Wednesday, February 19, 2020

When will Bernie die? Plus: Why Dems should focus on the debt.

My headline may seem cruel, but it's a fair question. Sanders refuses to release further medical records, even though he had previously promised to do so, and even though the voting public has a right to know more about the health of a man in his late 70s who recently had a heart attack.

Every candidate should divulge all medical records and all recent tax returns. Period.

What are the chances that Bernie Sanders would live through his first term (should he win, which he won't)? Not as high as we would like. I direct your attention to this DU thread, which draws from this study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

By the way: Although you wouldn't know it from a perusal of the liberal blogs, Pete Buttigieg is the current frontrunner, kinda, sorta. Turns out he won Iowa by a hair.

If you hit that link, take a look at the comments. You'll find evidence that the Bernie Bros are the ones who destroyed, or at least hobbled, Elizabeth Warren (my favorite of the candidates):
The Bernie "fight" destroyed her chances. If you're going to go after someone go after them. Don't half-way go after them sideways, call them a good friend, and then have a public fight with them on stage after the debate. She ended up getting all the vitriol from Bernie Bros and none of the credit for people who would have supported her doing it.

Same thing that's been wrong with her campaign since the beginning. She tries to be all things to all people and ends up convincing almost no one.
Warren did not go after him though and she wasn't trying to.

Timeline:

Sanders directs campaign to start labeling Warren as an elite (and thus lean into the misogynistic narratives about women in power he weaponized in 2016.) This violated their agreement.

When this came out, Sanders lied about it. Denied it.

Then the whole 2018 conversation story dropped.

Top Sanders surrogates, aided by a campaign staffer, started pushing the Warren is a snake/liar label hard. (NYT did an article.)

Warren was on the defensive the whole time. One of the great gaslighting achievements of the Sanderistas is that they blame their victims for their own actions.
The Bernie cult's attacks on Warren were disgusting and beyond forgiveness. Calling her an "elitist" is like saying Mike Oehler built "skyscrapers." (Look him up.) Ironically, the crippling of Warren opened up a path for Bloomberg, who really is an elitist.

Speaking of Bloomberg: Paul Krugman (with whom I do not always agree) has come out with a very good opinion piece which takes Bloomberg to school for his outlandish misreading of the 2007-08 economic crisis. Krugman makes the same points familiar to readers of this humble blog: The laws against redlining did not force the banks to make loans to people who lacked the means to keep up with payments.
At this point the evidence against the liberals-did-it story is overwhelming. The surge in bad loans came neither from government-sponsored agencies nor from regulated banks, but from unregulated mortgage originators. The fallout was so severe because investors believed, wrongly, that fancy financial instruments protected them from risk.

And, crucially, the housing bubble was an international phenomenon: Spain had a bigger bubble than we did, followed by a worse slump. Did U.S. liberals force Spanish banks to make bad loans?

But zombie ideas can’t be killed by evidence. Perpetrators of the liberals-did-it lie are still out there, still getting space to spread their disinformation in mainstream media.
Later in the same column, Krugman criticizes Buttigieg for his focus on the nation's debt. Here's where I must part ways with Krugman.

Even if you share Krugman's "massive debt is A-OK" theory (which I don't), it is a simple fact that Trump's outlandish debt figures are a potent election-year issue. We can use this issue to counter Donnie's boasts about the rosy economic numbers. Don't hobble your best line of attack, liberals!

Although most people don't understand economics, they do understand the dangers of incurring debt in order to live the high life. At one point or another, most people go through a period where they get into trouble after maxing out their credit cards. That's how Trump bought pseudo-prosperity: He maxed out the national credit card. Bill Clinton, by contrast, presided over good times while balancing the budget.

All Dems should use this argument; personal economics can make macro-economics easier to understand. In other words, this argument is relatable -- and, unless your name is Paul Krugman, unanswerable.
Comments:
MMT is very popular right now, and it's basically a left wing version of "deficits don't matter". Everyone likes free money.

In terms of a death timetable, all of these people will be dead soon, Biden, Bernie, Warren, Trump, Bloomberg, all born in the 40s.

The idea that Sanders was calling Warren elitist comes from one anonymous message board post. There's no reason to think it actually happened.
 
In a different article (I think "How Zombies Ate the GOP's Soul" )Krugman argues that deficit spending when the economy is in recession by introducing a stimulus is a good idea, but adding to the debt at times such as now when the economy is humming along is foolish. He also makes the point that the GOP only seems to care about the deficit when Democrats are in office. He does not categorically endorse deficit spending across the board.
As for Buttigieg, Krugman is warning the Democrats that the issue can be turned on it's head by the GOP to signal that the Democrats are entertaining cutting entitlements if they prevail and use the argument to veil their intent to slash entitlements and market it as a bi-partisan agenda.
Krugman is an economist not a political strategist, which is why his arguments need to go through some political polishing before being used as talking points.
 
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