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  •  Fiscal responsibility just loses elections... (none)
    It may be honorable, the right thing to do, etc., but so are most things the keep you from getting elected - so why is it a surprise that fiscal responsibility keeps Dems from getting elected?

    I'm not saying we should become fiscally reckless so that we get elected, I'm just saying it's time to face up to reality.  If people don't care about fiscal responsibility, then why make it part of your campaign?  Makes no sense...

    Donna Frye for San Diego Mayor! She got cheated last time - help us now.

    by shmooth on Mon Jul 18, 2005 at 07:46:56 AM PDT

    •  I have... (none) freaking idea what you were trying to say here.  Try again?


      I'm a pro-gun, pro-nuclear-power Reform Democrat.
      UUJN: Brother Venerable Katana of Mindful Forgiveness

      by AlphaGeek on Mon Jul 18, 2005 at 07:50:51 AM PDT

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      •  Cutting funding for social programs is unpopular.. (none)
        Raising taxes is unpopular, too.  So don't do either of them.  Find a way to get your work done without them.

        [Full Disclosure:  I'm not that smart where I can come up with stuff like this by myself.  I read it on an article linked from Political Theory Daily Review.  Couldn't find the article - was a couple of weeks ago, I think.]

        There is a strong argument to be made that fiscal responsibility can win elections, but only if that fiscal responsibility leads directly to economic gains across the voting population.  If you cut Joe American's favorite social program, but then come back in 4 years and say:

        But Joe - I balanced the budget!

        Joe is gonna say:

        Why'd you cut my program?

        And then Joe's gonna vote for the other guy.

        Here's the 'fiscal responsibility' route that some Dems like to follow:

        Cut social programs.  This cut loses 10% of his votes in the next election because people are pissed that their social program was cut.  But the cut adds 2% of his votes in the next election because people are happy to see fiscal responsibility.  That leaves a net 8% loss.  It's a losing proposition.  So don't do it.

        The point of this post was to say, "Hey Dems, stop losing elections by being fiscally responsible!"  That doesn't mean be fiscally irresponsible, it just means don't alienate your base for some lofty, idealistic goal that people really don't care about.  People may vote for fiscal responsibility, but they will definitely vote against pols who cut their programs.

        Most people love being on that gravy train - it just feels good, if you can remain aloof/selfish/ignorant/etc.  Whether you work for a defense contractor, or one of the big non-profit religio-fanatic-faith orgs that's about to get a lot of money from Bush - gravy is good.  Gravy helps you eat better food, drive nicer cars, get nicer equipment, hire more people, get a bigger salary, and just generally live a higher quality and/or easier life.  

        We're all selfish people at heart and will do what is in our own best interests.  [In other words, we've failed to learn the central economic lesson presented in this movie.]  So, when gangster Bush brings bails of cash to defense contractors and megachurches, those people says 'Welcome!' - whether they're anti-war or not.  Every sane person is anti-war, but when it comes to me losing my job, and subsequently my dignity, wife, my kid's college edumacation, my mistress, etc. because we won't be in Iraq next year - well, I've got something to say about that.  When that gravy train is cut - be it in defense spending, 'faith' spending, or welfare/social programs spending - people are hurt directly, immediately, and they notice that there are these politician people who do stuff - most of which doesn't seem to affect you at all, but sometimes it does affect you - and these get pissed.

        'Fiscal responsibility' is some lofty notion that only politicians can afford to talk about.  It's not real.  The government runs deficits whenever it wants to because it can.  Does that affect my life?  Nope.  That's why when Bush cut taxes the second time (?? - I lose track), he had those $300 checks sent out immediately and with great fanfare.  People thought the dude was a hero.  $300 in your pocket is a very simple concept to understand (tax cuts, good).  Shutting down your community swimming pool a few hours early is a very simple concept to understand (spending cuts, bad).  Bush pushing government debt that your children and their children will have to pay back is not simple - it's all theory, lofty, government nonsense (unrecognizable future debt to your children and grandchildren, irrelevant).

        Here's $300 Joe American - go grab a Bud and a steak at Applebee's, and I'm gonna work out this $4 Billion a month gig for Iraq that your children will be paying off - dumb b*itch.  Ha-ha!

        People don't connect the dots - that Bush borrowing billions now is going to turn into trillions later, and the non-rich people are the ones who are going to have to pay it back.  Ignorance is bliss.

        Dems shouldn't be breaking their backs to be fiscally responsible unless people are willing to vote for fiscal responsibility at least as strongly as they're willing to vote against tax increases and against cuts to social programs.

        Donna Frye for San Diego Mayor! She got cheated last time - help us now.

        by shmooth on Tue Jul 26, 2005 at 11:54:43 PM PDT

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    •  why's that? (none)
      I thought it was "tax and spend" that cost us.

      Fiscal responsibility is a WINNER.  It just needs to be backed with steel.

      There is an unsubtle difference between breathing fire and blowing smoke.

      by Leggy Starlitz on Mon Jul 18, 2005 at 07:51:15 AM PDT

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    •  Talking about fiscal responsibility wins elections (none)
      Actually doing it? Well that is another matter entirely.
      •  Exactamundo, mi amigo... (none)
        Voters love pols who talk about fiscal responsibility, and some may like pols who practice a bit of it, but when was the last time you heard someone - anyone - get fired up about fiscal responsibility?  When was the last time you heard something like this?

        Yeah, man - that Clinton guy rulez!  He balanced the budget and like, had big surpluses and stuff dude.  Awesome!

        Yeah, me neither.

        Donna Frye for San Diego Mayor! She got cheated last time - help us now.

        by shmooth on Tue Jul 26, 2005 at 11:59:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ummmmm... (none)
      What about "it's the economy, stupid?"

      Fiscal responsibility was, in my opinion, what made Bill Clinton win.

      •  There is an argument to be made for that... (none)
        The "it's the economy, stupid" argument is legit, but that is an entirely different topic than 'fiscal responsibility'.  Reagan's economy wasn't so bad, but he mortaged our future for it.  Clinton's economy may have had something to do with fiscal responsibility, but I'm not yet ready to jump to that conclusion.

        If you could get voters to link 'fiscal responsibility' with 'good economy', then at least you're headed in the right direction, but think of the challenges.  First off, you have to prove that fiscal responsibility produces a good economy - not an easy task.  Then you have to convince voters that what you consider to be fiscal responsibility is actually fiscal responsibility.  If in a recession, do you institute a set of massive public works projects to help the nation climb out of the recession (FDR), or do you offer massive tax cut taxes to big businesses and/or small businesses, start a war, some of the above, or do nothing at all?

        Just seems like a lot to handle in the short term.  I'd rather we just stopped alienating our voters to achieve some lofty goal that nobody but the think tanks/interest groups/political spinsters cares about.

        Donna Frye for San Diego Mayor! She got cheated last time - help us now.

        by shmooth on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:17:02 AM PDT

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