Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Returning from a Summer Break

It is time to blog again. After a little break from the blog for the summer to deal with some personal issues, my divorce is final and I’m actually following the news again. So much information…

Let’s do some random drive-by thoughts.

I found it very interesting that the Elena Kagan hearings were actually more about Thurgood Marshall, whom Kagan clerked for after law school. I guess Republicans had nothing to attack her about. Yet, they still didn’t want to vote for her.

Speaking of the Supreme Court, I’ve often attacked conservative jurists as being activists in much the same way that reverse has been true since the 1970s. In many cases, our judges and justices – both conservative and liberal – have an ideological opinion and then use their Constitutional interpretation to support that outcome. Too many examples to list here. However, in McDonald v. Chicago, Justice Thomas’ support of gun rights through an originalist interpretation should be a must read for anyone studying originalism. Thomas showed that he’s an originalist first and a conservative second. In fact, Thomas voted on more than one occasion this past term for the “liberal” side by often concurring in judgment and then writing an originalist concurrence. While I still don’t believe that originalism is the ONLY way to interpret the Constitution, kudos to Justice Thomas for a landmark concurrence.

Just a President Bush was unfairly attacked for the slow response to Hurricane Katrina, President Obama is being unfairly criticized for the government’s slow response to the BP spill. Attack his policies for trying to prevent future catastrophes such as this one, but don’t blame him for the spill. This is just another example of defending one guy and attacking another because of party affiliation.

Interesting that the Republican deficit hawks are continuing to push for an extension of the Bush tax cuts. Hmmm.

When did Afghanistan become President Obama’s war? Seems like it started in late fall 2001. President Obama is just cleaning up the mess left by the fact the previous administration didn’t fully commit to the Afghan war. Something about wanting to save troops for a war that didn’t yet exist. Iraq.

I’m torn about the Tea Party candidates in November. Ideally, they’d all get beat handily and the Democrats would continue to control healthy majorities in both Houses. However, if the Republicans and the Tea Partiers can succeed in November, then they’ll actually have to adopt policy from their platitudes. This could make it much easier in 2012 for re-election and retaking both Houses, which is the perfect long term plan. Even Charles Krauthammer predicts this possibility!!!

I’m tired of hearing people talk about the American economy never recovering. Pure BS. The American economy is the greatest wealth producing engine ever created by man. Sure, there have been huge bumps along the road, but it has always recovered despite attempts by Democrats, Whigs, Federalists, and Republicans help it along. Sure we have some HUGE political decisions to worry about – can anyone hear the elephant in the room named Social Security – but stop claiming the American economy is doomed. Many people are beginning to believe that China is the world’s largest economy. Look at the numbers, not even close.

Speaking of economics, it seems as the new world information economy is tilted toward women. Boys born this year are expected to make less money than their dads and grandpas. Girls born this year are expected to make close to double what their moms and grandmas made. Also, couples seeking to be artificially inseminated are asking for seminal fluid modified to guarantee the birth of a daughter. While conservatives and liberals have fought verbal wars over means and policies of the feminist movement, economically the feminist movement is winning without the influence of the politicians. Of course, doesn’t economics always lead politics.

House Republicans just recently blocked legislation that would’ve helped the heroes of the 9/11 response and cleanup with health care from the various diseases they picked up doing the work. It would’ve also provided compensation to some families whose loved ones have already passed away from diseases acquired in the response and cleanup. The bill would’ve have been cost neutral by closing a tax loophole for foreign companies doing business in the United States. The bill was titled the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Shameful.


  1. "House Republicans just recently blocked legislation that would’ve helped the heroes of the 9/11 response and cleanup with health care from the various diseases they picked up doing the work. It would’ve also provided compensation to some families whose loved ones have already passed away from diseases acquired in the response and cleanup. The bill would’ve have been cost neutral by closing a tax loophole for foreign companies doing business in the United States. The bill was titled the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Shameful. "

    SHAMEFUL?!?!??! How about COWARDESS for the fact that democrats have to tack on something about illegal immigration on something like that! I can't believe you Jones! There was no need for that to be added on to the bill. HAVE A FREAKING VOTE AND BE ON THE RECORD FOR IT!!!! AHHHH, this is so maddening man! The DEMOCRATS are shameful for that. Put it on its own! Disgusting! Tell the TRUTH about what the Republicans blocked!

  2. China is a major emerging market that just overtook Japan as the number 2 economy in the world (,0,6262591.story ) and also just surpassed the US for the world's largest energy consumer ( )

    I think these are obvious signs that the high standard of living Americans have enjoyed in the past is transferring to emerging markets in Asia.

    If the US Govt keeps perusing their disastrous policies, you better believe the US economy won't recover.

    As for the comment on women emerging into the market, have you ever considered this might be due to most families needing two bread winners to make ends meat as opposed to when our real wages were higher in the past and households only needed one breadwinner. All this is evidence of to me is our standard of living decreasing.

  3. "Just a President Bush was unfairly attacked for the slow response to Hurricane Katrina, President Obama is being unfairly criticized for the government’s slow response to the BP spill."

    He's not being attacked for the slow response. He's being attacked for purposefully making the situation worse. A moratorium on all deep water drilling in the gulf and Alaska does nothing but send 130,000 jobs away and further devastate the economies of the gulf states.

    And lets be clear on our definition of slow response. Bush was raked over the coals by EVERYONE in the state-run media because it took what, a week? Obama took 50 days to do anything and then when he did, instead of partnering with BP and allowing other nations with expertise to come in and help, he stymied efforts by Bobby Jindal to protect the coastline of Louisiana, he issued TWO offshore oil drilling moratoriums carte blanche (the first was struck down by a judge in LA), and he dragged BP into the White House to shake them down for $20 billion in more slush fund money - supposedly designed to help compensate victims of the spill. Well, the spill is fixed, no thanks to Obama, and fisheries are opening back up, the beaches are clean and ready for appears BP ought to get that money back. Don't count on it.

  4. "Interesting that the Republican deficit hawks are continuing to push for an extension of the Bush tax cuts. Hmmm."

    Interesting how after decades of experience with the fact that reducing income and corporate tax rates actually increases revenue to the government, liberals continue to see the economy as a zero sum game.

    By the way, even many Democrats are starting to call for an extension of the Bush Tax Cuts because they know that despite their rhetoric that "we can't return to the policies that got us into this great recession", raising taxes stymies economic growth.

    SJ, you want to see double-dip recession? Let's wait and see what happens if these taxes are raised in the midst of a non-existant recovery. Art Laffer predicts at best, economic collapse. I trust him infinitely more than a community agitator to understand economics.

  5. Regarding the future of the American economy, I'm not sure to whom you're referring saying that it's never coming back. I mean, we EVENTUALLY came back after the Great Depression, albeit 7-8 years later than it would have naturally happened had FDR not messed things up so horribly.

    The frustrating thing to me is that it appears the stagnant economy is being actively pursued by this administration. We know that tax cuts spur economic growth; Obama wants to raise them on everyone. We know that government spending only crowds out the private sector and places temporary bandaids on problems that need a market adjustment to get better; Obama keeps the deficit spending rolling. We know how to fix our economy inside of 18 months, yet we take NO action that is designed to actually DO just that.

  6. I think it's funny how everyone in Washington thinks we need to "avoid" the recession, as if it's a bad thing, when in reality, it's a good thing. Recessions are needed when people in the economy miss-allocate resources. Generally, these miss-allocations occur because of government involvement in the free market which makes people malinvest resources that in normal market conditions wouldn't have happened.

    The housing market is just one example where artificially low interest rates blew up a housing bubble and made housing appear affordable to the average consumer because they relied on perpetually low interest rates to finance homes that otherwise would have been unaffordable and were relying on asset appreciation for it to be affordable.

    So a recession is a good thing. It's how the economy purges malinvestment and re-allocates resources to be as efficient as possible.

    You're right Scott L, ideally, we shouldn't need the government to DO anything at all. Recessions wouldn't even exist if it weren't for government intervention in the economy that causes them in the first place. The only thing that NEEDS to be done, is to get the giant gorilla off our backs and let entrepreneurs do what they do.

  7. GeeWhiz,

    I completely agree with your assertion that government interference is a main driver of recessions. I'm not convinced that there would be NO mild recessions without the government, simply due to the natural economic cycle and the consuming public's appetite for fads.

    However, in these instances, the mild recession would not result in the massive unemployment we now have because everything in the economy would be real instead of artificial, as it is when government gets involved with picking winners and losers. Take the housing market you cite:

    Without the Community Redevelopment and Reinvestment act of 1979 (ish, not sure the exact year, but it was Carter who signed it), banks would not have been FORCED by Janet Reno and Bill Clinton to lend to people who had no proof of income and no means to afford the house. The Race Hustlers on the Democrat side of the aisle alleged that banks, by essentially discriminating against poor people in not wanting to lend money to those who could not afford it, were practicing unfair racist policies that targeted blacks.

    So the banks were forced to make these loans. But it wasn't all bad for the banks; Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guaranteed all the bad loan paper, so there was on one side, a gun being pointed at the banker's head from our beloved government telling them to loan the money, and then on the other side, the government was guaranteeing the loans would not be a liability to the banks should they go sour. So OF COURSE the banks lent the money.

    But as you point out, this artificial insertion into the housing market by our government caused a bubble, fueled by debt financing, which eventually burst because the whole shebang was never real to begin with.

  8. It's as simple as capitalism relying on risk and reward. Nothing in life is a guarantee and the government wants to make this a risk-less country for everyone. That is horrible policy and terrible for the economy because it drastically changes market forces that are needed to balance the economy. So they try to socialize the entire mess and direct the losses on the entire population so everyone loses, and everyone is encouraged to be irresponsible, and the government bails out irresponsibility.

    It's really disgusting.

  9. We've been through this on the blog before, but this is my only comment on the current strand.

    I love how conservatives bow at the alter of capitalism. Just like a religion, conservatives revere capitalism as just as perfect as Fundamentalist Christians view the Holy Bible.

    I'm not attacking capitalism here - just as no liberal argues to end capitalism despite what Rush and Sean and Glen and Sarah and etc. say. The liberal philosophy is actually more in tune with Adam Smith than what the conservative philosophy argues today.

    Smith understood that capitilism was not perfect. However, he argued it was better than the Mercantilism promoted by France and Spain, which was squeezing out England on the world market.

    In addition, it was the French at the end of the 19th century that put forth the principle of Laissez Faire economics. And within 10 years, their economy crumbled.

    In order to account for the imperfections of capitalism, Smith argued for a welfare state to help people as capitalism pushed people out of the market. Smith wrote that it was the duty of the wealthy to financially help those without and since people won't do it on their own, it was the role of government to carry this out.

    It might help if more people actually read the work in that our current economic system is based.

  10. Scott - I am not proposing a total eradication of the social safety net. I do believe that capitalism is the best form of economic system for any society - economic freedom is always best.

    I've acknowledged in the past that there are people who will slip through the cracks in Capitalism, and so being a compassionate people, we ought to have a basic safety net - temporary for most who need it, with only a small percent of people spending long terms on the government dole.

    But Scott, what is happening under Obama is not a basic safety net. What is happening is the establishment of a permanent underclass of citizens who are utterly dependent on government for the daily sustanence.

    Unemployment now lasts for 99 weeks. That is just under two years. At what point do we have to tell people sorry, go out and make your own way? The stories of folks who are refusing to look for work or take a full time position are numerous and why blame them? They can pull down $30K a year by DOING NOTHING.

    Obama just signed a $26BN bill to "save teacher jobs". Its not about jobs, its about pensions.

    We passed a $800BN "stimulus" plan that was supposed to save us from unemployment over 8%. We have been in the 9s for months and there is no sign of it improving - on the contrary, unemployment claims jumped to their highest level in 6 months in July.

    Keynesian spending DOES NOT WORK. Tax cuts DO WORK. We are living through an example of the most egregious amount of Keynesian "government forced demand" in our history and it is failing miserably.

    You watch, if we don't reinstate the Bush tax cuts, we are headed for a double dip. Hell, we never really got out of the first recession except on paper.

    When will you realize that what Obama/Pelosi/Reid are doing is not just your compassionate welfare state proposed by Adam Smith? This is SO MUCH MORE! They are ruining this economy with so much deficit spending and fiscal irresponsibility its sickening to see.

  11. It just keeps getting worse:

    Screw market forces, politicians need their votes to stay in power!