Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Generational Cycle -- 2012

Gerard N. Magliocca

Readers of the blog know that in my two books I talk about "the generational cycle," which refers to a robust pattern in American constitutional development that repeats itself (with some variations) every thirty years or so. In my view, we are in the initial phase of a new turn of this cycle, and the Court decision on Thursday tends to confirm that hypothesis.

Here are the basics of the cycle. Periodically a popular movement arises that seeks to overthrow long-established constitutional principles or apply them in a novel way.  The movement takes the White House in an election that marks the beginning of a realignment that establishes that party as the majority for the next generation. The victors then push through a transformative statute (or series of statutes).  These proposals lead to especially bitter debate in Congress and spur a counter-mobilization by those who see the movement-party as dangerous. Eventually, the transformative law (or laws) come before a Supreme Court dominated by Justices of the opposite party. Sometimes the Court issues a sweeping opinion nullifying these enactments and throwing down the gauntlet to the political branches, in an act that I call a "preemptive opinion." Sometimes the Court upholds the revolutionary statute, but does so in a contorted way that is meant to signal to legal elites and voters that something extraordinary is going on and that voters must take action now to stop this runaway train. A presidential election follows that, if won by the President's party, confirms the realignment and consolidates the new regime.

Consider some examples:

1800:  Jefferson wins the Presidency and realigns the electorate against the Federalists.
1802:  Jefferson's party repeals the Judiciary Act of 1801 over very intense opposition.
1803:  The Supreme Court upholds this repeal in Stuart v. Laird and (indirectly) in Marbury; a famously slippery opinion by Chief Justice Marshall.
1804:  Jefferson is reelected with a large majority in Congress and confirms his party's preeminence.

1828:  Jackson wins the Presidency and creates the modern Democratic Party.
1830:  Congress enacts the Removal Act to "assist" the Cherokee Nation's departure from Georgia, which is fiercely opposed by a coalition that becomes the Whig Party.
1832:  The Supreme Court (indirectly) criticizes the Removal Act in Worcester v. Georgia; another slippery opinion by Chief Justice Marshall.
1832:  Jackson is reelected and carries the House of Representatives, which establishes the Democrats as the leading party until the Civil War.

1932:  FDR is elected in a landslide that realigns the country in favor of Democrats
1933:  The Hundred Days Legislation is enacted and is followed by a third-party challenge on the left led by Huey Long (and others).
1935:  The Supreme Court upholds the gold devaluation of Treasury Bonds in Perry v. United States; a very slippery opinion by Chief Justice Hughes.
1935-1936:  The Court invalidates many other New Deal statutes
1936:  FDR is reelected overwhelmingly and the Democrats rule the roost for decades.

Some generations played out a little differently.  In the 1850s, the Supreme Court challenge to the Republican movement came before 1860 (in Dred Scott).  In the 1890s, the preemptive opinion also came before the critical election (Pollock) and the movement-party (the Populists) was beaten.

But look at what we've seen in the last four years:

2008:  President Obama is elected with the largest popular vote for a Democrat since 1964.
2010:  The Affordable Care Act passes, which leads directly to the creation of the Tea Party.
2012:  The Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act in a slippery opinion by Chief Justice Roberts.
2012:  President Obama (is or is not) reelected?

There are many other comparisons that can be made between these periods (notably, that in each the movement-party levels sharp attacks on the legitimacy or independence of the Supreme Court). But what lesson can be drawn from this history for the 2012 election?

One thing is clear: the Affordable Care Act is on the verge of becoming a fixture in our law. It could be repealed if Mitt Romney wins and carries a Republican Congress. If President Obama wins, though, the health care statute will probably NEVER be repealed.  Social Security became permanent after 1936.  The Cherokees were exiled from Georgia after 1832.  The voters had spoken.



Obama should have been a transformative president along the lines of the others you mentioned. Unfortunately, his failure to fix the economic issues, and his overall caution, makes him more like Grover Cleveland. That also means the ACA is on shaky ground because Obama's re-election should have been a landslide (see 1804, 1832, 1936, 1984) but won't be.

It's telling that the other second term elections cited came after unpopular one term presidents (Adams, Adams, Hoover, Carter), not a two termer. This suggests one reason why the new president this time around is not as transformative in fact though some of his tone appears to have confused people.

Is it a President who is transformative or voters? Yes, Obama followed a two-termer. But the foundation of that two-termer was Bush v. Gore. Granted, Bush was given a second term by voters and not the Court. But the events of those two-terms closed with the Great Recession of 2008, the worst since the Great Depression, leaving a deep, deep hole for Obama.

Hoover was a one-termer, with the Great Depression coming in his first year (1929) following 8 years of Republican Presidents during the Roaring Twenties. Hoover had 3 years to address the Great Depression, without success, because of its great depth and perhaps some political incompetence. This paved the way for an FDR, who made some progress despite the Court, getting reelected for a second term in 1936. Then the economy stalled, perhaps somewhat due to the Court, but more perhaps because of failures to go Keynesian. A third term came starting in 1940, with economic improvement due to government spending with preparation for WW II.

Obama has made progress following his inauguration in Jan., 2009, but not enough. The Bush tax cuts, the two Bush Wars, plus the 2008 Great Recession had to be addressed. Obama had a Democratic House and Senate but the latter was politically resistant due to the filibuster. He got through Obamacare but it wasn't easy. The economy was not improving enough and the voters, spurred by the Tea Party and the GOP vow to make America's first African American President a one-termer, got control of the House after the 2010 elections, but continued with the Senate still subject to GOP filibuster. Sometimes the public is fickle, especially with the political garbage tossed at Obama. And sometimes the public votes against its own pocketbook. Add to this the Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, perhaps leading the way to what Jack Balkin has described as the Second Gilded Age.

So for voters, what is the alternative to Obama as the 2012 elections approach? Perhaps voters will pay attention to the failures of Europe's austerity programs, over which Obama has no control but may impact America's economy. The IMF just in the past few days has announced the need to avoid too many cuts not only in Europe but in America.

Perhaps Obama has had to avoid appearing "uppity" to a public that may be concerned with demographics. The public may recognize that Romney doesn't have the economic answers. The public may recognize the monied interests flowing from Citizens United that are supporting Romney not for his great ideas but to vote their own pocketbooks and further expand the income/financial inequality.

So Obama would need a second term to become a transformative President. History doesn't determine a transformative presidency in real time. Imagine if the two-term limit had been in effect during the New Deal as the 1940 elections were approaching.

So let's not try to write history prematurely. Yes, this fall's election may not be a landslide, but consider the alternative.

It is true that normally the president preceding a realignment is a one-termer, but Bush 43 may be an exception because of the unusual conditions created by 9/11.

Yesterday's NYTimes includes Kurt Andersen's OpEd "The Downside of Liberty," which addresses cycles of greed, including currently. No specific reference is made to ACA, but greed can foster liberty of the individual, such as a claim that ACA infringes the individual's liberty to freeload on healthcare. In recent times, efforts have strained history to suggest that the founders/framers were libertarians. But there were probably more libertines than libertarians back then. Claims of a libertarian Declaration of Independence and Constitution are impure rationalizations. So perhaps Gerard should factor greed in his study of "The Generational Cycle -2012." Consider this paragraph from Kurt's OpEd:

"Periodically Americans have gone overboard indulging our propensities to individualism - during the 1840s, during the Gilded Age, and again in the Roaring Twenties. Yet each time, thanks to economic crises and reassertions of moral disapproval, a rough equilibrium between individualism and the civic good was restored."

Following my comment on Kurt Andersen's OpEd, I read John Mikhail's July 4th post above; it carries a strong message on what the national government can, and should, do, especially when the states can't..

Strauss/Howe Generations or Fourth Turning may be of interest to some...

Transformative presidents campaign on their change principles, receive an electoral mandate for that change, implement that change and, by thus satisfying the electorate, that change becomes established. See Roosevelt and Reagan.

Neither Obama nor the majority balance of is Democrat Congress campaigned on the change they wrought.

Obama ran on the usual Reagan platform of tax cuts and smaller government. (Recall Obama denying the now quaint McCain debate charge that he would raise spending by a trillion dollars over his administration and instead promised voters a "net spending cut."

The Dems running in anything approaching a red or purple district in 06 and 08 campaigned to the right of their GOP opponents, accusing the Republican incumbents correctly of corruptly raising spending.

When they held power in 09-10, the Democrats governed far to the left of how what they promised to the American people and indeed any government since the New Deal. None of their signature bills - including Obamacare - enjoyed majority support of the voters and all but Dodd/Frank (which no one understood) generally had plurality or majority disapproval.

In 2010, the voters cleaned House in the largest wave election since 1946.

Currently, Obama and the Senate Dems avoid even referring to their accomplishments before anything but partisan audiences.

This is not the stuff of a transformative presidency.

Was the Reagan Presidency transformative because (or in spite) of Iran-Contra and other post-Watergate-like transgressions? Was it transformative for its many tax increases despite its claim that tax cuts improve the economy? Was it transformative for financial deregulation resulting in the S & L scandals serving as the GOP roadmap for the 2008 Bush/Cheney Great Recession fueled by further deregulation? Was it transformative for jump-starting income inequality to favor political contributions leading to Citizens United?

Perhaps, then, Bush/Cheney was similarly transformative as Reagan, but in spades. And look at what Bush/Cheney wrought.


The Reagan presidency assembled an electoral coalition supporting low tax rates, limited government, free markets and an internationalist foreign policy. This center right coalition has existed ever since, and every GOP presidential candidate and every Dem since Dukakis has run on a variation of the Reagan themes. No Dem nominee over the past 20 years has run openly as a progressive or socialist.

Obama's 2008 campaign for health care reform is instructive in this regard. Obama promised that we could keep our current insurance and he would insure the uninsured without a mandate by bending the cost curve downward. Free markets and limited government with the dividend of extending insurance for everyone. Of course, this was a bait and switch, which is why Obama and the Dems now trail among Independents and pluralities to majorities of likely voters want to repeal Obamacare.

Hardly the stuff of a transformative presidency.

And the Bush/Cheney "variation of the Reagan themes" built on a foundation that crumbled with the 2008 Bush/Cheney Great Recession. Our yodeler ignores what is truly history, i.e., had actually happened (outlined in my earlier comment) on Reagan's watch and he boldly is predictive of how history will look back at Obama. Keep in mind our yodeler's adulation of all things Bush/Cheney (at least until the 2008 disaster). So what we get from our yodeler is premature evaluation of history before it occurs. (It should be noted that George W. thinks that history will look back at his administration favorably.)

And let's consider Reagan's campaign promises, especially on taxes; those were real Laffers.

You're absolutely right, Bart. Obama, as Mark Field already said, has been a huge disappointment.

That doesn't change the truth of the last 30 years.

Reagan tripled the national debt. Reagan sowed the seeds of middle class decline by espousing an ideology of groveling at the feet of the wealthy. Citizens United, Rupert Murdoch & Fox News along with unhinged right-wing radio have had and will have their influence. It's not easy to counter.

But one thing is sure, Reagan ushered in a period of massive wealth transfer from the middle to the very upper classes in America. And this is what liberals are working to reverse, no thanks to those who toady to the super-rich.

I personally didn't think Obama was a transformative figure to the degree some seem to have wished for so I am honestly less "hugely" disappointed.

I don't know what one expects of the man given his moderate history (e.g., he voted to uphold FISA immunity, he ran on extending the war in Afghanistan, he was on record being hesitant about the power of the courts and had some sympathies with conservative leaning economic thinkers) and the political universe in place.

I am disappointed but Obama and the Democrats still did things far beyond what Bill Clinton did. He failed on health reform. He signed DOMA. If you compare Breyer and Sotomayor, who comes out as more liberal? The executive power / military stuff some on the left don't care for also started in the Clinton years & very likely would have be done then if '01 happened a few years earlier too.

The times are different, of course. Reagan did various things that the Tea Party wing of his party would burn him at the stake for, including signing into law a bigger tax increase.

[some of the stuff started in the 1990s; others much earlier. The continuing tend of the national security state & the fact it was likely if disappointingly the new establishment view was flagged by Levinson and Balkin in the middle of the Bush presidency ... the article is online for those curious & cited on the blog for those who imply this blog only criticizes conservatives]

Joe said...

I personally didn't think Obama was a transformative figure to the degree some seem to have wished for so I am honestly less "hugely" disappointed.

A presidency is transformative when it convinces the electorate to change their policy POV, not by merely what the President did and did not accomplish at the time. The so called Reagan Revolution was completed under Democrat Bill Clinton in cooperation with a GOP Congress.

If you measure transformation by the measures enacted by a president, Mr. Obama should be considered the most transformative president of the left after FDR with no close third place.

You folks on the left do Obama a grave disservice. The man increased the size and reach of the domestic government by the most in American history. I could only dream of a libertarian/conservative president who would actually shrink government to the same extent Obama expanded it.

That being said, Obama is not transformative because he did not change the electorate's POV to adopt his progressive and socialist policies. Indeed, Obama inspired libertarian/conservative popular movement with no real comparison since Americans sent Andy Jackson to the White House to stamp out government corruption and ushered in over 70 years of lasses faire.

Can someone give me an example of a President while in his first term (or even his second term) being considered by persons of sound judgment (especially of the independent variety) as being a transformative President (in real time) who later was determined by "history" to be transformative?

By the way, I don't think Gerard's "Generational Cycle" is the equivalent of a transformative Presidency. In any event, how predictive is "history"? Hoover was President when I was born. While in my mind FDR may have been a transformative President, I'm not convinced any of his successors were. Efforts to classify Obama are merely premature political ejaculation.

Here's yet another of our yodeler's nocturnal emissions:

"I could only dream of a libertarian/conservative president who would actually shrink government to the same extent Obama expanded it."

You folks on the left do Obama a grave disservice. The man increased the size and reach of the domestic government by the most in American history

Typical nonsense from Bart. Obama got the ACA passed. That was an achievement. He's improved somewhat in adopting more unapologetic progressive rhetoric. But he is maddeningly averse to kicking rightwing pols in the nuts, which is what they deserve.

"maddeningly averse to kicking rightwing pols in the nuts"

might be maddeningly but it is not like he promised you that rose garden

BD: You folks on the left do Obama a grave disservice. The man increased the size and reach of the domestic government by the most in American history

mattski said... Typical nonsense from Bart. Obama got the ACA passed. That was an achievement.


1) Obama nationalized 2/3 of the American auto industry and quasi nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who own a supermajority of all home mortgages in the U.S.

2) When fully online, Obamacare directly runs every significant element of the health insurance industry and this indirectly the 1/6 of the economy delivering health care. This is not hyperbole. I spend two chapters in my book Never Allow A Crisis To Go To Waste citing the legislative provisions and current regs that give HHS, IPAB and a slew of new bureaucracies the power to design the policies, place floors and ceilings on coverage, determine where they are sold, control the marketing, control the administration of the insurers, and of course command us to buy the resulting product.

3) Obama spent over $100 billion on his various "clean energy economy" programs "investing" in everything from battery cars to windmill farms.

4) The other half of his "clean energy economy" program was to have imposed a massive cap and trade rationing and tax system meant to put the fossil fuel industry out of business in 20-30 years and use the resulting funds for "clean energy investments." Even his Dem Congress could not stomach this monstrosity so the Obama EPA is attempting to make fossil fuels prohibitively expensive through regulation, the first of which will put the coal power industry out of business.

5) Obamacare and the "clean energy economy" programs are German Zwangswirtshaft socialism where the government allows nominal ownership of industry, but uses its police, taxing and spending powers to direct industry operations to redistribute wealth.

6) Dodd/Frank gives the bank regulators the power to nationalize any bank it deems is in danger of failure and impose controls over all credit transactions in the nation. The scope of this bill is rather breath taking.

7) Federal spending has surged from 21% to 25% of GDP in less than one administration with expansion heading toward 28% when Obamacare comes online and Medicaid expands to cover all the poor and half the middle class.

8) The various tax breaks Obama implemented openly and the tax increases buried in Obamacare make the US tax code the most progressively punitive in the developed world bar none. Half of the population currently pays no income taxes and a large chunk of those pay less FICA taxes, while the wealthiest 10% pay over 2/3 of all federal taxes.

Thus my observation that Obama is the most successful U.S. president of the left after FDR with no close third place.


I seem to be mostly in agreement with Joe and Mattski. I might wish Obama had been more ... what? progressive, uncompromising, whatever ... but I did not expect him to be. His campaign was not leftist. His words were all about ending gridlock and compromise.

Jeese, gang, so what? We have a start on healthcare reform; we have progress on fighting A.Q.; we have regained some respect from our fellow democracies; we have movement on SSM. And, we have at least two healthy car companies in the U.S.
We also have about 30 million previously uninsured folks with healthcare insurance. We have people who could not get insurance ready to be insured or (as in the case of my daughter) insured under parents' plans. We are holding the line, at the Federal level, against the war on women and repulsively invasive 'treatments' of women seeking abortions.

Given the intense hatred and hostility to this President from his first day in office, I have to say: damn, Dude, well-played.

Regarding CTS' comment:

"We are holding the line, at the Federal level, against the war on women and repulsively invasive 'treatments' of women seeking abortions."

earlier today I read Mary Ziegler's paper "Grassroots Originalism: Rethinking the Politics of Judicial Philosophy," available via SSRN at:

that focuses on the anti-abortion movement primarily during the Reagan years that picked up on originalism to, according to Prof. Ziegler, provide originalism grassroots support. The details of the movement's activities are a reminder of its extremes. With the subsequent Tea Party movement and the Citizens United unlimited money support, these extremes might resurface with Romney if he wins this fall. I urge female visitors to this Blog to at least read the abstract of the paper to understand the dangers to women's rights with a President Romney. (See either the Legal Theory Blog or Legal History Blog for the abstract and download link.)

I don't actually disagree with Joe, mattski or Chris. Obama lost my trust when he switched his vote on the FISA immunity bill.

When I said he "should" have been transformative, I meant that the basic conditions for such a presidency were met: the Reaganite view had run out of ideas and been shown as disastrous under Bush. The economic collapse created a moment for daring action, transformative action.

Obama chose not to take that opportunity; that's a shame. He has done well to keep things from getting worse, in the face of a party which is, to quote John Dryden,

In friendship false, implacable in hate,
Resolved to ruin or to rule the state.

But he coulda been a contenda.

This is not hyperbole

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Bart, I admire your persistence, or monomania, or sheer madness. Whatever you want to call it.

Joe, you're right. He campaigned as a moderate centrist and that is what he is. But he didn't live up to his Guantanamo talk, for example. He has--I don't think it's controversial--shown people like Boehner and McConnell far too much deference, far too much good faith.


With supporters like you, Obama has a lot more to worry about than the GOP.

I do not see how Obama can win reelection.

In response to our yodeler - aka, Little Sir Echo - consider Rupert Murdoch's recent channeling of Johnny Carson by asking R-MONEY: "How's your Fern?" With friends like that, Mitt may need an enema.

It's obvious our yodeler gets his jollies toadying up to wealth, so elusive even to one with his DUI legal skills.

Here's a dose of reality for you, Bart:

Obama has my vote, not my confidence. Like my homeboy Mark said.

I disagree with some on the left on Gitmo -- he tried and his own party gave him the back of his hand. He could have gone further, I guess, but given again he is a centrist, and there was so much else going on, I don't know what more he could have done there realistically. Holder with some risk wanted to put KSM on trial like you know as if our criminal justice system can be trusted. That and various other things done (I think the gay stuff is what he should be most proud of) to me made him more impressive than Clinton.

As to Mark Field, perhaps the path was there, but I don't know. He won on being a uniter and unlike Bush (to our detriment, I guess), actually really tried to be one. The Republican Party was united in its intransigence, repeatedly rejecting its own policy proposals. etc.

We didn't have the ideal vessel here and transformation is harder now than even a few decades ago. I agree with CTS. In my lifetime, I saw a bunch of flawed presidents, even Reagan dying out by the end, so another flawed one that actually did some good mixed with the bad has me somewhat optimistic.

A careful look shows various problems with past transformation figures & I agree with Shag that it is something best analyzed in hindsight.


Use Krugman as a "dose of reality" at your own risk.

Take for example this chart comparing percentage increase in government spending under Reagan and Obama.

To start, the chart is incorrect on its own terms because absolute Obama spending increased by over 10% in the first three years. Very likely Krugman is dishonestly attributing much of this spending to Bush.

Next, the proper way of comparing spending between time periods is as a percentage of GDP normalized for inflation. Reagan inherited raging inflation while Obama inherited less than 2%. Reagan's real spending is far less than indicated on the chart.

Finally, most of the rise in spending occurred during the Reagan administration after the tax reformed economy took off, millions went back to work and tax revenues surged. Congress always spends everything the American people send them. Thus, Krugman's idiotic implication that Reagan spending increases caused the Reagan economic boom is backwards.

Before you quote Krugman in the future, critically read what he is saying.

FDR had my full confidence, but keep in mind that I was 14 years old when he died. As an adult, reading history, etc, I of course learned that FDR was not perfect; but overall, America needed him.

I had my druthers about Truman but was not yet old enough to vote for him. Looking back through the lens of history, he did some good things, especially the integration of the military. But Korea was not one of his better moments.

I respected Kennedy, but he had his faults, finally recognizing not to necessarily fully trust the military. He was forthright on the First Amendment religion clauses. Had he not been assassinated, he might have been a great President. His greatest achievement was beating Tricky Dick Nixon.

LBJ was a surprise, especially his role with the Civil Rights Acts. But the Vietnam War was his major problem. At least he kept Barry Goldwater out of the way. But the Civil Rights Acts together with the Vietnam War were too much for a second term in 1968, from which we got the tragedy of Tricky Dick Nixon, Watergate and almost the ruin of America.

Jimmy Carter came out of the blue and never really sold himself during his Presidency, thwarted by the events in Iran, which permitted Reagan - apparently with some Iranian arrangements on release of hostages - to serve two full terms, with tax cuts, tax increases, Iran/Contra and other skull-dugeries.

Then along came Bill Clinton, who was thwarted, at first, by Newt Gingrich, but recovered well enough because Newt was crazy, for a second term.

I've had enough confidence in Democratic Presidents since Truman to vote for them, even with their imperfections. They might have had their "'rhoids,
as contrasted to Republican Presidents (excepting Ike and even Bush 41) who were perfect a**h***s.

We may never get a perfect President, in whom any one of us may have full confidence. As Kurt Vonnegut used to say "So it goes."

Our yodeler's economics readings seem to have stopped with Hayek such that he is such a zero on both the macro and micro economics levels. Keep in mind our yodeler's adulation of all things Bush/Cheney (except his abandonment like a rat of the ship in 2008). Now he cites to his own work of "Friction" on economics, apparently written while under the influence of second-hand DUI fumes. What a maroon!


Are you capable of addressing the merits of my posts rather than engaging name calling?

You are far too old to be acting like a 6 year old.


With supporters like you, Obama has a lot more to worry about than the GOP.

I do not see how Obama can win reelection.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 11:19 PM

You set the bar pretty high with your support for Mittens... Idiot...

More good stuff. Krugman IS using %GDP, Bart. And how does a recovery excuse Reagan for spending? Better yet, how does a recovery excuse Reagan tripling the debt?!

The memory may be the second thing to go for someone hoping to turn 82 next month, but I do remember a discussion at this Blog on economics not that long ago. It took place in connection with an April 2, 2012 post by Gerard "Don't Throus Rocks at the Tiger. The comment thread was long and lively. Here's one comment by our yodeler:



You really do not want to argue economics with me. I minored in the subject in university, my book shelves are filled with economics tracts from Hayek to Marx, and my first book broke down modern U.S. economic theory.

A few inconvenient facts for your consumption:

> Hoover was a progressive whose imposition of the Smoot Hawley tariff and a millionaire's tax, in part to fund public works projects, caused and deepened the Great Depression.

> The country remained in Depression throughout the New Deal. This was America's first recovery-less L-shaped recession.

> The obscene notion that war creates economic growth by creating demand from extremely hazardous military make-work and destroying billions of dollars in war materials has no basis in reality.

> In reality, the private economy did not recover from the Great Depression until the late 40s when we freed international trade and leashed the union movement.

> The Clinton administration with some help from the GOP directed and subsidized the creation of the subprime home mortgage market, whose later mass default caused the Great Recession. Bush had next to nothing to do with this.

> Obama's $4 trillion borrowing and spending spree did nothing to "stimulate" the economy. The end result was America's second recovery-less L-shaped recession, which produced less growth than the standard business cycle recovery which Obama's economic team used as a comparison in its January 2009 white paper selling the "stimulus."

Keynesianism is nothing more than an excuse to expand the progressive state during recessions and has been an abject failure every single time it was tried.
# posted by Blogger Bart DePalma : 12:25 PM


Naturally I made follow up comments, which those interested may check out. One comment focused upon our yodeler's identified library on economics.

I concede I am not an economist, nor do I play one on blogs. I took an introductory course in economics in 1949 during which the instructor showed his back as he put graphs on the blackboard, providing us with no narrative. But a review of that April 2nd thread should demonstrate our yodeler's limitations on the subject of economics, as well as political science and constitutional law. Apparently our yodeler thinks people don't remember what he has said in the past at this and other blogs. So, do our yodeler's posts have merits? Just sit on one and enjoy the splinters.


More good stuff. Krugman IS using %GDP

That chart makes no reference to GDP and, if it does reflect spending as a percentage of GDP, then both the Reagan and Obama lines are completely wrong.

Bart. And how does a recovery excuse Reagan for spending?

No excuses. Reagan made a conscious decision to borrow money to build up the military during a recession to win the Cold War. Reagan should both be debited for that borrowing and credited for the peace dividend that followed when defense spending as a percentage of GDP halved in the 90s.

Andrew Koppelman's "Respect and Contempt in Constitutional Law, or, Is Jack Balkin Heartbreaking?" contribution to the Symposium on Jack's "Constitutional Redemption" includes this beginning at page 1139:

"Hilary Putnam, reflecting on the callous minimal-state beliefs of his Harvard colleague Robert Nozick, observed that, while he respected Nozick's mind and character, 'I feel contempt (or something in that ballpark) for a certain complex of emotions and judgments in him.' There is, Putnam argued, 'no contradiction between having a fundamental liking and respect for someone and still regarding something in him as an intellectual and moral weakness.' The proper stance is an 'ambivalent attitude of respectful contempt.' 68"

Footnote 68 refers to Putnam's book "Reason, Truth and History (1981), and continues: "Perhaps it is a hopeful sign that, in the end, Nozick was converted. See Robert Nozick, The Examined Life 286-87 (1989). ('The libertarian position I once propounded now seems to me seriously inadequate, in part because it did not fully knit the humane considerations and joint cooperative activities it left room for more closely into its fabric.')"

As I read this, I thought of Randy Barnett, who has put up a serious of posts at VC of quite defensive natures. The extensive comments have not been very flattering of Randy's reactions to CJ Roberts' ACA opinion. Randy, an avowed libertarian, may now be beyond contempt that is respectful.

Our yodeler's "J'accuse":

"You are far too old to be acting like a 6 year old."

has rejuvenated me:

Paul Krugman is of the Saltwater School of Economics and most of his critics are of the Freshwater School of Economics [see Wikipedia for details] whereas our yodeler is of the Piddle School of Economics.

Correction: In the closing paragraph of my 3:54 PM comment, "serious" should be "series," although Randy may have been serious.

Ok, Bart, so you don't dispute Krugman when he writes,

"At this point in the Reagan recovery government spending had risen 11.6 percent; this time around it’s actually down by 2.6 percent. So if we had followed the Reagan track, spending would be almost 15 percent higher."

Or if you do perhaps you can cite to some credible economist and not expect us to take it on your say so alone. Cuz 'credibility' you ain't.


Ok, Bart, so you don't dispute Krugman when he writes, "At this point in the Reagan recovery government spending had risen 11.6 percent; this time around it’s actually down by 2.6 percent. So if we had followed the Reagan track, spending would be almost 15 percent higher."

I don't? It's a complete lie.

Reagan spending as a percentage of GDP normalized for inflation nudged up from 21.5% of GDP in FY 1981 (the last Carter budget) to 21.7% of GDP in FY 1984.

Obama spending spiked from the 21.4% of GDP in FY 2008 (the last Bush Budget) to 24.3% of GDP in FY2012.


1) The Dems refused to enact the FY2009 budget when it was due in October 2008 before the election. Obama and the Dem Congress enacted it after the fact in April 2009 with a massive baseline spending spike. This did not even include the "stimulus" and S-Chip spending increases.

2) The FY 2008 budget did not include the Bush/Dem TARP bill. However, Bush only made bank and auto loans from that bill and nearly all of those have been paid back with interest. Nearly all lost TARP spending is Obama's.

3) Krugman appears to be falsely giving credit to Bush for the FY2009 spending including all the Obama stimulus, TARP and baseline increases. Another political hack tried this argument a couple months ago and it was repeated by the Obama reelection campaign until even the Dem media rejected the lie.

As I posted before, use Krugman at your own risk. The liar will burn you in arguments.

Our yodeler as an economist has once again wet himself.

Bart, you linked to charts compiled by a self-described partisan whom I've never heard of and have no reason to trust.

If Krugman is telling lies don't you think conservative experts with reputations to uphold--Cochrane, Lucas, Mankiw etc--would protest? Show me a credible refutation and I'll look at it carefully.

mattski said...

Bart, you linked to charts compiled by a self-described partisan whom I've never heard of and have no reason to trust.

As opposed to citing Paul Krugman for anything having to do with macroeconomics? links to the government data it uses. Go look at the upper right hand column of the home page.

If Krugman is telling lies don't you think conservative experts with reputations to uphold--Cochrane, Lucas, Mankiw etc--would protest?

Academics tend to have one another's backs. Even so, Mankiw and Cochrane hold a barely contained contempt for Krugamn's antics as a pundit.

Show me a credible refutation and I'll look at it carefully.

I have detailed for you where Krugman is lying. You don't like, go to the original government data to confirm it.

Our yodeler's pants are on fire thus the benefit of his piddle.

Consider again his "Don't mess with Texas" challenge to me on an earlier thread (repeated above):

"You really do not want to argue economics with me. I minored in the subject in university, my book shelves are filled with economics tracts from Hayek to Marx, and my first book broke down modern U.S. economic theory."

Image an economics library from "Hayek to Marx" that marches backwards in time.

And how has that "first book" been accepted in the economics community? Is it called "Economics zero-ought-zero" in academia?

Can't wait for that second book and the third book. Imagine if our yodeler had majored in economics. I'd nominate him for the "NO BALLS" prize myself.

But seriously, calling someone a liar calls for proof, not poof.


In case you missed it, a gentleman by the appropriate name of Nutting incredibly claimed that Obama raised spending by the smallest amount since the 1950s:

The Obama administration repeated this claim until the Dem press (the WP and AP) of all organizations body slammed it:

Although Krugman as usual does does not source his claims as a pundit, I am almost certain he is offering the same throughly debunked Nutting numbers.

Bart, thanks for the cites. This is from your WP factchecker article:

"The White House might have a case that some of the rhetoric concerning Obama’s spending patterns has been overblown, but the spokesman should do a better job of checking his facts before accusing reporters of failing to do so."

Italicized portion for the benefit of partisans like yourself. Like the factchecker article says, the federal budget is complicated, it involves lots of numbers and is subject to manipulation. I am not competent to analyze it. What I think I am competent to judge is credibility.

Credibility is something you singularly lack. Phrases like "Dem press" are a dead giveaway. But with you the list of offenses against reason are too numerous to get into.

So I'll close my remarks with this: Krugman has made the correct analysis that cutting government spending during a recession will contract the economy and make the recession worse. Events in Europe bear this out in spades. Right wing economists have fallen on their faces trying to explain the extended slump we are in. And you, personally, have even less credibility than the average tongue-up-the-ass-of-the-rich right wing hack.

Mattski, perhaps you should be more polite to our yodeler by describing him as a tuchus-licker.

The recent confirmation (?) at CERN of the existence of the "GOD Particle" has inspired me in verse:

GOD's (Dis)CERN?

As Higgs sits down
In the "Bos'n Chair,"
For discovery of HIS particle,
Does GOD really care?

Alas, the search for the Holy Grail of constitutional interpretation/construction remains elusive. Herding originalists, as with libertarians and cats, is difficult, as are Faith and Redemption.

I can hear John Adams in 1776

"is anybody there? does anybody care?"

off topic, Bart is a good author. I speak of Bart Ehrman. I respect anyone who manages to write a sizable book though -- it's not an easy enterprise.

Amazing so many manage to do it, even if many are bad.

mattski said...

Like the factchecker article says, the federal budget is complicated, it involves lots of numbers and is subject to manipulation. I am not competent to analyze it. What I think I am competent to judge is credibility.

How can you judge the credibility of a statement on the budget if you believe yourself incompetent to verify the statement?

The fact is that you and most of the citizenry with a high school education and access to the internet can verify or debunk the statements of people like Krugman. Between google and the feds posting this data online, the citizenry has never been in a better position to fact check politicians and pundits.

Credibility is something you singularly lack. Phrases like "Dem press" are a dead giveaway.

Are you that credulous to believe that the media is not partisan and without bias? The media throughout the history of our republic has cheerled for their favorite party and ideology of the day.

Today we have both Dem and GOP press, but the former far outnumbers the latter. Go check out any of the several Pew studies on press bias.

Krugman has made the correct analysis that cutting government spending during a recession will contract the economy and make the recession worse.

Really? See the Harding administration cutting spending during the 1920 depression, the Truman administration cutting WWII spending by more than half during the 1946 recession, Eisenhower cutting spending to balance the budget during the 1954 recession and Thatcher cutting subsidies for a wide variety of nationalized industries. They were all rewarded with robust recoveries.

Events in Europe bear this out in spades.

If they BOTH cut back their welfare states and liberalize their economies as did Thatcher and the German socialists after her, the EU countries will also be rewarded with economic growth.

Freedom works.

Who remembers GIGO? For examples of the Internet axiom "Garbage In, Garbage Out," check out our yodeler as he takes us through what has been termed (by me) Economic Zero-Ought-Zero. As he suggests, go to Internet search engines on the 1920 Depression and learn of the great economic skills and lessons of Harding and Coolidge. It reveals a recycling bin for Garbage In that with the benefit of Glen Beck and his ilk becomes Garbage Out, including here at Balkinization by Beck's mentee, yes, our yodeler. Repeating this economics crappola over and over does not eliminate its stench.

Economics is not a science in the same sense as the physical sciences. All depressions and recessions are not alike, nor are the times in which they occur. There is a lot of history written on the Roaring Twenties. Recall Prohibition. Recall the waves of immigration post-WW I. Recall Teapot Dome and other scandals. Exalting the economics skills of Harding and Coolidge does not pass the smell test; neither do Glen Beck and his mentee, yes, our very own yodeler, echoing back. Let's go back to his "Don't Mess with Texas" challenge of me discussed in an earlier comment (which I re-repeat*):

"You really do not want to argue economics with me. I minored in the subject in university, my book shelves are filled with economics tracts from Hayek to Marx, and my first book broke down modern U.S. economic theory."

Perhaps our yodeler can cite from his overflowing economics tracts by academics (whom he apparently despises) bulging on his shelves support for his GIGO presentations on economics.

*This technique is sometimes necessary in dealing with someone of the ilk of our yodeler.

I thank Andrew Koppelman for his July 6th post "Roberts, construction and bias," which provided a link to his Salon essay "Roberts' crafty victory." For in the essay, Andrew provided a link to a Jack Balkin and Sandy Levinson article "Understanding The Constitutional Revolution" published in 87 VA Law Review No. 6, p.1045, October 2001. I had not been aware of this article that used as its foundation Bush v. Gore (2000) whereby 5 conservative Justices in effect appointed George W. Bush President. The article was obviously written prior to the events of 9/11/01, even though published in the October 2001 issue of the Va Law Review. I don't know if the article was "lost" in the follow up to 9/11. But the article was quite sobering. In effect, the 5 conservative Justices were protecting their majority on the Court with this decision, sort of self-perpetuating themselves. Fortunately Justices Souter and Stevens stayed healthy through two terms of Bush/Cheney such that the 5 conservative Justices did not increase their majority. No mention is made in the article of 9/11, as it had not occurred as it was written. Perhaps the events of 9/11 permitted "We the People" to gloss over the Bush v. Gore decision when 2004 came about, as Bush surely did not have a mandate in 2000 from "We the People."

CJ Roberts was not on the Court at the time of Bush v. Gore. Perhaps he was aware of Jack and Sandy's article on the subject of constitutional revolutions and Bush v. Gore, followed by continuing efforts of its 5 conservatives majority, now with Justice Alito as well as himself replacing CJ Rehnquist (who died) and Justice O'Connor (who retired), of a constitutional revolution enhanced by the Court's appointment of George W. Bush as President. Perhaps CJ Roberts was concerned with the direction of this constitutional revolution in his ACA opinion. We may never have an answer as to why CJ Roberts ruled the way his did.

The warnings of Jack and Sandy in their article are as vital today as they were back in 2001. So others who may have missed their article back then should read it now. (Warning: it is about 60 pages in length. But as usual, their writing styles are most superior.)

So I thank Andrew for bringing the article to my attention with his post. And I especially thank Jack and Sandy for a heroic article.

By the way, consider this sentence that begins at the bottom of page 1090 of the article:

"One must articulate the vision of the country that our Constitutions exists to redeem. For only those principles and their vision can defeat a revolution gone wrong."

Perhaps this was the seed for Jack's recent "Constitutional Redemption."

Further on the difficulty of herding originalists, the current issue of Constitutional Commentary (Vol. 28, No. 1, Spring 2012) includes Frank B. Cross' short (15 pages) article "Originalism -- The Forgotten Years" with a study on originalism in the Warren Court that might surprise some. Prof. Cross in his Conclusion refers to the decision/opinions in Heller which he states " ... is considered by some to represent an apotheosis of originalism at the Court. Yet it aptly supports the findings of this Article." He closes with this:

"Some time ago, Justice Scalia suggested, 'It would be hard to count ... on the hairs of one's youthful head, the opinions that have in fact been rendered not on the basis of what of what the Constitution originally meant, but on the basis of what the judges currently thought it desirable for it to mean.' While he would resort to originalism to combat this effect, originalism appears to offer no restraining influence. Justices may simply cloak their ideological biases with materials from the ratifications era that are available. It is difficult to find a professed originalist, in the judiciary or in the academy, who believes that the original meaning of the Constitution is significantly different from his or her personal policy preferences."

Is it time for originalists to get a haircut?

Speaking of herding libertarians, that seems to be a task of Orin Kerr over at VC - and it's a tough job, especially of late.

For those who missed Bill Moyers' takedown of Citizens United and its ilk, check it out here:

Speaking of President Harding's Teapot Dome scandal, might a President R-MONEY bring us a Tea Party Dome scandal resulting from his high teas(e) parties in Utah, the Hamptons, T-Rump in NY, Aspen ... but not at Duffy's Tavern (where allegedly the elite meet to eat). It could be a Second Gilded Age.

Speaking of Paul Krugman, take a peek at his NYTimes Blog today (7/10/12) "Sixties Madness," featuring a great chart and thinking of the '80s when the Gipper was in charge, in response to "Non-Economist" Robert Samuelson's WaPo column misidentifying the '60s.

Speaking of herding cats, I just read Harvard Law School student Joel Alicea's July 10, 2012 essay "Chief Justice Roberts and the Changing Conservative Legal Movement" published at Public Discourse. (A link to this essay is provided at the Legal Theory Blog.) Yes, those conservative cats on the Court are in disharmony.

Contrast these cats with jazz musicians. In my youth I was "hep," but evolved via a transplant into being "hip" as jazz (and I) evolved. Yes, jazz musicians improvize, with their contrasting instruments and voices, but end up together. Jack and Sandy have co-authored several articles incorporating the arts with constitutional law. Now, the conservative cats on the Court give us a constitutional cacophony that consists of negative jamming, like free jazz (aka libertarian jazz, which is oxymoronic).

Maybe the conservative cats on the Court will spend this summer watching reruns of the Lawrence Welk Show to get back in harmony: "A one, and a two ...."

Neil Siegel's July 12, 2012 post at this Blog provides a link to his recent draft article "Distinguishing the 'Truly National' from the 'Truly Local': Customary Allocations, Commercial Activity, and Collective Action" that might challenge both originalists and libertarians [I recognize that not all libertarians are originalists, and vice versa) on the Commerce Clause aspects of CJ Roberts' opinion in the ACA cases.

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

Great post, thank you for sharing with us! american home mortgage servicing Attorneys General

I likes stuff like this website and also it has now given me A few inspiration how to succeed, exceedingly Thanks. =)
batman and superman

HD kaliteli porno izle ve boşal.
Bayan porno izleme sitesi.
Bedava ve ücretsiz porno izle size gelsin.
Liseli kızların ve Türbanlı ateşli hatunların sikiş filmlerini izle.
Siyah karanlık odada porno yapan evli çift.
harika Duvar Kağıtları bunlar
tamamen ithal duvar kağıdı olanlar var

Post a Comment

Older Posts
Newer Posts