U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Great Debates
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-22-2009, 12:50 PM
 
472 posts, read 653,710 times
Reputation: 196

Advertisements

As of today, 48 hours after being twice-sworn in as the United States' 44th President, the most pressing issue facing Obama's administration remains the increasingly serious economic swoon we find ourselves in. And while the details of Obama's plan to combat these economic challenges remain persistently vague, the need for a comprehensive and aggressive plan of attack grows more urgent.

In facing this task, Obama currently enjoys near unprecendented political power - that most valued asset within the wheeler-dealer governmental halls of D.C. He enjoys overwhelming Democrat majorities in Congress, is riding upon a post-inaugural public approval wave of nearly 80%, and continued glowing reviews by the mainstream media. Few if any newly-elected American presidents have enjoyed such clear potential for overwhelming control of the nation's short-term political direction.

For now Obama's economic agenda continues to simultaneously call for "hope over fear" - a clear throwback to FDR's "nothing to fear but fear itself", while also repeating the mantra that economic hard times are here and likely to remain for some time. The market's reaction to Obama's mixed-bag message of both hope and doom was clear: the Dow Jones lost over 300 points, the single worst Inauguration Day stock market drop in American history. Business and Media Institute board member Don Luskin recently shared his concerns over an Obama White House and Democrat Congress that might prove the most anti-business era in American history. "We don't know if this administration will be able to hold back the populist impulses of this Congress or not. Stocks are scared to death and they should be."

Obama's Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner indicated yesterday that the Obama administration would not unveil their plan to combat the economic crisis for another few weeks, though indicating the plan would be, "on a very dramatic scale." Such descriptions would indicate that it is Obama's clear intent to substantially grow the size and scope of governmental control and intervention over the nation's economy.

What little we do know of Obama's economic plan is this - the initial request to Congress in increased governmental spending is in the neighborhood of $550 billion, though there are already growing indications that this amount will be increased - perhaps substantially, during the review process by Congress. Of this $550 billion, $355 billion is to be spent on infrastructure projects. Obama has repeatedly asserted that such projects will create jobs and help to grow the economy back to health. This assertion faced challange yesterday by the release of a report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that the majority of this money would not be spent until 2010 and beyond, so that by the time it is being spent, the recession could very well be over. In short, this $355 billion will have little to no actual impact on the current economic challenges facing the country. Geithner has since spoken out against the report, indicating it did not fairly weigh the tax refunds and increased unemployment benefits also included in the Obama plan.

And speaking of those tax refunds, those too are now facing increased scrutiny, namely complaints that those refunds are going to a large portion of the American population that already pays no income taxes. Republican leaders are beginning to demand more comprehensive across- the-board tax cuts as a means of directly stimulating the economy. Obama responded to these demands by indicating some 40% of his economic plan will include some form of tax cuts. These attempts by Obama to appease Republicans has resulted in increasingly vocal agitation amongst Democrats, who appear united in their unwillingness to cut taxes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated last week her desire to see taxes raised on Americans making more than $250,000 per year now - not waiting until the Bush tax rates are scheduled to expire at the end of 2010. New York Times columnist and Princeton economist Paul Krugman gave support to Pelosi's seeming more taxes not less philosophy in penning a January 5th column titled, Is Obama relying too much on tax cuts? In this article Krugman argues that more government spending is a better means to improving the economy than cutting taxes. In additon to the infrastructure plan, Krugman calls for increased food stamp funding and unemployment benefits as a means of strengthening the economy.

We now wait to see how Obama manages the philisophical war being waged within his own party regarding his economic stimulus plan. Will President Obama side with demands of Pelosi and Co. to raise taxes - and raise them now, or will he hold firm to his current position of lower and middle class tax credits of $500 to $1000 and allowing the Bush tax rates for wealthier Americans to remain intact? Will he address the corporate tax burden that Republican Senator John Ensign states is decimating the United States' ability to compete with other nations, causing American business to move overseas to more corporate friendly nations, or will Obama side with those within the Democratic Party such as Senator Chris Dodd, who indicated last year a desire for additional corporate taxes, such as his newly proposed corporate carbon tax?

Will Obamanomics prove to be a successful version of New Deal II, or a myopicly messy descent into an era of new American socialism?

Last edited by SemiahmooDude; 01-22-2009 at 01:24 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-22-2009, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,091 posts, read 10,493,331 times
Reputation: 4104
I'm not sure i can answer all of that in an hour, but once some one starts pushing the idea of government owning and running private business...then we can start talking about socialism. Better social programs for the less fortunate, which people were complaining were failing for years, and assuring businesses don't fail so people can keep their jobs is more New Deal 2.

Central tenet:

Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods...

Socialism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2009, 03:39 PM
 
472 posts, read 653,710 times
Reputation: 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by subsound View Post
I'm not sure i can answer all of that in an hour, but once some one starts pushing the idea of government owning and running private business...then we can start talking about socialism. Better social programs for the less fortunate, which people were complaining were failing for years, and assuring businesses don't fail so people can keep their jobs is more New Deal 2.

Central tenet:

Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods...

Socialism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thank you for the definition of socialism as we can now apply it directly to this discussion.

So it would seem you are indicating that Obama's economic plan is not socialist, yes? (If not please feel free to correct me)

Would you entertain the possibility that some aspects of his plan are socialist in nature if using the very definition you have provided? Since we still don't have an abundance of details from the Obama administration regarding what their economic plan will be, we can instead look back upon some of President Obama's past musings on the subject...

When running for president, Obama often called for "economic justice" in America. While vague, his economic platform during the campaign included the following: universal health care, universal national service, free child care and universal pre-school, and a $10 federally mandated minimum wage. This is just a sampling mind you.

Obama began his political career in Chicago with his own personal involvement with the Chicago "New Party" - an openly socialist organization. You can read up on its philosophy here: About Chicago Democratic Socialists of America

And here is a link to a New Party membership meeting Obama attended. Simply click on the New Party Update section and read the 3rd paragraph.

New Ground 47 - Chicago Democratic Socialists of America

Now this information, these links, are not included here to cast judgement on President Obama, but rather to try and indicate where he might lead the country economically.

Clearly something needs to be done to revitalize the American economy. Whether or not you believe it to be traditional "free market" methods, or a more centralized "big government" approach is the debate being waged this very moment across the country and within the halls of federal government.

What say you?

-
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2009, 03:58 PM
 
268 posts, read 942,896 times
Reputation: 196
Does it matter what label we put on the solution to the problem?

So what if it is "socialism" or "new deal" - if it turns out to help people who otherwise can not afford it get medical care, if it turns out that our economy goes back on the upswing, and all children get equal education benefits, does it really matter what we call it?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2009, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,091 posts, read 10,493,331 times
Reputation: 4104
I would consider it more Keynesian then socialistic, which was used in periods of time from the end of World War 2 to about the 1970's (Keynesian economics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). "According to Keynesian economics the state should stimulate economic growth and improve stability in the private sector - through, for example, interest rates, taxation and public projects.".

In Europe this meant a more socialistic approach, where government owned large heavy industry (such as steel and Telecoms, the commanding heights of the economy), but it differed a bit in the US application. Without the collective ownership and running of companies, Socialism doesn't happen...that's the definition of Socialism. Even if the government props up failed companies, that under a 100% free market should have. Keynesian economics is not either extreme.

I think the Universal Health Care and Service differ a bit from what they sound. I don't think the insurance industry is going to be replaced by the government (even then if it does, the US going to suddenly turn into Sweden), but to give an option in the expansion of medicaid to cover those, especially children, who do not have any other option of health care. Universal Service has been more like the new deal and Keynes, stimulation of the economy by public works on failing infrastructure (important for me, I live around a lot of bridges and a 9% unemployment)...not pressing civilians into service.

I think more pre-schools as an addendum to public school, but not likely to happen...neither is the free child care. More like campaign puffery, especially in current ecoinomic climates. $10 minimum wage goes either way, but not socialistic.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2009, 04:06 PM
 
472 posts, read 653,710 times
Reputation: 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by coldwynn View Post
Does it matter what label we put on the solution to the problem?

So what if it is "socialism" or "new deal" - if it turns out to help people who otherwise can not afford it get medical care, if it turns out that our economy goes back on the upswing, and all children get equal education benefits, does it really matter what we call it?

Perhaps - perhaps not. If in fact President Obama wishes to greatly expand the role of government - set up a national banking system for example, and thus greatly reducing or even eliminating the private sector in that section of the economy, we as a nation must decide if that is the direction we wish to go.

Aspects of socialism might in fact be preferred as your answer suggests. Others might argue that such medicine might cure the short term symptoms while killing the patient in the long term.

The last subject of your response does beg more clarification from you though - are you suggesting that today our children do not have "equal educational benefits"? I am unsure what exactly you mean by that phrase. Are you advocating a private school voucher system, or are you advocating the abolition of private school?

Please clarify!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2009, 04:42 PM
 
3,288 posts, read 3,875,058 times
Reputation: 816
Quote:
Originally Posted by SemiahmooDude View Post
The last subject of your response does beg more clarification from you though - are you suggesting that today our children do not have "equal educational benefits"? I am unsure what exactly you mean by that phrase. Are you advocating a private school voucher system, or are you advocating the abolition of private school?

Please clarify!
This may be a topic for a different thread because the educational system in this country can not be simplified. There are excellent private schools, there are excellent public schools, there are crappy public schools, and there are private schools that would fail if put in the place of the "crappy public schools".

There is a lot of context needed to evaluate why some people get a raw deal regarding education, especially in inner cities. A lot of these issues are social/cultural and would need a massive overhauling, not necessarily of the school system but of our society in order for these individuals to get the benefit.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2009, 04:50 PM
 
472 posts, read 653,710 times
Reputation: 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by subsound View Post
I would consider it more Keynesian then socialistic, which was used in periods of time from the end of World War 2 to about the 1970's (Keynesian economics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). "According to Keynesian economics the state should stimulate economic growth and improve stability in the private sector - through, for example, interest rates, taxation and public projects.".

In Europe this meant a more socialistic approach, where government owned large heavy industry (such as steel and Telecoms, the commanding heights of the economy), but it differed a bit in the US application. Without the collective ownership and running of companies, Socialism doesn't happen...that's the definition of Socialism. Even if the government props up failed companies, that under a 100% free market should have. Keynesian economics is not either extreme.

I think the Universal Health Care and Service differ a bit from what they sound. I don't think the insurance industry is going to be replaced by the government (even then if it does, the US going to suddenly turn into Sweden), but to give an option in the expansion of medicaid to cover those, especially children, who do not have any other option of health care. Universal Service has been more like the new deal and Keynes, stimulation of the economy by public works on failing infrastructure (important for me, I live around a lot of bridges and a 9% unemployment)...not pressing civilians into service.

I think more pre-schools as an addendum to public school, but not likely to happen...neither is the free child care. More like campaign puffery, especially in current ecoinomic climates. $10 minimum wage goes either way, but not socialistic.
Ah! Finally someone brings forth Keynes and his Treatise on Money principles!

Too few actually have read Keynes, or understand his basic principle of government spending in weakened economic times and reduced government spending in strong economic times. A true Keynesian will advocate the "priming of the pump" as it were, when times require, but once the economic waters are once again flowing freely on their own, that pump is to be greatly reduced - ie., less government spending. During the Great Depression it was FDR who embraced Keynes in the form of the New Deal and its greatly increased government spending. Supporters of Keynes argue it was this New Deal spending that brough the nation out of the depression, while others argue it was actually the Second World War and the post war American industrial behemoth that resulted. Either way, many politicians embraced Keynes because it was a philosophy that allows for government to both create and hold the purse strings.

Both Republicans and Democrats have overspent in good economic times - if anything, they spend even more of the taxpayers' money when the economy is strong. The primary dispute between the two sides then is the idea of taxation. Democrats have the historical perception of being more in favor of taxes, while Repubilicans less so. (though there have been exceptions - JFK for one reduced the tax rates which economists generally view as greatly increasing overall tax revenues in the 1960s.) The same happened with Reagan's tax cuts and yes, the Bush tax cuts as well. (Many oppose the view that the Bush tax cuts increased revenue - I disagree. What reductions did occur were the result of the increased Child Tax Credit, the 10% tax bracket, and the AMT fix. One could just as easily argue that the reduced tax burden on those making less in America was in fact paid for by the Bush tax cuts! That is another subject though...) The problem is as tax revenues increased, so too did government spending. While it would appear that Democrats of today are far more Keynesian inclined, that inclination, if it does not include greatly reduced government spending once the economy recovers, is actually an abomination of Keynesian principle.

And therein lies the rub, and the critical weakness of your premise subsound...it would appear the current crop of Democrats - and a good many among the Republicans, are advocating greatly increasing the size and scope of the federal government to the tune of trillions of additional spending. If this tune continues to be played even after the recession has passed, then America will have progressed far beyond Keynes and into the open waters of socialism - at least some direct variation of it.

And to those anti-Obamers out there who might be rejoicing to read this I would caution you that it was former President Bush who enacted the bail-out mentality we now find ourselves in. Mr. Bush left that car running in the White House driveway, and President Obama and the Democratic Congress are going to take it for a spin.

The concern is if they know how to drive, if there is enough gas in the tank, and if any of them really know where they are going.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2009, 04:59 PM
 
472 posts, read 653,710 times
Reputation: 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by FinkieMcGee View Post
This may be a topic for a different thread because the educational system in this country can not be simplified. There are excellent private schools, there are excellent public schools, there are crappy public schools, and there are private schools that would fail if put in the place of the "crappy public schools".

There is a lot of context needed to evaluate why some people get a raw deal regarding education, especially in inner cities. A lot of these issues are social/cultural and would need a massive overhauling, not necessarily of the school system but of our society in order for these individuals to get the benefit.

Actually your point fits well in this thread. Like Bush before him, Obama too is advocating increased federal spending on education. In my state of Washington, as well as most other states, education takes up the vast majority of the budget.

And according to this data, more spending on education is not the answer. Does Spending More on Education Improve Academic Achievement?
Perhaps your hinting at social/cultural overhauling is in fact the answer - though I would like to hear more details.

For too long politicians from both major parties parade around the latest and greatest idea for improving American schools, almost all of which calls for increased spending.

Perhaps that is because throwing money at a problem is simple, while actually solving the problem is not.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2009, 05:26 PM
 
3,288 posts, read 3,875,058 times
Reputation: 816
Quote:
Originally Posted by SemiahmooDude View Post
Actually your point fits well in this thread. Like Bush before him, Obama too is advocating increased federal spending on education. In my state of Washington, as well as most other states, education takes up the vast majority of the budget.

And according to this data, more spending on education is not the answer. Does Spending More on Education Improve Academic Achievement?
Perhaps your hinting at social/cultural overhauling is in fact the answer - though I would like to hear more details.

For too long politicians from both major parties parade around the latest and greatest idea for improving American schools, almost all of which calls for increased spending.

Perhaps that is because throwing money at a problem is simple, while actually solving the problem is not.
Well, it depends on what you're doing. For instance, Obama had that plan to allow kids to perform community service in exchange for 4k dollar college tax credit. That solves a couple problems at once, societally people will get more involved in their communities (thus improving their communities) and it gives people the opportunity to make college more affordable. In my mind that spending is a priceless investment, especially if the program proceeds for long enough.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Great Debates
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top