Comments

1
The Occupy youth are learning important urban survival lessons.

The Tea-Partiers are not.

Broken systems break themselves. Did we not see this 2008?
2
Signed, sealed, delivered. Great post, Charles.
3
By Charles inane logic, because the Occupy protesters aren't really about corruption and economic disparity because they weren't going wild under Bush, when there was plenty of both.

You know what? They *also* only went wild once the president became black. I guess they're racists too. Or maybe they only went wild after the autumnal equinox. My god, they're pagans.
5
No, they're the Pizzerians, Ken.
6
Yeah, they should just respond like liberals did to tea party rallies and call them racist.
7
You're wrong, Charles. The root of the Tea Party discontent is the same as that of the OWS's: that same thirty years of economic wage stagnation.
8
If the members of the Tea Party were about deficits and big government, then they should have gone nuts under Bush.

Sigh. No doubt, some Rs are more worried about deficits now that Ds are in power. And no doubt, so Ds have now worry less about deficits because Ds are in power. (I'm looking at you, Paul Krugman.) But those motivations do not change the objective fact that both deficits and government are much bigger under Obama than they were under Bush.

And I mean much bigger. The federal government under Bush was ~20% of GDP, which is where it has been for most of the post-war period. Deficits under Bush were ~3% of GDP, which is nothing to be proud of but around the "sustainable" band where deficits are less than or equal to the growth rate. The federal government under Obama is ~25% of GDP and deficits are ~10% of GDP. The magnitude of those shifts completely dwarfs the shifts between Clinton and Bush. Those numbers are unheard of the entire post-war period.

One can make some excuses for those numbers. (Stimulus, safety net, etc.) But those excuses don't change the numbers.
9
@7: Yes, but the Tea Party doesn't realize that. This is something that the saner elements of OWS try to impart to the Tea Party base, but because Koch and Fox News control the message on that side, it doesn't get through.
10
@8: In 2008, the last year of Bush, government spending was 37% of GDP and the deficit was 7.1% of GDP. At no point in Bush's presidency was government spending less than 32% of GDP, and the 20% figure that you cite hasn't been seen since 1941.

So while it's true that excuses don't change the numbers, it sure looks like someone with an agenda can change the numbers just by making them up. Right?

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Stat…
http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/down…
11
Also @ 10: You seem to be confusing spending with total debt, total government spending with federal government spendin, and a deficit in one year with an average over eight.

You can find charts which verify all my assertions here. Look under "Government Receipts and Expenditures as a Fraction of GDP" to see that the federal government fluctuated ~20% since 1947, until in the Obama of years in reach the unprecedented hight over 25%. At no point in the Bush years looks to be about 21%. Look under "Governent Surplus of Deficit as Fraction of GDP" to see that ~3% is an accurate characterization of the average during the Bush years, that ~10% is an accurate characterization of its level in the Obama years, and that in the Obama years it reached the unprecendented level of ~10%.

Hell, even the statistics that you, in your confusion, thought contradicted my assertions, are worse under Obama than under Bush.
12
@11: You said "The federal government under Bush was ~20% of GDP, which is where it has been for most of the post-war period. Deficits under Bush were ~3% of GDP".

Did you mean "total debt" when you said "federal government"? Most people refer to spending when they say the government is X% of GDP. Government spending being one of the four components of GDP

And do you realize how insane it is to look at the average across 8 years of varying economic conditions, including the boom and surpluses inherited from Clinton, compared to 2 years of recession?

If you want to compare Bush to Obama, the only thing that makes any sense is to look at the last year(s) of Bush against the first year(s) of Obama.

13
@3, the tea party arose directly after and in reaction to obama's election. charles's argument that the energy driving the tea party was (and is) fueled by racism has some merit, although i would also add that some of their discontent was over government spending they felt was unjustified (economic stimulus, health care) and their reticence during the bush era was in part because those who would later comprise the tea party accepted defense as a justification for increased spending.

ows, inter alia, required the economic collapse of 2008 and the subsequent legal repercussion-free public assistance of the financial sector to generate the critical mass of discontent necessary to foment protest. the ows movement appears to object to obama's relationship with wall street, not his blackness.
14
@12, it's that last year of Bush that is key. The last year of Bush is when everything went kerflooie, and debt broke through to the stratosphere. That's the debt, and the structural inequity that perpetuates it, that Obama inherited. The reason he can't do anything about it is because (a) he can't get rid of the Bush tax cut and (b) he can't get the economy pumping again, which is the real reason government receipts are so down (less economic activity means less tax revenue).
15
The Tea Partiers helped to win the House for the GOP in 2010. That's not about nothing.
16
@7: c'mon fnarf we all know you are being curmudgeonly as hell about all this, but still?

there is enough of a distinct difference in where the different groups place the blame, as in the "big bad govt" or where the gov really derives its power from, the corps.
17
The only difference is the "type" of people gathering, otherwise they pretty are just as crazy as each other.
18
@17 Which is your opinion. And your opinions, no matter how many times you stamp your feet on the Slog, do not equal reality.

But thanks for playing.
19
@12: You say "most people refer to spending when they say the government is X% of GDP." I agree. I said "The federal government under Bush was ~20% of GDP." Those are entirely compatible. Federal government spending was ~20% of GDP during Bush's tenure.

If you look at the just last year of Bush's tenure, federal government spending and deficits are still smaller than they are under Obama.

Look, I'm not even trying to argue that Obama is bad and Bush is good. I'm just pointing out that, according to the two particular objective measures Charles points to, Obama in any year you care to name is worse than Bush in any year you care to name. So it's entirely possible that a tea-partier with an objective threshold to complain about those metrics might complain under Obama and not under Bush.
20
@19: I'll agree with your last post. Someone looking at those numbers, for Bush's last year and Obama's first, without regard to economic context or the underlying cause of the problem (hint: if the 8th year of Bush is the result of the previous 7, what is the first year of Obama?), could easily complain more now.

But they'd be just as stupid as Charles.
21
Both Wright and Mudede are blowing smoke. The crash -- and frantic measures to keep the crash in non-catastrophic bounds -- didn't arrive until September of W's last year.

The Tea Party was a reaction to the emergent personal losses and corporate bailouts, and Obama was left holding W's ten pounds of shit when the five-pound bag broke.
22
@16, I didn't say they were the same, just that their complaint has similar roots. The tea partiers were against Wall Street, too, at least at the beginning. Their analysis wasn't very acute, because they tended to assume that because Wall Street was behind Obama over McCain that Wall Street IS the Democratic party (I have had this assertion made to me several times by tea partiers). Wall Street, of course, is non-partisan, and only backs winners, not liberals or conservatives, because only winners have influence. They're all backing Romney now, which worries me.

But if you can't see the thirty years of ebbing economic and social power amongst the white working class in the Tea Party, you're not looking very hard.
23
On this one, @22 and I completely agree. The 99% resonates because it includes those TPers and the TPers were briefly not astroturfed but anti-bailout people. It then morphed into "blame the colored folks who took loans they couldn't afford."

I know people won't like the connection but think of maybe loyalists vs. patriots. There were many poor loyalists who got fucked over by the upper classes, but wanted things to stay just the way they were. In fact, loyalists represented a majority of the population in some of the colonies.

Based on the way loyalists were treated after the war, it doesn't give me much faith that there could be a unification between the two camps.
24
As a nasceant group the Taxed Enough Already folks were the mouthpiece of corporate interests, there is little to suggest they had or have anything as far as goals beyond limiting govt. in any way. They were basically singularly focused, what success they had was due to and capitalized on predictable mid-election "buyers" remorse, or whatever. :)
25
Did Mudede mention he's black yet? (Or has 30 minutes not gone by...)
26
These two movements have nothing in common.

Once again, you've missed the point. The Tea-Party has essentially owned political activism for the last 5 years, with the left barely making a peep.

Also, if you think the Tea Party is nothing more than racism, you're head is even further up your ass than I thought. Bill Clinton faced the same bullshit as Obama while in office (arguably worse, given that Obama hasn't yet been subject to an impeachment vote), as will every other Democratic president that manages to get elected in the future.
27
Ha ha….watching Occupy Seattle on Livestream. @951PM, chick says

"We are individuals"

I shit you not, the crowd answers

"We are all individuals"

Great comedy! Here's where Occupy Seattle learned their political skills:

tinyurl.com/3fcefwk

28
@26: you so crazy, i think i wanna have your baby.
29
@26 - The Left barely making a peep? What? Did you miss all the massive global protests against the WTO, G8, IMF, WEF and others during the last decade? Serious protests during the Bush Jr. inauguration, as well as movements such as the World Social Forum have all occured in the last 15 years, powered by "the left".
30
@26 Good points. The problem with many in the modern society is that their "groups", or those they want to support, are all farting rainbows while everyone else to them has to be painted as "evil" in order for them to sleep at night. It's a simple distraction technique used by those incapable of independent thought. But really, the two groups are not that different from each other, one was just late in waking up and is still looking for boogeymen in the closet instead of eying the ghostly hand at their throats.
31
As Barney Frank was pointing out last night on TRMS, these movements are not the same. Consider that the Tea Party actually went out and voted thus causing political change to happen. It remains to be seen whether the people involved with OWS will do more than demonstrate.

Are you registered to vote? Do you want to do more than complain? Whatever you think of elected officials, they actually do run the country.

PROTEST AND THEN FOLLOW UP.
32
This article is incredibly unhelpful. If the media and the politicians succeed in setting OWS and the Tea Party as opposing forces, then we've already lost.

We agree on this: In the USA today, the few are stealing too much from the many.

We disagree on who's doing the stealing: the Tea Party believes it is the government and the poor, and OWS believes it is corporations and the rich.

We agree that government is corrupt, bought, and controlled, and no longer belongs to the people. So let's start there.
33
This article is incredibly unhelpful. If the media and the politicians succeed in setting OWS and the Tea Party as opposing forces, then we've already lost.

We agree on this: In the USA today, the few are stealing too much from the many.

We disagree on who's doing the stealing: the Tea Party believes it is the government and the poor, and OWS believes it is corporations and the rich.

We agree that government is corrupt, bought, and controlled, and no longer belongs to the people. So let's start there.

Please wait...

and remember to be decent to everyone
all of the time.

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