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Rep. Latterell Detached from Reality on Money, Oil, Inflation

Last updated on 2015.01.19

From what alternative-universe dystopia is Rep. Isaac Latterell blogging? The Tea (party and town) Republican prefaces his Monday commentary on proposals to raise taxes to fix South Dakota roads with two servings of red herring:

But as the Federal Reserve continuously prints money, and Obama’s draconian policies prohibit more U.S. oil production, costs to build and repair roads have been going up [Rep. Isaac Latterell, "South Dakota's 90th Legislative Session Begins," blog post, 2015.01.19].

Let's get literal: yes, the government prints money. 85% of the Fiscal Year 2015 order for 7.2 billion notes valued at $188.7 billion is ordered to replace destroyed currency. That's just Uncle Sam doing the proper business of government. Isaac, if you're worried about folks printing bogus money, tell your conservative friends to stop playing with Bitcoins (oh, never mind: market already solving).

The second serving about oil production sounds like the GOP fabrication of some "war on energy." Maybe Rep. Latterell thinks "draconian" means "fantastical, not real, like dragons": as I must tediously remind the Representative from Tea, under the Obama Adminstration, U.S. monthly oil production rebounded from a 23-year decline and grew by October 2014 to 53% higher than the highest it ever was under President George W. Bush (May 2002).

But Rep. Latterell appears to dislike discussions of reality at the national or local level. Rather than focusing his commentary on the realities of the conditions of roads and other public services that shape South Dakota's Legislative priorities, Rep. Latterell wants to frame everything in terms of whatever right-wing podcast-rot he's listening to on the earbuds he shares with Senator Haggar:

...[T]he reason we have these discussions at all is because the Federal Government and Federal Reserve are out of control, far beyond their intended authority. With the Fed printing money (which devalues your dollar and causes inflation), and burdensome taxes and regulation increasing the costs of everything, now is the time to pass amendments to the Constitution using Article V which will return the power to you locally [Latterell, 2015.01.19].

Rep. Latterell amplifies his indigestion about printing money by citing the ever-present bogeyman of inflation. I understand that when folks like Latterell yell about printing money, they're really yelling about economic stimulus and deficit spending. Under the last six years of stimulus and deficit spending, inflation has averaged 1.6%. That's the lowest six-year average we've seen since 1966. Right now, the Fed's "printing money" (with or without quote marks) is not causing inflation, or at worst, it's causing darned little.

(As for this Article V tangent—that's the right-wing plot to get just enough conservatives in just enough state legislatures to convene a Constitutional Convention. It won't pave a single road or pay a single teacher in South Dakota, but it will likely scrap the Constitution as we know it. But that's a tangent about Isaac's preference for fantasy-football politics over representing the practical interests of his South Dakota constituents, a whole blog post, if not an entire blog, of its own.)

But no, really, Rep. Latterell insists in an earlier post, inflation and disaster are coming!

The Governor announced in his budget address that sales tax revenues came in below estimates, signs that the Fed’s money printing and phony stimulus bubble is showing signs of bursting. This would be the largest tax increase in South Dakota history, at a time when our national debt, inflation, and economic situation have gotten even more dangerous and I am predicting will see another severe correction in 2015 [Rep. Isaac Latterell, "Representative Latterell Joins Craig Dewey on The Facts Sunday," blog post, 2015.01.04].

Rep. Latterell, you've been reading Rep. Rev. Hickey's secret online fanfic novel, The Long Economic Winter, haven't you?

I get what's happening here. Reality is kicking the crap out of conservatives' worldview. The President's approval rating is rising (not as much as il production was, but hey, you don't get miracles). When the hyperinflation monster fails to jump out at us from around the corner, conservative abstractionists like Rep. Latterell must stoke out fears that the monster is still just around the next corner. When the world doesn't blow up, they have to keep telling us the world is going to blow up.

And when national talk radio and blogs don't tell him what to think about real South Dakota issues like fixing roads and bridges, Rep. Latterell has to contort a real pressing local problem into karaoke speeches about right-wing fantasies. District 6, is Rep. Latterell's detachment from reality really what you voted for?

p.s.: Then again, maybe gasoline prices will bounce back, to $5 a gallon. I'll bet an Article V Convention will help us invent fusion cars!


  1. Tim 2015.01.20

    Republicans have been doing this for decades, as long as the of this state keep buying it, they will keep doing it. I keep telling myself voters will figure it out, I am starting to believe I have been giving SD voters way to much credit.

  2. mike from iowa 2015.01.20

    I blush to guess how many wingnuts will take this as gospel.

  3. JeniW 2015.01.20

    The voters in Tea got what they wanted. Unfortunate for the rest of SD.

  4. larry kurtz 2015.01.20

    Anyone know how many unmarried legislators cohabitate with a lover?

  5. JeniW 2015.01.20

    Larry, I do not know the answer to your question, but it makes me wonder if SD should start/resume recognizing "common law marriages?"

  6. Roger Elgersma 2015.01.20

    If they knew all along that there was inflation, then why did they not realize that both sales tax revenue and the cost of roads was going up all along. So now they finally realize this and start a slow gradual increase in taxes and road repairs that will take forever to catch up. Meanwhile they look like they are getting things done.
    Republicans do not believe in democracy but in a republic because they do not see the common person to be smart enough to make good decisions so they think we need to elect others to make our decisions. Now they think we will believe that they know what they are doing? They are way to slow to get it done right or on time.

  7. Roger Elgersma 2015.01.20

    Sorry, I am ranting just like Isaac. I should stick to the issue and thank the republicans for fixing roads. Well maybe should wait to see if they actually do.

  8. mike from iowa 2015.01.20

    Cory,wingnuts will counter that there is less oil drilling on public lands.

  9. leslie 2015.01.20

    thx for putting spotlight on this guy

  10. Taunia 2015.01.20

    "But as the Federal Reserve continuously prints money..." Latterell is listening to bad, outdated podcasts from last year, or several years prior.

    Quantitative easing (sexy words, eh?) worked, all 3 of them did - each needed in a timely fashion to not overwhelm the 2008 stagnant economy into inflation or deflation.

    There was no actual "money printing" for QE1, 2 or 3, that's a tea party dog whistle. The U.S. bought bonds in large amounts and better controlled the interest rate. The last bond buying stopped last fall. Seen the stock market? Those kids rather enjoyed it and who's more sensitive to money volatility than they are?

    There should be Hurculean amounts of infrastructure spending when interest is this low.

  11. Roger Cornelius 2015.01.20

    South Dakota roads and bridges have been crumbling for along time, shall we say for at least the last 40 years of Republican rule in Pierre.
    Explain to me just why that all of a sudden we have a crisis in our infrastructure. The feds and state have been collecting taxes all along for road maintenance and yet we have seen only minimal improvements.
    What have Republican politicians done with that money and why haven't they used it for its intended purpose?
    In today's Rapid City Journal, tea party kingpin Bob Ellis has a letter to the editor that blames our state's short falls on Republicans acting like Democrats, whatever the hell that means.
    By Ellis and Latterell illogical economic conclusions it is the fault of Democrats.
    The reality is that President Obama's economic policies are working to undo the disasters of Republican George Bush and they simply cannot acknowledge it, let alone accept it.
    Republicans will be super pissed tonight when President Obama tells them and us how fiscally sound this country is.
    Right know I'm looking forward to what Republican will make a complete ass of himself during the President's State of the Union address.

  12. Roger Cornelius 2015.01.20

    If the fed, following Latterell's opinion, quit printing money, who would be most impacted immediately?
    Hint: it wouldn't be the poor or middleclass since they don't have much of it anyway.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.20

    Roger, it seems that Bob Ellis suffers from the same illness as Isaac Latterell. They can't admit that "Democrat" and "Barack Obama" can be used as positive words. They can't admit that results are proving that Democrats and Barack Obama had the right idea. They can't admit that we are busy undoing the damage their party did, and that it will take us time.

    And holy cow, Taunia, they absolutely can't confront the facts you present. Why the heck aren't we taking advantage of low interest rates to invest in all the infrastructure that five million workers with shovels could build?

  14. Jana 2015.01.20

    Maybe we should forgive Issac. Someone might have breathlessly whispered "Drill Baby Drill" in his ear and he isn't thinking clearly.

  15. Les 2015.01.21

    TauNia doesn't undrstand the game if she believes the government bought the bonds without affecting the value of the dollar, ie printing as opposed to devaluing by loading citizen debt both done under the guise of the Federal Reserve actions or inactions.

  16. Bill Dithmer 2015.01.21

    " larry kurtz

    2015.01.20 AT 07:59

    "Aqnyone know how many unmarried legislators cohabitate with a lover?"

    Six that I heard something about
    Four that I think are
    Two that I saw come out of a bar
    And one with herself

    Ah hell maybe their just good friends sharing like that and all, just good friends. Yes I prefer that.

    The Ellatterell reality show is on the air complete with comedy sketches, hard hitting commentary, and just a little bible thumping.

    The mere thought that they might be a part of "The Howie Doodie International Review," on the Howie Network, gives me goosebumps.

    Please, isnt there anybody left in South Dakota to do an intervention?

    The Blindman

  17. larry kurtz 2015.01.21

    Blindman: a friend did several tours of duty in Vietnam before PTSD rose to public awareness only to go hunt pheasants and have a hunter shoot him in the face blinding him. His motto? "Watch yore eyes."

  18. Bill Dithmer 2015.01.21

    You mean he got Cheneyed?

    The Blindman

  19. larry kurtz 2015.01.21

    Cheney's service served him, Bill: sometimes i dream i can afford the algorithm that would either end his Secret Service protection or help them get he's a threat to national security.

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