Tuesday, November 18, 2008


No, not the cute-as-a-button goaltender from the Mighty Ducks movies or the ultraboring automatonic wrestler of the mid-90s, but the effluent afterbirth discharge from the thighs of Lucianne "Linda Tripp's Lover" Goldberg.
I speak, of course, about Fudgie the Whale, Jonah Goldberg.
In today's episode of the Adventures of Goldberrrrrrrrrrrg, we find wrong-thinking Jonah turning history on its neck again:
On Sunday night, President-elect Barack Obama told CBS' "60 Minutes" that Franklin D. Roosevelt would be a model of sorts for him. "What you see in FDR that I hope my team can emulate is not always getting it right, but projecting a sense of confidence, and a willingness to try things. And experiment in order to get people working again."
This is a problematic standard. What do you want in a surgeon? One who "gets it right" or who projects "a sense of confidence?" Ditto accountants, defense lawyers, mechanics and bomb-disposal technicians: Cocky and self-assured, or gets it right?
Uh, hm, Jonah? FDR got it right: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," AND fixing the damned planet! That's not a bad model to emulate ahead of what is likely to be an even worse depression than that great one that FDR fixed-- with the help of a world war, of course, an action we hope Obama can avoid.
What should have been looked at with a wary eye as a game run by men with a "sense of confidence" (emphasis on the "con") were the Reagan and Bush tax cuts. Indeed, the so-called and appropriately named "Laffer Curve" was a load of bollocks that its main salesman, David Stockman, later disavowed as having little relation to reality.
In point of fact, Bush's triple-whammy tax cuts in 2001 through 2003 took that long to show even the slightest upward tick in gross domestic product. Worse, wages and wealth declined during the first Bush administration and only in 2005 did they return to levels seen in the late 1990s.
You know, under that real economist, Bill Clinton.
Growth during the Bush administration...well, it would be polite to call it "anemic," and "pathetic" would be more accurate.
Which leads one to suspect that, in point of fact, if there is any validity to the Laffer Curve, it's likely that tax rates are TOO low now. Empirical evidence suggests that the Reagan and Bush tax cuts together created more harm to the economic stability of the nation, and to the long-term economic prospects of its citizenry, than the Clinton tax hike.
Presumably, a restoration by Barack Obama of the Clintonian level of tax rates could restore some of the balance in the economy. Even Stockman, back in 1981, pointed out that it is the imbalances between spending and receipts that wreaked all sorts of havoc in the 1980s and the same Republican greed in the 2000s has us on the brink of the greatest economic emergency in world history, worse even than the Black Death or Great Depression combined.
By raising tax rates (and possibly sacrificing some easy money on the part of the uberwealthy, but hey, Lucianne can afford a couple fewer virgins to suck the blood of), Obama restores at least a little bit of the "pay as you go" philosophy that a nation should and must operate on. For too long, the rich among us have treated the US Treasury as a credit card that our kids will pay off, but nature has a funny habit of balancing the books at inconvenient times, like now.
Argue if you must about the current administration's Keystone Kops attitude towards the sudden Congressional generosity, fostered in the spirit of trying to save a few homes. That's a fair debate to have, that Paulson should stick to his lasts, or he shouldn't, but he should make a decision.
But don't try to preempt an Obama administration plan to, once again, as FDR did, as JFK did, as William Jefferson Clinton did and as Barack Hussein Obama must, clean up after a Republican abortion of an economic program.