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Left/Right bloggers have huge split on Obama spending. Right bloggers did not expect it:

In this week's National Journal poll of political bloggers, we see one of the largest splits between Left and Right bloggers ever recorded in this this poll (which is several months old). The first topic was a four part question about whether Obama was over-reaching with global warming tax, health care spending increase, doubling the national debt, or cutting itemized deductions for high earners. On the Left, the answer was a 100% "no" on three of those, with a 92% "no" on the debt. On the Right, the answer was 86-93% "yes" on all of them.

I voted "yes" on everything, and wrote: "He's even worse than George W. Bush on wild spending increases and reckless deficits. That's like being even fatter than Fat Albert."

The second question was whether Obama was governing more to the left or more to the center than expected. For the Left bloggers, the plurality winner was the write-in: "about as expected." Things were about equally divided between the other two choices.

For the Right bloggers, "more to the left" was the choice of 73%. I was among those who was surprised, and wrote: "Almost as far left as I feared he might be during the campaign, based on his record as an elected official. During the transition period, I mistakenly thought that some of the appointments portended a more centrist approach, but that has certainly not been the case on fiscal policy."

Aultimer:
Serious question - if McCain and/or the Republicans were a majority in congress, would fiscal policy be any different, or would they just be profligate in a lesser degree? The TARP/AIG/etc. Bush maneuvers were so counter-intuitive to me that I really can't imagine.
3.6.2009 12:10pm
richard1 (mail):
Did you seriously think that Obama would just let the economy go further into the tank with no solution other than more tax cuts, the only thing I have heard McCain or the congressional Republicans propose? IMHO, he's done exactly what he campaigned for, serious change to get things working again.
3.6.2009 12:13pm
Garth:
i don't think it has fully sunk in how out of touch conservatives are with reality if they believe that obama is over reaching on global warming, the economy and it's badly needed stimulus, or making badly needed adjustments to the tax code.

the american public overwhelmingly supports him.

they overwhelmingly support these "liberal" positions.

to claim he is over reaching is to simply put your hand in the sand as to the enormity of these issues.

america has become a left of center country.
3.6.2009 12:25pm
Floridan:
Given the chares leveled against Obama during the campaign -- Socialist, soft-on-terrorism, anti-American, radical, etc. -- it's hard to imagine how he could be worse than right-wing bloggers expected.
3.6.2009 12:28pm
Floridan:
chares = charges
3.6.2009 12:29pm
cboldt (mail):
-- to claim he is over reaching is to simply put your hand in the sand as to the enormity of these issues. --
.
That's certainly one way to define over-reaching - as a measure of popular support.
.
I'm quite sure that the people who mark Obama's policies as "over-reaching" are registering absence of support, generally on the grounds that they don't believe the policies will result in a net durable positive for the people in this country.
.
Where's my piece of the handout, by the way?
3.6.2009 12:45pm
gab:
"He's even worse than George W. Bush on wild spending increases and reckless deficits."

Dave, is it your contention that spending should be increased, and that only "wild spending" should be curtailed or that all spending should be cut? Also, in your opinion, should we be running deficits at all, or should just "reckless deficits" be controlled?
3.6.2009 12:47pm
AlanfromOntario:
I'm curious here, the "right" bloggers think that Obama is "more to the left" than expected on fiscal policies.

Can anyone describe how his fiscal policies are "more to the left" than those practiced by Pres. Bush; e.g. 750 billion for the banks, take over of fannie/freddie, bailout of AIG, etc?
3.6.2009 12:48pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Serious question - if McCain and/or the Republicans were a majority in congress, would fiscal policy be any different, or would they just be profligate in a lesser degree?


Probably, whatever his other faults McCain has been a rather principled budget hawk and doggedly suspicious of pork and earmarks. It unlikely that a President McCain would have (a) rolled over for Reid and Pelosi as Obama did or (b) agreed to such a massive increase in spending even if sold as a "stimulus." Most likely there would have been something closer to what Congressional Republicans proposed such as a cut in corporate and/or capital gain taxes along with a payroll tax cut and probably an increase in or extension of unemployment benefits rather than an attempt to ram through a laundry list of pet projects.
3.6.2009 12:48pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I'm curious here, the "right" bloggers think that Obama is "more to the left" than expected on fiscal policies.


For the record, I don't think that Obama is more to the left than expected because I already knew he was lying every time he talked about "fiscal responsibility" and getting rid of government programs that don't work.

Can anyone describe how his fiscal policies are "more to the left" than those practiced by Pres. Bush; e.g. 750 billion for the banks, take over of fannie/freddie, bailout of AIG, etc?


Easy, Bush cut taxes, increased spending and ran deficits. Obama wants to raise taxes, increase spending even higher than Bush, and run even higher deficits than Bush.
3.6.2009 1:00pm
AndyinNc:

"He's even worse than George W. Bush on wild spending increases and reckless deficits. That's like being even fatter than Fat Albert."

Oh snap! You go girl! With a burn like that, how will Obama ever recover?!?!
3.6.2009 1:02pm
Floridan:
"Obama wants to raise taxes"

On some; on others he wants to reduce taxes.
3.6.2009 1:09pm
rick.felt:
The first topic was a four part question about whether Obama was over-reaching with global warming tax, health care spending increase, doubling the national debt, or cutting itemized deductions for high earners. On the Left, the answer was a 100% "no" on three of those, with a 92% "no" on the debt.

What I find perhaps most discouraging about Obama's plans - and the support they enjoy from his nearly lockstep supporters - is that global warming remedies and free healthcare are luxuries that wealthy countries can afford. We're not wealthy. We're broke. If the economy was expanding and we were running surpluses, perhaps we could afford to pay for people's doctor visits and shackle industry with global warming taxes. But we're in a recession and we're raising taxes and buying luxuries. Insanity.
3.6.2009 1:11pm
Left-Leaning LOLcat:
UR DOIN IT RONG
3.6.2009 1:12pm
byomtov (mail):
Obama wants to raise taxes,

I thought he mostly just wants to let Bush's planned increases in some areas take effect, while cutting taxes in other areas.
3.6.2009 1:21pm
Constantin:
"Obama wants to raise taxes"

On some; on others he wants to reduce taxes.


It doesn't quite work that way. I'm pretty sure business and individuals subject to higher taxes aren't going to just throw up their hands and say "that's that, we're out X dollars."
3.6.2009 1:21pm
LN (mail):
Back to Clinton-era socialist tax rates? Thanks but no thanks.
3.6.2009 1:22pm
TKN (www):
Why is the argument framed in ideology rather than pragmatism to begin with? Maybe political science should actually think about becoming a science rather than philosophy?

What if the empiric position is that sometimes it is okay to spend madly, like to avoid a depression, and other times not, such as when the economy is spiralling upwards puffed on air and unregulated crap debt floating around? I am not convinced why a balanced budget is such a wonderful idea when perhaps a budget that is smoothed out over long horizons would be superior in managing the economy...
3.6.2009 1:34pm
Dave N (mail):
america has become a left of center country.
And in 2004, when President Bush was not only re-elected but Republicans increased their majorities in Congress for the second successive election, was that evidence that the country was a right of center country? Or does the country only move on the political spectrum when your favored party wins?
3.6.2009 1:37pm
Floridan:
Constantin: "It doesn't quite work that way. I'm pretty sure business and individuals subject to higher taxes aren't going to just throw up their hands and say 'that's that, we're out X dollars.'"

What are you suggesting?
3.6.2009 1:51pm
wfjag:

Maybe political science should actually think about becoming a science rather than philosophy?

Thanks. Watching another stock market tank today ("Bear" no longer does justice as a description), I really needed a laugh.

"Political science" is merely an oxymoron that only an academic would take seriously. But, linking "political" with "philosophy" -- love of wisdom -- that's worthy of Robin Williams.
3.6.2009 1:52pm
Constantin:
Constantin: "It doesn't quite work that way. I'm pretty sure business and individuals subject to higher taxes aren't going to just throw up their hands and say 'that's that, we're out X dollars.'"

What are you suggesting?


That the higher taxes will be passed down to consumers. Just like they've always been. Same principle as the "keep our prices low, report shoplifting" signs you see at WalMart. Barack himself has admitted as much with regard to the higher energy taxes.
3.6.2009 1:56pm
Cardozo'd (www):
Or does the country only move on the political spectrum when your favored party wins?

Not necessarily, but when you demolish the other party in both houses and get a majority in the pres election for the first time in forever, than maybe....
3.6.2009 2:08pm
Crunchy Frog:

Left/Right bloggers have huge split on Obama spending. Right bloggers did not expect it:

And yet right wing talk radio nailed Obama's actions on the head. For all the grief Rush Limbaugh takes around here, he's been quite accurate with his predictions.

Who knew? He's just an entertainer.
3.6.2009 2:10pm
Cardozo'd (www):
That the higher taxes will be passed down to consumers. Just like they've always been. Same principle as the "keep our prices low, report shoplifting" signs you see at WalMart. Barack himself has admitted as much with regard to the higher energy taxes.

Most small business's don't fall under those higher taxes. And most of those that do are large enough they can afford not to pass it along, and perhaps find ways to avoid it in the first place.
3.6.2009 2:10pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Most small business's don't fall under those higher taxes. And most of those that do are large enough they can afford not to pass it along, and perhaps find ways to avoid it in the first place.
I would suggest that this wishful thinking economics. Maybe the biggest can find ways to avoid the increased taxes, but it is far more rational for them to pass the added costs on, instead of cutting into their profitability (more), and thus reducing their earnings accordingly. And the bigger the company, the more they can usually pass those added costs through, as they are more likely the ones forcing the prices than are the smaller companies.
3.6.2009 2:22pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
On some; on others he wants to reduce taxes.
Not really. I would suggest that for those actually paying income taxes, their net will be higher taxes overall. Of course, if you include redistributional refundable tax credits in the works, then those who aren't paying income taxes are going to be getting more back.

But even there, maybe not. There is a lot of slight of hand going on here. The "cap and trade" system is being pawned off as something that it isn't. Rather, it is essentially a carbon tax, and that will effect everyone, and even those at the bottom will be paying higher taxes as a result - maybe even higher than the increased redistribution that they will be receiving as "tax refunds". It is going to show up throughout the economy, and not just at the pump or in electric or gas bills. Everything that comes from somewhere else will cost more, and that is almost all of what we buy and eat. And that means that it will be fairly regressive as a tax.

Of course, since it will also mean that the oceans will immediately stop rising, it will be worth it.
3.6.2009 2:33pm
Sagar:
Obama gets an Good grade on medical marijuana (a Repub would have been worse on that front)

He gets a good grade on Iraq war (a Repub would too)

He gets a poor grade on handling the financial sector (no guarantee a Repub would be better)

He gets a poor grade on spending (Mccain would be better)

Civil rights (those that Bush supposedly shredded) - I haven't seen any unshredding yet, and in any case, a Repub wouldn't have been better either.

that is the verdict so far.

oh, on Cap and Trade - mccain is no better when it came to global warming nonsense.

so it is tough to feel bad for voting LP, even with Barr:)
3.6.2009 2:50pm
Sagar:
"an Good grade" = "a Good grade"
(with apologies to my English teachers)
3.6.2009 2:52pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
wfjag:

The market actually finished up today.
3.6.2009 3:35pm
Nick056:
Wfjag,

Robin Williams -- or Plato.

Bruce,

"Those who aren't paying income taxes" will still be getting payroll tax refund. The slur that the present tax policies give refunds to people who don't even pay taxes is just smug solipsism. "Right now, these people don't pay taxes like I pay taxes, therefore, I'm entitled to act like there's some sleight of hand in refunding the FICA taxes they pay and calling it a tax break. It's redistribution!"

Please. Incidentally, if the 36% of the stimulus plan devoted to tax relief has a positive effect on the demand for goods and services, this will eventually be good news for a market recovery. So all the real taxpayers, among whom you're clearly counted, will benefit in the long run.

I won't deny that that is contigent upon the plans going well. But you might be big enough to allow that actual policy decisions rather than an impulse for mass theft underlie the tax judgments of this Congress and administration.
3.6.2009 7:00pm
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):

I voted "yes" on everything, and wrote: "He's even worse than George W. Bush on wild spending increases and reckless deficits. That's like being even fatter than Fat Albert."

That is the money quote.
3.6.2009 7:02pm
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):

IMHO, he's done exactly what he campaigned for, serious change to get things working again.

And increasing the deficit does that how?
3.6.2009 7:02pm
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):

What I find perhaps most discouraging about Obama's plans - and the support they enjoy from his nearly lockstep supporters - is that global warming remedies and free healthcare are luxuries that wealthy countries can afford.

We have a very simple global warming remedy, if global warming is as catastrophic as the doomsayers are saying.

Just detonate megatons of hydrogen bombs at the Nellis testing site. Ever heard of the TTAPS study?
3.6.2009 7:04pm
Desiderius:
"On some; on others he wants to reduce taxes."

Why did justice need that blindfold anyway? Hey, it worked so well for the late Roman Empire.
3.6.2009 9:34pm
Nick056:
Desiderius,

Unemployment is at 8.1%. Economic arguments aside -- discussions which rarely involve questions of what is just (as opposed to what is possible) -- perhaps the person making $350,000 and upset that he'll be paying an extra $3,600 per year in income tax could think fondly on those who'd like the chance to earn that much in a month, but can't. Largely because of, say, the inherent justice in allowing AIG to operate as an insurer and CDS agent, whose counter-parties were encouraged in part by the bankruptcy bill 0f 2005, which priviliged these transactions. But it was Clinton who ssigned the law allowing these back-door practices in the very first place.

Politics, policy and justice are murky. Still, I'm a sometime believer of the notion that in college one's politics are all about grand theories of how the world could work, without thought to human nature. In financial success one's politics are all about how one's bank account could work, without thought to human beings.
3.7.2009 12:03am
Desiderius:
Nick,

"perhaps the person making $350,000 and upset that he'll be paying an extra $3,600 per year in income tax"

Does this sound plausible to you? I try to attribute plausible arguments to those with whom I disagree, just to make things sporting, for starters. It's the marginal tax rates pushing 70% and the injustice involved in where that money is headed/the incentives thereby created that I believe has some $350K earners up in arms. My own income falls significantly short of that mark, yet I can see where they might have a point.

I'm far from college and have human nature, and human beings, ever in mind. Just because our potential rentier class (like the late Roman, their resource is their citizenship) would number in the hundred millions, that doesn't make it just, or even sustainable.
3.7.2009 8:33am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
desiderius:

It's the marginal tax rates pushing 70%


The correct number is 39.6%. Where did you get "70%?"
3.7.2009 8:57am
Desiderius:
I'm assuming state, local, lifting FICA limits, the hidden tax built into health-care/auto insurance costs to cover the uninsured, and/or the unhidden cost of Universal Health Care, etc... I'm just relaying what I hear those affected saying, and contrasting it to how Nick mischaracterizes their concerns.

The people in that category with whom I'm familiar are among the most public-minded that I know. I have difficulty imagining that they would be concerned with paying an extra 1% of earnings, given that many of them elected Obama to do just that and more in order to restore fiscal responsibility.

I don't know that you do your cause much good to pretend that the changes proposed are insubstantial, or that those effected must be acting in bad faith to express concern about how substantial they are.
3.7.2009 9:04pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
desid:

I'm assuming state, local, lifting FICA limits, the hidden tax built into health-care/auto insurance costs to cover the uninsured, and/or the unhidden cost of Universal Health Care, etc


Where is the evidence that this adds up to "marginal tax rates pushing 70%?"

I'm just relaying what I hear those affected saying


In other words it's OK to promulgate baloney as long as it's baloney you heard first from someone else? And where is the evidence that anyone other than you is even making a claim about "marginal tax rates pushing 70%" (let alone showing proof that the claim is true)?
3.8.2009 10:58am
jor (mail):
The fact that we are about to enter a depression has nothing to do with increased spending. This strikes me as one of the dumbest posts I've read in a while. The entire right blogosphere has had almost NOTHING useful to say about the current financial crisis -- NOTHING. They
3.9.2009 5:26pm

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