Is an Obamaville in Your Future?
Is an Obamaville in your future? That’s the question asked by a mailer sent in by one of Greg Sargent’s readers. The mailer is sponsored by the 60 Plus Association, which describes itself as “the conservative alternative to The American Association of Retired Persons.” The mailer, which features well-known Depression-era pictures of the shantytowns known as “Hoovervilles,” suggests that reelecting Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) could leads to “Obamavilles.”
As Sargent says, the mailer features “a rather creative reading of economic history.” The mailer warns that continued stimulus spending and higher taxes threaten Medicare and Social Security, and could lead to “permanent high unemployment, 21st century ‘bread lines,’ failed banks, a worthless dollar, millions of homeless and moneyless seniors, ruined pensions, unaffordable and rationed health care, thousands of businesses shut down, and a future without liberty or prosperity.”
It’s certainly fair to hold President Obama and the Democrats accountable for not having done more to improve the economy. But of course the various stimulus bills were passed in response to unemployment—they didn’t cause it. In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Recovery Act saved between 1.4 and 3.5 million jobs and substantially increased the nations gross domestic product this year. And while the national deficit costs money to service and poses a long-term danger to the economy, Obama’s stimulus programs—which are largely expiring—are hardly the main cause of the deficit. As Philip Klein points out, even if you had cut out non-defense discretionary spending entirely—completely eliminating the budget of all federal agencies and departments—it would only have eliminated half of last year’s deficit. The real problem is that as it is we can't pay for the growth of the Medicare, Social Security, and defense spending without raising taxes.
But what’s really strange about the mailers, as Sargent points out, is that Depression-era shantytowns were called “Hoovervilles” because people blamed Hoover for not taking exactly the kinds of stimulus measures Obama has taken to reduce unemployment. Not extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy isn’t likely to slow job growth much in the short-term, and it’s certainly not going to be forcing the rich into shantytowns. But it would allow to Obama to put people back to work building our infrastructure and help slow the growth of the deficit. So let’s be clear what things will really be like in an “Obamaville”: rich Americans may have to put off buying new houses for a few years, but for the most part the rest of us will be able to stay in our homes.
We are constantly trying to force the world to look like us — we need to move on.
- When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many Americans jumped for joy. At the time, some believed there weren't going to be any more political disagreements anywhere in the world. They thought American democracy had won the "war of ideas."
- American exceptionalism has sought to create a world order that's really a mirror image of ourselves — a liberal world order founded on the DNA of American thinking. To many abroad this looks like ethnic chauvinism.
- We need to move on from this way of thinking, and consider that sometimes "problem-solving," in global affairs, means the world makes us look like how it wants to be.
Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.
- Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
- The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
- Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
- The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
- French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
- Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.