Friday, September 30, 2011


But that's no surprise because the notion that business "uncertainty" about taxes and regulation is keeping growth down comes from Republicans, who often just make shit up about economics.

From the New York Times, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman on the "uncertainty" principle:

Phony Fear Factor

Still, isn’t there something odd about the fact that businesses are making large profits and sitting on a lot of cash but aren’t spending that cash to expand capacity and employment? No.

After all, why should businesses expand when they’re not using the capacity they already have? The bursting of the housing bubble and the overhang of household debt have left consumer spending depressed and many businesses with more capacity than they need and no reason to add more. Business investment always responds strongly to the state of the economy, and given how weak our economy remains you shouldn’t be surprised if investment remains low. If anything, business spending has been stronger than one might have predicted given slow growth and high unemployment.

But aren’t business people complaining about the burden of taxes and regulations? Yes, but no more than usual. Mr. Mishel points out that the National Federation of Independent Business has been surveying small businesses for almost 40 years, asking them to name their most important problem. Taxes and regulations always rank high on the list, but what stands out now is a surge in the number of businesses citing poor sales — which strongly suggests that lack of demand, not fear of government, is holding business back.

So Republican assertions about what ails the economy are pure fantasy, at odds with all the evidence. Should we be surprised?

More here.

Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels is supposedly the person who said, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." There is apparently some controversy over whether or not Goebbels ever actually made such a statement, but it's a good enough observation one way or the other: say something enough and it is perceived as reality, whether it's true or not. The difference here between modern Republicans and the Nazis is that the GOP tends to believe its own lies. That is, even though this "uncertainty" nonsense is a demonstrable lie, you can bet your sweet booty that most Republicans take it as gospel, the same way they believe Jesus and Reagan won World War II and defeated communism by playing chess against Death.

But no matter. The point is that the Republicans have all decided that they're going to spew this bullshit over and over until nobody can hear anything but the "fact" that business aren't creating jobs because they're worried that Obama might raise taxes or force them to clean the E. coli out of the hamburgers they sell. The corporate news media, as usual, are currently and gleefully aiding in this venture, often running Republican talking points on the issue without questioning them.

What really gets me about this is that it's such a stupid fucking lie. I mean, as Krugman observes, when haven't businesses bitched about taxes and regulation? Why are taxes and regulation so suddenly such a blanket issue? If you really take the "uncertainty" principle seriously, our economy should have sputtered to a standstill generations ago. At face value, it just makes no sense. I mean, I've thought for years that the notion that tax cuts somehow create higher tax revenues is freaking retarded, but the "uncertainty" principle just takes the cake. And here we have it on the verge of becoming conventional wisdom within the establishment.

I mean, even Obama's in on the act, too, which, at this point shouldn't surprise anyone: his decision to rein in the deficit, even though a very solid majority of economists were telling anyone who would listen that we need stimulus out the butt, and that cutting spending would do nothing but make the economy worse, is strong evidence that he's been drinking the kool-aid. It's good to hear that he's all about jobs now, but I'll be really impressed when he pairs his words with some actual action. Of course, that's not going to happen. He's already painted himself into a corner, and quite willingly, I might add.

My god, can anything stem the tide here?