Can I Have Some of Those Drugs?

Kevin Drum apparently believes the reason Republicans are not passing further stimulus spending is because such a stimulus would be too likely to have immediate results improving the economy and thus will help Democrats in the next election.

This is the kind of politcal bullshit that drives me right out of the system.  I am perfectly capable of believing Drum honestly thinks that further deficit spending will improve the economy this year.  I think he's nuts, and working against all historic evidence, but never-the-less I believe he is sincere, and not merely pushing the idea as part of some dark donkey-team conspiracy.  Why is it that he and his ilk, from both sides of the aisle, find it impossible to believe that their opponents have similarly honest intentions?

I mean, is it really so hard to believe -- after spending a trillion dollars to no visible effect, after seeing Europe bankrupt itself, and after seeing the American economy begin to recover only after crazy stimulus programs have mostly stopped -- that some folks have an honest desire to see economic improvement and think further stimulus programs are a bad idea?

  • http://anarchangel.blogspot.com Chris Byrne

    Yes, it is impossible.

    It is impossible, because they are arguing from ideology not from reality. They believe in what HAS to be true, because their ideology says so; not what reality, or experience, proves to be true.

    For someone whose entire perception of self worth depends on their adherence to an ideological precept ("I am a good/better person because I believe this morally better thing"), then anyone who disagrees with this precept must be stupid, ignorant, defrauded, deluded, or evil.

    There is no room for honest disagreement in this. To preserve their self worth, there can be no doubt, and no acceptance of any possibility of error.

    If therefore, one cannot dismiss opponents of their ideological precept as stupid, ignorant, defrauded, or deluded (and in the case of clearly intelligent, well informed people, presenting reasoned arguments against your precepts, you obviously cannot); the only thing you can challenge is their motives.

    Your opponents MUST KNOW that you are right, that your ideology is right; since they are intelligent and well informed, and of course any intelligent and well informed person (such as yourself) can see your ideology is clearly morally superior (just as you did).

    Therefore your opponents must be evil, or at best venal and self-interested.

  • stan

    Charles Krauthammer -- "The difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Republicans think Democrats are wrong and Democrats think Republicans are evil."

    "Evil" has been further described by others as "bitter, greedy, hate-filled, mean-spirited, racist, sexist, homophobes bent on starving kids, killing seniors, exploiting workers, and destroying the environment."

  • M Heiss

    Thank you, Warren. You nailed it.

  • http://mpc-blog.blogspot.com Matt

    It is the fallacy of "intentions = results." Many people believe that laws with good intentions (i.e. the minimum wage" will have good results. Likewise, many of the same people hold that policies that (they believe) will have bad results must stem from bad intentions.

  • mahtso

    "Why is it that he and his ilk, from both sides of the aisle, find it impossible to believe that their opponents have similarly honest intentions?"

    Paging those opposed to illegal immigration. Or Pot, meet Kettle.

  • me

    The only reason I am not upset about such a display of public stupidity by an official is that I trust politicians to always lie about anything they spout. Stimulus is the exact equivalent of the former Eastern Blocs central planning, and we all know how well that worked.

  • Sean

    Keynesian government programs are designed to kill the pain of an economic downturn. If I'm not mistaken, most pain killers are narcotics that leave the patient in foggy stupor. Worked as expected.

  • Zachriel

    Coyote Blog: Drum honestly thinks that further deficit spending will improve the economy this year. I think he’s nuts, and working against all historic evidence, but never-the-less I believe he is sincere, and not merely pushing the idea as part of some dark donkey-team conspiracy.

    CBO estimates the economic stimulus (ARRA) created about 3 million jobs and added 1% to the GDP. Though the effects are fading, it will still be having some stimulatory effect through 2012.

  • Neil

    The real shame is that no matter which side wins the populace looses. The government is only interested in growing.

  • ccoffer

    Mother Jones? Really?

  • epobirs

    Zachriel,

    CBO estimates are required to accept the assumptions of the legislation whose effects they are calculating. This mean that if the legislation requires fairy dust to be effective, then the CBO must stipulate the existence and availability of fairy dust for the purposes of estimating the effect.

    No amount of reality has ever convinced the Keynesians (or rather those who call themselves such but have never followed his entire proposal) that they're throwing money into a pit. Keynes said you had to put aside money in the good time to have the money for stimulus efforts in the bad times. Ignoring the assumption that stimulus works (there is no historical evidence for it and plenty against), this is a largely impossible mode of behavior for politicians. So they ignore the parts about putting aside money and just run with the part about spending like crazy. It's the only part of the theory they understand.

    To quote P.J. O'Rourke: The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then they get elected and prove it.

  • Zachriel

    epobirs: CBO estimates are required to accept the assumptions of the legislation whose effects they are calculating.

    The CBO estimate is based on the effects of this particular legislation. While it is an estimate, it is not based on fairy dust, but reasonable economic projections.

    epobirs: Keynes said you had to put aside money in the good time to have the money for stimulus efforts in the bad times. Ignoring the assumption that stimulus works (there is no historical evidence for it and plenty against), this is a largely impossible mode of behavior for politicians.

    And yet, just over a decade ago, the U.S. was running structural cash surpluses—at the end of the Clinton Administration. Then, the U.S. decided on a different course.

  • John David Galt

    The brief "surpluses" during both the Clinton and Nixon administrations were accounting tricks. The US has not had a truly balanced budget since the Kennedy administration.

    Any balanced budget amendment must be written to reject those tricks or it is toothless.

  • Zachriel

    John David Galt: The brief “surpluses” during both the Clinton and Nixon administrations were accounting tricks. The US has not had a truly balanced budget since the Kennedy administration.

    The Clinton Administration left structural cash surpluses which would have resulted in a much reduced public debt over the next few years. Even with the Social Security Trust Fund, the budget was essentially balanced.
    http://www.cbo.gov/budget/data/historical.pdf

    Though this still left the problem of ballooning entitlements, it would have tempered the economic expansion, and left the U.S. in a much better financial position to weather any shocks.

  • Zachriel

    "public debt" should read "debt held by public".