Who’s The Joke On?

What drives many away from progressive thinking is the absence of identifiable logic. A may lead to B but together they don’t lead to C,D,E or any other letter. I’m being kind, applying the assumption that they can at least get from A to B, as we’ll see.

The poster child for glib, absent the ability to apply simple logic brings us once again to Chris Matthews. Mr. Matthews, on Tuesday, says he doesn’t like the word “stimulus” anymore. He says it amorphous. He says it’s become a joke. Chris, may I call you Chris? The logical play is to connect your comment to the appropriate questions, “why is it a joke?” Why is it amorphous? Chris skipped over that question demonstrating again that getting from A to B is often an intellectual bridge too far.

It’s amorphous because no one outside key constituencies has seen the impact. Mr. Matthews said so. No amount of Presidential rhetoric alters that reality. Even the ability to manage perceptions is crashing under the weight of that reality. Two to one; wrong track, right track polling; Chris, you may not get it but most of us do!

 Chris, let me help you out here. It’s a joke because it did not work. It’s a joke because despite all evidence to the contrary we’re still being told it did work or is working. It’s a joke because Joe Biden is telling us it’s working but he’s also telling us that eight million jobs are not coming back!  Joe, where is that logical A to B.  It’s a joke because unemployment is 20% higher than administration “experts” predicted. It’s a joke because consumer confidence dropped ten points in a month. It’s a joke because we’re on the verge of a double dip recession. It’s a joke because even Europe won’t continue the spending spree, refusing to do what they do best. 

Chris, you might, in the future, want to keep that tingle under control because the jokes on you. The stimulus was not economic, it was political and you know it, you won’t admit it, but you know it; the joke is also on us because we’re the ones suffering.

It’s a joke because rhetoric and reality do not match. Continual quotes from the administration regarding the importance of small business as the engine of job growth but only 3% of the stimulus was aimed at small business. It’s a joke because fiscal policy, deficits, regulation and federal spending dried up credit for small business. It’s a joke because as the White House implored banks to free up credit while regulators were insuring that banks were put in a position where they were afraid or unable to free up credit. (I own a small business, I know of what I speak)

Stimulus dollars were spent to maintain the status quo in key constituencies, unions especially public employee unions and teachers come to mind. Shovel ready meant make work in many cases. Genuine infrastructure projects take time: planning time, impact analysis time, staging time, time to design and build key components and time to procure approvals. There are no shovel ready bridges near as I can tell. Chris, that experience thing we talked about two years ago, that could be part of the problem here. Ideology does not get your bridge built, nor does rhetoric.

Mr. Matthews has the answer; more spending, FDR style spending. Chris loves the alphabet soup of Federal programs under FDR, he wants them back. Chris wants to build monuments and bridges like FDR did. I am willing to talk about building border fencing! Oh, Chris by the way, FDR’s own economic guru admitted the spending did not work. It did not stimulate the economy and did not create private sector jobs. There’s more, we build, rapid rail; ok,,, I’m willing to talk about that one.

Back to basic logic; if spending did not work, do more? If deficits are creating economic uncertainty, larger deficits are the answer? If credit is tight restrict credit further by way of larger deficits demanding ever more from credit markets? If private sector job growth is anemic, more regulation, taxes and demonization is the answer?

Logical disconnects; history as see through rose colored glasses or willful ignorance?