* Drawings, Charts, And Videos That Explain The Recession

9/11 Wars + Tax Cuts + Bailouts = Recession.

By Erik J. Heels

First published 11/22/2011; ErikJHeels.com; publisher: GiantPeople.

This article analyzes, chronologically, how the US got itself – and the world – into the current recession. I wrote this post primarily for me, because I don’t want to forget how we got into this mess. But if others like it, that’s gravy.

For the record, I have never belonged to any political party. As it says under “political views” on my Facebook profile, “I vote for the smartest candidate. It doesn’t always work out.”

1946-2001: Back Story

  1. Book Review: Economics In One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt (1946, Yes, 1946)
    The current recession began in 1946 when zero politicians bought this book. You don’t need to study economics in school. You need to read this book. Hazlitt explains, in simple terms, how classic economic mistakes are made by pursuing short-term policies that benefit only a select few at the expense of a long-term policies that could benefit many.
  2. Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’ (2001-01-17)
    Under President Bill Clinton, the US enjoyed peace and prosperity. With this story, [satirical publication] The Onion joked about what would happen after George W. Bush was inaugurated. Now who’s laughing?

2001-2008: The Big Four Expenses

President George W. Bush started two wars and created two windfalls (Bush tax cuts for the rich and TARP bailouts for Wall Street banks). These are the Big Four expenses that started the current economic downturn.

  1. Afghanistan War (2001-10-07)
  2. Iraq War (2003-03-20)
  3. Bush Tax Cuts (2003-05-23)
  4. TARP Bailouts (2008-10-03)

2008-2010: Recession (Part 1)

President Barack Obama promised to end the two wars and the two windfalls (Bush tax cuts and TARP bailouts). To date, he has done none of this. In late 2010, Obama extended the Bush-era tax cuts. So they are Obama’s tax cuts now.

  1. The Sub-Prime Primer (2008-05-07)
    The housing market started to collapse in 2008. This presentation explains how and why the housing market failed.
  2. The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment (2008-10)
    First a video series, then a book, Crash Course will teach you why we’re all screwed – unless we change now. If you dare watch/read it. For example, you’ll learn why ordinary Americans are forced to invest their retirement savings in risky stocks just to keep up with inflation.
  3. Chart: Debt With And Without Bush Tax Cuts (2008-12-02)
    Nearly four years ago, The New York Times warned about the impact of the Bush tax cuts.
  4. Infographic of the Day: Our Lost Decade (2010-01-06)
    Zero percent job growth over the last decade.
  5. Infographic of the Day: Just How Big Is the Deficit? (2010-02-03)
    Worst deficit since World War II (WWII, WW2).
  6. Chart: VC-Backed IPOs and M&A Deals 1992-2009 (2010-05-31)
  7. Infographic of the Day: The Entire History of the American Presidency (2010-06-10)
    This great poster gives context to politics and the economy from 1776 to 2010.
  8. The Student Loan Scheme (2010-09-16)
    Amendments to the Bankruptcy Code in 2005 prevent student loan debt from being discharged in bankruptcy.
  9. Comic: Puzzled by the Downturn (2010-11-05)
  10. Chart: Economic DownTurn, Financial Rescues, And Legacy of Bush Policies Drive Record Deficits (2010-12-03)
  11. Obama extends Bush-era tax cuts (2010-12-17)

2011-Present: Recession (Part 2)

Some economists have declared that the late 2000s recession is over. But with US unemployment at 9%, it’s safe to say that the 2008-present recession is alive and well.

  1. Average Sole Proprietor’s Net Income 1980-2007 (2011-01-10)
  2. Scary Unemployment Chart (2011-02-07)
  3. Rising Inequality Since 1970s: A Sharp Break From Shared Prosperity Of Earlier Era (2011-04-08)
  4. Chart: Startups As A Percentage Of All Businesses 1977-2009 (2011-06-06)
  5. US Budget: 20% Defense, 20% Social Security, 15% Medicare (Elderly), 8% Medicaid (Poor), 37% Other *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Us_budget (2011-06-10)
  6. Too Big to Fail: Inside America’s Economic Downfall [Infographic] (2011-06-30)
  7. The Truth About Who’s Responsible For The Explosion In Government Spending (2011-07-11)
  8. The Truth About Who’s Responsible For Our Massive Budget Deficit (2011-07-11)
  9. USA Inc. – Where We Are, How We Got Here, What May Be Next (2011-07-20)
    USA Inc. is a nonpartisan group that looks at the US federal government as if it were a business.
  10. Chart: Policy Changes Under Two Presidents (2011-07-26)
  11. Chart: Where Does U.S. National Debt Come From? [Infographic] (2011-07-27)
  12. The Original ‘Scariest Jobs Chart Ever’ Is Still Plenty Scary (2011-08-05)
  13. A timeline of events (2011-08-06)
  14. US Debt Crisis Explained (2011-08-10)
  15. The Onion predicts the future (2011-08-11)
    Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’
  16. Remove Eight Zeros (2011-08-14)
    The best way for most Americans to understand the big numbers in the US budget is to remove eight zeros and pretend its a family budget.
  17. The Limping Middle Class (2011-09-04)
  18. The Great Prosperity 1947-1979 vs. The Great Regression 1980-2011 (2011-09-04)
  19. WARREN BUFFETT CALLS BS ON TAX BS: Taxing Billionaires More Won’t Hurt The Economy (2011-09-10)
    Buffet talks a good talk, but he rarely acts on his political ideas.
  20. 9/11 anniversary: National Memorial in New York opens (2011-09-12)
  21. The Middle Class Is Dead (2011-09-12)
  22. US poverty rate hits record high (2011-09-14)
  23. The lost decade for the middle class (2011-09-16)

2011-Present: #Occupy

The #Occupy Movement: The Frogs Figured Out That The Water Was Boiling. To late? Or just in time. (That first sentence is in init caps because it was going to be the title of this post.) I recall what one Occupy Boston protester said about why he was protesting: “The Bush Administration may have caused the recession, but the Obama Administration didn’t do what it said it was going to do to end the recession (namely ending the wars, the Bush tax cuts, and the bailouts), and so we the Occupiers feel disenfranchised, with nowhere to turn but the streets.” Then, rather than arresting the politicians and bankers that caused the economic mess, the police started arresting the 99%! Crazy. Perhaps 10 years after 9/11, the terrorists have won.

  1. Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Starts (2011-09-17)
  2. 14 Reasons People Are Occupying Wall Street (2011-09-28)
  3. 11 Ways America is Keeping Poor People Poor (2011-09-30)
  4. One Third Of Veterans Don’t Back Wars (2011-10-06)
  5. Watch Protesters Take Wall Street as Fancy Bankers Look On [Video] (2011-10-06)
  6. Finally, A Clear Explanation Of What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About (2011-10-09)
  7. Here’s The Chart That Will Get Obama Fired (2011-10-09)
  8. 72 Cities That Have Joined The Occupied Movement (2011-10-09)
  9. Chart: Growth Of Family Income 1947-2007: We Grew Apart (2011-10-11)
  10. What Would George Carlin Say About #OccupyWallStreet? (2011-10-12)
    NSFW but worth the read.
  11. Here’s What The 99% Are Angry About (2011-10-13)
  12. The Protesters Are Getting Their Act Together! (2011-10-13)
  13. Violence Erupts in Rome as Occupy Wall Street Goes Global (2011-10-15)
  14. Four Charts That Explain What The Protesters Are Angry About (2011-10-15)
  15. Amazing Charts Show How 90% Of The Country Has Gotten Shafted Over The Past 30 Years (2011-10-15)
  16. NYPD Arrests Citibank Customer For Taking Money Out Of Own Account (2011-10-15)
  17. Chart: US Debt Accumulation by President (2011-10-16)
  18. Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance (2011-10-17)
    This is a great read. Example:

    “11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.”

  19. U.S. Marine Demolishes NYPD, Defends #OccupyWallStreet (2011-10-17)
  20. The Greatest #OccupyWallStreet Sign Ever (2011-10-17)
  21. Occupy George, Occupy Wall Street Infographics Printed On Dollar Bills (2011-10-18)
  22. 15 Great #OccupyWallStreet Political Cartoons (2011-10-18)
  23. Libya’s interim leader confirms Gadhafi killed (2011-10-20)
  24. Chart: How Many Millionaires In Congress? (2011-10-20)
  25. Chart: Self-Employment Income 2006-2011 (2011-10-24)
  26. Top Earners Doubled Share of Nation’s Income, CBO Says (2011-10-26)
  27. Why Obama should call for a breakup of big banks (2011-10-26)
  28. Before & After: Occupy Oakland (2011-10-26)
  29. Jon Stewart: ‘What the F*ck Happened in Oakland?’ [Video] (2011-10-27)
  30. Why the current revenue model of higher education is in trouble (2011-10-27)
  31. If US Land Were Divided Like US Wealth (2011-10-28)
  32. The Washington Post: What caused the financial crisis? The Big Lie goes viral (2011-10-31)
  33. Congress’ Net Worth Up 25% Since 2008 [The Rich] (2011-11-01)
  34. College has been oversold (2011-11-02)
  35. Super committee: Let Bush tax cuts expire and your work will be done (2011-11-02)
  36. Why College? A Comic Strip People Should See In High School (2011-11-04)
  37. Chart: Italy GDP Growth (2011-11-08)
  38. Why American Roads Are So Bad (2011-11-08)
  39. NEW POLL: Americans Want Everything [Video] (2011-11-08)
  40. US poverty: Blame the government (2011-11-09)
  41. Please Help Us Figure Out How To Solve The Inequality Problem (2011-11-13)
  42. Police Destroy 5,000 Books In Their Eviction Of #OccupyWallStreet (2011-11-15)
  43. How the rich stay rich (2011-11-15)
  44. Occupiers occupied: The hijacking of the First Amendment (2011-11-16)
  45. OUTRAGE OF THE MONTH: Insider Trading In Congress (2011-11-16)
  46. Chart: The Popularity Of Congress Compared With Other Unpopular Things (2011-11-17)
  47. Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent, Vermont), Senate Budget Committee (2011-11-18)
  48. Lobbyists and Politicians Beware: First Street Reveals Your Hidden Connections (2011-11-18)
  49. The real problem with Occupy Wall Street? This Google search: http://t.co/LMJRKSYs (2011-11-19)
  50. Venn Diagram: Federal Government vs. Goldman Sachs (2011-11-20)
  51. Egyptian State TV Uses The Police Response To #Occupy To Justify Their Own Brutality (2011-11-21)
  52. CNN’s David Gergen: Have they gone nuts in Washington? (2011-11-21)
  53. Five reasons why the congressional supercommittee failed (2011-11-21)
  54. Occupy Wall Street Moves Into New Phase With Student Debt Refusal Campaign (2011-11-21)


There are many problems with the world, its economy, and its denizens.

People have a short attention span. Most have forgotten the Big Four and what preceded it (9/11).

People make decisions based on emotion, not on logic.

People don’t understand large numbers like billions and trillions (hint: try removing eight zeros).

People take facts out of context.

News is entertainment.

Politicians know people.

So what happens? Politicians prey on emotions to get people to vote in certain ways.

It’s takes money to make money.

Power corrupts.

Lobbyists lobby, laws change.

Follow the money.

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

And instead of a government of the people, by the people, for the people, we have a government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich.

It is sad, but it is true. Copyright law was long ago hijacked by Hollywood. In 2011, patent law was hijacked by big business.

50% of those in Congress are millionaires. Whose interests do you think they have in mind?

I don’t know who the next US president will be. But the formula for breaking the economy is well known:

9/11 Wars + Tax Cuts + Bailouts = Recession

Here’s how to fix the economy:

End The 9/11 Wars + End The Bush Tax Cuts + End The Bailouts = End The Recession

There has been a failure of leadership in Washington, DC. There been a failure of followership. And there has been a failure of get-out-of-the-way-ship. The 112th Congress will go down in history as one of the most political, least effective, and most corrupt ever. Unless things change soon, this independent voter may end up casting protest votes in all contests for himself. Again.

I’m pretty good at spotting trends. Do you see the trend here? The natives are getting restless. The US government must reform now.

Said the king to his protesting subjects, “You have to do what I say or I can’t be king anymore!”


Erik J. Heels is an MIT engineer; trademark, domain name, and patent lawyer; Red Sox fan; and music lover. He blogs about technology, law, baseball, and rock ‘n’ roll at erikjheels.com.

43 Replies to “* Drawings, Charts, And Videos That Explain The Recession”

  1. Erik,

    I think you have to look to the community re-investment act begun under Carter which was expanded under Clinton if you want to understand the current recession. The whole thing was perpetuated by the housing bubble which Bush actually warned about in his 2006 SOTU address. Congress simply ignored the warning.

    Everything else was incidental.

  2. Jane, I agree that the policies of past presidents also played a part. (See “A timeline of events” link above.) But I had to start somewhere, and most of my readers don’t remember President Carter (or Clinton, for that matter). I agree that Clinton’s housing policies contributed to the 2008 housing collapse. But the “Big Four” are what put the country in the current hole it is in. The tax cuts, in particular, only 2 months after the second 9/11 war, were irresponsible.

  3. Love what you’ve put together with one (non-political) overarching, oft-neglected and critical component-demographics and life-cycles and our aging population.

    These cycles can be traced back centuries in the U.S. and Europe. When this is factored in it presents a situation last seen in the roaring 20’s and depressed, warring thirties. The other huge difference is back then wealthy class re-invested in the U.S. because it was the only economically realistic game in town. Now we have 3 billion newbie capitalists in Asia and opportunity costs have never been better.

    Money has no heart or patriotism.

    So we have politicians through these past decades with no memories or experiences of the 20’s and 30’s and only short-sighted party-driven unsustainable ‘fixes’.

    Start reading some of Harry S. Dent’s books about demographics and life-cycles. It will give you even a broader perspective of what’s happening and how to work with some inevitabilities which no political party can fix. (IMHO)

  4. Hi Erik – Although you are preaching to the choir sending this to me, thank you for the effort of pulling together all this material. What I have never understood is how so many of our fellow citizens can be so gullible to the deceptions that politicians spout. Johnson:”Guns and Butter”, Reagan:”We’re past the peak of the Laffer curve”, Bush1: “No new taxes”, Bush2:”The best way to grow jobs is to cut investment related taxes and lower the tax rates (on people who already have more discretionary income than they know what to do with)”, etc. And they punish politicians who tell the truth: Mondale:”we will both raise taxes – the only difference is that he won’t tell you and I just did.”

  5. Amazing Erik. You missed that Bush also added unfunded medicaid prescription plan. But you need to look at the motivation and think outside the box. Basically it’s spend as if there is no tomorrow. And perhaps there isn’t. Perhaps that’s what those in power know that we don’t. That due to the consequences of climate change and peak oil, the planet can’t support more than 1% of the existing population. And if you follow the money in everything you cite above (and even in the financial crash where money was redistributed, 99% lost it, 1% picked up bargains and made a fortune all under Obama’s watch)–it’s clear that they have written off the other 99%- they (we) are really no longer needed. What’s needed is oil and unpolluted land to sustain the 1%. We may laugh at the camel jockies and Afghanistanie’s living in the 17Th century, but they have resisted cars, factories, chemicals etc leaving them with perhaps the only place the “survivors” can ride out the storm. Where they already have their toys, but need water, food and golf courses to spend their days bragging to each other how they had pulled off the perfect crime. Deciding who will live and who will die is very much like Hitler. Perhaps the 99% of us are already in a concentration camp where we will be exterminated slowly by lack of food, water, medicine, fuel, services and shelter all while we experience nature’s wrath. Most reading this will call me crazy, but what’s crazy is watching a useless political system do nothing that has made life better for you or I. To accept leaders at their word and get us into a mess fighting a war none of us understand the benefit to us.

    The simple fact that we only have one planet with finite resources for which to sustain human civilization. No amount of human ingenuity or technology will change that reality.

    Go back to Reagan’s inaugural speech which is on YouTube for all to see. Sounds like Obama could read that same speech today and if you compare texts, he has simply cut and pasted a lot of it with a different spin.

    Reagan had basically told us that infinite growth was not sustainable on “sharing of scarcity”. The folk idea of unlimited good prevents Reagan and the dominant culture from understanding that natural resources are finite, that increasing scarcity, not income distribution and regulation, are reducing the increase in our standard of consumption. As Dundes claims, the folk idea of unlimited good is tied to the folk idea of dominating nature, of expecting nature always to provide an undiminishing store of energy and raw materials. And so Reagan asserts — against all ecological evidence — that “prosperity is a fundamental part of our environment.”112 For Reagan, believing in the New World’s exceptionalism, natural resources are infinite, and so too is America’s ability to increase its standard of consumption: “Our hemisphere has an unlimited potential for economic development and human fulfillment.”ll3 Where Carter learned that America must conserve resources, use them more slowly so that the United States can change over to non-fossil fuels before they run out, Reagan calls for extracting more energy from fossil fuel, using it faster, as if it will replenish itself: “Those who preside over the worst energy shortage in our history tell us to use less, so that we will run out of oil and gas a little more slowly.” “America must get to work producing more energy. The Republican program for solving economic problems is based on growth and productivity.” 114 When Reagan rejects “an energy policy based on the sharing of scarcity,”115 he rejects reality in favor of his folklore.

    Capitalism, at least as we know it, requires infinite growth. For-profit companies have to continue to grow in size and increase their profits year after year or risk losing investment money. Many people have gotten very wealthy with this economic model and the rest of us, at least in industrialized countries, have benefited greatly as well. We have many modern conveniences and most of us are quite disconnected from the natural world in a way that would have been unimaginable to people only a few centuries ago. This is certainly good from the standpoint of making our lives easier but it’s not good when you look at the long term picture.

    The problem in the long term is that an economic model of infinite growth requires the use of natural resources at increasing rates. The most obvious of these natural resources is petroleum or oil. But many other resources like water and coal are being used at increasing rates to sustain growth in population. This growth in population is fueled by the continued increase in use of natural resources. It’s a cycle of infinite growth that is simply unsustainable on a planet of finite resources.

    Hardly anybody in the government or the media is talking about this problem because it’s unimaginable to most people living in modern, industrialized countries that the only way of life they’ve ever known is simply unsustainable in the long term. It’s as if people have either (a) buried their heads in the sand or (b) hope that the shit doesn’t hit the fan until they are long gone. Unfortunately neither position will stop what is inevitable. It really is up to us to realize this now and attempt to build an economic model that is sustainable. This is not possible without major changes. What is apparent is that these changes are going to happen one way or another either by choice or by force as we begin to hit the peaks of supply with regard to some of our most valued natural resources.

  6. Owen-

    You are correct, I neglected to include the $200 billion in unfunded prescription drug benefits for seniors. But you can see the numbers in the charts above and make your own conclusions. Perhaps it should have been the “Big Five.” But arguing against any benefit for seniors – or against any health benefit in general – is political suicide. Wars and windfalls for the rich and bankers should be EASY to argue against.


  7. OK, I liked you until this. (said with a smile on my face). And this appears very political. It’s not that simple. It’s not just the wars. The bailouts of the banks have been mostly paid back by the banks, although we will never see the lost taxpayer dollars to Obama’s Great Green experiment. It’s the entitlements that have been increasing astronomically recently. 57% of our budget is on entitlements, not wars. And, I would rather bet on this country’s entrepreneurial spirit to grow the economy than giving Congress more of our tax dollars to spend. No country has ever been taxed into prosperity. And we can’t keep putting more people on the govt dole – whether through entitlements or through govt jobs.

    As a lawyer, you know there are two sides to every story. On the Bush tax cuts, the other side of the story is that during that time REVENUES TO THE US TREASURY WERE THE HIGHEST THEY HAVE EVER BEEN. The NYT doesn’t ever talk about that, the WSJ does. I’m going to trust the WSJ more when it comes to understanding business, taxes and revenues.

    It’s not the Bush Tax Cuts that caused the deficit. It is the out of control spending by the Pelosi /Reid run Congress, hyperfueled by Obama’s policy. That and entitlement spending (57% of budget, $2 Trilllion, up from 25% 40 yrs ago) plus interest on the debt that if we don’t stop the spending, will bankrupt this great nation. Even Mary Meeker explained this part well. Entitlements and Interest on the debt alone will exceed revenue by 2025, squeezing out all other programs. This is the problem. And until we tackle that and our tax code in general, raising taxes or doing anything else is a waste of time. Literally. Look up Fiscal Wake Up Tour by Concord Coalition.


    2001 – 2003 was the recession caused in large part by the 9/11 bombings. The full extent of the Bush tax cuts went into effect 2005-2007. Pelosi’s spending takes over in 2008. And things start heading south The Nobel Prize winners in Economics this year, have studied for years the effect on the economy when people think bad things are going to happen. Pelosi, Reid and Obama were telling business people that we are the root of all the US problems, that we had to pay for this, and that our taxes have to go and Obama was even floating a close to 45% rate (39.6% + 3 % in extra medicare and raising the SS floor + no charitable deductions). Add state of 5-9% on top of that and over half of every extra earned now goes to the govt. So there is a lot of incentive for us to go out and risk our capital, borrow money, to hire people and grow our business right? Right…

    Corporate tax revenues, percent of GDP and of federal revenues Corp contribution to revenues increased during 2003-2007. Pelosi takes over in 2006 and her spending spree scared the pants out of any business person paying attention.

    The wars- expensive. Yes. But, would you rather we did nothing after 9/11? I think that message and the ensuing consequences would have been far more expensive.

    Defense spending is 4.5% of GDP. Lowest it has ever been. Was low even during the Bush years. Obama’s spending spree is 24% of GDP. Highest ever. EVER. By a lot. And this is what is bankrupting us. Worse, there is no accountability for this expense. There is no job creation. $540 million for Solyndra and that’s gone, and $200 million National Renewable Energy Lab in CO and they are laying off 100-150 people. Tell me why the Energy Dept should be handling investment in these companies. What do they know about investment strategies? If saavy investors aren’t investing in these companies, should the American taxpayer?

    So, while Obama has been busy picking winner that his friends want to invest in (follow the money with Solyndra – his friends who invested in this, didn’t get burned like most of us would have in a bad investment. No, the govt took a subordinate role – AS A LENDER…what?), he on the other hand, vilifies those of us who do pay taxes, create jobs and get no stimulus money. As a patent attorney, I would be very concerned about Obama’s anti business rhetoric. It has stopped innovation. He has demonized those of us trying to run small businesses by classifying us as “millionaires and billionaires.” How is that most people who go to Washington, go having come from moderate means and end up being multi-millionaires soon after? At least those of us in manufacturing, and business create something… usually jobs.

    I have no sympathy with the Occupiers. Especially those trespassing (as in NYC), sitting there with their iMacbooks, iPhones and Starbuck’s Latte. Please. Disenfranchised? Hardly. Go out and do something with your education.

    Michael Dell said something terrifying recently. He said when they post a job for engineers, they get few applicants. However when they post a job for a warehouse job, the line goes around the block. So tell me, how can this be? There are 16,000 jobs going vacant in ND, PA and other places in the natural gas and oil fields. These are $70-100,000 /yr jobs. Obama is vilifying oil and natural gas executives and companies.


    The bankers only did what Washington allowed them to do. If you feel they bought the legislation they wanted, then do something to get rid of the folks in Congress who allowed this. Start with Barney Frank. If you think Solyndra was bad, just take a look at all of the money we have lost in Fannie and Freddie! At least most of the TARP money has been paid back, with interest. Then work toward getting term limits for everyone (all of Congress, aides, white house staff, everyone) in Washington DC on every ballot in every state. Get rid automatic pay deductions for unionized Fed workers – and why, why are federal, state and municipal workers even allowed to unionize ?– and those are the only unions growing. Federal and state pensions are sucking us dry.

    The nation’s income have grown on average about 5-6% per year with the exception of 2009-2010 when it dropped to 2-3%.


    We have met the enemy and they are us.

    I realize my response is very disjointed because I wrote this in spits and spats over the day. But, sorry, nothing personal…but I’m not passing this on.

    I’m impressed by the amount of work though…

  8. My hope in writing the piece is that it will help politicians focus on the issues during this election. A discussion like the one we are having can only help our democracy.

  9. Actually Erik, I think we should spend our time writing our Senators and Representatives rather than write on blogs. Write your local paper! I have a huge letter to the editor in my head for the NYT. It would probably get printed in the WSJ, but I’d be preaching to the choir.

    Seriously though, the big campaign issue I think this year should be “VOTE THEM ALL OUT.” Every single freaking one of them. And take their staffs too. It’s a mess and t hey continue to create it. I’m going to start the Sensible Party. My platform would start with term limits for all –ALL – public servants. (so right there, I’d never win because they control the electorate). I’d have a balanced budget amendment and line item veto. I’d make Congress stick to cost of living increase in the budget or they lose their seat automatically. And, I would make them spend at least 4-6 months in their districts or states. Then they would really know what was going on. You couldn’t accept any money from outside your district (rep) or state (Sen) either. And no one can be President unless they have actually RUN something. A business, non-profit, university, or a state. That would mean that if you have been in politics all of your life, you have to go out and do something else for a while before you can run from President. Obama lacks such leadership skills it is frightening.

    And, Congress can’t pass a law that doesn’t apply to them. Period.

    I’d do with away with all deductions. Flat tax. You could keep the mortgage deductions for those with incomes under $105,000, or to the max SS deduction level. I would have means testing for all – ALL – government payouts. So if you are getting disability, then you better damn well not be walking, or if you can walk, then you better not be able to use your arms. And, if you are accepting unemployment, then you have to report to your town hall every day to get your assignment list for the day – driving the elderly, picking up the local parks, working with kids in school…

    I talked to a Vietnam vet today who was building a shed roof for us. He told me he was retired, getting SS and disability. I asked why the disability if he could swing a hammer, use power tools and accept a pay check for construction work??? He said, he was disabled from doing his other job. “Which was?” I inquired. “fighting in the war.” OK, he is 63, he wouldn’t be allowed to fight, and besides the pack of cigarettes and no teeth, he is in good shape. Why are we paying him disability?

    I don’t want to become Greece, but boy are we headed there.

    We need the entrepreneurs of the country to STEP UP AND MAKE SOME NOISE!!!

    That’s my blog for the day. Feel free to post it…

  10. * 16 Powerful Occupy Protest Photos From Across The Country [Images] (2011-12-08)

    * Occupy Boston Shutdown, 46 Protesters Arrested [Images] (2011-12-10)

    * How The Military Spends Money – And What Else It Could Have Bought [Infographic] (2011-12-11)

    * After US Withdrawal From Iraq, A Tallying Of The Balance Sheet (2011-12-20)

    * Dilbert: Do You Have A Permit To Protest Here? (2011-12-22)

    * Mapping Out The Revolving Door Between Gov’t And Big Business In Venn Diagrams (2011-12-22)

    * Airport Security: “So Much Inconvenience For So Little Benefit At Such A Staggering Cost” (2011-12-22)

    * The “Top One Percent” Own Businesses (2011-12-27)

    * Growth Of The Alberta Tar Sands From 1984 To 2011 (2011-12-28)

    * The Washington Post: Ten Reasons The U.S. Is No Longer The Land Of The Free (2012-01-04)

    * Romney: Politics For The Rich (2012-01-08)

    * Retirement Funds In Kentucky Lose Big With Hedge Fund Failure (2012-01-08)

    * How To Win The Class War [The Poors] (2012-01-12)

    * Nation’s Disenfranchised Finally Rise Up, Demand Justice, Are Denied It (2012-01-12)

    * The Wealth Gap – Inequality In Numbers (2012-01-16)

    * Is The Middle Class Shrinking? (2012-01-17)

    * Thanks To Occupy, Rich-Poor Gap Is Front And Center. See Mitt Romney’s Tax Return. (2012-01-24)

    * Mitt Romney Made $45 Million Over The Last Two Years Doing Literally Nothing At All [Election 2012] (2012-01-24)

    * Transcript Of The State Of The Union (2012-01-24)
    “Tax reform should follow the Buffett Rule. If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes. And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right: Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires. In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up.”

    * Wikipedia: United States Public Debt (2012-01-26)
    It looks like the winning formula may be a Republican Congress plus a Democratic president.

  11. * Youth Unemployment Across Europe (2012-01-02)

    * Opinion: ‘Super’ PACs A Disaster For Democracy (2012-02-15)

    * The Top 1% Must Stop Insisting They’re Not Rich (2012-02-16)

    * FBI Saves Us From Another Of Its Own Terrorist Plots (2012-02-20)

    * Bolivia’s Wheelchair Riots (2012-02-27)

    * The American Pie Is Growing, But Most People Aren’t Getting A Slice (2012-03-02)

    * Finally, Those Responsible For The Financial Collapse Are Being Prosecuted [Recessionomics] (2012-03-05)

    * Billionaire Is The New Millionaire (2012-03-09)

    * Will Arab Spring Lead To Democracy? (2012-03-23)

    * The Most Amazing Economics Website In The World (2012-03-23)

    * Student Loan Debt Threatening Economic Recovery (2012-04-03)

    * TSA Security Theater Described In One Simple Infographic (2012-04-11)

    * Allow 2013 Law To Take Effect As Scheduled (2012-04-17)

    * RIP Facts, 360 B.C. – A.D. 2012 (2012-04-23)

    * Stephen King: Tax Me! (2012-05-02)

    * How Savage Has European Austerity (Spending Cuts) Been? (2012-05-08)

    * Understanding Healthcare In America (And Massachusetts) In 5 Charts (2012-06-05)

    * We Are Not As Wealthy As We Thought We Were (2012-06-12)

    * Generation X Has Suffered Massive Loss Of Wealth (2012-06-15)

    * Median Expected Change In Family Income (2012-06-17)

  12. Erik:
    Just to thank you for your time and energy in maintaining your blog, and this post in particular. Way too many points for me to reiterate my agreement with you, but let me at least thank you for your work.
    Pam Rolph

  13. * Pew Survey: Partisan Polarization In US Hits 25-Year High (2012-06-27)

    * Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act (2012-06-28)

    * Health-Care Ruling: A Scorecard (2012-06-28)

    * Homeless Students Top 1 Million, U.S. Says, Leaving Advocates ‘Horrified’ (2012-06-28)

    * How John Roberts Upheld Health-Care Law While Limiting Congressional Power (2012-06-29)

    * We Are Not As Wealthy As We Had Thought (2012-06-30)

    * Eight Ways America Is Headed Back to the Robber-Baron Era (2012-07-03)

    * Health Reform Quiz (2012-07-04)

  14. * Barack Obama: The Smallest Government Spender Since Eisenhower (2012-05-24)

    * U.S. Representative Bill Young (R-FL) Tells Employed Constituent To ‘Get A Job’ (2012-07-06)

    * MIT Economist: Big Banks Have ‘Hijacked’ The Political Process (2012-07-10)

    * Opinion: Fix The Rot In Banking (2012-07-10)

    * Democracy Fail: 200 People Donate 80% Of Political Campaign Funds (2012-07-10)

    * An Analysis Of Mitt Romney’s Plan To Fix The Economy (2012-07-11)

    * House Repeals Health-Care Reform – With No Plan To Replace It (2012-07-11)

    * 5 Unresolved Political Issues That Have Been Controversial for Decades (2012-07-12)

    * Paul Krugman: Policy And The Personal (2012-07-15)
    This election really is — in substantive, policy terms — about the rich versus the rest.

    * Will Hutton: The American Election Is Really A Battle For The Future Of Capitalism (2012-07-21)

    * Six Policies Economists Love That Politicians Hate (2012-07-25)

    * When Every Practical Economic Idea Is Political Suicide, Something’s Wrong With Politics (2012-07-25)

    * Your Subsidy Is My Incentive (2012-07-25)

    * Romney Praises Israel’s Socialized Health Care System (2012-07-30)

    * Defense Spending: The Biggest Entitlement Program Of Them All (2012-07-30)

    * 5 Sites That Crunch Data To Help You Predict The President (2012-08-01)

    * Investment vs. the Warfare-Welfare State (2012-08-03)

    * Mitt Romney’s Tax Plan Doesn’t Add Up (2012-08-03)

    * Federal Appeals Court Says Warrantless Wiretapping Is Legal (2012-08-07)

    * The Women’s Sections Of The 2012 Campaign Stores Look Very Different (2012-08-08)

    * List Of Countries With Universal Healthcare (2009-08-09)

    * You Can Be Anything You Want? (2012-08-11)

    * Your Wonkette Primer On The Ryan Plan And How It Will Murder America As We Know It (2012-08-11)

    * Officials React to Racial Profiling Allegations at Boston’s Logan International Airport (2012-08-13)

    * In Paul Ryan’s Home State, He Supported Us Energy Funds While Decrying Stimulus Program (2012-08-13)

    * The Poor Get Poorer: How Ryan’s Budgets Would Affect Ours (2012-08-13)

    * Romney: Obama’s Strategy Is To ‘Smash America Apart’ (2012-08-14)

    * A Clue Emerges to Romney’s Gift-Tax Mystery (2012-08-27)

    * Northeastern Launches Website To Educate Voters Through The 2012 Presidential Campaign (2012-08-27)

    * The Romney-Bain Tax-Avoidance Scheme That A Law Professor Says Is Illegal (2012-08-27)

    * When did “fact checker” become a profession separate from “journalist”? Not a healthy division of labor. (2012-08-30)

    * Mitt Romney Looted a Dying Company For Executive Bonuses While It Owed the Government Millions (2012-08-30)

    * Bipartisan Bloat [Military Spending] By Christopher Preble (2012-09-05)

    * Bill Clinton’s DNC Speech Transcript (2012-09-06)

    * The Bloodiest Wars Fought For Business Interests (2012-09-06)

    * President Barack Obama’s DNC Speech Transcript (2012-09-07)

  15. * 1992 Clinton Campaign Position Papers (1992)

    * Did the U.S. Overreact to the 9/11 Attacks? (2012-09-10)

    * Tax Cuts Don’t Lead to Economic Growth, a 65-Year Study Finds (2012-09-16)

    * Romney’s Plan Will Balloon The Deficit And Radically Increase The National Debt (2012-09-17)

    * Free Speech in the Age of YouTube (2012-09-17)

    * Romney’s theory of the “taker class,” and why it matters (2012-09-17)

    * Thurston Howell Romney [Op-Ed] (2012-09-17)

    * Romney’s Remarks Reveal A Fatal Flaw Of Today’s Republican Party (2012-09-18)

    * 15 YouTube Videos That Changed The World (2012-09-18)

    * House agrees to eliminate funding for political conventions (2012-09-19)

    * Where did the mammoth US budget deficits come from? (2012-09-28)

    * The Conservative Case for Obamacare [Opinion] (2012-09-29)

    * Is energy independence a fantasy? (2012-10-01)

    * 5 Online Resources for Fact Checking the Presidential Debates (2012-10-03)

    * 9 Captivating Data Visualization Projects[including IsBarackObamaThePresident.com and IsMittRomneyThePresident.com] (2012-10-04)

    * Below the line: Poverty in America (2012-10-07)

    * Mister Rogers’ Heartwarming Defense Of PBS (2012-10-09)

    * Robert Reich: The 7 Biggest Economic Lies [Video] (2012-10-10)

    * BBC Video: Fact checkers seek election truth (2012-10-16)

    * Electoral Precedent (2012-10-17)

    * Yes, We’re Better Off Than 4 Years Ago–Mostly [CHARTS] (2012-10-17)

    * BBC: Top 10 US political donors (2012-10-19)

    * Infographic of shifting US political ideologies (2012-10-22)

    * Congress: Partisan and Ideological Makeup [Infographic] (2012-10-29)

    * Washington Post: Yes, We Need To Give Up Liberty For Security (2012-10-29)

    * Why Pundits And Politicians Hate NYT Election Forecaster Nate Silver (2012-10-30)

    * ‘New York Times’ Bully Knocks Stack Of Polls From Nate Silver’s Hands [Satire] (2012-11-02)

    * 5 Worst Campaign Ads Of 2012 (2012-11-03)

    * UK Editorial: US election: an Obama win is the best outcome for all (2012-11-03)

    * GOP’s push to suppress vote threatens democracy (2012-11-04)

    * Mitt Romney Mormon Faith Video Goes Viral [VIDEO] (2012-11-05)

    * Infographic: A Grossly Distended Map Of America, Redrawn By Election Spending (2012-11-05)

    * What Your Books And Websites Say About Your Politics (2012-11-05)

    * The 2012 campaign in 27 tweets (2012-11-05)

    * How Statistician Nate Silver Threw A Wrench Into Traditional Election Metrics (2012-11-05)

    * The 10 Most Memorable Moments of the 2012 Election Season (2012-11-05)

    * The Most Patriotic Presidential Campaign Ad Of All Time [Reagan, 1984] (2012-11-05)

    * Lies, Damned Lies, and Defense-Job Statistics (2012-11-05)

    * What’s Wrong With Ohio Voting Machine Software? (2012-11-06)

    * What If There’s a Tied Vote In Every Battleground State? (2012-11-06)

    * 21 moments that defined the campaign and America (2012-11-06)

    * Election day: Most predictions of the next four years will be wrong (2012-11-06)

    * Acton Election Results 2012 (2012-11-06)

    * Massachusetts Election Results 2012 (2012-11-06)

    * Tax Policy Center [Nonpartisan Stats] (2012-11-06)

    * Is Obama The President? [Visualization, Infographic] (2012-11-06)

    * In Nate we trust. @fivethirtyeight http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/ (2012-11-06)

  16. * Robocalls from GOP Congressman Send Democratic Voters to Polling Places Miles Away from Their Precinct (2012-11-06)

    * A Viewer’s Guide To Who Will Win The Presidential Election (2012-11-06)

    * Almost Every Obama Conspiracy Theory Ever (2012-11-06)

    * This Voting Machine Won’t Let You Vote for Obama (2012-11-06)

    * If You Live in These States, It’s Illegal to Instagram Your Ballot (2012-11-06)

    * Infographic: The 507 Different Paths To Presidential Victory (2012-11-06)

    * Watch 50 Years of TV Presidential Election Announcements (2012-11-06)

    * ‘Experimental’ Software Discreetly Installed On Ohio Voting Machines (2012-11-06)

    * 8 Ways the World Has Changed Since Obama’s Election (2012-11-06)

    * Voters Get Banned From Casting Their Ballots for Wearing MIT Shirts (2012-11-06)

    * Nate Silver Now Responsible for 20% of ‘New York Times’ Traffic (2012-11-06)

    * Big Bird Votes In Texas (2012-11-06)

    * 5 Wild Allegations Not To Freak Out About On Election Day (2012-11-06)

    * Everything You Need To Know About Barack Obama In 103 Seconds (2012-11-07)

    * Everything You Need To Know About Mitt Romney In 82 Seconds (2012-11-07)

    * State Marriage Site Posts 25 Ridiculous Reasons To Oppose Marriage Equality (2012-11-07)

    * Tammy Baldwin & Elizabeth Warren Elected to Senate, Richard ‘Rape Is God’s Gift’ Mourdock and Todd ‘Legitimate Rape’ Akin Lose (2012-11-07)

    * Obama Wins The Election! Here’s His Technology Agenda (2012-11-07)

    * Obama’s vision for his second term (2012-11-07)

    * Obama wins, has most retweeted tweet ever (and over a million likes on Facebook) (2012-11-07)

    * Obama Declares Election Victory Via Email And Tweet Before Speech (2012-11-07)

    * So, How Did Nate Silver Fare Tonight? (2012-11-07)

  17. * Chart Of The Day: Us Companies Haven’t Paid The Statutory Tax Rate For At Least 45 Years (2013-02-16)

    * US Posts First January Budget Surplus In Five Years (2013-02-12)

    * 22 U.S. Veterans Kill Themselves Each Day (2013-02-01)

    * Republicans Are Getting Slammed For Their Plan To Rig The Electoral College (2013-01-24)

    * What Is Driving Growth in Government Spending? (2013-01-16)

    * Charts: US Government Spending (2013-01-11)

    * Charts: The Highest Effective Personal Tax Rates In The World (2013-01-09)

    * Chart: How The Clinton Surpluses Turned Into More Than $6 Trillion Worth Of Deficits (2013-01-08)

    * Chart: Annual Per Capita Healthcare Costs By Age (2013-01-01)

    * 7 Incredibly Depressing Stats About Vacations In The U.S. (2012-12-27)

    * How The Super Rich Avoid Paying Taxes (2012-12-18)

    * Unemployment Rate Falls To Lowest Level In 4 Years (2012-12-07)

    * The Lost Decade of Income (2012-12-03)

    * These Two Charts Show How The Priorities Of US Companies Have Gotten Screwed Up (2012-12-01)

    * Now That’s What I Call Gerrymandering! (2012-11-14)

    * Scientists Explain Just How Awful U.S. Science Education Is (2012-11-13)

    * Facts About US Presidential Voting By Sex, Age, Race, Money, And Education (2012-11-12)

    * The Effect Of College Education On The Presidential Election 2012-11-09)

    * Nate Silver’s Model Proves To Be Stunning Portrait Of Logic Over Punditry (2012-11-07)

    * More Than Half Of Us Babies Now Minorities, US Census Reports (2012-05-17)

  18. * 7 Depressing Charts About America (2013-06-19)

    * Six Charts That Prove The Tax Code Was Written For The Rich (2013-05-30)

    * Why Some Countries Are Dominated By The 1%, While Others Are Not (2013-05-28)

    * Each Injured US Soldier Will End Up Costing $2 Million On Average (2013-05-15)

    * The Rich Are Getting Richer And Everyone Else Is Getting Hosed (2013-04-25)

    * Show These Charts To Anyone Who Thinks Debt, Spending, And Taxes Are At All-Time Highs (2013-04-22)

    * President Obama’s Entire Budget In One Chart (2013-04-10)

    * Viral Video Shows the Extent of U.S. Wealth Inequality (2013-03-02)

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