Archive for March, 2011

Are conservatives really good for business?

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Really? ‘Cause you sure couldn’t prove it by looking at Governor Scott Walker’s record in Wisconsin. Since Walker was inaugurated, 19 plants have closed and 2,207 factory workers in Wisconsin have lost their jobs. No, this isn’t any sort of coincidence. The country as a whole has been gaining jobs. Slowly, but the employment picture has been modestly improving. In Wisconsin, it’s been getting worse and Governor Walker’s decisions have very clearly been responsible for that.

Simply put, is Wisconsin now “open for business?”

No. Right from the beginning, Walker’s cancellation of a high speed rail link between Madison and Milwaukee sent a rail car business out of Milwaukee, abandoning a large factory. The removal of collective bargaining rights from public employees may lead to a serious catastrophe for the state’s forestry industry, as they are likely to lose their third-party “certified market” status.

Now, his policies have sent other businesses throughout the state scurrying. A wind power project near Green Bay will be shuttered.

How anyone could possibly look at G.W. Bush’s economic record and say “We need a businessman to run our government!” is just beyond me. Keep in mind that Bush earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School. But despite, or perhaps because of that, Bush had the lowest number of jobs created per year of any president since the US began keeping records on employment just before World War II. President Eisenhower had a somewhat similar record (438,000 per year compared to Bush’s 375,000), but the US population in 1952 (Ike’s first year) was 158 million. In 2001, it was 285 million, nearly twice as much. Also, payroll expansion under Eisenhower was 7% compared to Bush’s 2.3% (The same as Gerald Ford’s and the elder George Bush’s).

On a similar note, the Cat Food Commission tries yet again to drag up old, debunked arguments in order to convince Democrats that they’d better hack and slash away at Social Security or they’d suffer politically. Major problem with this argument is that the American public prefers that politicians work on jobs as opposed to cutting the budget by a margin of 63% to 26%, an almost three-to-one margin.

The thing that’s truly amazing about this piece is that the Washington Post categorizes it as “left-leaning” (They also consider Richard Cohen as being “left-leaning,” a description that renders the term completely meaningless).

Update: Very good piece that makes the extremely important point that businesses are not governments. They’re run on a different basis with different priorities. No, we shouldn’t seek to make governments run more like businesses. There’s nothing in businesses that government has any need to copy.

Koch editorial

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Crooks & Liars writes a response to a Charles Koch editorial. Koch tries to defend his actions of manipulating politics with his hundreds of millions of dollars in order to profit himself. Like other DFH bloggers, the C&L guy uses  lots of indelicate language.

And I completely agree with the C&L guy, both the term and the concept of “economic freedom” means absolutely nothing. I can’t understand what it means for an average citizen as the list of countries they give runs the gamut in terms of citizen freedoms.

FDL has a page for keeping track of the conflict up in Wisconsin. A local writer warns that Philadelphia could be next.

And also, a very highly interesting look at New Jersey’s  economic troubles and the state administration of Christine Todd Whitman back around 15 years ago and the troubles that were predicted to come up…well… right about now. The truly sad part of the story is to see  just how blind the press corps is to the recent past. It just seems that no one can be bothered to go back through the archives.

How sad is our economic debate these days?

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Pretty darned sad.

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the state of the debate on this. We now have three separate independent analyses of the Republican proposal, all of which say the same thing: if approved, the GOP plan would hurt the economy and make unemployment worse. We now have two prominent Republican — one is currently the nation’s most powerful GOP official, the other hopes to be — conceding publicly that the party’s spending-cut priorities would force more Americans out of work.

Oh, and the House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, is convinced, convinced I tell you!, that the stimulus didn’t work.

We have Americans demanding action on job creation; we have congressional Republicans deliberately trying to make unemployment worse; and we have a media that prefers to pretend that the deficit matters more than the economy.