Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tiahrt Lies About Betts

The Donald Betts campaign has issued a press release responding to lies in radio commercials from the Todd Tiahrt campaign. Tiahrt has a huge funding advantage, is a long-term incumbent, and polls reportedly show him far ahead. Why then has the Tiarht campaign stepped into the gutter?

WICHITA, Kans. – Rep. Todd Tiahrt began airing commercials on local Wichita radio stations saying that State Senator Donald Betts, Jr. (D-KS), voted against expanding oil refineries, is opposed to lowering gas prices, and voted against a bill that allowed sexual predators on the street. These are outright lies as Betts wants to maintain refineries, is not opposed to lowering gas prices and has in fact voted for “Jessica’s Law” to enforce stronger sentencing for sexual offenders – 1st offense 25 years; 2nd offense 40 years; third offense life in prison. “These are malicious lies that have no basis in fact and are meant to scare voters into voting for Tiahrt,” said Betts. Betts’ Campaign Manager, Lisa Reiss, further clarified the record “Tiahrt is saying that Don voted against ‘Jessica’s Law’ and there were only 2 legislators opposed to it – not Senator Betts- who voted for the bill. Furthermore, while he was opposed to drilling in ANWR as it would not produce oil for a minimum of 10 years according to a study done by the Department of Energy. This does not imply that he is opposed to lower gas prices. That is the most ridiculous statement ever – who is opposed to lower gas prices,?” said Reiss.

As of today, Joe Niblett, a voter who lives in Wichita, contacted the Betts for Congress office to tell us that he called Tiahrt’s campaign office and spoke with staff member, Pat Ream (sp?), about why Rep. Tiahrt won’t debate Betts. Ream responded “Are you retarded?” and the constituent asked her to repeat what she said. At that point she went on to say “Todd Tiahrt is too smart to debate someone that has no character, no common sense and is not a Christian.” Furthermore, she said they are having a rally this weekend for Tiahrt to “vote for someone with common sense.”

It is shameful that a member of Congress condones this type of behavior for his staff. Betts has been a Christian since he was born and is an active member of the St. Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita since 1999. His grandfather, Rev. I.W. Wilson, baptized him in 1988 at True Love Missionary Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. Futhermore, he is a statesman with common sense, honesty, and integrity. Senior Pastor at St. Mark, Junius Dotson said “Senator Betts is a faithful and committed Christian. As his pastor, I have witnessed firsthand his dedication to the many ministries and community outreach efforts of Saint Mark. His servant spirit benefits not only our church and community but also the entire state of Kansas.”

“I can’t believe that Tiahrt’s staff would stoop to this level. I love the Lord with all my heart and would never question someone’s faith. Furthermore, I am disappointed that his staff member would refer to a Kansas voter in this way,” said Betts

Betts is running for the 4th Congressional seat currently held by Tiahrt, who has been in office since 1994. Betts has been actively working for Kansans since 2002, when he was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives. He went on to serve in the Senate, bridging party lines to focus on the important issues that affect everyone including support for education through the Workforce Kansas Quick Careers. Betts took a stand against the practices of genocide with Senate Substitute for HB 2457 which was signed into law divesting Kansas Public Employee Retirement Funds from Darfur. “It has been my pleasure to represent Kansans in Topeka but I believe that now is the time to make their voices heard in Washington, D.C.,” said Betts.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dress Like Palin

From the AFL-CIO blog:

a playful new website from the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC) shows just how extravagant the Republican National Committee (RNC)-funded $150,000 Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue shopping spree was. allows you to click on the top-of-the-line Valentino jacket and discover its price tag equals a month's salary for the typical teacher. Or how about that exclusive Louis Vuitton handbag, the price tag of which equals the cost of uniforms for 32 auto mechanics or 33 painters—some of whom may be named Joe.

The $22,800 the RNC spent on Palin's makeup, for example, would pay for 224 mammograms, 651 flu shots, or provide a supply of the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor for one person for nearly 14 years.

Something non-political: Blues Guitarist Showdown

The Wichita Blues Society's 5th Annual Guitar Showdown is coming up to fill that blank space between elections and Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday

Get ready for some mighty fine guitar playing coming to Sam’s Place on Sunday, November 16th.

This year’s showdown features 8 musicians. Rachelle Coba, Clayton Crawford, Monte Harrison, Ken Kretzschmar, Vinnie Mourning, Michael Pelzer, Ron Starkel and Henry Walker.

Backing the guitarists up will Eddie Macy, Shawn Kail and Vinnie Mourning. This event is an exhibition, not a competition. Each player will have a 15 minute set. Get your friends together and come out for a grand evening. Doors open at 4 pm and the show starts at 5 pm. Sam’s Place 5521 W. Kellogg Drive.$3 Members $5 Non-Members

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Videos from Wichita's Vote Early Rally

Governor Kathleen Sebelius "What's the Matter with These Republicans"

Dan Glickman, former Congressman (intro by Samantha Finch of the Kansas Obama campaign) and current 4th CD candidate Donald Betts

Jim Slattery, US Senate Candidate "Take Back Kansas"

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Vote Early Rally

Sedgwick County Democrats had a well-attended rally in Riverside Park today to encourage people to vote early. There were buses to take people downtown to vote. I decided to wait until next week. There's one race where I'm waiting to decide whether to vote for the Democratic candidate or leave that office blank.

There were speeches from former Congressman Dan Glickman, US House candidate Donald Betts, Senate challenger Jim Slattery, and Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

Here's a photo slideshow.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Slattery Calls for Economic Stimulus Package

[Here's a good position taken by Democratic US Senate candidate Jim Slattery.]

Strategic Investments in Infrastructure and Education

Topeka, KS- Jim Slattery, candidate for the U.S. Senate, echoed Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke's call for an economic stimulus package.

"As the economic crisis spreads from Wall Street to Main Street, Congress needs to pass an economic stimulus package to help struggling families and small businesses," Slattery said.

In order to revive the economy the federal government should make strategic investments in infrastructure development.

"I favor infrastructure development that will create good paying jobs and rebuild our bridges and highways," Slattery said. "We must also invest in the development of alternative energy, like wind in Kansas, which will create thousands of green jobs."

The federal government should also invest in the next generation by encouraging job training and education. Earlier this month, Slattery proposed a $5,000 tax credit to help low and middle income students attend college.

"Few investments are more important than ensuring every young person who aspires to attend college has the opportunity," Slattery said.

The Election Scandal You Haven't Heard About

Election scandals are getting lots of press these days. The bogus ACORN voter registration "scandal" has gotten way too much publicity, but it seems to be meeting with widespread debunking. The very real scandal of the GOP voter suppression efforts is being tackled on the liberal and progressive blogs, by the media, and even by videos from Robert Greenwald.

The un-noticed scandal of American politics is that many state legislative seats have no general election competition.

Here are some details from the Ballot Access News

1. Massachusetts

"There is a contest between a Republican and a Democrat in only 29 of those races. This is because of the massive weakness of the Republican Party, which has nominees in only 37 districts." Not much help from minor parties. The Veterans Party is fielding one candidate for State Senate. The Working Families Party is ballot qualified, but is running no candidates and apparently will lose its ballot status.

2. Illinois

Illinois holds a regular election this November in 39 State Senate districts. In 20 of them, there is only one candidate on the ballot. No independent candidate, and no candidate of an unqualified party, is on the ballot for any State Senate race in Illinois this year. Illinois requires a petition signed by 5% of the last vote cast, for such candidates.

Republicans failed to run anyone in 13 of the 39 districts, and Democrats failed to run anyone in 7 of them.

For the 118 State House of Representatives races, there is only one candidate in 52% of the races, and if the Green Party weren’t on the ballot and running 13 State House candidates, the percentage would be 56% of the races with only one candidate on the ballot. Republicans aren’t running anyone in 46 races, and Democrats aren’t running anyone in 20 races. As with the State Senate, the 5% petition requirement kept all independent candidates, and all nominees of unqualified parties, off the ballot.

3. Over 78% of Georgia State House Races Have Only One Candidate on the Ballot

Georgia elects all 180 members of its State House in every election year. This year, of the 180 races, there is only one candidate on the ballot in 141 of the races.

There are no minor party candidates on the ballot for Georgia legislature this year, but there are two independent candidates for State House. Georgia requires a petition signed by 5% of the number of registered voters, to place a minor party or independent candidate on the ballot for district office.

Republicans failed to run anyone in 61 of the State House races, and Democrats failed to run anyone in 82 of the State House races. In the case of the two independents who managed to get on the ballot, they are each the only opposition to an incumbent.
4. Arkansas: All But One State Senate Districts Have Only One Candidate on the Ballot

Arkansas holds State Senate elections next month in 18 districts. In 17 of those districts, only one person is on the ballot. Only the 30th district has a contest, which is between a Democrat and a Republican. Although the Green Party is ballot-qualified, it didn’t run any candidates for the State Senate.

Richard Winger, the editor of Ballot Access News, compiles a listing for all 50 states after every election. It would be worth taking a look at that list when it is available.

Kansas doesn't come off too bad in comparison to these four states. Back after the filing deadline, I noted that

4 of 40 Senate seats and 44 of 125 House seats will be uncontested.
Still, when there is no contest in one-third of House seats that is a democracy deficit.

Al-Queda "Endorses" McCain

Pamela Hess of the AP reports

WASHINGTON – Al-Qaida supporters suggested in a Web site message this week they would welcome a pre-election terror attack on the U.S. as a way to usher in a McCain presidency.

The message, posted Monday on the password-protected al-Hesbah Web site, said if al-Qaida wants to exhaust the United States militarily and economically, "impetuous" Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain is the better choice because he is more likely to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"This requires presence of an impetuous American leader such as McCain, who pledged to continue the war till the last American soldier," the message said. "Then, al-Qaida will have to support McCain in the coming elections so that he continues the failing march of his predecessor, Bush."

SITE Intelligence Group, based in Bethesda, Md., monitors the Web site and translated the message.

"If al-Qaida carries out a big operation against American interests," the message said, "this act will be support of McCain because it will push the Americans deliberately to vote for McCain so that he takes revenge for them against al-Qaida. Al-Qaida then will succeed in exhausting America till its last year in it."

Mark Salter, a senior McCain adviser, said he had heard about the Web site chatter but had no immediate comment.

The message is credited to a frequent and apparently respected contributor named Muhammad Haafid. However, Haafid is not believed to have a direct affiliation with al-Qaida plans or knowledge of its operations, according to SITE.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

What the folks say about redistribution

John McCain is attacking Barak Obama for favoring higher taxes on the wealthy. He seems to believe that progressive taxation is sociliastic.

Well, what to the American people think? Ed Kilgore has an answer on Democratic Strategist.

.. i

f you check out the Gallup site, the most abundant source of polling on the broad outlines of tax policy, it becomes clear that the McCain-Palin campaign is really barking up the wrong tree.

As of April of this year--long before the Wall Street scandal roused particularly intense populist feelings--63% of respondents told Gallup that "upper-income people" paid too little in taxes. 9% said such people paid too much in taxes. While the term "upper-income" wasn't defined in the poll, Obama's definition--the top 5% of earners--couldn't be too far off the mark. And for the record, the "too little" figure was actually a bit higher back in the Clinton years, when the top rate was very similar to where Obama would try to put it.

Another common conservative talking point on taxes, echoed by John McCain in the final presidential debate, was that corporate taxes in the United States are too high. According to Gallup in the same April 2008 poll, 6% of Americans think corporations pay too much in taxes, while 73% think they pay too little.

But let's take this to another level. Suppose Republicans can convince people that Obama really does want to pursue a Robin Hood tax policy. Would that represent a political death sentence for the Democrat?

Here's another question posed by Gallup: Do you think our government should or should not redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich? In April of 2008, 51% of Americans answered that question "yes," while 43% said "no." Those who think of the New Deal Era as the high tide of American "socialism" might want to note that Roper asked the identical question in 1939; 35% said "yes" while 54% said "no."

So the bottom line is that under the most abrasive (and inaccurate) characterization of what Obama meant by "spreading the wealth around," he would still be reflecting a majority sentiment. Once again, the McCain-Palin campaign probably ought to be talking about something else.

The "insanity" of McClain on Socialism

Jack Balkin comments on an interview where John McCain lays down why he considers Obama to be a socialist and attempts to explain his economic views.

To summarize: a key tenet of socialism is redistribution of wealth. However, a 700 billion dollar bailout of banks and Wall Street firms is not socialism. Rather, it is "help[ing] those who need help, who can't help themselves," which is not socialism (because it is not redistributive?). Giving tax credits to people who pay payroll and Social Security taxes under Obama's health care plan is welfare (indeed, why isn't it socialism as well?). However, giving tax credits to individuals under McCain's plan is not welfare (and presumably, is not socialism either).

As far as I can see, according to McCain, "socialism" and "welfare" are thus defined as "redistributive policies that my opponent favors." Redistributive policies that I favor-- like using taxpayer money to buy up old mortgages and subsidize new ones-- are neither socialism or welfare; they are helping people. Where both my opponent and I have supported the same redistributive policies (like the recent bank bailout bill), they are socialism or welfare when he proposes them and not socialism or welfare when I propose them.

The insanity of McCain's remarks comes from two important facts about American government. First we live in a regulatory and welfare state in which one of the most important tools of government is taxation and spending, which are almost of necessity redistributive in character and/or effect. Second, at least since the time of the the New Deal Americans assume and expect that government will engage in redistributive policies to solve social problems and deal with crises. The bank bailout and health care reform policies are only the latest examples of techniques of governance that have become as American as apple pie.

McCain cannot really turn his back on the basic features of American governance in the post New Deal era; at most he can argue about the different ways that government should engage in redistributive taxing and spending policies to promote the public interest. Thus, his use of "socialism" and "welfare" are completely disingenuous, little more than scare tactics designed to obfuscate basic political assumptions about governance that both major political parties share.

Esquire's Kansas Endorsements

Esquire Magazine has come out with a whole slew of endorsements. The ones for Kansas seems mostly on-target. In my opinion, any Democrat who takes on an entrenched GOP in the 1st Disrict deserves a vote. For more Esquire endorsements, see here.

Election 2008: Who People in Kansas Should Vote For

Editor's note: the name of the incumbent candidate is italicized, while the candidate we're endorsing is in bold.


Pat Roberts (R)

Jim Slattery (D)

As then-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Roberts steadfastly defended the CIA as clean on torture and the NSA as clean on wiretapping--and just as steadfastly dragged his feet on investigating prewar intelligence failures for the tawdriest of reasons: to protect the White House. His opponent, a moderate former congressman, will do better.
Esquire endorses: Slattery


Congressional District 1

Jerry Moran (R)

James Bordonaro (D)

Moran is an informed, subtle legislator with an independent streak. His stand against the administration on Medicare cuts drew plaudits from all but his own party leaders; his balanced views on ethanol promote that industry while seeking to protect Kansas's stockyards. Great work.
Esquire endorses: Moran

District 2

Lynn Jenkins (R)

Nancy Boyda (D)

A successful executive and lifelong pro-choice Republican, Boyda switched parties in 2003 over opposition to the war but retains her antitax, pro-business leanings. Which leaves pro-choice, antitax, pro-business Republican Jenkins free to campaign on what, exactly--change?
Esquire endorses: Boyda

District 3

Nick Jordan (R)

Dennis Moore (D)

Easy choice here: vague values-and-terrorists talk from the challenger versus bipartisan accomplishment by the incumbent.
Esquire endorses: Moore

District 4

Todd Tiahrt (R)

Donald Betts (D)

Tiahrt, knee-deep in Abramoff and DeLay cash, deserves to be dumped for this sin alone. But let's keep things positive: His opponent is as accomplished a state legislator as you'll ever find.
Esquire endorses: Betts

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cook political report upgrades Boyda race

The Cook political report has upgraded Nancy Boyda's reelection campaign in Kansas' Second Congressional District from "toss up" to "leans Democratic"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Steve Early on EFCA, Obama. and the Economy

Labor journalist Steve Early has a thorough examination of the Employee Free Choice Act, the
centerpiece of labor's political program on the Talking Union blog,

Thirty years ago, unions came closer to strengthening the Wagner Act than at any other time since Congress enacted labor’s “Magna Carta” in 1935. During Jimmy Carter’s first and only term, they had the benefit of big Watergate-related Congressional victories by the Democrats in 1974–and, four years later, 61 Democrats in the Senate. Yet, when a bill was introduced that would have speeded up National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) elections, helped fired organizers, and penalized union-busting employers, labor law reform got filibustered to death in the Senate, after tepid White House lobbying on its behalf. Three decades after that political set-back-and partly because of it–American unions now represent only 12.1 percent of the total workforce. In the National Labor Relations Act-covered private sector, union density is down to 7.5%.

Thanks to the popular backlash against our current discredited Republican administration, Congress once again changed for the better, in 2006, raising new hopes for labor law reform. This year, union members have been urged to elect even bigger Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, plus a new president, so legislation called the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) can be enacted in 2009Since many in labor believe that amending the NLRA is more critical to union survival today than 30 years ago, it’s worth examining the current campaign for EFCA. (1) Have the lessons of past defeats been well applied in labor’s renewed bid to strengthen the right to organize? Can the AFL-CIO and Change To Win (CTW) win on this issue when organized labor’s size and political clout has been so much diminished since the late 1970s? Even if enacted, will EFCA enable unions to overcome widespread employer resistance to collective bargaining in the U.S.?

Read the whole thing here.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Tiahrt Took Money from Northrup Grumman During 2008 Election Cycle

An important press release from Donald Betts campaign for the US House> WICHITA, Kans. – State Senator Donald Betts, Jr. provided information at last week’s press conference that Rep. Todd Tiahrt had taken $3,000 from Northrop Grumman during the 2008 election cycle. Additionally, Tiahrt voted for on the Fiscal 2008 Department of Defense Authorization Bill HR 4986, PL 110-81, Section 804 which allowed the Secretary of Defense the ability to waive “Buy American” Provisions. It passed by the House 369-46 with Representative Tiahrt voting Aye. This vote by the entire Kansas delegation effectively allowed the Air Force to make decisions on outsourcing military work to other countries. Campaign donations to Tiahrt can be reviewed by at The Center for Responsive Politics (a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization) website at this link:

Todd would have you believe that he has been an opponent of ‘outsourcing’ but the truth is he voted for the bill that allowed foreign companies to bid on defense contracts.” “Most people would be shocked to learn that he voted for a bill a few years ago that undermined the ‘Buy American Act’ established in 1933 by giving the Secretary of the Defense the opportunity to let out contracts to foreign governments.”

I am sure that Representative Tiahrt doesn’t want the public to realize that it was ‘him’ and other members of Congress and not this contract that opened the door to sending our jobs and security overseas,” said Betts. “It is an outrage that he is acting as though he supports Boeing and opposes Grumman when the truth is that he took campaign donations from Grumman,” said Betts. “We should absolutely never outsource our military contracts. The Department of Defense should always use American manufacturing for the sake of insuring the best possible products for our servicemen and women and for our nation’s defense and security.”

In addition to this legislation opening the process to foreign companies, it is important to note that in 2001, both Representative Tiahrt and Senator Roberts started receiving contributions from Grumman’s Political Action Committees (Grumman is the partner with EADS (Airbus) on the tanker project). Shortly thereafter, McCain mounted a campaign to force the Congress and Air Force to drop the Boeing tanker leasing deal introduced in October 2001. McCain bragged during the 2008 campaign for President that he had “saved” the American taxpayer 30 billion dollars by forcing the cancellation of the contract. In May 2003, Roberts voted for the John McCain amendment to the Fiscal Year 2004 military budget (Senate Bill S1050) allowing the Department of Defense to buy military equipment and services from foreign companies, including EADS, undermining the “Buy American Act”. It passed with a 50-48 largely Republican party line vote.

Senator Roberts and Representative Tiahrt are on the Senate and House sub appropriations committees for military spending, yet there is no evidence that they spoke out or tried to stop the cancellation of the Boeing contract in May 2004. Furthermore, the House and Senate in a series of continuing motions eroded the 50% USA content rule used by the Department of Defense by making agreements with 21 foreign countries to grant a waiver from the 50% rule. In other words, the House and Senate declared even if military equipment was manufactured in one of the 21 foreign countries it would be counted as “MADE IN THE USA”. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and President Bush supported these motions as did Roberts and Tiahrt. These motions passed without any reported opposition from Roberts or Tiahrt.

In Fiscal Year 2006 Defense Authorization Act (HR 1815, S1042) contained the authorization for the tanker contract. HR 1815 contained 3 strong Buy American provisions:

  1. Section 817 banned the Secretary of Defense from buying military hardware from any foreign company who receives subsidies from a foreign government when that government is a member of the World Trade Organization and applied only when the US is involved in an unresolved WTO dispute over the subsidies or the WTO has ruled the subsidies are illegal. The sole purpose of the amendment was to prohibit Airbus from winning the tanker contract over Boeing.

  2. Section 818 required military purchases contain at least 50% USA made content. It would have invalidated the special agreements with 21 foreign countries allowing them to manufacture more than 50% USA military equipment and count it as “made in the USA”

  3. Section 1212 would have prevented the US military from buying equipment from foreign companies who have sold items on the USA’s Munitions List to China.

HR 1815 passed the House and was referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee on which Senator Roberts sat. Senator Warner tried to attach the 3 “Buy American” amendments to the Senate defense appropriations bill, but in May 2005 Roberts as a member of the committee dropped the “Buy American” provisions. Grumman teamed with EADS (Airbus) to bid on the tanker in September 2005. The Senate Armed Services Committee stripped “Buy American” provisions out and it passed the Senate Armed Services Committee without any recorded objection from Roberts. On November 15, 2005, the stripped bill passed the Senate with unanimous consent with no recorded objection from Roberts. On that same day, Roberts was named to serve on the conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills. On December 21, 2005, the Senate agreed to the Conference Committee Report by a voice vote, again without the “Buy American” provisions.

Roberts and Tiahrt did not voice their opinions objecting to military contracts involving bidding from foreign companies or foreign countries, yet they have been very vocal as of late to show the voters of Kansas that they are the advocates of keeping military work in the U.S. “Voters need to be alert to realize this is not how they have voted and to realize this is just the latest in their campaign ploys to the public to present a different image,” said Betts.

Kansas Republicans Miss Deadline for Filing Presidential Elector Candidates

Ballot Access News reports October 3rd, 2008

The Kansas deadline for qualified parties to file their candidates for presidential elector is June 20. The Republican Party of Kansas still hasn’t filed any candidates for presidential elector. The Kansas Secretary of State’s webpage lists candidates for presidential elector. That webpage says the Libertarian Party also hasn’t filed its candidates for presidential elector, but the Libertarian Party did submit the list, late on October 3.

There are no consequences to missing the Kansas deadline. John McCain will still be on the ballot in Kansas.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Biggest Bailout, er Rescue, Whoppers

There's lots of confusion about the Wall Street bailout, or as the Senate is so carefully spinning it economic rescue

Here are some that have to my attention For the moment at least I'm not going to provide all sorts of documentation and links.

MYTH No. 1: Right-wing, free market fundamentalists in the House said that passing the bill was tantamount to instituting socialism.

REALITY: It is more accurate to describe the bail out as lemon socialism. The privatization of profits and the socialization of losses. Central American oligarchs used to oppose highways and sewer systems because any sort of public expenditure would lead to socialism.

McCain MYTH: The GOP Presidential nominee today in a NPR interview and repeatedly before said that the US is in the midst of a fiscal crisis. And, this is not a senior moment.

REALITY. The crisis facing the American economy is a financial crisis. Contrary to the Arizona Senator, the root of the problem is not "earmarks or excessive governmental spending. The solution is not a spending freeze

RACIST, RIGHT-WING MYTH: The housing crisis was caused by Democrats who required banks to give loans to blacks, Hispanics, and poor people/

REALITY: The Community Reinvestment Act was passed in 1977. There a name for this kind of logical error. Students look it up. The problem that we are now facing is a housing bubble. Middle-income, the affluent, and the wealthy benefited as much or more than anyone from the rise in housing prices.

ECONOMIC CRANK INNUMERATE MYTH: Every period of severe economic crisis throws up the wildest sorts of economic crankery In the 1930s there was the "social credit" of Major Douglass. Technocracy, and the Townsend Plan. Jon Maynard Keynes actually had some rather nice things to say about these cranks.

There's a "plan" going around I've seen it in an mail from an East Coast rabbi, heard it on a semi-racist radio show, and the like. Today, a caller to a NPR program brought it up and none of the experts caught the mathematical error.

Here's the "plan" attributed to T. J. Birkenmeier

I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.

Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We
Deserve It Dividend.

To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide
U.S. Citizens 18+.

Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and
child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..

So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billion that equals

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It
The only problem is that the Birkenheimer plan is too good to be true. By a factor of 1000. If you divide 85 billion (8.5e10) dollars by 200 million (2e8) adults, you get $425 per adult, not $425,000 per adult.

HOOVER REDUX MYTH: We would be better off letting the market alone The invisible hand will sort everything out.

REALITY: This was tried back in Hoover's era. He was the first to judge the "fundamental are strong." As John Maynard Keynes observed, "in the long run, we are all dead." The market may take exceedingly long to reach an equilibrium if let to it own devices And, it is just possible, that things, housing prices, might fall below the equilibrium. One of the essential points that Keynes made is that the economy often adjusts by chaing levels of output rather than by changes in prices