Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Unsubstantiated Gossip

Now that we are in the endgame of the campaign, it's important that we political scientists focus on serious analysis, rooted in rigorous social science methodology. . . . . . . . [Crickets chirping]

Anyway, I heard a rumor that the Bush people were pulling workers out of Ohio and sending them to Iowa and Wisconsin. Does anyone have anything more solid on this? If so, I can't imagine it's because they think they have Ohio locked up. My guess is that they have shifted to a non-Ohio strategy. If so, that means, here we go again, Florida is the must win for them.

"Forget it Jake. It's Chinatown."


Palooka said...

Ohio could still be winnable for Bush, but they may feel they can ensure success in Wisconsin and Iowa, where they are polling stronger than in Ohio, if they move some resources around.

Doesn't Zogby show him up in Ohio? These polls are coming out so fast now, it's hard to keep track.

(d)avid said...

The GOP has hired an enormous number of people to challenge voters in Columbus and Cleveland (for a variety of reasons they stopped in Cincinnati). The strategy does not require a large investment in personel. The GOP have decided that voter turnout will not be sufficient to swing Ohio, so they are going for mammoth "disenfranchisement"/"targeting voter fraud" (depending upon your point of view).

The strategy the GOP is employing across pretty much every swing state is really quite brilliant. They mailed an RNC postcard to every newly registered Democrat (I'm not sure whether they also targeted independents). If the card came back as undeliverable, then they challenged the validity of the registration and the right of that person to vote. The criteria they are using is entirely legal, does not rely explicitly upon race (though targeting certain areas serve this purpose equally well), can be verified with a paper trail, and shifts the burden of proof back onto the voter.

The GOP hasn't given up in Ohio, they just don't think knocking on doors in Shaker Heights for the 12th time will make much difference.

Anonymous said...

I love it. Trying to ensure people aren't voting illegally is a brilliant Republican strategy.

Rothko said...

Direct mail works! I preach it everyday to my clients. Let's hope the GOP ran an NCOA on their list before they mailed it.

I am always amazed each election cycle by the GOP's none-too-subtle attempts to disenfranchise voters particularly, minorities. And then every four years they tell African-Americans and Latinos "We're really the party for you." It would seem less absurd if they actually helped them to vote rather then set up an obstacle course to get to the polls.

On another note about enfranchisment. A Republican friend of mine just moved to Pennsylvania from Virginia a few weeks ago. She is in voter limbo. She is ineligable to vote in either state. This should be really bothersome to all of us, regardless of party affilitation.

I don't have a problem requiring proof of residency to vote in local and state elections. However, the electoral college turns a federal election into local contests. My friend missed the residency requirement in Pennsylvania by 48 hours (she was searching for an aprtment) and Virginia won't take her back. Is she no longer a citizen of the United States of America because she doesn't have a permanent residence for a week? Essentially, Virginia and Pennsylvania are saying exactly that.

Anonymous said...

Does your friend happen to be African American or Latino? If so, you can have the ACLU sue both states to have the election postponed on the grounds that she was too stupid to know about a registration cut-off date.


Rothko said...

She's white and a lawyer. A victim of the Bush economic boom, she had to find work in PA...which she did..late in the fall. Lost her residency in VA and couldn't establish residency in time for PA. That's not her fault. She, like many of us, exist in a reality where our lives aren't dictated by Byzantine election laws. And she was smart enough to investigate local election laws thus she discovered she was ineligable in both states.

PS. SOL...DON'T BE A DICK...EDUCATE YOURSELF BEFORE SHOOTING YOUR MOUTH OFF...and don't turn an anecdote (true as it may be) into a chance to rip someone who's not even posting here.

Palooka said...

I like it when economic illiterates try to intimate Bush is to blame for the brief recession in 2001. So, Rothko, what specifically did Bush do to hurt the economy?

Rothko, don't get all pissy because you had your ass handed to you. Don't bring up irrelevant personal stories, if you don't want mean Solomon to mock you.

Anonymous said...

Thinks to himself, "God, I am so tempted to respond."

Closes the browser window and backs away from the keyboard...


Rothko said...

Palooka!...God it's been so long...I've been in Texas for a month... so I've missed your commentary here and at Palookaville...Man it is good to be home!

I can't say I feel really taken to task...and I thought you all would appreciate that in Pennsylvania, a white Republican was suffering at the hands of an outdated electoral system that denies too many in our nation their most precious freedom...participation in our democracy. I don't mind if Sol wants to rip me...I mean he's got street cred...he listened to rap...I just wish he wouldn't rip poor, defenseless Checkers, the anon white pennsylvania lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Ah Palooka. What constitutes your infinite economic wisdom? You are a student, right? At college or grad school? At an accredited university?

Way to call others economically illiterate without attempting to prove your literacy.

Palooka said...

I have a BA in economics. Not that degrees necessarily mean somebody knows what they're talking about--isn't this site proof enough of that? Again, the question is unanswered. What, specifically, did Bush do to cause or to worsen the recession?

Diane said...

Back to Ohio, President Bush will be in Columbus and Toledo tomorrow, Friday, and in Cincinnati on Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Post a thread about the ARAFAT.
Israel has been waiting for this day to come for 40 years, and now it looks like the old man might not live out the general!

Anonymous said...

To answer: what did Bush do to worsen the recession?

By all accounts, his administration is largely responsible for the deficit (Cheney: "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter.") Yes, Congress bears some of the blame for this, but I'll go out on a limb here and say that an incumbent President whose party controls both branches of Congress could well have enforced some fiscal discipline if he so chose. And, just to be less-controversial, I'll grant the necessity of all the post-9/11 defense/security spending. I'm just saying that Bush is responsible for at least SOME of a really fucking big deficit. I think that's an eminently fair statement. Okay, still with me?

So, what funds the deficit, really? Government borrowing money. Government borrows money by issuing bonds. When it needs to borrow more money, it does so by issuing more bonds and/or raising interest rates (meaning, the more I borrow, the more of a premium I need to pay to keep getting capital). The effect this has on private investment is obvious - the more money government borrows from the capital markets (foreign and domestic), the less is available for others (particularly businesses) to borrow. This is bad, for reasons that I imagine any reader of this blog understands.

This argument isn't particularly novel - small-government conservatives have been making it for longer than I've been alive (for the record, I'm 22 tomorrow - recent Brandeis grad). It's usually summarized as "a government in deficit sucks up private investment capital, making it harder for the economy to grow".

The explosition of the deficit - caused, aided and abetted by Bush - is among the worst things that could have happened to the economy. It has worsened the recession, to say nothing of even more dire consequences down the line.

Posting with my real name,

Kevin Grinberg - Are any of these correlations absolute? No. As with most things, the situation is more complex than a few paragraphs can really capture. But I'd say the above is a half-decent start.

Palooka said...

No reputable economist believes deficits are a short-term problem for an economy. As your have yourself stated, if deficits effect the economy at all, they negatively effect growth, particularly long term growth.

With respect to interest rates, well, do you really want to look foolish? The Bush Administration has accompanied interest rates which are the lowest in 40 years. The deficit has not increased interest rates, part of the reason prolonged deficit spending may "crowd out" private investment.

Moreover, your argument is only a long-term growth argument. The tax cuts and increased spending immediately HELP the economy, while the deficits, if they have any significant effect, is a long term problem.

Your argument, relying on the deficits, is thus: Bush's increased spending HURT the economy. Bush's tax cuts HURT the economy. Well, recent Brandeis grad, maybe you can introduce that novel economic theory which posits such an absurd position--that increased goverment and consumer spending HURTS the economy. Bush's tax cuts and the increased military and domestic spending, has HELPED this economy from the recession which began under Clinton's last 6 months.

With regards to "Reagan proved deficits didn't matter." Well, there is considerable evidence that is, at least in the short and intermediate term, true. Interest rates remained low, inflation remained low, and brisk economic growth, spurred by increases in R&D, characterized the 1980s. All of that occurred with record deficits, deficits which exceed in real terms (as a percent of GDP) those deficts today.

Historically speaking, Bush's deficits are not large at all (average or slightly less than average in real terms), and because we continue to enjoy healthy economic growth the debt as a percet of GDP is a full ten percent lower than the "booming" economy of 1996.

Even a Paul Krugman wouldn't argue that Bush's economic policies and deficits have hurt the economy in the short and intermediate term, though he may argue that they are "ineffective."

Superdestroyer said...

The recession was caused by the dot com bubble. People were employed in business that had no hope of succeeding. When those businesses failed in huge numbers the economy slowed down. In addition, orders for durable good decreased in 2000-2001 due to the overspending to prevent problems due to Y2K.

Of course, if you really want to slow the economy down, raise the price of manpower by raising the minimum wage. Such a wage increase will cause all wages to go up and thus cause people to be laid off and for business to raise prices.