In the morning thread, valued commenter Rikyrah highlighted comments President Obama made yesterday in Flint, Michigan (full transcript here):
It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how responsible you are, how you raise your kids. You can’t set up a whole water system for a city. That’s not something you do by yourself. You do it with other people. You can’t hire your own fire department or your own police force, or your own army. They’re things we have to do together. Basic things that we all benefit from.
Volunteers don’t build water systems and keep lead from leaching into our drinking glasses. We can’t rely on faith groups to reinforce bridges and repave runways at the airport. We can’t ask second graders, even ones as patriotic as Isiah Britt, who raised all that money, to raise enough money to keep our kids healthy. You hear a lot about government overreach. Oh, Obama, he’s for big government. Listen, it’s not government overreach to say our government’s responsible for making sure that you can wash your hands in your own sink, or shower in your own home, or cook for your family. These are the most basic services. There’s no more basic element sustaining human life than water. It’s not too much to expect for all Americans that their water is going to be safe.
This is a theme every Democrat should take up and champion, from Hillary Clinton on down to the lowliest city council candidate in Lizarddick, New Mexico. The situation in Flint is a great illustration of this principle — of the disaster that results from putting balance sheet-focused MBAs with no remit other than slashing costs in charge of public assets.
There’s an example in every single community in America of a facility, infrastructure asset or service citizens banded together and built for the public good — something that’s now falling apart because the cheap bastards in the GOP would rather shovel tax cuts to Donald Trump. It’s a disgrace.
I love what Obama said above because it implicitly calls out Reagan’s “government is the problem” bullshit. It wasn’t over-regulation that poisoned Flint’s water. It wasn’t government overreach that dug the pothole that bashed the undercarriage of your car. It isn’t anti-business bureaucrats who make driving over crumbling bridges a life-or-death adventure.
In a widely misunderstood remark he made during the 2008 primaries, then-candidate Obama said he aspired to have a presidency as truly consequential as Reagan’s. I think history will say he has. And he could have no better legacy than inspiring his party to drown Reaganism in a bathtub and embrace the truth that the government is us.
sounds like a great place
A thousand times, yes.
Video: Children Talk Barack Obama
For one set of young Americans, Barack Obama is not only the first black president, he is the only president they know. For them, and for now, Obama defines what it means to be the nation’s chief executive. These kids, more than most, are secure in their impressions of the man and what he has meant to the country they will inherit.
Government requires governance, a concept which Republicans, as a deliberately instituted policy of nonfeasance, hang a bell on and point at in horror while screaming “Unclean, unclean!”
@sunny raines: I have to look up to see if that place actually exists.
I had some choice words regarding Reagan but the real point is that Obama has changed the US for the better. Thanks to him we could indeed evolve ACA into true universal health care as long as we don’t fuck this up.
I don’t recall exactly when BJ became my favorite blog, but I know posts like this are the reason why. Optimistic progressivism is so refreshing — and so rare.
@sunny raines: They should do one of those fake reality shows about a repo company there. Really play up how crazy their repo’s get.
@sunny raines: Oh it is. It’s right down the road from Toadtwat.
its more complicated than stated in the post. The republican meme isn’t just that government can’t (or shouldn’t) do anything, it’s that it can’t do anything right; that private business can do EVERYTHING better from healthcare, to the military, to education, to prisons; and that business (and the magic market unicorn) best regulates itself.
republicans love slopping at the taxpayer funded trough, hence the obscene military spending and privatizing everything. But this is disaster both financially (as private business rarely does anything better and skims budget to pay for non-productive profit) and from a services delivery standpoint – Capitalism destroys quality in its psychotic, endless pursuits of profits.
we are the government, it is our collective instrument of power. If it weren’t for the government, it would be mob rule vs. the oligarchs vs. serfdom
The government is us.
For a long time I have hoped the Democratic Party would make this their tag.
They definitely should go on the attack with this, Betty.
The people of Flint were NOT poisoned by ‘ GOVERNMENT’.
Stop that bullshyt.
They were poisoned by a Political party whose themes …
took away the protections that they had to clean water.
And, sold it to the highest bidder.
BOTH SIDES DO NOT DO IT.
ONE SIDE DOES IT.
Hey now, get it right, it’s Gila Monster Dick, NM.
Flint, Michigan’s circumstances, and the events surrounding it, are downright shameful.
As an American, I am embarassed that this has happened to my fellow citizens, and enraged that it hasn’t been handled in an ethical and sound manner.
It is the worst type of malfeasance and negligence that caused this. This is the systemic lack of giving any level of a fuck about anything other than the almighty dollar, and then the need to dodge blame for months, hiding the results and details until it became overwhelming, until the harm became overwhelming, and they couldn’t keep it hidden any longer. There’s no grand conspiracy, and that’s the saddest part, as it means there’s just that many public servants that essentially didn’t give a crap.
It extends from the Governor’s mansion on down to water system employees, and is rooted in events from 2013/14 and going forward.
If I had my druthers, anyone who was even the slightest bit involved with causing this would be marched into a Lansing courtroom shackled and wearing an orange jumper. From Snyder to the local Flint DEQ guys to the Emergency Manager of Flint.
It’s another red-state/blue-state differentiator. Do you think that the Flint water crisis will make industrial corporations think “Gee, they poison their citizens; that’s just the sort of place I want to build a factory”? And the differences between red states and blue states will only get larger with time.
Speaking of Reagan, I read in a the last couple of year (I forget which one) where one of the things Reagan railed against was libtard overreach in trying to get lead out of the environment and how fussy headed the left must be to think it mattered.
“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”
Time to take back that phrase and use it genuinely.
The tack that Snyder and his defenders are taking is to abstract away the actual chain of responsibility for the poisoning of Flint and blame it on “government” as an entity that is separate from Snyder and those who reported to him. So when Snyder says he’s “taking responsibility”, he means “I’m going to fix this thing for which other people are to blame”.
Case in point, General Motors refused to continue using the Flint water supply early on into the whole affair. Turns out the water was too corrosive to be used in the manufacture of engine blocks.
And the bureaucrats and politicians kept saying it was safe to drink after that.
From zizi over at TOD:
mirror mirror on the wall, america…
mirror mirror on the wall, america….
…Who’s the ugliest of us all?
In case there was ever any doubt about our unvarnished national character, the conclusion of the Republican Party nomination Tuesday night, laid it bare for all to see. One of only 2 viable political parties within the sole superpower on this planet, that wields thousands of nuclear weapons, decided in a delirious fit of racial and xenophobic apoplexy, to put a madman just one ballot round in line to ascend the presidency!
Yes, only 10 million Americans actually cast ballots to nominate Donald Trump to be flag bearer of the Republican Party, but with party Chair Reince Priebus’ seal of approval, that outcome multiplies to represent the will of a good half of this country. Let that sink in.
While the other half of us recoil at the sheer horror that the existential threat of Trump’s endorsed candidacy portends, we’ve seen in the last 24 hours the utter venality of the Republican Party and its media minions on full display. Country be damned. The people be damned. Global alliances be damned. Competency? Who needs that? Wheeeeee, Trump is a giant amusement park rodeo they must ride all the way to the White House. And the hordes fueling this putrid dough of a a candidate? Who cares! Just feed them more bigotry. Nothing matters but naked power. This is one fucking ugly country!
This was in October of 2014.
NOT safe enough for CAR PARTS
but good for HUMANS.
Don’t hold your breath. I hope I’m wrong on this, but I doubt the higher-ups will see the inside of a courtroom. If they do, it will be due to the Feds.
Iowa Old Lady
@MattF: GM in Flint had to shut off the city water and get theirs elsewhere because it was corroding the tooling. That kind of expense makes corporations unhappy.
ETA: Or what C. Isaac said.
Gin & Tonic
I really, really hate to agree with srv, but hiring your own fire department has probably a longer history in the US and UK than the concept of municipal fire departments.
@Capri: I thought LIzarddick was in Nevada, just down the road from the Bundy’s ranch in Bunkerville.
There’s unfortunately a great example of this right in our nation’s capital. The Metro subway system is horribly broken. Congress doesn’t want to pay to fix it even though it’s how a lot of the federal workforce gets to work. And Maryland and Virginia don’t want to pay for it even though their residents heavily rely on the system to get into Washington to work, and even though access to metro has brought a ton of money to the suburbs surrounding the city.
@Gin & Tonic: However, recent for-profit fire departments have a mixed record.
@Gin & Tonic: Crassus agrees!
I think the real kicker is that they were quietly slipping bottled water to the state employees in Flint before the public health emergency was declared. How far ahead of it? Shall we try for 8 months ahead of that happening?
They knew. The bastards knew, and they didn’t say shit because they were in too deep already. Now these penny-wise, pound-foolish morons are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to replace Flint’s infrastructure instead of paying a few million in maintenance and water treatment. All that is before the (well deserved) mountain of class action lawsuits from the families who have been so thoroughly damaged by this. By parents of the 8500 children who had no voice to protect themselves.
I loathe these people with the heat of a thousand suns. The feeling I have is a visceral hate I cannot describe better than that. They have failed not just as public servants, but as human beings.
@Gin & Tonic: There’s also reasons why fire departments are no longer private. Fires had (and still have) the ability to affect everyone including the rich and the poor. Having that service available to everyone takes care of everyone.
Sounds like a place where Newt Gingrich would live….
@srv: Please explain
The sad part is, nothing has changed. There are probably a hundred more Flints waiting for someone to make a critical mistake, and nobody will want to fund fixing them.
Also, Democrats haven’t won a triple since 1948. Let that sink in and tremble.
@srv: Oh lord. Objectivism. No wonder.
@sunny raines: I had this argument about government, that The Government is us, with a guy, this week. Also the stupid argument that the USPS should be privatized. He lives in our neighborhood and has no idea that Fedex and UPS both use the USPS to deliver to our houses half the time. Also, despite being a pretty smart guy he didn’t know the difference between UPS and USPS. He works for Microsoft, probably as an engineer, and has little idea how the rest of the world works.
I can’t wait for the General Election to start but we will probably be accosted in the Home Depot parking lot even more often.
Among the many things I’ll miss about President Obama is his ability to turn a phrase.
@Gin & Tonic: Whenever I find myself in agreement with the indefatigable performance art troll, I find that picking up a large book, such as the collected works of Shakespeare, and delivering a few blows to my own head clears it right up.
There’s the small problem of perverse incentives : paid firefighters have a tendency to try arson when things get slow (lots of examples in history), and when a house that hasn’t paid up is on fire, the neighbors who have paid are at risk.
Fuck, I don’t know why I’m bothering to reply to you; it’s not as if you deserve it.
@Eric U.: and, as the government has collapsed, it IS mob rule, oligarchy, and serfdom.
@Gin & Tonic:
Sure, but a lot of things used to be private in the U.S. back in the day when communication and travel was slow and states and cities were more independent. Public schools are a relatively modern concept in a fair number of places in the U.S. if you think about it, as are public universities — these only go back 100 years or so in many places.
@srv: Can too.
It’s not like a corporate accounting department would decide it was more cost effective to let 360 people die/get maimed each year than to recall and fix a car model’s exploding gas tank.
@WarMunchkin: What is a triple? The Democrats had both the Congress and Senate along with the White House when Obama was elected.
To anyone who thinks corporations in a capitalist society care about killing their customers, google GM and exploding gas tanks.
ETA: Cacti beat me to it!
Not to mention the little problem of externalities. The chemical plant may not be killing the paying customers who buy its products, but if it’s dumping poisons into nearby water sources, it sure as hell is killing someone else.
@schrodinger’s cat: Sorry, three consecutive WH terms. I’m still in the “Donald Trump is one ballot from the White House” phase of realization.
Got something in my eye.
WE HAVE TO CRUSH TRUMP!
@WarMunchkin: True. But it took the Supreme Court to ensure that Gore didn’t follow Clinton.
Then there was the U.S. Army beef scandal, during the Spanish-American war, back when the meat packing industry was regulated by “caveat emptor”.
Canned and prepackaged rancid meat, sold by the big 3 of Morris, Swift, and Armour, killed more American soldiers than Spanish bullets.
@opiejeanne: It has been. For years now. In direct contravention of the Constitution, I might add. Funny how none of the “originalists” give a shit about that.
Coal mine deaths. Refinery explosion deaths. Millions of cars recall from the venerable Toyota, Honda, GM and their ilk for safety violations.
You are an idiot.
I hope that message starts getting the real airplay it deserves.
@amk: Employees are sinks of money. So long as their are still customers (especially high-income buyers for expensive products) in enough numbers to politically secure a lack of consequences (no regulations, no unions, etc), the bloodbath among employees doesn’t matter. Cost of business.
Or you can end up with a West, Texas scenario, where the neighborhood fertilizer plant explodes and levels part of the town. Just the cost of doing business, right?
Culture of Truth
“Elevated lead found in water in six of seven Bergenfield public schools”
Whenever any dick bleats that ‘Government needs to be run like a business’, point them directly to Flint.
O. Felix Culpa
I hope that President Obama and all other Democrats beat the drum about public goods loud and long. And the fact that the government is US. It’s way past due to undo the Reagan lies. I wish they still taught civics in school.
Sure. Whaddyagonnadoo? It’s the price of freedom and prosperity.
I agree that the example of Flint, Michigan is a powerful counterpoint to the idea that government is the problem. That said, the people that think that government is the problem aren’t going to be swayed by Flint or by 100 Flints. It’s part and parcel of the FYIGM mindset that plenty of people will subscribe to even if their own community suffered this kind of mismanagement.
I thought Obama’s words were powerful and eloquent as always and this is a good moment for him and others to remind people that governance is important, but there’s roughly 27% of our electorate that won’t ever get that message.
We still have decades of programming where people were convinced that corporations can do no wrong while the government can only do wrong to fight. This will be a multi generational fight. It’s sad that it takes this kind of tragedy to make people wake up.
Snyder should step down, but he won’t because I think he honestly thinks he had nothing to do with this. He probably sleeps like a baby, innocent and happy.
@O. Felix Culpa: They do in my district. It’s an elective. It shows.
There are arguments from the right that are logical. srv is incapable of making any of them. He exists here purely to elevate our sense of self satisfaction. That’s fine, within limits.
Major Major Major Major
I weep for this country when a President has to say something like this, knowing full well that if he doesn’t justify it with the preceding two paragraphs, a lot of people will disagree; and even then, some still will.
@Gin & Tonic: But it isn’t just the hiring part that costs. In my tiny hamlet it took them 10 YEARS to buy a new fire engine. The town over, 1 year since they had tax money to support the purchase. Sure you can hire your own fire department, but they will be using a horse drawn water wagon….
The USPS doesn’t receive taxpayer funds, but it is an independent executive agency of the US government.
Every conservative commenting on my local online news says the fault is with the EPA. But then in the next sentence they call for the repeal of the EPA. I can’t follow the logic…
@Culture of Truth: Kevin Drum, Kevin Drum, Kevin Drum.
@CONGRATULATIONS!: I’m guessing it’s because “civics” has become (like everything) politicized and subjective. Teach about government using Reagan’s Admin? You’re fine. Use Clinton’s Admin? You’re a libtard teacher getting death threats.
Seriously, everything is political to the RWNJs nowadays.
The Thin Black Duke
Safety regulations are written in the blood of the innocent people who died because of the absence of them.
Drowning Reaganism in the bathtub is a lovely image. One can only hope it will happen.
James E Powell
There are still a lot of people who look at situations like Flint and think, “It was the EPA that screwed up, not businesses, not my beloved Republican ideas.” There are also far too many who figure, “That happened to poor people, to black people, so they probably deserved it.”
I do not know what to say to such people. I have lost the ability to have any kind of civil political discussion with such people. The sad thing is that such people vote in midterms while other, more empathetic voters do not.
@Culture of Truth:
Tacoma schools have had problems with lead recently. Or more accurately, Tacoma recently became aware of the lead problems in school water.
It’s guaranteed that sometime, in the next couple of days, a brainless TV talking head will lament the exit of ‘principled’ Ted Cruz from the R nomination campaign. When that happens, this essay will be a useful reference.
@srv: I know, I know, don’t feed the troll. But: several officials connected to the Flint fiasco have already been brought up on charges. The Governor and his hand-picked Emergency Manager may yet do time for it, and there will certainly be ballot-box consequences for a whole lot of people.
Exactly how do you square that with government never being held accountable?
There’s no logic. They just hate the EPA, it’s an article of faith. The EPA isn’t covered in glory here, they should have acted more aggressively, but to act as if they’re solely responsible is to ignore the state government’s responsibility for it’s own people. Don’t expect consistency.
How can anyone not know the difference between UPS and USPS?! And then argue USPS should be privatized! Dimwits.
So did he believe you when you explained they are not the same?
The next time a town gets leveled by a tornado or hurricane, those people who believe Government is the problem should refuse assistance.and see how that works out.
OT, but NC just told the DOJ to fuck off. Not sure NC fully understands the Supremacy Clause, or what missing $800 very very large may do to their K-12 programs.
I would think that NFTG Obama may take this a little more personally and act a bit more aggressively than he may have in the past. Would hope so.
FWIW, I have always had good customer service at government and state government entities than say a Comcast or a Verizon. I renewed my driver’s license online, just last month. It was as easy as typing this comment.
It’s really a classic case of externalities ruining a model based on individual contracts. Since fires spread to adjoining buildings, the fire department is no good for anyone unless it’s willing to put out burning buildings that belong to non-subscribers. But if that’s the case, why not become a free rider? (Unless the firemen will torch your house if you do, or, alternatively, unless the fire department is a public service that everyone is obligated to pay for.)
Ha-ha-ha-ha ha-ha-ha ha-ha-ha. Deep end, it’s name is “srv.” srv, this is your new home.
Explain the tobacco industry. Go on, we’re all listening. When you’re done:
Gun companies, who have received special protection from congress against lawsuits.
That’ll keep you busy for awhile.
@AkaDad: But climate change isn’t real, so of course there won’t be any more hurricanes or tornadoes. Everybody wins!
@BR: public schools are a new concept in the slave states. In fact south Caroline’s schools were instituted by ex slaves during reconstruction. Elsewhere public schools were set up almost at the same time as settlement and statehood.
Gin & Tonic
Just to be clear, I was not arguing that private fire brigades are in any way better than municipal fire departments (paid or volunteer) simply pointing out a historical fact, coming from a background in the property-casualty insurance industry (and having a friend who collects fire marks.)
DMV driving test replaced with balloon-juice commenting. That’s why we’ve had so many comments about backing up the Brinks trucks.
Jeb! will win when they parallel park between those two cones!
OT: Do air purifiers work? Seasonal allergy sufferers, do they give any relief from allergies due to dust and pollen. If yes, do you have any recommendations.
Thanks much, in advance.
@Punchy: North Carolina, being a nutbag Tea Party state, does not see public education as a good thing. So missing out on education funding is a bonus for them; it’s much easier for Art Pope to keep the rubes in the dark if the rubes can’t access education.
@schrodinger’s cat: Same here. Our DMV is quick and efficient. Our post office is a big beautiful historic building with 1930s WPA murals. When I needed to send a registered letter I could track its progress easily online.
But I’ve been robbed and robbed again by the private sector. I’m still owed money from when we ended our landline phone. Cable company? Forget it. I signed up for cable back in 2000. We still have the same modem sitting in our house. It’s never been replaced with an upgrade. I dread calling our cell phone company with billing questions. I get jerked around in circles with their automated phone system and then disconnected. I recently called Sear$ with a question about my dishwasher. Passed around to three different people who contradicted each other. They had no interest in solving my problem, just upselling me unnecessary contracts and warranties. I finally had to laugh at them. At one point they asked me if I owned my own home. I told them that was none of their business.
@Mike J: Ha Ha! I was just renewing my license not taking a driving test! I is not 16.
@Mike J: Ha Ha! I was just renewing my license not taking a driving test! I is not 16.
ETA: Edit function doesn’t let you edit. Shitty upgrade is shitty.
BTW, the next time a fvcking Libertarian shows up at the city council with the bright idea of privatizing the water, sewer, po-licing services, etc. I give you ammo in the form of Stockton, Calif.
@Trollhattan: I’ve got an airbag I’m somewhat worried about. Will it explode and shoot shrapnel into my face?
Ahh… freedom from those pesky government regulators!
Somewhat relatedly, in news that should surprise nobody, here’s what “states rights” means in practice:
Took me awhile to understand the Takata airbags weren’t merely going off unexpectedly (hazard enough, thanks) but also the propellant is firing in an uncontrolled manner, blowing apart the container and creating metal shrapnel. Holy balls!
My husband got off the fourth 4-hour phone call with Frontier to correct a mistake they made, and he was in despair about the future of this country.
Not to be a busybody, but if you have cable internet, especially through Comcast, you should own your own modem. When they used to cost $300, it made sense to rent, but at this point, it’s usually an $8-$10 monthly charge and you can get a great modem for $80 so it pays for itself in 10 months. This is only if you don’t get your telephone through your internet.
I got mine used on craigslist for $10. Then comcast kept trying to charge me the rental fee for using my own modem.
@BR: Yeah, buying your own modem doesn’t end the struggles for sure, but it’s better than renting one from them. I assume something on the order of 5 angry calls got that charge removed from your bill?
I have found them modestly effective. Ones with both physical and electrostatic filter media seem to do the best job (and wow, is there a lot of junk in the air). The challenge, I suspect, is the typical room has so many dust sources you’d need a squeaky clean rugless, upholstery-free room to get full relief. Or a job in a clean room,
‘Tis the season here, and it’s hit me hard this year.
it also ignores the fact that they vote to defund or abolish the EPA every goddamned year.
so they’re against the EPA even existing, but it’s the EPA’s fault when a local government violates EPA rules.
A lot of people don’t realize the complexity of environmental regulation in the US. They think that the EPA just runs it all and can move in on any situation whenever it wants. A significant amount of regulatory authority is delegated to state agencies, and when the EPA does get directly involved, it has to work with any number of other government bodies. It also has to rely to some degree on the information it gets from those other agencies, and in the case of Flint, it was being misled by the state.
The other thing I’d like to hear Dems everywhere say, when something happens like what happened with the water in Flint: this is why we have regulations. This is why we have – or should have – enough regulators to enforce those regulations. This is why America is worse off when we don’t have regulations and regulators. They’re there so you don’t have to worry about things like this happening to you, and when they’re not there, bad things like this happen.
Gin & Tonic
@schrodinger’s cat: My daughter has had good success with a HEPA filter in her bedroom. I don’t know the brand, but if they say HEPA they have to meet certain standards, so I think they are largely interchangeable. You have to size the unit to the room.
@Linnaeus: Oh sure, the state slow rolled the EPA, but the way I’ve always read this is that the EPA slow rolled the response when they didn’t jump into action at the urging of Miguel Del Toral. That’s not to absolve the state from responsibility here, but like I said, the EPA didn’t cover itself in glory.
It’d be a different story if Del Toral’s warnings were taken seriously and immediately acted upon in the EPA and the state agencies involved kept not doing anything.
You do know that the KWA was not the water authority from which Flint drew its water, is not sourced by the Flint River, and hasn’t even begun providing water yet, right?
Villago Delenda Est
@sunny raines: The principle problem with Rethuglicans, from an economic standpoint, in my view, is that is painfully obvious they’ve never read The Wealth of Nations. Because Adam Smith notes that the business class must be watched, carefully, because they’ll put their finger on the scales every single fucking time.
Villago Delenda Est
@Linnaeus: No, fucktard troll does not.
I agree that the EPA should have acted sooner than it did, just pointing out that it’s not typical for the EPA to move in quickly in areas that are typically within the purview of state agencies, or at least in areas that require some coordination with other agencies.
ETA: Case in point, there’s a massive cleanup effort going on near me under CERCLA (Superfund) and it just started last year after a couple of decades of planning, etc. because of all of the stakeholders involved.
The only thing keeping me from being down about Obama leaving office next January is the thought that, with our help and hard work, the next President will also be a Democrat, with the same outlook on the proper role of government – and not be afraid to say so.
@Villago Delenda Est:
Of course they haven’t read it. They just quote what other people say it says.
And time effects. Any business model that involves taking people’s money today in exchange for potential results in the future suffers from a temptation to take the money and run. That’s why insurance is so heavily regulated, and why the financial services industry occasionally threatens to blow up the entire economy.
Just want to interject.
Like Reagan, Obama also knows nothing about economics.
The Federal government’s budget is NOTHING like you doing your household bills at the kitchen table, and to say something so foolish shows one to be an economic know-nothing.
OK. You can bring the pom-poms for Obama/ Dems back out now.
@Linnaeus: One of many reasons why it’s never worth engaging with srv is that she/he likes to drop supposed bombs and then runs away when they’re shown to be not at all what she claimed.
To bring it all full circle:
Governments don’t kill people, (Bad) people in government kill people.
Bob In Portland
Bob In Portland
@Berto: Personally, on this subjects it’s got nothing to do with Dem v. R as much as the bulk of Economic Theory v. Reality.
Gee, I didn’t see the phrases “Kitchen Table” or “household bills” anywhere in the transcript of Obama’s speech that we’re discussing, but I guess if Bernie is going invent quotes to whine about, his followers feel entitled to as well..
@CONGRATULATIONS!: In NY State the participation in government course is required for hs graduation.
@Berto: Where did Obama say the federal budget was like a household budget?
The logic is simple. The EPA failed to prevent the problem, therefore the EPA is useless, therefore we shouldn’t be paying for it. If you start with the assumption that the EPA is bad, it’s very simple logic.
MSM mainstreamed Trump’s Birtherism. They are primed to mainstream him again. PPl like you will have to speak LOUDER
This is idiotic. Assume equal portioning of costs (which wouldn’t be fair but let’s ignore). There are 134 million households in America. How am I going to pay for 7.463×10^-9 of the military? I’d have to pay for about 0.019 soldiers. That’s not a very effective fighting force. Or I could purchase about 1/10 millionth of our aircraft carriers. Again, not actually efficient. The 340 feet of road I’d own is not very far nor would the 1/300th of a bridge get me across much.
The other point you miss is that there is a place for collective action in a capitalist economy. My company provides engineering design services to private companies and government agencies around the world. We contract with those entities to design the airports, factories, roads, bridges, dams, and facilities. We hope to do these designs at a profit. These are almost exclusively built by private contractors. but even where built by, say, a county road crew they have to buy concrete and steel and precast beams from others. So while the infrastructure is owned and managed by government entities, they are still mostly designed and built by companies engaging in capitalism. The government agencies entering into contracts for substantial amounts of work is more efficient from a capitalist pov than each individual household acting separately. The market has already spoken. See also the South Park & Family Guy episodes that address these issues in a simplistic way.
The view from Kelly Ayotte’s office:
Just want to reply.
Straw man fallacy: Informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not advanced.
You can run along now and rebut different arguments that others haven’t made.
@Mike J: Never, but we’re well into the “out-and-out lying” portion of this cycle’s electoral buffoonery.
Villago Delenda Est
@Seanly: You assume that srv has an atom of intellectual honesty. This is a very bad assumption.
@Villago Delenda Est:
Right. Hence my reference to the South Park episode where Cartman gets an amusement park and the Family Guy where Peter dissolves the town government.
Back on topic, forgot to say that this was a great post by Cracker.
@srv: Well, according to your quote, fewer Republicans is the only obvious solution. They chose the poisoned water as the source.
Just One More Canuck
@Cacti: @Mike J: There seems to be a lot more hit and run trolls visiting us lately
Enhanced Voting Techinques
The people who paid for the lead line pipes in Flint weren’t the people who had to drink the contaminated water, you dumb, ignorant talking point of an ass.
@CONGRATULATIONS!: If you look at the
Weaver marksBernie cultist threads on the Great Orange Satan, you’d think that arithmetic is an elective these days.
I’m sure you’ll be the one who convinces the troll the error of their ways. Keep trying!
@Mike J: you can read about it on Balloon Juice, e.g. here, where DougJ says it was a stupid thing for him to say. Of course, the many Obamabots in the comments rolled out the usual apologetics.
I don’t know if I agree with the people who put him on founding father/Lincoln/FDR level of excellence, but yeah – I agree that he’ll go down in history as at least as consequential as Reagan. I understood what he meant at the time he said that, wasn’t put off by it and kinda hoped it was true.
I’m not one of them, I’m old enough to remember Bush and even a little Clinton – but Obama certainly defines a high water mark when it comes to being the nation’s chief executive in my lifetime. I wasn’t sold on him from the start (except in a “he’s a Democrat so we agree on basic values and at least he’s not a Republican” kind of way), but I really came to respect the guy over the course of his presidency in a way that I never expected. He’s set a standard that I’ll be measuring a lot of future presidents by.
Huh. Maybe that’s why younger primary voters have overwhelmingly chosen Bernie over Hillary.
While I’m not a huge fan of Obama, the quoted text is very good. Of course, it makes libertarians feel sad.
So very on the money.
Nope…the incentive is to maximize rents, er, profits.
And IMHO price signaling is terrible when it comes to services, because it’s easy for customers to compare prices but not quality.
That is not how capitalism works. Capitalisms primary mission is to turn a profit, and can do that to some degree by providing efficient services, but primarily does that by selecting only profitable customers. There is no example in capitalism for providing for all customers. Electrification could not reach the last 15% of the population without the government intervening. Health care could not reach the last 30%. Some states would be nearly bereft of roads if not for government intervention.
What free marketers always fail to understand is that it impossible to monetize certain necessary foundational layers to enable subsequence businesses. The maximum profits you could turn from roads is minuscule compared to the economic opportunities that come from cars. Giving away roads is the most profitable solution because it enables cars. But road builders don’t earn car profits, and car makers don’t pave roads and neither will enter the other market because there is too much risk. We have to distribute that risk across society to enable that economic growth to happen, which is why the US socialized roads but not automakers. People who can think critically figured out that the whole was greater than the sum of the parts if government paid for the roads and ensured that they reached everyone because that’s what made cars a market for everyone. There are countless examples of this.
Obviously, this is not intended for srv who we all agree cannot reason to save his life, but maybe to help clarify how to present this to others.
@sunny raines: For reasons I would prefer not to admit to, but do pre-date this post by several years, I am the proud owner of [email protected]
@sharculese: genderfraud! I mean “species fraud!”
It’s also pretty rich to use the inadequacies of government agencies today as proof that “government doesn’t work,” when those agencies have been hollowed out, underfunded, and stuffed with people hostile to their basic mandate over the course of three decades of Reaganism.
If you want to compare public agencies with the private sector in terms of efficiency, you have to acknowledge the fact that these agencies are being actively sabotaged by a political process a staggering amount of which has been bought and paid for by the private sector. It’s like if you gave Airbus control of half the seats on Boeing’s board of directors, and then asked Boeing to outperform Airbus.
Villago Delenda Est
@? Martin: srv is another one of these idiots (and I’m being more than gracious in calling him this) who hasn’t cracked open The Wealth of Nations, let alone actually read or comprehended it.
@Villago Delenda Est: Hey, I actually talked to Adam Smith last night, Different Adam Smith though,
@liberal: It’s a commonly used trope, and it makes me cringe every fucking time, no matter who says it.
@Bob In Portland: “Katy bar the door!”?!
How old is this fucking clown, seriously?
Here’s an alternate, younger perspective that I think people should pay attention to: Douglas Rushkoff on the digital economy
@Aimai: You have to include the capitals! It’s GENDER FRAUD. ;)
And reptilerump Tx.
O. Felix Culpa
@Cacti: Oh, but why let logic and *facts* get in the way of a [specious] argument? ;)
@Peale: 2010? That’s digging pretty far back for a lame gotcha.
So Obama hasn’t said or done anything that you object to in the past six years? Guess he must be a pretty progressive president, then.
@sunny raines: The GOP Does believe in government as long as its in your lady parts and/or picking your pocket to help the kochs, et. al. Other than that. no so much
@srv: they have privatized some fire departments and they watched houses burn when people weren’t up to date on their bills. Privatized water companies also shut off people’s water.
I know the story of the creation of the KWA. The crucial contextual factor your quote leaves out is that Flint had been under emergency management since 2011. The city council couldn’t act without the approval of the EM, and the EM supported the move to the KWA as a cost-saving measure, and the state signed off on it. The decision to use the Flint River in the interim was a separate one – both Kurtz and his successor Darnell Earley rejected offers from the DWSD.
While I think Obama was wrong to buy into the austerity thing, I think you have to read into that stmt a bit to get to ‘household budget’. The government eliminating wasteful programs and cutting needless Pentagon items would be ‘tightening its belt’ without looking at it as a household budget
Here’s another Douglas Rushkoff on the same subject. If you’re not sure what’s going on in the digital-enabled, post-Walmart international capitalist economy, this guy has it nailed.
Interestingly, while I’ve heard him praise Bernie Sanders, everything he says is more in tune with backing Hillary. He’s looking for incremental, specific stuff that can actually happen. If Hils grabbed this guy and put him in public service, I swear to God I would start running around canvassing and phone banking for her and blow up my Facebook with how big of a deal it was. His perspective is amazing.
@Linnaeus: And the entire EM concept had been repealed by a voter referendum. The GOP then pasted a new EM law and by attaching some type of budget requirement made it referendum proof. Even the reptiles of the world would be embarrassed to be linked to them.
@? Martin: agreed, capitalism, aka “the profit motive” has zero incentive to do things that don’t make money or to do things well – beyond a certain base minimal sell-ability, quality doesn’t pay.
Capitalism is about selling things that people do not need to saps too lazy to know what they’re buying or that what they buy is mostly junk. The corollary to capitalism is: “let the buyer beware”
@D58826: Politically it makes sense to do that. But in 2010, economically, not so much. Heck, instead of cancelling travel and boondoggle conferences, the government should have been demanding that all meetings take place at least 500 miles from the office and involve three times as many participants as necessary.
@Berto: My doctor knows about medicine (at least I hope) and he translates the medical stuff into english for me. Sometimes a president has to translate the Keynesian gobble-gook into more non-econ language for the rest of us. It doesn’t mean that Obama doesn’t know his economics As to Reagan he thought he lived at 1700 Pennsylvania Ave and you could call back ICBM’s once launched.
@Peale: Even in 2010 I would have preferred that the government spend more on road/bridge repair than F-35’s. Get more multipler bang for the buck.
Rural parcel delivery wouldn’t exist but for the USPS.
@Chris: I may be wrong on this but I remember reading that the Gopers had gotten a restriction on the EPA passed that required the federal people to step aside in deference top the state and local people.
Either way it is rich to hear to states-rights/local control people crying that the feds should have stopped them before they killed again.
@srv: Wasn’t it thrilling when Sarah Palin gave her endorsement to Trump? Wasn’t that a great speech? Inspiring.
@? Martin: A long way of saying what Obama said a few years ago about ‘you didn’t build it’ or Hillary’s ‘it takes a village’
Is this really the case? What are you using to post the comment you just made? A PC, a tablet, a smart phone? Neither the government nor the public good dictated the invention of the device you are using. Is it junk?
Note: we can talk all day about how government interactions, great and small, help provide the lubrication that helps get goods and services to you. And we can talk about regulations that greatly reduce the chance that the device you use will poison or electrocute you. Only dopes and libertarians believe in absolute free markets. Their cousins, Marxist and economic determinist dopes, believe in proletariat Nirvana where the People’s unicorn spews wonders from its horn of plenty.
And under a command economy system, like the old Soviet Union or China, you would get massive planning, shoddy goods that no one wanted but that you had no ability to reject, or shortages where you would get long lines and not much in return.
Or even current day Venezuela where, despite good intentions, you have a situation where the country has massive oil resources, but a situation where electricity is available only two days a week.
But Bernie supports the F-35 program, so it’s obviously the next gen fighter aircraft of the 99 percent.
In the long run you may be right but in the short run a corp. CEO would give his kids to ISIS if it meant beating the quarterly expectations of wall street.
This article might interest you.
It’s called: Elon Musk’s growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies
@Cacti: They must build a piece of it in Vermont. DOD learned long ago that the best way to keep getting these turkeys funded is to spread the pork to as many Congressional districts as possible. Even if it is only for some nuts and bolts it’s still some jobs a critter can take credit for.
So, I work in civic education, and went into my daughter’s second grade class today to talk to them about the three branches of government and the Constitution. Happily, and to me amazingly (considering I know older kids who couldn’t answer the question), these little kids could tell me who the candidates were that were running for president (and a couple also named Cruz and Kasich!). But oh it broke my heart though, because this sweet little boy, of Arabic descent, said ‘I’m afraid of Trump because he says he is going to throw all the Arabic people out of the country.’ How does one respond to that, beyond saying ‘honey, it won’t happen, that’s why we have a Constitution’?
This election is hurting our kids in some ways, though so many even so young are wonderfully aware and engaged.
The F-35 program is spread out over something like 40 states.
srv: “Musk, that great titan of industry doesn’t take government subsidies”
Cacti: “Uh, actually he does.”
srv: “It’s the liberals’ fault.”
@liberal: Well, the white ones, yes. Young people of color seemed to have split kind of evenly between the two.
And once again, the Bernie folks don’t look very closely at what anyone other than the white kids think…
Oh god. The robber barons are now role models? They might have had a slightly longer time horizon since they didn’t have to answer to the ‘wall street analyst’ but they would have cut a throat or destroyed a town or gunned down union workers with the best of today’s masters of the universe. The 1930’s masters of the universe hated FDR just as much as today’s version hates Obama. For a time in the 1950’s/1960’s, for whatever reason there was a grand bargain that gave us stakeholder capitalism rather than shareholder capitalism. The stake holders included workers, communities, and even country. With shareholder capitalism even if the CEO wanted to do the right wing, the Gordon Geckos of wall street would destroy him in an instant
Shall we ignore the various tax credits that subsidized electric vehicles? Without them, it would be less of an easy purchase for many people. Tesla even touts this on their web site:
And do you really want to post anything, I mean anything at all, about the expansion of the railroad system in this country? Could not have happened without the heavy involvement of federal and state government. And yeah, it gets down and dirty when you consider the role of the government in removing Native Americans and making land available for towns, stations, rights of way.
@Mike J: He your congresscitter? Mine’s Adam Shiff.
@BillinGlendaleCA: Yep, WA-09.
@Brachiator: The transistor developed at bell labs with gov’t contacts. The computer developed to help the army calculate firing tables for the artillery. And yes its true Al Gore did not invent the internet. It was the government, something called ARAPNET. The web was developed by a scientist at CERN a project subsidized by European governments. And Steve Jobs did not invent the PC. He took a bunch of off the shelf pieces, many developed as part of government projects, and combined them in a new and innovative way. And last but certainly not least the naval officer Grace Hooper helped develop the mainframe language COBOL
It was “small government” conservatives who passed an enhanced EM law and it was “small government” conservatives who passed a new EM law when voters repealed the prior one. Funny, that.
Obama brought Elon to the kitchen table, where economics gets done, and threatened him to “take the subsidy, or else.” Elon is alive today so QED, boyo!
I’m pretty sure the auto industry would never have gotten off the ground were we still strapped with 3rd world gravel roads that the farmers and flyover counties provide (my mom is from Iowa). Interstate transport would be gutted, industry would have to exist even more on the coasts than it currently does.
Really? The business launched on half a billion dollars from the DOE. They rely on $7500 subsidies on each of their vehicles. They receive additional subsidies from every state that they are in, and a fiscal conservative shouldn’t be applauding a company with free cash flow of negative $2B. He’s building charging station but the company doesn’t generate enough revenue to pay for them, but he needs to build them in order to drive the next quarters sales. And nobody knows where the $9B or so that will be needed to hit the next production quotas are going to come from – Musk wasn’t saying during the call.
Not every industry can follow the free-market fantasy that you have constructed for yourself. Some can, but many can’t, due to unavoidable structural economic reasons.
@CONGRATULATIONS!: I thought it was semi-privatized. He insisted that it was now completely run by the Feds, then tried to weasel-word that bit about it being required in the Constitution. At that point the pinched nerve in my hip was aching so badly that I just wanted to go home.
@D58826: Kinda goes to my point of the government as facilitator. And if you had only government control of computers and the Net, they would never have advanced much beyond boutique devices used by a small cadre of scientists and military men, and grad students playing early crude video games in computer labs.
@? Martin: Here’s a good example of what you’re talking about. There’s a familiar name down there in the middle of the article, a Lt Col Eisenhower.
So he was literally a “pain in the ass”(or thereabouts).
@Brachiator: And we wouldn’t need Ad-Blocker.
@Brachiator: That’s right. Each sector does some things well and some things not so well. Rather than argue public vs private the better approach would be public and private together re-enforcing what each does best.
Another tale of the private sector gone bad. The thing is when a public function is privitized and it goes bust the public sector has to pick up the pieces. You can layoff the prison guards but you can’t ‘lay-off’ the inmates.
The Indiana toll road from 2014:
@BillinGlendaleCA: Between that and his WWII experience with the German autobahn helped give us that giant failed government boondoggle called the interstate highway system. I remember when driving to Fla from the NE was a pilgrimage with a traffic light at ever other corner, When I drove from Philly to Charlotte on I95/I85 I saw 3 traffic lights. One just before getting on to I95 in Philly. one when I got off I85 for the night and one when I reached Charlotte. I was just so pissed at that huge failure of government.
@bemused: That point where it dawned on me that he did not know the difference was just about the time I needed desperately to sit down. I have a pinched nerve that acts up sometimes and it was screaming by then. This was an odd conversation that started when my husband admired this idiot’s car, a red Cadillac.
@dexwood: Where Dick Cheney keeps his summer crypt.
Another Obama/government failure.
2 things to say here–one, it’s not that localities don’t WANT to spend on infrastructure, it’s that they can’t raise the taxes to do so because of Grover Norquistian anti tax jawboning that has struck fear into every govt with needed initiatives and no money for them. We need to start a PRO – tax conversation in this country. Two, demonizing civil servants has to stop, and we can ALL push back against that.
Government is the ONLY way the actual needs of the public truly get met, and tax policy is key to that–hope Hillary and her aides understand that.
How could this be? The libertarians insist that there would be endless prosperity if only you privatized roads and other things that the government involves itself in.
@Brachiator: You gona believe the free marketers or the mechanc fixing your shocks after hitting a big pothole. :-)
And the prosperity is endless as they say. They just forgot to mention it was only forthem and their friends in the 1%. OOOPs
@Dimmsdale: I’d say it’s kind of a fifty-fifty proposition. Many gov’t officials live in fear of Grover and his pledge. But some like Brownbeck of Kansas would eliminate all taxes (at least on the 1% anyway) because they really believe in the supply-side tax fairy. And failure of the fairy to show up just means he didn’t wish (cut taxes) hard enough
PBO got it one.
One of Reagan’s favorite jokes was: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.'” HUR HUR HUR.
He and his fellow idiots replaced them with: “I’m from the government, and you’re on your own.”
We can, indeed, evolve ACA into universal care.
I am not at all sure that Brownbeck thought it through that much.
he may be just following the line of lease resistance.
Optimistic progressivism is quite rare.
2008 called. It want’s to be included on your list, along with 1960, 1964, and 1976
@srv: Oh you sweet summer child.
@Bitter Scribe: One of the spectacular successes of conservatism is the consummate skill they have for turning Americans against each other. I’m still livid at Reagan for so deliberately destroying the reputations of a whole class of citizens (government workers) just to score cheap PR points and tax cuts for the ultra rich. I’ve been a government worker, both my folks were government workers, and guess what: they WERE there to help, and help they did. I worked as a seasonal for the Forest Service AND the Post Office, and in both jobs, you knew you were serving the public, and it was a source of pride & provided a sense of ‘mission’ much more inspiring than laboring at reduced wages and minimal or no health safeguards in order to put yet another million into the stock options of some corporate maggot whose paid lobbyists brought about the privatization of parks maintenance.
I was hoping, with Bernie’s successful candidacy, that the Clinton people would wake up and realize how profoundly the country needs change, and real government action. I don’t think they do, but I hope to be wrong.
@D58826: True, but look at all the ‘ingenious’ ways localities are having to raise money that DON”T involve raising taxes: selling off municipal resources, the whole ‘civil forfeiture’ scam, fining citizens for everything relating to court processes from failure to appear to tiny paperwork infractions. This is what you do when you know you can’t raise taxes, because the public won’t stand for it: the regular folks because they feel they’re paying more than their share already (and they ARE!), the rich because they can simply purchase legislators and councilmen and thereby keep tax raises focused on the middle class. Back in the days of the 90% marginal tax rate, taxes paid for everything, but everybody paid a fairer share than now.
J R in WV
I have a friend with severe allergies, and their house has an air cleaner in every room. They make life possible. Vacuming often and throughly also helps.
J R in WV
My first foreman, in the long ago of the 1970s, when he was discharged from the US Army after WW II, his first job was with the Federal Government, working for the Rural Electrification Administration. They installed power lines out in the countryside, to remote farms, where it wasn’t profitable for privately owned power companies to provide service.
Strange, isn’t it.
Somehow I expect this will be the only part of the speech that gets quoted on Fox.
@schrodinger’s cat: Yeah, my dealings with the DMV and city building inspectors have been smooth, professional, no drama. When Qwest was my DSL provider however…after spending two weeks and countless hours on the phone to get an outage resolved (and the problem was in their data center) with no compensation for the lost service, I dropped them and went to the one other option allowed by the blessed Free Market. Twice as expensive, but at least it works.
@Brachiator: http://www.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html #24