Politics Matter…Politicians Too

August 4th, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Someone asked me what I take from everything that’s going on right now, from the fundamental weakness in the economy, to the unwillingness of policy makers to deal with said weakness, to the DJIAs crash today.

For now, let me answer a bit glibly, but from the heart: 

Politics matter.  Politicians matter.  Whom we elect matters. 

If you elect people who believe the government does not work, they will prove to you that they are right. 

If you elect people ready to go to war, you will get war. 

If you elect people who believe markets can self-regulate, you will get bubbles and crashes.

If you elect people who do not understand how the economy works, and the role of government in recession, you will get intractable recession with no way out.

If you elect people whose ideology trumps all, the process of government will become dysfunctional.


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19 comments in reply to "Politics Matter…Politicians Too"

  1. alex says:

    you should add:

    “if you elect people who fail to learn that their opponents are all of the above you will have an unmitigated disaster”

  2. Bryan says:

    “role” not “roll” of government

  3. C Heinz says:

    That is the best explanation of democratic government I have read.

  4. One Man Roaring says:

    Very succinct and to the point. I argue this all of the time when people declare to me that they are disgusted and won’t vote for anyone. Everyone needs to be an active voter by reviewing the candidates and understanding the current status of the United States and deciding WHICH candidate can best help the US move forward.

    Support Fairness and the Common Good in Government­. Follow One Man Roaring on Twitter: http://twitter.com/omroaring

  5. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    I certainly agree with all points made in this post.
    Judging from my forays on late afternoon Internet check-ins, it appears ‘The Markets’ agree, as well.

  6. Chigliakus says:

    And when all choices on the ballot are ready to go to war, believe markets self-regulate and do not understand how the economy works? I guess the glib reply to myself would be: move to a blue state…

    • jo6pac says:

      Yes and thanks. In 2012 I’ll be voting for Peace and Freedom in Calif. It’s were I started in 1968 and there no more of the lesser of 2 evils. I give up on the repugs and demodogs on doing anything to help Main Street America.

  7. comma1 says:

    But I elected Obama and Obama has proclaimed “government needs to tighten its belt.”

    I elected Obama and Obama has brought us into a 3rd war.

    I elected Obama and TBTF still exists.

    I elected Obama and now there is no way out of this recession close to five years into it — and as a graduate of a grad school in 2008 my career is ruined because of it. I just spent spent all of last night explaining to my girlfriend why we can’t marry and have a family because I don’t have a job but I do have non-dischargeable, crushing student loans.

    I elected Obama whose only ideology appears to be do what Repubos want him to do. To claim after every employment report that there is light right around the corner. To claim that a household budget is similar to a government budget. To claim the stimulus was big enough. To claim that “uncertainty” is what is holding the economy.

    Yeah politics matter, but only because regardless of whose name and affiliation is put in the Whitehouse we got more and more failed conservative policies and talking points. We are bordering on the begining of the fourth decade of conservative policy rule — we have nothing to show for it. Shouldn’t we try something different?

    • ECD says:

      So elect more Democrats and you’ll see a different Obama, one who can get progressive laws and policies through Congress.

      • Sharon says:

        It might help around the margins, but we had a boatload of Blue Dogs in the House and the Senate in 2009-10 and you couldn’t convince them to vote for an expanded stimulus back then.

        * not trolling

  8. fausto412 says:

    QED, yes i had to look it up

  9. Geoffrey Freedman says:

    What every politician seems to have forgotten is that the best government IS good politics.

    Courage anyone?

  10. Phillip Wynn says:

    All true, and yet I can’t help but feel we’re being punished. After all, if we believe the principle of American democracy, that our government reflects what we want, then for our current catastrophe we have no one to blame but ourselves. What are our sins? I believe they are that we can get things the easy way (I know that tracks with the Republican insanity on austerity, but it really doesn’t). We can get free money by borrowing on a house that keeps rising in value … until it doesn’t. We can buy anything we want and charge it to a piece of plastic … until we can’t afford it any more. We can elect any bozo whatsoever and not worry about what he/she will do in office … until they drive us off a cliff. We can forego reason and logic and follow whithersoever our emotions tell us to go … until they lead us over the same cliff. The correction is a return to reason and the dream of American progress. Are we still able to do that, as we have before? The jury is still out.

  11. Taryn H. says:

    But how much of a choice do we really have? The stuff that gets bi-partisan – yes bi-partisan – support is the most blatant, un-shared sacrifice stuff ever:


    And yet we can’t even get a penny from the rich even though a substantial majority of the people want a tax hike on the rich. What does that say?

    When the choice is between gutting Medicare and Social Security or just cutting Medicare and Social Security – it’s depressing. I’ve voted Democrat my entire voting life and you know what I’ve seen? Greater and greater income inequality. Massive bi-partisan support for bankruptcy reform. No government check on clearly usurious credit card interest – no consumer protection from unscrupulous credit card practices. The financial deregulation of the Clinton era. Bailouts for Wall Street, but not Main Street – only a small fraction of the mortgage restructuring money has been used (because of what? bogus astroturfed protest?). Unemployment is over 9% and the President isn’t fighting for stimulus – he’s pursuing austerity to “restore confidence.” Not Tea Partiers, but Joe Lieberman and the President are offering to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67.

    14 people wrote a letter saying don’t default? I didn’t want to default – it would’ve hurt everyone – but it depresses me that those 14 people get heard and the millions of people out of work and losing their homes and slipping from middle class into poverty are ignored. At best the middle class and the poor get lip service. You can’t create jobs just by saying the word jobs over and over.

    And I want more than jobs. I want Great Compression era distribution of wealth. I want Eisenhower-level taxation on the rich. I want a stronger social safety net. I want the best public education in the world. I want to invest in infrastructure. I don’t want poverty in this country. I want universal health care. I want to take care of the elderly. I don’t want to lose generation after generation of children to the War on Drugs. I want a more humane, more just, more decent society. Where’s my candidate?

    Democrats are better – we learned that with the Nader debacle – but the Democrats have to stand up to Wall Street and Big Business. They have to at least make the argument. They have to quit lending support to things like a tax repatriation holiday. They have to quit making the austerity argument for the Rs (Government has to tighten its belt? And, of course, that belt-tightening can only come from the most vulnerable. We can’t even get a token contribution from the “job creators”).

    And I know you’re doing your best Dr. Bernstein. There are good people like you. But what does it say when unemployment is above 9% and we’re seriously considering – on a bi-partisan basis – a tax repatriation holiday? I just heard Eric Cantor say we can’t afford to extend unemployment – what will those people do? There aren’t enough jobs. How can there be bi-partisan support for a tax repatriation holiday while we do nothing about jobs and won’t even extend unemployment? What does that say?

    And the Tea Party is astroturf. It’s not grassroots. Government-is-the-problem is the result of a decades-long PR campaign that is incredibly well-funded. How can we blame the people for that? From Americans for Prosperity to Freedomworks to Cato to Reason and on and on and on. How can we expect people who are legitimately angry not to buy into a propaganda campaign on this scale? That’s not the voter’s fault.

  12. Art Amolsch says:

    A profit repatriation tax holiday that exempted dividends paid to U.S. residents might flush some cash into the system.

  13. chuck says:

    People’s Mandy for the “SUPPER CONGRESS”

    Both parties claimed they have people’s will in vain. I like to challenge the congress to ask volunteers to the “SUPPER CONGRESS” with one pledge. If they end up in a gridlock again then the members of that supper congress will resign. This will put parties to take this debt ceiling matter seriously now that their jobs are on the line.

    I like to see any elected congress member will take this challenge on. Let’s do some real SHARED SCRAFIES.

  14. chuck says:

    Hello Rachel,

    Call the congress out. Get a pledge going. This is for the country. Congress members must be accountable. Have them re-pledge to the country and put their job on the line. After all it will be the most important matter this country will face in the next 10 years. For that, I want congress members to make some “good faith deposit” to the PEOPLE. You failed, you resign. LET THEM PUT “REAL” CONGRESS MEMBERS ON THE “SUPPER COMMITTEE” WITH THE PLEDGE, IF 6 TO 6 GRIDLOCK AGIN THEN ALL 12 CONGRESS NEMBERS RESIGN, THEY FAILED. NAME ANOTHER 12 UNTIL ALL OF THEM ARE GONE.

    Dear Rachel, take this idea and run with it. Dare them. Please help.

    A very concern old person, father and a grandfather. First time blogger hopefully the last time.