Fred and Phoebe Discuss Economic Policy

Alert! Alert! Danger! Danger! Bacon is playing with fire!

Once again, I am experimenting with new media forms– this time making a brief animated “movie” based on topics debated on this blog, vivid proof that I have too much time on my hands. All my prejudices are on display. I make no effort to be fair and balanced. I don’t bother to fact check. But I do throw in a few yucks. Enjoy.

(If you can come up with better one-liners, I will plug them into the script and re-publish the movie.)

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26 responses to “Fred and Phoebe Discuss Economic Policy”

  1. Groveton Avatar

    I never knew LarryG was a woman.

  2. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Could we sub in Jim and Laura Bacon for the characters?

    Peter Galuszka

  3. How about

    "If we can't help wealthy investors and screw working people, what's the point in being a Republican?"

  4. Well I'm no woman for sure but I do know that cup size is measured as A, B, C, D, double D etc not numerics.

    and I know the tax RATE cut – correct…. was not permanent on purpose because had it been permanent then CBO would have scored it – and CBO's analysis would have showed DEFICITS not increased tax revenues but those pesky little details don't keep the condescendingly smug zealots from continuing their beliefs – no matter what the CBO (who even during Bush's term was apparently a stealth Democratic organ)says.

    " Tax revenues are significantly affected by the economy. Recessions typically reduce government tax collections as economic activity slows. For example, during FY2009, the U.S. government collected about $400 billion less than FY2008. Individual income taxes declined 20%, while corporate taxes declined 50%. At 15% of GDP, the 2009 collections were the lowest level of the past 50 years."

    so the tax cuts did not produce increased tax revenues as blathered by "Fred" nor did it produce jobs as they also shrunk.

    But these myths are so fervently believed by people like "Fred" and company that their response is that just because it did not produce the results it should have …does not make it wrong.

    And then they proceed to talk about how it "worked" under Reagan caring not why it did not work this time.

    Oh.. and the Republican cry right now is to EXTEND the tax cuts – not make them permanent – why?

    Because if they are made permanent CBO will score them and the results will not be what the blind adherents fervently believe – but they know this so they don't want that scoring done – and if scoring IS done – then they'll say that CBO is a hack organization that cannot be trusted.

    The Conservatives has spun their own little world that has little to do with the realities but it fits their ideology and that makes things right.

    The Republicans – that Jim Bacon has said on several occasions are as bad or worse than the Dems have entered a phase when the ones in their tent who would see compromise are banned… exiled and the only ones left have a total take-no-prisoners attitude toward governance.

    We're headed for deja vu – shut down government antics once again from these neo-cons.

    But congrats for a clever montage.

  5. and people like Fred are apparently either clueless about this or don't think it is a problem:

    " In 2009, 69 percent of eighth graders scored below proficient in reading, and 68 percent scored below proficient in math.
    Our country ranks 21st out of 30 developed nations in science literacy, despite the fact that we rank fifth in education spending. "

    this issue is apparently like health care.

    If one has health insurance and/or their own kids are doing fine – then they don't see a problem AND they are opposed to changes that would affect them.

    Phoebe, no doubt is one of those kids who did not score well in proficiency but she managed anyhow to find a job working for Fred – because likely Fred can't find much better… and worse… Phoebe will likely raise kids to be like her who will grow up expecting Freds kids to pay for their entitlements, eh?

    And even worse.. Phoebe votes… and when the Phoebes outnumber the Freds guess what happens?

    and of course the condescending Fred types don't care for blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, teachers, union workers, gays or lesbians nor scientists… so Fred belongs to a small group relative to the voting electorate.

    At least Bacon had the good sense not to make Phoebe a black speaking Ebonics – the real Fred may not have that good sense.

    Never to fear though – the Ace-in-the-Hole card is their powerful and potent right-wing-propaganda machine that, as long as it can peel off the required number of truly clueless in the middle – they can maintain control of the govt apparatus.

    It's a crappy job but someone has to do it – right?

    They don't need to be in charge all the time – just long enough to get in office and dismantle whatever crazy laws and regs the Dems manage to build while they were in and make sure that any retired or dead Supreme Court Justices get replaced with clear-thinking folks ….

    See.. if Fred saw his role as a mentor who would actually work with Phoebe to help her dispel her terrible Liberal tendencies, he'd have much better luck that that condescending sneer that has disrespect with a capital D written all over his snarl…

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    Great video!! Wish it could be shared more on the Internet. I hope most all of the conversation was with real facts. Sound as though it was.

    Along these lines, I know there's a book surfacing that's a great read/thriller. Cause I don't see either side willing to compromise on anything….in fact, everyone is digging in their heels. It's a great read.

  7. Fred and people like him think the Laffer curve peaks as low as 8%.

    They are correct n the assumption that whatever the governmet takes comes out of the private economy, but they do not have elasticity figured corectly.

    As near as I can tell most economist think it peaks somewhere above 50% tax. by analogy, there are plenty of countries that seem to run OK at 50% tax an they have not collapsed, whereas Russia, Cuba, and North Korea, which pretty much run at 100% tax have failed.

    I don't think we have any examples of countries running at 8% tax.

  8. I do not think the government takes out of the economy.

    Taxes get spent on goods and services either directly or indirectly through govt employees, contractors and factory orders.

    Somewhere in the U.S. is a company that makes boots for soldiers… LOT OF BOOTS –

    They people are paid with tax revenues.

    The CEO of the boot company is paid with tax money.

    Why Ray.. I'm willing to bet that you have been employed with Tax Money – no?

    Now these same people making boots – they could be making office chairs for the EPA….

    but if you ask Conservatives – the money for those EPA chairs goes down a black hole while the money for solider boots is golden and creates jobs and is economic nirvana….

    Now the next thing the conservatives will tell you is that the govt is not a wise spender of money whereas citizens are much smarter and that the more taxes they get to keep – the more efficient and righteous our economy will be.

    The fact that Joe Blow will go out and spend $1000 on a big screen TV instead of medical care/insurance for his kids – and then takes them to the ER for their care (that then bills us) … does not apparently cross the minds of those who are so sure that citizens know how to better spend money.

    After all.. if people were smart would they have signed up for millions of sub-prime loans for houses they could not afford to pay for – if they were smarter than the govt?

    Kids now days come to school with game boys, cell phones and a mouth full of cavities waiting for dental clinic day at the school.

    and entrepreneurs? selling shipping & handled disguised as a two-for-one sale offer for some useless gadget?

    or selling $1000 chrome wheels to guys who flip burgers and have zero insurance and zero money set aside for retirement?

  9. Groveton Avatar

    Hydra hits a homer …

    "Fred and people like him think the Laffer curve peaks as low as 8%.

    They are correct n the assumption that whatever the governmet takes comes out of the private economy, but they do not have elasticity figured corectly.".

    No doubt the Laffler Curve is right. However, as Hydra adroitly points out, nobody is quite sure of the exact arc of that curve.

    However – one thing seems sure – raising taxes won't help the economy in the short run. I can live with paying more in taxes. But I can't really live with a dead economy. Let's fix the economy first and raise taxes second.

  10. I agree we need to fix the economy or should we be letting the private economy "right itself"?

    but I'll just continue to point out that you pay taxes to the county who then hires deputies and teachers and buy school buses and lease xerox machines and all of this money goes into the economy.

    Should we tax less.. have less teachers and deputies and school buses and xerox machines or let the private sector charge for teachers and deputies or school buses or xerox machines?

    should we let taxpayers keep that money and decide if they want to pay individually for teachers and security, etc?

    Conservatives make the argument over and over that govt wastes money and people don't …

    it's not necessarily true but conservatives don't let that pesky detail mess up their dogmatic beliefs.

    In fact, we could let parents decide how much to spend on the education of their kids (or not) and let them choose from private sector offerings such that the well off get – literally prep schools ..Christian/Religious schools and others get whatever the McDonalds version is – and all of us get 1/2 of our taxes back to spend on what we want.

    People like Fred are political Neanderthals who think they know what the real world is really about – and they don't.

    They take for granted the things they depend on that the govt does and they gripe about the things the govt does that do not benefit them directly.

    I say – close the public schools and let's get on with what people like Fred say the real world and stop letting him pretend that he is a warrior when in fact – he is just a silly little weekend warrior.

    When you really put the true right wing agenda in front of folks like Fred – they are HORRIFIED!

    It's one thing to have "conservative" street cred – quite another to let the Neanderthals out of their cages to run amok.

    I say that folk like Fred are playing with fire…

  11. Accurate Avatar

    Larry G –
    Man, for someone who always makes claims that you're a liberal you sure come across as one.

    As Bacon stated, it was an EXPERIMENT playing with new media. He also states that he didn't FACT CHECK and wasn't trying to be FAIR AND BALANCED. So quit throwing dirt at it.

    For a first crack at it, out-of-the-box, it was pretty good Jim. I did like the one liners and I still dislike Obama.

  12. well.. it was good… got me spun up eh?

    not fact checked? oops! I obviously did not notice any difference…. my bad.

    but Bacon did say his prejudices were on display – and I took him at his word – and the man was right.

    Should I encourage Bacon for future episodes of "Fred"?

    well… this is tough…

    I already know Groveton's vote and probably Accurates…

    so .. I'll vote YES!

    Fred & Phoebe but pallllleeeezzeee no sordid lapses….

    If I see one more Conservative publically state to God that he as sinned… even in a cartoon.. I'm going to barf…..

  13. That's right. Those think govt is a leech give it zero credit for benefits or when they do, discount the benefits as unwanted unneeded and wasteful.

  14. so…. we'll end up with the double dare school of politics..

    … to wit:

    " I'll help get rid of the programs you don't like if you help me get rid of the programs I don't like."

    sort of like a circular firing squad?

    …. Maybe we should start over.

    We've got a bunch of regulations but I doubt seriously that even one of them started out with someone saying " you know.. we don't have a problem … but we need to have a regulation just in case".

    Virtually all of them came about usually after-the-fact – to correct some perceived problem….

    but at time has gone by – the actual reasons for regs has receded … and now the regs are seen are unneeded and counter-productive.

    I'll start.

    Let's get rid of those DANG nutrition labels!

    I am sick and tired of finding out that my favorite foods are full of saturated fat!

    get rid of the nutrition labels NOW!

    I bet if you look into this – that millions of dollars are spent by companies to comply with these regs and that we have a bunch of permanent, unfireable govt employees writing fly shit reports that no one wants nor reads…


  15. Anonymous Avatar

    May I post a minority view?

    There may be a role for graphic novel / comic book / animation portrayals of serious issues to reach those who have been left out, or dropped out, of serious communications.

    However, those activities must be carefully researched and widely vetted BEFORE they are distributed. Again Mr. Gross makes a fool of the ‘conservative’ stick figure with a pink shirt and a shaggy Mohawk.

    In areas where intelligent humans who have given these issues thought still have not reached a consensus, this is a waste of time.

    If Mr. Bacon has so much extra time on his hands, he might do some community service – or better, use his skills to spell out real alternatives to real problems.

    Speaking of real, how about realistic props? There are no empty pigeonholes around the water cooler and no evidence of the rocks that are being heaved.


  16. Anonymous Avatar

    We assume Larry is just making a joke about the labels.

    The period from 2000 to 2008 demonstrated that if they could get away with it ‘private enterprise’ would sell noting but salted and sugared fat in large containers.


  17. Actually I'd like a poll of the Conservatives who post here in full profusion about our socialist nanny state.

    Don't you guys think it is the ultimate in Nanny States to have regulations that force private enterprise to conduct analyses of the foods they sell?

    It adds to the costs. It requires bean-counting bureaucrats and at the end of the day even after all this regulation – we find fly shit and saturated fats in our food.

    If we did not have these worthless nutrition labels – we'd not be worry about fly shit and fats and we know the price would be lower without all that regulation.

    so I ask the Conservatives here – don't you agree with my anayses of the worthless and costly nutrition label regulations?

    silence is not golden here… so anytime ya'll want to respond……..

  18. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Larry, In the broad spectrum of government regulations, nutritional labeling is one of the least objectionable. True, the analysis does impose a cost upon business, some of which ends up getting passed onto the consumer. The burden also hurts the competitiveness of smaller food enterprises and favors the big players who can more easily afford the testing.

    On the other hand some people (including me) find the nutritional information valuable. I think you'll find that I tend to be supportive of government regulations that enhance marketplace transparency, providing information to help consumers make buying decisions. (I feel the same about Obamacare's mandate that health care providers provide health care outcomes data.)

    In an ideal world, I would say that consumers would demand the nutritional information and that some food brands would repond voluntarily with the information. Perhaps a private-sector entity would certify food that meets certain health standards — a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for food. Or a Consumer Reports for food.

    Would such an entity arise in the absence of government mandates? Who knows.

  19. Thanks Jim.

    so it appears that you really do support regulations just like I do and that differences are in degrees….

    but here's the deal.

    Apparently somewhere in the degree of regulation – You can still be a conservative but one step later… you're a whiny nanny-state socialist?

    How about the States?

    do you think New York has the right to require nutrition labeling for restaurant meals?

    How about California? do you think it's a State's Right issue for California to require tuna to disclose mercury levels?

    Do you think the Federal Govt should have the right to prohibit such labeling?

    but thanks for providing your opinion on the matter.

    I'd like to see a discussion between Fred and Phoebe on the issue and let Fred take the position of Orin Hatch on nutrition labeling.

  20. Accurate Avatar

    Okay, since you didn't kill Jim when he commented, I'll take a stab at it Larry. Do I like, or even care that we have food labels? The answer is no, it really doesn't make any difference to me one way or the other. That said, no, I really don't think that it should be MANDATORY!!!

    Here is my reasoning behind it. First, unlike Jim, my guess and my experience by watching people is that most folks, probably in the 80 to 90% range don't look at the labels and really don't care what is in the food they buy. I look only VERY occasionally, my wife is a bit more concerned. So for the majority of the population, it's a non-issue, it's there for people who do care but most wouldn't miss it if it went away. Next, I've scanned the labels carefully since your post and I have yet to see where fly poop is listed, I don't think that is a requirement. Although along those lines, were you aware there is a 'minimum' levels of contamination that are considered acceptable in our food? I'll bet you don't believe me so here is a link to the FDA outlining some of it.

    To address MGM charge, my take is that if folks want to buy it, let them. If I were a food producer and I had customers asking for the ingredients (enough of them) I'd provide it. If I thought the market was big enough (and it is) that showing what I make my food stuff out of is healthier/more natural than my competition, I'd leverage that advantage. But WHY is it mandatory???

    Your follow up question, do I think New York and CA have the RIGHT mandate the requirements that you outlined – NO!!! Or at a minimum, let the people vote on the issue, let them see what the additional costs will be.

    Do the Feds have the RIGHT to not allow such labeling? No, get the dang Federal government as MUCH out of my life as possible. They should stay with roads, military and prisons (and a few other things that I can't think of right now).

    And I still dislike Obama, intensely.

  21. Accurate Avatar

    Dad Gum, the link didn't come through and I don't know how to do that tiny url thing so here is the link all split up, copy it and paste it in your browser (I think it will work).




  22. so… you were waiting to see if I savaged Jim before you tip toed your opinion?

    geeze… I gotta tone it down I guess… eh?

    re: fly poop and assorted insect detritus and other foreign material, contamination, poisons, etc.

    so… you don't think the Feds should be requiring nutrition labels.

    how about food purity as in FDA?

    Do you think the Fed should be deciding how much fly poop, etc… is allowed in food?

    or.. plan B – let the companies decide but require them to disclose their levels

    or plan C – get the govt out of this business all together?

    As you might imagine . I'm trying to understand where you are on the Federal food regulation continuum.

    Do you care how much mercury is in the fish you and your wife/family eats?

    Do you care if salmonella may be present but you rely on the company and it's reputation rather than the govt to work on your behalf?

    I'll disclose my view.

    I think most of us want regulation but we don't agree on how much.

    Some folks , perhaps you are one, at totally consistent in their views – they are opposed to regulation and the nanny state mission creep that is inevitable once the govt gets into the regulation business.

    If I get unruly here.. let me have it.

  23. Bacon's Fred and Phoebe on CNN?

    tis true……

    not sure they attributed tho….

  24. Accurate Avatar

    Larry, you ALWAYS get unruly, I'm somewhat use to it but that doesn't mean I always want to stand there and have you fling it at me.

    As for regulations, you can put me down as Plan C. Get government as far out of my life as possible while still protecting me from terrorists and criminals who would do me harm.

    As for labels, I don't care. By the same token, poison me or my family with high mercury tuna and I'll see you in court. Again, depending upon how you run your business you can do things like they are doing today, like tuna that is ONLY caught on hook and line. This makes the producer and the consumer feel warm and fuzzy, but it comes at a very high cost. So how much is that warm, fuzzy feeling worth to you?

    Again, if a producer thinks that adding labels with nutritional data will add to the sales (and it would), then it's worth it to him to put that information on there. If the consumer wants that information and is willing to pay the extra price, then to them, it's worth it. But to many of us, we really don't give a darn. A great marketing tool would be showing the ingredients or the nutritional value in your product versus that of a producer who doesn't supply that data. Again to consumers who value that information, they are willing to pay for it, those of us who don't use it, don't want it – well, now due to government we are still paying for it.

    BTW – did you go to the link and read the levels of contamination that are 'acceptable'?

  25. Accurate – yes – I went to your link but I'm familiar with it and the concept of it…. and if you think about it – sometimes regulations are to PROTECT the manufacturer because if the govt says it is "ok" to have contamination.. it's much harder to sue, eh?

    it won't do you any good to sue a company that killed your child because it won't bring your child back and if the company goes broke you won't get anything anyhow and until recently companies were effectively immune from individual lawsuits.

    That's how regulation came about to start with.

    1902 – Biologics Control Act

    1906 – Pure Food and Drug Act

    1938 – Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act

    1944 – Public Health Service Act

    1951 Food, Drug, and
    Cosmetics Act Amendments PL 82–215

    1962 – 1962 Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act Amendments PL 87–781

    1966 – Fair Packaging and Labeling Act PL 89–755

    1976 – Medical Device Regulation Act PL 94–295

    1987 – Prescription Drug Marketing Act

    1988 – Anti–drug Abuse Act PL 100–690

    1990 – Nutrition Labeling and Education Act PL 101–535

    1992 – Prescription Drug User Fee Act PL 102–571

    1994 – Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act

    1997 – Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act 105-115

    2002 – Bioterrorism Act 107-188

    Notice that some of the regulations are not only quite old but also notice that new ones were continuously added.

    and here's how they typically came about:

    "The Biologics Control Act was passed in the United States on July 1, 1902 after two incidents involving the deaths of children caused by contaminated vaccines. The first involved the horse named Jim whose tetanus-contaminated serum was used to produce a diphtheria antitoxin that caused the deaths of thirteen children in St. Louis, Missouri."

    Now… I'd like to see how many of you guys that are opposed to regulation in concept will step up to propose repeal of this regulation.

    I'm betting it is ZERO.

    I'm betting that even YOU support this regulation – unless you also don't like the concept of vaccination either.

    So.. in short.. I suspect you also support some kinds of regulation.


    where do you draw your line?

  26. Accurate Avatar

    Larry –
    That is ALWAYS the question, where do you draw the line. In my opinion, one of the many things that has made this country great is that we DO draw lines and in the past the line was more of a 'individual responsibility' line. More and more it feels/seems like it's a 'we're the government and we know what's best for you, you do it' line.

    Let's take one of the lines of personal responsibility lines that still exist. Flu shots. I get my flu shot every year. I have experiences that have shown me it's worth it (to me) and if I don't get one, and I do get the flu, the consequences can be nasty. The flu shot is inexpensive (in my case the city pays the cost) and by increasing my chance of not getting the flu and thereby increasing the chance of spreading it. On the other hand, my wife refuses to get the flu shot. She has her reasons and I respect her choice and I respect that she is aware of the possible negative consequences. Now if she gets it, she stands a chance of spreading it. She will feel ill and possibly necessitate my taking time off from work, so it affects more than just her. SO, should we, by government mandate FORCE her to get the shot? No, she understands the possible bad effects, I understand the possible bad effects, she's a grown human being and I respect her decisions even when I disagree with them. Get the dang government OUT of my business.

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