Friday, February 24, 2012

Why Republicans are having hysterics

(click image to embiggen)

From TPM, here are two charts which show why Republicans are becoming increasingly hysterical lately.

Republicans collapsed our economy during the George W. Bush administration. And it wasn't just a run-of-the-mill recession, either, but the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

When Barack Obama took office, the collapse looked to have no bottom. It was a very, very scary time. His bold moves, including the auto "bailout" and that stimulus package, stopped the collapse in its tracks, and we've been slowly clawing our way back ever since.

But it's far easier to destroy than to build. It takes time to put the biggest economy in the world back on track, especially when we took most of the rest of the world down with us. And, of course, Republicans have been dragging their feet every step of the way.

But we're getting there, and that terrifies the GOP. After all, the incumbent president normally takes the blame for poor economic conditions, even when he inherited them from his predecessor. But these graphs are a powerful argument in his defense.

Here's just the initial unemployment claims. That might be easier to see by itself:

This is powerful stuff. Republicans are reduced to claiming that yes, the economy is improving, but that it would improve faster if we put them back in power again (the same party which collapsed the economy in the first place).

As you might imagine, even Fox "News" is having a hard time making that claim stick. So Republicans are becoming increasingly hysterical, even turning to those old standbys, gay marriage, birth control, and other "culture war" issues.

My biggest fear is that Republicans in Congress will deliberately sabotage the recovery, as they did during that debt ceiling debacle last summer. That didn't stop the recovery, but by damaging America's credit rating (we lost the top rating for the first time in our history!), it delayed the recovery.

And they really need to delay the recovery for another nine months, until the election in November. That's going to be hard to do - impossible, most likely, without putting us back into recession again. Will they do that? Well, the House of Representatives is full of Tea Party types.

And the right-wing is getting increasingly hysterical. So I'm not sure I'd put anything past them.


Jeff said...

Regarding the last three paragraphs of your take, do you think the skulduggery may already be in progress with the surging gas prices? (The game's afoot, Watson.)

I noticed you got taken to task in this morning's LJS by some dude calling himself Husker_Doug. Do you have a rebuttal for him?

WCG said...

For chrissake, Jeff, I didn't need that! I really didn't want to spend the time replying to that, but - of course - I couldn't resist. (Yeah, no surprise, huh?)

Maybe, next time, just do me a favor and don't even post it, OK? :)

Or reply to him yourself. (Maybe you did, I don't know. What do you call yourself at the Lincoln Journal Star?)

Re. gas prices, there's no conspiracy necessary. Gas prices dropped during the economic collapse because of lower demand. Now that we're starting to climb out of that, demand is increasing. It's as simple as that.

Of course, Saudi Arabia is very right-wing and would love to see a Republican president again. But they like money, too. All of the oil exporters do. And, for the most part, they're going to charge as much as they can, no matter what.

We've known about this vulnerability since the 1970s, but we chose to do nothing about it. This is our fault. We knew that high gas prices were inevitable, and the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo should have been a wake-up call.

Well, it's almost 40 years later, and we're getting exactly what we knew would happen. And this is only the beginning. If you think gas prices are high now, just wait. (And that doesn't even include the disastrous effect that global warming is likely to have.)

Jeff said...

I just read your rebuttal in the LJS. Bravo, bravo!!

That's definitely what I would call opening up full broadside on someone:

There are some websites I comment on, but I haven't decided whether or not to register with LJS. I read the articles, especially the comments, much for the same reason I watch a hockey game (I "heart" YouTube):

Anonymous said...

Why are gas prices rising now?

Gregg Garthright said...

Wow, Bill - Great response to "Husker_Doug"!

Of course, your comments were not news to those of us who read your blog regularly. Maybe you should give Husker_Doug a link to this blog - he might learn something!

stanchaz said...

What a circus. Republicans condemn condoms! Republicans praise rape as a gift from God. Republicans endorse trans-vaginal probes. Republicans hate women (and men who want to plan their families). What’s next? Republicans mandate missionary-position only? Hey, Newt was right. ‘Cause Newt and all his Republican friends SHOULD set up a moon colony.... AND GO THERE! Then, they could tell each other what to do and how to live and who to love.... while leaving the REST of us alone, here on Earth. Newt, I always KNEW that you were a problem-solver. Unfortunately, you and your Republican friends ARE the problem...

WCG said...

Thanks, Jeff.

I certainly agree about YouTube, but I generally have trouble not commenting. It's that "someone on the Internet is wrong" syndrome.

I always want to fix that, all by myself. :) So that's why I don't follow those LJS comments very closely. I waste enough time there as it is!

WCG said...

Anonymous, I didn't mean to imply that gas prices are strictly supply-and-demand, because there's always plenty of speculation going on. And OPEC, certainly, tries to manipulate the supply in order to keep prices high (but not so high that we'll get serious about alternative energy).

But don't forget how high gas prices were getting in 2008. Prices plunged when the recession struck, mainly because demand crashed. As we climb out of that hole, prices are rising - as expected.

Naturally, we should expect prices to rise to even higher than they were in 2008. Well, we've known what was coming since the 1970s, at least. Certainly, speculators know that. And as the economy improves, speculators are expecting higher prices, so they're driving the prices higher themselves - higher than they would otherwise be, right now.

Keep in mind, too, that the cost of gas is actually a lot higher than it looks. Our government subsidizes the cost, both in direct payments to oil companies and, more importantly, in our vast military expenditures in the Middle East.

If we weren't addicted to foreign oil, we wouldn't be so concerned with what's going on over there. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia - none of those would be more than a very, very minor concern.

In fact, part of the reason why gas is rising now is because of all the talk about war with Iran. Republicans are clamoring for war, because they apparently learned nothing from Iraq and Afghanistan. Well, those wars were popular when we started them.

And Iran is threatening to cut off oil shipments - or, worse, to block the Strait of Hormuz, which would halt 20% of the world's oil supply - because that gets the world's attention. And those threats cause oil prices to rise, too.

My earlier comment was accurate, though. We've known what was going to happen since the 1970s, but we weren't willing to do anything about it. Well, the oil companies have a lot of money and a lot of political power in America. And all Saudi Arabia had to do was to increase the oil supply (dropping the price) whenever it looked like we might get serious about our addiction.

Fundamentally, this is our fault. And it continues to be our fault. We might have been surprised in 1973, but we can't claim that any of this is unexpected now. But like any addict, we just can't bring ourselves to break our addiction.

WCG said...

Thanks, Gregg. But if my blog has ever caused anyone to change his mind about anything, that's news to me! :)

Certainly, I don't expect that to change Husker_Doug's mind, though it might make him more cautious the next time he posts. Well, that's assuming that he even saw it, which is probably a pretty big assumption. I don't usually see the replies to my comments there.

Anyway, thanks for the compliment. I appreciate that.

WCG said...

Stanchaz, I agree. But the big problem is that half of America, more or less, either agrees with their lunacy or is willing to overlook it, when voting.

Or - and this is probably an even bigger problem - they're too apathetic and ignorant to pay any attention at all, or even to vote.

This is a democracy. No matter how much money the Republicans get from billionaires, they still need the votes of ordinary Americans. This is still up to us. If crazy stops working for them, they'll stop doing it.