Wednesday, November 03, 2010

You Ain't Seen Hard Times Yet

A $3.5 billion state budget shortfall + Republican doctrine on taxes x the corporate whip wielded by Art Pope & Friends = ...?

State employee layoffs, benefit cuts, reductions in services, closing of state facilities, and college tuition increases ... just for starters.

John B. Judis writes this a.m.:
This economic downturn structurally resembles the depressions of the 1890s and the 1930s rather than the cyclical recessions that have recurred since World War II. The American people, mired in debt, with one in six lacking full-time employment, are not spending; and businesses, uncertain of demand for their products, are not investing no matter how low interest rates fall. With the Fed virtually powerless, the only way to stimulate private demand and investment is through public spending. Obama tried to do this with his initial stimulus program, but it was watered down by tax cuts, and undermined by decreases in state spending. By this summer, its effect had dissipated.

The Republicans may not have a mandate to repeal health care, but they do have one to cut spending. Many voters have concluded that Obama's stimulus program actually contributed to the rise in unemployment and that cutting public spending will speed a recovery. It's complete nonsense, as the experience of the United States in 1937 or of Japan in the 1990s demonstrated, but it will guide Republican thinking in Congress, and prevent Obama and the Democrats from passing a new stimulus program. Republicans will accede to tax cuts, especially if they are skewed toward the wealthy, but tax cuts can be saved rather than spent. They won't halt the slowdown. Which leads me to expect that the slowdown will continue -- with disastrous results for the country.


Anne said...

Well, the way I see it, the Republicans (nationally and statewide) have exactly 18 months to fix everything. My prediction, however, is that they will simply bitch and moan about how everything is the Democrats' fault. Whatever. The mandate they got was to remove all funding for polar bears, bridges, piers, and botanical gardens. That won't be enough to fix the shortfall, so the corporations will simply get what they paid for: cuts for them, the shaft for the middle class. Jordan and Soucek are bought and sold, but they'll prove that soon enough. The fun part will be watching these two fellers fix all that ails us in 18 months without squawking. The mailers against them in 2012 should be fun this go round.

Popcorn said...

It is good the Repubs didn't take the Senate. With only a third of government under the capable hands of Tea Party inspired candidates, when your predictions come true, it will fall squarely, as it should, on liberals who believe government is the solution. Liberals have been in power since 2006 and the country has faltered ever since. If conservatives can finish off what was started last night, then perhaps in 2012 we can cut taxes even more, get government out of our personal lives (don't hear any liberals trying to repeal the Patriot Act), and undo the damage that liberals have caused for the past 6 years.

brotherdoc said...

Some thoughts:
1. to Anne: Obmama only got 3 months. That's all I am giving these turkeys.
2. Can I expect weekly updates on state business from Jordan, as Cullie sent? I hope all his constituents will be sending him their thoughts on a continuous basis, I know I will.
3. They better crank up the prayer circle over there at SP, Dan's going to need divine help to know what is going on in the NC Senate. 4. I can't wait to see Bev deal with this new (ir)reality in Raleigh.
5. Hold on to your hats, ASU, bigger cuts and higher tuition increases than you have imagined are coming for you.
6. There's been a lot on the internet this morning about how the youth vote bailed on Obama but I thought the Young Dems at ASU did a really dedicated job and I thank them. Worse things can happen than a political defeat, their youthful enthusiasm shows there's still hope for 2012.
7. GET INFORMED; STAY INFORMED. Don't believe a damn thing Art Pope and the boys say until they can prove to you their way works. They get 3 months after the Legislature convenes in January.

November Is HERE! said...

Gosh but you guys are sore losers.
2 out of 3 voters in NC-5 voted for Virgina Foxx, Big margins as well for Soucek, Republicans were chosen by the voters over and over and over again but you guys just know so much more than the people of North Carolina.

Maybe we should just let you decide and save spending all this money on elections

Anonymous said...

its bush's fault

Anne said...

Popcorn--you're already proving me true! SQUAWK, SQUAWK, SQUAWK, SQUAWK, SQUAWK. No deal, says America. You have exactly 18 months to fix everything. If you can't, it's no one's fault but your own. I mean, afterall, that's what your Party has been saying all this election cycle. You weren't lying, were you?

Nope. Hop to it. You said you'd fix it up and now you caught the truck. You'd better get moving. Clock's a tickin. You're down to 17 months and 12 hours already.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I agree with Anne. You're out of the campaign now. Get to work. I agree you've only got a few months to fix everything. Time for bitching is over. It's on your head now.

Anonymous said...

Popcorn, the Repubs did take the Senate; not de jure, but de facto.

With the huge Repub gains in the House, the Senate Dems will be greatly influenced to distance themselves away from Obama.

And the Angle campaign needs to call for a criminal investigation into election fraud in Nevada.

Anonymous said...

I predict the GOP will do what it always does---start "investigations" into acorn & try to impeach Obama for not being a citizen, etc.---totally piss off the entire country, and in 2012 it'll be looking good for us. Sit back & take a rest Dems. Enjoy the show!

Cameron said...

What I'm waiting for is to see what the Republicans will propose to cut to pay for the $700 billion in tax cuts they want to give to the top 1%. They're gonna try to raise the debt ceiling, but I suspect the TeaBaggers will have none of that. So what goes first? Medicare benefits? Education funding? Roads? National Security?

Anonymous said...

Some of you say the NC Repubs have only so many months, etc.

Well, the Dems have had the legislature for a century now, and you, the Dems and progressives, have made a monumental mess of this state financially, and you have the gall to say you limit the Repubs for only so many months!?

Henery said...

"Gall," Anonymous? Really? You're gonna talk about gall after the campaigns run on behalf of Soucek and Jordan?

But, yes, I'll bite on that one. I've got gall to spare. I got gall sloshing outta me and running down my sides. I got gall that you could use to strip furniture.

You guyys wanna live by the sword? You go right ahead. We're armed too.

Anonymous said...


You said you'd fix it, so do it. As others have said, you have exactly 18 months to do it. That's all the voters gave Obama after screwing everything up during the Bush years, and that's all they're going to give you. No excuses now, buddy. Too late. It falls to you to get it all cleaned up post haste. That's what you promised. Now it's time to deliver. We intend to hold you to what you promised. Draconian cuts and no money for the zoo. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I certainly HOPE the new legislators will investigate ACORN and other voter fraud organizations. This might allow us to CHANGE the Presidency through the impeachment process.

Anonymous said...

Henery, gosh, you still can't stand the truth, can you?

Can't you see the truth? This country, this state, we are bankrupt. The Federal Reserve System has deliberately bled this country dry of our wealth for almost a century. The global and domestic banksters are the real villians, the real enemy.

Soucek and Jordan told the unmitigated truth re: the NC legislature. And many times the truth is ugly.

You just want a one-sided or lopsided contest with the rules in your side's favor.

We are in huge, astronomical debt, from BOTH parties on the national level.

This state has been run in the ground financially by the Dems and progressives for a century.

What is the basis for your gall?

Mike D. said...


Our country now faces a political scenario that will require outreach, compromise, and acceptance of our differences if anything is to be accomplished.

It is good to know, as we face the prospect of respecting our differences and building bridges, that we have such tolerant, gracious, kind-hearted individuals as yourself to light our way.

Bless you for your gentle, good-natured soul!

"You guyys(sic) wanna live by the sword? You go right ahead. We're armed too." - Henery

Henery said...

Let the healing begin, eh? Gosh, Mike D., you're beginning to sound like Barack Husein Obama there, at his most trusting, at his most willing to compromise moments in 2009, at his most naive, when he thought that surely Republicans in Congress would work with him. Do you hear yourself? Once your side has scorched the earth to DESTROY two good men who represented Watauga's interests WELL in Raleigh, NOW you want us all to eat out of your hand? Yeah, like you were singing that song two months ago!

Mike D. said...


My side? Which is my side?

I voted for Democrats and Republicans. Did you?

Please release your fear, your hatred, and let's try to move forward together, friend.

Matt Robinson said...

Actually, no one knows for sure what will happen in the state now that Republicans will be in charge. And no one knows for sure what will happen in our nation now that Republicans control the House (but not the Senate and not the White House). That should be acknowledged up front.= by anyone including those making predictions about the future.

We can speculate based on principles of each party what will happen, and by studying history especially during similar electoral outcomes. JW's suggested outcomes are certainly possible and should not be dismissed without serious consideration.

Personally, I expect economic improvement in the short term as businesses are empowered through less regulation and more tax breaks to take more risks. Unfortunately, this will involve, like it always does, significant fraud that will come back to haunt us in the future, like it always does. Much of our current economic woes are due to that very kind of behavior in Wall Street.

The funny thing is that businesses are already doing very well. They are making huge profits and yet for some reason still are not hiring. The stimulus did grow the economy and saved millions of jobs. And the bailouts of the auto company actually worked. The companies are profitable again and the American people have been largely paid back too. Yet, the companies still do not hire (thus, unemployment remains high, as it always does in the final stages of a recession and shortly after it ends).

The bottom line is I expect there will be no major changes in long-term government spending. After all, what can the government really cut? Social security or Medicare? Nope. Defense spending? Nope. Too politically unpopular on these counts. Police and prisons? Of course not.

So what is left? After considering payments to interest on the debt, only about 5% of the budget remains. Eliminate that completely and you hardly make a dent in the problem.

Sure Republicans may cut education in the short-term but this will come back to haunt the party in the near future. It always has and it always will.

I wish them luck and I seriously hope we will start to see both parties working together ASAP. If the House repeals health care reform it will go literally nowhere in the Senate and of course would not be signed by President Obama anyway if it did get through the Senate. Besides, the law pays for itself and adds nothing to the debt while providing PRIVATE insurance for 30 million more Americans and bringing about many changes Americans actually support according to the polls. So I hope they focus on productive, meaningful change rather than silly political theater.

Ah, I still have hope.

Fred said...

Mike D, the lessons I learned in this campaign is that (1) tell lies and win, (2) sell your soul to corporate money and win, and (3) obstruct, obstruct, obstruct and win.

That's all I need to know. Oh, that and the fact I agree with others above that the Republicans have at most 16 months to fix everything like they said they would and complaining about the other side now that they're in power just won't get it.

The Republicans are sellouts and liars. Why would anyone want to negotiate with them or, for that matter, believe a single word they say?

Anne said...

Hey, Mike D. Here's a way you and your buddies at the Tea Party can start us on the right path and show your good faith. You sign waivers to turn over your social security benefits to the federal government. Hence, less government, lower taxes, more pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Just your entire agenda, in a NUTshell.

Go for it, Mike. Put your money where your mouth is!

YetAnother said...

I agree with Anne. I am totally cool with those who enjoy being tea bagged choosing out of everything Democratic. Let them attend universities at full cost, opt out of social security, and maintain the roads they live on. But they better not attend ASU, depend on government funds when they are too old to work, or drive.

Mike D. said...


I'm 38 years old, so you are welcome to my Social Security checks.


If you listened to Matt's post, it sounds like we are on the cusp of things getting better (at least in the short term), and with gridlock and no further regulation on the immediate horizon, in all likelihood, companies are about to start hiring. So it is very likely that the next 16 months will see Republicans taking credit for the looming economic growth and job creation.

Mike D. said...


You may be surprised to hear that I agree with a great deal of what you have just said, and since you have invited speculation with the following statement, I would like to add my perspective to your discussion:

"We can speculate based on principles of each party what will happen" - Matt

As I think about Liberalism vs. Conservatism on the simplest, most basic level, I view the core principles as follows: Liberals look out for the little guy, and Conservatives carefully mind the purse strings. Unfortunately, when either group holds the Executive and Legislative branches of government, core principles get pushed to the side. Liberals, with no check on their power, try to outdo each other in helping out the little guy until they no longer hear the little guy as he screams that what they are doing will prevent him from ever being anything more than he is. Conservatives, with no check on their power, go off on socially conservative tangents, trying to outdo each other, and in so doing, they completely abandon the fiscal constraint they purport to hold dear, and they wind up working hard to push through the socially reactionary policies of their church elders. But the people, deep in our hearts, don't truly support those restrictive social policies.

But a Liberal Executive and a Conservative Legislature really works. The boss man shows empathy, and lawmakers make sure the boss man's empathy doesn't bankrupt the country. Each party must stick to its core principles because it knows that the core principle is the winning issue.

The truth is, three days ago I had very little support for President Obama. I wished him failure in almost every endeavor. But now, one day after the landslide election, I have great hope that Obama's Presidency will be a great success, and I will be able to vote for him in 2012.

I don't think the Republicans will go after the Health Care Bill. The United States has three main hedges against tyranny... the right to own a gun, the two year full election of the House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court. Fortunately, the guns thing wasn't necessary. The power to flip the House of Representatives was invoked by the people yesterday, and the Supreme Court will likely kill certain provisions of Obamacare.

Henery said...

Mike D., You and Matt can get together and roast weenies at a drumming circle, but you're both ignoring the plainly obvious goal of Republicans at every level of government. Any elected Republican who can find a microphone and TV camera to stand in front of is proclaiming their one goal for the next 2 yrs: DESTROY BARAK OBAMA'S PRESIDENCY. The only compromising there will be will be on Obama's part, something he's unfortunately very prone to.

Mike, your sudden benevolent feelings toward the president is pretty revealing. Now that you assess his power as completely hobbled, your ready to say you hope he succeeds. Plu-LEZE!

Anonymous said...

Mike, of course the Republicans are going to try to repeal the health care bill. Are you saying they were lying all along?

Matt, you may be right that our corporate masters will manage to find some long hours, low pay jobs to offer up in the short run (just to make it look like the Republicans are able to provide jobs), but the fact is the rich will get get richer and the poor will get poorer and the middle class will continue to slide. The country is well on its way to hell in a handbasket.

The Republicans will have to balance the budget in the state. They will have to cut out education funding and infrastructure improvements because they aren't willing to go up against their corporate masters.

This is a fight for the middle class over the corporate overlords (AKA Republicans). I have no intention of supporting anyone who compromises with them.

Fred said...

Mike D. You've read this, right?

"Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office," McConnell will say. "But the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things is to put someone in the White House who won't veto any of these things."

"On health care that means we can - and should - propose and vote on straight repeal, repeatedly," McConnell will add. "But we can't expect the president to sign it. So we'll also have to work, in the House, on denying funds for implementation, and, in the Senate, on votes against its most egregious provisions."

Matt Robinson said...

To Henery and Anonymous

You may both be right. Know that I am simply trying to be more optimistic in spite of my great concern about where the state and nation may head.

Never doubt that I will continue to pay attention and call people out when needed!

Anonymous said...

Education and Medicaid account for the largest part of state spending. I figure the poor get screwed on this one. Of course that means those with private insurance will make up the difference. Republicans also complained about the job incentives that the Democrats passed. So I assume they are going to cut those out altogether (unless they were lying during the campaign) and shove that money over to cut corporate income taxes since they owe the corporations bigtime. The Republicans promised they would increase the number of jobs in the state, but they oppose any government creation of jobs, so I'm not sure how that works. Maybe they could get Art Pope to hire some burger flippers on their behalf. NC has put in place many regulations designed to protect air and water quality. I'm betting those are the first to go because the "people" that bought our new legislators must be fed.

If Mike D. and/or others believe I am wrong, perhaps they might provide here just what exactly the Republicans are going to do? Afterall, Mike D and his friends are the ones who bought into the talking points, so perhaps he could enlighten the rest of us.

Kevin said...

Mike D, I'm curious. Will you regret your decision to support David Soucek when his first jobs bill is a state marriage protection amendment (One Man, One Woman)?

Henery said...

I'm responding here to Mike D. from the thread below ("Meet Your New Neighbors") ... where he says his justification for voting for Soucek was that he met him and he's a nice guy.

Gosh. That's some stringant requirements your laying down there. That a candidate be NICE when you meet them personally.

I hear that Moussilini was pretty charming in person. And Augusto Pinochet. Nice guy!

And by the way, Mike D.: I actually did vote for a couple of Republicans on the ballot this year, but not at the top of the ticket. Judge candidates, mainly. So don't be so smug and condescending about your own inflated sense of bi-partisanship.

Mike D. said...


I am not sure what you mean. You say "when", rather than "if". Do you know that this is what will happen? I would love to borrow your time machine if there is a weekend you are not using it.

If what you say comes to pass, I will call his office myself to request that he drop that pursuit in favor of more pressing issues.

Mike D. said...


This may come as quite a surprise to you, but many politicians make it a point to meet potential voters individually. Some candidates are even known to walk from house to house, shaking hands and being friendly.

Years ago, Boone Town Council candidates Bunk Spann and Lynne Mason walked off of a dirt road into my back yard and introduced themselves. They were great, and although I no longer have the option to vote for Bunk, I continue to vote for Lynne every chance I get.

It is good to hear that you are not a straight party line voter. It's hard to listen to people criticize others for a lack of political cooperation when they themselves only vote for one party. Know what I mean?

Mike D. said...


I have not read the report you pasted. Its wording is a little strange, as it is pre-quoting someone, saying "this is what he will say", but by now, perhaps it has been said, so it may be a moot point. I'll research it and get back to you.


If you wish me to respond to posts you direct at me, I will be happy to do so, but only if you choose a nickname first. Thanks.

Mike D. said...

What I don't understand is that some of you get so angry about economic overlords manipulating people, but you seem to be angry that the people have rejected the manipulation of your political overlords.

To me, overlords are overlords, and the fact that you would decry one set while you break ground for the palace of another is beyond hypocrisy... it's downright silly. And the fact that you solemnly march forward on your silly path, resolute, undaunted, determined, and violently angry when you don't get your way goes far beyond silly into the realm

I swear, sometimes you guys make me think that if Con-Agra and Monsanto were state owned, you would be singing the praises of genetic modification, cooing about how many millions of people your dear leader can feed with his gene magic.

That some can so delude themselves into believing that their lies are truth leads me to continue my mistrust of government.

Anne said...

The GPO plan is to keep the economy in the toilet to win the Presidency in 2012 because they can count on people like Mike D. to fall for the bullshit.

They have already declared that their #1 goal is repeal of healthcare reform. That's what they are going to focus on because they have no plan to provide jobs.

Need more proof? Last night Kasich pulled the plug on the the Ohio train project, meaning over 8,000 jobs bit the dust overnight. In NJ, Christie killed the tunnel and with it 6000 on site jobs and 54,000 jobs in the long term. Yesterday he laid off 1200 state workers.

The name of the game is keep unemployment high and people will blame Obama, while the GOP gets to claim fiscal responsibility and reducing the deficit... except for the $700 Billion that they will add with the Bush tax cuts.

Well, America gets what it votes for, so this is where we are.

Anonymous said...

Don't get confused. It's really very simple. When Republicans say "jobs," they mean "tax cuts."

Henery said...

Mike D., "political overlords"? Just what political overlords are you referring to? Personally, I haven't had any political overlords come to my door and tell me what to do. Which political overlords licked all the ice cream off your cone?

Meanwhile, the economic overlords certainly DO squeeze me, pretty much every day.

For a salaried working stiff, Mike D., you seem not to care just who does in fact jerk your strings.

Anonymous said...

"That some can so delude themselves into believing that their lies are truth"

Look in the mirror, Mike D.

Linda said...

Dan had better push the one-man, one-woman amendment. I asked him this flat out, and he told me it was one of his highest priorities.

Anonymous said...

MikeD, you forget that the liberal agenda is a matter of religion to these people. They cannot recognize logic as it goes against their mantra. All they can do is pass around the Kool Aid.

Liberal POV said...


"Dan had better push the one-man, one-woman amendment. I asked him this flat out, and he told me it was one of his highest priorities"

How does this affect you personally?

How will your life or marriage be better or stronger?

Got children or grandchildren will you make life more difficult for one of them?

Anonymous said...

Linda: Thank you for bringing that comment up regarding one man, one woman. I hope this will be top priority for this state.

Liberal POV:
Personally it affects me because my belief and values confirm that it is wrong. That question was not appropriate to Linda.

Moose said...

I know I'm late to the party here, but I've got to respond to Mike D, who said: "Our country now faces a political scenario that will require outreach, compromise, and acceptance of our differences if anything is to be accomplished."

Do you seriously think that the Republicans care about "outreach, compromise, and acceptance of our differences"?? They have gone out of their way all week to say that they WILL not compromise, they won't work with Democrats, and their goal is to deny Obama a second term. Why must all of the compromising and acceptance come from the Democrats?

I've also heard over and over this week that "Republicans were voted in, and that means that the American people want what we want, so the President better do what we want." Was that their attitude in 2008 when President Obama and the Democrats were overwhelmingly elected?

November Is HERE! said...

Is Obama going to "compromise" or does he still want to keep all the Republicans in the back seat?

Just sayin'......

Anonymous said...

The Republicans were not elected to compromise with the liberal Democrats. They were elected to CHANGE these liberal policies. If they do not do this and compromise with the looser Democrats, then they will also be gone in the primaries.