Of Magic Asterisks

Invictus here to talk a little politics and fiscal economics (which is to say there’s politics in this post and if you’re not here for an occasional dose of politics, skip this post):

On October 3, 2008, Paul Ryan took to the floor of the House to speak in favor of the EMERGENCY ECONOMIC STABILIZATION ACT OF 2008. With a Republican in the White House, Representative Ryan apparently had a clear understanding of the severity of the crisis at hand (though we were actually already 10 months into recession). Emphasis mine:

Madam Speaker, over the last few days we have heard about LIBOR, commercial papers, spreads, swaps, about the credit markets. This chart shows you just how bad things are in the credit markets. But what does any of this stuff mean? What is credit? Credit is confidence, it is credibility, trustworthiness in someone’s ability to pay.

Right now, our system is plagued with fear. There is no confidence. There is no trust. Lenders don’t trust borrowers; sellers don’t trust buyers.

This bill, as flawed as it is, goes right to this issue. If it works, it stops that fear from spreading into outright panic.

Will this bill prevent a recession? No, I don’t think it will. But it will help us make sure that a recession is short and shallow, and not deep and long.

I know one thing for sure. Doing nothing is the worst thing we could do. This is one of those once-in-a-century kind of crises, and we need to act to prevent it from becoming a once-in-a-century kind of a recession. In Wisconsin, we are already beginning to see the beginning of this. We are already starting to see the job losses.

For me, this is a conscience vote. We of all people understand public opinion. We know it is not popular. But we see that gathering storm, we see it out there on the horizon. Our constituents may be outside mowing their lawns and looking up and seeing a sunny sky, but we see those storm clouds developing. And I want to know for sure that when the choice was made, I had made the decision to prevent that storm from gathering, to prevent those jobs from being lost, to protect our constituents from losing their retirement funds, from not getting that home loan, that car loan.

I want to make sure that what we do here today snaps that fear out of the market and preserves those jobs, and makes sure that the bumpy road we are going to have is not nearly as bumpy as it would otherwise be if this bill fails.

Then Obama beat McCain and everything changed (along with Rep Ryan’s “conscience,” apparently, given his subsequent record).

And now that we’ve had (still have, actually) what Representative Ryan referred to as a “once-in-a-century” kind of crisis, he’s done little but criticize or obstruct whatever efforts the Obama administration has made while simultaneously offering up budgets and “solutions” that remind me more of South Park’s Underpants Gnomes Profit Plan than actual economics – like when his 2011 budget proposal was scored by Heritage to produce a 2.8% unemployment rate by 2021, an outcome so absurd that it was literally disappeared within 24 hours.

Ryan may give the appearance of seriousness (the Romney campaign is counting on it), but even a cursory look at his proposals exposes their fraudulence.

See more here.

Those who don’t want to take my word for it (fair enough) may want to heed David Stoockman.



Inconvenient Numbers? Change ’em.

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