Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 22, 2008

Obama Change Is Unchanged Policy

Obama announces a big infrastructure program:

With the worsening economic turmoil certain to mark Mr. Obama’s first year in office, his advisers say they are intent on trying to use the crisis as an opportunity to act on many of the issues he emphasized in his campaign, including tax cuts for lower- and middle-class workers, addressing neglected public infrastructure projects like roads and schools and creating new “green jobs” through federal business incentives for energy alternatives and environmentally friendly technologies.

That is a pretty standard Keynesian reaction in a recession.

But the program lacks real initiatives. Why spend on roads when better public transport would be much more effective in reducing dependency on hydrocarbons?

The best policy for energy alternatives is to make carbon-energy more expensive by introducing a gas tax and to guarantee an (over time decreasing) extra amount per kilowatt for wind energy.

These are recipes known to work. Federal business incentives will simply end up as pork.

So far I have yet to see any change from standard U.S. policy approches.

As Jereme Scahill points out (h/t r'giap), the Obama team looks more and more like a Clinton team sprinkled with some CIA torture advocates and arch-republicans like Gates in important position.

Why was there such a long primary at all when the people who lost that ride end up in the front seats of the presidency?

Posted by b on November 22, 2008 at 20:44 UTC | Permalink


Looks like Billmon could end up as a govt employee as well. viz. Citigroup owns Smith Barney. If Billmon is still working there.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Nov 22 2008 21:13 utc | 1

Looks like Billmon could end up as a govt employee as well. viz. Citigroup owns Smith Barney. If Billmon is still working there.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Nov 22 2008 21:15 utc | 2

It was a rank sell out, but folks are all warm and fuzzy because they got a "black" president. Oh, how progressive. Time rag with a Photoshopped FDR/Obama cover. Looks like Clinton's third term to me. Don't get me wrong, the thought of McPalin made me nauseous.

All Obama bleated was "change" and some generalities on what needs to be done and folks were suckered into it. I think there is now going to be a real progressive reform movement starting in the Democratic party from his vague change and yeah we can. We have shown we can organize, fund raise and elect a majority to the House (and damn near the Senate), and we will start holding these folks accountable. The next set of Congressional elections will show if I am right or not.

Buzz Meeks

Posted by: Buzz Meeks | Nov 22 2008 21:25 utc | 3

The Jews in Hollywood led by Ari Emanuel got him elected. His bro. is chief of staff and is busy assembling the Jews who will run the Administration and AIPAC found the money.

'bama is the house boy .. and he is blissfully happy with the job.

Posted by: ziz | Nov 22 2008 22:02 utc | 4

change: about-face

Posted by: b real | Nov 22 2008 22:13 utc | 5

ziz @ 4

Jews and house boys? Take the racist claptrap somewhere else, mate.

Posted by: Tantalus | Nov 22 2008 22:27 utc | 6


not only is your racism stupid it is unhelpful in analysing this fucking mess of a world we are in & what part you - yes you, play in making that mess possible. americans & the west have been largely silent for the last 8 years of our misery

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 22 2008 23:11 utc | 7

Yep, that's about it, b. But wait, it's too early. He's not even President yet. We have to give him a chance and have hope. Right!! Right!!

By the way, was Onama a mistake? Did you mean Obama?

Posted by: Obamageddon | Nov 22 2008 23:19 utc | 8

There's no lobby for alternate transportation infrastructure, so it comes to the table like Cindarella, in rags. It's evident that the President, ANY President, is only a wizard of oz, unable to think outside the frameworks of the "experts".

Posted by: seneca | Nov 23 2008 1:10 utc | 9

Why was there such a long primary at all when the people who lost that ride end up in the front seats of the presidency?

The one year election seasons strenghtens the presidential elections character of hourse-race. Which I guess is the point.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Nov 23 2008 1:22 utc | 10

Obama's riding in the lead car of the rollercoaster that's hurtling us Americans into the bowels of the capitalist hog carcass we've been feasting off. The fat cats have butchered it and sliced off the juiciest choice cuts, but there's still a living to be made off the bones and entrails that are too raw and gnarly to turn a quick profit.

Posted by: Lish | Nov 23 2008 1:30 utc | 11

the pressure is on Opportunity For Change In Mideast By SCOWCROFT and BRZEZINSKI

Resolution of the Palestinian issue would have a positive impact on the region. It would liberate Arab governments to support U.S. leadership in dealing with regional problems, as they did before the Iraq invasion. It would dissipate much of the appeal of Hezbollah and Hamas, dependent as they are on the Palestinians' plight. It would change the region's psychological climate, putting Iran back on the defensive and putting a stop to its swagger.

The major elements of an agreement are well known. A key element in any new initiative would be for the U.S. president to declare publicly what, in the view of this country, the basic parameters of a fair and enduring peace ought to be.

Posted by: annie | Nov 23 2008 1:40 utc | 12

Obama's national security adviser: Boeing and Chevron

From the Times:

A retired Marine general and former Nato commander is emerging as a leading contender to become Barack Obama's national security adviser, the most important foreign policy post in the White House.

James Jones, a decorated Vietnam veteran and former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, is admired by Republicans and Democrats - he is a close friend of John McCain - and would bring particular expertise on Iraq and Afghanistan, two of Mr Obama's overseas priorities when he takes office on January 20.

From Wikipedia :

Following his retirement from the military, General Jones became president of the Institute for 21st Century Energy[3], an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce[8] and chair of the board of directors of the Atlantic Council of the United States.[9] He also served as chair of the Independent Commission on Security Forces of Iraq, sponsored by the Atlantic Council of the United States.[10]
General Jones joined the Board of Directors of the Boeing Corporation on June 21, 2007. He serves on the company's Audit and Finance Committees. [11]
On May 28, 2008, General Jones was elected to the board of directors of Chevron Corporation.

... but the progressive left is still in overdose. We'll get that change alright, but it wont be the change we sought, it will be change for the worse. As things are looking now, much, much worse.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 23 2008 2:05 utc | 13

After being backbenchers for so long, it seems the dems are putting it together as an ironclad Democratic party (with a big D). They probably think all big players gotta be on the team, including the Clintons, especially the Clintons if even Lieberman is allowed to stay. While it's not all bad to hit the ground running with the best experience available (watch the blue dogs run tail between their legs) I don't see where their biggest resistance is going to be the Republicans (they're toast) - it's going to be the monumental, non party, challenges that are most likely to smack them upside the head. And these challenges do indeed require a major outside perspective, if they have anything other than a prayer chance in solving. It'll probably be like launching a new warship, with so much armor that it sinks before getting out of harbor.

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 23 2008 2:08 utc | 14

It is a sad indictment that roads and bridges instead of national electric-comm backbone is the Obama "incentive plan", roads and bridges being state agencies, $T's going into state general funds, becoming a bailout for the civil servants and the trade unionists. There's no picks, shovels or wheelbarrow work for Out of Luck Chuck this go-around, and anyway, gas is cheap again and electric cars were never more than 3% of gross, so let's build more bridges for homeless to sleep under.

You could buy 40 acres, enough to live even survive on, for $100 during the First Great Depression. Today that 40 acres would cost you $400,000 you'll never have, no water rights, environmentalists up your ass telling you that you can't cut your trees or range your cattle, bled by property taxes, revenue agents and mad welfare tax dole white lab-coat scientists planning hydroponic skyscrapers with $100 tomatoes, we're all of US, the ungravied ones, just Salad Fingers sharecroppers now!

Posted by: Freedom AsFee | Nov 23 2008 2:22 utc | 15

You want a higher gas tax, when public transportation to help people get to work is woeful in most places? Higher prices and static wages make spending impossible, and will lead to the collapse of retail.

Be real.

Posted by: Harry Haller | Nov 23 2008 3:25 utc | 16

hh16) agreed, but roads spending already in the pipeline went way over this summer thanks to Buffet and his cronies rolling out of real estate and into commodities, now all the state DOT's and state general funds are massively broke, that, and lack of any audits which would show many states invested general fund surpluses into the same derivatives and hedge funds everyone else lost money on, (duhh!!) so we'll go even deeper into Fed deficit to bail out the state lard asses and lard brains to hide their gambling, and fix crumbling roads across the rust belt where everyone is leaving, and do little but bandaids for states where everyone is moving to, where both cars and public transit uses the same clogged freeways, eight lanes wide and still the 1/2-hour commute now takes 2-hours ... each way!

**Why not a Federal mandate to let any employees who can tele-commute?**

There's plenty of ever-presence S/W out there, employers can count click-strokes, can log your activity, can even view your desktop remotely while you do you work, and skype or tokbox voice/video. Why then in mammon's name are we investing in more freeways, inefficiently distributed, and ignoring the huge electrical and internet backbone we're going to need in the 21st century to meet our 2015 carbon protocols commitments?!! Not with wind power you're not. Not with solar. Not with everyone plugging in at 8PM when they finally get home and start cooking and media center going until the transmission lines glow cherry red and sag so close to the ground they start forest fires!

What insane world would we have $2T or $3T or $5T in debt, paying 35% every year taxes for the debt obligations, building freeways and bridges which are specialty trades controlled by State DOT's and will only protect 100,000's of state jobs, not create 2,500,000 new ones. Then we'll all be commuting 3 hours each way in 1.5L tin cans paying carbon taxes out the ying-yang that will be spent on bicycle paths and more white lab coat welfare wonks pitching sci-fi Winnebagos that burn hydrogen and methane, because by then, with no wi-fi and no 12.5kv backbone, your work-work will become just a gigantic parking lot with plug ins for your motor home, because there won't be time enough to commute back to your home-home, not with all the bazillion people Detroit-jammed together, heading backwards, retrograde to 1950's, at 10mph.

DTN that on you TLR8, Bodman.

Posted by: Deet Deet | Nov 23 2008 7:36 utc | 17

You want a higher gas tax, when public transportation to help people get to work is woeful in most places?

Change the places - suburbs miles from workplaces are not good way to live. Either get them public transport, or get the people back into the city. A gas tax would enable that.

Higher prices and static wages make spending impossible, and will lead to the collapse of retail.

That's already happening. So it's no argument against a gas tax.

Posted by: b | Nov 23 2008 7:52 utc | 18

a fairly easy-to-digest method of bringing some balance back to the budget would be an immediate 50 cent per gallon gasoline tax. that would bring gas prices back up to $2.50 or so which is about half of what people were paying just a couple of months ago.

Here in Germany about 65% of what you pay for gasoline is tax and that has probably led to the manufacture and sale of many comfortable and attractive cars that get over 45 miles per gallon.

all this money for bail-outs and infrastructure projects and healthcare has to come from somewhere. I don't see a decrease in Defense spending coming any time soon.

Posted by: dan of steele | Nov 23 2008 9:10 utc | 19

The two big initiatives of the conservatives this spring have already started.

One is to prevent universal health care at every possible turn. It would be the establishment of a socially caring American spirit, and the end of the conservative political movement.

Two is to chisel 4% into the budget as a set aside, a guaranteed amount, for the Pentagon. Make that amount off limits. Then in 2010 it can be 5%, "for freedom," as they put it.

With theuhelp of just a handful of conservative Democrats, they will easily pull both of these things off.

Our representative government does not represent the people who labor and produce. It represents the people who kick back some government cash to the politicians who approve government cash.

It's a black box. It's a closed system.

Posted by: Antifa | Nov 23 2008 10:11 utc | 20

Antifa, thats why Daschle gets Health and Human Services, with any luck he'll be the Democratic dick cheney in this regard (knowing where all the bodies are buried). But for sure, it would also represent a final death twitch to the rethugs if anything close to universal health care were to pass - because the people would dig it, and there would be no going back.

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 23 2008 10:25 utc | 21

Obama’s energy policies - as written, officially stated, spoken in answers - before the election, are abysmal, no better than Bush, really; Keynes vs. laissez-faire is all very well provided one invests carefully, wisely, in the right direction.

The only glimmer of light (sic) is that he is for nuclear energy, though he doesn’t say so often or put it up front, and when questioned mutes his response with considerations about safety. - He received large contributions from the nuke industry.

Second, supporting solar and geo-thermal is not in itself stupid; the issues here are technical, scientific; and how best to provide support, to what end, etc.

The US, both R and D, Gvmt. and public, seem to trust the ‘free market’ and/or to suddenly decide that staggering funds from the tax-payer are needed for ‘new projects.’

The Gvmt, rather than acting as a regulator, moderator, instigator, encourager, legislator, propagandist, takes on the role of flamboyant patron; then, enmeshed in a circle of influence, owing favors, etc ... fill it in. Bush was the hydrogen economy - PR flim-flam - but ethanol from corn cost a bomb.

The US seems to enjoy getting the very *worst* of both worlds - and without ever analyzing the pros and cons. Between hyped competition and patronage/pork there is a void. Morevoer, the US Gvmt., still stuffed with highly educated scientists, appears not to use this expensive expertise. Bush did what he could to gut and destroy the various competent State or para-S agencies. Will Obama backtrack? He has said he will, but so far I don’t see any signs of that at all.

After ‘war’, energy is the no. 1 issue the new US president should address.

One ex. Youtube, Obama on nuclear energy:

I trust in our ingenuity...>link

Posted by: Tangerine | Nov 23 2008 16:27 utc | 22

another theme from the rightwing noise machine regarding the big three automakers is that taxpayers are being asked to save the pension plans and health plans of the union employees of GM and Ford. the ditto heads are being asked to say no to helping someone else keep what they (the ditto heads) do not have.

this seems unusually cruel but certainly does not shock me. my question is, and I sincerely hope someone who has a clue of what is actually happening with GM can answer, would taxpayer moneys actually be used to fund pension plans? If so, why? what happened to the fund? did upper management clear it out?

I find it very telling that corporate media allows these statements from such renown financial experts like Thomas Friedman to stand unchallenged. Heard it first on Limbaugh and then on CNN today with that Indian fellow.

GM probably should fail because it already has. It will be painful for many but maybe something can come from their ashes. they are still stuck in the 50s when the US automobile was king and everyone in the world wanted one. It is not the worker's fault, of this I am certain. many plants have been closed and most parts are outsourced. It is currently in vogue to blame unions but non union industries are going down too. Do Citibank employees have a union? I bet 50,000 of them wish they did.

Posted by: dan of steele | Nov 23 2008 16:56 utc | 23

The only way the wealthy, and conservatives, will have in future to prevent social sharing and caring in America is to bankrupt the government ahead of time.

Steal, or set aside for themselves, all excess funds for generations, and there will be no universal health care, no Social Security payouts, no schools worth shit, no unions, no jobs, and no government bailouts to the losers who wander the American landscape, scraping to put two nickels together, and voting every four years.

They asked for it, and now they've got it.

They went for the American Dream, when they should have gone for the American Family. Now, every man, woman, and child is on their own in a nation hostile to their well being.

Posted by: Antifa | Nov 23 2008 17:00 utc | 24

The USfedgovt is a continuum pock-marked by pretend elections every four years. Obama and his cronies are all members of the CFR, and were backed by the big banks who backed Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Dumbya. The USA is bankrupt, this created financial/economic worldwide crisis is a consolidation of power.

Earlier comment (in part): "...and we will start holding these folks accountable."
Say what? "These folks" wrecked the globaleconomy, bankrupted the U.S. Treasury, gave themselves billions of dollars to cover their booboos, and we're gonna start holding these folks accountable? How are "we" gonna do that? Writing to "our" representatives? Emailing "our" congressmen? Set up a lunch date with David Rockefeller perhaps?

Posted by: James Crow | Nov 23 2008 17:43 utc | 25

It would be fascinating to dine with David Rockefeller for a good evenings conversation.

Posted by: Al | Nov 23 2008 18:43 utc | 26

b 18) "A gas tax would enable that."

Puleez! The only way to advance a liberal agenda is to avoid the purple koolaid!

We've had gas taxes on top of gas taxes for a decade now, but with income tax exemptions for small businesses to buy large displacement trucks and SUV's countering any incentive, and gas tax revenues which were spent on more roads and bridges anyway, for a decade, when the only "effect" that gas taxes "enabled" is massive exurban construction out beyond the suburbs, in the hinterlands, whole mountaintops bulldozed into "field of dreams" with hundreds of acres of raw land, stub-ups and cute little cul-de-sac narrow gauge roads, dotted with faux historic streetlights, (their copper wiring already ripped out by meth heads), and a frontage lined by glorious party-favor banners and huge "coming soon" billboards.

The hinterland governments loved it! Their employment doubled! Tripled! Gone were the days of Andy and Barney, now the police force has it's own SWAT team, it's own helicopter gunship, it's own high-speed search and rescue boat! City Hall was expanded out into entire city blocks of leased office space, whole new planning departments, expanded engineering departments (with the engineering done by outsourced consultants at 20% of the gross), 1,000's of environmental employees, oh, what an public works gravey train since the Reaganaut Pilgrims landed!

FACTOID: Gas taxes DO NOT achieve any liberal social engineering goals!!

None of it pencils! None of the public transit projects are running surpluses, they are all massively in debt, massively cost overrun, massively operating expense and future entitlemented, perpetually Ch 11, laid onto the tax, fee and surcharge payer.

I watched a public hearing last week for a simple community park, as it degenerated into cost overruns of 300%, nearly $1M just in outsourced consultant fees, the public works engineer shaking his head, 'wow, this sure turned out more than we thought', (bonehead!), city council shaking their heads, 'wow, we warned costs were gonna skyrocket', (incompetents!), then without any push-back whatsoever, without firing staff and re-organizing, without freezing the project, and moving on to more cost-effective use of rate-payer's monies, the Council approved the 300% overrun! One council member shrugged his shoulders and sighed soto voce, to remind voters he was "backed into a corner" and "what'r ya' gonna do?"

Now comes Obama, pledging bazillions in deficits to underwrite more public works construction, by the same NASA moon-shot cost-overrun public works agencies who brought us the Boston Big Dig and 1,000's of similar hog troughs all across the US, with well-intentioned but totally koolaid drinking liberals all nodding their heads like it's the queen's coronation, 'oh, yes, gas taxes will insure everyone moves back into the cities', cities where existing urban development buildout is completely upside down, entire condo developments are completely empty, zero occupancy office buildings in every town across America, as caravans, as legions of commuters move even farther out into the exurbs seeking whatever tiny bungalow they can still afford, jobs lost, credit frozen, sitting on underwater assets.

Even Huffington understands the math! Social engineering does not work, not without a coherent and overweening social-ist government fabric from Federal to local, that declares you can't pave over farmland, that declares public transit a requisite, that lays on gas and truck transport taxes regardless of the regressive crushing impact that has on lower wage earners, but then, in the end, what do you get?

You get a huge bureaucracy, with horribly, unbelievably low productivity in terms of public $'s spent per public employee (Fed Bureau of Indian Affairs, as example, burns through 92% of Indian nations' entitlements in administrative overhead!) That's US! We are those Indian nations! We're all on "the rez" now!

It's a taxpayer bailout to bailout government employees, all who have good medical, all who have fat pensions! It's a "what's mine is mine, and what's your's is mine" taking, on a massive Federal level, $750B giveaway to keep the bureaucrats in their custom-padded orthopedic office chairs with their orthopedic arm supports so they can click at their orthopedic split keyboards, hunched over their 24" LCD monitors, jerking off with the other public employees, writing white papers, sending crude jokes, planning their after-work get together's, before they have their afternoon 1/2-hour coffee breaks and sneak out an hour later at 4:30 to beat the commute.

I'm not making this up. Everybody knows this! That's the joke! Get a state job! That's 'makin' bacon'! That's "I don't have to work this hard, you're stressing me out, I'm going for a herbal massage" entitlements, that's the "I didn't read the documents before the meeting, is there anything to decide?" Now with Obama's public deficit funds for bailout of public general funds, every public-funded "Tiddleywinks Museum," or "Farm Animal Science Exhibit" and "Six Holer Outhouse in Space" is going to get funded, while the common workers starve.

The real solution is public monies granted to the most efficient private enterprises. You can hire three WalMart employees and put them to work sweeping the parking lots, with three times the economic stimulus of hiring one more bloated public servant wallowing in their padded cubicle, crippling private growth with more reg's. You can hire ten Sears employees and put them to work selling lifetime appliances out on the sidewalk, with ten times the economic stimulus of hiring one more white-lab coat welfare NASA tech jerking off on their Mission to Mars fantasy.

America could put $750B into building legions of Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum factories, retooled to churn out UNESCO peanut butter and powdered milk nutrition bars by the bazillions, so that every kid in school in every town in America can have at least a nutritious breakfast, so that someday America can return to full employment with a fully-educated workforce.

b, the only thing that works to restore a shattered and made-bankrupt economy is "bubble up" private spending, not "casino capitalism" and not more "socialist government". Helicopter Ben was right ... too bad he was just practicing his standup routine.

"Mr. Obama, tear down that wall!" Doesn't anyone see the Obama-Gorbachev parallel to today?

Didn't anyone watch the Argentinian Chronicles?

America is about to "change" from a bankrupt oiligarchy to a busted kleptocracy!

Posted by: Peris Troika | Nov 23 2008 19:20 utc | 27

antifa wrote: One is to prevent universal health care at every possible turn. It would be the establishment of a socially caring American spirit, and the end of the conservative political movement.

At present, one guesses, in the US, there are only a few sectors where employment is stable or could rise: Gvmt jobs (see Obama and Bush before him), includes the military; Education (marginally) and Health.

Still some room for profit in the health-care sector. Some dollars to squeeze out. New treatments, better and more expensive pills, more charges for consults, emergency care, etc. Families will deprive themselves of ice-cream and new shoes to save a loved one. The lemon is desperately dry, a few drops of acid juice are left.

Obama won’t be able to do anything about health care. Meaning the task is impossible, contrary to energy, where he could act.

The Health industry - sells miracle pills and varied products, the surgeon’s knives, expensive equipment, high tech, infrastructure, transport, advice, the caring services of highly qualified professionals, and the middlemen take *at least* 10%, etc. It has been the biggest growth industry and money-maker for years, 5%, say, growth y on y, stellar, a wonder! Never mind it impoverishes, bankrupts, destroys, large sections of the population who can then no longer go to college, train, work. Growth!

The poor with no cash or savings are not interesting clients, they have to be kicked away, excluded (better the tax payer do it under other rubrics - crime and prisons.) They also don’t buy golf clubs, row boats, or lacy underwear.

The US has no mechanisms, no procedures, no administrative lines, no politics, nothing, to deal with this kind internal redistribution/balancing, or even, ultimately, the moral issues involved.

Posted by: Tangerine | Nov 23 2008 19:22 utc | 28

A gas tax is meaningless without controlling the price. It's more important now, then ever before, to place price controls on gas....and then tax the hell out of it. Sure, the oil companies will have to eat the losses when oil prices jump up again, but that will put the onus on them to lobby for less speculation in the oil markets, and we all know, their clout is monumental compared to us plebes. If the oil companies balk, we nationalize them.

Posted by: Obamageddon | Nov 23 2008 19:28 utc | 29

Isn't tax a price control?

Posted by: dan of steele | Nov 23 2008 20:06 utc | 30

How so? If you allow the price to fluctuate and then slap a 50% tax on top of it, what happens when gas goes to $6.00/gal before applying the tax? People still have to drive, yet now a substantial portion of their budget will go to that, rather than other essentials. I no longer believe that supply and demand determines the price of oil. It's speculation, and the consumer of gas should be protected from those predatory swings.

Posted by: Obamageddon | Nov 23 2008 20:15 utc | 31

Reading this post blew me away: Lambert at Correntewire found this tidbit at Steve Clemon's blog--

A senior Obama campaign official shared with The Washington Note that In July 2008, the McCain and Obama camps began to work secretly behind the scenes to assemble large rosters of potential personnel for the administration that only one of the candidates would lead.

Lists comprised of Democrats and Republicans were assembled, sorted into areas of policy expertise, so that the roster could be called on after the election by either the Obama or McCain transition teams.

This kind of out-of-sight coordination is rare between battling presidential camps and provides some indication that both Obama and McCain intended to draw expertise into their governments from both sides of the aisle -- or at least they wanted to appear interested in doing so if the information leaked out about the list development process.

Quite a cat to allow out of the bag!

Might this explain some of the rather baffling personnel decisions?

And...why, why, why?

Posted by: jawbone | Nov 24 2008 3:58 utc | 32

To vary b's question ever so slightly:

"Why was there such a long general election at all when the people who lost that ride end up in the front seats of the presidency?"

Posted by: jawbone | Nov 24 2008 4:01 utc | 33

I didn't hear anything about public transportation or high speed trains.

Roads. And schools, ok. But roads?

We do need repair of existing roads and in particular, bridges--but that doesn't seem to be objective. Or maybe repair and upkeep isn't that sexy.

Infrastructure upkeep and repair is mentioned every four years as regularly as the presidential campaigns--then basically ignored--until four years later and the numbers are all higher and the costs more expensive.

However, maybe with deflation....

Posted by: jawbone | Nov 24 2008 4:09 utc | 34

Thanks for #32 jawbone..

Same ol' song and dance...

CBS: Obama Promises To Fight Terror/U.S. "surge" in Afghanistan

Reuters: U.S. eyes "surge" of over 20,000 for Afghanistan

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 24 2008 5:17 utc | 35

@DoS@23 my question is, and I sincerely hope someone who has a clue of what is actually happening with GM can answer, would taxpayer moneys actually be used to fund pension plans? If so, why? what happened to the fund? did upper management clear it out?

GM's pension fund, like many others. is severely under-funded. If GM goes bankrupt the pension-fund's assets and liabilities fall to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Fond PBGF) which is, in the end, backed by the government. It will pay less than the original pension plan as far as I know.

@Peris Troika - a lot of nonsense. Some bad spending by some elected entity is no argument against taxing. Yes, a gas tax would make travel more expensive. It would finally put the real cots of oil (including the "defense" costs and the environmental costs) where they belong. Whoever drives a lot will pay more for the damage s/he does than someone who drives less. That is how it should be.

Gas tax revenue does not need to be invested into roads. It could finance public transport instead.

@Obamageddon - A gas tax is meaningless without controlling the price.

Sorry, that's nonsense too. Prices would come up a bit, and come down again to today's price plus taxes. Note that gas prices in Europe, with a high tax gas, were much less volatile this year than gas prices in the U.S.

Posted by: b | Nov 24 2008 7:30 utc | 36

Buzz Meeks -- You and yours all need to realize that when your 'coalition' wakes up to the fact that the 'change' the voted for is no change at all, it isn't just Obama in whom they are going to lose faith. When advisers turn out to be wrong at a magnitude comparable to that by which 'progressive' bloggers sold Obama to the credulous masses, those advisers acquire a bad reputation with the public. I really do think that neo-wise-men (Kos and the rest) in the so-called blogosphere -- with Obama's help -- have outsmarted themselves. Time will tell, I guess, but I believe Kos and the rest are married to Obama and will share his fate, whatever that turns out to be.

The old republic will die with m-m-m-my g-g-g-generation. The new thing that's now upon us (Some call it fascism, but in fact it is worse than that and the world doesn't yet have a name for it) is enthusiastically supported by at least two generations who are so ignorant that they're willing to pay money for clothing with logos on it -- just as they're willing to pay for commercial television. In essence, they are glad to pay for the chains that bind them. Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine hold no appeal for people like that, however 'progressive' they may advertise themselves.

Posted by: Jimmy Montague | Nov 24 2008 10:24 utc | 37

Sorry, that's nonsense too. Prices would come up a bit, and come down again to today's price plus taxes. Note that gas prices in Europe, with a high tax gas, were much less volatile this year than gas prices in the U.S.

No, it's not nonsense. First, you can't compare the U.S. to Europe when it comes to nom-commercial transportation. You've said this yourself on many occasions. Second, what's about to happen, and is happening, economically, cannot be compared to any year on record, so it matters not what happened to gas prices in Europe this year. It's not a valid example.

Let me get this straight. I'm proposing what the Marxist leaning developmentalists did in Latin America in the 50's and 60's, and it worked quite well then, and you're arguing against that? Do I have that correct?

Posted by: Obamageddon | Nov 24 2008 12:53 utc | 38

Re: My #34--Today I heard Austen Goolsby say that Obama does intend to repair "crumbling roads and bridges."

I stand corrected. And hopeful....

Posted by: jawbone | Nov 24 2008 22:18 utc | 39

as far as Obama's "Change We Need" in Washington (Geithner, et al), it's the bizarro version of a classic, old cliche:

"the names haven't been changed to protect the guilty."

Posted by: darkcloud | Nov 25 2008 16:52 utc | 40

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