Although you can hardly turn on Fox News these days without hearing about the hosts’ oh-so-deep concern over “accountability” and honesty in the Affordable Care Act, that same concern vanishes now that the discredited slimebucket, James O’Keefe, has resurfaced with another selectively edited, gotcha video. This one’s about ObamaCare navigators. It’s proof, in case you needed any, that Fox News only cares about “accountability” from Democrats or liberals.
To refresh your memory, this is how I described O’Keefe in a previous post after he was accused of harassing a woman named Nadia Naffe:
He’s already been arrested when he was caught trying to improperly gain access to Senator Mary Landrieu’s telephones. He was caught trying to seduce and humiliate then-CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau. He was punked to accept crackpipe money and in an effort to uncover voter fraud, he likely committed it himself. Now Mediaite is reporting that a woman named Nadia Naffe has started a series of blog posts about O’Keefe called, “My Time as an Accomplice to Convicted Criminal James O’keefe.” Naffe previously filed a criminal harassment complaint against O’Keefe (dismissed on jurisdictional grounds). Her latest accusations echo the Boudreau incident.
Since then, O’Keefe has forked over $100,000 to a former ACORN worker illegally recorded and then falsely portrayed as an enabler of underage prostitution in one of O’Keefe’s previous “sting” videos.
Last night, Sean Hannity was a vision of sanctimony as he led off his show with two like-minded Republican lawmakers who accused President Obama of committing “massive political fraud” worthy of criminal charges. Why? Because he promised you can keep your health insurance plan and doctor under the Affordable Care Act.
But when it comes to O’Keefe, who has already pled guilty to real criminal charges, Hannity was silent. He introduced last night’s discussion of O’Keefe’s latest project by saying it was made by “the conservative group known as Project Veritas.” Hannity didn’t mention that Project Veritas is known as O’Keefe’s operation. Hannity gave no hint that there might be a question about the trustworthiness of the videos.
If there weren’t enough problems emerging about the president’s health care law, there is now undercover video of government employees actually encouraging people to lie on their health care applications. That’s right, the conservative group known as Project Veritas captured the following hidden-camera footage of the so-called ObamaCare navigators who were on duty at a national Urban League cite in Texas. Watch this:
Just as in the ACORN videos, O’Keefe presented two supposedly criminal customers with the suggestion that they were somehow typical or likely. And that the sting targets were somehow complicit in illegal activity instead of, say, not knowing how to deal with these anomalies.
Unfortunately, Democrat Ellen Qualls, who seemed so otherwise smart and well-informed, fell right into Hannity’s trap on the first question. He alleged that there is “no background check” on the navigators, then added, “Is that a wise thing to do?” Instead of pointing out that he was promoting the same conceit as O’Keefe (that there is rampant illegal activity going on based on two, questionable, cherry-picked incidents), Qualls answered, “I think there is a background check. They can’t police every one of them.” She went on to say that “as a Democrat, …these folks shouldn’t be doing this.”
Quall did have some great answers but she played along with Hannity’s agenda of questioning the navigators’ integrity and, therefore, the Affordable Care Act’s integrity. She could have and, in my opinion should have, reframed the argument by delegitimizing Fox News’ integrity with a suspect video from a criminal source. It wasn’t until about three minutes into the discussion that she pointed out that O’Keefe “is somebody who even Glenn Beck has discredited for editing videotape falsely.” It was a great line. If only she had come out of the starting gate with it and demanded Hannity defend his indefensible source.
Even worse, Hannity browbeat her with his “question,” “If people want their plan, who are you to tell them that they ought to go to a better plan that costs them more money? …Who are you? Why do you get to decide that? Why does the government get to decide that? Don’t you, aren’t you pro-choice?”
Qualls said sarcastically, “You got me there, Sean.” But she could have said something to the effect of, “Who I am is the person who honors the American public’s choice. The Affordable Care Act was democratically enacted legislation, upheld by the Supreme Court, affirmed by the voters when they decisively re-elected President Obama and which polls show Americans do not want overturned. Why do you hate democracy?"
Instead, Hannity triumphantly announced, “Checkmate” before ending the discussion.
By the way, it’s not just Hannity. Our friend at Debunker in Chief caught Bill O’Reilly promoting the same sting video with the same lack of skepticism. And, as Debunker pointed out, despite the wrongs of the ObamaCare navigators, it’s not at all clear that there would have been any material effect from them in the long run.
Clearly, when it comes to truth and accountability, Fox holds some people to higher standards than others. And that is by definition unfairness and imbalance.
BTW your idea that Walmart will have to sharply raise their prices if they pay their employees a decent wag, is not completely accurate. Walmart enjoys massive profits each year, while many of its employees earn so little that they need to make use of public assistance. You can’t possibly be defending that as a sustainable or defensible business practice. There are many ways Walmart could adjust to paying a proper wage to its employees. Walmart could accept a slightly smaller profit margin, something closer to the reality of the values they are providing. They could perhaps not reward their executives with quite as generous bonus packages. They could raise their prices, but at a much smaller amount than you’re insisting would be necessary, and people would accept that.
Your premise – that Walmart would have no choice but to skyrocket their prices and punish everyone – is simply not the case.
And none of this changes the fact that James O’Keefe’s videos are misleading and unreliable. And they’re just as mean-spirited as the nasty stunt Peter Schiff pulled here.
It’s odd that you’re now trying to dismiss the antics of James O’Keefe as a discussion point, when in fact they are a major point of this thread. You and I may disagree all day long, but that’s not the same thing as a man trying to enrich himself by foisting fraudulent video pranks on the willing patrons of Fox News. Trying to equate the two is a truly unfortunate choice, which is another area in which I was hoping you would listen to reason.
I must be misreading your statement equating my discussion here with the pranks inflicted by James O’Keefe. Is that your only response to the clear questions I have asked you here? To try to cast aspersions? I make very clear statements to you that directly refute your opinions, and your response is to say that this is somehow the same thing as O’Keefe shooting prank videos and then airing selectively edited versions? My attempt to educate you on a history I’ve lived through for the past 30 years is somehow the same thing as O’Keefe committing multiple criminal acts?
Even if I thought you were making a joke, I wouldn’t know the point of it.
Your argument about the New York Times being the equivalent of a con artist like O’Keefe indicates you may not understand the difference between actual journalism and prankster advocacy. Real journalists investigate their stories, talk to many people, and deal with facts. Pranksters like Breitbart and O’Keefe try to “gotcha” their victims with ambush videos and then selectively edit what they shoot to make it look as unpleasant as possible. It’s a pretty nasty practice, and the point of this thread is to show how Fox News is trying to exploit it once again.
There’s a big difference between the frauds committed by James O’Keefe and the work of legitimate newspapers like the New York Times. If you are seriously equating them, then it may difficult for us to find any common purchase here. This is exactly the problem that’s been warned about concerning the increased polarization of our society: you’re inventing facts and comparisons that don’t make any sense in reality. And then you’re using those opinions as the basis of a factual argument which then can’t hold up.
I’ll give you multiple examples of deregulation leading to a financial crash. The deregulation under Reagan led directly to the crash of 1987 and a major problem with the Savings & Loan industry. The deregulation under Clinton and Bush led directly to the massive recession of 2008, which could easily have turned to a depression had no action been taken. And I note that it was the libertarians who wanted no action taken. You could even argue that the Great Depression with the crash that happened in 1929 was a direct result of unbridled speculation and the lack of any regulation over what these people were doing.
I would agree that Ralph Nader has indeed been a fringe candidate, and he’s been proud of that status. I was very happy to vote for him multiple times, as he spoke directly to my questions and gave thorough answers that made sense. As for President Obama’s support, I’d agree that he’s gotten a lot for being the first black President of the U.S.. But I think it’s a bit disingenuous to imply that this is the ONLY reason people have supported him. Many voters, particularly younger voters, were impressed by the man enough to vote him into this office twice, despite the fact that he had far less experience than McCain in 2008 and many of the potential challengers that went through the GOP primaries in 2012.
I don’t have an issue with Ron Paul voting against the PATRIOT Act, and in fact I appreciate that he did so, along with many other votes he submitted while in Congress. But the issue with him is that he would simply vote a blanket NO against everything, and would regularly propose fringe legislation that nobody else wanted to approve.
Your proposal to take vital services private is troubling but not unexpected. The libertarian philosophy suggests exactly that – the idea that people can only have the education, policing, firefighting, medical care, that they can afford. And if they don’t have the money that you have, heck with them. As I noted, this kind of philosophy is morally questionable for obvious reasons.
Not sure where you’re getting the idea that immigrants flocked to the US came for “healthcare or aid”. They came because there were potential opportunities in the US that did not exist in their homelands. They came fleeing famines and various forms of persecution. But it would be disingenuous to suggest they found paradise in the US, by any means. Workers were brutally exploited, and it was this exploitation that led to the rise of labor unions. And the companies doing this exploitation responded with brutal violence until they had no choice but to accede to liveable working conditions.
You cite Walmart as an example of a smart company that uses “innovation”. I wouldn’t. I’d say that they’re a smart company that exploits their employees by paying them such low wages that it’s been documented that those employees have qualified for food stamps. That means they’re paying poverty level wages. And announcing that there are plenty of people applying for those jobs only points to the high unemployment in this country. It doesn’t mean that Walmart is a great place to work. It means that those people are desperate to find a job.
I agree with you that debtors run into trouble when they live beyond their means. And we’ve seen the result of that in 2008, thanks to the deregulation under Clinton and Bush, and thanks to people’s wish to buy that house they couldn’t realistically afford.
Your recounting of what happened under the Bush Administration completely ignores the central interaction that affected the national debt you’re concerned about. I’ll say it again. Bush, like Reagan, cut taxes and increased spending in a big way. When you do that, you generate a massive debt problem, as Bush did. When the economy then lurched into a collapse before Bush could escape office, they began taking measures to stop the descent. You say again that President Obama inherited the housing bubble, and I remind you again that the bubble had burst before he took office. He inherited the wreckage and has done the best he could to address the problems, without cooperation from the opposite side of the aisle. And if Ronald Reagan had been President with a Democratic opposition that stonewalled everything he did, you would not have seen the recovery we eventually saw in the 1980s. And granted, much of that was from credit card debt – but there were still levers moving that came from higher up, based on politicians working together to prime the pump.
Your notion of the virtue of the “tea party” sadly ignores the fact that the GOP congresspeople who came into office under that banner have steadfastly refused to do their jobs, steadfastly obstructed everything they could, and who put their ideology ahead of their duties to their constituents. It was this kind of thinking that resulted in a credit downgrade for this country, that has resulted in a record number of unfilled judicial vacancies, that has resulted in at least one governmental shutdown within the last year and possibly more to come. It’s all well and good for you to hold these opinions, but I wouldn’t hold them up as an advisable way for a society to govern itself. And we should keep in mind that for all the complaints about “tyranny” and all the other complaints I’ve heard from people like Beck and Ron Paul, the fact is that the government consists of people like you and me working together. And for over 20 years, it included a congressman named Ron Paul, who profited greatly from his many terms in office.
You seem to be saying that having a tax system and a social safety net is some kind of “tribal place”. That’s exactly backward. Societies have evolved over time to be mutually supportive. People didn’t start out in gatherings where there were taxes that were then used to fund police, firefighters, teachers, etc. Nor was there any government. You’re trying to compare a pre-civilization gathering with modern civilization. That’s akin to comparing an early stage organism with a much more evolved later generation.
I completely agree that corruption and payola are bad things in any society. And they were just as bad when Ronald Reagan’s cronies and Dick Cheney’s cronies were profiting greatly from them during those administrations. I also think that there are plenty of Democrats who have fed this system as well. There was more than enough of this under Clinton, and I’m sure there are plenty of lobbyists feeding at the trough even today.
As for your ideas about Ron Paul, I acknowledge you’re entitled to your feelings and opinions about him. But you’re not entitled to your own facts. Ron Paul has not been considered a fringe candidate just because he was trying to fight inflation, or because he opposed foreign intervention. He’s been considered fringe based on his behavior with the Citizens for a Sound Economy PAC, which has led directly into his being involved in the most radical parts of “tea party” politics. He is known as an extreme libertarian, which means that he espouses the most selfish and most mean-spirited of the dicta I have carefully explained here. Namely, that he supports the “I got mine, (bleep) you” philosophy, which we have shown to be morally questionable at best. Ron Paul has served many terms in Congress while repeatedly proposing term limits, which is odd – you’d think he’d practice what he was preaching there. I find it interesting that his biggest business between his congressional careers was promoting himself politically through RP&A, which effectively made him a millionaire. Again, you’d think he wouldn’t be associating with lobbyists or anyone like that while preaching against it – not enriching himself.
But let’s get back to what would constitute “fringe” activity. How about the fact that he sponsored 620 bills over his decades in office, and only a single one became law. GOP members consider him fringe because he has jumped in and out of their party practically at whim. He’s been considered fringe because even though he has had some very loyal followers, many of whom seem to be the same people who listen to Alex Jones or Glenn Beck, he’s never been able to attract enough people to become anything like a viable candidate for the office of President. He advocates an extreme version of Constitutionalism, in which nothing is legal unless it’s something he says the Constitution authorizes. Meaning that he’s setting aside the entire concept of case law and the point of having a Judicial Branch. He has actually placed himself on the fringe in Congress based on his voting “No” on pretty much everything he can, and regularly proposing bills to eliminate the Federal Reserve. He seems to believe, consistent with his libertarian philosophy, in a world where there is no regulation of business, and where “the marketplace” rules all else. (Of course, in such a world, we’d be looking at sweatshops everywhere, child labor, and all kinds of horrible abuses, since those would provide the cheapest way for the companies to make their goods, just as they have done in the past.) None of this has anything to do with his newsletters, which I wasn’t even discussing. Not sure why you raised that as an issue. Also not sure why you believe that you have not been given a direct answer to your assertions. I think I’ve been quite clear here.
You say “you’re making your US history up”. Really? I lived through that history, and have taken the time to study it pretty carefully. What part of what I explained here to you is some how “made up”?
When you say you want the government to be funded by “direct excise” tax, that sounds suspiciously like the libertarian scam of doing away with income taxes and having everyone just pay sales taxes. Which would put most of the tax burden on the lowest income people in our society. It would also mean that you’d be closing most of the government and deciding that you’d rather not have policeman, firefighters, schoolteachers, etc. How do you propose to take care of those areas? Or do you follow the Ron Paul idea of just closing as much of all government as possible? When you say “people will make choices that fit their individual needs”, do you realize that your system means that people will have to choose if they’re going to pay for a policeman, a firefighter or a teacher this week? You do realize that such a system is untenable, don’t you?
Your history of the credit industry is odd. You seem to think that credit cards went big because people were saving too MUCH money. That’s entirely backwards. When people were saving their money in greater amounts, they had no need of credit cards. If they had that kind of capital available to them, they would either just purchase the goods they wanted outright or follow the lay-away system. It was only when people found themselves unable to afford the goods they wanted by saving or lay-away that they turned to the credit cards. It was because the cost of living was outpacing people’s incomes. As I explained to you before, this manifested in more dual income households, and in a heck of a lot more debt over people’s heads. People didn’t suddenly decide not to save their money – they simply didn’t have it to save.
Your concept about expanding capital seems to forget that every time we’ve just taken all the regulations off and just hoped that people would behave in the best manner possible, we always wind up with a crash. You seem to be assuming that businesses will automatically do the right thing, or that if one company doesn’t do the right thing, then another one will. That’s simply not what history shows us. History shows that companies act in terms of their short-term interests. So they’ll strip-mine their resources if this will show immediate profits. They’ll outsource the jobs to a cheaper place, they’ll use lower-cost ingredients, and they’ll raise their prices to try to expand their profit margins. If there were no restrictions on any of these things, you’d have a much greater instance of, say, hazardous working conditions for labor, and hazardous materials being foisted on consumers. You’d also have a system where it would be even more pronounced that the bigger companies would simply squash any start-ups that competed with them. As it is, we already have problems in these areas. In your ideal system, these problems would be magnified a thousandfold.
But all of your arguments are totally beside the point of this thread. Which is to note that James O’Keefe, who Fox News regularly enjoys citing as some kind of a reliable source, is in fact a completely unreliable and unsavory character. His comments and assertions must be taken with extreme skepticism, if not outright disbelief.
I have no problem with looking at 3rd Party candidates, having voted multiple times for Ralph Nader out of principle. But people like Ron Paul will not get my vote. Not just because of his fringe positions but because he has said and done really objectionable things over the course of his long career. He’s made a cottage industry out of his own fringe situation, and he continues to make money from those gullible enough to give it to him.
I’m aware that many right wingers think of Ronald Reagan as a “hero”, and I pointed out the reasons why this is a false premise. At the time of Reagan’s death in 2004, Pacifica Radio ran multiple programs reminding everyone of the really bad things that Reagan had been responsible for both as a governor of California and as President. Amy Goodman’s weeklong series “Remembering The Dead” on Democracy Now! was an important counterpoint to all the Reagan adulation, as was the work of Larry Bensky at KPFA at the time.
But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that Reagan got people to save money by cutting the taxes on the wealthy. He wasn’t trying to encourage more deposits in savings accounts. He was giving a huge break to some of his biggest supporters. They responded by offshoring as much of their money as they could. They spent extravagantly on themselves, buying things like yachts, planes, etc. They bought land abroad. Some of this spending by the rich brought a little more money into the domestic economy via what little comes down from “trickle down”, but much of it went abroad. And “trickle down” was proven to be a complete red herring during the 1980s as well. In the end, that was just another self-serving justification to give the wealthy more money.
The average person in the 1980s didn’t use their credit cards more heavily because the wealthy had a tax break. The average person in the 1980s maxed out their credit cards because their salaries weren’t keeping up with inflation, and because they were consuming more than they could afford to cover. Which is why many people wound up in various forms of bankruptcy by the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s. I note that the other major trend that really kicked off in the 80s (after a start in the 70s) was that of households needing 2 incomes to pay their bills. In the past, you’d just have the husband of the family working, while the wife stayed at home and took care of the family. By the 80s, it was commonplace for the wife to have to take on work to supplement the income. By the 90s, you really began to see a lot of families where both husband and wife worked full time to pay their bills – and that’s in a situation where they’d already maxed their credit. This doesn’t point to a reality where everyone was saving their money. It illustrates that middle class families were falling farther and farther behind the curve.
Your recounting of this country’s history is very difficult to read. It also seems to be way off in what actually happened over the course of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Throughout the 19th century, the USA was plagued by a series of booms and busts, resulting in cyclical depressions at multiple points. Labor was heavily exploited as there were no unions to stop the bosses from what they were doing. The industrial revolution spurred a lot of this on, generating a lot of growth in the same way that any new tech phenomena will do that. And there was plenty of room in this country for expansion, and plenty of resources to exploit, which was done with abandon. But this was no paradise of everyone happily existing without government interference. This was a brutal situation where some people lived in slavery, and others lived in various forms of indentured servitude. People’s lifespans were much shorter because they actually didn’t have access to healthcare, and they were living in foul conditions. But people lived like this all over the world. The US was a popular place to emigrate to because there was a huge promise of freedom and maybe the chance that you could make your fortune here. That’s always been the case, going back to the beginning.
You seem to think that having a safety net of Social Security, AFDC, Medicare is somehow a bad thing. That’s been a common right wing/libertarian trope. I ask you, what’s your alternative? Have people starve, as they did before? Throw people in debtors’ prisons? We already have a large number of homeless in this country, as a result of policies championed by Ronald Reagan and his acolytes over the past 30+ years. Are you seriously arguing to push millions more people onto the street? I’ll give you that the libertarians seem to like that idea – they happily note that immigration into the US has been down since the 2008 recession, since it’s less popular to come here. But their glee over that situation seems a bit misplaced, I think. They’re celebrating the suffering of others – which is again a serious issue with libertarian philosophy: that lack of empathy for anyone.
Your recent history is also incorrect. George W. Bush didn’t quite inherit the internet stock bubble, as it had already burst before he took office. But during his initial time as President, he enjoyed the real estate bubble, as desperate investors moved their funds from worthless internet companies to overvalued properties. And they made this work for themselves for a few years, with the effect of driving up real estate prices to a level where many of us wonder if we can ever afford to own our own homes. This bubble burst before President Obama took office, famously between 2007 and 2008. Obama didn’t inherit the bubble – he inherited the wreckage after it burst. And I note that it’s clear that the Bush people were frantic in their wish that the bubble not burst until he got out of office. They were hoping to blame the collapse on the next guy in the door. Instead, it blew up before he could escape the blame, and Bush’s approval rating dropped to 25 percent, the lowest since Nixon hit 24 when he was forced to resign in disgrace.
Your notions about central banking and investment may make some sense in a larger context of how the government operates, but you’re avoiding the important questions I asked you. You seem to be espousing the libertarian belief in as little government as possible and no taxes. Okay. Then how do we pay for policeman, firefighters, teachers, etc? Even in the 19th century, communities had to pay for these things. If you believe in a world where you owe nothing to your society and you’re an island unto yourself, then how can you exist in a world with other people? That’s the biggest problem I have with libertarian philosophy – it assumes that we don’t need to contribute to a living society. And that’s not just selfish. It’s unworkable.
You’re correct that the amount of debt in the government has expanded tremendously since 1980. But you then take the position that Reagan somehow did a good thing in cutting taxes “allowing people to keep more of what should be entirely theirs.” But you’re only telling part of the story. Reagan did indeed supervise a tax cut, primarily for the wealthy, by reducing the top rates by a huge amount. Later in his administration, Reagan would conclude that these rates could not stand, so he supported raising some of them, with the upper middle class taking the biggest hit as Reagan’s revision took away several of their tax deductions. I note that the economy improved during Reagan’s presidency from the late 70s recession, due primarily to all the players in government working together to get things moving. Had the Democrats in Congress behaved like the GOP over the past five years and simply obstructed every single thing Reagan proposed, there’s no way the country would have recovered at that time.
But we should also remember that Reagan massively increased spending, mostly for the military, even while he was simultaneously reducing the government’s ability to raise funds. And in so doing, he generated a huge amount of debt. (As did George W. Bush, by the same methodology.) At no time did the GOP establishment castigate him for this profligacy. Instead, they celebrated him and continue to do so to this day. I don’t know that I’d call Reagan a “hero”. I’d say he was a successful conservative politician, whose work toward deregulation led directly to the economic problems we had at the end of the 80s, led off by the massive Savings and Loan wipeout and the 1987 stock market crash. During the presidency of George H.W. Bush, things would really go back into recession, until the internet bubble bailed many people out in the 1990s. Keep in mind that a lot of the personal spending people were doing in the 80s was on credit cards, as they all built up huge amounts of debt themselves. Many people were only bailed out by the stock bubble of the internet in the 90s. Others declared bankruptcy in massive numbers – something I witnessed plenty of in the early 90s.
And the concept that people’s incomes should “be entirely theirs” is one of the most pernicious ones we’ve seen from libertarianism. We should be clear on what libertarian philosophy preaches. In the simplest terms, it says “I got mine, (blank) you.” It says that we have no duty in a society to look after each other. It proposes a fairly mean-spirited and harsh form of capitalism where everyone looks out only for themselves and the heck with the rest of society. It’s the philosophy of “Why should I pay for public schools? Why should I pay for YOU to have a policeman or a firefighter or any other public service?” And if we lived in a society without any taxes, that’s exactly what we’d be looking at. Unless libertarians believe that firefighters, policemen, soldiers, teachers, etc all work as volunteers, for the love of it. It’s frankly a selfish philosophy, and the irony is how many of its practitioners pose themselves as good churchgoing folk. I had always thought of Christian (and other religious) teachings as encouraging people to share with each other and to be “my brother’s keeper”. But it seems that a bunch of these guys only want to help out those people in their immediate family or their immediate tribe. And that’s a sad statement. The more polarized this country becomes, the more we hear this kind of thing.
I don’t know that the government under President Obama has tried to “pick winners and losers, socializing the costs”, any more than our government has always provided subsidies to this business or that one. Again, I don’t remember the GOP crying foul about this when Reagan and Bush awarded generous federal funds to military contracts of various kinds, as well as to businesses they personally supported. George W. Bush’s association with the corrupt Ken Lay of Enron, and Cheney’s connections to Haliburton are but two egregious examples. But where was the GOP outrage about this stuff at the time? Why is this outrage only applied when a Democrat is in the White House?
I agree with you that massive deregulation under Reagan, as well as Clinton and W. Bush, was done at the behest of the very companies that should have been supervised much more closely. And I’d agree that this deregulation usually leads to the various economic collapses that follow. I’d argue that a big part of the collapse in 2008 was due to people wildly overextending themselves, particularly on overvalued real estate they couldn’t afford. But that wouldn’t have happened had the floodgates not been opened and the regulations scrapped that could have prevented the problem.
It wasn’t bailouts that caused the crash in 2008. It was unbridled, unregulated speculation by all the parties involved. It was the banks trading unrecoverable loans back and forth like playing cards. It was individuals buying homes they knew they couldn’t afford and trying to “flip” them before the bill came do. It was all the parties thinking they had free money with which to do these things. And like any game of musical chairs, it always leads to a mad scramble at the end. And this time a LOT of people were left without chairs. I would agree that the bailouts that happened in 2008 and 2009 likely benefited the big banks much more than anyone else. And when those guys were supposed to reinvest that money so that they could literally spread the wealth, they instead refused to do so, or just awarded bonuses to the execs at the top. So I get your frustration on that count.
I don’t understand the content of your last two paragraphs, but I will say that I don’t agree that the country is headed toward bankruptcy by any means. I do think that it’s interesting that GOP supporters always make this cry when there’s a Democrat in the White House. They did this when Clinton was in office, and they’re doing it now with President Obama. But they never seem to understand the underlying hypocrisy in not making those cries when they would have really counted.
Your assumptions about how the economy works do not seem to have any basis in anything I’ve ever heard from economists like Dean Baker or anyone actually trying to mathematical analysis. They do seem to line up with the Chicken Little guys like Alex Jones, but I don’t know any economist who takes those people seriously.
My point stands that when Ronald Reagan was President from 1981 to 1988, he took the US into massive, massive debt. And the GOP did not spend those eight years attacking him. Your history on Ron Paul is incorrect. He didn’t try to run for President until 1988, at which time he claimed he was leaving the GOP to be a full-time Libertarian. Except that his 1988 campaign was as much of a fringe exercise as his later ones, and after a failed attempt to return to the private sector, he would come back to the GOP with his tail between his legs and run for Congress again in the latter 90s. In 1984, Ron Paul ran for the Senate against Phil Gramm and lost. You’re correct that Paul had harsh words for Reagan, as did the most extreme right wingers, who had various paranoid conspiracy theories running at that time. But the majority of right wingers were big Reagan supporters, and still are to this day. If anything, we’ve seen how the extremists and the conspiracy theorists have really grabbed hold of the GOP over the past few years, since they validate the anger and hatred many GOP members feel toward the current President.
My point also stands, unrebutted, that Fox News didn’t complain like this about George W. Bush when he was running the economy into the ground. They in fact challenged any guest who had the temerity to make such a statement. And they continue to challenge anyone who has the temerity to challenge Ronald Reagan’s reputation. But get a Democrat into the Presidency and suddenly there’s all this concern about deficits and spending. Is it because they really oppose the spending? Or is it because they don’t want the Democrat doing it?
And I must assume you’re conceding that the earlier dips before 2008 were not the disasters you were attempting to say they were. And you’re conceding that the GOP didn’t make hay out of the 1987 Stock Market Crash – for obvious reasons, since this happened on Ronald Reagan’s watch at the exact moment of “Greed is Good”.
The sad part about people trying to foist this paranoia about the economy is that they’re using some of the same assumptions that more mainstream GOP pundits do, only to wackier ends. You can see the same kind of cherry picking of numbers going on when the GOP tries to use the canard that “under President Obama, gas prices have doubled!!!!” Except that when you actually look at gas prices over, say, a ten year period, from 2003 to 2013, you see that there were massive spikes in gas prices during the presidency of George W. Bush. And those of us who can remember the days before 2008 will recall that this happened during almost every summer of the W presidency, where everyone would become worried about how much more expensive gas would be each year. And then the prices plummeted in the fall of 2008 so that the listed price in January 2009 was lower than it had been for years. So yes, if they cherry pick the numbers to only start in January 2009, you’d have a graph showing a steep rise under Obama. But if you actually look at the history, you see that such cherry picking is disingenuous, as are most of the attacks that right wingers have leveled against this President.
And it’s not a matter of this President not having flaws or issues. Of course he does. And those of us on the left have repeatedly pointed them out. But we’ve been consistent. We didn’t decide that day was night and night was day just because one political party or another got into office. But the right wing media, including Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, have regularly gone back and forth like a pendulum, depending on who was in office. When GOP guys hold office, Fox News usually gives them a pass or promotes them. When Dems get into office, Fox News attacks them without any restraint. It’s an obvious double standard, and one of the advantages of this website is that there is ample proof of Fox News doing it. As much as they’d like to pretend the record doesn’t exist, it’s been happily preserved for posterity.
The 2008 crash was a real disaster for the economy. It had nothing to do with whether the federal government was borrowing. The 2001 and 1998 dips were nothing as devastating as what happened in 2008, which was frankly a result of deregulation of the banking and mortgage industry. I find it interesting that the crash of 1987 isn’t mentioned in the post. But even that one wasn’t about federal borrowing.
She should have started with “I have to reject the entire premise of your question, as we have no idea what else was in this video. The source is not just ‘Project Veritas’ but actually James O’Keefe, a man who is known for criminal behavior and selective editing of exactly this kind of material. How are we to know what these people actually said in context, and how are we to know what Mr. O’Keefe left out of the clips you just showed? And why would you assume based on selectively edited clips that all of these navigators are behaving in the manner Mr. O’Keefe would have you believe? Why would you assume that Mr. O’Keefe was telling the truth here when his record does not reflect that?”
I would further add, “What do you know about the background checks being given to federal employees? Are you privy to the way such checks work and to how these matters are handled? Do you know what checks are done, or anything else about this area of the government?”
And to answer his last tirade, “We agree to do all sorts of things that we wouldn’t necessarily prefer to do, as part of a civilized society. We agree to pay taxes to support our society, even if we don’t like every single program they fund. We agree to pay for a fire department even though we may never make use of their services. We agree to pay for public schools, even if we don’t have children in those schools. We agree to help pay for the paving of roads, even if we don’t happen to drive on those specific roads. But if you wish to take the opposite argument, why should Americans pay for uninsured people to get their primary care in the Emergency Room, thus costing all of us a LOT more money than anything in the ACA?”
Any one of these responses would have left Hannity sputtering and unable to finish his statements. The only thing he seems to have as a fallback is the idea that the President should have given a speech that was full of legalistic caveats, when the intention was more than clear.