Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell: Creationist

THIS one needs to be added to our recent post about Creationists on the Ballot: November 2010. The Republican party of Delaware just selected Christine O’Donnell to be their candidate for the US Senate. Good lord — what have they done?

New York Magazine carries this story today: GOP’s Delaware Senate Nominee Christine O’Donnell Not a Big Fan of Evolution. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

[Christine O’Donnell] won the Republican nomination for the Senate in Delaware fair and square, against a much more experienced, much more moderate, much more respected opponent, nine-term congressman and former governor Mike Castle.

There were conservative Republicans who had objections to Castle, but it’s difficult to say that things have improved with O’Donnell as their candidate. Let’s keep going:

[O]n March 30 of 1996, in her role as the spokeswoman for the Concerned Women of America, O’Donnell debated the merits of evolution on CNN, and she was not a fan.

In an election year when the Republicans should be able have it all their way, why do they keep doing this to themselves? We continue:

… O’Donnell squared off against Michael McKinney, a University of Tennessee professor of evolutionary biology. Not only was O’Donnell in favor of teaching creationism alongside evolution, but she wasn’t even sure evolution was real. According to a transcript, via Nexis:

Here they quote O’Donnell from the transcript:

Well, as the senator from Tennessee mentioned, evolution is a theory and it’s exactly that. There is not enough evidence, consistent evidence to make it as fact, and I say that because for theory to become a fact, it needs to consistently have the same results after it goes through a series of tests. … Now too many people are blindly accepting evolution as fact. But when you get down to the hard evidence, it’s merely a theory.

[…]

Now, he said that it’s based on fact. I just want to point out a couple things. First of all, they use carbon dating, as an example, to prove that something was millions of years old. Well, we have the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens and the carbon dating test that they used then would have to then prove that these were hundreds of millions of years younger …

[…]

Well, creationism, in essence, is believing that the world began as the Bible in Genesis says, that God created the Earth in six days, six 24-hour periods. And there is just as much, if not more, evidence supporting that.

Maybe she’ll get elected in November, maybe she won’t. If she wins, we have to look on the bright side — there will be one less Dem in the Senate. On the other hand, this woman is an imbecile. But hey — she’s a Republican imbecile. It could be worse.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

41 responses to “Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell: Creationist

  1. But when you get down to the hard evidence, it’s merely a theory.

    Hey Christine, there’s this gadget called the “atom bomb” that I’d like you to stand next to as we “detonate it.” It’s supposed to make a really big blast, but, as you know, relativity’s only a theory, so I mean, what’s the big deal?

    Or did you just go into politics because you thought it was the only high-paying job an ignoramus could get?

  2. First, the “Republicans”, the national party, did jack squat for O’ Connell. Now that she’s won, they’ll give her: $42,000.

    SC, do you prefer big government conservatives or small government conservatives who vote with Democrats 40% of the time? I doubt anyone voted for her because she’s a creationist.

    Castle’s made it clear what he stands for: holding office.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/118847-castle-will-not-back-odonnell

    A Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) campaign source confirmed to The Hill late Tuesday that the longtime congressman will not be endorsing Christine O’Donnell.

    The Tea Party-backed O’Donnell defeated Castle for Delaware’s Republican Senate nomination.

    Is that the Republican you want? The big-spending ones in the pockets of lobbyists? That’s what we HAD from 2000 – 2006. And most of THEM are creationists too.

    Some of Jonah Goldberg’s mail on O’Donnell:

    The base is tired of establishment R’s serving up junk and telling us to like it. Rather than make the case for Castle, they said he was the only electable Republican. We’re seen too many unelectables become winners to buy into that anymore.

    Where is the criticism of the NRSC? – on the night of her win they leak to Fox News that they aren’t giving her a dime? Pathetic. The NRSC doesn’t get this movement. They love RINOs. RINOs give them power – not the people. RINOs got us started with this deficit spending nonsense – they deserved to lose in 2006 and 2008. The country is pissed and Rinos are a key part of why we are indeed unhappy. We all need to spend more time criticizing the RINO establishment (Susan Collins, Mike Castle, Murkoski, the NRSC and the like) – because they enabled this mess to happen and are no better than the leftists running the show now.

    I would rather see O’Donnell lose the general election than Castle win. A Democrat in that seat will do less damage to the small government cause the Castle will. The problem with big government Republicans like Castle is that they cut the legs out from under Republicans who really do believe in small government. National Review admits that he will vote with the Democrats 40% of the time. When he does that, he makes that 40% of the Democratic agenda “bi partisan”. And since every Republican is going to be portrayed by the media as some small government type, it will allow Democrats and the media to say to small government advocates “see, even one of your own thinks you are nuts”. Castle in the Senate will help Democrats to marginalize and de legitimize small government. We are better off with a Democrat. And lastly, you really have no idea how much the average Republican voter hates the Republican establishment. Well, here is a case where Republican voters are telling a big government Republican establishment guy to go get bent. The same establishment that gave us NCLB and the Bush deficits and ran the party into near permanent minority status. Mike Castle and Charlie Crist stand as a warning to all other big government Republicans that the days of getting elected because you only steal half as much as the Democratic alternative are over.

    Don’t worry–it’s not like O’Donnell is going to win. She’s a nutcase, clearly–but she’s a nutcase that at least supp0rts the economic freedoms you believe in. She is never, in the Senate, going to get to impose creationism on anyone–assuming she gets there.

  3. And the national GOP STILL isn’t going to do anything for her:

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/09/national-gop-looks-west-nrsc-washing-hands-of-delaware-after-christine-odonnell-win.php

    The national Republicans who whispered for weeks that Christine O’Donnell was unelectable are done with Delaware.

    A National Republican Senatorial Committee source told TPM tonight that the party will be sending money and support elsewhere since O’Donnell, not moderate Rep. Mike Castle (R), is the nominee. O’Donnell, a perennial candidate who has never held political office, trails Democratic nominee Chris Coons.

    NRSC officials say that if O’Donnell proves she is viable as a candidate in what is considered to be a blue state, “we would hope Sen. Jim DeMint and the Tea Party Express would invest in her race.” If that happens, the NRSC would consider spending for O’Donnell.

    The Tea Party Express hit back, calling it a “rash” decision and reminding supporters the NRSC attempted to help Sen. Lisa Murkowski during a close vote in the Alaska Senate primary she lost last month.

    The Republican establishment doesn’t really want small-government types. The social conservatives do, and the people who are afraid of our burgeoning debt do.

  4. Gabriel Hanna says:

    Don’t worry–it’s not like O’Donnell is going to win. She’s a nutcase, clearly–but she’s a nutcase that at least supp0rts the economic freedoms you believe in.

    If I lived in Delaware I’d vote for her — in spite of her lunacy. If she won, she’d probably be a one-term wonder, but that’s okay. In that one term she’d help bring the other party’s madness to a halt. That’s worth everything.

  5. Here’s a libertarian’s take:

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/i-dont-really-care-if-gop-takes-back-the-senate/

    I’m a libertarian, but not one of the hard core that seems to exist mainly to make any perfect the enemy of every good. As such, despite his mushiness on some issues I care about, I could say that I had a mild preference for Castle and a GOP Senate over O’Donnell and no GOP Senate. But, as I’ve already said, nothing I’ve seen convinced me that Castle was the key to a GOP takeover. And there’s plenty to like in O’Donnell’s victory.

    While it would be nice to control committees and have some power over what does and doesn’t get to the floor, the medium- and long-term benefits of the message sent to the GOP establishment that their return to power is contingent on their embracing fiscal sanity and governing in a manner acceptable to the Tea Party wing of the party far outweighs any such advantage.

    This is not to say that Tea Partiers are entitled to everything they want or that the ones who have poisoned the Delaware well with such obnoxious falsehoods as that Castle voted to impeach Bush should be given a pass. Coalition politics requires everyone to compromise.

    I’ve seen little to suggest that the GOP leadership thinks it needs to placate the base, though. Rather, we’ve had the party organs throwing support and money behind one “establishment” candidate after another. Democrat or Republican, it annoys me greatly when the party interferes with the membership’s chance to decide who should represent the party in an election. Even on those occasions when they support my candidate of choice, I think they should stay out of it and support the candidate primary voters nominate.

    At the risk of being a broken record, the real annoyance this year is their apparent belief that they can just coast to victory on not being the Obama-Pelosi-Reid crew and get the perquisites of power without any of the responsibility of having an agenda to roll back that crew’s work. The last thing we want is another profligate, Democrat-lite GOP Congress like the last one that blows up the budget without anything other than their own re-election (for a while, anyway) to show for it. Everything I’ve seen of Castle suggests he would have been just a cog in that machine. There’s plenty of reason to want a GOP Senate instead of a Democratic one, but if O’Donnell losing the general helps shake McConnell & Co. up to the need for real change, this lemon could make some lemonade after all.

    We worry so much here about the separation of church and state–we should, it’s important. But only you, and me, an a couple of your other commenters value economic freedoms. Every year there’s more red tape, more things you can’t do without the national government meddling in some way, and always spending more and more money which we all have to pay back or turn ourselves into Argentina.

    And the liberals here–who are good people whom I respect, let me hasten to add–see nothing wrong with that. They think we should probably have more of it. They don’t see these freedoms we are rapidly losing as freedoms at all, and think we’re better off without them.

    But what’s the real threat, right now? The fundamentalists recrudescence that we’re all so paranoid about never seems to happen. A school district here makes a stupid policy and gets shellacked in court. A state tries the wink-wink nudge-nudge approach and it blows up in their faces. The Discovery Institute now has to pay people to listen to them. And all the while the country is run by people who think the national government should be telling everyone what to do.

  6. Let’s assume O’Donnell gets elected and that she’s on par crazy-wise with Michelle Bachmann.

    I have not looked closely at Bachmann’s legislative record, but how effective has she been as a senator? Has Michelle served her districts well, written or sponsored or otherwise pushed through legislation?

    It could be that it just doesn’t matter if there are a few O’Donnell’s and Bachmann’s in Congress. They only serve as entertainment value.

    Even Santorum only became a neologism in the end. (so to speak)

  7. Doc Bill says:

    It could be that it just doesn’t matter if there are a few O’Donnell’s and Bachmann’s in Congress. They only serve as entertainment value.

    Assuming they vote properly on fiscal and defense issues, and keep the rest to themselves, you may be right. But people like that always seem compelled to force their goofiness on others.

  8. Gabriel Hanna writes,
    “But only you, and me, an a couple of your other commenters value economic freedoms.”

    Actually, there are probably quite a few of us here who value our economic freedoms, but since that is not the main focus of this blog, we don’t comment on it here.

    As for Christine O’Donnell winning the Republican nomination for Senator, I see the problem as not what she might do if elected, but rather the way the Republican Party will be viewed by the average voter. If she is seen as generally lacking in the intellect department, that reflects on all in her party, much the same way that the corruption of Blagojevich, Maxine Waters, and Charlie Wrangell reflects on the Democrats. And you can bet that every strange quirk of Christine O’Donnell will be picked up by the press and magnified way out of proportion. Except on Fox News. If she loses the election, she’ll most likely become a commentator there.

  9. I meant Charlie Rangel, not Wrangell. Should have looked it up first, rather than casting aspersions on a national park in Alaska.

  10. Curmudgeon: “If I lived in Delaware I’d vote for her — in spite of her lunacy.”

    Unless I missed something, what she said was in March 1996, before “Darwin’s Black Box” made it politically correct to doubt evolution without mindlessly parroting long-refuted YEC sound bites. Could it be that in the 14+ years since she learned how embarrassingly wrong her “arguments” were? IIRC, even Sarah Palin backpedaled from her “dinosaurs and humans co-existed” nonsense when pointed out how absurd that claim is. Unfortunately we’ll never know where she went from there because, AIUI, no one ever bothered to explain.

    Most politicians are nowdays are smart enough to avoid claims that might have less evidence than they think evolution has. IOW they are mostly smart enough to play “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when.” Yes, I know that that approach is even more of a threat to science education than claiming to believe fairy tales, but we have an obligation to find out exactly what they think. In her case, there is a good chance that she heard and accepted the arguments against YEC. And even a slight chance that she heard and accepted the arguments against the ID/strengths and weaknesses of evolution/academic freedom (aka academic anarchy) strategies.

  11. Doc Bill: “Even Santorum only became a neologism in the end. (so to speak)”

    As a PA citizen I wrote to Santorum several times in 2001-06, and pleaded with him to come to his senses about evolution. One of the articles he wrote even hinted that he might not agree with ID/creationism, but he was sold on the “fairness” line (never mind that it’s unfair to taxpayers by any measure). I doubt that his efforts against science education were much of a factor in his losing the election in ’06, but I made sure to vote against him, even the primary, for that reason, and that reason only.

  12. In my way of thinking, belief or disbelief in evolution is directly correlated with belief or disbelief in science generally. Election of such leaders can profoundly affect us when it come to policy related to climate change, environmental protection, medical research, food safety, energy production, and many other areas. The only way we are going to survive this century is by solving those huge problems for a world-wide population of 6.9B people today, and likely to be 9 billion or more by the end of the century. Our economic woes and the size of our government are important current political concerns, but I worry more about the impact of electing leaders who cannot adequately address the bigger, life-threatening issues. We lost valuable time on addressing climate change, primarily due to an administration that didn’t believe in it – we can’t afford to make the situation even worse by continuing to elect people who reject science because they don’t like what scientists tell them.

    I don’t mind paying more taxes, or making other sacrifices, if it means leaving my children an inhabitable world. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t many fiscally conservative but scientifically rational (and, in my preference, socially liberal) politicians around. They are either extinct, or on the endangered list.

  13. Ed: “In my way of thinking, belief or disbelief in evolution is directly correlated with belief or disbelief in science generally. ”

    To me it’s less about “belief in science” than belief in their agenda. If a politician understands science poorly, and most do, all they need to do is defer to the scientists – 99+% of those who work in relevant fields accept evolution. If they’re very religious they could even defer to most mainstream religions, which also have no problem with evolution. If they really think that the pseudoscientific fringe (all with a political agenda that just happens to coincide with theirs) is correct and the 99+% are wrong, however, they need to state their alternate “theory” in detail, and show how it is supported on its own merits, with independently verifiable evidence, and thus demonstrate what makes them qualified to know that it is a better explanation. But they know they can’t, and unfotunately they are almost never forced to do that. So they are free to peddle any sound bite that they think will produce a net increase in votes. Which, sadly can be done even if they get ~0% of the scientist vote.

    So it’s reasonable to suspect that many politicians that speak out against evolution privately accept it. And reasonable to suspect that many Democrats who appear to have no problem with evolution privately doubt it.

  14. And here’s Creationist Barbie #3 on “Politically Incorrect”… where she complains about the bible and prayer being taken out of school (there are 2 parts):

  15. Very entertaining video.

  16. We can all find a great deal to laugh about in the antics of creationists. Meanwhile, the smart people have increased the national debt by 4.5 trillion dollars since the end of 2008 (from 10 trillion to 14.5). This is the same amount that it increased by in the entire period 2000 – 2008 (5.5 to 10 trillion). (Of course we’re attributing two years of Democrat budgets to a Republican President, but there’s plenty of blame to go around.)

    I don’t find anything to laugh about that there, oddly enough. A creationist who will try to put the brakes on that will get my vote, without getting a pass on her creationism–which I will find nonsexist ways to criticize.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt

  17. Assuming they vote properly on fiscal and defense issues

    You may wish to be a little clearer in what you consider a proper vote on defense issues, because defense and fiscal issues are not mutually exclusive. Around 80% of the federal budget is made up of entitlements (SS, Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran Benefits) and defense spending. You cannot have a serious discussion of fiscal reform unless you put defense on the table. Other than Ron Paul, I am not aware of any Republican that would dare utter such words. And given the GOP’s promise to the grayheads last year that they wouldn’t let the Democrats touch Medicare, they are similarly gutless when it comes to that, as well.

    Indeed, when it comes to fiscal issues, the Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats. The only difference between the two parties is the social issues (like creationism) and that the GOP still doesn’t get that supply side economics only succeeded in creating larger deficits during both the Reagan and Bush 43 adminstrations.

    Seriously, Curmy, even as a conservative you’d be better of voting for Democrats if only to teach the GOP that they need to stop putting forward ideological pure dimwits and start promoting intelligent and pragmatic candidates.

  18. Meanwhile, the smart people have increased the national debt by 4.5 trillion dollars since the end of 2008 (from 10 trillion to 14.5). This is the same amount that it increased by in the entire period 2000 – 2008 (5.5 to 10 trillion). (Of course we’re attributing two years of Democrat budgets to a Republican President, but there’s plenty of blame to go around.)

    In 2008, our financial/banking system was on the verge of a complete collapse. If the government hadn’t stepped in, the result would have been alot like (and maybe even worse than) the Great Depression.

    Look, it is a pretty non-controversial concept in macroeconomics that government spending during a recession is expansionary. The Republicans won’t tell you that because it would vindicate Obama’s actions in early 2009. And, of course, they are hoping you don’t remember that the 700B TARP was put in front of Congress by the Bush Administration.

    I am quite concerned about the long term structural deficit, especially considering the major financer of that debt is China. I think we need to get serious about both entitlement reform and drawing down a defense infrastructure that is still largely aligned with threats that collapsed 20 years ago. But, the government stepping in to prop up the banking system is not something I will criticize. It had to be done. And I think 10 years down the road, both the Bush and Obama Administrations will be vindicated for taking that action. Especially considering that they are starting to sell of BoA stock on the open market at a profit and GM is about to issue an IPO.

  19. In 2008, our financial/banking system was on the verge of a complete collapse. If the government hadn’t stepped in, the result would have been alot like (and maybe even worse than) the Great Depression.

    I didn’t say anything about that, and I’m aware that TARP was bipartisan. That 4.5 trillion in the last two years doesn’t include TARP, now does it?

    Look, it is a pretty non-controversial concept in macroeconomics that government spending during a recession is expansionary.

    How’d that work out for Japan? Only for Keynesians is this non-controversial. Spending that has to be paid for by raising taxes today, or borrowing money that has to be paid for by taxes tomorrow, can make things worse instead of better. Government can spend no money that it does not take from someone else.

    Seriously, Curmy, even as a conservative you’d be better of voting for Democrats if only to teach the GOP that they need to stop putting forward ideological pure dimwits and start promoting intelligent and pragmatic candidates.

    If one party spends too much money, how does it help anything to replace it with one that spends far more–as the Democrats HAVE since 2006. We have a party that spends too much but pretends it doesn’t intend to, and we have another party that promises to spending too much. It would make much more sense to punish the Republicans by removing politicians who have been spending too much and replacing them with ones who can at least promise to do better and haven’t been part of the problem–and that is what the nomination of O’Donnell is intended to accomplish.

  20. That 4.5 trillion in the last two years doesn’t include TARP, now does it?

    Actually, it does. TARP was passed in October of 2008 with the money being actually spent mostly in 2009. There is an interesting chart here, summarizing the constituent components of the deficit. It should be pretty clear what the main drivers are and who’s shoulders the responsibility rests on.

    Only for Keynesians is this non-controversial. Spending that has to be paid for by raising taxes today, or borrowing money that has to be paid for by taxes tomorrow, can make things worse instead of better. Government can spend no money that it does not take from someone else

    Only your last sentence is true, although it is poorly worded. The second sentence is demonstrably untrue. The deficits of the Reagan/Bush 41 era were offset by Clinton era surpluses created by increased tax revenue. But that incremental revenue wasn’t a result of increased tax rates, but rather increased taxable economic activity. That, though is something of a side issue.

    What is your suggestion for kicking the economy back into gear? Surely not monetary policy? With the Fed Funds rate at a quarter point and the discount rate at three-quarters point, it seems fairly certain we are in a liquidity trap and further rate reductions won’t have any stimulative effect. I suppose we could start buying back short term Treasuries (and I saw an article somewhere last week saying the Fed was doing just that on a limited scale). But to do that on any significant scale would mean issuing longer term securities or firing up the printing presses. The first option really just kicks the can a little further down the road and the second will contribute to increased inflation. I don’t see any supply side actions working. If practically interest free money isn’t spurring business investment, why would a tax kick back? It would mostly end up in savings, which was alot of the problem in Japan.

    It would seem the best bet is investments in vehicles that will put the money directly into circulation. And there are a few obvious options. First, unemployment insurance to help people pay bills and put food on their family goes directly into the economy. Second, investment in infrastructure upgrades. Third, direct government purchases which (I almost hate to say it) would mostly come from the defense sector. I am curious, though, if there is something else you think we should be doing?

    If one party spends too much money, how does it help anything to replace it with one that spends far more–as the Democrats HAVE since 2006

    Take another look at that chart and point out to me which of those deficit drivers were initiated in a Democratic congress. And another point to consider: the largest (by far) new entitlement in the last 30 or more years was Medicare Part D. When it was signed into law its cost was estimated in the trillions of dollars and the bill contained absolutely no means by which to fund it. Medicare Part D was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by a Republican President. Anyone who thinks that the GOP is more fiscally responsible then the Democrats just hasn’t been watching for the last 10 years. Granted, being the more fiscally responsible party is kinda like being Queen of the Pigs, but there you go.

    It would make much more sense to punish the Republicans by removing politicians who have been spending too much and replacing them with ones who can at least promise to do better and haven’t been part of the problem–and that is what the nomination of O’Donnell is intended to accomplish.

    Has O’Donnell, or any of the other Tea Party favorites around the country actually artriculated any fiscal policies for getting us out of the recession and paying down the deficit? Oh, I am sure they have some nice bumpersticker slogans and spiffy soundbites. But, do they have any thoughtful, sound policies? I sure haven’t been able to find any. So, I can only conclude there only selling point is that they are different. Different how? Who knows. Just different . It comes down to a choice between the cynical devil you know and the insane devil you don’t. Helluva choice.

  21. Carlsonjok:
    “Has O’Donnell, or any of the other Tea Party favorites around the country actually artriculated any fiscal policies for getting us out of the recession and paying down the deficit?”

    Sounds like “Hope” and Change” all over again.

  22. Sounds like “Hope” and Change” all over again.

    Actually, candidate Obama articulated quite a large number of policy positions for those who cared enough to look. Here is a sample page.

    Now here is O’Donnell’s website. You assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to find any policy statement at all on this website. While I may be wrong, t I am fairly certain Paypal isn’t her solution to the national budget deficit.

  23. “But that incremental revenue wasn’t a result of increased tax rates, but rather increased taxable economic activity. That, though is something of a side issue.”

    No, it’s not a side issue- it’s the central issue. When government was tied up in knots with blowjobs and blue dresses, the economy boomed. If the soi disant “Tea Party” does absolutely nothing, that would be a huge improvement over doing something, but the “something” being the wrong thing. Economic recovery will not happen because of the actions of the government, but despite them.

  24. Economic recovery will not happen because of the actions of the government, but despite them.

    You are mixing apples and oranges by conflating the effect of government spending (or non-spending) during periods of growth and recession. It is certainly true that government deficit spending during good economic can be a drag on growth by distorting credit markets. But government spending is expansionary during recession. The trick, of course, is timing the inflection point. 😉

    This isn’t hard to suss out. In recession, consumers spend less. With less demand, producers of consumer goods also retrench. They buy less goods and services and may very well furlough employees. The decreased demand propogates down the supply chain, decreasing producer demand further and adding more people to the unemployment roles. Something has to break the cycle. Spurring producer investment through monetary policy is a possibility, though it has been spectacularly ineffective these last few years. Barring that you have to replace consumer spending with something and that something is government spending.

  25. “Something has to break the cycle.”

    Or break the bank.

    Either the government increases money supply by going inflationary, takes us even farther into the debt abyss (how’s that one worked?), grotesquely increases taxation (snuffing out any chance of recovery), or gets out of the way and lets the market work by that nutty notion of “creating value.” The government will NEVER voluntarily get out of the way, so we have to depend on it happening by accident (as in the second Clinton term).

    Here’s to the hope of gridlock!

  26. SY says:

    Economic recovery will not happen because of the actions of the government, but despite them.

    Yup. I’ve said my little piece here: Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Barack Obama, so there’s no need for me to get involved here. But don’t let me dampen the discussion.

  27. @carlsonjok:

    Barring that you have to replace consumer spending with something and that something is government spending.

    Click to access lacityp_011644.pdf

    CITY CONTROLLER RELEASES AUDITS OF HOW LOS ANGELES HAS USED FEDERAL STIMULUS MONEY

    $111 Million in ARRA Funds Has Only Created 55 Jobs So Far

    (Los Angeles) – Continuing her efforts to ensure that taxpayer money is spent efficiently and effectively, City Controller Wendy Greuel released two audits today of how the City of Los Angeles has used American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. The audits looked at the how the two departments that have received the largest amount of
    ARRA funding so far – the Department of Transportation (LADOT) and the Department of Public Works (DPW) – have used those funds and how many jobs were created. Los Angeles becomes the largest City in America to conduct an audit of how ARRA funds have been expended.

    DPW has received $70.65 million and created or retained 45.46 jobs, though they are expected to create 238 jobs overall (the fraction of a job created or retained correlates to the number of actual hours works). LADOT has been awarded $40.8 million and created
    or retained 9 jobs, though they are expected to create 26 jobs overall. Overall, the Departments have received $111 million in federal stimulus funds out of the $594 million the City has been awarded so far and created or retained 54.46 jobs.

    Wealth is not created by paying people to dig holes and fill them in again. That’s not in the Gods of the Copybook Headings, but should be.

  28. Either the government increases money supply by going inflationary, takes us even farther into the debt abyss

    Umm, no. Inflation has actually been proposed as a solution to the debt problem, by letting us by back existing debt obligations on the cheap. It is a bad idea for other reasons, though.

    grotesquely increases taxation

    I’ve already addressed this above re:the Clinton era.

    lets the market work by that nutty notion of “creating value.”

    I think I know what you are getting at here, but, prima facia, it comes across as a prayer rather than a policy. So I’d rather let you develop the thought a little more before I respond. bad

    The government will NEVER voluntarily get out of the way, so we have to depend on it happening by accident (as in the second Clinton term).

    Nice try, but you have repeated the same error you made in your previous comment. There was no recession during the years Clinton was in office. There was a recession from July 1990 through March 1991 and then from March to November 2001. So, I would certainly agree gridlock is a good thing during boom years. But gridlock during a recession, certainly of the type that the GOP is promising if they retake the House in November, is a bad thing. Since it is likely they will take the house and that they will obstruct the Administration’s attempts at stimulus, I have already begun moving my retirement savings out of equities and into fixed incomes.

  29. GH:

    Wealth is not created by paying people to dig holes and fill them in again.

    Nice strawman you set up there. Didn’t put up much of a fight, did he?

    Our infrastructure is in horrid condition. Bridges, highways, water and power delivery systems are in advanced states of disrepair. Putting projects into place to upgrade those systems are not make-work activities. That infrastructure is a key enabler of economic growth. It puts money into the pocket of blue collar workers who are more likely to put that money back into the economy than us knowledge workers. It drives demand for raw materials. It drives demand for heavy equipment from Terex and Caterpillar and helps keep their workforces off the dole. And so on. Is that not obvious? Have you never heard of the velocity of money.

  30. @carlsonjok:

    Actually, it does. TARP was passed in October of 2008 with the money being actually spent mostly in 2009.

    TARP was not 4.5 trillion.

    There is an interesting chart here, summarizing the constituent components of the deficit. It should be pretty clear what the main drivers are and who’s shoulders the responsibility rests on.

    Yeah, that’s an interesting chart. It blames most of the deficits on tax cuts–as though government can’t reduce its spending. Your little chart is predicated on the notion that when the government takes $20 out of your wallet, when it might have taken $50, has “given” you $30.

    Anyone who thinks that the GOP is more fiscally responsible then the Democrats just hasn’t been watching for the last 10 years.

    This is exactly why Republican candidates who are perceived as having been part of the problem are losing to Tea Party candidates–and you have it both ways by criticizing Republican voters for that. And the party which has held the majority since 2006 and the Presidency since 2009 has not only failed to put a stop to it, but has doubled down on the spending and the borrowing. Blaming it all on What Bush Did is only going to work for partisans.

    Has O’Donnell, or any of the other Tea Party favorites around the country actually artriculated any fiscal policies for getting us out of the recession and paying down the deficit?

    You talk about government like a savage about his idols. The government doesn’t “get us” out of the recession. The people who make things and buy things and sell things are the ones who do that. The government that every year makes it more difficult to do these things is part of what keeps us in the recession. And the government cannot rectify the situation by paying bureaucrats to take money from some people and give it to others.

    Remember all those projections the government made showing how dire the consequences of not passing the stimulus? And the economy is significantly worse now than what they said it would be if they did nothing. And of course you’ll just say that’s proof they didn’t do enough! What does it take to falsify this hypothesis?

  31. @carlsonjok:

    Speaking of strawmen, those construction projects you were talking about:

    http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/local&id=6924269

    North Carolina’s largest stimulus project is not a program for highways. It’s not a blueprint for bridges. It does not include any concrete, asphalt, bricks or mortar. The biggest stimulus expense so far in North Carolina is Medicaid – healthcare for the poor.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/75198

    The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spent $823,200 of economic stimulus funds in 2009 on a study by a UCLA research team to teach uncircumcised African men how to wash their genitals after having sex.

    http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_d9ab4288-a4da-11de-a5f8-001cc4c03286.html

    State government so far has spent only a fraction of the more than $1 billion in federal stimulus money that lawmakers appropriated earlier this year, a legislative fiscal analyst said this week.

    As of Tuesday, state agencies had spent only $107 million – or about 10 percent – of the $1.05 billion in total federal stimulus funds appropriated to them by the 2009 Legislature in House Bill 645, analyst Barbara Smith said. She gave the report to the Legislature’s Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee Thursday.

    http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/stimulus-money-being-spent-on-casinos-zoos-golf-courses-and-swimming-pools/

    Casino: In February 2009, AARA funds were provided to students “at Fortune Bay Resort & Casino to get hands on experience in various departments within the resort and casino at our Career Expo Day.”

    Aquarium: In July 2009, AARA funds were awarded to Northwestern University for scientific research on fish. Part of the funding was used for “novel outreach projects (that) will expose the broader public to the results of research, including an art installation concerning the electric fields emitted by these fish and proposed enhancements to the electric fish displays of the Shedd Aquarium.”

    Zoo: In September of 2009, $25 million in ARRA funds were awarded to the Smithsonian for projects including the “completion of various projects at the National Zoo.”

    Golf Course: AARA funds were awarded to the Forest Hills Golf Course through a U.S. Department of Education grant to the Oregon Department of Education. The award funds a program that allows students in Oregon’s Forest Grove school district to use Forest Hills to learn to golf as part of the physical education curriculum.

    Swimming Pool: In July 2009, AARA funds were awarded to Northwestern University to provide “salary an wage compensation for individuals directly involved in AARA-funded projects” including “Pool Lifeguards”

    http://www.tfponline.com/news/2010/jul/13/most-stimulus-aid-for-construction-work-not-spent/

    Much of the stimulus package was used to provide $246.9 billion in tax cuts and to give $95.1 billion in aid to state and local governments faced with recession-induced loss of tax revenues. But among the federally funded infrastructure grants for construction and rehabilitation, most of the money is yet to be paid out.

    http://cbs4.com/iteam/bridges.US.Stimulus.2.1832488.html

    he CBS4 I-Team crunched the numbers and discovered that even though there are 52 deficient bridges, 18 in Broward County, 21 in Miami-Dade County and 13 in Monroe County (the Florida Keys); only 10 of those bridges, zero in Broward, 8 in Miami-Dade, and 2 in Monroe are getting any stimulus money.

    The total cost of the ten projects amounts to $5,590,311. Those bridge rehabilitation projects are getting a total of $4,574,150 from the stimulus package.

    When you compare the amount of infrastructure stimulus money spent in Miami-Dade County: $3.5 million ($3,524,042) are being spent on fixing bridges, while $3.1 million ($3,116,025) are going to sidewalks, $3.3 million ($3,352,486) are going to bike paths and trails, and $9 million ($9,094,489) to lighting of roadways.

    “One of the problems with the stimulus bill is that less than 7% of that huge bill goes to transportation infrastructure,” said US Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, (R) West Miami-Dade. “Which is something that I frankly, don’t understand.”

    People are not dumb. They can see this stuff going on all over the country.

  32. Sc, my last comment had too many links. carlsonjok, if the stimulus money went to building 500 nuclear plants I’d still, as a libertarian, have a problem with it, but I’d let myself be persuaded. However, most of it is not going to stuff like that, it’s going into state budgets to make up the shortfalls in their ridiculous overspending.

    And that’s the problem. That’s why the Tea Party exists.

  33. My last contribution on this, because my blood is getting angried up and I like the people here.

    The chart on which the recovery act was sold is here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/opinion/16douthat.html

    The first line — the hopeful line, the one that was used to sell $800 billion worth of stimulus — showed the rate of joblessness peaking this fall at 8 percent, and dropping swiftly thereafter. The second line — the no-stimulus scenario — showed unemployment peaking at 9 percent, holding there across 2010, and then declining in 2011 and 2012.

    Now reality has produced numbers of its own. In every month since May, the unemployment rate has been roughly a percentage point higher than the chart’s grimmer, stimulus-free scenario. This October, when Obama’s advisers predicted that unemployment would stand at 8 percent with the stimulus and just under 9 percent without it, the actual jobless rate leaped to 10.2 percent.

    That chart predicts that right now we should be at 7% unemployment with ARRA and 9% without it.

    Right now, it’s 9.6% percent. I don’t see any reason to trust the people who claim they know what they are doing. They can’t prove that they created any jobs, and the “created or saved” line is just pathetic. But the debt is very real, and it’s gone up by 50% in the last two years. That debt is a fact.

  34. ?TARP was not 4.5 trillion.

    I didn’t say it was. I was only responding to your assertion that TARP wasn’t part of that figure. Do you know admit that assertion was incorrect?

    Yeah, that’s an interesting chart. It blames most of the deficits on tax cuts–as though government can’t reduce its spending.

    I agree with you completely. But, I am a pragmatist. I draw my lessons from the reality on the ground. And the reality on the ground is that the government *can’t* reducing it’s spending (regardless of who holds the reins of power) until we start having serious discussions about entitlement reform and reduced defense spending. And no one, Democrat, Republican, or Tea Party has stepped up to do so.

    This is exactly why Republican candidates who are perceived as having been part of the problem are losing to Tea Party candidates and you have it both ways by criticizing Republican voters for that.

    I am not criticizing any voters for wanting to get rid of business-as-usual. I am criticizing the tea party movement for putting up deeply unserious candidates like O’Donnell. She has spent her adult life as a culture warrior and has no credible record on fiscal issues. Same for Palin, Angle, and the whole lot of them. I can’t help, in my more conspiratorial moments, to see them as basically empty vessels propped up to do the bidding of the money men (see Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission). Energetic enough to get the job done, but not inquisitive enough to ask any uncomfortable questions.

    Blaming it all on What Bush Did is only going to work for partisans.

    Frankly, when I see thoughtful conservatives like Andrew Sullivan, David Frum, Conor Friedersdorf, and Daniel Larison supporting Obama’s approach I have a hard time seeing charges of partisanship as anything more than projection. But, I am nothing if not fair 😉 If you have evidence that Bush and the Republican Congress didn’t get us into Iraq, or didn’t pass the multi-trillion (and completely unfunded) Medicare part D, I’d sure like to see it.

    Nah, forget that, just explain to me why the Republicans didn’t cut spending when they passed those tax cuts.

    You talk about government like a savage about his idols.

    And you talk about government like Christians talk about Satan, this vague disembodied malevolence that no one can interact with but is responsible for everything bad in the world. Government is a reality. It can be a force of good and a force of evil. I hold nothing about government or any particular party sacrosanct.

    The government doesn’t “get us” out of the recession. The people who make things and buy things and sell things are the ones who do that.

    Having spent the entirety of my professional career in the manufacturing sector, I would agree that is true. Indeed, it is trivially true. The flaw in your logic, though, is that recessions are, by definition, periods of decreased demand. That means there is less buying and selling going on. And, left unabated, decreased demand is self-perpetuating. So, if consumers are hunkered down, and monetary policy fails, exactly who is doing the buying in your scenario? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

    And the government cannot rectify the situation by paying bureaucrats to take money from some people

    You mean like selling Treasuries on the open market?

    and give it to others.

    You mean like Caterpillar for roadbuilding equipment. Or McDonnell-Douglas for another F18? Or Electric Boat for a new sub?

    What does it take to falsify this hypothesis?

    If the Republicans take the House and refuse to cooperate with the Administration on programs intended to pull us out of recession, just sit back and watch what happens. As I’ve said, I’m already working to restructure my portfolio. I’ll be ready.

  35. Wow, I really hosed up the blockquotes in that last one, didn’t I?

  36. I think I patched it up.

  37. @Carlsonjok:

    And the reality on the ground is that the government *can’t* reducing it’s spending (regardless of who holds the reins of power) until we start having serious discussions about entitlement reform and reduced defense spending. And no one, Democrat, Republican, or Tea Party has stepped up to do so.

    Let’s leave it on that point of agreement. Because this isn’t going anywhere. You seem to be certain that if throwing $800 billion didn’t fix the problem surely the next $800 billion will, and I don’t see how you can be that confident. And you also seem to think it’s all going to building stuff, when it’s not. There’s only one more thing:

    when I see thoughtful conservatives like Andrew Sullivan

    Andrew Sullivan has not been a conservative for some time, and it doesn’t matter how often he calls himself one–“idiosyncratic” is the mildest way to describe a “conservative” who’s been endorsing liberal candidates and causes for six years (I’ve been reading him since 2001). He’s also a paranoid conspiracy theorist, and was well before he got interested in Trig Palin. And a quote miner to boot.

    I do regularly read a number of conservative writers from paleo- to neo-, libertarian to theocrat, and I’m not too impressed with your “thoughtful conservative” list; I’m sure you could think of an analogous group of unrepresentative “thoughtful liberals”.

  38. Hey, SC, how do the tags work here? HTML? BB code?

  39. SY asks: “Hey, SC, how do the tags work here? HTML? BB code?”

    Not BB code. HTML works fine.

  40. Let’s leave it on that point of agreement. Because this isn’t going anywhere.

    Fair enough. There was several things in your last comment I would have otherwise responded to, but will forgo. However, there is one thing I will respond to as it does allow me to put a bow on my end of this discussion.

    You seem to be certain that if throwing $800 billion didn’t fix the problem surely the next $800 billion will, and I don’t see how you can be that confident.

    I will certainly grant that economic modeling borders on sorcery. It is really difficult to say with certainty what the economic conditions would be today without the stimulus spending. Most economists have a general idea, but since you a priori reject it, there is no point covering that ground again.

    There is, however, one thing that I see as a great success. Through the intervention of the government, the banking system did not collapse. Nor did AIG (where I think the real risk lay). I was poking around the website the government set up regarding TARP and was interested to see that alot of the funds have and are being repaid and the government is in the process of selling off the equities it took in exchange for funds out of the TARP. A year or more ago, I had remarked to my farrier, when he was going on about the “socialists” taking over the banks, that far from being socialist, the government was actually acting as a capitalist by holding onto the bank equities until the system was stabilized and then selling them at a profit. Look at the press release section and see how many stock warrant offerings are taking place from about 12/2009 forward.

    That said, there is one area where I think the Obama administration has failed on the recovery. And that is the fact that they have done absolutely nothing to address that our banking system is dominated by a handful of mega-banks that are still “too big to fail.” Whether that is because Obama and Geithner are too far in bed with the bankers, or because it was a feckless political calculation, I can’t say. Suffice to say that, while the liquidity issues are behind us, the toxic assets are still on the balance sheets and the CDO/CDS’ are still contributing a moral hazard issue with respect to those assets.

    So, with that off my chest, what has Casey Luskin been up to lately?

  41. i read the debate/discussion between CJok and GHanna. Thoughtful , mostly based in reality and without the shrill nature of most modern conservative debate. I wish those on either end of the spectrum would stop seeing ‘compromise’ as a bad word and rationally talk about the issues at hand. When i hear people mention the non existent ‘death panels’ or some other such nonsense I immediately know they are not serious about solutions but merely construct falsehoods to sway the weak minded or ill-informed.
    I am an independent. I like Obama and i have patience ,knowing that economic problems on a global scale is very complex and no magic wand will fix it. It will take time ,patience and hard work….anyone who says differently is a charlatan
    thanks for a lively discussion
    thats it