Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Then I Guess the Department of Commerce is a Communist Front ...

I got into an argument at work a couple of days ago.

Not really unexpected; I get into a lot of arguments at work, on topics ranging from working conditions to the clientele to politics to religion to social problems to what makes for good rock and roll. We're an eclectic bunch at work.

This argument centered around that Evil Socialist Barack Obama, who was out to destroy the entire United States with his Evil Plan to "stimulate" the economy. The coworker opined that the only thing that would be stimulated was what he called "The Liberal Agenda," and stated the rest of the right wing's talking points with sufficient brevity.

Fox News ... is NOT your friend.

Now, he knows better than to pick arguments with me on politics - or he should know better. I'm Republican and can throw the talking points straight back at him, even to ratcheting the rhetoric up to the Palinesque extreme (although I have to wash my hands afterward). I also come prepared with counterarguments, as I am trained and educated to study all aspects of an issue. In regard to my Party affiliation, I had my dogma put down a long time ago.

In regard to his stated premise that the government cannot create jobs, I asked him if he got his job as a result of Federal grant money to law enforcement (he didn't, but it's fun to watch people goggle at me). I also asked him if the people who search my shoes at airports are just doing it for the hell of it, and pointed out that the Transportation Security Administration is part of the government.

He huffed at me and then spewed another talking point: That spending cannot revive the economy.

I directed him to the graphic seen here:

(Graphic care of Devilstower at Daily Kos.)

The graph shows that the Gross Domestic Product sank starting in 1929 under the Hoover Administration, reaching its lowest point in 1933. By 'lowest point,' we may safely assume that GDP growth was zero or just under the line into negative growth.

Now, look at the graph again. FDR started the New Deal, with an avalanche of government spending on roads, dams, infrastructure, the Tennessee Valley Authority (which enabled millions in rural areas to enter the Twentieth Century), etc. In 1937 FDR cut the New Deal spending in order to balance the budget and the resulting downturn was the Recession of 1937.

Still, study the graph. Take a good long steamy gawk at it. After the recession ended, GDP resumed its upward march until the start of the Second World War.

I made my point to my coworker, who huffed at me. He then started going on again at how Evil Socialist Obama was being an Evil Socialist by wanting to cut CEO pay for those companies that take Uncle Sam's money.

Well, I'm one of the taxpayers who feels that if you take my money you godsdamned well better do what I say, and those companies that don't want to play, don't have to accept a penny and can sink or swim on their own merits (and don't give me that "too big to fail" bullshit). I asked El Coworker if governmental freezing of wages and prices makes one Socialist.

He said Yes, and I pointed out that the Nixon Administration did exactly that - and call him what you will, you could never get away with calling Nixon a lefty on anything.

He then brought up the Recession of 1981 and Reagan's tax cuts. I pointed out that in addition to cutting taxes Reagan also slashed social programs and jacked defense spending up to astronomic heights. But, said El Coworker, defense spending doesn't stimulate the economy.

I gave him my Pitying Look (CDT 19.4-a) and asked him where all the sparkling new tanks, planes, guns and bombs came from as a result of Reagan's defense budget. I rather doubted that they came from Israel - or maybe we bought them from the Soviet Union, and just repainted them? I then said that even defense spending provides jobs - even though by GOP Chariman Michael Steele's criteria, soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen don't qualify as "workers" with actual "jobs."

El Coworker stopped huffing at me and started grumping at me, called me a Liberal and walked away.

Time elapsed: About thirty minutes.

Winning another argument: Priceless.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

These people can't argue effectively Walt....because they really don't know anything.....they just remember a few Rush or Fox talking points....As for truth ..... they really don't care about it. They are happy in their ignorance.....and feel threatened by truth.

10:43 AM EST  
Blogger nunya said...

"But, said El Coworker, defense spending doesn't stimulate the economy."

I would have collapsed on the floor, laughing.

3:31 PM EST  

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