Sen. Elizabeth Warren: ‘We are not a country of anarchists’

If you haven’t seen it already, and if you have a liberal bone in your body, you’ll enjoy these excerpts from a recent Senate floor speech by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. For those who like to look at words all spelled out, I’ve appended the text below the video. Have a nice day.

It was delivered on Oct. 3. Here’s a partial transcript:

Mr. President, we are now three days into a completely unnecessary, completely avoidable Republican shutdown, and there is more talk than ever about our inability of our leaders to find common ground on central economic and fiscal issues of our time.

The government shutdown is throwing a major wrench into a fragile economic recovery.

Nearly 1 million federal employees are sitting at home for no reason, and other public servants are working but not earning a paycheck. Cancer patients are being turned away from clinical trials at the NIH. Veterans’ benefits are at risk. Basic nutrition services for pregnant women and new moms will be disrupted. Small businesses won’t be able to get federal loan guarantees.

And all this is happening on top of the idiotic sequester – drastic, across-the-board spending cuts – that have crippled Meals on Wheels, Head Start, and investments in medical research.

We all know how we got here. For years now, we’ve heard a small minority in this country rail against government.

When I hear the latest tirades from some of the extremists in the House, I am struck by how vague these complaints are.

From their rhetoric, you’d think they believe that anytime that we the people come together to improve our lives that the nation is committing some terrible wrong.

From their rhetoric, you’d think they believe that the government that functions best is a government that doesn’t function at all.

So far, they haven’t ended government but they have achieved the next best thing: shutting the government down.

But behind all the slogans of the Tea Party and all the thinly veiled calls for anarchy in Washington, behind all that there’s a reality.

The American people don’t want the extremist Republican’s bizarre vision of a future without government. They don’t support it. Why? Because the American people know that without government, we would no longer be a great nation with a bright future. The American people know that government matters.

The anarchy gang is quick to malign government but when was the last time anyone called for regulators to go easier on companies that put lead in children’s toys? Or for food inspectors to stop checking whether the meat in our grocery stores is crawling with deadly bacteria? Or for the FDA to ignore whether morning sickness drugs will cause horrible deformities in little babies? We never hear that, not from political leaders in Washington and not from the American people.

In fact, whenever the anarchy gang makes headway in their efforts to damage our government, the opposite happens.

After the sequester kicked in, Republicans immediately turned around and called on us to protect funding for our national defense and keep the air traffic controllers on the job.

And now that the House Republicans have shut down the government, holding the country hostage because of some imaginary health care bogeyman, Republicans almost immediately turned around and called on us to start re-opening parts of our government.

Why do they do this? Because the bogeyman government is like the bogeyman under the bed. It’s not real. It doesn’t exist.

What is real, what does exist, are all those specific and important things that we as Americans have chosen to do together through our government.

In our democracy, government is not some make-believe thing that has an independent will of its own. In our democracy, government is just how we describe the things that we the people have already decided to do together.

It’s not complicated. Our government has three basic functions: Provide for the national defense, put in place rules of the road – like speed limits and bank regulations that are fair and transparent, and build the things together that none of us can build alone – roads, power grids, schools – the things that give everyone a chance to succeed.

We are a nation of innovators and entrepreneurs, growing small businesses and thriving big businesses. But our people succeed – our country succeeds – because we have all come together to put public institutions and infrastructure together.

We all decided to pass laws to put cops on the beat so that no one steals your purse on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street.

We all decided to invest in public education so that businesses have skilled workers and a kid with an idea can create the next breakthrough company.

We all decided to invest in basic science so there is a great pipeline of ideas to create our future.

These achievements aren’t magic. They didn’t simply occur on their own or through dumb luck. In each instance, we made a choice as a people to come together.

The Food and Drug Administration makes sure that the white pills that we take are antibiotics and not baking soda.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration oversees crash tests to make sure that all new cars have effective brakes.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission makes sure that baby’s car seats don’t collapse in a crash and the toasters don’t explode.

We don’t know who they are. But there is no question that there are Americans alive today, Americans who are healthier, Americans who are stronger because of these and countless other government efforts. Alive, healthier, stronger because of what we did together.

The anarchy gang at the House can dump on their make-believe version of government all they want. But when the real government fails to live up to the high expectations we have all set for it, politicians in both parties rush to outrage. Why? Because the American people know that government can work and believe government should work.

Today – that’s right, today – marks the fifth anniversary of President Bush signing the bank bailout into law. That financial crisis cost us upwards of $14 trillion. That’s trillion with a T. That’s $120,000 for every American household, more than two years worth of income for the average family. Billions of dollars in retirement savings disappeared. Millions of workers lost their jobs. And millions more families lost their homes.

In April 2011, after a two-year bipartisan inquiry, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a 635 page report that made it plain regulators could have and should have used their existing tools to prevent the crisis. Republicans and Democrats, a bipartisan group, found strong agreement that – you better believe it – government matters.

The attacks on government are abstract, but the consequences of this shutdown are real. Less accountability for cheaters and rule breakers. Less opportunity for our children. Cracks in the foundations that businesses need to succeed. And a tilted playing field that limits opportunities for all of our people.

We know the government doesn’t always work. We know that no institution is infallible. People make mistakes. Ideas fail, and sometimes we get things wrong.

But our response isn’t to give up. Our response isn’t to sit back and say, “I told you so.” We’re not a nation of quitters!

Our response – the American response is to fix it, to make government work better.

Our democracy is an experiment, and it’s always evolving. We constantly re-design and re-imagine and improve on what we do together. But time and time again throughout our history, we have reaffirmed the simple truth that government matters.

And right now, right at this moment, if you look closely, you’ll see that we are reaffirming it once again.

It’s not an accident that the desire to shutdown government is confined to one extremist faction of one political party of one chamber of Congress of one branch of government.

It is not an accident that this extremist faction must resort to absurd hostage tactics, threats to turn off the government, threats to default on our debts, threats to tank the economy, to force their views on everyone else.

And it’s not an accident that this faction is doing everything in its power to make government appear dysfunctional.

In a democracy, these hostage tactics are the last resort for those who can’t win their fights through elections, can’t win their fights through Congress, can’t win their fights for the Presidency, and can’t win their fights in court.

But these threats are not working and they will never work because this is a democracy, and for more than 200 years our democracy has defeated extremists and rejected the idea that government doesn’t matter.

So, Mr. President, to those who have forced us to the brink, to those who rail against a make-believe government, to those who seem to rejoice in anarchy, to those who have salivated at the chance to shut down our government because their extremist views have left them disconnected from the experiences of the American people, it is time to hear a simple message:

You can do your best to make government look like it doesn’t work when you stop it from working. You can do your best to make government look paralyzed when you paralyze it. You can do your best to make government look incompetent through your incompetence and ineffective through your ineffectiveness. But sooner or later, the government will re-open because this is a democracy and this democracy has already rejected your views. We have already chosen to do these things together. We all know that we are stronger when we come together.

When this government re-opens, when our markets are safe again, when our scientists can return to their research, when our small businesses can borrow, when our veterans can be respected for their service, when our flu shots resume and our Head Start programs get back to teaching our kids, we will have rejected your views once again.

We are not a country of anarchists. We are not a country of pessimists and ideologues whose motto is “I got mine, the rest of you are on your own.” We are not a country that tolerates dangerous drugs, unsafe meat, dirty air or toxic mortgages. We are not that nation. We have never been that nation, and we will never be that nation.

Today, a political minority in the House that condemns government and begged for this shutdown has had its day. But like all the reckless and extremist factions that have come before it, their day will pass, and our democracy will return to the important work that we have already chosen to do together.

Thank you.

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Comments (89)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/09/2013 - 01:12 pm.

    It’s a bad combination of fussy and ignorant.

    A country raised on “have it your way”.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/09/2013 - 02:09 pm.

    Thanks for the Transcript, Eric

    It is useful to hear someone repeating our nation’s highest ideals and advising us of the value of our government.

    Of course there will always be those looking for a quick score, a financial killing, or to profit off others who will fall for their latest get-rich-quick scheme,…

    who see, in the shut down and reduction of government exactly the environment they need to more freely rip off their fellow citizens in a billion larger and smaller ways,…

    who, when they rail against government are really railing against being required to conduct their business and financial affairs according to the principles of honesty, decency, and fair play,…

    who are too ignorant to realize that, in the absence of government, it’s only a matter of time before someone takes from them everything they have, simply because there’s no authority to stop it from happening.

    Does government go too far? Once in awhile, but not nearly so far as powerful individuals will inevitably go if there’s nothing to stop them from doing so.

    Those who truly want no government to get in their way can always ship themselves off to Somalia or some other libertarian paradise, but that’s NOT the way the vast majority of their fellow citizens want to live,…

    and neither they nor their wealthy friends have the right to act as political thugs as they try to turn the US House of Representatives into their own private little protection racket in order to seek to force us in that direction.

  3. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 10/09/2013 - 03:15 pm.


    ..not quite the Gettysburg Address, but close. If only the Prez could deliver that kind of message. P.S., It’s brakes, not breaks. 🙂

  4. Submitted by John Appelen on 10/09/2013 - 06:03 pm.

    Cost of Govt Trend?

    The total cost of government as a percent of GDP has been steadily increasing since 1900 and is now approaching 40%. There is no sign on the horizon that this trend is going to change, especially if the Democrats keep adding at the rate they wish to. So I have been asking my readers, are you okay with government exceeding 50% of GDP when your children are adults? If not, what are you willing to sacrifice today to reverse the cost trend?

    See the following for the graphs at the local, state, fed and total levels.

    I am not sure if the GOP are anarchists or folks that are willing to take significant risk to reverse a very disturbing trend line… Thoughts?

    By the way, increasing taxes will not reverse the cost trend line… It will just help people think they can afford even more.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/09/2013 - 09:19 pm.

      The graphs at your link

      are an exercise in creative curve fitting.
      Most of them actually show an leveling off of increase in total (not Federal) government spending relative to GDP.
      If they were adjusted to take into account the -decrease- in actual GDP in the past half dozen years, I suspect that they would show a -decrease- in proportion of GDP devoted to government spending.

      And, there are no sources given for the numbers in the graphs, which just show the URL of another private site. There’s no indication of how “government spending” is defined.

      Most of the Federal data I have seen show a -decrease- in government spending over the past few years.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/09/2013 - 09:36 pm.

      A further point

      Government spending tends to rise during a recession.
      Fewer people employed (as has been the case) leads to more people requiring social welfare support.
      So, if the economy is allowed to recover, the combined rise in employment and increase in GDP will lead to a reduction in the proportion of GDP allocated to government without any change in policies.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/10/2013 - 09:12 am.

        Long Term Trends

        Short term trends can be misleading, that’s why I used ~63 years…

        Remember in 2007 when many thought their home value could appreciate at ~10%/yr indefinitely… Which of course defied any long term basis. Therefore we had the 2008 bubble pop…

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 10/09/2013 - 10:14 pm.

      Sacrifice? Or stop the stupid spending?

      Like ridiculous wars in Iraq, Afganistan, and Vietnam; cut defense spending dramatically; stop the waste from defense contractors; end the subsidies, tax breaks and other corporate welfare by any govt body; make sure that no state receives more federal govt aid than the amount of taxes paid by the state; term limits; no pensions for any politician on any level; etc

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/10/2013 - 07:32 am.


      Your graph shows that the rise in federal government spending is almost flat since 1950. Local government spending also shows very little change from the 1930s with just a dip during WWII, which is understanding given there was a war on.

      The only area that shows any real growth at all is at the state level, which has gone from 8% to 11% in the post war era. Even that is not some huge area to be concerned with considering it’s risen 3% in the span of 50+ years.

      So what exactly are you complaining about?

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/10/2013 - 09:14 am.

        Graph Reading

        I think you had better look closer. See my new comment at the top level.

        • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/10/2013 - 04:33 pm.

          I’m still trying to figure out what your point is. Are you implying that 50% of GDP is a bad number? If so, why is it bad? What you need to do is make a point, substantiate it, and draw a logical conclusion. So far you have not done anything more than post a couple of graphs and imply in a vague manner that government spending is bad.

          You need to step up your game a bit if you’re going to post on MinnPost.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/10/2013 - 07:19 pm.

            No Point

            I have learned that there is no amount of proof that will convince a true Liberal, I write for the Moderates and Conservatives. Just a few points to make them think a little deeper. I have never been out to convince anyone either way.

            • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/11/2013 - 08:22 am.


              Hey, I’m just looking for you to draw a conclusion, to make any sort of point whatsoever. I figure if I could draw that out of you then and only then could we talk about some sort of proof to back it up.

              Of course you are out to convince people. If you weren’t, you would not repeatedly post on this board, complete with a couple of links. It’s only when people asked you for further documentation that you retreated from that position and claim that you’re just addressing moderates and conservatives, then retreated further and said you’re not trying to convince anyone.

              This board is specifically for the arena of ideas. You went through the trouble of visiting MinnPost to read the article, created an accounted, looked up charts, and posted here multiple times. Those are hardly the actions of someone who is not out to convince anyone of a particular point of view.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/11/2013 - 09:58 am.


                Government spending continuosly as compared to GDP.
                Politicians not addressing the issue because citizens like receiving stuff that is paid for by others.
                It seems this will be extremely problematic over time.
                What should we do about it?
                Ignore it and keep spending more
                Address it and start cutting the free stuff

                By the way, I had the log in and graphs for a long time. It didn’t take too much to share them.

                • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/12/2013 - 10:02 pm.

                  More Details

                  I think you meant government spending is INCREASING as compared to GDP, not continuously. Government is continuously spending money, even if that spending level is only 1%. You make it sound like that’s a bad thing.

                  Actually politicians are addressing the issue of the deficit, which is why you see it going down. I’m not sure what mean by “free stuff paid for by others” as nothing is free: we all pay taxes in one form or another. ACA is fully funded, so you must not be talking about that. Is it Social Security and Medicare? If so, some minor adjustments in those programs will see them funded for many decades to come.

                  So what exactly will be extremely problematic over time? “It” and “stuff” really doesn’t articulate your position. All I see are sound bites and hand waving without a thoughtful discourse on the subject.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 10/11/2013 - 09:22 am.


              You are obviously trying to convince people to believe your views, which is totally fine, but don’t deny it after spending days commenting in here. And your first sentence here pretty much lays bare your political bias, not to mention all your other leading questions in other posts that ultimately support the conservative ‘pro-shutdown,’ viewpoint.

              I’m not here to question your motives, just your methods. You’re not posting credible data, nor are your projections scientific (you seem to be using a lot of esoteric terms in an attempt to give your claims more weight, even though the only actual observation you’ve made is that a line is going up!) and you’re casting yourself as a moderate when in fact you are not.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 10/11/2013 - 09:46 am.

      Blog Links

      John, this ‘Give2Attain’ is your own blog. Did you mention that to anyone here? That you were linking to an ‘article’ you wrote to support your points here, hoping that people would think they were made or posted by someone else, to add credibility?


      • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/11/2013 - 10:39 am.

        Assume Good Intent

        In my first statement I said… “So I have been asking my readers”

        I am sorry if I did not make it more clear that I am an active blogger. However, I have no intention of recreating everything here that is already there, so I crosslink. Whatever I post there has links to the sources.

        There was no intent to deceive. Just an intent to challenge the foregone conclusion by the commenters on this site that the GOP are the villains here. I think both sides have dirt on their hands.

        • Submitted by Susanne Wissink on 10/14/2013 - 04:17 pm.

          By “both sides have dirt on their hands” I assume you mean that both sides have some responsibility for the current impasse in Congress. I would agree with that, but it is hardly equal. GOP is wallowing neck deep in a mud hole holding ACA hostage. Dems got dirty trying to reach in and help the GOP so a solution could be found. Fortunately the Dems let go before the GOP dragged them into the mud hole with them. (Note: deliberate use of hyperbole.)

          Is it a foregone conclusion that the GOP are the villains? No, it is a conclusion after a review of the facts. You have provided nothing that suggests the GOP are not the villains. Yeah, there are soundbites. But soundbites are not facts or conclusions. Without some real facts or logical explanations of how you reached those conclusions they are just words and not ideas.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/14/2013 - 08:45 pm.

            No Problem…

            Apparently you don’t see a continuing increase of gov’t as a percentage of GDP as a problem. Where as the more capitalistic folks like myself see that as a large problem. I guess it is just a difference in perception and belief.

            Folks like myself see the GOP standing up for a more traditional America, whereas others see them blocking the “improvement” of government. Maybe time will tell.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/14/2013 - 10:35 pm.

              Just because

              Something is tradition, doesn’t mean that it is correct, or the best approach to every situation. That and the fact that the “traditional” America you reference is merely a figment of misremembered nostalgic pining for some supposed “golden age”. Nearly all of the wonderful things in history that you wish to return to were brought to you by ideas diametrically opposed to your own. The only lasting visage of the individualism you espouse is the ever increasing interpersonal vitriol we all experience on a daily basis as those who feel as you do are increasingly confronted by the discovery that all the world is NOT in fact solely revolving around them.

  5. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/09/2013 - 07:00 pm.

    Conservatives are hung up on

    government OF the people.
    Liberals also know about government BY the people and FOR the people.
    That’s the difference.
    And a Republican said it!

  6. Submitted by Chuck Morse on 10/09/2013 - 07:34 pm.

    Elizabeth Warren


    Exclusive: Chuck Morse responds to claims from ‘corporate hack’ Sen. Elizabeth Warren

    By Chuck Morse

    We hear the interminable torrent of lies from Democrats about the government shutdown, but the one that claims the tea-party is anti-government must be answered. When tea-party House members refuse to sign off on the biggest tax increase in American history, and the Obamacare mandate was declared to be a tax by Chief Justice John Roberts, those House members are protecting working people from a new agency that will suck the money right out of their bank accounts. This opposition to this onerous tax and the thousands of new regulations in Obamacare is not anti-government; it is anti-bad government.

    The most egregious example of this type of liberal lie, the one that holds that the tea party is anti-government, comes from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. A corrupt corporate hack, Elizabeth Warren called tea-party House Republicans “the anarchy gang” in her most recent email.
    In the email, Warren, the hypocrite who was paid over $200,000 by Travelers Insurance Corporation, which hired her to screw factory workers who were suffering from asbestos poisoning, workers who were trying to collect on their insurance policies, has the gall to falsely accuse Republicans of calling for “regulators to go easier on companies that put lead in children’s toys.” 

Conspiratorially claiming that the tea party is (hush, hush) sending out “thinly veiled calls for anarchy in Washington,” Warren, who was paid six figures by Dow Chemical, a multi-National Chemical Corporation to stop women from getting money for toxic shock breast syndrome, falsely accuses Republicans of stopping inspectors from “checking whether the meat in our grocery stores is crawling with deadly bacteria.” Warren, who supports partial-birth abortions, championing children, accuses Republicans of calling for “the FDA to ignore whether morning-sickness drugs will cause horrible deformities in our babies.”
    I am not making this up – honestly, I’m not.
    In her email, Warren intoned her usual tired bumper-sticker slogan against Republicans:
    “I’ve got mine, the rest of you are on your own.”
    Yes, she certainly did get hers when she lied about her ethnic status to get tenure at Harvard. She got hers each year Harvard gave her around $350,000 to teach one class. She and her husband, who also got around $350,000 from Harvard for teaching one class, also shared a free house thanks to Harvard.
    And we wonder why the cost of higher education is so high for “the rest of us” who are “on our own.”
    Oh, and by the way, the Consumer Protection Bureau she set up at $600 per hour, money paid to her by taxpayers, “the rest of us,” is financed by the Federal Reserve, which is a private institution that is owned by the “millionaire and billionaire” big banks and corporations.
    Opposing big tax increases is not anti-government. Supporting the Constitution is not anti-government. Standing up for working people, for an honest dollar and for elected politicians who are telling the truth and who have the courage to stomach the torrent of lies as they do their job of representing the interests of working people is not anti-government.
    Chuck Morse hosts “Chuck Morse Speaks” on the Information Radio Network.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/09/2013 - 09:12 pm.

      We’re not anti-government

      We’re pro-freedom. Liberals like Lizzy Warren pretend they don’t know the difference. She should put down her Saul Alinsky manual and do her job.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/10/2013 - 09:45 am.

        Mostly freedom

        from obligations to others.
        Obligations to YOU (like providing roads, police, fire protection…..) you have no problem with.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/09/2013 - 10:43 pm.

      Cites please

      Your little article contains quite a few claims.

      Please provide the citations to support those claims rather than expecting us to simply take your word for it.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/10/2013 - 07:57 am.

      Tea Party

      The Tea Party is not only anti-government, they’re anti-democracy. Their views, ideas, and people lost in the arena of elections and that’s not good enough for them. They have to hold the rest of the nation hostage while they throw a temper tantrum.

      If your ideas are so popular, convince a majority of Americans that you have the bright right way and get your guys voted into office. Until then you have NO right to wreck the lives of your fellow Americans that you pretend to love and protect.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/10/2013 - 08:30 am.

      Hyperbolic radio rhetoric works better on the radio, Chuck.

      When you write, it is expected that you can provide evidence other than, “I am not making this up – honestly, I’m not”.

      So how about a few more references and fewer inferences.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/10/2013 - 09:43 am.

      As usual on the right

      clear out the allegations, ad hominem remarks and irrelevancies and there’s no there there.

  7. Submitted by John Appelen on 10/09/2013 - 10:55 pm.


    Come on folks, share your thoughts.

    The cost increase trends I have documented are before the baby boomers hit and the social security/Medicare trust funds are depleted. It is likely the rate of growth will be even steeper when those events occur, and ACA is fully implemented.

    How long can we ignore the slope of that line? And if you are okay with government potentially spending or distributing 50% of our GDP, what is your rationale?

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/10/2013 - 09:01 am.

      John:Try this on for


      Try this on for size:

      Real government spending (local, state, federal), on a per-capita basis, went up by $967 in Clinton administration, up by $3,336 in the Bush administration, and was DOWN by $80 in the Obama administration through 2012.

      Given that the deficit is 35 to 40 percent less than last year, I’m sure the decrease in the spending under Obama is continuing through 2013.

      The numbers are adjusted for inflation and adjusted for increases in population.

      Yeah, let’s put the Republican’s in charge. They’ve certainly proved they know how to cut spending!!!

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/10/2013 - 08:34 pm.


        I agree that Bush kind of lost his mind in his attempt to stimulate our way out of the recession. And we can argue the costs and benefits of Iraq/Afganistan for hours…

        So who do you think has been gridlocking all of Obama’s stimulus and other spending bills during the recovery… And who is taking the risk of doing it again?

        You certainly can’t believe it is Obama/Democrat self restraint that has been responsible for this turn of events…

        • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/11/2013 - 10:16 am.

          Stimulus Plan

          Actually Bush’s stimulus plan was exactly the right thing to do at the right time. The only problem with it was it wasn’t big enough.

          Before you howl in protest at the assertion, let me throw a little economics 101 your way.

          There are three sectors in society that spend money:

          Consumers are by far the biggest sector, accounting for about 70% of purchases. When the recession hit, businesses stopped buying and started laying people off in droves. And consumers stopped buying because they were either laid off or were afraid of being laid off. So now you have two sectors of the economy who aren’t buying much of anything.

          Simple math: what does that leave? 3 – 2 = 1 and that one is the government. So now you know why the government, both Republican and Democrat, implemented the stimulus spending plan. Without it the economy would have easily slid from a recession into a depression, putting a lot more people out of work.

          I’m not sure what other solution you would propose to solve the economic crisis, but I’m sure it’s hugely entertaining.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/11/2013 - 01:16 pm.


            The problem is that stimulus should come for ~2 years and then go. However in this case Bush started it and Obama continued it. Now when it is time to turn the burner down the Liberals are screaming that the Republicans are trying to destroy the government by cutting spending. (ie anarchists) And they are blaming Bush for spending. And praising Obama for his incredible fiscal restraint.

            It makes no sense… The extra cash burn was for “short term” stimulus, it is supposed to be backed out. Unfortunately it is hard for folks to turn down the spend once the spigot is on…

            • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/11/2013 - 03:33 pm.

              Why end the stimulus

              when we’re still in a major recession?
              Employment is still at a record low, and demand corresponds.

            • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/12/2013 - 10:16 pm.


              What’s your justification for declaring that the stimulus should be two years? The stimulus should last as long as necessary to get the economy out of the recession or depression it’s in. That could take a lot longer than two years, as it did in the 1930s. To say that it should only be two years seems rather arbitrary, don’t you think?

              Liberals aren’t blaming Bush for spending, they’re blaming Bush for creating the economic fiasco in the first place. You’re really pulling the wrong narrative from the story.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/14/2013 - 01:50 pm.

                8 year cycles and Payback is a *****

                According to my previous employer’s sales, recession hit on ~8 year cycle. 1986, 1994, 2001, 2009, ???

                Hold stimulus too long and it is no longer stimulus, kind of like me and Diet Dew…

                Besides if you borrow for stimulus, you should pay it back in the “better” years… Or you have the problem we have today… (ie lots and lots of debt)

                • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/14/2013 - 08:14 pm.


                  John, this is the first sensible post you’ve had on this article! Yes, the debt does need to get paid back at some point, but it has to be when the economy is humming along, not when it’s struggling. Get people back on their feet first and then we can afford to dial back on stimulus. Do it too soon though and the economy just does a double dip recession.

                  During the Clinton years they did papers and what the impact would be if all the debt was retired. You may be surprised to hear that it wasn’t all roses and chocolate.

                  Thanks again for the sensible post. There may be hope for you yet!

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/10/2013 - 09:47 am.

      You haven’t actually documented anything.

      You’ve made allegations unsupported by any documents from verifiable sources.

  8. Submitted by John Appelen on 10/10/2013 - 08:19 am.

    Better Link?

    This does not even include the Local and State which are higher yet…

    And if you think the curves are flat, you’ll have to explain that better. Total spend was ~25% in 1950 and is now ~38%. I don’t think that would defined as flat. So at an increase of 13% per ~60 years we will be at 51% in ~60 years from now, maybe sooner if the Democrats countinue with their socialization of services… Does that sound appealing?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/10/2013 - 09:52 am.

      Somewhat better

      and thus less scary.
      The problem is still trying to fit cyclical trends to linear functions.
      You might try a real statistical analysis package, not just Excel.
      You’re plotting data to 2012 and trying to make projections to 2075. Doesn’t fly.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/10/2013 - 10:03 am.

      The blue line

      collections as a % of GDP is depressed in the past few depressing years (the unemployed pay few taxes, and business tax payments are at an historic low despite the rise in corporate profits).
      The Red line (outlays, % of GDP) is rising for reasons also tied to the depression, as well as the depression of the total GDP of which they’re a percentage.
      Not that complicated.
      Most economists of whatever persuasion know better than to make simple linear projections.
      Are you en engineer, by any chance?

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/10/2013 - 08:38 pm.

        Engr, MBA, 6 Sigma BB

        I love trends and statistics. Also, one should use the appropriate tool. If I wanted precision I would have put the data in minitab and analyzed. I don’t need that since I am not looking for causation, I am just pointing out that it is going up, up, up… And given the entitlement promises exceeding the premiums that have been paid… We have big problems ahead…

  9. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 10/10/2013 - 08:23 am.


    The problem is that we have a government of anarchists.

  10. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 10/10/2013 - 08:44 am.

    Thank you Elizabeth Warren and

    Thank you Eric Black for placing Warren’s speech here – a rare gem – words that will never be forgotten…words to give us hope in a time of doubt.

    …and words too that will drain the ink out of my printer as I copy one copy to improve more than our first cup of morning coffee.

    Congress still has a few worth applauding, oh yes.

  11. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/10/2013 - 08:46 am.

    Quick question

    Why is the 50% figure the danger line?

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/10/2013 - 11:45 am.

      I don’t know

      It depends on what type of government you want. Slowly we are moving from capitalistic towards socialistic. Personally I think Capitalism is better. (ie Atlas Shrugged fan)

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/10/2013 - 02:01 pm.

        So, nothing

        You just don’t like government. The “fifty percent!!!” alarm has no particular significance.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/10/2013 - 07:16 pm.

          I love government

          I dislike arbitrary wealth transfer from the lucky/successful to the unlucky/unsuccessful… It tends to reward the questionable behaviors of the unlucky/unsuccessful and punish the positive behaviors of the lucky/successful. Definitely no way to promote good choices, continuous learning, hard work, saving/investment, etc.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/11/2013 - 08:20 am.

            The lucky/successful

            First of all, it is silly to consider taxation of income as “punishment.” That is the attitude of a four-year old who is being denied a cookie, because his parents are so mean. Is anyone out here not getting rich because of income taxes (why does the chairman of Ikea keep at it, living as he does in Sweden?). I also don’t see what’s so arbitrary about it. Capitalist icon Adam Smith regarded a progressive income tax as a no-brainer. If one of the purposes of a civil society is to protect individual wealth and property, why should the financial burden of that protection not fall heavier on those who have more to protect?

            Second, why do we want to reward the questionable behaviors of the lucky/successful? Definitely no way to promote ethical behavior. Letting the architects of the great recession walk sends the message that ethics and the rule of law don’t matter if you’re rich enough. That hack b-movie screenwriter you profess to admire would disagree, but basing a society on greed is a terrible idea.

            Third, the idea that people are unlucky/unsuccessful by some economic metric solely due to questionable behaviors is completely divorced from reality. There are millions of people who work hard yet who don’t get rich or even middle class. You give this away when you talk about “lucky.” Why should we trivialize or punish the unlucky?

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/10/2013 - 02:50 pm.

        Economic Model

        Well, we’ve never been either capitalistic nor socialistic. The issue is really just the dividing line between the two. How much capitalism or how much socialism do you put into the mix? Personally, I feel that sometimes you need more of one and sometimes you need more of the other. It all depends on what problem you’re facing at the moment and which model provides the better solution. In a lot of cases, it’s a combination of both and not one or the other.

        The whole “capitalism is better than socialism” is a non-starter in my book, much like the people who go on about Microsoft vs Apple and vice versa. You should look for the best solution full stop, not the best solution within your ideology.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/11/2013 - 10:10 am.

          Large and Diverse

          Please tell me about a successful large and diverse socialistic country.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/11/2013 - 03:39 pm.

            According to you, the United States.

            One might add the EU, though they’re going through a rough spot right now, which may have started with their investment links to our housing bubble.

          • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/12/2013 - 09:15 pm.


            John, you appear to have missed the point entirely. Did you read and comprehend my post? The main thrust was to point out that you shouldn’t be wedded to one ideology or another, no matter what it is. As a counter argument, can you name one successful large and diverse capitalist country?

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem wedded to the concept that capitalism is good and socialism is bad, full stop. If my perception is not correct, can you give me the pros and cons of the two economic models? I’m trying to get some sense as to whether or not you understand the implications of adopting one ideology over another and limitations of taking such a myopic point of view.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/13/2013 - 09:33 am.

              No Time Right Now

              Hi Todd, I’ll probably take your concept and comments to G2A for further discussion. What do you see as the benefits of socialism?

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/11/2013 - 03:43 pm.

        Anyone who doesn’t take Anyn Rand seriously

        as a sophomore lack intellectual curiosity.
        Anyone who still takes her seriously as an adult lacks intellectual judgement.

        with apologies to Sir Winnie.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/16/2013 - 07:52 am.


      It’s like the people who got worked up about the year 2000: it’s a round number of no particular significance. There were some coding issues that were taken care of by dusting off COBOL skills, but that was the extent of the excitement. No second coming, no apocalypse, and no collapse of civilization as we know it. Monday morning still rolled around and we still had to go to work. It’ll be the same thing if we reach the 50% mark.

  12. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/10/2013 - 10:07 am.


    According to the Heritage Foundation, Sweden’s government spending is 51% of that country’s GDP.

    That’s for a country that has very small military budget. If it takes 51% of the GDP on government spending to live in a country like Sweden which in my experience and opinion, is much freer than the US, I’ll paraphrase GWB: “bring it on!”

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/10/2013 - 01:50 pm.

      Was in Sweden in July

      You are comparing apples and grapefruit.

      Not very diverse. (ie few challenges)
      Very very small.
      My co-worker moved here because they had little support for his autistic child.
      Most cars and construction equipment was Volvo. (ie “Buy Swedish”)

      Nice people, beautiful, however not interested in living there…

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/10/2013 - 03:43 pm.

        And what’s happening to the support

        for the autistic child now?
        Real autism (it’s badly overdiagnosed) requires 40-60 hours a week of professional treatment; few individuals can afford it. Usually it’s a social service, which you’re now proposing to cut.
        And of course we’re also cutting the support for the research which develops these treatments.
        Have you talked to your co-worker recently? Bet he’s’ worried.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/10/2013 - 08:27 pm.


          Actually he is very satisfied. Here he can use our Special Ed funding and his own cash to take great care of his child. Apparently that was not the case in his more socialistic mother land.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/11/2013 - 08:21 am.

            Use our special ed funding

            Taking MY tax money for the education of HIS child? And I have no say in this, or in how the money is spent? How typical of the looter class.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/11/2013 - 09:41 am.

            Sounds like a cross cultural definition problem

            Autism is a special case, not typical of healthcare funding as a whole.
            Here, almost anything can be diagnosed as autism, and usually is, because the diagnosis guarantees public funding for treatment (usually through the school systems, which is one part of why American public education is expensive).

            In Sweden, on the other hand, it is almost impossible to get public funding for autism, since autism is defined as a congenital disorder, which insurance companies are reluctant to pay for treatment.

            Note “private insurance companies”.
            Sweden has a mix of private and public healthcare insurance, so it is no more a socialist society than we are.

      • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/10/2013 - 10:41 pm.

        Apples and grapefruit?

        Undoubtedly, Sweden has been able to achieve what some people call “socialist” because it is not very diverse and is a smaller country both in physical size and population. But that’s really irrelevant to the point you are making, which is that somehow having 51% of the GDP being government spending is somehow inherently evil or bad.

        Obviously, as your friend’s experience shows, people are free to leave if they don’t like it. Many people have done so. Sweden is not paradise as Swedes and their government will be the first to tell you. (Apparently there are limits to what a “socialist” country will do for children. But from my own experience and what I’ve heard from Swedish parents, families and children are accommodated much more in Sweden than they are here).

        But just ask your friend if he intends to return to Sweden when he retires. I’m betting he says he is because nearly all Swedish expats do. They do not intend to spend the end of their lives in one of our assisted living or nursing home establishments. Getting old is no picnic anywhere but at least in Sweden you will not be subject to the final degradation of being forced into poverty at the end of your working life, as you are most likely to in the US.

        It’s great that we have programs like SS and Medicare for elderly. But if you are relying on SS and Medicare in this country, you will be poor and treated like dirt. Or as you might say, a “moocher”.

        By the way, apparently your icon, Ayn Rand, was one of those too:

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/11/2013 - 10:54 am.

          Payroll Tax?

          Did she pay her payroll taxes? If she did then she was not freeloading… It doesn’t become freeloading until the trust funds are out money and we need to use General Fund Money to make the payments. (SS Disability ~2016, Medicare ~2024, SS Retirement ~2034)

          Though I like Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead, some safety nets are needed. The question is how much is enough, how long can be people be in them and who should pay how much for them?

          In my view, the GOP errs on the side of fewer and the DFL errs on the side of too many. And yet both insist they are the rational ones.

          • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/14/2013 - 07:46 am.


            Economic analysis suggests that Medicare recipients get more out of the system than they pay into it:


            How does this not fit your definition of “moochers”?

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/14/2013 - 08:13 am.

              I agree

              And yet the Liberals refuse to raise premiums or cut benefits. And they insist folks are entitled to those benefits. It seems hard for me to understand how Liberals could throw Ayn under the bus while making the argument that people paid for those benefits… Which is it?

              • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/14/2013 - 11:35 am.

                All the “liberals” are commenting on

                (And by the way, “the liberals” are not a monolithic block – we actually do each and every one of us have our own opinions on things) is the logical disconnect in someone like Ayn Rand accepting Medicare.

                Personally, I’d like to see the cap raised for the maximum taxable income for Social Security. That seems to me a reasonable fix that would not necessitate the cutting of any benefits.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/14/2013 - 01:44 pm.

                  As do the Conservatives…

                  If you raise the cap without raising the related upper end benefits. Then it is just welfare. (ie wealth transfer) Search G2A for FICA, Payroll, etc for more background.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/10/2013 - 03:45 pm.

      But we all know about the Heritage Foundation

      and its Liberal bias 😉

  13. Submitted by John Appelen on 10/10/2013 - 07:10 pm.

    I thought the quote went:
    “Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.”

    So if you don’t like Ayn, do you put yourself in the Moocher or Looter category? Just curious…

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/10/2013 - 10:27 pm.


      I like you would be classified as the “mud ” to be “ground under foot” ” fuel for the fires of those who are deserving”. Pleasant gal, your dear Ayn. But then I suppose you believe that will just happen to someone else. I find it odd, you correctly ascribe luck, or the lack there of, as a key factor in success, then support punishing the unlucky. Do you bother with a conscience, or do you subscribe whole hog to the “mercy is for the weak” wing” of objectivism?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/11/2013 - 09:25 am.

      You are correct that that was the original.

      I was riffing on it.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/11/2013 - 03:46 pm.

      Or maybe

      literary, historical and economic critic,
      as well as a foe of false dichotomies.

  14. Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/11/2013 - 12:18 pm.


    Wrote more than Atlas Shrugged. Perhaps you might peruse her full catalogue. I understand your affection for its adolescent fantasy, but believe me she gets much darker than that. You’d pick a better role model than a narcissistic sociopath with delusions of grandeur. I mean I could consider myself an intellectual peer of Aristotle too, but I doubt it would garner me a cult of personality, years after my death, if I didn’t throw in a healthy dose of superiority complex.

  15. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 10/12/2013 - 07:45 am.

    Good or bad gamesmanship is it ,eh?

    We may not be a country of anarchists but Republicans have proved themselves to be a congress of fools.

    It’s like a game for them now…a power game; who wins, who loses…the people are only the least relevant object not the subject of their game playing…

    Republican as viable party has lost it’s credibility with Boehner their willing mascot. Sad state of the nation….

  16. Submitted by jason myron on 10/15/2013 - 08:01 am.


    “a more traditional America…” …one doesn’t have to be an expert on cryptanalysis to decipher that one.

  17. Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 10/15/2013 - 12:09 pm.


    I assume it’s in part to drive search engine rankings for his blog (as well as traffic)- linkbacks from related or trusted news sites will increase his search engine rankings on sites like Google.

  18. Submitted by on 02/13/2014 - 11:11 pm.

    Elizabeth Warren

    I really like her insights towards progress. Warren, as one of the significant cause of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau formation and the Dodd-Frank Act, become a part of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. The Senator-elect from Massachusetts has years of consumer finance experience as a lawyer. I think she really deserves having this as her promotion. Learn more about her at

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