Comments about ‘Robert J. Samuelson: Do Democrats do it better? Nope’

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Published: Monday, Aug. 25 2014 8:05 p.m. MDT

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American Fork, UT

Anybodys' mind changed here? Nope.

Virginia Beach, VA

“Democrats focus more on jobs; Republicans more on inflation.”


Since when has that been true? . . . Certainly not since the Reagan administration set a precedent for irresponsibility that later served as a template for the policies of GW Bush (although GHW was a fairly competent President).

Focusing on inflation requires caring about the future. But that is something with which Reaganites DO NOT concern themselves. They are all about exploiting a situation for as much as it’s worth NOW to generate maximum profit to themselves and their cronies, with NO CONCERN for future generations.

“There's often a long lag between the adoption of policies and their true effects.”

That’s true. GW’s horrendous policies initiated at the beginning of his first term didn’t catch up to him until his second term. But Clinton was able to accelerate the effects of his excellent policies through the concerted effort of Al Gore to promote the internet as a business forum, thereby launching the dot com boom and funneling much needed revenue (from tax increases) into our nation’s coffers.

The Clinton administration made its own luck. And GW designed a lasting disaster.

Christopher B
Ogden, UT

Liberals may be unfamiliar with something called the labor participation rate.

It's infinitely more useful in evaluating the job market than unemployment rate.

The current labor participation rate is the worst it's been in over 30 years.

In other words, things are so bad people have simply stopped liking for work, this not being included in the "unemployment rate" and instead they just tell Barack to pay their bills with our money.

Far East USA, SC

"Most economists, they note, doubt presidents can control the economy."

I would agree with that. There are many factors outside the control of the president.

So, why is it that those on the right attribute everything bad to Obama?

Yes, the deficit has ballooned under Obama. But if one is inclined to understand WHY, rather than just to assign partisan blame, they would realize that the same thing would have happened under McCain or Romney.

But in todays partisan world, that does not fit the narrative.

Gary O.

I have called out many on the right for their over-the-top completely partisan assessments.
You do the same from the left.

Neither are useful or accurate.

Virginia Beach, VA

"Liberals may be unfamiliar with something called the labor participation rate. "

No, they're familiar with it. Moderates are familiar with it too.

And we are also familiar with the Republican policy of obstructing if possible any and all legislation supported by the Obama administration.

We are familiar with the fact that Obama's Jobs' Bill of 2011 would have put millions of Americans back to work building infrastructure and in support industries. It made perfect sense. Because of the law of supply and demand, building supplies were cheap, and we the people would have gotten a great deal. But the Republicans shot down that bill . . . Just to perpetuate unemployment in the vain hope that it would squash Obama's reelection bid.

Once again, Republicans harmed America and Americans for the sake of some short-term political goal they failed to achieve anyway.

Harming this nation has become routine for Republicans.

Are you familiar with that?

Virginia Beach, VA

Hey Joe Blow - "I have called out many on the right for their over-the-top completely partisan assessments. You do the same from the left."


I cite facts and rational conclusions drawn from those facts. And I can defend EVERYTHING I say with evidence and reason.

I am NOT on the Left. I'm essentially a Moderate, a Centrist, and I abhor unworkable extremes.

But as it happens, Republicans as body, now embrace unworkable extremism . . . And so I oppose them.

The Modern GOP, infested as it is with demagogues spouting nonsense, has little in common with the late great Party of Lincoln.

I'm glad I could help.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

All these studies are massive exercises in logical fallacy. The economy is complex enough that no administration can "control" it. But the "banking and cooling" efforts of the public sector do have a moderating influence on that otherwise out-of-control system called the economy. Wise leaders use that sector wisely to steer a balanced course.
GW Bush was not a wise leader. He essentially removed the "banking and cooling" influence of the gov't and watched as the economy was overwhelmed. He took the same approach to Katrina, by the way.

Virginia Beach, VA

Hey Irony Guy -

Can you got into a little more detail regarding the "banking and cooling effect" of the public sector?

I'm not quite sure I know what you're talking about.

I believe the government can have a huge effect on the economy through fiscal policy and monetary policy, unless external stimuli are too strong, or unless the expansion or contraction has already gained too much inertia.

The stagflation due to soaring world oil prices during Carter's administration was pretty much beyond control because the cost of energy had become too extreme.

Generally speaking though, government spending and a wise tax policy together with the Federal reserve's adjustment of interest rates can deflect the course of the economy at least to some extent.

But, I don't know what you mean by the "banking and cooling effect" of the public sector.

Sandy, UT

Irony Guy: I have to disagree that GW Bush, President Obama or any other president has or had much to do with the "banking and cooling" effect you're talking about. Those functions are pretty much determined by "the bankers' bank", i.e. the Federal Reserve.

If you want to lay blame at anyone's feet, you should be naming Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen and their cohorts. The Federal Reserve prior to and during the first part of Carter's administration can be blamed for the inflation/stagflation periods we experienced as well.

Presidents may nominate some members of the Federal Reserve, but the decisions about the economy are made by the board members (sometimes heavily influenced by presidential administrations).

Provo, UT

Ha, I have to laugh at GaryO calling himself a Moderate. Pray tell, Gary: If you are a moderate, then name someone who you regard as too far left, and what you disagree with them about as being too far left ideologically.

Just about all of your posts show that you would criticize Mao for being a died in the wool Conservative, who is a corporate lackey.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Chris B
"The current labor participation rate is the worst it's been in over 30 years. "

Conservatives want the rate to be even lower. No seriously they do, because if all working age adults were heterosexual married couples with a stay at home parent, then that'd be a labor participation rate of 50%.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Re "Do Democrats do it better"?

That depends on what you're talking about. As a blanket statement... I think the answer is no. But there ARE some things they do better.

Are they better at Governing? Maybe

At protecting Civil Rights? Probably

Not taking us to war... yes.

As for the proper overall objective of government... that of ensuring domestic tranquility... recent evidence says they don't do it better.

Providing for the common defense (they way Democrats keep insisting on cutting military funding)... Probably not.

Insuring individual, family and community rights and responsibilities in acts of self-governance, as set forth by our Founders... probably not

So IMO BOTH sides do some parts better...

Maybe that's why people who aren't total radical partisans acknowledge that America needs BOTH wings to fly...

Sugar City, ID

"Not surprisingly, one of the report's authors is a well-known Democratic economist, Alan Blinder, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve now at Princeton;"

When all else fails, poison the well.

water rocket
Magna, UT

I am constantly amazed at the audacity of ALL politicians! First, it is the American people who do the work that makes the economy work, and it is the political machinery that is what holds back the prosperity of America. Can anyone say "tax and spend?" Can anyone say "over regulation?" Can anyone say "excessive foreign aid?" Can anyone say "greed and corruption?" Saying that one political party is any better than the other is simply saying that one party may pose less of a drag on the economy. Incidentally, it is because of politics that both the medical and oil industries are doing well right now (political meddling at the expense of the rest of the economy).

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA


"I am NOT on the Left. I'm essentially a Moderate, a Centrist..."

Yeah, you might be a centrist...in North Vietnam.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Totally irrelevant study. Totally worthless analysis. One thing we can blame the GOP for, though, is supply-side economics and the gross and growing inequality that we now enjoy and that the Republicans must somehow spin into a positive. It's their baby, so they have to own it. It makes for good political theater.

The statistics given in the article on recessionary years were particularly irrelevant. To wit, even though we have not been officially in recession since Q2 2009, it took about four years for most people to feel like the country was out of recession. This also would have happened sooner, except for the obstructionist anti-Obama sentiment in the Republican House.

Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

The Republicans are elected after Democrats have destroyed the economy. They spend the next 8 years repairing the damage done. But before the fruits of their labor is shown, the voters whose attention span is of a little child elects Democrats back. They then give the credit to Democrats, until the economy starts to sour again. Electing Republicans back to fix the damage of hope and change.

That's the cycle.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

DeForrest and others,
I hate to break it to you but... Republicans didn't invent supply-side economics. supply-side economics didn't just start during the Reagan era. We have had supply-side economics in America since the begining.

"Supply-side economics is a school of macroeconomics that argues that economic growth can be most effectively created by lowering barriers for people to produce (supply) goods and services as well as invest in capital. According to supply-side economics, consumers will then benefit from a greater supply of goods and services at lower prices; furthermore, the investment and expansion of businesses will increase the demand for employees. Typical policy recommendations of supply-side economists are lower marginal tax rates and less regulation".

On taxes... it takes into account the Laffer curve.

"The Laffer curve embodies a tenet of supply side economics: that government tax revenues from a specific tax are the same (nil) at 100% tax rates as at 0% tax rates respectively. The tax rate that achieves optimum, or highest government revenues is somewhere in between these two values".

Nothing new. It's not a Republican conspiracy to ruin the world for Progressives.

Sandy, UT

Democrats and Republicans both seem intent on driving the economy into the ground, each in its own way. Neither believes in "pay as you go" regarding the welfare state or wars. Supply-side and demand-side economics are nothing more than two sides of the same coin. Both of them have resulted in enormous debt and devaluation of the currency, and especially in magnifying the great divide between the extremely wealthy and everyone else. This argument is over how the deck chairs should be arranged on the Titanic.

Cedar Hills, UT

I am thinking about the democrats in my life time...

JFK - good president. Great leader. As far as the economy goes I see JFK as doing well but the man was only president for 3 years so it is hard to tell.

LBJ - Vietnam dominated his presidency. The great society was a huge mistake creating our current welfare state.

Carter - Interest rates 22% and inflation out of this world too. Terrible president with the economy.

Clinton - Good president with the economy BECAUSE he compromised with the GOP congress with the Contract With America.

OBama - we won't go here...

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