• Well, we agree on something else, Mike. What we are seeing now is not necessarily what we will see as the year progresses, regarding GOP candidates. The waters are being tested, and the media may spend some useless bullets, but I guess they suspect that.

    I am sure that Obama knew how many states there are, but it goes to show that being in front of media, friendly or not, there are going to be some mis statements. Some of these newcomers are going to be amazed at the difference in stress levels at this level of political competition.

    April 17, 2011 at 2:55 p.m.

  • Now, jbj, don't start getting super sensitive on me; context is everything.

    I'm merely repeating stuff I hear from conservatives like George Will, David Frum, David Brooks, Kathleen Parker, Ed Rollins, Karl Rowe, and senators John Tume and Pat Toomey to name a few. I put them together with the what I hear from Charlie Cook,Mike Murphy and Chuck Todd..... They're merely political analysis and not based on partisan rhetoric..... Honestly jbj, do you really think that a former professor of law, state and national senator, the president of Harvard Law review does not know how many states there are in in United States?... Reasonable people know that Obama was exhausted when he answered the question. True, exhausted or not the subconscious should have come out with 50 as an answer. ... Donald and Trump cut off the questions before the interviewer could go any further... He gets a pass for now for not knowing we have 535 members of Congress but it's the media's job to see just how much the candidates know. You can also get a lot information from the debates.

    We both know that the GOP has a pro- life litmus test; I was merely thinking out loud when I said that Trump will have a tough time winning in the first primary state,Iowa. Michelle Bachmann and Mike Huckabee have a better chance with that evangelical crowd. That same test will have to be met in the third primary state of South Carolina. Winning two out of three primary states will get the checks flowing, media attention, and momentum... I was not referencing the same old left right arguments of media bias or the 2008 election rhetoric.... You have a different opinion; that's fine, I guess we'll have to wait and see if you're right.

    I agree and I've said it in another blog elsewhere that a serious GOP candidates like Mitch Daniels,Jeb Bush,Mitt Romney,Tim Pawlenty or Chris Christie will emerge sometime in the fall but right now the pretenders are taking up all the oxygen.

    April 17, 2011 at 10:09 a.m.

  • Trump 2012!

    April 16, 2011 at 11:05 p.m.

  • Well, Mike, I guess all candidates have their drawbacks, but if Obama can make it with Ayres and Wright, I guess Trump can overcome his bankrupcies and multiple marriages. And at least he knows how many states are in the USA. The media will have their fun but most people who would vote Republican have figured out the bias.

    Actually, Trump is not my choice, but many agree with much of what he says and that is going to get him some backing.... and lots of attention. We both know most voters are not as informed as we would like, and often vote based on "against" instead of "for" someone or something.

    Anyone running as Republican who poses any threat is going to get the Sarah Palin treatment. So we probably won't see anyone venture forth until the last minute. But most Republicans do have a list of some very promising possiblities.

    April 16, 2011 at 9:44 p.m.

  • arlewill

    Never mind,I see your point inflation is akin to a tax...I agree but when I asked for the difference between tax increases and health care cots;the answer I got was " we don't have to buy health insurance."...Well on that basis I can curtail my spending ..:-)

    Have a good weekend

    April 16, 2011 at 12:33 p.m.

  • arlewill

    I don't see see the connection between higher tax brackets and inflation... We have a progressive tax system whereby a higher taxable income places you in a higher tax bracket...I do see where us being on a fixed income will be affected more than others.

    I see you have a problem with Keynesian economics which is used when the private sector and consumers are not spending; the government comes in with an infusion of cash to stimulate the economy... Prime the pump..... It does lower the value of our money but we're in a world economy where a strong dollar will make it harder for other countries to buy our goods.... We will be the only consumers but if we are not consuming; then what? Europe and Japan are in worse shape than we are,so that is helping but the world is waiting on our full recovery.

    Yes the FED has pumped in $2 trillion dollars but we lost $8 trillion in capital after the financial crisis. Wall Street got their money back but the taxpayers lost their savings... As you said consumers are becoming skeptics and saving at a 5% rate ,compared to less than 1% before the crisis... Every dollar that is saved by the consumer is not being spent on goods and services; thus high unemployment.

    You're exactly right will always have an artificial economy as long as we have the Fed but it has served as well throughout the years because a true free market can't really police itself. I agreed that we will be in another bubble unless we strengthen Dodd/Frank but I realize there's another view out there. I just don't think we can cut funds for the SEC and complain about the shenanigans of Wall Street in the same breath.

    Once we get unemployment to 8% or less and it keeps trending down, a lot these problems will go by the wayside because tax revenues lowers the deficit.

    April 16, 2011 at 12:27 p.m.

  • Mike
    I agree with much of what Will had to say. While the Country is focused on the battle in Washington about debt and spending, the FED is infusing more money into the system, reducing the value of our dollar. This causes inflation, pushes everyone into higher tax brackets and punishes people, like you and I, who are living on fixed income. The new method for calculating inflation reduces adjustments to social security.
    Unlike the proposals in Washington, the FED method of taxation hits all classes of people. Since March 2009, the FED has pumped approximately 2 trillion dollars into the economy by purchasing U.S. debt. The stock market benefits by the lower interest rates and people getting out of money markets and T-Bills to get a better return on their investments. They have created an artificial economy and will eventually come crashing down on our heads.

    April 16, 2011 at 11:51 a.m.

  • will
    Thank you very much.

    I agree, people always complain about politicians but until we do some serious reform of campaign contributions, corporatism is just around the corner.... The justice Robert's Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to allow corporations , to contribute as much as they want and to do it anonymously....... In speaking for the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy said"no basis for allowing the government to limit corporate independent expenditures."

    So true, serious people know that cuts in discretionary spending will have little or no affect on the deficit. The CBO prove that by saying that the $39 billion in cuts amounted to less than 1% of that amount this fiscal year.

    Budget cuts have always been about dividing the pie. As economist Jeffrey Sachs said the other day," How can you have serious talks about the budget and not include leaving Iraq and Afghanistan?"

    The house republicans(particularly speaker Boehner) are beginning to see that it is not easy to govern, although you have an overwhelming majority. The speaker is having the same trouble with the Tea Party, as Nancy Pelosi had with the blue dog democrats..... It's always easy to pass legislation in the house and see it disregarded in the senate.

    April 16, 2011 at 11:47 a.m.

  • Mike, I really enjoyed your artical as well as the post on most of this blog. I will put my two cents in.....
    While abroad recently, I was asked about coporate white collar crimes. The reason I was asked about this was that it is rampent in the emerging economies around the globe. I simply pointed out that with unlimited blind corporate donations, the lobbyist will ensure that the laws, rules and regulations will protect them (coporations) as the payoffs to goverment officials in the emerging econoic boom of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China)do.
    I was selling a plane to a BRIC nation and there were certain regulations that were bypassed by the LOBBYING of the the officials.
    So, until we correct the this and the way the fed determines infaltion (not including fuel, energy or food) we will evetually all fall into a two class society, the corporations and then us.
    Budget fights about line items are nothing more than schoolyard pissing matches.

    April 16, 2011 at 11:11 a.m.

  • Good morning arlewill

    We're on the same page when it comes to Ben Bernanke and it seems like there is an internal fight with the other board of governors to raise interest rates. I think he will raise interest rates, if he gets another one or two positive job numbers. We've had 13 consecutive months of improvement in the job market and but the high gasoline prices is eating that up. The fed has the tool to curb inflation(raising interest rates) but if food,gas,and other commodities keep going up, we may not be able to keep it from spiraling out of control.... In this case stagnant wages have kept things in check.

    As for the debt ceiling: It is obvious that we will not lowered the $14 trillion by next year, so this vote will come up again for several years. President Obama admitted that voting against raising the debt ceiling is a political gimmick. It's usually done by the minority party because their colleagues in the majority will vote to raise it. We can't just randomly keep raising it without adjustments and long-term planning.....BTW Neither of us will see a zero debt because the interest on the debt will keep multiplying.

    April 16, 2011 at 9:52 a.m.

  • jbj
    It seems like we agree on the reasons for the stalemate but we don't agree on what it will take to unseat president Obama.

    I've seen and heard many republican shake their heads in disgust when talking about the weakest GOP presidential candidates in history. Donald Trump is a show man; nothing else. The other day he did not know how many members of Congress we had. He called it a " gotcha " moment and accused the media of trying to Sarah Palin him. The first three primaries are in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina... His multiple marriages and bankruptcies will not play well in evangelical states like Iowa and South Carolina but he might be competitive in New Hampshire. In 2008 Rudy Giuliani tried to sit out 5 states because of similar problems such as the ones, Donal Trump has. He ended up near the bottom with only one delegate. That's just the GOP primaries. If he wins the primary ;he will have to face the democratic machine and an incumbent president. A birth certificate will be the least of his problems; wait until he is asked to produce his tax returns for the last three years. He looks good now to republicans, because he's unchallenged. Americans know that we can't take Iraq's oil and it would be stupid to alienate countries with cowboy rhetoric.

    After Wednesday speech, the liberals were overjoyed that the president drew a line in the sand over privatizing Medicare. No democrat voted for the Ryan budget. That was a show of unity. I think 59 republicans voted against the continuing resolution and John Boeher needed the help of 60 democrats..... Just when the democrats were down the republicans bailed them out. The same thing happened to the democrats when they had the GOP down to 20% approval.

    It's early;it's anybody's guess for now.

    April 16, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.

  • Mike
    i am glad you are back and was getting concerned about you.
    I am watching the FED in this budget, deficit, debt ceiling mess. The FED seems to be quite determined to continue the low interest and quantative easing (equivalent to printing money). The World has lost interest in buying our debt and the FED has been purchasing most of our debt since last November.
    Bernanke's plan originally called for buying up U.S. debt, keeping the interest rate low and stimulating the stock market and economy. He has been successful with the stock market. The last part of his plan was to sell the debt in the market and reduce the FED balance sheet.
    The problem is the FED is reluctant to go to the last part of the plan even though inflation is on the increase. I have read reports of the FED wanting to extend QE2 or beginning QE3.
    Avoiding market forces and printing money to buy U.S. debt has created an artificial world for our economy. Inflation is the worst form of taxation. I heard Ben Bernanke say on TV that he was opposed to monetizing U.S. debt. Could be he has changed his mind.

    April 16, 2011 at 8:30 a.m.

  • Mike, your blog is well written and represents a situation we are seeing, and I appreciate your perspective. You are accurate in your assessment and I can see that we agree that the road ahead will not be smooth, and there are no perfect solutions.

    I think we are in a rut. The "car" isn't just in a ditch, it is in a rut.

    Whether or not one likes the outspoken know it alls out there, sometimes it is a wake up call to have them express their thoughts. Sometimes it helps us see what is going on. Donald Trump is one of those, and even if he does not run, he is putting a perspective out that could do some eye opening. There will be others. And the media will say, this is not a serious candidate, he would never fit in, he does not understand how it works. But if he or she understands how a huge chunk of the American public thinks it should work, he or she may have a shot. If he or she says the things many think and will identify with, they will listen. An off the wall candidate could win this 2012 election on this platform. "We don't want it to work the way it is working, give us a strong personality who will make it work the way it should."

    Mike, you have said it is about money and power. And it is. But the people should be the power. And many are looking for a person who has that idea to offer. Heck, they thought it was Obama, and it could have been. But he has sided too much with a small group and then has alienated that group. He may or may not be able to pull it together, or he may win because the American people do not see anyone they think can do a better job.

    This idea may seem to be off topic, but what we are seeing today is leading to some thinking outside the box. People don't like the backbiting, and the political games. The stalemates, wasted time, the failure to work together drawing lines based on ideology and not on what is good for the people. We are seeing that "how it works" is an excuse for not working at all.

    April 16, 2011 at 8:09 a.m.

  • Kinda gives you a "thrill running up your leg" eh gansoblanco.....

    April 15, 2011 at 3:20 p.m.

  • The righteous indignation of the right always makes me giggle.

    The GOP and it's supporters are famous for their polite and civil discourse (remember the Republican congressman that hollered out "LIAR!" at the President during a state of nation speech sometime back?) and are appalled when their delicate sensibilities are violated. They remind me of the guy that is quick to throw a punch and then is hurt and confused when someone responds in kind.

    The President seems quite capable "to give as well as he gets".

    A refreshing change.

    April 15, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.

  • Obama is notorious for using the "bully pulpit" to demonize guests in attendance at official functions. Remember how he demonized the Supreme Court after its decision on politial campaign contributions during his State of the Union address. Yeah, he's real good at drawing lines in the sand. Let's see how good he is at actually fighting the battles he causes. It appears his democratic friends are the ones who actually bear the brunt of his political gaffes.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:26 p.m.