Poll: Rate Obama’s Handling of the Economic Mess

Please vote in this poll using the sidebar.

Rate Obama's Handling of the Economic Mess

  • Strongly Approve (6%, 11 Votes)
  • Approve (24%, 45 Votes)
  • Neutral / No Opinion (6%, 12 Votes)
  • Disapprove (19%, 36 Votes)
  • Strongly Disapprove (44%, 81 Votes)

Total Voters: 185

This poll will be active and displayed on the sidebar through 10.24.2009.

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.


  1. 1
    Blurtman says:

    Geithner, Summers, Bernanke. Obama is Bush-lite.

  2. 2
    The Tim says:

    I chose “Strongly Disapprove.” FWIW, I’d rate Bush the same, and I highly doubt McCain would be doing anything very differently on the economy had he somehow won.

  3. 3
    AMS says:

    Obama went to bat in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs…

    (Not that I support any of the activities/decisions he’s made, but it’s tough to blame him for the whole calamity.)

  4. 4
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By AMS @ 3:

    Obama went to bat in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs…

    (Not that I support any of the activities/decisions he’s made, but it’s tough to blame him for the whole calamity.)

    If only he’d held an important elected office before 2009! ;-)

    (Not that I blame him in particular. Almost every elected official in DC is to blame.)

  5. 5
    Scotsman says:

    Well, let’s see, decisions, decisions! Ummm, I guess that would have to be one more vote for the “strongly disapprove” group. I tried to think of something positive, but couldn’t. Not one dang thing.

    I was a Bush fan for his response to 9-11, but the thrill faded as it became clear there wasn’t a defined goal or exit strategy for our over-seas adventures. His economic policies were more of the same- tax and spend, grow the government, put the hard decisions off and hand them to the next generation. He was at least a competent manager of the status quo.

    McCain would have us going in the same direction as Obama, but at a slower pace, more of the same.

    Obama is narrowly focused on a social agenda without really understanding how the changes he desires fit into the greater economic picture. I’m convinced he entered office with some well rehearsed economic talking points but no real comprehension of the subject matter. He’s been in over his head since day one, both economically and politically, with predictable results. Wall street has been the only winner so far.

    We are doomed, for two reasons. No one wants to even start the discussion about forcing businesses and individuals to face the consequences of past decisions, and no one wants to talk about cutting taxes (immediate money in people’s pockets) or government spending on any level.


  6. 6
    AMS says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4 – No one seems to blame or credit a single senator for much.

    When the Republicans had full control, they spent, acted like drunken sailors. I am not suggesting that the Democrats are any better, nor am I suggesting that the Democrats are worse.

    Congress’s spending seems to reflect the overall credit problem in America.

  7. 7
    SeattleMoose says:

    STRONGLY disapprove:

    1) Obama is just Bush with a black face
    2) Business as usual for FED (unelected unaccountable entity with control of country’s financial system). Instead of eliminating the FED now there is talk of “new powers” for this shadowy group
    3) Business as usual for Wallstreet/Bankers (no oversight, TARP money in….record bonuses out)
    4) No change in Iraq (remind me…why are we there?) despite big pre-election talk about pull outs
    5) Increase in Afghanistan troop levels
    6) Focus on “no win” issues like health care
    7) “Big Fear” in daily MSM (terror alert replaced by H1N1 scare…to the benefit of drug companies/med industry)
    8) Out of control spending
    9) No accountability by any of the big players for the financial meltdown
    10) The same corrupt power structure in place with ZERO changes

    Even if Obama was anything other than the next well groomed stooge, when you put a shiny new spark plug into a dirty engine, does the engine become clean or does the sparkplug become dirty?

  8. 8

    By AMS @ 3:

    Obama went to bat in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs…

    (Not that I support any of the activities/decisions he’s made, but it’s tough to blame him for the whole calamity.)

    At this point, he hasn’t gone down swinging, but he sure hasn’t hit it out of the park either. But he’s still at bat, hitting a lot of foul balls but also swinging at bad pitches.

  9. 9
    AMS says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 8:

    By AMS @ 3:

    Obama went to bat in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs…

    (Not that I support any of the activities/decisions he’s made, but it’s tough to blame him for the whole calamity.)

    At this point, he hasn’t gone down swinging, but he sure hasn’t hit it out of the park either. But he’s still at bat, hitting a lot of foul balls but also swinging at bad pitches.

    This I agree with. Even if he strikes out, it’s tough to blame him for the entire loss. It’ll be much easier to credit him for a victory, if he hits a home run, but I suspect the crowd will grow tired of all the foul balls.

    If I were Obama, I’d have a manufacturing commission immediately. If the commission thought auto manufacturing needed to be put on a firm footing, then so be it, but it would not be about what industry to bail out next.

    I’ve said it before, I’d concentrate on three areas to add wealth to an economy:

    1. Mining
    2. Farming
    3. Manufacturing

  10. 10
    Trigger says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 5 – Scotsman – why not start a war? Instead of having generations pay for this mess let some other country that we exploit pay for the mess. And we can disguise that we are going to war for some nice reason like humanitarian. Maybe CIA could leak out some info that it saw some weapons of mass destruction?

  11. 11
    David Losh says:

    Obama has been absent recently when he should be hammering on the deficit.

    He has made great economic gains that he could solidify if he concentrates now on reducing deficit spending.

    My suspicion is that the subtle talk about banking regulations is holding the Fed back from making any false moves. If they extend the $8K tax credit that will be the end of any economic gains we’ve made so far. If the $8K goes away and markets fend for themselves we might get some stability.

    The biggest elephant in the living room, and there are several, is the military budget. If we back away from military spending we damage orders for durable goods, add to unemployment, and cut spending to contractors. There will need to be replacement economic factors.

    If, and that’s a big if, Obama can promote health care as a strong economic component, advance alternative energy technologies, and emphasis the retraining needed to capitalize on these fields he can make a case for economic advancement. If he continues to fool around with banking he will collapse any momentum he may have.

  12. 12
    AMS says:

    RE: David Losh @ 11 – How do you “hammer on the deficit” when the citizens and economy are broke?

    Also how do you fix the deficit while extending the $8k credit?

  13. 13
    Ray Pepper says:

    I’m pulling for Obama for just so many reasons. I support the 8k credit and extension of it. As an RN for 15 years I support Health Care for everyone (Its already been in place for as many years as I’ve been a nurse–everyone w/o insurance just comes to the ER anyway) , Cessation of the Insane Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the May 2009 Fed Law Protecting Tenants After Foreclosure.

    Foreign Policy I have disliked for the last decade . I’m convinced that the Billions upon Billions are being spent improperly month after month .

    I enjoy CNN and FOX News for titillation. We are in a very poor financial situation as a Country and unfortunately I believe the darkest days are yet to come. But, then again I’m pissed over the Hawks and the Husky’s and maybe tomorrow I will rethink my comments!

  14. 14
    Dan says:

    I am choosing “Approve.” A year after the bottom fell in October 2008, Obama has done a remarkable job stabilizing the economy.

    A potential Great Depression has become the Great Recession. Have we all forgotten the fear and uncertainty of just 12 months ago??

    The worst case scenario has been avoided. And, for that reason alone, Obama’s leadership has been superb.

  15. 15
    patient says:

    I’m not sure how much influence and power Obama have over the choice of senators and their assignments if any. His main problem is the people he is surrounded with, Franks, Dodd, Pelosi, Reid…give me a break what a bunch of loosers. They proved how incompetent they are many times over before Obama was elcected and has continued the same incompetent ecenomic policies and strategies. I could have blamed 99% on them until Obama supported Bernanke’s re-appointment, that was a huge disappointment and made my support start to wobble. I’m still undecided how much of the poor policies can actually be blamed on Obama or if it’s just inhereted through his many incompetent senators and the FED. Though the choice of Geithner was a very poor start so he is not without blame when it comes to poor decisions that’s for sure.

  16. 16

    RE: AMS @ 9

    Maybe a more apt comparison:

    The USA is the team in the field. They had a 9-0 lead, but the starting pitcher, one GW Bush allowed 8 runs and left the bases loaded with nobody out in the 9th inning. They bring in Obama, who has never pitched in the majors, but has shown a great fastball pitching in the low minor leagues .Obama takes over the pitcher’s mound and the first batter hits a deep fly ball that is caught, inches away from being a home run.

  17. 17
    AMS says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 16 – The runners still need to be tagged!

    …or up comes the next batter!

  18. 18
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 5

    “His economic policies were more of the same- tax and spend,”

    Sorry for the long rant, but the “tax and spend” lable whether applied to Bush or Obama has been a hot button for me for the last 25 years. I’m not throwing stones at you, just letting off steam. I guess I’m also saying that I consider the “economic mess” much broader than the housing bubble and last falls potential financial system melt down.

    Sadly, I long for “tax and spend.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in favor of increased government spending. But there was a time when I at least thought the American public and even American politicians acknowledged that you had to pay for what you bought. The hatred of increased taxes acted at least to some degree as a brake on the spending accelerator.

    Ironically IMO, an unintended consequence of supply side theory and the Reagan Revolution is that “tax and spend” became “Borrow and Spend” and in the processs weakened constraints on spending. While supply side theory may have some merit, it allowed the politicians and the electorate to cut taxes while continuing to increase spending with no politician willing to spend too much political capital by say wait, this won’t work in the long run. Republicans pandered to their constituancy by increasing defense and homeland security spending, and Democrats pandered to their constituancy by increasing social welfare spending. Neither party wanted to touch the third rail and increase taxes so both parties ignored ever increasing budget deficits.

    As painful as balanced budget legislation might be, it’s probably the only way to obtain some sort of fiscal discipline. But drafting good legislation to force a balanced budget might not be as easy as it seems. I’m not sure how to corral creative government accounting so that they can’t manipulate the rules with off balance sheet items and bogus cost estimates. And there would have to be some exceptions, such as war, and perhaps economic catastrophe to allow for fast action (like TARP) in exigent circumstances. And unfortunately, you would probably have to put debt carry (or increases above current interest rates) off balance sheet to avoid having increasing interest rates cause huge cuts in services and federal employment.

    Maybe I’m too far out of the mainstream to be relevant in American politics but I thought that if a candidate had come out with a good balanced budget proposal and a good energy self sufficiency plan (perhaps like T. Boone’s plan with modifications) that they could have blown open last fall’s election. It could have been either McCain or Obama or perhaps even an independent. I never thought McCain had the creativity to do it. And I was disappointed in Obama when despite the apparent intellectual capability of his team, he didn’t do it. I was never a John Kennedy fan, but I had some hope that Obama would give a speech outlining an energy self sufficiency plan (or perhaps self sufficient to the extent of limiting oil imports to the western hemisphere) and a ten year challenge to America like Kennedy did to put a man on the moon within a decade.

    The energy program could have been the main leg of a stimulus plan providing current jobs, technological advancement, and energy infrastructure, all with both short and long term economic benefit for a lot less than the current stimulus plan. And the balanced budget proposal could have been the catalyst to force spending cuts for both entitlement and military programs that I think are needed to affect a long term economic solution and limit potential long term economic free fall.

    How do I rate Obama on the economy? To some extent, I agree with Ray and Dan as to the initial actions taken to avoid potential economic collapse. But in economic decision making, I believe strongly in the principal of marginality. Hence, I prefer to look to the future rather than the past. As to Obama’s future proposed actions, I’ll give him credit for audacity, but I don’t have much hope. The simple economics of health care tell me that if some people are to get more without our country spending more, then someone has to get less. In a nut shell, you can’t save enough with technology and tort reform to provide universal coverage. I think the people getting less under the current proposed plan are seniors and health care providers. In my opinion, the musical chairs of who will be the health care losers is to some degree a no win situation. I don’t see any way to cover more people and decrease health care costs without making somebody unhappy. Despite CBO scores on the bill, I think it will cost more than forecast.

    As to other pending economic issues, Hunter S. Thompson may be dead, but Cap & Trade inspires fear of beauraucratic nightmare in me. I just hope it’s not followed by loathing. I haven’t seen any good analysis of what would happen under Cap & Trade and I don’t have a good answer to decreasing carbon emissions other than to make low carbon emission technology part of an energy independence plan. But I’m more than a little concerned that the large companies will limit the affect of Cap & Trade on them thru lobbyists while the small companies and new companies will be crushed by beauraucracy and unequally distributed costs to comply. It makes me suspicious when large companies that emit lots of carbon think Cap & Trade will work. I don’t know of any research saying I’m right, it’s just a gut feeling and perhaps a little common sense. I just think any truly effective carbon limits in Cap & Trade may have consequences that haven’t been considered in detail yet.

  19. 19
    Mike2 says:

    Sadly, I have to give McCain a +1 for his honest admission during one of the debates that he planned on re-inflating the bubble.

  20. 20
    sead97 says:

    By Dan @ 14:

    A potential Great Depression has become the Great Recession. Have we all forgotten the fear and uncertainty of just 12 months ago??

    The worst case scenario has been avoided.

    Sadly, I think it has just been delayed. Just as Greenspan (who will ultimately be deemed the worst central banker in history) pushed out the pain of the tech bubble until it became someone else’s problem, the current administration is desperately trying for the same.

    Obama came in talking tough about the need for Americans to change their ways and accept fiscal responsibility, but that quickly evaporated and it has been nothing but handouts and economic cheerleading (brainwashing) ever since.

    I have less hope for America than I did a year ago.

  21. 21
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Mike2 @ 19
    RE: AMS @ 6

    To both of those posts, I’d give McCain credit for actually trying to find a solution for Iraq, rather than do what most the rest of the Republicans and Dems did (blindly supporting or attacking Bush, respectively).

    I’ll always wonder how many soldiers died in Iraq because the parties were using Iraq as a political football?

  22. 22
    Scotsman says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 18

    We can agree that it has become “borrow and spend”, and that a balanced budget amendment is needed but will be hard, if not impossible, to implement. We will continue down this road until economic ciollapse forces us to start over. It amazes me that amid the housing collapse everyone has forgotten the other inevitable collapses that were coming our way and still are- social security, medicare, pensions, etc. Those issues aren’t even on the radar screen right now, but exist as large as ever.

    I get a kick out of those who think Obama has been at all effective. If anything helped it was the first $700B tarp, a move approved by George Bush. That Obama has doubled that with politically motivated pork seems to have gone unnoticed as the deficit quadruples, not to mention the other governmental guarantees that are out there. And yet the economy as a whole has at best stopped its slide and (temporarily) plateaued. In pretty much every way Obama’s administration has turned into Bush2, yet Obama gets praised and Bush is still scorned. So much for hope and change. The mass population of this country is either blindly partisan, in deep denial, hopelessly stupid, or some combination of the above. Even on this post folks will say they think he doing a great job, then say they fully expect the worst is yet to come. Give me a break, and at least be honest with yourselves. You can’t have it both ways.

    If you understood anything about economics beyond the 5 minute sound bites offered up by MSNBC and CNN you would know it’s worse now, much worse. Go read Elizabeth Warren’s (Harvard, non-partisan) latest bits- she should know, and even she thinks it’s worse.

  23. 23
    TJ_98370 says:

    Way harsh! It took twenty or more years to evolve into this economic mess, and now Obama is somehow at fault for not having it fixed in ten months? Wow!

  24. 24
    Scotsman says:

    RE: TJ_98370 @ 23

    Give us a break! It’s not that he hasn’t fixed it, it’s that he took an uncertain situation and cemented it into a fiscal disaster by loading up the pork, further enabling the root causes, and avoiding the one solution that would/could have cost exactly the same, but actually put dollars into consumer’s (as opposed to banker’s) hands- a big tax break.

    We could have most of this behind us if individuals and businesses had been forced to take the medicine of financial consequences instead of coddling everyone along with false hopes of another bubble or some other magic (non reality based) “cure.” There is one cure- clear the debt and start over responsibly with a sustainable model. Do it now, or do it later, but the longer we wait, the higher the cost. Suck it up people, and put the fantasy to rest.

  25. 25
    Jonness says:

    I despised Bush more than any other president in history–including his father. But I must say, Obama is currently right up there on my list. People wonder why I’m a rebel against society. And I wonder why most others are not.

    It seems to me, the 2-party election system is one of the best people herding schemes in the history of mankind. Advocates pledge their religious allegiance to a particular party, and when something goes wrong, they conveniently blame the other side. The important thing is to minimize the major similarities between parties and maximize the minor differences. This allows followers to convince themselves their party is always correct, and the other party is always wrong. That way, the system itself remains intact, as it never directly shoulders the blame.

    My question is, if you find yourself always agreeing with the thoughts of a particular political religion, how do you know the thoughts you are thinking are your own?

  26. 26
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Jonness @ 25
    Amen!! People need to “do the work” intellectually and start thinking for themselves. Your observation that it’s always the parties, not the system, that shoulder the blame is brilliant. We will never get out of this because of the way it’s structured- there are no incentives, or conversely consequences, to change the basic premise of always giving the people what they want without regard to how it gets paid for. The gifts come now, but the bill is always put forward to the next administration/generation/party.

  27. 27
    Slumlord says:

    I gave him a vote of “disapprove”. On the economy itself, I strongly disapprove but I think he deserves a little break because he has other major problems, namely two wars and an opposition party who would rather drive the country into the ground than let him have any success.

    I disapprove of his handling of the economy because the focus has been helping the banksters, rather than helping the population. Let the banks implode. The economy will contract sharply for short period, and then it will start to recover. Continue propping up insolvent banks, and the economy will shrivel slowly for years or even decades as Japan shows.

  28. 28
    AMS says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 21:

    RE: Mike2 @ 19
    RE: AMS @ 6

    To both of those posts, I’d give McCain credit for actually trying to find a solution for Iraq, rather than do what most the rest of the Republicans and Dems did (blindly supporting or attacking Bush, respectively).

    I’ll always wonder how many soldiers died in Iraq because the parties were using Iraq as a political football?

    The whole Iraq situation is a mess. I must admit that I have the greatest respect for McCain and his perspective on the Iraq situation. As a former SE Asia POW, McCain is a very qualified person to provide a great deal of balance and understanding of the front-line soldier is put through.

    Organizational change does not come easy, even if the current system is clearly broken.

  29. 29
    cheapseats says:

    I voted disapprove.

    I realize he wasn’t originally responsible for our economic mess, but when he arrived to the fire with a gas hose, well I think he takes on some responsibility for the damage done…

  30. 30
    AlexI says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of Obama-bashing…

    I voted “Approve”, and feel pretty strongly about my vote. I think one of Obama’s strong sides is surrounding himself with smart people. Paul Volcker (the father of modern monetary policy), Lawrence Summers (you can argue about his personal qualities, but he’s a great economist), and reappointment of Ben Bernanke, (I suspect that people who bash Bernanke have never read any of his works and perhaps have very little understanding of how the Fed and monetary policy works) – just to name a few.

    You can argue against many economic implementations – the housing credit, banks bailout and subsequent stimulus package, health care overhaul, – and non is perfect, but I strongly believe that benefits of each outweigh the costs.

    Some of you may not like government’s intrusion into the housing price-making mechanism, but I think it was a necessary step to not completely stop, but slow down the depreciation process. Financial markets were stunned, and could not keep up with things as they were unfolding, and let me remind you that it was the housing bust that triggered financial crisis. Tax credit will give the world some extra time to assess the situation and adjust to the new environment, plus it will put 8000 dollars in the hands of consumers – another positive short term effect.
    Some are angry at the bank bailouts. Let me remind you that initially it is the banks who bear the loss of home value, since it is so easy to walk away from a depreciation house. In addition, financial system’s failure would in fact bring about another Great Depression. Lastly, bank bailouts are loans, and are paid back with interest accrued as we speak.

    The stimulus package is my personal favorite, and the benefits are two-fold. In the short term, in light of Keynesian theory it compensates for loss in consumer spending and stimulates short-term demand. But the real beauty of it is the investment in the future – infrastructure, education, science, renewables and environment. I am a strong believer that the long term benefits of the stimulus will far outpace the interest costs. As far as fear of out-of-proportion deficit that, according to some, will raise interest rates and make our currency value plunge, bringing about profound domestic economic depression and correction, I would just like to reference a work by Bertaut, Kamin, and Thomas (2008) that elegantly disproves the bases for the above fear.

    As far as health care, it may not be a perfect (and may be far from it) policy, but it’s just something that needs to be done now. Tweaked later. Period.

    These are just my opinions and you don’t have to agree with me. I didn’t give him ‘strongly approve’, since his economic policies had room for improvement. Can’t readily give you an answer to how they might be improved, but hey, that’s why I’m not on his economic team :)

  31. 31
    what goes up must come down says:

    Yes I wish George would have been able to get a third term because then I know everything would be wonderful.

    Hello, ten months repeat ten months not even a year yet, gimme a break.

    I agree with One Eye it has been borrow and spend for decades. Does anyone remember that when George took office that there were these things called surpluses? The war costs were not even included in the budget they were supplementals. Remember when those people who protested IRAQ were called unpatriotic. Now years later so many people have the all too convenient memory loss.

  32. 32
    Cheap South says:

    RE: what goes up must come down @ 31

    You sir, hate America!!!!

  33. 33
    sead97 says:

    By Scotsman @ 24:

    RE: TJ_98370 @ 23
    We could have most of this behind us if individuals and businesses had been forced to take the medicine of financial consequences instead of coddling everyone along with false hopes of another bubble or some other magic (non reality based) “cure.” There is one cure- clear the debt and start over responsibly with a sustainable model. Do it now, or do it later, but the longer we wait, the higher the cost. Suck it up people, and put the fantasy to rest.

    Exactly! But of course this assumes Americans are capable of acting as adults, rather than “I want it, I want it”, temper tantrum throwing children.

  34. 34
    Ray Pepper says:

    Economic mess goes way beyond Obamas ability to correct in the next few years. Even “softening the landing” will need far more stimulus then most are complaining about here. Get ready for far more stimulus programs that will entice people to buy buy buy. If you don’t like it now you will be really upset in 2010-11.


  35. 35
    patient says:

    RE: AlexI @ 30

    “I suspect that people who bash Bernanke have never read any of his works”

    There is no need to read anything, his actions speaks for themselves. The guy has lost control of the dollar, was asleep when the bubble exploded, is lining the pockets of banksters through low interest rates and most likely illegally robbed the share holders of BoA by forcing the Merrill deal. Absolutely no need to read anything, the man is an absolute disaster and one of the major architects of our mess.

  36. 36
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 34

    We don’t need the secondary markets for worthless paper and I’m sure that’s what you are getting at.

    Obama is pushing health care reform along with banking regulation; those are the things we need.

    We need to get insurance companies and banks out of our lives.

    Large financial institutions in charge of our economy didn’t work.

  37. 37
    Matsayswhat says:

    I voted “neutral” because while he could have done better, he could also be doing worse.

    But then I also don’t expect him to be as big of an agent of change as so many others do. I voted for him, but with the expectation that he would be a moderate and I think he’s living up to that.

    Something to remember too, and I think it was mentioned above, but depending on the healthcare bill that ends up being implemented, Obama & Co. could very likely end up creating a lot of jobs and benefits (har har, that was a bad pun) for the country, hopefully in a good way (imo not an additional “public” option).

  38. 38
    truthtold says:

    #35…Bingo! agreed.

  39. 39
    TJ_98370 says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 24

    …..We could have most of this behind us if individuals and businesses had been forced to take the medicine of financial consequences instead of coddling everyone along with false hopes of another bubble or some other magic (non reality based) “cure.” There is one cure- clear the debt and start over responsibly with a sustainable model. Do it now, or do it later, but the longer we wait, the higher the cost. Suck it up people, and put the fantasy to rest.
    Do you really think the president, acting alone, can force individuals and businesses to do something they do not want to do? If you do, I think you are way overestimating the influence of the office of the President. Integrating change into a democracy is a messy and time consuming process. The problem seems to be all of those differing opinions out there.

  40. 40
    Scotsman says:

    RE: TJ_98370 @ 39

    Yes, he could have pushed different priorities, set a different tone, vetoed spending bills, appointed and directed those in positions of power to act differently. How about asking for Bernanke’s resignation and appointing Volker to the Fed? Instead, he was deaf, dumb, and blind as the bankers and their lobbyists bent us over.

  41. 41
    bubblebuyer says:

    It is clear to me that America is unwilling to save itself. We continue to live on the backs of future generations. Our only real hope for change is that the world forces us change. The best thing that could happen to the US is if China, Russia and other developed countries succeed in their efforts to eliminate the US dollar as a reserve currency. Our out of control spending and borrowing is caused by the USA being able to borrow in $s, pay interest in $s and theoretically repay its obligations in $s. If the USA was forced to borrow in another currency, basket of currencies or a synthetic currency and make interest payments in this currency, true borrowing costs would significantly rise due to the $ devaluing, increasing borrowing cost.

    Congress, treasury and the fed have already diminished the integrity of the $ as a reserve currency. Even today, nobody really believes the USA is capable of repaying it’s debt. In fact, Obama plans to double our total debt by 2015. The only way out of the hole is to slowly inflate our way out without tipping off the world. So what does guaranteed by the USA really mean? Unfortunately, I believe the $ is nowhere close to losing its reserve currency status. But we can hope.

  42. 42
    Leigh says:

    Dismantle the Federal Reserve!

  43. 43
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    IMHO, the problem isn’t that we’re spending so much now, the problem is that we’re always spending so much. Just guessing, the federal government has probably run deficits for 36 of the past 40 years. There are times when a deficit is a good idea and/or even necessary, but it becomes more difficult and more perilous to do that when you’ve been running deficits just about every year.

  44. 44
    AMS says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 42 – We should spend more during bad times and save during good times. What’s been happening, more or less, is spend more during good times, and spend even more during bad times.

  45. 45
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: AMS @ 43 – Exactly. And I think the exception to that (the possibly 4 years without a deficit) was probably more due to increased tax collections than changes in spending.

  46. 46
    AMS says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 45 – Oh, yes, the expansion of the economy resulted in increased tax revenue… Now we have just the opposite happening.

  47. 47
    mukoh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 40 – You got bent by the bankers? Geez.

  48. 48
    Scotsman says:

    We can’t even run a balanced budget, let alone a surplus. And it will take years of surpluses to reduce the debt and the interest required to service it every year. It’s a lost cause, might as well run deficits and give the folks what they want until it just can’t work anymore.

  49. 49
    SeattleMoose says:


    Until the debt of this country is addressed and the bleeding stopped, conditions for working Americans will continue to deterioriate.

    The only ones who profit from increasing debt are lenders/banks. And since they effectively run the country, there is ZERO incentive from the top to do anything except keep spending more while the dollar is eroded.

    The biggest problem is that almost all debate is constrained to the “pen” into which the collective thinking has been “herded”. The real problems and root causes remain out of sight and hence, never addressed.

  50. 50
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 42

    I’m enough of a Keynesian that I agree with you Kary. But the debt to GDP ratio is currently at about 90% and quickly approaching the post WWII high of about 120%. With the potential for increasing interest rates, I’d hate to see the percentage go higher and I do think the government can bring down the ratio if they try. The conclusion that we can probably work our way down from the current debt to GDP ratio without a second GD is supported by the following two links.



    I don’t know if people want to emulate the economic policies of Truman and Eisenhower, but they brought us down from a debt to GDP ratio of 120% to about 60% in less than 15 years while still growing the economy (with the exception of a couple of years in the 1940’s.) The first link below shows the national debt as a percentage of GDP. WWII raised the debt to 120% of GDP, but we were able to recover with some contraction to GDP in 1946 and 1947. You’d probably expect that in the transition from a war time to peace time economy anyway. It’s true that the above doesn’t take into consideration the deleveraging of private debt and arguably that creates additional economic considerations. Our economy arguably also structurally different now with less manufacturing and more dependence on foreign oil, etc.

    The second link just shows the slump in real GDP in the late 1940’s and the steady increase in GDP starting in about 1948. As I recall, those were also some of the years during which we had the highest top marginal income tax rates that everyone is so afraid of. No one likes taxes, but sometimes you have to suck it up and pay the bill. We’re in the top marginal rate bracket, but if I move out of the country, it wouldn’t be because top marginal rates went into the low 40’s for a period of time to get the debt under control. If they went over 50%, I might think differently.

  51. 51
    Scotsman says:

    The structural differences between the 1940s/1950s and now are too significant to overcome. Then we had a huge manufacturing base as a result of the war effort, a clear technological advantage, and a manageable, solvent group of entitlement programs. Now we have a significantly smaller manufacturing capacity, a serious wage and technology disadvantage, and insolvent entitlement programs (social security, Medicaid, Medicare. pensions, etc.) that will eventually bankrupt us on their own. There is no way a population that has counted on and adapted to the range of entitlements offered today will ever vote for reductions. Who wants to be the first to give up even cost of living adjustments, let alone entire programs? Look at the battle for “free” health care, an idea that just won’t go away.

    Reset, through the form of GD2 is the only way out. But there is hope- Obama has decided to let the states set the rules on marijuana, and since the states are broke and won’t want to enforce any more laws than necessary, pot will be readily available. (As if it isn’t now..) I’m going to the country, gonna grow some good weed, and let y’all swirl down the bowl of political waste while I, as advised by “Trigger,” “hike more, boat more, and worry less.”

  52. 52
    rent for now says:

    Obama has whiffed huge. He is Bush III.
    He had a great chance to make some headway for reform on wall street, now I wonder, is it too late?
    The bubble is simply being reflated, the gov’t has no other strategy.
    We did avert a collapse, so far, but at what price? And I thought Bush II spent money wildly….

  53. 53
    Angie says:

    Scotsman @48: Surely you remember that, at the end of the Clinton administration, the US was running budget surpluses? Remember how loudly the rich people of the world squealed when they stopped issuing 30 year treasuries for a while? Remember how the very instant that those nominally fiscally conserative Republicans regained the presidency they cut taxes on the wealthy, turbocharged spending, and added more to the national debt than all previous presidencies combined?

    There are a lot of very wealthy people who DO NOT WANT the US to get out of debt. Watch what people do rather than what they say, indeed–hard to believe anyone who claims to be fiscally responsible would vote Republican.

  54. 54
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 51

    Well OK then if no one wants to cut spending, raise taxes and pay the debt, don’t break out the bong until you consider my backup plan. Even if we can’t hold all the Democrats, I think we can convince a couple of Senate Republicans to go for it. It will help solve the imported oil problem, help with balance of payments, provide cheap non-union American labor, solve much of the drug smuggling problem, and eliminate most of the illegal alien problems, all in a manner that has helped America recover from sever economic crisis before.

    All we need to do is declare war on Mexico and annex it into the United States. If Cheney were president, he’d do it. If we can get Canada to join, then we could form the NAU and our new currency could displace the euro as the new world reserve. Besides, I hate having to get a passport and I’d feel better about getting a vacation home there if our laws applied.;-)

  55. 55
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Angie @ 53

    I am SO tired of this myth. Angie,sorry, but there was no Clinton surplus- it was all math and accounting tricks. Regan ended the cold war with the USSR (remember the peace dividend?) and there was a one time revenue surge due to a change in the capital gains tax. That gave Clinton a nice one time hit his first year in office, but even it wasn’t truly a surplus. The rest is based on accounting myths, common in government where they can be found even today. War expense? Oh, that’s “off the books”, etc., etc., etc.

    Here, you can do the math yourself- check out the national debt totals for each year, as provided by the treasury. Notice that while the public debt went down in each of those four years, the intergovernmental holdings went up each year by a far greater amount–and, in turn, the total national debt (which is public debt + intergovernmental holdings) went up. Therein lies the discrepancy. Clinton ran a surplus by raiding social security, etc. Whoopee!!

    Math’s a biatch.


  56. 56
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 55

    You should look at those numbers again. it looks bad for Bush, good for Clinton.

    I agree with the peace dividend, think Reagan did a great thing by increasing military spending, but Bush the First flubbed the hand off by trying to be his own person.

    Cinton had the good sense to capitalize on the peace dividend, could have cut military spending, and negotiated a lasting peace with Iraq.

  57. 57
    Scotsman says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 54

    Mexico might be nice, good weed there too, at least in the old days…

    My wife and I were taking a looky-see at the old family finances the other day, thinking maybe I would go back to full time work to help rebuild some of the retirement fund, etc. Bottom line- of the next $100K I made I would get to keep about $30K. Now, some aspects of my situation might be unusual, but in the end it really isn’t worth doing the work unless I’m going to earn well beyond another $100K, not that easy for me to do in this climate. And harsh though it may sound, I’m not willing to bust my butt to help pay for someone else’s life style choices. The really rich can probably afford to pay some more taxes, those who make millions a year. But here in the land of the upper/middle middle class, I’m up against the wall, saying enough is enough.

    Gripe of the day: there’s a food bank run by a church in our neighborhood. I’ve volunteered some time/materials to get it up and running. What peeves me is that there are folks who drive to this food bank in nicer cars than either my wife or I have, I mean new, expensive, luxury cars and SUVs. I’m sure they are financed, all of mine were bought with cash. But still, at what point do people look to themselves first to make the needed changes instead of just looking for the next handout?

  58. 58
    Scotsman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 56

    David, you’re missing it. The whole point is that it’s bad for all of them- there hasn’t been a real surplus, defined as a decrease in the national debt, for decades. Given that history, what makes anyone think we can even hit zero, let alone a true surplus where the national debt is reduced? Here’s another quote from the same article that shows just how badly we’re being lied to:

    “The reality is that the federal government and politicians use a form of accounting that would get most accountants thrown in jail. As USA Today wrote in 2007 , special rules used by the federal government allowed it to report a $248 billion deficit in 2006 rather than $1.3 trillion if it had used corporate-style accounting.”

    Johnson, Kennedy, Nixon,Ford, Carter, Regan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, doesn’t matter who was there, or which party ruled this or that. The debt keeps going up. Now it’s at a breaking point where the country can’t generate enough new wealth each year to pay the interest and continue to function. We’re like horses being driven up a box canyon toward the headwall. Game over. We’re hosed, maybe this fall, maybe next decade, but the game is over, it’s only a question of when.

  59. 59
    Skydiver says:

    Obama went to bat in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs… (Not that I support any of the activities/decisions he’s made, but it’s tough to blame him for the whole calamity.)

    I can blame Obama for his election pay off Stimulus Bill drafted by the Apollo Alliance for his first trillion in new Obama debt! Add his next trillion for his Cap & Tax program onto the backs of the American public during the stiffest economic down turns in my 54 year life and Obama’s Economic Mess really is his. Now pile on a new triton dollar health care program during this deep recession because we all know tax money is flowing like honey. Tell me how Obama did not start the never ending new tax requirement for my grandchildren to pay off and I will not even start on the unfunded Social Security defect along with MEDACARE which was robbed to pay for this crappy health care program!

    Also please thank Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Majority Congress from 2005 to now for a major slice of that inherited Obama mess.

    Blue Skies

  60. 60
    AMS says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 58 – What? David Losh missing it?

    No Way! Can’t be! Tell me it ain’t so!

  61. 61
    Scotsman says:

    Here’s a listing of the total national debt from day one until the present. The last time it decreased from the prior year was 1956. That was the last real surplus- so much for the “Clinton surplus.”


  62. 62
    Objectivity says:

    RE: Dan @ 14

    We’ve simply delayed the problem. The economy will be bad for a very long time because we’ve moved away from Capitalism.

    I think Obama screwed up. He did the right thing by saving the banks, but he should have nationalized them, and broken them up by selling assets to smaller more efficient banks. As it is, the “too big too fail” have become ‘way too big to fail’.

  63. 63
    Objectivity says:

    …And don’t get me started on the pain we’re causing for future generations by increasing our national debt to unsustainable levels.

  64. 64
    StillWaitingToBuy says:

    By Leigh @ 42:

    Dismantle the Federal Reserve!


    I’ve been an avid reader of SeattleBubble for two years, but I’ve never posted before. Mere mention of the Federal Reserve pushed me over that edge.

    Does everyone know why the Federal Reserve was created in the first place?

    Is there any coincidence that it was created the months after the 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913, giving the Federal government the power to tap into the wealth of this country and tax individual income.

    Federal?? There’s nothing Federal about it. It’s a privately owned enterprise.

    Who do you think really pulls the strings in our government???? It’s for that very reason that the Federal Reserve will not be dismantled. Those in power (that control the money) will never let it happen.

    Central banking is not unique to the USA, either…..

  65. 65
    mukoh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 57 – Mexico? You serious? My friends buddy was kidnapped there, kept for 4 months with ransom demands. All over CNN. Thats gotta be lovely to spend some earned retirement funds there.

  66. 66
    mukoh says:

    Scotsman @ 57 – Mexico? You serious? My friends buddy was kidnapped there, kept for 4 months with ransom demands. All over CNN. Thats gotta be lovely to spend some earned retirement funds there.

  67. 67
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 58

    He never addressed the military budget, no President has.

    You’re forgetting the military industrial complex. Our economy used to be tied to the military before they started talking about consumer confidence, credit, and housing.

    Had Clinton actually dismantled some programs there would have been a long delay in spending.

  68. 68
    Greg Perry says:

    Seems to me like the question is wrong. Obama is not governing, he’s still campaigning. Perhaps we should have the poll on President Pelosi who is the real architect of the $780 bil American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Omnibus bill, the budget, cap and Tax and (she hopes) health care. Obama has left the building and Pelosi is holding the keys. Big taxes and inflation are a ‘comin.

  69. 69
    Scotsman says:

    RE: mukoh @ 66

    Ouch, sorry to hear about that!

    I haven’t been there for a decade or more- from what I hear it’s much more corrupt and dangerous than it used to be. It’s probably not as cheap anymore either with our dollar headed into the tank. But it is sunny (lov’n the fall drizzle…) and I like the food.

  70. 70
    what goes up must come down says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 57 – “Bottom line- of the next $100K I made I would get to keep about $30K. Now, some aspects of my situation might be unusual” really, you think it is unusual, no way I can’t believe that I would have thought that type of situation was totally normal.

  71. 71
    what goes up must come down says:

    The share of income for the top percentile of Americans was 23.5% in 2007, the highest since 1928, according to Emmanuel Saez, a Berkeley economist who won the prestigious John Bates Clark Medal in April. Income for the top 0.01% hit a record-high 6.04%. And the recession may be exacerbating income inequality.

  72. 72
    Anon. says:

    What did all the Obama supporters expect?
    People are complaining about pork here, and you probably voted for him.
    Nothing I’ve ever heard Obama say DIDN’T sound like pork to me.
    He offered nothing but hope.. Hope and pork. It was clear from the beginning – why were you so foolish to fall for eloquent wording? He had no plan but to just inject meaningless bureaucracy into our economy but he dressed it up and shined it up to make it look so glamorous..
    Let’s get this straight.
    Stealing from the American worker’s paycheck is NOT glamorous. And yes, taxing hard working peoples’ paychecks for services they don’t want to support (such as funding abortions/etc.) is stealing.

  73. 73
    Matsayswhat says:

    By mukoh @ 66:

    Scotsman @ 57 – Mexico? You serious? My friends buddy was kidnapped there, kept for 4 months with ransom demands. All over CNN. Thats gotta be lovely to spend some earned retirement funds there.

    I’m sorry to hear about your friends friend and granted I don’t know the whole story, but avoiding the entire country because of crime issues doesn’t necessarily make a lot of sense. It’d be like avoiding California because Compton is somewhere in the state. Mexico is a big country and there are still plenty of safe places to travel there, you just need to be smart about it (i.e. avoid border cities, and travel smart).

    That said, the “tourism fee” they tack on to plane tickets drives me crazy.

  74. 74
  75. 75
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 74

    Honestly, it surprises me that no one talks about our military.

    Nuclear weapons that are produced to sit in case some one else has nuclear weapons. Computers, networks, equipment, arms, jets, air craft, people, buildings, and what ever else we need to have a bunch of kids sit in a jungle or desert waiting to be killed by the enemy who is a seasoned life long combatant on their own soil.

    Deficit spending? Shut down the military.

  76. 76
    Snigliastic says:

    RE: Anon. @ 72 – wow. vitriol.
    Stealing from the American worker’s paycheck? Seriously? the government, which provides the very framework that enables us to make so much money, is stealing? There’s a lot of stuff the government does that I dislike, but I also realize that the government provides so much positive, that I am willing to take some bad with my mostly good. Not defeatist, just acknowledgement that the world is a complicated place, with many divergent interests.

  77. 77
    Scotsman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 75

    I don’t know about shutting it down completely, but I’m willing to look at making some changes. Seems to me we could come up with a more cost effective mix of technology and boots on the ground, doing more with less. It’s a very different world now than it was 50 years ago, yet we still rely on on a lot of the same weapons and thinking that were used in the past. I wonder what the best minds and a “clean sheet” approach would give us for a modern military?

  78. 78
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 77

    The Clinton surplus bashing bothers me. He showed it is possible. What he failed to do is cut spending.

    I pick the military for being a situation normal. We will never win a war, or police action, or make the world safe for democracy. We don’t have the man power, and that’s why we have drones. You can take the hardest murdering Marine into battle, but you can’t make him kill at will. By the time you get him battle ready he’s either rotated out or discharged on a section 8.

    We have toys and lots of them. What do you figure it cost to change out the M16 with an M4? How about those Stealth Bombers? What about the cost of counter intelligence? How many feet do we need to put onto foreign soil to influence enough people to give us information? In Pakistan today it $150,000,000 a day; a day.

    It’s possible to wipe out the deficit in ten years. What we need is a lasting peace.

  79. 79
    Scotsman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 78

    David- again, there was no “Clinton surplus.” Every year he was in office the government spent more money than it collected, and every year the national debt went up. Sorry to burst your bubble, but get over it. ;-)

Leave a Reply

Use your email address to sign up with Gravatar for a custom avatar.
Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please read the rules before posting a comment.