Democrats & Liberals Archives

Republican Priorities

Niall Ferguson writes in today’s L.A. Times that while the economy at home “soars” Iraq “burns.” He thinks this is “another sign that Americans don’t want to face the reality that they are at war, and about to admit defeat.” I read his article and arrive at a better understanding of Republican priorities.

I am immediately hit between the eyes with this statement of fact:

A survey by Alpha magazine revealed that three American hedge-fund managers earned more than $1 billion last year.

Hedge fund managers earned more than $1 billion dollars! That is not a million but a BILLION! They earned a 1 with NINE ZEROES after it. Actually not all nine digits were zeroes. And Ferguson offers this merely as another way of listing the riches of America! Wow!

Hedge funds have grown like crazy since the Federal Reserve saved Long-Term Capital Management Hedge Fund from default in 1998. And what does a hedge fund do? Does it do anything useful? Does it deserve saving? NO. It builds nothing. Nor does it supply capital for building anything. It's a lottery, a roulette wheel, a Las Vegas for the super-rich.

Here is what Robert Kuttner says about today's hedge funds:

Today, the idea is to borrow huge sums, purchase a company largely with other people's money, pay yourself huge dividends, strip and sell profitable assets, cut labor and pension costs, and then unload the remains onto someone else.

OK, let the super-rich gamble. But does a guy who makes over $1 billion dollars a year and who does not improve our economy in any way need or deserve a tax cut? And yet, at the same time that the Republicans sent the poor to fight and die in Iraq, they dished out tax cuts to billionaires.

Evidently, the only people that count to Republicans are rich people. They get castles while the poor get caskets. And what about the middle class? They don't count for much either. While the DOW is zooming above 13,000 many newly-arrived middle class people are facing foreclosure of their homes:

Mortgage foreclosures climbed in the spring as higher interest rates and energy prices made monthly payments harder for some homeowners.

Republican priorities go this way: RICH, Middle Class, poor. Democratic priorities are the other way round: POOR, Middle Class, rich. Actually the major emphasis of the Democrats is the Middle Class. The rich do not need any help and the poor are encouraged to enter the Middle Class.

Whose priorities do YOU prefer?

Posted by Paul Siegel at April 30, 2007 5:39 PM
Comments
Comment #218848

Paul,

I prefer priorities that emphasize the constitutional role of government in our society. Where again do you find wealth redistribution in the Constitution???

Posted by: wkw at April 30, 2007 5:53 PM
Comment #218851

Dems help poor? How by raising taxs?

Posted by: KAP at April 30, 2007 6:00 PM
Comment #218855

Paul:

As previous posters have said, “So What?”, I believe that this is indeed a serious problem, the yawning gap between the working people of this country and ‘have-it-all’ have mores.

And I think there is only one solution—and one solution only!!— in solving this injustice. We need to give these guys another tax cut. Maybe two. It’s obvious that they’re taking this largesse and plugging into the economy, as any true humanitarian capitalist is want to do. And, the American worker, the average consumer, the Middle Class, in short, everyone, has benefited.

Well, except for the 37 million living an abject poverty, and as any thinking person knows, it’s their own damn fault, with the unlimited possibilities this country offers. To white males.
And the 50 million or so without health insurance? Whiners. Perhaps will give them a taxcut, too. Lord knows they don’t earn anything, so there won’t be any shortfall in revenues.
So, yeah, a taxcut. But only if they shut up. In fact, promise them anything to shut up—we can always renege later.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 30, 2007 6:22 PM
Comment #218856

KAP, Dems oversaw the greatest across-the-board economic expansion in this nations history. Ever since 2000, they’ve been campaigning on a platform of middle class tax cuts (as opposed to stock dividend tax cuts, capital gains tax cuts, estate tax cuts on properties worth over 4 million dollars and tax cuts on inherited wealth).

Democrats voted unanimously for child tax credits, ending the marriage penalty and extending the 10% tax bracket — tax cuts that affect the middle class far, far more than Republican tax cuts on stock dividends.

And Democrats are campaigning to increase those middle class tax cuts even more.

Dmocrats are also going to fix the Alternative Minimum Tax — something Republicans could have done at any time over the last twelve years, but never did.

KAP, name a Republican program that helps the middle class.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 30, 2007 6:26 PM
Comment #218862

The economy at home is hardly soaring. In fact, it is falling. Only the stock market is soaring, and that is largely based on earnings by American corporation’s overseas operations.

Slower economic growth over previous quarters is now the consensus by nearly all analysts. They argue slowing economic growth will keep the Fed from seeing inflation and raising interest rates, which investors want to hear in terms of equities. Hence the stock market has achieved new highs on both psychology and international earnings.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 30, 2007 7:04 PM
Comment #218872

I heard that Kudlow & Cramer guy — Cramer, I think — last night tell Chris Matthews that by the end of the year, the Dow will break 14,000 — and we’ll be in a recession.

I don’t know how good that guy is, but it was an interesting prediction.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 30, 2007 8:01 PM
Comment #218876

David, are you not missing unemployment rates being low (even with 12 million plus illegals) and the shrinking trade deficit? Also the Current Account?

I guess my measure of the economy is somewhat media driven. If it were bland or weak we would have a media frenzy. Perhaps I am not paying attention but the MSNBCs, FOX, CNN, majors, etc. don’t seem to be harping on economic woes.

Now could you please do something to curtail the cost of traveling to Europe!

Posted by: Honest at April 30, 2007 8:26 PM
Comment #218879

It depends on what you call poor. The lowest 20% of the income distribution does very little work and pays nothing in net federal taxes. If Dems want to help them, great. The welfare system has not worked for them. Much of their plight has to do with bad luck and bad habits. Government cannot repeal those things.

With unemployment hovering around 4.5%, real wages, home ownership and median net worth near all time highs and respectable economic growth for the since 2003, it is hard to feel very bad about the economy.

None of us can see the world except from our own perspective. The statistics tell me things are good. When I go to places like Best Buy, I see lots of expensive electronics going out the door. I see lots of late model cars in the parking lots around town.

I have not looked for a job for more than 20 years, but my observation is that the job market is much better than when I was looking in the early 1980s. I know that my organization has trouble finding talented employees. My HS grad son just a got part time job at Home Depot starting at $10.50 an hour. My daughter who will graduate this year with a liberal arts degree has a couple of job offers at around $40,000. Business and engineering students are doing even better. Maybe I set my sights to low, but it seems not too hard to find a good job and you do not need special connections.

The big problem in the future will be with entitlements. I know that has to be addressed soon. There is no political will in either party. But for now, nobody can justifiable complain about the economy, job market or investment outlook. This is just about the best of times.

Posted by: Jackj at April 30, 2007 8:49 PM
Comment #218892


Yes, we need to do something about entitlements.

The poor are entitled to food stamps and possibly housing assistance.

The middle class is entitled to owe the bank and to join the lower class if for some reason they can no longer pay the bank.

The upper class is entitled to everything else.

Posted by: jlw at April 30, 2007 10:50 PM
Comment #218899
and respectable economic growth for the since 2003

That’s the first time I’ve heard 1.3% growth called “respectable,” Jack.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 1, 2007 12:05 AM
Comment #218923

I wish many Americans could be poor for a day. I work with children with developmental delays and disorders through a government program which means most of the families I work with are poor. I would like to see most Americans live on food stamps which can average $3.00 a day. It is so easy for us to judge why someone is where they are. People are born into proverty, raised in proverty and stay in proverty because it is near impossible to get out. This is really not a choice. People don’t choose this but after a while people learn to exist. I recently had a financial fall and it has taken me almost 3 years to catch up in my bills and savings and I am middle class. Poor people have every obstacle against them and yet somehow we expect them to pull themselves up and become middle class. I live in a small southern town with a paper mill and a steel mill and so many poor people can’t get work. Even to get a low level job at the steel mill you need to know someone who works there and it helps to be white. I also see many people buying and buying but lets don’t fool ourselves and believe that people are using real money to buy all this stuff. Its credit and one day we are all going to implode. We are starting to see it in the housing market. We can not continue at our current rate of consumption. Of course these are my opinions only so don’t start asking me for data to support what I have said. My thoughts only so take what you like and leave the rest.

Posted by: carolina at May 1, 2007 9:40 AM
Comment #220781

There is no middle class. According to the IRS,
you are rich if you earn $30,000/year.

Posted by: Marc at May 18, 2007 7:39 PM
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