ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, December 26, 2008

Krugman: Barry Be Good

This column by Paul "Please Give Me A Position" Krugman is just laughable:

December 26, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

Barack Be Good

By PAUL KRUGMAN

Times have changed. In 1996, President Bill Clinton, under siege from the right, declared that “the era of big government is over.” But President-elect Barack Obama, riding a wave of revulsion over what conservatism has wrought, has said that he wants to “make government cool again.”
Clinton was under siege because, well... the GOP took Congress in 1994 and held it in 1996, despite Clinton being re-elected - meaning that he had no coattails.

So, according to Paul, the voice of the people equates to a president being "under seige."

And he forgets to mention that the "era of big government" statement was simply a clintonian lie - unless you were part of the armed forces, since those were the only folks who got pink slips from the Feds.
Before Mr. Obama can make government cool, however, he has to make it good. Indeed, he has to be a goo-goo.

Goo-goo, in case you’re wondering, is a century-old term for “good government” types, reformers opposed to corruption and patronage. Franklin Roosevelt was a goo-goo extraordinaire. He simultaneously made government much bigger and much cleaner. Mr. Obama needs to do the same thing.
Yes, it really is a shame that the government has gotten so much smaller since FDR.

While Paul would want to give readers the impression that government spending hasn't grown since FDR, the facts paint a different picture. I gathered data from the Office of Management & Budget on the Federal Budget from 1930 to 2003 and put this nifty chart together (click the image to see the full-size version):


As a percentage of GDP, the Federal Government receipts have increased from approximately 5% in the 1930s to an average of 20% today. (The huge red spike in outlays corresponds with World War II.) Also note the meteoric rise in GDP and how the % of GDP that goes to government is relatively flat... that means that the federal budget is growing just as rapidly.

Back to the dork with the Nobel Prize.
Needless to say, the Bush administration offers a spectacular example of non-goo-gooism. But the Bushies didn’t have to worry about governing well and honestly. Even when they failed on the job (as they so often did), they could claim that very failure as vindication of their anti-government ideology, a demonstration that the public sector can’t do anything right.

Bush spent like crazy... he expanded the number of healthcare clinics.. he nearly doubled the federal budget from 1996.

Yeah.. he was a hard-core conservative, cutting government waste wherever he saw it.
The Obama administration, on the other hand, will find itself in a position very much like that facing the New Deal in the 1930s.

Like the New Deal, the incoming administration must greatly expand the role of government to rescue an ailing economy. But also like the New Deal, the Obama team faces political opponents who will seize on any signs of corruption or abuse — or invent them, if necessary — in an attempt to discredit the administration’s program.
Yeah, if there are any signs of corruption or abuse, it's just because the opponents are so nitpicky. It will have nothing to do with the fact that it is actual corruption - the very type of corruption for which Chicago pols are famous.
[...]
How did F.D.R. manage to make big government so clean?

A large part of the answer is that oversight was built into New Deal programs from the beginning. The Works Progress Administration, in particular, had a powerful, independent “division of progress investigation” devoted to investigating complaints of fraud. This division was so diligent that in 1940, when a Congressional subcommittee investigated the W.P.A., it couldn’t find a single serious irregularity that the division had missed.

F.D.R. also made sure that Congress didn’t stuff stimulus legislation with pork: there were no earmarks in the legislation that provided funding for the W.P.A. and other emergency measures.

Memo to Dr. Paul Krugman, in bold, large type:
The New Deal was not stuffed with pork because the entire thing was pork!!!

You can't stuff pork with more pork!

However, now that I think of it... a pork tenderloin stuffed with bacon does sound scrum-diddly-icious.

*Homer Simpson voice* mmmmm.... pork & bacon.... aaaarrrrggghhhh

Question: What is the difference between the Robert C. Byrd Lock & Dam and the various projects made by the WPA?

Answer: Nothing - it is all pork.

Perhaps it takes a PhD to lose any common sense.
Last but not least, F.D.R. built an emotional bond with working Americans, which helped carry his administration through the inevitable setbacks and failures that beset its attempts to fix the economy.

An emotional bond... yeah... that's one thing that Obama won't have any problem with, since he's already got an emotional bond with the media which covers him, what with all the tingling, crying, etc that's going on by our objective, professional journalists.

Continue reading Krugman's column... it is truly ridiculous, but entertaining as you watch yet another person with a Nobel prize make a complete ass out of himself.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler