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Do republicans intentionally sabotage stability?

  1. Jun 30, 2008 #1


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    It seemed to me that the elder bush, late in his term, started an intervention in africa that bill clinton would need to deal with. last week it dawned on me that the current bush might start a war with iran that obama would have to deal with. it seems that republicans intentionally start problems their democratic successors will have to grapple with, even though the consequences are harmful. i realize this implies republican presidents are consciously trying to make the world order worse under subsequent democratic watch, although such irresponsible behavior seems unimaginable to a person of integrity.

    however todays "fresh air" featured an interview with seymour hersh, whose article in the current issue of the new yorker apparently reveals that the bush administration, led by VP cheney, have been recently trying to provoke iran into some aggressive response that can be used as a pretext for an attack, by funding covert ops in iran including "lethal defensive action." Moreover there was apparently no objection to the associated "presidential finding" from the democratic leadership, from fear of political repercussions, although on a prior occasion at least nancy pelosi had stood up against such craziness.

    am i the only one who fears another insanely harmful act by this lame duck moron?

    mark how times have changed since the late nineteenth century. then, after the previous presidential election scam in florida, i read that the successful candidate chose not to introduce any controversial action due to lack of a mandate. in direct opposition to that precedent, the current president has chosen to push his opportunity as far as possible with little or no mandate whatsoever. even now, with the public hugely opposed to his behavior, he seems inclined to try to use his last few months to create as much havoc as possible. or is cheney running to show entirely? when will we be rid of these persons and their ilk?
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2008
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  3. Jul 1, 2008 #2
    I don't think it is intentional. It is the same moronic approach to foreign policy they have always have had.

    I don't think Bush will invade Iran. There would have to be some kind of build up going on. I'm not seeing that.
  4. Jul 1, 2008 #3
    They DO intentionally try that and have done that, but to no success currently, because Iran is too clever not to let themselves provoke.
  5. Jul 1, 2008 #4
    This is why I think some law needs to be passed where the president, upon stepping down, goes on trial to defend his/her actions under penalty of imprisonment, exile, or death. Currently you can become president, totally screw the country over, and go "Well, my 4/8 years are up! I'm going home. Cya guys." with no penalty. You try that in a 3rd world country and you will be publicly executed.
  6. Jul 1, 2008 #5
    Isn't this assuming that Obama gets in? What if McCain wins it? What does this say about Bush's intentions to destabilize/cause problems for the next guy?
  7. Jul 1, 2008 #6


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    How many carrier groups do we need within striking distance of Iran? The build-up is in place and has been for a long time. Do the carrier groups need to be there to counter the Iraqi insurgency's naval superiority or air superiority? I fear that there will be an "excuse" for an attack against Iran before Bush's term is up. Bush and Cheney demonize an "enemy" that may or may not be any threat against US interests, demand that the "enemy" adhere to some standards that may or may not apply to other regimes, and if the "enemy" does not comply, they claim to have exhausted diplomatic options, leaving military force as the only resort. Our administration is staffed with criminals whose disregard for US law and international law alone is grounds for prosecution. If they start another war, W and his puppet-master should be delivered in chains to the Hague.
  8. Jul 1, 2008 #7


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    How many additional CVBGs have been added to the Persian Gulf since last summer?
  9. Jul 1, 2008 #8
    The foreign policy under President Bush was the foreign policy initiated by President Clinton (that Saddam Hussein was a dangerous threat who had to be done away with). President Bush just carried through with it (and I'm not saying that was the correct thing to do).

    I would disagree that Republicans always "screw" things up. That depends. Vietnam is a textbook example of that.

    IMO, both parties have their faults.
  10. Jul 1, 2008 #9


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    When you deal in generalities like you just have, you can show that a duckling is the same thing as an aircraft carrier, since both have wings and spend a lot of time on water. Bush's foreign policy is not very much like Clinton's when you get down to specifics. Don't believe me? Ask PNAC.
  11. Jul 1, 2008 #10
    Again, an inaccuracy. Bush's Foreign Policy is not in any way a continuation of Clinton's. The Iraq Liberation Act passed under Clinton actually forbade an all out invasion of Iraq to accomplish their goals. Clinton also tried to balance Saddam's power, and he even campaigned on the notion that he believed in Southern Baptist like "conversions" and that Saddam might be able to be tamed.

    It's ludicrous to compare one to another.

    Anyway, Yes, Republicans have generally created a disasterous economy, like Black Monday and wars and so on, that Democrats have to fix. It's well known Clinton spent a lot of his presidency trying to pay down the federal deficit, which had tripled under Reagan's watch. This prevented him from doing things like Universal Health Care and forced him to cut social welfare (though corporate welfare remained in tact, of course). He was actually a fiscal conservative. And we know Greenspan was just tying his hands, because Greenspan reversed his positions and endorsed Bush's tax cuts which a two year old could have told you would lead to more recessions.

    I would say, though, it's not so much to hand democrats a mess as to create problems that only Republicans can solve, like national security. The Iraq war was timed to the offset of the 2002 elections, and that's when a lot of the propaganda started cropping up against Iraq as if they were a great enemy (and polls show from that period a majority of Americans thought Iraq had WMDs, and even had a connection to 9-11, both now disproven).
  12. Jul 1, 2008 #11
    Good point.
  13. Jul 1, 2008 #12
    Mmm...I'd have to disagree. For example, the so-called "great economy" under Clinton, for example, was a direct result of the policies of Ronald Reagan, not Clinton himself.

    Actually, the Bush tax cuts are likely what helped pull the U.S. out of the "recession" of the early 2000s. As for now, I do not believe the U.S. economy is technically in a recession yet, though if not, it is likely close.

    I agree.
  14. Jul 1, 2008 #13
    Reagan's disasterous economic that led to the plummeting of the stock market near Great Depression levels. Bush/Clinton pulled us out of the Reagan recession by increasing taxes, and in Clinton's case helping to jump start sectors in the computer industry, although we are still suffering from the corporate inequalities Reagan allowed to go through.

    Bush's policies and the corporate crime wave we've experienced, as well as all the bail outs, have not been good either imo.
  15. Jul 1, 2008 #14
    Well here is my view of it:

    Before Ronald Reagan, more than half of people’s wealth was tied up in tax shelters and inflation hedges, which had driven gold, silver, oil, and commodity prices up and virtually destroyed the stock and bond markets. There was no capital available to start and grow businesses and create jobs.

    With the Reagan reforms, people were smart enough to start moving their money to the stock and bond markets, where they provided capital for new businesses and new jobs. Interest rates began the fall that would drive the US stock market and the American economy for the next two decades. Commodity prices collapsed, which deprived the Soviet Union of the revenues from oil, gas, gold, and commodities they used to fund their military, which contributed to bankrupting them.

    The financial reforms of the 1980s also caused the res-structuring of many corporations. Many of these corporations were big, bloated, and bureaucratic, without much debt, which caused a lot of them to spend lots of money on unprofitable ventures. With the corporate restructurings of the 1980s, companies were loaded up with debt, which caused their corporate managers to focus a lot more on streamlining operations and making them far more efficient. This also meant a lot of "cutting the fat," i.e. eliminating un-necessary jobs, which unfortunately stung a lot for a lot of folks in the beginning, but ultimately made American corporations a lot more efficient and competitive in the global economy. They also made the corporate governors more accountable to their shareholders.

    I should re-state myself, the economy under Clinton was partially because of President Clinton, but not solely because of him:

    The 1990s economy was from a few things, created by Ronald Reagan and by Clinton:

    1) De-regulation of the financial markets which led to a financial market boom in the 80s

    2) De-regulation of the technology markets which also led to a boom in the technology markets

    3) Lowering taxes and stopping the growth of government for the first time in decades.

    These set the stage for the 1990s boom in the technology and finance markets (hedge fund and private equity on Wall Street, technology in Silicon Valley).

    4) Outspending the Soviet Union, which caused the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the Soviet Union itself shortly after. When this happened, the world saw a level of economic ruin from central planning they had never dreamed of. Even many Western "experts" on the Soviet economy were shocked at just how ruined economically the Soviet Union was. Because of this, central planning was shelved, completely for the most part, and many nations adopted much more free-market friendly governments.

    This all combined to essentially create a global market boom in which the U.S. economy prospered greatly, which then fueled many of the other world economies.

    The market during the 1980s did peek in 1987 with a stock market crash, in which the market crashed at twice the amount (proportionally) to what it did in 1929 (but the economy didn't go into any depression). But markets go up and down independently for the most part; the 1929 crash wasn't the fault of Herbert Hoover; the 1937 stock market crash occurred under FDR, that wasn't his fault either. The crash in 1987 under Reagan wasn't his fault. The stock market also crashed in 2000 and tanked the markets more than 50%, that was Clinton's fault either.

    The economy went into the biggest bull-run during the 1990s, because of the new technology, de-regulated financial markets, worldwide embrace of free-markets, low taxation, etc...President Clinton's signing of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) also helped contribute to this by easing up trade in North America and he also lowered capital gains taxes, which likely helped contribute to the surplus that occured in 2000. The stock market then crashed in 2000 when the bubble of the 1990s burst.

    I do not think the 1990s bubble would have occurred without the de-regulation of the finance and technology sectors that occurred under Ronald Reagan. Similarly, we wouldn't have had all the economic growth, job creation, and private charity spending, that has occurred since then either.

    People oftentimes blame the economy on the Presidency, but when the President lowers taxes, embraces free-trade, and de-regulation, essentially the economy is going to self-regulate itself. If the President tries to actively manage the economy by increasing taxes highly, enacting price controls, government "stimulus" packages, etc...this can cause adverse effects, for example the price controls enacted under Richard Nixon (when he said, "We are all Keynesians now,"). Those price controls caused surpluses and shortages to start forming and were then abandoned, but gas price controls were kept until ended by Ronald Reagan, a move that was highly criticized at the time, but as Reagan knew would occur, the long gas lines at gas stations ended.

    Reagan did run a large deficit to pay for his increased military spending; he tried to get the Democratic Congress at the time to decrease social spending, but they would not. However, I believe at around 1986, the economic growth that was occuring because of Reagan's reforms reversed the deficit and it began shrinking.

    The housing market went into a bubble in the early 2000s, which then just burst, and well a real-estate bubble can have drastic effects on an economy because people use real-estate as collateral for loans and so forth. Combined with gas prices right now and you can see why the economy is stressed at the moment.

    Now oil appears to be in a bubble, and the Chinese economy is also likely in a bubble as well. Bubbles are just a natural part of a free economy. People get over-excited, emotions take over, people don't act rationally, the market rises to unsustainable levels, and then CRASH!
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2008
  16. Jul 1, 2008 #15


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    Your understanding of what happened there and why is flawed and what you accuse Bush of is wrong:

    -The situation in Somalia long predated Bush's action there (there was no stability for Bush to sabbotage) and when the UN decided it needed to act, the action was a highly international UN effort. It wasn't even close to being Bush's choice alone, much less an intentional mess to throw at Clinton (heck, as an incumbent, he no doubt expected to win!).
    -Clinton, not Bush, changed the mission from peacekeeping and handing out food to nation building, putting our men at increased risk, underequipping them, and causing the failure in the Battle of Mogadishu.

    You really need to read up on what actually happened there:


    So the answer to your question is no. Rebpublican presidents do not intentionally sabbotage stability. The accusation and chosen example is just plain absurd.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2008
  17. Jul 1, 2008 #16


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    Could you explain what, exactly, you mean by that because what it implies to me is nowhere close to reality. At the end of Jan, 1981, the Dow was at 947. On black Monday, in Oct, 1987, the Dow dropped 508 points to 1739 - still almost double what it was when Reagan took office 7 years earlier. Over the next few months, the total drop from its high was 23%, a bear market, sure, but still far above where it was when he took office.

    The "great depression levels" part simply doesn't make any sense. Just prior to the depression, the stock market peaked at 387 (and dropped to 200). It took 15 years for the market to recover for that level after the depression.

    The two events bear no resemblence to each other whatsoever.
  18. Jul 2, 2008 #17


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    Even within the Republican Party there's been a huge debate over whether tax cuts or a balanced budget should take priority - the Reagan/Kemp camp vs the 1980 Bush/Dole camp.

    I generally side with the Dole camp, but Reagan's tax cuts did lead to a better economy and increased tax revenues. Bush's tax cuts weren't bad in themselves. They were just bad when mixed with a war. There have to be some priorities and you can't afford both a war and tax cuts.
  19. Jul 2, 2008 #18


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    This is often repeated by Republicans but it is definitely false. Reagan's cuts did not lead to increased tax revenues (nor did Bush's). The OMB says so, the CBO says so, and the President's Council of Economic Advisers say so. I've provided links to the CBO reports in the "Hate Obama" thread. Here's another one: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  20. Jul 2, 2008 #19


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    I think the massive borrowing and federal spending contributed to a better economy, but now we are experiencing the downside of that approach.

    It would be interesting to see how much of those taxes were re-invested in the US. Billions of dollars have been slowly moved off-shore (out of the US) and then loaned back. That certainly does not provide for stability.
  21. Jul 2, 2008 #20
    I would have to disagree that it is "definitely false;" remember, there are multiple ways to measure taxes, one is that increasing taxes increases revenues, decreasing taxes decreases revenues. However, increasing taxes to a certain point will kill incentives to work hard and invest, thus decreasing revenues; OTOH, decreasing taxes will provide more incentives to work, save, and invest, thus increasing tax revenues.

    Since these two effects go against each other, the exact effect a tax rate increase or decrease will have isn't always instantly clear.

    Historically, every time capital gains taxes were cut, tax revenues and economic growth seem to have increased. The question is does this last.

    Also the performance of states and in other countries also seems to confirm this. The states that seem to struggle the most right now economically are the ones with the largest taxes, in particular California and New York. You know, we have a problem here in New York State of businesses leaving the state in record numbers because the tax structure is so repressive.

    If you watch the performance of the deficit during the Reagan years, you see it reverses itself despite the fact that Reagan increased military spending significantly. It reverses itself starting in 1986 and continues shrinking all the way up to 1989, where it then begins growing again, up until 1992, which is essentially when the 1990's economic bubble began. It decreases and then becomes a surplus in 1998, and stays that way up to 2000, then becoming a deficit again in 2002, growing until 2004, where it reverses again.

    Also, the above link you cited was written in 2003, when the deficit was at -3.4% of GDP, however, as of 2007, it was at -1.2% of GDP.

    Now with the high oil prices and the housing crash messing up the economy and slowing economic growth, I am guessing tax revenues will be less by the end of 2008, likely increasing the size of the deficit. But aside from this, I do not see how the Reagan or Bush tax cuts haven't really paid for themselves. After the Reagan tax cuts, we went into what has been the largest period of wealth creation in history. If you increase government spending, and the economy and tax revenues do not eventually grow accordingly, you should not see the deficit eventually reverse itself.

    One may perhaps debate capital gains taxes within the range they are now or income taxes, but I think the cut from the highest income tax rate of 70% to a much lower amount significantly contributed to growing the economy more. The debate seems to be is the ideal lower maximum tax rate twenty-something percent, or thirty-something percent, etc...? Since the Reagan tax cuts, according to the CBO data here, the highest-earners have gone to paying a larger overall portion of the toal tax burden with much lower tax rates, compared to when the top income tax rate was far higher: http://www.cbo.gov/publications/collections/tax/tax_liability_shares.xls

    President Reagan decreased capital gains taxes down to 20%, but then increased the rate later to 28%, which when it took effect in 1991, decreased capital gains tax revenues.

    President Clinton did increase taxes during the 1990s, but he also had the benefit of serving as President during the biggest bull-run in history, and also having the benefit of a slashed military budget during the 1990s. He also cut capital gains taxes in 1997 from 28% to 20%, which caused caused a very significant increase in tax revenues. Also during the capital gains tax cuts from Reagan, Clinton, and Bush, we have seen the deficit reverse itself.

    Now I know the link in the "Hate Obama?" thread specified that cutting capital gains taxes, historically, does seem to increase tax revenues in the short term, but in the long term, it is believed they decrease tax revenues. Since the Bush tax cuts are set to expire in 2011, if allowed to, would this really make a difference, since they are not permanent unless Senator McCain is elected?

    Perhaps one could reason that the Reagan cut in capital gains taxes increased revenues initially, which shrank the deficit, then the longer-term effect kicked in, icnreasing the deficit; as I said, Reagan's increase in capital gains taxes from 20% to 28% took effect in the early 1990s, which is when the deficit began to reverse itself again, however, the total amount of capital gains tax revenues decreased. When President Clinton cut capital gains taxes, again, we saw a boom in revenues, and the deficit became a surplus, but then after 2001, it became a deficit again. With the Bush capital gains tax cut to 15%, again a boom was seen, with the deficit shrinking thus far, but this seems it might reverse again, so they could be correct.

    Furthermore, could it be a combination of both, for example, if capital gains taxes are too high, this will greatly discourages investment. Lowering them to say 28% gives a lot more incentive for people to invest, and long-term increases tax revenues, however, lowering them further to 20% (as Reagan and Clinton did) or 15% (as President Bush did) can increase revenues in the short term, but decrease them in the long term...?

    The following link I found interesting, it was written by Arthur Laffer: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Taxes/bg1765.cfm

    The other thing I am thinking of is, do tax revenues need to keep growth with the economy itself? I would think the tax revenues just need to keep growth with the increase in the size of the government itself, but if the economy itself is growing faster than tax revenues, for whatever reason, does this really matter?
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2008
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