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Old 2012-04-30, 9:44 AM   #101
Munchausen
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I guess what bothers me about all this armchair quarterbacking is that it always sounds so easy - as though people whose livelihood is focused on political messaging and altering public opinion have never thought of this stuff. I suppose that's possible, but from where I'm standing it's just not as simple as people would hope. I think the key is that appeals to reason are much, much, much harder to pull off than appeals to emotions. I mean, look at the earlier statement in here about the U.S. deficit will make us the next Greece - quick, easy fear mongering, and the only response is what? To pick the claim apart with an amount of detail and analysis that is no way as powerful as "GREEEEEEECE!"

I'm not saying there's no room for improvement with the political strategy of the Democratic Party, but I think there are simply more issues where the emotional appeal is far easier for the right to capture. If you support austerity you invoke the family needing to tighten its belt and now the government is the irresponsible father who is blowing money at the expense of his children's well-being. If you think expansionary fiscal policy is important to drive down unemployment and make infrastructure investments at record low borrowing rates, you invoke ... ?

When there is an emotional appeal available, the left does use it, i.e. the War on Women, but I don't see how you craft strong messaging like that on every issue.
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Old 2012-04-30, 9:55 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by Munchausen View Post
...
When there is an emotional appeal available, the left does use it, i.e. the War on Women, but I don't see how you craft strong messaging like that on every issue.
I agree with all of this, and I think there's also an issue of demographics. The right tends to appeal more to people who respect shows of force and strength, where the left tends to appeal more to people who are compromising and show a willingness to adapt. The result is that adopting the same uncompromising tone as Republicans will alienate more of the Democratic base.
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Old 2012-04-30, 10:02 AM   #103
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I agree with all of this, and I think there's also an issue of demographics. The right tends to appeal more to people who respect shows of force and strength, where the left tends to appeal more to people who are compromising and show a willingness to adapt. The result is that adopting the same uncompromising tone as Republicans will alienate more of the Democratic base.
Basically, the biggest problem in the Republican party now is they do not have people that want to compromise at all. Most of the moderates within the party have either been removed by the massive shift to the right, or by being removed from office by people who are in no way anywhere near moderate in their mindset and thoughts on national policy. Which is why we have gridlock.
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Old 2012-04-30, 10:10 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by Munchausen View Post
I guess what bothers me about all this armchair quarterbacking is that it always sounds so easy - as though people whose livelihood is focused on political messaging and altering public opinion have never thought of this stuff.
I largely agree with you, but I think the situation is that the people who craft the messages are much more concerned with how it plays in regard to the next election, rather than overall well being of the country at large.

When the 'death panels' stuff came up, the democrats ran away from it like it was on fire because it doesn't play well, and in doing so essentially conceded the point to the conservative talking heads. In no context does it look good when a small number of people are devising policy that would determine who gets and doesn't get treatments, or how often, or at what coverage level, etc. Nobody wants their coverage limited, so I can understand the thought process involved when the Dems shrank away from that sort of talk. But, armchair quarterbacking here, while they may have risked votes they'd have been better served to demonstrate that the choice is between two small groups of people deciding "if grandma will get treatment": those who are motivated by profit, and those who aren't.

It's my opinion that the democrats largely fail to make their case effectively, whether it be by incompetence or design, but that's how it's appeared to me since at least the 2000 election.
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Old 2012-04-30, 10:22 AM   #105
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Maybe they could've explained how we already have a death panel..ty.
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Old 2012-04-30, 10:27 AM   #106
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What I am saying is the Democrat's need to drop the attitude that women are stupid sluts and realize that if they were just a bit more confident, believed in themselves, and actually asked women they were attracted to out on dates, well they'd have a dating life.


These are analogies so tortured that Amnesty International might get involved on their behalf, sir.
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Old 2012-04-30, 12:19 PM   #107
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This has been my least favorite political thread in a while.
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Old 2012-04-30, 4:18 PM   #108
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I gave up on page 2.
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Old 2012-04-30, 4:24 PM   #109
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Sounds like I didn't miss anything by not bothering to really read it.
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Old 2012-04-30, 4:34 PM   #110
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Sounds like I didn't miss anything by not bothering to really read it.
Now you know how we feel.
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Old 2012-04-30, 4:40 PM   #111
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Still "Voters don't understand" isn't an excuse for Republican victory. It just means the Left needs to find ways to allow voters to understand.
The problem with that is that the truth is complicated, and what Republicans claim to be the truth is simple. Given the choice, people will believe what "makes sense" to them.
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Old 2012-04-30, 6:43 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by Nick View Post
Sounds like I didn't miss anything by not bothering to really read it.
The OP article is right up your alley. At least read that.

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Having said all of this, and agreeing with your analysis, you are really stretching Krugman's and other economics analyses by saying perpetual budget deficits are ok.
...
Now Krugman and many other economists do talk about the benefit of deficit spending and why deficit spending can be good and desirable. But even in these schools of thought, there needs to be a point where the budget is balanced and the debt is paid down.
First off, perpetual debt (to a point) is the norm.



US debt/GDP


There's no rule of international finance that says debt must be completely paid off every few decades. An annual deficit of 2-3% GDP is sustainable so long as moderate inflation exists alongside it. But since there are times when we want to run budget deficits over 3% GDP to counter decreased private spending during recessions, we need to pay down the debt during boom years (like we would have been doing in the 2000s if we hadn't blown it all on tax cuts for the wealthy and a couple wars). This is standard Keynesian economics. But the point is that you don't start doing this budget balancing right when you need deficit spending the most.
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Me And The Deficit
One recurrent complaint in comments is that I haven’t said what I would do about the long run budget deficit. Except, you know, I have:
At the moment, as you may have noticed, the U.S. government is running a large budget deficit. Much of this deficit, however, is the result of the ongoing economic crisis, which has depressed revenues and required extraordinary expenditures to rescue the financial system. As the crisis abates, things will improve. The Congressional Budget Office, in its analysis of President Obama’s budget proposals, predicts that economic recovery will reduce the annual budget deficit from about 10 percent of G.D.P. this year to about 4 percent of G.D.P. in 2014.

Unfortunately, that’s not enough. Even if the government’s annual borrowing were to stabilize at 4 percent of G.D.P., its total debt would continue to grow faster than its revenues. Furthermore, the budget office predicts that after bottoming out in 2014, the deficit will start rising again, largely because of rising health care costs.

So America has a long-run budget problem. Dealing with this problem will require, first and foremost, a real effort to bring health costs under control — without that, nothing will work. It will also require finding additional revenues and/or spending cuts. As an economic matter, this shouldn’t be hard — in particular, a modest value-added tax, say at a 5 percent rate, would go a long way toward closing the gap, while leaving overall U.S. taxes among the lowest in the advanced world.

But if we need to raise taxes and cut spending eventually, shouldn’t we start now? No, we shouldn’t.
Let me expand on the health care question a bit. We actually know quite a lot about how to hold down health care costs. We know that insurers, including Medicare, pay for a lot of procedures of dubious medical value, so that creating death panels identifying those useless procedures — and some procedures with minimal medical benefits but very high costs — can cut down significantly on expenses. We know that insurers generally don’t pay for things that improve patients’ long-term health, so if we can get the system to take a longer view there’s money to be saved. We know that fee-for-service creates perverse incentives for providers, who do too many expensive tests and procedures because they profit personally. We know that integrated health systems, like the VA or, to a lesser extent, Kaiser, have lower costs without lower quality of care.

So there’s a lot of room for fiscal improvement from the health care side. The new health reform takes some important steps in the right direction — over the hysterical objections, I might add, of self-styled deficit hawks. But much more can be done. And if we can sharply reduce “excess cost growth” in health care spending — the tendency of per recipient spending to rise faster than GDP — the whole fiscal problem will become manageable, something we can deal with by raising taxes modestly and making modest cuts elsewhere.

And if you say that I need to be more specific, the question is, compared to what? Compared to just writing down some numbers about future Medicare spending?
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Old 2012-04-30, 6:57 PM   #113
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Old 2012-04-30, 9:02 PM   #114
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These are analogies so tortured that Amnesty International might get involved on their behalf, sir.
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Old 2012-04-30, 9:55 PM   #115
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Sounds like I didn't miss anything by not bothering to really read it.
Nick what is this.

A political thread and you only contribute a single sentence? I am frightfully disappointed sir.
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Old 2012-04-30, 10:03 PM   #116
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Of course, Keynesian economics are liberal economics while conservatives are much more likely to believe Hayek/the Austrian school which believes that the government should not try to mitigate the booms and busts of the economic cycle.

Even (many parts of) the Austrian school allows for reasonable deficit spending though.
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Old 2012-04-30, 10:31 PM   #117
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More Chicago school than Austrian school. Hayek was pretty tangential to that, compared to Friedman. If you want Austrian school, you want Ron Paul.
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Old 2012-04-30, 10:37 PM   #118
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Fair enough.
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