I am FED UP with ideological party Talking Heads who spout skewed spiels and postulate party positions…without saying anything meaningful!
Again: The politics of Point and Counterpoint.
ABC “This Week” Sunday (06/03/12) with host George Stephanopoulos featured American economist Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University. Krugman is also a Nobel prize winning author (economics) and New York Times columnist.)
The obligatory TWO political “Talking Heads” were: Romney campaign senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom and Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter. Those two! Arrrggghh! HE said, SHE said. Sickening…just SICKENING!
CUTTER: …the proposals that we’ve put forward that have been sitting there for nine months…independent estimates have put those proposals at a million jobs. So there are a million jobs sitting on that table in Congress right now that they could…move on. They need to get off their hands and stop rooting for failure. That’s really what’s going on right now. And we can impact the economy. …this policy of austerity, because of the refusal of Republicans to act, can change. We can give states the aid that they need to protect those teachers’ jobs. We can put construction workers back to work by rebuilding our roads, bridges, and highways. We can cut taxes…
FEHRNSTROM: …this president is not adding jobs fast enough. And I think for anybody who is urgently waiting for improvement in the economy, last week was not a good week. And it’s not just the devastatingly weak jobs report we got on Friday. It was also the revision in GDP downward for the first quarter. It’s a drop in consumer confidence. It was an increase in unemployment claims.
And it’s not that we don’t think that this president is trying. I think he is. It’s just that his policies are not working…
KRUGMAN: Well, the economy is…not terrible, but it’s weak. The bitter irony here has to be for Obama, certainly for people like me, is that if the Republican answer is “let’s slash spending, let’s have low taxes,” that’s actually the policy we’ve been following. It’s amazing, actually. Especially if you look at the last couple of years, what we’ve actually seen is sharply…
Yeah, this is real government spending, so it’s federal, state and local combined, deflated, you know, adjusted for population growth and inflation, and it is plunging. It’s plunging mostly because of cutbacks at the state and local level, because the aid that they were receiving in the stimulus has run out, but also because unemployment benefits have been expiring because Congress won’t…Republicans in Congress won’t extend them.
…we’re actually practicing government austerity on a scale that we haven’t seen in 60 years. It’s not the president’s policy. In effect, we’ve already got the policies that Republicans say they will impose if they take the election, and yet, of course, it may lead to the defeat of this president.
On The Ryan Plan:
FEHRNSTROM: (Romney’s) for — he’s for — he’s for the Ryan plan. He believes it goes in the right direction. The governor has also put forward a plan to reduce spending by $500 billion by the year 2016. In fact, he’s put details on the table about how exactly he would achieve that. So to say he doesn’t have a plan to — a plan to restrain government spending is just not true.
CUTTER: …that all sounds great, but the governor has not put out any details on how he is going to achieve that. The details that he has put out, a $5 trillion tax cut for millionaires and billionaires that he’s not just telling us how he’s going to pay for it, so he’s either blowing up the deficit or he’s raising taxes on the middle class…
… he’s going to deregulate Wall Street, which we know how that turns out. We’re going to go back to risky financial deals that crashed our economy. And on China, you know, we’ve been hearing this blustering on China for quite a while now. What exactly is the governor going to do?
KRUGMAN: The plan’s a fraud. The plan is a big bunch of tax cuts, some specified spending cuts, basically for poor people, and then a huge magic asterisk which is supposed to turn into a deficit reduction plan, but, in fact, if you look what’s actually in it, it’s a deficit-increasing plan.
…there is really no plan there, neither from Ryan, nor from Governor Romney….
On Romney as Governor of Massachusetts:
CUTTER: Massachusetts under Governor Romney…did fall to 47th out of 50 in jobs creation. Wages went down when they were going up in the rest of the country. He left his successor with debt and a deficit, and manufacturing jobs left that state at twice the rate as the rest of the country.
Now, at this point in (Romney’s) term, 40 months into his term, he had created about 4,000 jobs. At this point in the president’s term, Massachusetts has created five times that amount in Massachusetts. The reason the unemployment rate went down, in part, according to independent analysis in Massachusetts, is because 250,000 people left that state.
FEHRNSTROM: …this comes up repeatedly that Massachusetts was 47 out of 50 in terms of jobs growth. Actually, when Mitt Romney arrived, Massachusetts was an economic basket house. If you throw D.C. into the mix, we were 51 out of 51. By the time Mitt Romney left four years later, we were in the middle of the pack. We were 30th in the nation in terms of job growth. That’s the trend line that you want to see. That’s called a turnaround. And it’s what this president has been unable to execute with the national economy.
KRUGMAN: Massachusetts is a classic example, having nothing to do with current politics. It shows why America works as a currency union, while Europe doesn’t, because Massachusetts had a terrible bust at the end of the ’80s, and the unemployment rate eventually came way down, although there was no recovery in jobs. And the reason is people left, which is an interesting story, and it’s good that people could find jobs elsewhere, but I don’t think a president of the United States can solve our job problems by encouraging Americans to move to some other country to find work.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The Boston Herald…reported that a solar energy company that Mitt Romney supported as governor of Massachusetts with his own green jobs investments went bankrupt. It was one of several that have come up in the last couple of days, so isn’t this exactly the same story?
FEHRNSTROM: Well, that was a loan that was approved by the prior administration. The governor made it clear that his philosophy was that government should not be in the business of venture investing. Actions he took as governor were to limit the state’s ability to do that. He vetoed funds that were set aside for that purpose.
What the president did with Solyndra simply exposes the hypocrisy of his attacks against Bain Capital and free enterprise, because the president’s idea or his concept of free enterprise is government bureaucrats and politicians making investment decisions to reward their political contributors, which is exactly what happened at Solyndra, and it was a $500 million bust to the American taxpayer.
CUTTER: Well, just as Mitt Romney was implementing a program started under a previous administration, the president was doing the same thing. This program was started under the Bush administration. The process for the Solyndra loan was started under the Bush administration, and the loan was given to Solyndra to — to improve the clean-energy sector.
Now, that loan didn’t work out. And it’s tragic that it didn’t. But that’s 1.5 percent of a larger loan portfolio that is actually working. We now have the largest wind farm in the world in this country, first nuclear power plant in 20 years is being created of this country. Because of the investments that we’ve made in the clean-energy sector, we’ve created almost 250,000 jobs.
KRUGMAN: …we’re talking as if $1 billion was a lot of money, and in $15 trillion economy is not. Solyndra was a mistake as part of a large program, which has been — by and large had a pretty good track record. Of course you’re going to find a mistake. I think, to be fair…this is ridiculous, that we are taking these tiny, tiny missteps which happen in any large organizations, including corporations, including Bain — Bain Capital had losers, too, right, even from the point of view of its investors? So this is ridiculous.
And the fact of the matter is, this president has not managed to get very much of what he wanted done. He — it’s terribly unfair that he’s being judged on the failure of the economy to respond to policies that had been largely dictated by a hostile Congress.
On social Issues:
FEHRNSTROM: Mitt Romney is pro-life. He’ll govern as a pro-life president. But you’re going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people’s attention from — from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election…
CUTTER: If it’s not a social issue election, then why did Mitt Romney just spend the last year campaigning on social issues? These are his positions that he’s taken, whether it’s, you know, giving bosses control over whether female employees can get contraception, being for the so-called personhood amendment that would ban all forms of abortion, or, you know, telling the American people that he’ll get back to them on whether he supports Lilly Ledbetter, which is an economic issue and it should be a no-brainer, but the governor couldn’t even bring himself to be for that.
Lily Ledbetter (Alabama, born 1938) was nearing retirement when she discovered that her male colleagues were earning much more than she was. A jury found her employer, Alabama Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company guilty of pay discrimination. The Supreme Court threw out the case because she did NOT file her suit within 180 days of the date that Goodyear first paid her less than her peers.
When asked about the case in April, 2012, a Romney spokesman reportedly told CNN: “We’ll get back to you”.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So how much do these issues matter? I still can’t figure it out listening to you two…
Hey George…I can’t either! Nobody will EVER FIGURE IT OUT by listening to party ideologues. Have you not figured this out yet?
Stop putting these pre-programmed robots on shows and bring in economists and people who can look at the facts and analyze them outside of ideology. People who will say what’s what – NOT what’s that!
These days…one party will not even let another party speak! We’ve become so uncivil, confrontational, disrespectful and discourteous that we’ll storm into another person’s event – even if those people DON’T want to hear YOU – shout to MAKE OURSELVES HEARD!?
When Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod held a press conference outside the Massachusetts State House (May 31) to denounce Romney’s performance as state governor…Romney’s supporters (all 25 of them in Massachusetts) turned out and tried to drown out Axelrod. Why? Whose mind did you change by doing that? Why won’t you just listen to what he has to say – and if you don’t want to listen – why prevent others who want to listen?
I HOPE DEMOCRATS DO NOT ALLOW THIS, either. I thought that Romney campaign stunt was disgusting and shameful. It reflects poorly on Romney…and those supporters!
In these days of Anything Goes Politics I’m sure they walked off patting themselves on the back…imagine that!
HOW CAN WE GET THE TRUTH…when the political debate is reduced to this?
Background: ABC This Week/Other photos: Google