Daily Archives: August 1, 2004

Housekeeping #17

I don’t know if it’s actually #17 or not–I didn’t bother to spend an hour searching through the archives just to figure it out–but it’s as good a starting point as any.

First, you will notice that the Omnium Archives are no longer housed in the Pyramid Building in San Francisco. We discovered that the Pyramid is located directly over the San Andreas fault and decided it was prudent to move this precious resource to a safer repository before Ahnud lives up to his image and makes California the second US state with its own nuclear weapons (Kansas was the first but I’m reasonably sure they’d never use them against the rest of us; with Ahnud it’s impossible to know that for certain). They have therefore been moved to the British Library where they will reside cheek-by-jowl alongside Henry VIII’s recipe for blackbird pie (which does NOT, contrary to myth, call for 23 cloves of peppercorn and a bag of garlic) and Shakespeare’s first love poem, reportedly written in chalk and found on the wall of a privy in Stratford-on-Avon:

Fshe walked with Buty in the dirt.
So Aye clutched and lofted up her skirt–

I should perhaps add that there is some controversy over the authenticity of this poem but Tony Blair says that MI6 did an exhaustive study and reached the conclusion that it was genuine, which is good enough for me. Besides, I think it sounds just like him, don’t you?

Second, arch-Contributor Seattle has returned to the fold after a lengthy unexcused absence (he assures me that a note from his mother is forthcoming but I’ll believe it when I see it)–those who have been paying attention will have already remarked upon the noisy blizzard of posts with which he announced his re-emergence from The Darkness.

His absence may be unexcused but it is at least explained. Thus:

That’s him in front, looking like he’s about to plunge headlong into the whitecapped deeps, and not because he wants to.

Third, he has finally provided biographical material on himself which you can find here, though I’m not sure I’d bother if I were you. The picture he draws of himself is entirely unbelievable. Nobody could be that…normal. Where are the anomalies? the records of arrests? the pork-pie hats? the confessions of his unrequited love affairs with Danielle Steel and Jackie Collins? the polar bears? He’s hiding something, I tell you.

Fourth, there is a new story at Snake Tales called ‘blind pierre’s fiddle’ which is based on a real incident–unusual for me.

That’s it for now. Have at it.

The Real Democratic Record

Michael Kinsley has been crunching some numbers. The results are fascinating and–if you’re a Republican–startling. The question he asked was very simple: Who’s been better for the economy over the past 40 years, Dems or Pubs?

It turns out that Democratic presidents have a much better record than Republicans. They win in a head-to-head comparison in almost every category. Real growth averaged 4.09% in Democratic years, 2.75% in Republican years. Unemployment was 6.44%, on average, under Republican presidents, and 5.33% under Democrats. The federal government spent more under Republicans than Democrats (20.87% of GDP, compared with 19.58%), and that remains true even if you exclude defense (13.76% for the Democrats, 14.97% for the Republicans).What else? Inflation was lower under Democratic presidents (3.81% on average, compared with 4.85%). And annual deficits took more than twice as much of GDP under Republicans than Democrats (2.74% of GDP versus 1.21%). Republicans won by a nose on government revenue (i.e., taxes), taking 18.12% of GDP, compared with 18.39%. That, of course, is why they lost on the size of the deficit.

Personal income per capita was also a bit higher in Republican years ($16,061 in year- 2000 dollars) than in Democratic ones ($15,565). But that is because more of the Republican years came later, when the country was more prosperous already.

There will be many objections to all this, some of them valid. For example, a president can’t fairly be held responsible for the economy from the day he takes office. So let’s give them all a year. That is, let’s allocate each year to the party that controlled the White House the year before. Guess what? The numbers change, but the bottom-line tally is exactly the same: higher growth, lower unemployment, lower government spending, lower inflation and so on under the Democrats. Lower taxes under the Republicans.

But maybe we are taking too long a view. The Republican Party considers itself born again in 1981, when Ronald Reagan became president. That’s when Republicans got serious about cutting taxes, reducing the size of government and making the country prosperous. Allegedly. But doing all the same calculations for the years 1982 through 2002, and giving each president’s policies a year to take effect, changes only one result: The Democrats pull ahead of the Republicans on per capita personal income.

In other words, the corporate media-sponsored CW that Pubs are better for the economy is nothing more than unsubstatiated mythology. They’re not, in fact they’re substantially worse in every category except–you guessed it–corporate taxation, which is lower under Pubs.