Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Two Really Excellent Points

From John Cole on Balloon Juice:

The total national debt, as I write this, is $9,679,000,000,000.00 (nine and a half trillion).

The Budget for 2008 is close to $3,000,000,000,000.00 (three trillion).

Our budget deficit for this year is going to range in between $400-500,000,000,000.00 (four hundred to five hundred billion, give or take a few billion).

The total value of wasteful earmarks in 2008 (according to CAGW) will be approximately $18,000,000,000.00 (eighteen billion).

In other words, when McCain talks about earmarks, he is talking about 3% of our annual budget deficit, .6% of our annual budget, and a number too small to even report when discussing our national debt. Or, put another way, he is talking about two months in Iraq, something he wants to keep going indefinitely.

Not only are they lying about Palin’s involvements with earmarks, they are just not being serious about the horrible economic problems we face. These are not serious people.

And on a surprisingly related topic, here's David Sirota on OpenLeft:

The assumption in conservatives "drill, baby, drill!" energy policy is that high gas prices are the result of crude oil supply shortages. Drill more, they say, and that will result in more crude oil supply, which will result in lower prices. Sounds logical...until you realize the gas price crisis has nothing to do with crude oil supply. That's not my theory, that's fact, according to market analysts. As the Associated Press notes upon today's release of a report by Masters Capital Management, "Speculation by large investors - and not supply and demand for oil - were a primary reason for the surge in oil prices."...

This is the oil/gas version of the Enron speculators shutting down power plants in order to artificially jack up prices - and it is precisely what the "drill, baby, drill!" crowd doesn't want to talk about, because that crowd is underwritten by the same oil industry and Wall Street speculators that are making a killing off the status quo.

As the Wall Street Journal today reports on progressive congressional legislation "to scale back how institutions can invest in index funds that track commodities markets," conservatives are desperate to substitute a debate about supply for a debate about what's actually going on. And when Democrats validate the supply nonsequitur by joining GOP calls for more drilling, they not only ignore polls showing the public blames the oil industry, nor do they merely alienate potential swing constituencies who don't want oil and gas rigs in their backyards - they go on record in support of a lie, one that protects the oil industry profiteers and makes the energy crisis worse by focusing all the attention on a non-solution.

Who knew?


  1. "...they are just not being serious about the horrible economic problems we face. These are not serious people."
    Very well put, sir. Also a great way to put some of these arguments in perspective. I smiled while reading that part.

  2. Why don't numbers like this appear more often in the media coverage of this election? More importantly, why hasn't the Obama campaign driven this point home yet??

  3. I also think it's kind of nuts that this came from a venture capitalist group, not exactly some environmentally friendly think tank.

    @D: I have absolutely no clue why the Obama campaign doesn't hammer him on this/ changed their drilling position. I think the dems got scared that they were getting beat in the polls on this issue, and decided that doing nothing to combat the right's attacks is easier than actually taking a stand.

  4. @d: I really couldn't tell you. It sure seems like the media should be responsible for informing people about the wider context of things that happen, particularly when the context is really simple and aids enormously in getting a sense of the issue. The lack of that sort of coverage is one of the most legitimate reasons for the rise of the blogosphere: smart, dedicated individuals could do smarter news coverage themsleves, which is sad when you consider the access and prestige that being an investigative reporter used to garner.

    Granted, though, there is a little more to it than the numbers. Lawrence Lessig, for example, posted a response to Cole's analysis: "True, earmarks are small potatoes. But the problem with earmarks is that they've become an engine of corruption. The explosion after the Republicans took over under Newt was because they were a newly deployed source of influence, designed (too often) to induce or repay a gift (or what others call, a campaign contribution)."

    But yeah... an entire economic campaign based on their eradication? It's stupid. These people aren't interested in dealing with real problems. Why doesn't that get covered?