Since Bush...

Housing prices compared to income have gone up dramatically- also the price of utilities, college, medical care, and gasoline. Annie Fey posted a great website with quick-shot graphics at TBR Forums showing the state of things since the change in administration. Good for a glimpse-as if you didn't know, right? . (Link to website)


The Fat Lady Sings said...

Yeah, well - we can all feel it - can't we? It's damn hard to live these days - the cost of everything has sky-rocketed. The price of fuel, they say. The price of Bush, I say!

Chuck said...

Those are excellent tools! I might use & source some of those myself. Thanks for posting that link up! :)

And yep, fls- THE PRICE OF bUSH FOR REAL...

michael the tubthumper said...

obviously i can't experience it first hand but i am not in the least surprised

That Damned Jezebel said...

Price of Bush, adjusted for iration.

Hhana&Dhana said...

Hhana:Under George Bush, the sole indicator to decrease in value is the existence of an Iraqi civilian.
Dhana:Apart from the value of American signatory on any matter of treaty.

Omnipotent Poobah said...

That George always did know how to run things into the ground.

Insufferable crapweasel.

Lew Scannon said...

We should have saw this coming after he ran two oil companies into the ground. With other people's money.

Chuck said...


The problem is that we did see it coming. Over half of us in 2000 & 2004. But after the BLATANT THEFT & discarding of votes, we became less than half.

You know what I'm saying...

tp said...

Yes, Chuck! Thats right!

Who would have thought that fraud would happen in what we think is a watchful open society.

how deluded we are.

Diane S. said...

Yeah, and don't you just love it when "W." goes on and on about our strong economy. Stregnth? You been to the grocery store lately, George?

Lily said...

Thats the thing, they do ALL of this with others people's money and talk about it like its their entitled right to do as they wish without question and without accountability.

Why do we not behave as though our money is being seized for nonsense? If a person was robbed of half of their bank account and the theif used it for a cruise, the victim would be outraged.

When crooked people do this, we call it government!

Unfortunately when we look at cutting them back, we leave the insanity untouched and cut programs for children instead.

podvizhnik said...

So ... it all this is true, then where are the bread lines and soup kitchens? Why aren't the buses full of people who can't afford to drive? Why isn't my local unemployment office (where I spend two days a week) full of job-seekers, instead of having rows of empty computer terminals? What children's programs are being "cut?" (None that mine use are.) How can half the country find money to sock away in IRAs and 401(k)'s? And what on earth does any of this have to do with Iraq anyway?

Lily said...

Just because the data indicates that the economy is unhealthy does not mean anyone is saying we are in a major depression. You miss the point. So the fact that we are not quite "Third Worldish" enough for your taste means we are acting and looking like a major world power? I think we can and should be better given the budget, You disagree? In what way?

Second, the rationale for many of the subsidies and the resistance to control things like pollution have been linked to a desire to preserve economic growth and we are not seeing that.It is simply an excuse to not regulate the things that harm people and regulate the things that do not hurt people.

And just because some people benefit from tax cuts (not most) and just because some people can contribute to their investments does not mean that the country is doing well by other indicators. So a healthy Charles Schwab is a better indicator than infant mortality, disease, academic performance, life expectancy, etc?

I think basically the point is this: If we are the supposed superpower of the world, spreading the light of Democracy and our correct world view, wouldn't you think we would be the leader in most everything? For the first time, we are even outranked in technology!!

You would have politics impair your view about such obvious bullshit?

And as far as children's "cuts" you must not be well versed in school policy and unfunded federal mandates. You must not be aware that the poorest people in America today are small children, and cuts in medicaid, education, head start, WIC, etc. impact these children. Glad your kids do not go to public schools or receive any services. (although they probably do in ways you don't realize-I worked in one of the wealthiest youth bureaus in New York and they even received aid, grants, etc.)

We can debate whether or not children deserve college aid, school lunch, or health care probably for eons. I think society benefits from healthy educated children. Maybe you don't.

But what IS clear is this: Subsidies to corporations do NOT have more merit. And yet we will cut the tiny tiny slice for people and not the huge slice of budget for pork barrel projects, earmarks, inefficient crony run bureaucracies like FEMA.. can you really defend such uses of tax money???

douglass said...

It’s funny that you put this thread on “propaganda and the politics of greed”.

You can’t just ignore 6 and 1/2 years of inflation at ~3% per year.

Elizabeth Branford said...

No, but the wage tables have been adjusted for inflation, have they not?

I think we can thank a puppet Fed. Who was not comfortable with the delays in raising rates.

podvizhnik said...

I don't disagree that things can and should be better; I don't see them as unhealthy, however. An "unhealthy" economy would be Zimbabwe or Zaire, in both of which I have friends with whom I correspond regularly. (They would love their economies to be where we are.) I think that our most urgent problems have little to do with our national budget, and that expanding it won't solve any of them. Americans have for way too long held as axiomatic the notion that you can spend your way out of problems. If that were true, we should have the best schools on earth. But why don't we? It's a sincere question. Again, I'm of an age to remember the "War on Poverty." We didn't win that war despite the trillion or so we spent on it. Heck, we could have just given checks totalling $100,000 or so to every poor person with what we spent. So what happened? Again, it's a sincere question. I'm not pretending I have the answer. But I'm always interested in hearing from anyone who thinks they do--maybe they can educate me.

I'm not an expert in all the literature and studies about public education. All I know on the subject comes from having had three kids in public school (two graduated, one still there). As far as programs for children go I'm a bit better versed, having had mine receive Headstart, WIC, free milk, and subsidized lunches at various times, as well as having been a social worker who helped other people obtain them. Many of those families had higher incomes than we did, sometimes over $30K per year. In my area, the only reason any of those programs were cut was because we couldn't find enough kids who qualified for them. (They certainly weren't cut to put money in Charles Schwab's pocket.) No one is going to argue whether society benefits from healthy educated children. The question is, how we get there.

As far as America spreading its worldview, I dispute the notion that we should 'be the leader in most everything,' whatever that means. Though we certainly seem to be the leader in the number of people who want to come here, including many thousands of Latinos who literally put their lives on the line for it. If there's nothing desirable about being here, then they must all be crazy. They're certainly not coming here to make Charles Schwab richer, though they may think that if they can save a bit, Charles Schwab will give them the opportunity to make themselves richer. That is certainly what my (ilegal) immigrant relatives thought. So if I lend Charles Schwab some of my money, and he makes a pile for me and keeps a bit as his commission, and the government gets its cut (which it certainly does), who is the loser? And why should I lose any sleep over how much Schwab pays? Again, it's a question.

Your last point is the one on which we agree most fundamentally, though you seem to misunderstand me. I made no attempt to defend huge pork-barrel projects, and I don't do so now. On the contrary, corporate welfare is something I find abominable, even though many--I will say most--of my friends and neighbors owe their jobs to it. (Hello from Boeing Land!) As a businessman, I also detest the minimum wage. No one who works for me makes less than $10 an hour. I pay them enough to live on because I don't want them to have to take government subsidies, none of which I like. My kids were on programs, I should say, because my supervisor put unpleasant pressure on me to take them so that the program could continue "for the benefit of everyone." I felt rather hypocritical, just as I did claiming the EIC, which is certainly welfare as well. We could have done without it.

Which brings me back to my main point. Things could be better, yes. But improvement will really begin when people begin taking responsibility themselves, and quit agreeing to pay the federales ever-increasing slabs of their earned income in exchange for the privilege of abdicating their own rights and opportunities. Which we still have, to some extent, and need to use while we can.

douglass said...


The puppetmaster being who, exactly?

(other than the FOMC and the board of governors)

Elizabeth Branford said...

I did not say that the budget should increase and certainly do not think that the answer to poverty is more money necessarily either. My concern about the budget is that we are getting in too deep and I am wary of the impact of foreign investors on our infrastructure and essential resources.

I am not into high taxes and bloated programs. I do not think handouts are ultimately empowering but neither is perpetual war and rebuilding what we bomb in the name of security.

I think we should have more effective programs and have a way to remove frivolous earmarks and paybacks to special interests.

My point about Charles Schwab was simply because it was the example used to indicate an adequate economy. Is it adequate? Maybe. Its adequate for a family to live beyond its means, own a huge house they cannot afford, and charge groceries. But not advisable! At a certain point something has to give and the hopes on a "bull market" salvation are not realistic.

Elizabeth Branford said...


Well by puppet Fed I mean that they do not necesarily do what they set out to do with monetary policy. Thats all.

We also see that they are willing to lie for politics.

podvizhnik said...

"My concern about the budget is that we are getting in too deep and I am wary of the impact of foreign investors on our infrastructure and essential resources.

"I am not into high taxes and bloated programs. I do not think handouts are ultimately empowering but neither is perpetual war and rebuilding what we bomb in the name of security.

"I think we should have more effective programs and have a way to remove frivolous earmarks and paybacks to special interests.

"Its adequate for a family to live beyond its means, own a huge house they cannot afford, and charge groceries. But not advisable! At a certain point something has to give and the hopes on a 'bull market' salvation are not realistic."

On all of this, you and I agree. I suspect there is much else. (That's why I read you.) Twenty-five years ago I was a card-carrying Communist and I used to argue periodically with a card-carrying Reaganite. One night we decided to stay up and argue until we had determined all the fundamental precepts on which we disagreed. After about nine hours we were both shocked--shocked!--to discover, I think it was, two; we agreed on everything else. Our disagreements were principally over terminology, with a few over praxis.

That Damned Jezebel said...

Terminology...can you give examples? although we could guess.

podvizhnik said...

Well, this was twenty-five years ago ... but I recall that when he realized that by "expropriation" I meant "theft under the colour of law," that was a turning point. I recall being intrigued by his explanation of "bracket creep." I also recall that he picked up on the theory of surplus value very quickly. Finally, I was intrigued to learn, due to programmed federal spending, that "cuts" in funding mean a lessening of planned increases rather than a reduction below current levels--which is quite different from the way Lenin used the word.

That Damned Jezebel said...


What do you think of ideas like Colorado's "taxpayer Bill of rights" just curious.

podvizhnik said...

Hey, Jezebel: Will read up on that and get back to you. Don't remember enough at the moment to make a meaningful comment.

That Damned Jezebel said...

Well I think an interesting piece was that it required a referendum or public approval to outspend expected revenues and to increase funding rates.

That was what caught my eye about it.

What blog are you at?

podvizhnik said...

I have now read the Colorado TaBOR, together with Article 10 of the State Constitution. I have to say I like what I see. I noticed the provisions requiring public approval for tax increases, and mandating return of money raised in excess of determined purposes.

I also liked the provision declaring that "emergency" cannot include revenue shortfall. In my State, "emergency" can be anything the Legislature wants it to be. (It is usually revenue shortfalls.) Interstingly, Hitler established and ran the Third Reich from beginning to end under similar latitudinarian "emergency" powers granted by Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution.

Finally, I liked the provision regarding ballot issue titles: any proposition to increase taxes has to be titled: 'A proposition to increase taxes for the purpose of ...' (or something extremely similar to that.)

My blog is "The Catholic rabbi." Politics, pop culture, and Catholic life, not necessarily in that order.

That Damned Jezebel said...

yes, there seems to be some good thinking there for accountability. I wonder why critics oppose the idea so much? I figure there must be a catch that I did not see in it. Or a consequence, unintended difficulty that escaped me when i read it.

Why would both the left and the right oppose this type of process? Weird. Based on what? Only the fatcats benefit from bloated unwarranted spending.

podvizhnik said...

Left and right both oppose it, m'dear, because it gives control to the people, the great unwashed (A cause still dear to this former Communist's heart.) YHS lives in one of three states that still preserves the ballot initiative as part of its political process, and not an election year goes by when some combination of business interests teams up to try to get it removed. Not that it makes a great deal of difference; ballot initatives that pass are often gutted by the courts as somehow "unconstitutional." Ya gotta love that--a measure qualified by direct signatures from voters, then passed by a majority of voters statewide, and it is "unconstitutional." Still, *deep breath* this is a democratic Republic, not a democracy. You gotta eject the bastards first, then vote in new bastards who will back what the people want, and then pass your initiative.

Lily said...

Well said, comrade!!! (kidding, commie)

I don't consider myself right or left these days-it narrows the discussion. I stick with the left because of social control matters but do not approve of big government really. Especially when it is at odds with our needs for government such as when it harms rather than protects us.. I consider myself a person who thinks government effectively serves the interests of neither. They serve themselves. I find myself agreeing with your take on Tax rights and much of what you say. Accountability is the real issue. They forget it is OUR money not their own.

I appreciate that you've been coming by.
This underscores the fact that there are the neo-con style conservatives and then there are those that simply want to reduce the redistribution of wealth by a broad federal government. I find your comments here to be very interesting. I am sure that I would redistribute a tad more than you though in the end! :)

I am less interested these days in which corrupt party gets the joy of abusing the public's trust and resources. i think the issue before us is the unchecked authority they have. The deficit being an example..of many.

podvizhnik said...

Thanks as always for your savvy comments, Elizabeth. "Left" and "Right" will never disappear as terms of opprobrium, but they are becoming less and less politically relevant. I have to bring up the name of Ronald Reagan here; the fallout from his adminstration changed everything and got a lot of people thinking. Love him or hate him, he called a spade a bloody shovel, and wasn't afraid of anybody. He earned my gruding respect for that. As far as economic redistribution goes, I long since had to doff my red beret to Hayek, von Mises, and Milton Friedman. The free market really is the most efficient market for redistribution, although its laws can be most unforgiving for those who don't play by them. (This is why government should have a role, though a strictly defined one.)

You know, "they" (whoever that is) do consider it "their" money. My two older kids graduated from high school believing--truly and sincerely, I talked with them most carefully about this--that money really is issued at the behest of the government, and that the government that issued it has the right to take it away from us whenever and however it wants to. (My youngest won't be coming out that way. Oh, no. *snicker*)

Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, for those who asked about where I blog, I have another blog not devoted to politics, but to recognition of women who KICK BUTT! It is called "Battle Knickers" and pays homage to action actresses old and new.

Lily said...

I just watched my favorite movie again this evening "Kill Bill" and I think there is serious butt-kicking in there!

The free market idea is a myth. Regulation is necessary for the purposes of protecting the public from legitimate threats:

-assymetrical information
-safety/danger issues
-environmental impact, destruction, and cost

Business should not be let off the hook for their footprint on a planet we all share.

podvizhnik said...

WADR, Elizabeth, I think that markets do work. Americans redistribute several trillion$ a year through them. I've redistributed about $350 this weekend myself. Does it all go to deserving recipients? No, but neither do our tax dollars.

I may not have been entirely clear about the term "free market." By that I don't mean an unregulated environment in which people plunder each other. I mean by "free" that people can decide among alternatives how to spend (redistribute) their money, rather than having to give it all to one recipient; and by "market" I mean a situation in which they redistribute directly to other citizens, rather than having to give their money to government officials who then make the decision which other citizens (if any) to give it to.

I wholeheartedly assent to, as a Catholic rabbi endorse, and vigorously practice, the notion that businesses which abuse people, or the environment, should not receive any redistributions (business from customers), and that news about such businesses should be spread far and wide. A fair slab of what I redistributed this weekend went directly into the hands of a Palestinian named Yiarghe Alyateem whose clan supports itself solely through selling hand-crafts. He was freely there, and I freely came and purchased. No government required. That is what I am talking about.

That Damned Jezebel said...

But what about social spending? Poverty?

podvizhnik said...

I'n not saying that the "free market" (as I understand it, outlined above) does everything. Of course, more than that is needed.

I do my bit towards those problems, including employing some people, and voting for people who work on those problems effectively. I'm sure you do yours, including the voting. But we have one more job, which is to sway others who don't, to do. I will even repeat the slogan, "Think globally, act locally." Can I get a witness?

Lily said...

A witness! you're pretty interesting, I have to say!

Yes, people can and should perhaps do more for themselves and their communities. I think on a certain level people expect government to do everything.

Then again, for the taxes paid/fees/licenses/application fees, perhaps there is a reason to expect that.

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