"Revenge of the Reality-Based Community"

Bruce Bartlett says that Keynes was right about “everything,” and that conservatives have lost touch with reality:

Revenge of the Reality-Based Community | The American Conservative

[QUOTE=Bartlett]The economy continues to conform to textbook Keynesianism. We still need more aggregate demand, and the Republican idea that tax cuts for the rich will save us becomes more ridiculous by the day. People will long remember Mitt Romney’s politically tone-deaf attack on half the nation’s population for being losers, leeches, and moochers because he accurately articulated the right-wing worldview.

At least a few conservatives now recognize that Republicans suffer for epistemic closure. They were genuinely shocked at Romney’s loss because they ignored every poll not produced by a right-wing pollster such as Rasmussen or approved by right-wing pundits such as the perpetually wrong Dick Morris. Living in the Fox News cocoon, most Republicans had no clue that they were losing or that their ideas were both stupid and politically unpopular.
[/QUOTE]

This article is making the rounds, and is being widely praised. But really, it’s remarkably self-aggrandizing. I had a good chuckle at his last paragraph: “Honest to God, I’m not a liberal or a Democrat.”

Bartlett is the rare case of an Austrian who becomes a Keynesian. The guy worked for Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, and Ron Paul.

I respect David Stockman much more, though I do have a disagreement that we should let some taxes rises, overall he has talked a lot about our monetary policy issues.

I knew he was an early proponent of supply side, but I didn’t know he was an Austrian.

An alternative take: » The Epistemic Closure of the Epistemic Closure Pundits - Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion

"…"The latest is by Bruce Bartlett in The American Conservative, who makes some good points about the Bush administrations mistakes in expanding government. He practically sounds like a Tea Partier at times in discussing the fiscal and political irresponsibility of the Bush administration.

Bartlett then goes all epistemic closure on us.

The dead give-away was the title of his article, “Revenge of the Reality-Based Community.” When people criticizing Republicans need to start their argument by announcing that they are “reality-based,” you know an epistemic closure argument cannot be far behind:…"

Much more at the link.

I think he is jumping on the Keynesian and LibTard wagon as its the hot ticket in town and as he said he has suffered “financially”. In other words he is following the money and if it takes being a LibTard to do so be it.

Keynesian economics is abject failure, always has been and always will be.

But in fact that is not really the discussion…its really about redistribution of income BY taxing the rich. In other words this is how they will do it. There are some serious drawback to this. #1 is how much blood can you squeeze from them? At what point do they pull the plug and think to themselves they can live quite well on $10 Million the rest of their lives…or like my buddy. He got a windfall of $3 Million at age 39. He pulled pitch and retied to the golf course. He lives a good but more modest life than you may think and he will live at his home on the golf course at the Dallas Country Club evermore and be happy.

Worse what if say some Billionaire with $12 B decides to pull pitch and say screw it, not worth the problem anymore.

Here is the problem…BIG money, invests big. We approached the Bass Brothers for second round capital of about $5M. We never got to see them, their financial adviser liked our company, but, BUT, they ONLY consider investments of $100 MILLION or more. By the same token you do not sit down with a Pro Gambler who is used to playing Texas Hold’um with $100,000 to ante up and ask if you can ante with a $10 bill, he is out of your league.

Lets look at the oil business…don’t like big oil? Pardner you better drop to your knees and kiss them when they walk in or the cost to fill your tank would be a months wages. Look at the names you see on off shore rigs, Shell, Mobil, BP etc, NOT Joe chit the Oilman Inc. Why, those off shore rigs are a $BILLION dollar gamble and if you can not afford to lose you will never get to play!

So you suck away their money with the thought that hey, $25 Million is more than enough and we will take the rest. Big business that can play in the global market will dry up and go away, we will become a 3rd country full of lemonade stands and nothing else. Steve Jobs will still be working out of his garage, Bill Gates will go back to Harvard and live the cushy life via his mom and dad who are VERY successful…Bill never needed the money to begin with. Zuckerman will never take Facebook past his college campus.

What can we do? EZ: Make sure that my buddy invests his money, grows it, gives folks like me a business loan, put that money to work in our economy and if he chooses not to, then tax the HELL out of him on passive income rules. Do the same with Corps what have $100’s of millions in the bank and not working in the economy, expanding, buying new CAPX and growing, NOT drawing interest on a few Billion sitting in some investment back somewhere. Tax them at a 90% rate. Right now there is OVER $1 TRILLION dollars sitting on the sidelines…

As I understand it (and I must admit that I don’t understand all that well), a sizeable fraction of what is called “Keynesian Economics” would come as a shock to John M. Keynes. Certainly some of the things that Hayek approved of do not fit with what I hear bandied about as “Austrian Economics”. I take all proclomations of the vindication of any school of economics with several containerized cargo ship loads of salt. Talking heads talk because it’s what they get paid to do, not because they have anything to say…

[QUOTE=17oaks]But in fact that is not really the discussion…its really about redistribution of income BY taxing the rich. In other words this is how they will do it. There are some serious drawback to this. #1 is how much blood can you squeeze from them? [/QUOTE]

While Republicans deserve to be mocked for their ludicriously stupid and ruinous belief that increased spending could be offset by massive tax cuts for the rich (a theory that has the country on the road to financial catastrophe), I think you’re hitting on an important point that must be repeatedly emphasized: the delusion put forth by the Democrats that we can solve everything with tax hikes on millionares is hardly less inane. This makes it puzzling how Bartlett can justify calling the Democrats the “adult party,” when they are only marginally less irresponsible than the (admittedly out-of-control) Republicans.

Bartlett doesn’t do much for his own case. It is, however, possible he is correct, if only in a philosophical sense. Keynes is probably the least read economist of the 20th century, yet his name is invoked more than any other, and usually for the wrong reason. Bartlett and Krugman may have a case for Keynesian stimulus, and that that which was done was way too small, but then we are informed by our past, and people have the rather recent memory of spending never going down, and deficits never resolved. Which would come as a shock to Keynes, who believed only in stimulative spending during down turns, quickly paid off upon the upturn. That doesn’t mean a huge Keynesian stimulus wouldn’t have worked; just that no one had the balls to advocate one of the size needed, while being able to present a politically feasible way of paying it off afterwards.

It is, to Bartlett and Krugman’s dismay, also a different world than Keynes lived in. Big government did not exist in a way Keynes could ever have envisioned. It is not hyperbole to say that the US government is the largest corporation in the world. I’m not sure that it can be assumed that Keynes would have advocated it taking a larger role than it already assumes.

Bartlett is also correct on a few less than minor points, such as supply-side and the Laffer Curve. The conservative base at large has no better understanding of those concepts than the average high school student…and I’m being generous to high school students in that statement. There is, for instance, no evidence that a small or modest increase in taxes upon the rich would have the slightest negative effect upon the economy. The mistake most people on the right make in asserting economic doom in that regard is in making the assumption that the rich pay anything like their published tax rates. It’s just plain silly to argue against the known fact that most people could more than quadruple their income just on the tax write-offs of the rich taxpayer. From a real world tax-paying standpoint this is an argument only conducted competently by CPAs.

And much of all this is presumed upon the idea that the voter is educated in such matters. Voters are educated; they’re educated in their own best interests and how the current system serves them. They have no more desire to be more competitive than the average corporation does. Which explains their mutual attraction to socialism in all its guises. If there is an average center-right voter, he’s probably known best for making statements like, “Stop big government…Hands off our Social Security!” Robert Taft, Sr., call your office!

I expect that both Bartlett and Reagan would have predicted that the tax code would have long since been revised, and that we wouldn’t be having fundamentally the same discussion, while living in a different age, we were having in the eighties. Conservatives should start their rebuilding efforts not over recriminations, but with a clear admission that heir strategy of shaming spending cuts, and the deficits their lack produces, out of the American congress, and by extension the American people, has been a dismal failure for which they alone are to blame. In that, Bartlett’s outrage is spot on the money.

If Republicans are trying to shame congress into spending cuts, then it’s a mystery why Bush became the most free spending president in American history. The outrage over Bush isn’t that he had a flawed strategy for cutting spending, but that he actively embraced the mind-bogglingly stupid strategy of simultaneously cutting taxes while radically increasing spending.

If anyone would simply ask themselves if they would risk their own money on an idea if the best case scenario resulted in the Government taking the profit and the worst case scenario was losing all your money.

I don’t care if you have 100 dollars to invest or 1 billion dollars, you would reach the same conclusion unless you are mentally challenged.

People risk their Capital when they have a reasonable expectation of improving their lot, people protect their Capital when they see too much risk and too little reward.

Capital placed in a protected state does not grow an economy, it stagnates an economy.

If all the imbecilic class warfare propaganda was ignored and people simply looked at how they make their own financial decisions regardless of their income this would be obvious.

The wealthy are for the most part wealthy because they understand money, risk/reward and they allow reason instead of emotion to drive their spending decisions. Most are not wealthy because of a “silver spoon” or “crony capitalism” or any of the other ridiculous stereotypes the Communist’s like to claim.

They are wealthy because they are smarter with money and self disciplined, they will not abandon reason and risk their hard won wealth without a reasonable expectation of profit that will justify the risk.

They will simply relax and wait for a more friendly economic environment while everything stagnates around them, just as every person in every economic class does.

The whole “starve the beast”/ “shame” concept died when Republicans and Democrats alike wiggled their way around Gramm, Hollings, Rudman…in what '92? My memory is foggy on that detail. I don’t want to depress anyone, but could you imagine where we’d be if we’d stuck to that bill? We’d have essentially poured the whole of the dot.com run up into paying off the debt.

Govt has no incentive to do anything but spend. Govt is a malignant cancer and folks unlike a cancer you can cut out you cannot stop govt till it consumes its host. Before Obama is finished we will hit point of govt costing 25% of our GDP. This means that 1 out of every 4 dollars generated will go to feed the beat.

The drum beat today and as I am listening to the news is ‘entitlements’ and I suggest all here pay close attention as the Kool Aid being poured is enough to drown you and all of America. The blame is going to Social Security and Medicare and that is being beaten into the head of all.

BUT is it TRUE? Is that the biggest part of the debt and budget???

YES and NO! The govt WANTS you to think that is the problem, but IN FACT Medicare/SS have an income from WE THE PEOPLE. In fact you NEVER stop paying into Medicare, even when drawing SS!!! What the govt is not telling you is that the amount they report is the TOTAL amount of cost NOT including the income we pay to fund them.

Ok, Medicare/SS are 60% of the gross budget, but what is number 2 ???

WELFARE payments which are $1.1 TRILLION this year and growing, in fact growing for years to come. And there is ONE MAJOR PROBLEM, NO ONE is paying into Welfare and Medicaid!!!

You can call it govt spin or what ever but the reality is its a LIE, the real costs, the real problem is in Welfare/Medicaid as the taxpayer funds that not the recipients.

Any one here watching the Obama budgets over the past 4 years and the PUBLISHED upcoming 4 years. You might note that the WELFARE payments = the budget shortfall…think on that, we are in the hole from Welfare NOT SS or Medicare. But the govt cannot tell you that or the public would go nuts.

So what is the outcome? Simple, they are going after Medicare/SS, NOT WELFARE…how many here are starting to smell the coffee??? Welfare is staying and growing and the ONLY way to reduce spending and continue to pay for Welfare is to reduce SS costs!

17Oaks…I’m going to need a few links for that contention, showing data to back it up. Until then, my opinion is that it is untrue and wholly unsupported by the facts as I know them.

Not sure which one you are ref?

In part, this:
"WELFARE payments which are $1.1 TRILLION this year and growing, in fact growing for years to come. And there is ONE MAJOR PROBLEM, NO ONE is paying into Welfare and Medicaid!!! "

So what do you want to know?

NO ONE pays into Welfare, you pay into SS and Medicare, but not welfare or medicaid, it all paid for from the general fund meaning we ALL as in TAXPAYERS pay taxes.

As for the welfare budget of $1.1 T that has been hashed all over this forum and in fact I posted on it extensively with links and broke down the costs, all that data was pulled from .gov and the WHITEHOUSE website.

Okay, so you have no data. Your contrention that welfare and Medicaid spending amount to $1 trillion, which is an amount equivalent to fully one third of the US budget, is wholly without factual basis. Here’s a chart of the breakdown of federal spending:
File:U.S. Federal Spending - FY 2011.png - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Medicaid spending is less than $400 billion nationwide. “Welfare spending” is a nebulous term with no agreed upon definition. Does it include unemployment, tax credits, earned income credits, etc…? If so, the entire nation is on welfare. (which is actually true) But, the assertion that “welfare and Medicaid spending” is driving the deficit is a fabrication designed to divert attention from the actual facts of what actually is causing the deficit and debt to spiral out of control; Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest on the debt.

[quote=“Sway, post:18, topic:37283”]
Okay, so you have no data. Your contrention that welfare and Medicaid spending amount to $1 trillion, which is an amount equivalent to fully one third of the US budget, is wholly without factual basis. Here’s a chart of the breakdown of federal spending:
File:U.S. Federal Spending - FY 2011.png - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Medicaid spending is less than $400 billion nationwide. “Welfare spending” is a nebulous term with no agreed upon definition. Does it include unemployment, tax credits, earned income credits, etc…? If so, the entire nation is on welfare. (which is actually true) But, the assertion that “welfare and Medicaid spending” is driving the deficit is a fabrication designed to divert attention from the actual facts of what actually is causing the deficit and debt to spiral out of control; Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest on the debt.
[/quote]Total welfare expenditures for 2010 were over 900 billion, and growing. Sure, that includes State expenditures, so cut that back to 728 billion. These are 2010 figures. It appears to be growing at a rate of about 25% every four years. That covers 184 programs. So, yes it is definitely a driving factor in this slowing economy.
America’s Ever Expanding Welfare Empire - Forbes

See, it is more than a check and insurance. School nutritional programs, housing programs, etc. need also be included. By 2016, it’ll be about 931 billion.

Medicaid will and has to be cut down to size eventually. It’s just a matter of the clowns in power figuring out some way of doing so while covering their political behinds. I doubt anything will be accomplished under Obama, but Hillary Clinton might do something when she is president.