Archive: December, 2008
My soon-to-published book -- "Tear Down This Myth: How the Reagan Legacy Distorts Our Politics and Haunts Our Future" -- deals in part with the many misconceptions about the Reagan presidency, about how is remembered as both more popular and more successful than he really was. But a good chunk of the tome also deals with what happened after the Gipper left the Oval Office on Jan. 20, 1989 -- about the really bad policies that are built around a distorted Reagan legacy that are still haunting us 20 years later. The scariest disciple of the Reagan myth has been George W. Bush, who fell back on the 40th president to justify crazy things like cutting taxes during a war and relaxing regulations to the point where a $50 billion Ponzi scheme is overlooked.
But today's New York Times has an excellent example of how some early warfare over the Reagan legacy -- about which presidential candidate could grab the mantle of tax cutter in the mid-1990s, even as the economy was humming along without needing lower taxes -- led to the housing bubble of the 2000s, that led to the resounding crash of 2008. It happened during the 1996 contest between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole -- a race that was so obviously tilted to the incumbent that there was really no need for a taxpayer bidding war.
Sounds like everybody's favorite Inquirer columnist is campaigning for GOP chairman -- good luck with that. Here's the Elephant in the Room's analysis of our current political condition...with footnotes:
I believe America is a center-right country. (1) We should not back away from the policies that have built this great nation just because European progressivism is "in." (2) America will not thrive if we continue to abandon capitalism (3); our leadership role in the world, backed by a strong military (4); and the values our forefathers bequeathed to us in our founding documents. (5)
And would you cry if I told you that I lied and would you say goodbye Or
would you let it ride?
-- Bachman-Turner Overdrive, "Let It Ride."
At least one of the Chase Utley F-bomb complainers is a Howard Stern fan....figures.
...check out this story in tomorrow's New York Times, about the obscene bonuses that Wall Street paid out for profits that weren't really there:
The difference between the two amounts was his bonus, a rich reward for the robust earnings made by the traders he oversaw in Merrill’s mortgage business.
Mr. Kim’s colleagues, not only at his level, but far down the ranks, also pocketed large paychecks. In all, Merrill handed out $5 billion to $6 billion in bonuses that year. A 20-something analyst with a base salary of $130,000 collected a bonus of $250,000. And a 30-something trader with a $180,000 salary got $5 million.
But those earnings from mortgage-backed securities -- that have since collapsed -- were a mirage:
Well, the good news is that the Queen of Soul will be drivin' down the Freeway of Love (since she refuses to fly) to perform at Barack Obama's inauguration on Jan. 20. The bad news is that Obama seems determined to deliver the purpose-driven knife to his once most-enthusiastic supporters, naming pop pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation just days after Warren helped to deep-six gay marriage in California. He's even lost People for the American Way on this one:
Sure, it was probably centrist voters who put Obama over the top back on 11/4, but it was liberals -- the kind who voted against for Prop 8 or would have if they had the chance -- who gave the bulk of those hundreds of millions of dollars who made it happen. He won't raise $750 million next time around on this pace. The other good news is there's no way 4 million are coming to his inauguration now.