A budget without numbers is like a fish without a bicycle

It seems the obstructionist republicans in congress have been sufficiently pushed into a corner regarding their own budget proposal that they HAD to finally come out with one. And it’s a doozy.

It’s a budget without numbers. Yep. The ultimate monument to ideology.  Hey, who needs hard financial analysis, serious number crunching, and economic projections when you have ideology? Not these guys, apparently.  Perhaps they think shouting  a verb, a noun, and 9/11 will make all our economic woes go away. In fact, I heard that instead of projecting revenues, never mind expenses, they had a pow wow and decided that if they just blamed the decline of 401(k)s and western civilization on the gays, that the Dow would rise, Kos would fail, and taxes would go down.

It’s a classic example of why they lost last November. They really believe voters are that stupid. That we wouldnt notice their proposed alternative to a real budget had no numbers. I mean, they got away with the majority of voters not noticing the Chimperer had no clothes, so I guess they thought it would not be a big jump to assume that voters wouldnt notice their brilliant budget plan had no numbers.

But while they are busy posing and preening for their koolaide drinking base, they missed noticing that most voters are looking for real answers and substance, and not just more bright and shiny objects. And any thinking person knows, the reason they rushed out this half baked budget sans numbers is that the media has been pressing them for alternatives, not poses. And they only have one answer to any challenge facing our government.

Cut taxes for the rich.   And when that fails to generate excitement among the voters, follow it up with “no”. They treat voters like children, saying “because I said so” when asked “why?” on any subject.

I know it’s cliche, but it fits so well here. If the only tool you have is a hammer, all the world looks like a nail. Cliches are here for a reason. They are true.   The republicans  havent had an original economic idea since Arthur Laffer told us that cutting taxes would produce more revenue. And that was a BAD original economic idea.  It took Bill Clinton to even make a move toward reducing deficits, and George the Lessor Bush made sure to wipe that progress from the slate in favor of more red ink.  And just for added good measure, Cheney signaled his minion faithful that “Ronald Reagan proved deficits dont matter”. How’d that work out for America?

A budget without numbers is just what we’ve come to expect from the Gang That Couldnt Shoot Straight.  When you are the party of “ideology uber alles” pesky things like numbers just obscure the real message. And that message surely is, “cut taxes for the rich or we’ll shoot this dog”.

I say call their bluff and let ’em shoot.  With their level of competence, they are sure to miss the dog, even at point blank range. They are likely to miss the fish in the barrel too.  Presumably, the fish will still be there because they didnt have any bicycles to ride away on. The republicans in Congress are one trick ponies when it comes to budgets.

And they arent even trying to hide it anymore.


Filed under Political Reform

27 responses to “A budget without numbers is like a fish without a bicycle

  1. prairiepond

    Heheheh. Well, big surprise, it’s wordy. Ok, I see now how much space it’s going to take up. I’ll try to make it shorter next time.

    Like that’s ever gonna happen….

  2. fnord

    All good words!

    I lost confidence in voters when “George the Lessor Bush” was reelected. So I think a budget without numbers won’t be noticed by the average Joe / Jane Republican. In fact, I think the average Republican will proudly talk about the obvious better solution to our current problems that elected officials from their party put on the table.

    I would like to know what the average Republican would be able to see through. Is there anything one of theirs could do that would cause them to question or do less than praise? I see their thinking (??) being — if it’s from our side it’s good, if it’s from the other side, it’s bad. How do you get so blinded?

  3. prairiepond

    “How do you get so blinded?”

    Uh, bad moonshine? heheh. HAHAHAHHAHA!

    Too much kookaide? Or willful ignorance?

    All of the above, I’d guess.

  4. fnord

    Here it is, from one who professes to be the GOP leader —

    “Steele also brushed aside charges that his initial weeks as GOP lead have been marked by a series of damaging gaffes, including his initial criticism of Rush Limbaugh and his subsequent apology to the popular talk radio host.

    “I am a cause and effect kind of guy,” he said. “So if I do something there’s is a reason for it. Even if it may look like a mistake, a gaffe, there is a rational, there is a logic behind it.”

    “It’s all strategic,” Steele added.”

    So, no mistakes have been made! I’m thinking this may be one place you’ll find total agreement from those contending to be the GOP leader. You could paraphrase a famous movie line and make it say, “Being a Republican means never having to say you’re sorry!”

  5. jammer5

    Numbers? We don’t need no stinkin’ numbers! Besides, we got Rush, Hannity, O’Reilly, Coulter and a whole bunch of other white folk. And we got Steele to bring us bling; he said so hisself.

    “Two days later, Boehner held up a blue booklet at a press conference and declared, “Here it is, Mr. President.”

    The Republican Road to Recovery, as the 19-page document is titled, is a three-part outline of where congressional Republicans stand on Obama’s budget plan. Curbing government spending, creating jobs and lowering taxes, and controlling the debt are the foundations of the Republican’s argument. Much of the “Road to Recovery” is specific criticisms of the Democrat budget and policies, like energy and health care reform.

    However, it is not a budget. There is no plan for government spending, nor are there tables illustrating how money will be allocated. When reporters received copies of the document, they realized that an alternative Republican budget wasn’t going to be announced, even though the press conference was supposed to be the announcement of that budget.

    According to the Huffington Post, reporters began questioning Boehner on specifics. “Are you going to have any further details on this today?” one reporter asked. “On what?” responded Boehner. “There’s no detail in here,” the reporter explained.””

    No mistakes, no budget, no plan, no party. The Grand Old Party has degraded to the Bland No Party. The is what happens when they let the Religious Right take over. God and the Bible is enough for them. Why should they need anything else?

  6. annie_moose

    Speaking of budgets here’s one plan to flush 1.1 trillion down the rat hole



    Dear Reader: Please give me 8 minutes to explain the $1.1 trillion federal government Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP).

    Start here with this simple example. It’s a coin toss. Heads you win $100; tails you get nothing. How much would you pay to play? You can play as many times as you wish. Answer: not more that $50. For less than $50, you would play as often as you can. $50 is your breakeven; only a fool would pay more.

    Now add Tim Geithner as your partner. He matches what you invest but you, and only you, get to set the price to play. Answer: you put up no more than $25 as the investor and that means he matches your number. At under $25 you play as much as you can. $25 is your breakeven as the investor; $50 is still the breakeven for the coin flip.

    Now let’s add some of the leverage from the FDIC.

    Suppose that the FDIC will loan you $40 as a non-recourse loan. You and Geithner each put up $5 for a total of $10 and, adding in the loan money, you pay $50 to play, just as before. If you get heads, you pay off the loan of $40, and you and Geithner split the rest. That means you get $30 for your $5 and so does he. Remember, you set the price to play. If you get tails you get nothing and lose $5, Geithner loses $5, and the FDIC loses $40.

    Now suppose we have an auction to decide who will play.

    The highest bidder wins the right to play as many times as he wishes. With this example the breakeven price rises from $50 to $70. At $70 you put up $15; Geithner puts up $15 and the FDIC still loans $40. Half the time you will win $100 and use $40 to pay off the FDIC, leaving $60 for you to split with Geithner. You will get $30 back for each $15 you play, when you win. The other half of the time you will get zero, since it’s still a coin flip risk.

    Notice that the price to play went from a $50 breakeven to a $70 breakeven. This happened while the odds remained a 50-50 coin flip.

    Also notice that the leverage ratio was low when you put up $15, Geithner put up $15, and the FDIC put up $40. Under the Treasury PPIP plan the leverage ratio can go as high as 6 to 1. Using the full 6:1 leverage ratio, a coin-flip breakeven point would be about $3.57 for the investor.

  7. prairiepond

    Auggggggggggg Annie Moose. I wish you weren’t so dead on correct with that post.

    Yet another scam.

  8. Very well said.
    Sure glad I didn’t hafta butcher this topic.

  9. prairiepond


    I’ve got the hatchet in my hand. You want I should bloody up sumpin’ else?

    Do we have the bandwidth? 🙂

  10. annie_moose

    blast from the past

    “Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves . . . I intend to rout you out, and by the Eternal God I will rout you out!” — Andrew Jackson

    Smart man this Andrew Jackson

  11. prairiepond

    That’s a great quote, and one I hadnt seen before.

    Where is another President Andy when we need him now?

    More Paul Simon. “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”

    Woo woo woo indeed!

    They are a den of vipers.

  12. annie_moose

    I think this is where the O-man is screwing up. He needed to let a couple of the big players fail, maybe toss out some red meat in the form of a few perp walks.

    From what I read on the financial blogs people are mad as hell. Pitch fork and torches mad.

  13. fnord

    Or civil war mad?

  14. prairiepond

    Yeah Annie Moose, people are “pitch fork and torches” mad. I got more emails on my column this week than on any other.

    The cons cant defend using taxpayer money that way, and the libs cant defend Obama’s cowtowing to Wall Street and banks.

    He’s p-ed everyone off. He’s either banking (no pun intended) on a cushy job after one term, or he’s mighty confident all this will work.

    I sure hope it’s the latter. Too soon to tell if it will work or not, but I’m sure wondering….

  15. prairiepond

    “Or civil war mad?”

    Shhhhhhh. That crazy azz glenn beck doesnt need any encouragement!

  16. What I proposed “back then”, on the blogthatshallremainnameless, seems as appropriate now as it did then (w/respect to the “toxic assets”):

    Wall them off; treat them as the waste from Chernobyl; but keep the risk of these where it belongs, with the bankers and investment houses that created them. If additional funds are necessary to get the “banks lending again”, then provide them in some form, preferably by an infusion of capital for an equity stake in the entity, but do not use government money to underwrite any market for them. If these are worthless, as seems to be the current state of the market, then so be it.

    With that out of the way, there is the problem of the derivatives being held by those foreign governments that were the Bush Administration bankers, financing Iraq (off budget as it was/is). The derivatives wrapped around the pool of mortgages, some of which are worthless, and many of which are on property the value of which was inflated and now has been adjusted such that there is negative equity in the asset, will not have the value paid, and the governments holding the same will not be willing lenders to the U.S. at the same interest rates as might have been offered prior to the derivatives going bad. Thus, if it is important for the U.S. government to have access to outside capital to finance a recovery, something must be done to create a value for the derivatives, a value otherwise not there in the market.

    So, we have an unpleasant choice to be made: if the market is allowed to work as many propose, the losses which will be sustained on these will drive up the costs of capital to the U.S. government, placing a restraint upon the government’s ability to make expenditures in ways designed to encourage the economic recovery all desire. However, if the foreign governments are given the fiscal assurance the same want, and are demanding by creating an artificial “market” value for the assets underlying the derivatives, the risk of loss shifts from where it properly lies (banks, other financial entities, all of which participated in their creation and sale) to the U.S. government (and, by extension, to the taxpayers of the U.S.), which in turn allows the banks, etc., to profit from the wrongdoing in which they were engaged.

    This, too, demonstrates the hazards implicit in unwinding the derivatives; there will be many taking losses from this action, most of which will be the ultimate purchaser and holder of the derivatives, given how the same were structured and sold, as more of the mortgages go into foreclosure and the assets securing the mortgages are sold at values well below the balance owed. Note that many “good” mortgages will suffer this fate, as the intervening events resulting from the recession have caused layoffs, e.g., which prevent otherwise creditworthy folks making the payments on the loan to keep it current.

    I don’t like PIPP as currently structured. It clearly shifts the risk of loss from where it properly lies to the U.S. government. It also allows those who should be punished for their recklessness an opportunity to profit therefrom, which is why the stock market seems to be happy with it (or seemed to be happy with it when announced), as it allows the investors in such entities to gain where a sure loss otherwise was certain. Nothing makes investors, especially big ones, happier than unexpected gains. That’s why the “market” should not be viewed as a reflection on the economy. Layoffs are not generally regarded as good for an economy, but the reduction in costs to a corporation which undertakes layoffs, assuming the same gross revenues, creates larger profits from which dividends may be paid. Thus, increases in stock prices for publicly held corporations which undertake layoffs, even though the overall purchasing power existing within the economy as a whole has been diminished as a result of the layoffs.

    Annie, your link is right on point. I just wish it wasn’t.

  17. fnord

    If he won’t let one of the big players fail, does he get partial credit for asking the head honcho to step down?


    “Rick Wagoner, GM CEO, Will Step Down

    The Obama administration asked Rick Wagoner, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, to step down and he agreed, a White House official said.

    The White House confirmed Wagoner was leaving at the government’s behest after The Associated Press reported his immediate departure, without giving a reason.”


  18. prairiepond

    Yikes! That’s pretty bad when you get fired by the president. Kinda sucks for getting a reference for your next job….

  19. I don’t know who, in their right mind, would hire him anyway; kinda obviates the need for a reference.

  20. annie_moose

    “Rick Wagoner, GM CEO, Will Step Down

    When I say big player I mean former investment bank or AIG big wigs. IMHO car companies are collateral damage. The real action is on wall street.

    Prairie Pond must be interesting getting the raw feedback from the unwashed masses. How are you liking your job now?

  21. prairiepond

    OK AM. I like it fine. I dont get much criticism actually, mostly fan mail. I think the naysayers are afraid of me!

  22. lilacluvr

    If I remember correctly, didn’t Eric Cantor say that he personally handed President Obama an alternative budget weeks ago?

    If John Boehner just had his crowing press conference with the pretty blue colored-packet of 19 pages with only the outline of a budget, then what did Eric Cantor personally hand to President Obama?

    Maybe it was an extra ticket for the Britney Spears concert?

    Seriously, just let these clowns keep pulling these blunders and their approval ratings will only go further deep into the abyss.

    Some people are beyond feeling sorry for, they are to be pitied. And this GOP is just pitiful.

  23. lilacluvr

    I hope Obama knows what he is doing about these banks. At this point, we are only the lowly taxpayers who are going on the hook for these big banks and have no real, concrete say in what happens.

    We can all send our emails of outrage but in the end, the final bailout plan is not in our hands.

    But I am trusting Obama with this one. I do think he is an intelligent person and just hope and pray, it does not make things worse down the road.

  24. jammer5

    “If I remember correctly, didn’t Eric Cantor say that he personally handed President Obama an alternative budget weeks ago?”

    Yes, he did. It was his personally autographed copy (by George Bush, in block letters) of ‘My Pet Goat’ with relevant passages highlighted in yellow.

    Da.. this tooth hurts.

    • lilacluvr

      My Pet Goat…forever embedded in our memory banks as one of those moments. But, GWB gave us so many of those moments…didn’t he?

      The late-night comedians had a field day with George for 8 long…..long years.

  25. fnord

    Along the lines of laughing to keep from crying…