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04/15/2009

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It always surprises me how quickly people will use their children to demonstrate their own political opinions. It reminds me of the crazies of the Westboro Baptist Church.

If it were me I would have written my child's sign with my left hand and in crayon, so at least some people might be fooled into thinking that a 12 year old girl actually knows what is happening with the economy and has her own motivations to protest it.

But you always write with your left hand and the ward nurse only lets you have crayons since that incident with Mrs. Perkins.

Leaving the Westboro references aside, I think taking your children to rallies is as important as the rallies themselves. Too few people in this country understand that power is derived from a mandate from the masses, not because someone is government thinks they are important.*

I take my children with me to vote, and I've taken them to various rallies, on the right and the left, followed by long discussions about what we saw and what it was all about. This is part of passing on your values to your children. When I tell my daughters what I believe, I also follow it up with why I believe it as well as what they should be reading to help form their own opinions.

The girl in that photo may or may not have written that sign on her own, but I bet she knows why her parents are pissed off.

*True power is derived from a mandate by the masses, not by some farcical aquatic ceremony. If I walked around calling myself emperor just because some watery tart threw a scimitar at me, they'd lock me away.

I just couldn't resist that quote.

Frank

I agree with you for the most part. I think it is a very valuable experience to attend rallies and protests at a young age. It is extremely valuable for one to learn about the democratic process at an early age as well.

However, I also happened to grow up in a very conservative Mennonite community (sorry, had to play the "denomination card") where, despite popular belief, we were encouraged to make up our own minds and never had our parents beliefs forced upon us....with the exception of church every Sunday.

I still hold some of the core beliefs of this community as my own, but have had the opportunity to make my own decisions. My parents didn't have the audacity to baptize me as an infant, and certainly never handed me their beliefs on poster-board and posed me as if it were my own thought.

And Wally, I specifically remember you saying you would never bring that up again....

I agree that if you were to ask these people who's responsible for their sorrows, barely a handful would probably mention President Bush and the Republicans - and that partisan mental block drives me bananas, because it just means things are so unlikely to improve.

But if they want to protest the path our economy is taking, I think they're certainly right to be protesting Obama's plans specifically; President Bush might have set this course, but Obama is egging on his driver to achieve ramming speed.

Of course really, we do need these bailouts and this budget... There's a crisis going on, you know, and so our government has no choice but to tell us, as it's told us at every opportunity in - well, our nation's history: "Oh, it will only be temporary. Yes, I know this looks bad, but it's necessary - just for for right now, I assure you. When this crisis is over, I promise: we'll give you back your privacy. We'll stop spending your money like drunken sailors. We'll get rid of this new 'income tax' and 'sales tax' we're charging you - it's just because the war is so expensive at the moment. Just believe us."

The bailouts were a bad idea when Bush started them, and they are STILL a bad idea. The tea parties were not about Obama alone, but about ever expanding government spending in general. Here in Indy, they had a special meaning, while the tea party was going on, the state legislature was voting to raise taxes to support the new stadium and the misnamed "Capital Improvements Board".

I got the same feeling when passing the anti-war protestors in the Highlands a few years back.

You may not agree with them, but it is sort of nice that they're there.

I had a friend from college mention on Facebook that he went to one of these, the first protest of any sort he's ever been to. I'd say the guy is more of a conservative temper than an actual 'movement conservative,' if you know what I mean.

(For example, when someone made a John Galt reference on his page, he admitted he had to check wikipedia to catch the meaning.)

It would be wise for those who would crticize or critique this to do so in a civil manner. (Like you did Tom, and no I'm not trying to kiss your ass.)

It could backfire otherwise.

I think you may be right on this one Tom. I hadn't given these things much thought until I went to drop off my taxes at the post office today. There was a protest gathering there, and while i waited for about 30 minutes to buy stamps (why do we pay to mail taxes anyway?)The crowd got pretty large.

As you said they were whiter and older than the general populace, but there were certainly all segments of society represented save for blacks. My initial snobbish reaction was that they were a pretty rag tag group - not my kind - but as i watched them it hit me that these folks are like the Perot voters of the early '90's. As HW about what those folks can do to a re-election campaign!

Of course, O'Bama has inherited this mess, but the financial problems are bi-partisan in nature. Dems forced way too much lending across the board, Repubs failed to regulate, and the rest of the country went plumb crazy. So while O'Bama has plausible deniability on this his party certainly doesn't and nobody really cares anyway. They're pissed, and the Dems present a big target with the bogus stimulus package and continued bailouts.

My sense is that the movement does need a leader or it will peter out pretty quickly. Not sure a Republican can fill that role either. This could get interesting.....

I think it is less a movement, and more a shot -- across two bows.

For the current Administration, to keep things in check. This is not a crisis to be taken advantage of, as Rahm Emmanuel openly said.

And for Republicans, the party that had the reputation of fiscal responsibility, to try to act like it. I think Pursuit may have a very good point referencing Perot in '92.

Maybe 250,000 people total across the country. That's not a protest, that's a coffee klatch.

What exactly are they protesting that the Democrats ignore at their peril?

Really Ken? I'm curious, when Cindy Sheehan's little protests were happening in Crawford and making all the news, how many people were with her?

I think what the Democrats need to pay attention to is discomfort with endless government growth. That discomfort is now localized in the right, but I believe it will grow as the economic crisis passes. The economic success of the Clinton Administration was that he downsized his political agenda in order to control the growth of government and balance the budget. (Watch the conservatives go nuts on this one, but it's a fact. Bob Woodward wrote "The Agenda" a year into Clinton's first term, decrying President Clinton's abandonment of his liberal campaign promises in favor of stabilizing the bond market.) When times were good, Clinton and the Republican Congress held down government spending.

That's the path Obama has to chart, and to do it he's going to need to think seriously about what it is government should be doing. That's a conversation that needs to involve everyone.

Nice non sequitur Steve.

Tom, the Republicans (and largely the sentiment expressed yesterday) is simply anti-government.

It didn't matter what Clinton did, or how much he succeeded in balancing the budget, he was almost hounded out of office over trivial, personal matters. There will always be people opposed to government, whatever it does or doesn't do.

When I used to be the recipient of the public's mail, every once in awhile an irate citizen would write to ask why I couldn't provide this or that service. One once wrote a sentiment that I think is typical of yesterday's protesters: "This is the only government service I've ever requested."

To which I could only think, how did your letter get here?

What exactly are they protesting that the Democrats ignore at their peril?

See this graph.

Lee's html linking skills: fail.

Link.

To put the deficit into perspective, many economists believe that the key number is the ratio of deficit spending to GNP. 1941 to present. I don't like the deficit spending. I believe that if you are going to spend, you have to tax. But if this is indeed a potentially economy-wrecking crisis then a WWII-type fiscal response is called for.That certainly seems to be the direction we're headed.
Lee, I hope that you weren't intentionally using the USAToday trick of showing a small part of a big graph to over-emphasize a point.

Wally, that graph comes straight from the Washington Post, and they are the ones who created it.

If you want to accuse the Washington Post of cooking the numbers, go right ahead.

Lee,
Not an accusation, a sincere hope. But seeing as it's the WaPo I'm probably hoping in vain. Do you have an opinion on the deficit/GNP ratio argument that Reich and Krugman make? My four college economics classes don't qualify me to sort it out.

As an acknowledged amateur, I would say that there is legitimacy to the argument that it is the debt ratio to GDP that is actually more important than the actual number.

I was not aware that Reich and Krugman are currently making that argument, but here is something from the Heritage Foundation (gotta love the right-wing think tank) back in 2005 making a similar argument on debt ratio that I assume Reich/Krugman are making now.

An interesting paragraph from that piece, however, is this:

The largest danger posed by rising debt is that it represents a claim on future taxes. Interest on the federal debt cost taxpayers $160 billion in 2004, and these costs will increase as interest rates move up toward historically high levels.

I think this is the real danger of Obama's Keynesian spending spree. I am highly suspicious it will spur anything economically worth the constraints put on future tax dollars ten to twenty years down the road.

And Wally, I know you're good peeps.

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