Social Question

tedd's avatar

Why don't Dems point out the # of jobs they've created when talking about the economy?

Asked by tedd (14073points) July 1st, 2011

It’s the basic doom and gloom that is the bedrock of the Republican campaign for 2012 (presidential, local, congress, etc). They are pointing to the economy and saying Obama isn’t getting it done (probably because they know that the people are growing more and more in line with Dems/Libs on the other issues, but that’s another topic). Mitt Romney, the likely GOP presidential nominee at the moment even has a tagline “Obama isn’t working.”

Well if you look at the numbers, the US economy has added:
-1,253,000 Jobs from October of 2010 through May 2011 (every month showing positive growth)

-1,931,000 Jobs from November 2009 (the first positive month during the Obama administration) through May 2011, including 5 months total of job losses.

-And there was a steady decrease in jobs lost per month from the time Obama took office (January 2009) until we started adding jobs that fall.

That’s almost 2 million jobs added in the last 2 years. Why do they not point this out? People seem to think that we can gain back the 8 million jobs lost during the market crash overnight, and that’s simply not going to happen. We need responsible job growth, which is going to be steady. If you add 4 million jobs in a month, odds are most of them are not reliable and probably won’t last. Even the GOP demi-god Ronald Reagan added 8 million jobs during his entire presidency. It took REAGAN 8 years to build enough jobs to account for what Bush and company lost us in just a few short months.

Heck unless you discount all the jobs lost in the last months of Bushes presidency, Obama has made about 5 million more in the last 2 years than Bush did in his whole 8 (which all numbers combined would be about -3 million)

Why the hell aren’t they pointing this out? Just waiting for the Republicans to pick a candidate or something?

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48 Answers

Qingu's avatar

Don’t you know? Those jobs were only created because Republicans insisted on tax cuts!

mazingerz88's avatar

I’m under the impression Democrats have never been as effective and as efficient as Republicans when it comes to message management and control. Plus, more humans tend to see the glass half empty than half full, so its easy to see the logic behind the Republicans’ repetitious, relentless approach. It just works. Something the Dems I’m sure knows but not as aggressive on it.

Also, even if one is aware that getting back employment to pre-recession levels would take a long time, if this person is suffering due to lack of a job in spite of his honest efforts to get one, chances are he would blindly blame anyone in power who seems incapable of fixing it and fixing it fast.

jerv's avatar

@mazingerz88 Very true. Many people are pissed off that the recession didn’t end the day after Obama was inaugurated, and it doesn’t that he is also blamed for everything that happened before he was even elected. (Bush was a Republican, and therefore infallible.) And the Republicans really are better at getting their message out, though slightly less so nowadays as some Conservatives have gone to the Tea Party and forced the others to either change their message or split the party asunder and lose to the Dems.

marinelife's avatar

They do. But the opposition yells louder.

Jaxk's avatar

If you want to measure jobs created, you need to measure everyone the same way. Measuring Obama from the bottom of the recession and everyone else by thier term in office is hardly a reasonable tool. If you measure Obama the same way you are measuring Reagan or Bush his record is -3 million jobs and a -1.04% growth. The worst since Hoover. Of course using the same yardstick for everyone doesn’t make the point you want to make.

tedd's avatar

@jaxk my method would be in counting how long it took Obamas policies to actually take effect on the economy. You can’t blame Obama for the nearly two million jobs lost from Jan to march if 09, because nothing he did was even in effect. But roughly three months in you start to see job losses drop on a monthly basis, the “bikini” chart shows this well (on my phone so I can’t link it now). Even you, a very vocal “anti-fan” of Obama has to see that. now there could be debate on what made those jobs, or if they could be made faster/smarter…. but Obama is in charge so the blame or credit will typically fall to him…. how is he letting a recovering economy that has more than 8 straight months of job growth be painted negatively without even trying to argue the obvious points he gas available?

Jaxk's avatar

@tedd

Apparently I linked to the wrong graph. It should be this. I guess I had too many windows open.

You misunderstand my point. I don’t want to blame Obama for the jobs lost at the beginning of his term. At the same time I have to ask why you want to blame both Reagan and Bush for the recessions at the beginning of thier terms. If you want to compare presidents, I only ask that you apply the same rules to everyone. If you look at job creation for Reagan, Once he stopped the fall the increase was sharp and robust. Same with Bush although less robust. Obama on the other hand is tepid at best. I think the graph clearly shows this.

tedd's avatar

I never blamed anything on Reagan. I pointed out that the 8 million jobs made during his term would be equal to the jobs lost during our most recent market crash. And I didn’t blame bush for the losses at the start of his term either. In fact I didn’t even bring that up. I don’t even hold bush entirely responsible for the recent crash, to think only the president, or the US as a whole even, could be fully responsible for such a global crash is ignorant of how the economy works. My pointing out bush was in charge was far mire timeline reasoned than blame…. the only major point I tried to point out was that Obama has made almost two million jobs in the last two years, and the economy has steadily improved…. and to ask why no one in his side us bothering to argue the right when they day things like Obama isn’t working .

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, you know perfectly well Obama came into office in the middle of a recession. A time when we were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs each month. As soon as his policies went into place, that rate reversed itself.

So what is it? Did you not know that? Or are you just fibbing? I distinctly remember pointing this out to you in several threads, as well as emphasizing that economics is about rate of change.

And comparing to Bush and Reagan is absurd. Did they come into office during the worst recession since the great depression, which entailed not only huge job losses but massive systemic risk to the entire financial industry? This is why I have trouble believing you are posting here in good faith.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

Look at the graph I posted, then reply. Why do you believe I’m blaming Obama for anything when all I ask is that he be measured the same way as all other presidents? He’s not the first guy to inherit a recession.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk How many inherited a recession and not one, but two wars at the same time? The situation is considerably more complex, and I don’t recall many previous Congresses holding the US populace hostage to their demands the way the last few have.

It’s a different world today, and while you are correct that Obama should be measured by the same standards as Bush-43, I don’t think you can really fairly compare any president after Carter to anyone before Reagan. (I choose them solely because of the timespan; Reagan was over two decades ago, back when the USSR still existed, there were two Germanies, and CEOs earned only ~50 times what their workers did rather than >500 times.) To disregard the changes over time would be ludicrous. I mean what was the Dow Jones doing in 1792? What effect did the Civil War have on oil prices?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not impressed with the way Obama has handled a lot of things, but I am equally unimpressed with the 111th and 112th Congresses! This isn’t a dictatorship yet; the Legislative branch still has quite a bit of power and thus deserves much of the blame.

Blondesjon's avatar

looks like somebody’s chocolate got into somebody else’s peanut butter again. or is it somebody’s peanut butter got in to somebody else’s chocolate? oh well, the outcome is the same either way.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk My post in no way was meant to compare the problems Obama faced at the start of his presidency to those of Reagan and/or Bush, and in fact I didn’t bring up or mention the start of their presidencies.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

I have no problem with believing each presidency is unique. Nor that there are similarities. Johnson and Nixon inherited the Vietnam War. Reagan inherited a rather severe recession and the cold war. Bush inherited a recession followed immediately by 9/11 (the double whammy). Obama inherited two wars and a recession. FDR inherited the worst recession in our history. Hell even Carter who I never want to give any credit was blasted by the Iran Hostage crisis.

I’m not sure which was worse. Although for those of us that were around at the time, Vietnam was pretty bad, both domestically and abroad.

Jaxk's avatar

@tedd

I just wanted to point out that if you ignored the job loss in the 81–82 recession (same as you have done for Obama) Reagan’s job creation would jump by over 4 million jobs. You said:

” Even the GOP demi-god Ronald Reagan added 8 million jobs during his entire presidency.”

In 1982 unemployment reached 10.8%. In 2009 unemployment reached 10.2%. By the end of 1983 Reagan had created 4 million jobs and dropped unemployment by 2.5%. By the summer of 2011, Obama has created 2 million jobs and dropped unemployment by 1.1% These are the kind of numbers you get when you measure both the same way.

Then you go on to say:

“We need responsible job growth, which is going to be steady. If you add 4 million jobs in a month, odds are most of them are not reliable and probably won’t last.”

An unfortunate choice of words. Especially when you consider that half of the job gains last month were from McDonald’s. In contrast half of the 4 million jobs created in the first year of recovery under Reagan were in manufacturing. If you want to compare the records of Bush and Obama, I can do that as well but I don’t think you want to do that

Bottom line is, I think you tried to paint Obama in the best possible light and in doing so painted both Bush and Reagan in the worst possible light. I will always react when someone tries this kind of statistical manipulation. I have no problem with a fair comparison nor do I fault you for trying to put Obama in a good light. You just need to be honest when doing so.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, manipulation is when you dishonestly pretend that the economic climate at the beginning of Reagan’s term is remotely comparable to the economic climate at the beginning of Obama’s.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

It’s possible you don’t remember 1980. I remember it well. I bought a house the end of 1979 and locked in a 13.75% interest rate on my loan. I was pleased as the rate rose to over 16% before we closed on the house. And it didn’t stop there but actually rose to over 20%. The unemployment rate rose to 10.8% and the GNP fell by 2.5%. Almost one-third of America’s industrial plants lay idle. This is the economy Reagan inherited.

I’ll assume you don’t remember the 80s because if you do your, comment is simply gerrymandering the data to produce the results you want.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk Jimmy Carter handed Ronald Reagan four straight years of jobs added every month, with the exception of one month (May 1979 lost ~50,000 jobs) and a total of 10.3 million jobs added. You talk about the recession of 1981 and 1982 as if Carter was directly responsible…. when it didn’t even begin until he’d been out of office for nearly FOUR months. So I take exception to you even claiming I’m not measuring Reagan by the same meter I am Obama, since I specifically pointed out that I would only give him a pass for the losses incurred in the first 2–3 months of his presidency, and then pointed out that after that there were job losses under his watch (whilst they shrank dramatically every month rather than rose).

And its funny you claim by 1983 Reagan had created 4 million jobs, because I’m staring at the job numbers and they don’t seem to support that claim. I’m not going to go through the time off adding these because I’m at work, but I’d say at best he was around the 0 jobs added/lost range. http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/non-farm-payrolls

And I take little issue with “half of the jobs being from McDonalds” (which btw is false and I’m guessing you stole directly from Fox News), considering May was the lowest month of the last 6, and its only half of one month accounting for less than 50,000 of the 1.3 million jobs made in the last 7 months.

Qingu's avatar

Deficit in 1980: $60 billion
Deficit in 2008: $455 billion, more with TARP

Ability to use monetarist policies to ameliorate economy in 1980 due to high interest rates: good
Likewise for 2008: nonexistent as we are at lower-bound

Actually, it’s pretty weird that you brought up interest rates, @Jaxk. Do you actually know how interest rates interact with the economy?

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

Since you seem to have trouble connecting the dots, let me explain. The Fed’s primary job is to fight inflation. They do this by manipulating the Fed interest rate. The fed interest rate is a primary driver (not the only driver) of loan interest rates. Generally speaking home interest rates are a good reflection of inflation even though they are not directly tied together. If you look at inflation, it peaked in 1980 at 14.76%. And since the inflation number does not include things like food and gas, the swings in the inflation rate are reduced from what the population will generally feel. The loan rate is an easily seen and easily understood indicator of where inflation is going. If you don’t understand the connection maybe a course in economics will help you.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, you’re not really in a position to be condescending.

Do you know what a zero-bound interest rate is?

Do you understand the difference between an economy plagued by high inflation (such as Reagan’s) and an economy plagued by a zero-bound interest rate and a liquidity trap (such as ours currently)?

Qingu's avatar

Also, @Jaxk, please cite your source for Reagan creating 4 million jobs by ‘83. I googled “Reagan 4 million jobs” and found a lot of right-wing websites, but didn’t see much in the way of actual figures. @tedd‘s site, when you adjust the range from 80 to 83, does not support this claim at all.

Not saying you’re wrong, just that I’d like to see a source. Since you haven’t always been careful with your sources in previous conversations.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

As too your questions about the economy, If you have a point you should make it. Asking me to explain your terms is becoming tedious.

If you had looked at the last link I posted you would see the 4 million jobs. I see no point in repeating that post since you obviously didn’t read it the last time.

If you had read even the previous link before that You would see jobs at the beginning of Reagan’s term were 91,031 (thousands). Jobs at the end of his term were 107,133 (again thousands). That’s 16 million jobs by anyone’s yardstick.

If you look at the department of labor numbers For ‘83, we started with 88 million and ended with 92 million. Probably closer to 3 million that year but I shouldn’t mention that since you guys don’t seem to look at the numbers anyway.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk No one is arguing that Reagan made 16 million jobs, but your simple assumption of deducting dept. of labor job counts is not translatable to the standard we are using of the monthly jobless numbers. They are calculated differently and are not comparable, much in the manner that even though we have added jobs 6 of the last 7 months, the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1%.

Using the same measurement that I used on Obama, Ronald Reagan had created right around zero jobs by 1983, and by the end of 1983 his cumulative job numbers were nowhere near 4 million added (though in fairness they had reached positive territory by that point, and would continue to for the rest of his presidency). In fact if you use the same measurement I used on Obama, you would throw out the first 3 months of Reagan’s presidency, which were all positive growth months, which would just hurt the argument for Reagan.

Qingu's avatar

Here is my point.

The government has two main weapons to fight recession: stimulus and monetary policy.

Stimulus essentially puts more money in the hands of economic actors. Stimulus can be tax cuts. It can also be government spending, such as unemployment insurance or military R&D. Both Reagan and Obama did a lot of both. Stimulus costs money, however. Reagan had a much, much lower deficit to start with than Obama did. Reagan also started with very high taxes with which to cut; when Obama came to office taxes had never been lower.

The other weapon is monetary policy as laid out by the economist Milton Friedman, the fabled hero of the right wing. The Fed can lower the interest rate, which means it’s easier for people and corps to take out loans, which puts more money in circulation and investment. Reagan did this—that is, after spiking the interest rate in 82 and creating another recession. Obama has not done this because the interest rate is already as low as it can go (“zero bound”).

So of the two weapons available to government, Reagan had both fully available. Obama only had one, and he started out with a massive deficit that crippled his ability to use it as fully as economists said he should.

The fact that you don’t appear to know any of this is extremely troubling.

Qingu's avatar

FYI, a “liquidity trap” refers to the fact that monetary policies can’t do anything, and people will not invest. It’s completely different from high inflation, if not the opposite—since it tends to be associated with deflation (as in Japan’s “lost decade.”)

Jaxk's avatar

@tedd

I’ve been biting my tongue on your arbitrary 2–3 months. Surely you don’t believe that anyone sees that as a reasonable measure. If you want to measure the entire term, OK that has some issues but it is used a lot. If you want to measure from the time they were able to implement thier policies, OK that has some reasoning behind it. If you want to measure from the trough, OK again there is some reasoning behind picking that measure. But if you want to pick an arbitrary number of months based solely on trying to manipulate the widow to you best advantage, that tactic is way too transparent.

Qingu's avatar

2–3 months is “arbitrary”? Are you that dense? That’s how long it took for Obama’s economic policies to actually come into effect.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk If I wanted to manipulate the window to my best advantage I’d have chosen 5–6 months. Its reasonable to argue that with all the Republican resistance it took Obama’s policies that long to really kick in… and it would pretty much negate all of the losses at the beginning of his term. I also chose 2–3 months prior to looking up Reagan’s numbers, which had that boost in the first few months…. But I should note you apparently didn’t think it was a boost either as your argument was that Reagan inherited a recession too (which is true), so his job numbers would be skewed… but much to the contrary his predecessor was creating jobs despite the economy, and the first months of his presidency saw that continue.

Jaxk's avatar

@tedd and @Qingu

I know I’m just a dummy here but maybe you could enlighten me on just which policies you’re referring to. The TARP was created under Bush and continued under Obama. There’s a fairly good argument that it was Tarp that arrested the fall. Even if you bypass TARP and go to Stimulus, only 19% of that had been spent by August of 2009. And let’s not forget mortgage readjustments and cash for clunkers. How can you even suggest a 2–3 month lag has anything to do with anything.

@tedd

And just for the record, Obama got his stimulus passed in less than 30 days. How can you possibly complain about the “Republican resistance”? He passed more spending in less time than any President in history.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk Passing the stimulus 30 days into office does not mean it goes into effect on day 31. Almost no legislation goes into effect immediately like that, especially anything to do with the budget or large sums of money, or multiple federal and state agencies. The same goes for TARP, cash for clunkers, mortgage readjustments, etc.

TARP btw while “passed” under Bush, was a combined work of high ranking Democrats and Republicans, including both presidential nominees of the time (McCain and Obama). They all sat down and all agreed to it (probably the most cooperation between the parties in the last decade).

And no Republican resistance? Every major bill he’s passed has been along party lines. Virtually every person he’s nominated for every office and every position has been held up in committee by Republicans pandering to their own side and to simply saying “no” to everything. How many federal judges for example has Obama nominated who are still stuck in committee? Judges who have been stuck in committee for years. Or how about them holding up the nominee for the head of the Consumer protection agency he founded? Even if they couldn’t stop him from passing bills, they are trying to trip him at every turn.

Oh and another note I thought you’d like, it looks like the jobs report tomorrow is going to tell us the economy added 157,000 jobs in June….. must just be an anomaly.

Jaxk's avatar

@tedd

I have to give you credit, you’ve finally said something based in fact. TARP was passed under Bush and had bipartisan support. I have no idea what point you’re trying to make but I should at least acknowledge that you’ve let some reality creep into your post.

You had less success with your Republican resistance argument. I didn’t say the Republicans weren’t resistant to the legislation, only that it didn’t matter. Obama pushed through whatever he wanted without Republican support. Remember the 60 vote majority? If he’s had judges sitting on the sidelines for years, it is because he couldn’t get them past his own party. Remember the 60 vote majority?

I hope the jobs report comes in as anticipated. Despite what you think, I want the economy to recover. We need much more than a summer spike in employment and a much larger spike at that. Nonetheless, I’ll take anything we can get. Let’s all hope it comes in at that level and that it is a signal of recovery rather than an anomaly. You’ll forgive me if I’m not ready to start the ‘Summer of Recovery’ speeches again, quite yet

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk The sixty vote majority doesn’t matter if you can’t get a judge out of a committee, which is comprised of a much smaller number of congressmen and they can be held up by one of them saying no. In fact a lot of these judges and nominees are not voted in by congress as a whole, they are confirmed by committee’s and committee’s only.

jerv's avatar

@tedd If memory serves, at least one of those that finally managed to get out of committee was approved by a margin of around 93–6 or in that neighborhood. It wasn’t that they were a contentious nominee, but rather pure obstructionism, much as they brought Congress to a screeching halt until the Dems relented and extended tax cuts for the top earners.

Many also overlook the fact that our economy has been circling the drain for a long time due to the actions of many people from both sides of the aisle, as well as those outside of government like banks, brokers, employers…

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, let me get this straight, you’re criticizing Obama for “pushing through” the stimulus… with 60 votes in Congress?

You must have been outraged when Bush pushed through his even more deficit-busting tax cuts with 51 votes. Were you?

cockswain's avatar

Was that the one where Cheney cast the deciding vote since his position gave him the tie-breaker in the Senate?

Qingu's avatar

Yup. Giving rich people massive unpaid for tax cuts was democracy in action.

Passing the stimulus bill (including the third of it that was tax cuts) with 10 more votes, on the other hand, was domineering autocracy only seen before with the likes of Caligula.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

I’m not sure exactly what point you’re arguing here. Is it that you don’t believe Obama pushed his bills through with his 60 vote majority? Whether you want to call it criticism or not is your call. As I recall, Bush had to compromise to get his bill through. That’s how we ended up with an expiration date. Obama had no such need for compromise so he didn’t. And why would I be outraged at Bush’s compromise?

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, the stimulus bill was ⅓ smaller than liberals were calling for and a huge part of it was tax cuts. That’s compromise. Also, two (or three) Republicans voted for it.

And you are not recalling correctly. Bush did not compromise on his tax cut bill. He passed them through reconciliation, which has a built-in 10 year limit. Hence the 51 votes instead of the 60 votes apparently required now by our filibuster-happy Senate. You can pass one piece of legislation like that a year, but the disadvantage is the time limit.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

The tax cuts got 2 Democratic votes as well. Nancy Pelosi was originally planning a $600 billion stimulus and Obama told her it had to be between $750 and $850 (I can’t remember exactly but that’s close) so she upped it to the $787 we got (which ended up closer to $850). Obama told us over and over that it was the right size based on his economic advisers. And it would create 4 million jobs. Now you want to say it needed to be bigger. I would agree it needed to be different.

Qingu's avatar

Do you have a source for your story about Nancy Pelosi’s $600 billion stimulus?

I was referring to the internal debate among Obama’s economic advisers. Here’s a good article (I think… been a while since I read it). Christine Rommer, along with many economists, estimated that we needed a 1.2 trillion stimulus because that is the size of the demand slack in our economy. (It turns out that even that was an underestimate for how bad the recession was.)

Then Obama’s more politically-acute advisers, like Summers and (iirc) Emmanuel, urged him to split the difference because too big a stimulus would be political unviable.

So Obama split the difference and then repeatedly claimed (as you correctly point out) that it was just big enough, which is clearly bullshit and contrary to what good economics says, but maybe these claims serve some kind of political purpose. Who knows.

But it did help. Are you claiming it didn’t help? And what would you have done differently?

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

I was looking for a speech Obama gave a couple of years ago where he told exactly how big the Stimulus needed to be (the $750—$850 number). I listened to a whole bunch of his speeches (he gave a lot of them) but couldn’t find it, which is why I gave the estimate instead. During the search I cam across a speech where he said Nancy was working on a $600 billion stimulus. That’s where the number came from. I don’t have time right now to go back and find it again but if you think it’s important I will spend some time next week.

As for what I would have done back in 2009, I think you can guess. I would have done tax cuts. They are immediate in getting money back into the economy and if the are long range they give business the opportunity to plan on them. The corporate and capital gains are especially useful. Unfortunately that ship has sailed. We are no able to spend massive amounts on either tax cuts or spending. The debt has risen to a level that will bury us if not addressed. The Health care bill whether you like it or not has thrown the economy a curve ball. No one has confidence in it nor can businesses plan on their costs. Everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’ve said it before but what we need right now is stability. We can’t lower taxes because there’s no room. Spending will not create wealth nor give business the confidence they need to move forward. We can not cut enough money to balance the budget but we need to cut enough to give business and the world the confidence that we are moving in the right direction. I would estimate that at about $300—$400 billion annually. And I don’t think you need to cut SS or Medicare to get it.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, tax cuts… so you agree with ⅓ of the stimulus, which was tax cuts.

That’s great, but what kind of tax cuts? For poor? For wealthy people? Exemptions for corporate jets? Payday tax cuts? Economists can rank the expected stimulus effects of all these different tax cuts—do you agree that tax cuts for poor people are generally more effective, since these people are more likely to spend the money rather than save it?

Do you agree with the other large chunk of the stimulus, which was to fund state employees (as opposed to forcing states to lay off thousands of teachers, police, etc)?

Also, why do you think “confidence” is a problem (particularly regarding the health care bill)? Do you have any evidence to support this assertion? Businesses are flush with cash right now. I don’t really understand how the vague concept of “confidence” is preventing them from hiring Americans. I do understand that they’re reluctant to spend in an economy where there are no consumers.

Finally, $300–400 billion without touching SS or Medicare? Are you cutting the DoD? Because that’s the only sector of government spending that even approaches that amount.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

Sorry this will have to be fast since I have to go help my son move.

Yes I would give tax breaks to everyone paying taxes. No I don’t agree that rich save their money, they invest it. No the tax cut in the Stimulus was not a tax cut but rather a one time check to everyone. The pathetic weekly decrease in taxes for those that saw it did nothing and since it was a one year cut, it made no difference in spending habits (or not enough to measure).

Why do you think business has so much cash laying on the sidelines. If there was any confidence in the economy, this would be a perfect time to invest. While interest rates are low, labor is cheap, and real estate is at give-away levels.

As for DoD, yes I would cut there but you’re wrong to think that you only need to look at the big ticket items. We have incredible redundancy between state and federal agencies. It’s time to start dismantling some of those redundancies and getting rid of federal agencies that aren’t needed or productive. Government growth isn’t helping us, it’s hurting us.

Sorry I was just beginning to enjoy this discussion but I will have to go for a few days. I hate moving even if it is helping my son. Nonetheless, I have a duty.

tedd's avatar

Following in @Qingu….. a huge chunk of the stimulus supported state level public jobs. States with Republican governors have cut public sector jobs en-masse over the last several months, totally over 100,000 this year. In the grand scheme of things I doubt the 100,000 jobs would make or break the economy, but 100,000 more people with a paycheck and some spending cash sure wouldn’t hurt.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk Investing money is not the same as spending it. If I invest 10 billion dollars into the stock market, that money doesn’t become available to spend to the companies I invest it to. It basically goes into a “bank” of sorts, that may yield high interest returns or losses.

Also, the tax cuts in the stimulus combined with the Bush tax cuts gave us the lowest middle class taxes (by %) in the last 50 years, and they weren’t a one time check, since they will still be in effect until 2019. In other words you will have lower taxes until 2019 thanks to the stimulus.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk While I agree redundancy between agencies could use to be eliminated, the problem is not nearly as widespread as I think you believe, and it would not generate nearly enough money to fix the problem.

In 2008 (it’s the only chart I could find on short notice, and also the last full year of Bush budget) 65% of our entire budget was tied up in Defense spending (21%), Social Security (21%), and Medicare/Medicaid (23%). Discretionary spending (which would include all the agencies you would like to cut) came in at a mere 17% of the budget, or 520 billion dollars.

We simply can’t fix the economy without cutting back in the big 3. Sure you can’t ignore the issues in discretionary spending, but to think that they alone will fix the problem is just patently false. And a tax cut, without incredibly draconian cuts to our entire budget everywhere, would be incredibly ignorant.

jerv's avatar

Just out of curiosity, what good is investing for the overall economy if out doesn’t solve unemployment (companies are not expanding and creating jobs) and the real wealth of most Americans is declining, meaning that fewer people can afford goods and services? Seems unsustainable to me. I said as much 20 years ago, and now look where we are.

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