Reid, to varying degrees.

The thing, in this regard I see no reason to think Congressional Republicans are any better than Democrats. If I am being honest, I believe the number of relatively uncorrupted members of Congress from either party is probably in the single digits. I think that is an unpleasant fact of life we have to deal with.

That said, I will that the difference between the parties that I see is that Democrats of all stripes and ethical inclinations can be persuaded to come together to vote for measures that protect and aid the poor and disenfranchised. Now, that use to be true of some more moderate members of the Republican party as well, but seemingly that ended maybe 35 years or more ago.

See, I could respect the Tea Party as a movement. If the rural poor don't want government aid, I am sure some accommodation could be made. But if Tea Party members really are poor, there is not much that can be done for them in terms of the federal income tax, they probably aren't paying it and in fact are probably getting refunds. So the Taxed Enough Already thing doesn't apply to them, at least on the federal level.

And if the Tea Party people are middle class or rich, what are you complaining about? Living in this country has been good to you. You are pretending you are suffering, while the unemployed and poor in this country really are suffering? This faux populism thing is just kind of insulting to the real poor.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Short reply to Jakc Kelly today

I had a short reply to Jack Kelly today: Jack Kelly: Tea Party tea leaves: Liberals delude themselves about the uprising on the right, although I tackled several other comments and/or replies:

"Democrats soon may regret having turned a deaf ear."

Jack Kelly once again predicts the coming triumph of the Tea Party (and/or the Republican party). How are President's McCain/Palin/Allen West/Bobby Jindal/Romney working out?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Jack Kelly 6/23/14

I commented on the PG online site on Sunday's Jack Kelly column "Jack Kelly: They're hushing up Khattala. He might be able to reveal how Obama ended up arming extremists". What I said is copied below.

A few months or more ago I raised, on these comment threads, a particular issue about Benghazi (or more accurately repeated that others has raised it); I asked about what the CIA's role in the whole thing was. To a person, conservatives here on these threads accused me of trying to protect a lying President by distracting from those lies. Then today I read this in Jack Kelly's column: "We don’t know what CIA operatives at the Benghazi annex were doing. We do know extraordinary measures have been taken to keep them from talking about it."

Sorry Jack, you are how many yeas too late to the party. The Obama administration got the guy responsible for Benghazi. If you want to say that he could tell conservatives about the Obama administration doing an "ran-Contra scandal on steroids" but you don't think it will happen unless he is released into the custody of Fox News, you go right on and say that.

Apparently he will be a defendant in an ordinary criminal trial, so what he says will be a matter a public record. Now why we couldn't have captured rather than executed bin Laden and done this is beyond me, but this time the Obama administration is trying something new. So I am sure Khattala will have the opportunity to chat bout "ran-Contra scandal on steroids" if he so chooses.

Past my initial comment is a "lively" back and forth between me and a conservative commenter.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Jack Kelly column 6/15/14 redux

UPDATE 6/16/14: All of the long comments (including mine) criticizing this Sunday's Jack Kelly column have disappeared from the PG site. This doesn't happen with Reg Henry, Dan Simpson or Tony Norman. My only assumption has to be that Jack Kelly himself ordered them removed. How incredibly insecure the man must be to not be able to face any criticism

Sunday, June 15, 2014

And from no where - I post again.

UPDATE 6/16/14: All of the long comments (including mine) criticizing Jack Kelly have disappeared from the PG site. This doesn't happen with Reg Henry, Dan Simpson or Tony Norman. My only assumption has to be that Jack Kelly himself ordered them removed. How incredibly insecure the man must be to not be able to face any criticism.

So today Jack Kelly ruminates about the Brat win/Cantor loss Jack Kelly: Cantor ran to serve the elites - Dave Brat’s populist message may scare Hillary. It is an interesting topic, but what I find even more interesting is the Kelly embraces an anti big business spin. How long does he think th e Tea Party would survive he their billionaire sponsors abandoned them? But of course I am just jesting, the billionaires and the Tea Party love each other, and the billionaires think it is cute when the Tea Party rails against them. Below is a comment I posted on the PG website:

This column is an interesting swerve into fantasy land for Jack Kelly. He is, as ever, always willing to sing the praises of the latest flash in the pan for conservatives/the Tea Party, and there is a long list. Michael Steele, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin (ever his favorite), and more recently Allan West and Ben Carson. I am surprised Kelly didn't suggest a Presidential run for David Brat yet.

But I expect that the fact Brat is an economics professor totally (if only secretly) delights Tea Party members and their slavish supporters like Kelly. I mean, among the Tea Party's principles is a rejection of any sort of expert.. but they mean the other experts. It's OK as long as their expert says the right things (an unregulated free market doesn't need a minimum wage, oh and by the way illegal immigration depresses the wages of actual Americans - I paraphrase his remarks). If he admires Ayn Rand and copies Ludwig Von Mies, he is in. As ever, it doesn't matter if reality backs up Dr Brat's remarks, there will always be some data that can and already has been distorted to produce a study or two to support his ideas, and other pet economists to oppose the sea of howls of derision from the mainstream. And Jack Kelly will be there to unquestioningly repeat Brat's rhetoric.

To me the really interesting thing is Kelly's brief attack on big business. Back in the nineties Pat Buchanan tried a similar thing, tapping into rural populist anger before the Tea Party was a gleam in the Koch brothers eyes. During another Democrat's Presidency (to the extent Clinton was not a DINO) Buchanan went after (believe it or not) income inequality. This surprisingly anti-big business (at its core) message garnered some support, although the culmination of Buchanan's efforts might have been his position on Florida's infamous "butterfly" ballot in 2000, where even Buchanan admits he siphoned off some of Gore's votes.

It is just funny how Republicans know they can "say" anything they want and still take big business for granted. It that respect (alone) I can see a comparison between a naive Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) and David Brat. As one junior member in the House of Representatives, he can say anything he wants, but will be unable to get any legislation passed (not even for Virginia land for the "Boy Rangers" or for legislation on shutting down immigration). The one percent will encourage his rhetoric, even as it encourages conservatives to say the majority of the one percent is made up of athletes and Hollywood. They get a laugh out of that in the club every time.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Jack Kelly on Obamacare, even though I write about the media

This is, as is my habit, a copy of a comment I put on today's Jack Kelly column Jack Kelly: The coming tsunami - Democrats would be wise to bail out on Obamacare .

The irony of this column is that Jack Kelly may not be wrong about the Democrats taking a pounding in the coming midterms, but it has little to do with any failings of the ACA. The irony is that Republicans/conservatives are really good at appearing to be victims of a vast left wing conspiracy that of course does not exist. But there is a solid fraction of the population that always loves a good conspiracy theory, and of course also the huge majority of the population that doesn't care about politics (and doesn't read Jack Kelly), but can be scared into voting certain ways.

The reason this is ironic is that Jack Kelly constantly talks about how ALL the media is liberal and in bed with the Democrats, faithfully reporting everything the Democrats want them to verbatim. Actually, the media pretty much reports most things most politicians (whether Democrat or Republican) say. but the news media is good at sniffing out more sensational stories. Stories about how SNAP (food stamps) is helping keep people from going hungry are nice and worth a few seconds on the TV news. but stories of food stamp fraud will play so much better, just like stories of investigations into murdered diplomats (how high does it go? Who knew what and when? Were they watching the murders on TX?) and stories of how the government health program is killing people will get so many more viewers. And it is pretty obvious no proof is needed, as long as there is an accusation from a Congress person, it will make the air.

All these accusations of welfare and healthcare fraud and abuse that we hear now, does anyone ever wonder why we didn't hear them from January of 2001 through December of 2008? Sorry, I guess that is a rhetorical question.

But the fact is that Republicans/conservatives are far better at getting their stories out into both the conservative and the mainstream media. Even the liberal media (such as it is) dutifully reports on conservative stories, if only to pick them apart.

We all know that 85% of us are covered by health insurance at work, so the stories of skyrocketing premiums are only about the remaining 15%. Yes, some corporations with lots of minimum wage employees are cutting hours to avoid insuring their employees, but rather than blame the greed of the companies and their stock holders (who are overwhelming part of the 1%), Republicans screech that this is the fault of the ACA (and the media dutifully repeats every word). But the scope of the individual market for healthcare is relatively small, yet again Republicans are able to frighten huge masses of voters into thinking the ACA is going to take away their employer provided health care.

I keep reading conservatives saying that the United States is being destroyed by Barack Obama, and giving us all these untrue reason why. Perhaps the United States is being destroyed, but I think it is because of all the conservative lies that permeate the media.